Effects of practice on executive control investigated with fMRI

D H Weissman, M G Woldorff, C J Hazlett, and G R Mangun (2002). Brain Res Cogn Brain Res, 15(1):47-60.

Various models of executive control predict that practice should modulate the recruitment of executive brain mechanisms. To investigate this issue, we asked 15 participants to perform a cued global/local attention task while brain activity was recorded with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Practice significantly reduced the recruitment of left inferior parietal regions that were engaged when participants oriented attention in response to global and local cue stimuli. In contrast, practice increased the recruitment of midline frontal regions that were engaged by interference between global and local forms during target processing. These findings support models of executive control in which practice increases the tendency for stimuli to automatically evoke task-relevant processes and responses.

 

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