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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Volition to action--an event-related fMRI study.

Current concepts of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) increasingly emphasize its role as an interface between limbic and neocortical functions. It has been pointed out that ACC activation reflects the intentional amount of effort (volition) that a subject uses in a task. In previous electrophysiological source localization investigations during a choice reaction task, we described a strong early activation in the ACC region approximately 120-150 ms after stimulus presentation. The degree of midline ACC activation correlated negatively with reaction time. This observation together with the finding that ACC activation precedes information processing in cortical association areas provided preliminary support to the notion that the extent of ACC activation is related to a subject's task engagement. However, due to the inverse problem and the relatively low spatial resolution of the electrophysiological measurements, we were not able to make inferences about the validity and the exact localization of the observed midline activation maximum. We addressed this question and performed an event-related fMRI study in six healthy volunteers during a visual choice reaction task. Two checkerboard stimuli were presented either in the left or right visual hemifield in randomized order and with an interstimulus interval requiring an appropriate motor response (left-right button press). A bilateral BOLD maximum was observed in the region of the supplementary motor area confluent with the neighboring motor area of the dorsal ACC. The degree of ACC activation correlated significantly with reaction time. These results are in line with our previous electrophysiological findings and provide further evidence that early ACC activation during a choice reaction task reflects the intentional effort of a subject to carry out a task.[1]


  1. Volition to action--an event-related fMRI study. Winterer, G., Adams, C.M., Jones, D.W., Knutson, B. Neuroimage (2002) [Pubmed]
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