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Poster D4

Programs that organize task execution are decodable everywhere

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

İpek Ciftci1,2 (, İrem Giray1,2, Ausaf Ahmed Farooqui1,2; 1Aysel Sabuncu Brain Research Center, 2Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

It is well recognized that control during extended tasks requisites some form of hierarchical cognition. For existing accounts this involves higher-level sequence-representations (e.g., schemas, situation models) controlling the identity and sequence of lower-level actions/rules/contexts much like recipes control cooking. Related studies have evidenced the decodablity of these higher-level sequence-representations from the activity-patterns of the control related fronto-parietal multiple demand (MD) regions and/or the default mode (DMN) regions. In comparison, we suggest a more pervasive aspect of hierarchical control whereby all kinds of control processes during extended tasks (e.g., attention, WM) may be brought about through subsuming meta-control programs related to the overarching goal. These programs are instantiated at the beginning of execution but embody the executive commands that will go on to instantiate the various control processes across the entire task duration. This mode of hierarchical control predicts that otherwise identical tasks that only differ in their total length would still be executed via distinct meta-control programs. Our participants executed two otherwise identical extended tasks that only differed in their lengths. The two tasks involved identical rules and contexts, and involved no sequence-representations. We found that these tasks could still be decoded at their beginnings and completions, evidencing the presence of distinct meta-control programs that were assembled and dismantled respectively at these junctures. Interestingly, this decoding was not limited to MD and DMN regions but involved nearly the entire cortex, suggesting that the meta-control programs that ensconce control operations involve the entire cortex.

Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Working memory


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