Posterior parietal activation has commonly been observed in previous neuroimaging studies in association with flexible shifting of cognitive set. However, it is not clear whether the parietal activation reflects cognitive processes intrinsic to the shifting itself or other confounding factors such as spatial attention. To address this issue, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) was modified such that spatial components were eliminated from the sensory and motor aspects of the task. Moreover, a visual instruction of a next dimension was introduced to eliminate cognitive processes related to trial and error identification of a next rule, and a control null-instruction was also introduced to eliminate perceptual/oddball effects of the instruction cue. Localizer scans using a visually guided saccade task were also conducted to identify eye movement/spatial attention-related areas. Activity related to set shifting with trial and error was revealed in the lateral parts of the intraparietal regions, while activity related to eye movements/spatial attention was revealed in the medial parts of the intraparietal regions, confirming little spatial contribution to the modified WCST as indexed by the double dissociation. The lateral intraparietal activity was bilateral, but when the instructed shifting was contrasted with the null-instructed shifting to purify the shift-related activity further, the left intraparietal activation was significantly greater than that in the right hemisphere. These results reveal the left hemisphere dominance of purified shifting-related activity in the lateral posterior parietal cortex that may cooperate with the lateral prefrontal cortex whose left hemisphere dominance has already been reported.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience