Selective tuning of the right inferior frontal gyrus during target detection.
Hampshire A., Thompson R., Duncan J., Owen AM.
In the human brain, a network of frontal and parietal regions is commonly recruited during tasks that demand the deliberate, focused control of thought and action. Previously, using a simple target detection task, we reported striking differences in the selectivity of the BOLD response in anatomically distinct subregions of this network. In particular, it was observed that the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) followed a tightly tuned function, selectively responding only to the current target object. Here, we examine this functional specialization further, using adapted versions of our original task. Our results demonstrate that the response of the right IFG to targets is a strong and replicable phenomenon. It occurs under increased attentional load, when targets and distractors are equally frequent, and when controlling for inhibitory processes. These findings support the hypothesis that the right IFG responds selectively to those items that are of the most relevance to the currently intended task schema.