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A problem-solving task specialized for functional neuroimaging: validation of the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London (S-TOL) using near-infrared spectroscopy.

Ruocco AC, Rodrigo AH, Lam J, Di Domenico SI, Graves B, Ayaz H - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: Compared to a baseline condition, problems that required two or three steps to achieve a goal configuration were associated with higher activation in the left DLPFC and deactivation in the medial PFC.Individuals scoring higher in trait deliberation showed consistently higher activation in the left DLPFC regardless of task difficulty, whereas individuals lower in this trait displayed less activation when solving simple problems.Based on these results, the S-TOL may serve as a standardized task to evaluate problem-solving abilities in functional neuroimaging studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Clinical Neurosciences Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough Toronto, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Problem-solving is an executive function subserved by a network of neural structures of which the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is central. Whereas several studies have evaluated the role of the DLPFC in problem-solving, few standardized tasks have been developed specifically for use with functional neuroimaging. The current study adapted a measure with established validity for the assessment of problem-solving abilities to design a test more suitable for functional neuroimaging protocols. The Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London (S-TOL) was administered to 38 healthy adults while hemodynamic oxygenation of the PFC was measured using 16-channel continuous-wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Compared to a baseline condition, problems that required two or three steps to achieve a goal configuration were associated with higher activation in the left DLPFC and deactivation in the medial PFC. Individuals scoring higher in trait deliberation showed consistently higher activation in the left DLPFC regardless of task difficulty, whereas individuals lower in this trait displayed less activation when solving simple problems. Based on these results, the S-TOL may serve as a standardized task to evaluate problem-solving abilities in functional neuroimaging studies.

No MeSH data available.


Sample computerized stimuli from the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task. The left panel displays sample problems requiring a minimum of two moves to solve the problem (left) or zero moves to solve the problem (right). Stimuli were designed based on descriptions provided in Shallice (1982).
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Figure 3: Sample computerized stimuli from the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task. The left panel displays sample problems requiring a minimum of two moves to solve the problem (left) or zero moves to solve the problem (right). Stimuli were designed based on descriptions provided in Shallice (1982).

Mentions: Participants completed a newly adapted computerized version of the TOL which was designed according to original descriptions of this task as presented in Shallice (1982). Two boards were visually presented in color on a computer screen (Figure 3). The task began with the following on-screen instructions which were also read aloud by the examiner:


A problem-solving task specialized for functional neuroimaging: validation of the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London (S-TOL) using near-infrared spectroscopy.

Ruocco AC, Rodrigo AH, Lam J, Di Domenico SI, Graves B, Ayaz H - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Sample computerized stimuli from the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task. The left panel displays sample problems requiring a minimum of two moves to solve the problem (left) or zero moves to solve the problem (right). Stimuli were designed based on descriptions provided in Shallice (1982).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3975118&req=5

Figure 3: Sample computerized stimuli from the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task. The left panel displays sample problems requiring a minimum of two moves to solve the problem (left) or zero moves to solve the problem (right). Stimuli were designed based on descriptions provided in Shallice (1982).
Mentions: Participants completed a newly adapted computerized version of the TOL which was designed according to original descriptions of this task as presented in Shallice (1982). Two boards were visually presented in color on a computer screen (Figure 3). The task began with the following on-screen instructions which were also read aloud by the examiner:

Bottom Line: Compared to a baseline condition, problems that required two or three steps to achieve a goal configuration were associated with higher activation in the left DLPFC and deactivation in the medial PFC.Individuals scoring higher in trait deliberation showed consistently higher activation in the left DLPFC regardless of task difficulty, whereas individuals lower in this trait displayed less activation when solving simple problems.Based on these results, the S-TOL may serve as a standardized task to evaluate problem-solving abilities in functional neuroimaging studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Clinical Neurosciences Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough Toronto, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Problem-solving is an executive function subserved by a network of neural structures of which the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is central. Whereas several studies have evaluated the role of the DLPFC in problem-solving, few standardized tasks have been developed specifically for use with functional neuroimaging. The current study adapted a measure with established validity for the assessment of problem-solving abilities to design a test more suitable for functional neuroimaging protocols. The Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London (S-TOL) was administered to 38 healthy adults while hemodynamic oxygenation of the PFC was measured using 16-channel continuous-wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Compared to a baseline condition, problems that required two or three steps to achieve a goal configuration were associated with higher activation in the left DLPFC and deactivation in the medial PFC. Individuals scoring higher in trait deliberation showed consistently higher activation in the left DLPFC regardless of task difficulty, whereas individuals lower in this trait displayed less activation when solving simple problems. Based on these results, the S-TOL may serve as a standardized task to evaluate problem-solving abilities in functional neuroimaging studies.

No MeSH data available.