Mapping social target detection with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The neural correlates of cognitive control and social processing functions, as well as the characteristic patterns of anomalous brain activation patterns in psychiatric conditions associated with impairment in these functions, have been well characterized. However, these domains have primarily been examined in isolation. The present study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to map brain areas recruited during a target-detection task designed to evaluate responses to both non-social (i.e. shape) and social (i.e. face) target stimuli. Both shape and face targets activated a similar brain network, including the postcentral gyrus, the anterior and posterior cingulate gyri and the right midfrontal gyrus, whereas face targets additionally activated the thalamus, fusiform and temporooccipital cortex, lingual gyrus and paracingulate gyrus. Comparison of activations to social and non-social target events revealed that a small portion of the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus (Brodmann's area 32) and the supracalcarine cortex were preferentially activated to face targets. These findings indicate that non-social and social stimuli embedded within a cognitive control task activate overlapping and distinct brain regions. Clinical cognitive neuroscience research of disorders characterized by cognitive dysfunction and impaired social processing would benefit from the use of tasks that evaluate the combined effects of deficits in these two domains.
Dichter, GS; Felder, JN; Bodfish, JW; Sikich, L; Belger, A
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