Poster B7, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Dynamic Fluctuations in Sustained Attention: Relating Neural Fluctuations to Individual Performance
Francesca Fortenbaugh1,2, David Rothlein1,3, Joseph DeGutis1,2, Regina McGlinchey1,2, Michael Esterman1,3; 1Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston Healthcare System, 2Harvard Medical School, 3Boston University School of Medicine
Recent work by Esterman and colleagues (2013) has shown that moment-to-moment fluctuations in sustained attention performance are related to corresponding dynamic fluctuations in large-scale neural networks including the dorsal attention network (DAN) and the default mode network (DMN). The present study completed both a robust replication and extension of the original findings related to these fluctuations using the gradual onset continuous performance (gradCPT) task. In this study, 140 participants completed the gradCPT during fMRI scanning. Analyses replicate the original findings demonstrating increases in BOLD activity in the DAN and decreases in the DMN when participants are “out of the zone”, periods of increased reaction time variability and greater error proneness. Results also show that BOLD activity in other task-positive regions, including the supplementary motor association area, ventral occipital cortex, and parahippocampal place area (PPA), track reaction time stability similarly to the DAN. Extending these findings, we performed dynamic functional connectivity analyses of DAN, DMN, and PPA using PPI, and found that being in the zone is associated with decreased PPA-DMN coupling. Additionally, we show that both the degree to which these ROIs’ activation couples with reaction time stability as well as their dynamic functional connectivity predict better individual differences in discrimination ability (d’) on the task using leave-one-subject-out cross-validation regression analyses (r = 0.406, p < 0.001). These results demonstrate that behavioral and neural fluctuations are both related to intra-individual differences as well as inter-individual differences in sustained attention.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other