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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.


Levels of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) for individuals high vs. low in Deliberation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex across zero-move (ZM) and multiple-move (MM) conditions on the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task.
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Figure 7: Levels of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) for individuals high vs. low in Deliberation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex across zero-move (ZM) and multiple-move (MM) conditions on the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task.

Mentions: As expected, this analysis uncovered a significant cross-level interaction between problem-solving and Deliberation on the S-TOL [b = −0.01, SE = 0.00, t(18282) = −12.51, p < 0.001]. In order to probe the nature of this significant interaction, the effect of problem-solving in the left DLPFC was examined at high (+1 SD) and low (−1 SD) levels of Deliberation (West and Aiken, 1991). As hypothesized, this analysis revealed that activation in the left DLPFC was higher in the MM relative to the ZM condition for participants who reported lower levels of Deliberation [b = 0.11, SE = 0.01, t(18282) = 18.13, p < 0.0001], as compared to those who reported higher levels of this trait [b = 0.00, SE = 0.01, t(18282) = 0.10, p = 0.92]. That is, whereas those participants who reported higher levels of Deliberation did not show a significant difference in oxy-Hb across the ZM and MM conditions, those participants who reported lower levels of this trait showed higher activation in the MM condition relative to the ZM condition. Furthermore, Deliberation was not significantly related to oxy-Hb during the MM condition [b = 0.00, SE = 0.01, t(19), p = 0.92], but it was marginally associated with increased activation during the ZM condition [b = 0.01, SE = 0.01, t(19) = 2.04, p = 0.06]. This latter result suggested that participants who self-reported higher levels of Deliberation may have been more engaged in problem-solving on the S-TOL even on ZM trials. This significant interaction is illustrated in Figure 7 and highlights that activation of the left DLPFC during the S-TOL varied predictably as a function of individual differences in Deliberation.


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)

Levels of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) for individuals high vs. low in Deliberation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex across zero-move (ZM) and multiple-move (MM) conditions on the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 7: Levels of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) for individuals high vs. low in Deliberation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex across zero-move (ZM) and multiple-move (MM) conditions on the Scarborough adaptation of the Tower of London task.
Mentions: As expected, this analysis uncovered a significant cross-level interaction between problem-solving and Deliberation on the S-TOL [b = −0.01, SE = 0.00, t(18282) = −12.51, p < 0.001]. In order to probe the nature of this significant interaction, the effect of problem-solving in the left DLPFC was examined at high (+1 SD) and low (−1 SD) levels of Deliberation (West and Aiken, 1991). As hypothesized, this analysis revealed that activation in the left DLPFC was higher in the MM relative to the ZM condition for participants who reported lower levels of Deliberation [b = 0.11, SE = 0.01, t(18282) = 18.13, p < 0.0001], as compared to those who reported higher levels of this trait [b = 0.00, SE = 0.01, t(18282) = 0.10, p = 0.92]. That is, whereas those participants who reported higher levels of Deliberation did not show a significant difference in oxy-Hb across the ZM and MM conditions, those participants who reported lower levels of this trait showed higher activation in the MM condition relative to the ZM condition. Furthermore, Deliberation was not significantly related to oxy-Hb during the MM condition [b = 0.00, SE = 0.01, t(19), p = 0.92], but it was marginally associated with increased activation during the ZM condition [b = 0.01, SE = 0.01, t(19) = 2.04, p = 0.06]. This latter result suggested that participants who self-reported higher levels of Deliberation may have been more engaged in problem-solving on the S-TOL even on ZM trials. This significant interaction is illustrated in Figure 7 and highlights that activation of the left DLPFC during the S-TOL varied predictably as a function of individual differences in Deliberation.

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.