Exploring individual differences in task switching: Persistence and other personality traits related to anterior cingulate cortex function.

Abstract

Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is involved in cognitive control and decision-making but its precise function is still highly debated. Based on evidence from lesion, neurophysiological, and neuroimaging studies, we have recently proposed a critical role for ACC in motivating extended behaviors according to learned task values (Holroyd and Yeung, 2012). Computational simulations based on this theory suggest a hierarchical mechanism in which a caudal division of ACC selects and applies control over task execution, and a rostral division of ACC facilitates switches between tasks according to a higher task strategy (Holroyd and McClure, 2015). This theoretical framework suggests that ACC may contribute to personality traits related to persistence and reward sensitivity (Holroyd and Umemoto, 2016). To explore this possibility, we carried out a voluntary task switching experiment in which on each trial participants freely chose one of two tasks to perform, under the condition that they try to select the tasks "at random" and equally often. The participants also completed several questionnaires that assessed personality trait related to persistence, apathy, anhedonia, and rumination, in addition to the Big 5 personality inventory. Among other findings, we observed greater compliance with task instructions by persistent individuals, as manifested by a greater facility with switching between tasks, which is suggestive of increased engagement of rostral ACC.

DOI: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2016.06.003

Cite this paper

@article{Umemoto2016ExploringID, title={Exploring individual differences in task switching: Persistence and other personality traits related to anterior cingulate cortex function.}, author={Akina Umemoto and Clay B. Holroyd}, journal={Progress in brain research}, year={2016}, volume={229}, pages={189-212} }