Functional neuroanatomical correlates of contingency judgement.
Saylik R., Szameitat AJ., Williams AL., Murphy RA.
Contingency judgement is an ability to detect relationships between events and is crucial in the allocation of attentional resources for reasoning, categorization, and decision making to control behaviour in our environment. Research has suggested that the allocation of attention is sensitive to the frequency of contingency information whether it constitutes a negative, zero or positive relationship. The aim of the present study was to explore the functional neuroanatomical correlates of contingency judgement with different frequencies and whether these are distinct from each other or whether they rely on a common mechanism. Using three contingency tasks within a streaming paradigm (one each for negative, zero, and positive contingency frequencies), we assessed brain activity by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 20 participants. Contingency frequency was manipulated between blocks which allowed us to determine the neural correlates of each of the three contingency tasks as well as the common areas of activation. The conjunction of task activation showed activity in left parietal cortices (BA 23, 40) and superior temporal gyrus (BA42). Further, the interaction analysis revealed distinct areas that mainly involve lateral (BA 45) and medial (BA 9) prefrontal cortices in the judgment of negative contingencies compared with positive and zero contingencies. We interpret the finding as evidence that the shared regions may be involved in coding, integration, and updating of associative relations and distinct regions may be involved in the investment of attentional resources to varied degrees in the computation of contingencies to make a judgment.