Neural Activation During Dual-task Processing with Simultaneous Stimulus Presentation

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Alfonso, Juliana
Schumacher, Eric H.
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Despite extensive literature regarding response time cost in dual-task processing, the predominant procedures do not isolate task-processing from stimulus processing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the neural correlates of motor learning and dual-task processing using a procedure in which stimulus processing was held constant. Participants learned to make bimanual or unimanual hand responses to indicate the individual or associated pairs of stimuli in two types of tasks. In the independent task (two-set task), participants made a response with the left hand corresponding to the left image shown on the screen and a response with the right hand based on the right image, simultaneously. In the relational task (one-set task), the individuals respond with button-presses to the pair of images shown. Subjects performed an equal number of trials per condition and neural activation during each trial was recorded using fMRI. Preliminary behavioral results showed that there was a significant interaction between task condition and response type, as well as a greater response time-cost for bimanual responses in the independent condition. Imaging analysis suggests significantly greater neural activation in the inferior frontal sulcus (IFS) during the independent task (p<0.01). These preliminary results seem to support the behavioral findings of Schumacher et al. (2018) and implicate, at a neural activation level, a dissociation in the location of task-processing between the independent and relational tasks.
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