Fractionating Executive Control in the Human Brain: A Within-Subjects fMRI Study
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Executive control processes have been found to cluster around three factors: updating, inhibition and task switching. However, few studies have directly investigated the fractionation of executive control in the brain, and none have examined convergent and divergent patterns of neural activity for all three using matched tasks in a single scanning protocol. Using a novel paradigm that manipulates executive control demands while keeping other task demands constant, we directly assessed the dissociability of the neural correlates of updating, inhibition and task switching. Our analyses revealed diverse patterns of brain activity associated with each executive control process. Though several interpretations of the data are considered, our results provide strong evidence that executive functions are dissociable at the level of the brain.