Rostral PFC (area 10) activation is common during prospective memory (PM) tasks. But it is not clear what mental processes these activations index. Three candidate explanations from cognitive neuroscience theory are: (i) monitoring of the environment; (ii) spontaneous intention retrieval; (iii) a combination of the two. These explanations make different predictions about the temporal and spatial patterns of activation that would be seen in rostral PFC in naturalistic settings. Accordingly, we plotted functional events in PFC using portable fNIRS while people were carrying out a PM task outside the lab and responding to cues when they were encountered, to decide between these explanations. Nineteen people were asked to walk around a street in London, U.K. and perform various tasks while also remembering to respond to prospective memory (PM) cues when they detected them. The prospective memory cues could be either social (involving greeting a person) or non-social (interacting with a parking meter) in nature. There were also a number of contrast conditions which allowed us to determine activation specifically related to the prospective memory components of the tasks. We found that maintaining both social and non-social intentions was associated with widespread activation within medial and right hemisphere rostral prefrontal cortex (BA 10), in agreement with numerous previous lab-based fMRI studies of prospective memory. In addition, increased activation was found within lateral prefrontal cortex (BA 45 and 46) when people were maintaining a social intention compared to a non-social one. The data were then subjected to a GLM-based method for automatic identification of functional events (AIDE), and the position of the participants at the time of the activation events were located on a map of the physical space. The results showed that the spatial and temporal distribution of these events was not random, but aggregated around areas in which the participants appeared to retrieve their future intentions (i.e., where they saw intentional cues), as well as where they executed them. Functional events were detected most frequently in BA 10 during the PM conditions compared to other regions and tasks. Mobile fNIRS can be used to measure higher cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex in “real world” situations outside the laboratory in freely ambulant individuals. The addition of a “brain-first” approach to the data permits the experimenter to determine not only when haemodynamic changes occur, but also where the participant was when it happened. This can be extremely valuable when trying to link brain and cognition.

Prefrontal cortical activation associated with prospective memory while walking around a real-world street environment

Paola Pinti;Arcangelo Merla;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Rostral PFC (area 10) activation is common during prospective memory (PM) tasks. But it is not clear what mental processes these activations index. Three candidate explanations from cognitive neuroscience theory are: (i) monitoring of the environment; (ii) spontaneous intention retrieval; (iii) a combination of the two. These explanations make different predictions about the temporal and spatial patterns of activation that would be seen in rostral PFC in naturalistic settings. Accordingly, we plotted functional events in PFC using portable fNIRS while people were carrying out a PM task outside the lab and responding to cues when they were encountered, to decide between these explanations. Nineteen people were asked to walk around a street in London, U.K. and perform various tasks while also remembering to respond to prospective memory (PM) cues when they detected them. The prospective memory cues could be either social (involving greeting a person) or non-social (interacting with a parking meter) in nature. There were also a number of contrast conditions which allowed us to determine activation specifically related to the prospective memory components of the tasks. We found that maintaining both social and non-social intentions was associated with widespread activation within medial and right hemisphere rostral prefrontal cortex (BA 10), in agreement with numerous previous lab-based fMRI studies of prospective memory. In addition, increased activation was found within lateral prefrontal cortex (BA 45 and 46) when people were maintaining a social intention compared to a non-social one. The data were then subjected to a GLM-based method for automatic identification of functional events (AIDE), and the position of the participants at the time of the activation events were located on a map of the physical space. The results showed that the spatial and temporal distribution of these events was not random, but aggregated around areas in which the participants appeared to retrieve their future intentions (i.e., where they saw intentional cues), as well as where they executed them. Functional events were detected most frequently in BA 10 during the PM conditions compared to other regions and tasks. Mobile fNIRS can be used to measure higher cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex in “real world” situations outside the laboratory in freely ambulant individuals. The addition of a “brain-first” approach to the data permits the experimenter to determine not only when haemodynamic changes occur, but also where the participant was when it happened. This can be extremely valuable when trying to link brain and cognition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/795315
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