The lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) is essential for higher-level cognition, but how its interactions support cognitive control remains elusive. Previously (Nee and D'Esposito, 2016), dynamic causal modeling (DCM) indicated that mid LPFC integrates abstract, rostral and concrete, caudal influences to inform context-appropriate action. Here, we use continuous theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (cTBS) to causally test this model. cTBS was applied to three LPFC sites and a control site in counterbalanced sessions. Behavioral modulations resulting from cTBS were largely predicted by information flow within the previously estimated DCM. However, cTBS to caudal LPFC unexpectedly impaired processes presumed to involve rostral LPFC. Adding a pathway from caudal to mid-rostral LPFC significantly improved the model fit and accounted for the observed behavioral findings. These data provide causal evidence for LPFC dynamics supporting cognitive control and demonstrate the utility of combining DCM with causal manipulations to test and refine models of cognition.
- Derek Evan Nee
- Mark D'Esposito
- Mark D'Esposito
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Informed consent was obtained in accordance with the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects at the University of California, Berkeley under protocol number 2010-02-781.
- Lila Davachi, Reviewing Editor, New York University, United States
- Received: April 25, 2017
- Accepted: August 30, 2017
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 13, 2017 (version 1)
© 2017, Nee & D'Esposito
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