Task-independent functional brain activity correlation with skin conductance changes: an fMRI study.


Lesions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex cause a loss of skin conductance response (SCR) to stimuli with affective content and an inability to integrate information with social consequences into decisions. Previous behavioral studies using a gambling task were able to differentiate patients with lesions in this region from normal subjects. In the present imaging study, this region, among others, was shown to be "spontaneously" activated during three different cognitive states: a gambling task, a working memory task, and resting state. SCR data were simultaneously collected during the scanning process. Six subjects were scanned at 1.5 T during all three states, and one subject was scanned at 3 T during the resting state only. SCR data were used as a reference function for correlation analysis with the fMRI time series during each of the three tasks. SCR changes were evident during the gambling and two-back tasks as well as during rest. SCR activity was not observed to be specifically related to reward-based decisions in the gambling task. Correlation of the fMRI time series directly with the SCR data revealed a consistent set of activated regions. The activity of these regions showing correlation with the SCR appeared independent of the cognitive state. Further, the subject scanned only at rest (without the possible confound of task-related carryover activity) replicated the findings in the original six subjects. From these data, SCR appears to be a marker of a network that is active during, but independent of, the task being studied.

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@article{Patterson2002TaskindependentFB, title={Task-independent functional brain activity correlation with skin conductance changes: an fMRI study.}, author={James C. Patterson and Leslie G. Ungerleider and Peter A. Bandettini}, journal={NeuroImage}, year={2002}, volume={17 4}, pages={1797-806} }