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Poster A90

Interactive ocular motor set-shifting task evoked distinct electrophysiological markers for stages of cognitive flexibility

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ling-Yu Huang1 (, Riley Byers2, James A. Branch1, Areeb Syed1, Jennifer E. McDowell1, Brett A. Clementz1; 1University of Georgia, 2Brandeis University

Detecting changes in the environment and adjusting subsequent actions are important steps of cognitive flexibility. Set-shifting tasks, for example the Wisconsin Card Sort Task (WCST), provide behavioral quantification for these functions, but their complex task demands: counting, color or shape differentiation, button presses, etc. invoke confounding brain activities in neuroimaging studies. Ocular motor potentials are well-known and routinely removed from electroencephalography (EEG) data as artifacts; this property, when leveraged in paradigm design, may allow better neural marker isolation through eliminating task-related confounds. In the present EEG study, 26 healthy young adults (16 females) completed a novel ocular motor paradigm which switched between prosaccade, inhibition (maintain fixation), and antisaccade response sets. Each set lasted 5-8 trials, and 48 set switches were administered, totaling 332 trials. A screen-based eye tracker assessed subjects’ gaze locations in real time, and post-trial feedback was provided (“correct” or “incorrect”) based on the ongoing set and the subject’s chosen gaze location. All-sensor event-related potentials (ERPs) time-locked to feedback onset revealed stronger, left-lateralized feedback-related negativity (FRN) and parietal P3 specific to switch trials, reflecting subjects’ registration of context change. Stronger beta power was observed in the left frontal region 200-400ms after negative feedback onset, similar to recent findings on reward processing. Lateralized frontal late positive potential (LPP) was only found after switch trial feedback. It might correspond to behavioral adjustment planning for the subsequent trial but requires further investigation. These results support ocular motor set-shifting as an effective paradigm to capture cognitive flexibility markers.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Goal maintenance & switching


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April 13–16  |  2024