Connectivity patterns in cognitive control networks predict naturalistic multitasking ability

Tanya Wen, De Cyuan Liu, Shulan Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Multitasking is a fundamental aspect of everyday life activities. To achieve a complex, multi-component goal, the tasks must be subdivided into sub-tasks and component steps, a critical function of prefrontal networks. The prefrontal cortex is considered to be organized in a cascade of executive processes from the sensorimotor to anterior prefrontal cortex, which includes execution of specific goal-directed action, to encoding and maintaining task rules, and finally monitoring distal goals. In the current study, we used a virtual multitasking paradigm to tap into real-world performance and relate it to each individual's resting-state functional connectivity in fMRI. While did not find any correlation between global connectivity of any of the major networks with multitasking ability, global connectivity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) was predictive of multitasking ability. Further analysis showed that multivariate connectivity patterns within the sensorimotor network (SMN), and between-network connectivity of the frontoparietal network (FPN) and dorsal attention network (DAN), predicted individual multitasking ability and could be generalized to novel individuals. Together, these results support previous research that prefrontal networks underlie multitasking abilities and show that connectivity patterns in the cascade of prefrontal networks may explain individual differences in performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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