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Functional connectivity changes during rest reflect task-related learning activity in a belief updating task

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center




  • J Molina
  • C Kaplan
  • Q Chen
  • D Weinberger
  • HY Tan


Covariance structures of spontaneous neural activity at rest are thought to be shaped by task-related effects. These may reflect changes in the underlying intrinsic properties of functionally related brain networks. We examined how resting-state MRI (rs-MRI) may be used in conjunction with task-based functional MRI (fMRI) to study putative neural correlates of task-related plasticity. Fourteen healthy subjects participated in a belief updating task. Subjects were presented with numbers varying stochastically about an integer and learned to detect when changes in the underlying numerical distribution occurred. rs-MRI scans were collected before and after the active fMRI task. As subjects learned the statistical properties and performed the task, left striatal activity became modulated at session 2 relative to session 1 (-19, 11, -4; t= 4.34, p<0.001 uncorrected). This region served as the seed for functional connectivity analyses during rest. We found that functional connectivity of the striatal and a dorsolateral prefrontal region (-34, 34, 30, t=4.22, p<0.001 uncorrected) was similarly modulated. These findings suggest that striatal learning signals change as properties of the numerical distribution are learned across the task sessions. Changes in the rs-MRI may reflect functional network consequences of task learning on aspects of fronto-striatal activity persisting into rest.

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