The role of a right fronto-parietal network in cognitive control: Common activations for "Cues-to-Attend" and response inhibition

Catherine Fassbender, C. Simoes-Franklin, K. Murphy, R. Hester, J. Meaney, I. H. Roberton, Hugh Garavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Seemingly distinct cognitive tasks often activate similar anatomical networks. For example, the right fronto-parietal cortex is active across a wide variety of paradigms suggesting that these regions may subserve a general cognitive function. We utilized fMRI and a GO/NOGO task consisting of two conditions, one with intermittent unpredictive "cues-to-attend" and the other without any "cues-to-attend," in order to investigate areas involved in inhibition of a prepotent response and top-down attentional control. Sixteen subjects (5 male, ages ranging from 20 to 30 years) responded to an alternating sequence of the letters X and Y and withheld responding when the alternating sequence was broken (e.g., when X followed an X). Cues were rare stimulus font-color changes, which were linked to a simple instruction to attend to the task at hand. We hypothesized that inhibitions and cues, despite requiring quite different responses from subjects, might engage similar top-down attentional control processes and would thus share a common network of anatomical substrates. Although inhibitions and cues activated a number of distinct brain regions, a similar network of right dorsolateral prefrontal and inferior parietal regions was active for both. These results suggest that this network, commonly activated for response inhibition, may subserve a more general cognitive control process involved in allocating top-down attentional resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-296
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 20 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cues
  • Right DLPFC
  • Top-down control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology


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