Distinct brain networks for adaptive and stable task control in humans

Nico U.F. Dosenbach, Damien A. Fair, Francis M. Miezin, Alexander L. Cohen, Kristin K. Wenger, Ronny A.T. Dosenbach, Michael D. Fox, Abraham Z. Snyder, Justin L. Vincent, Marcus E. Raichle, Bradley L. Schlaggar, Steven E. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1979 Scopus citations


Control regions in the brain are thought to provide signals that configure the brain's moment-to-moment information processing. Previously, we identified regions that carried signals related to task-control initiation, maintenance, and adjustment. Here we characterize the interactions of these regions by applying graph theory to resting state functional connectivity MRI data. In contrast to previous, more unitary models of control, this approach suggests the presence of two distinct task-control networks. A frontoparietal network included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and intraparietal sulcus. This network emphasized start-cue and error-related activity and may initiate and adapt control on a trial-by-trial basis. The second network included dorsal anterior cingulate/medial superior frontal cortex, anterior insula/frontal operculum, and anterior prefrontal cortex. Among other signals, these regions showed activity sustained across the entire task epoch, suggesting that this network may control goal-directed behavior through the stable maintenance of task sets. These two independent networks appear to operate on different time scales and affect downstream processing via dissociable mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11073-11078
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Connectivity
  • Executive control
  • Functional MRI
  • Task set

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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