• Neuroscience · Dec 2019

    Effective connectivity of the fronto-parietal network during the tangram task in a natural environment.

    • Zhishan Hu, Keng-Fong Lam, and Zhen Yuan.
    • Centre for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China; Bioimaging Core, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China.
    • Neuroscience. 2019 Dec 1; 422: 202-211.

    AbstractAlthough the neural basis underlying visuospatial reasoning has been widely explored by neuroimaging techniques, the brain activation patterns during naturalistic visuospatial reasoning such as tangram remains unclear. In this study, the directional functional connectivity of fronto-parietal networks during the tangram task was carefully inspected by using combined functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and conditional Granger causality analysis (GCA). Meanwhile, the causal networks during the traditional spatial reasoning task were also characterized to exhibit the differences with those during the tangram task. We discovered that the tangram task in a natural environment showed enhanced activation in the fronto-parietal regions, particularly the frontal cortex. In addition, a strong directional connectivity from the right prefrontal cortex to left angular gyrus was detected for the complex spatial reasoning condition of spatial reasoning task, whereas no effective connectivity was identified between the frontal and parietal cortices during the tangram task. Further correlation analyses showed that the behavioral performance in the spatial reasoning rather than the tangram task manifested the relationship with the connectivity between the frontal and parietal cortex. Our findings demonstrate that the tangram task measures a different aspect of the visuospatial reasoning ability which requires more trial-and-error strategies and creative thinking rather than inductive reasoning. In particular, the frontal cortex is mostly involved in tangram puzzle-solving, whereas the interaction between frontal and parietal cortices is regulated by the hands-on experience during the tangram task.Copyright © 2019 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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