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Interactive Effects of Three Core Goal Pursuit Processes on Brain Control Systems: Goal Maintenance, Performance Monitoring, and Response Inhibition

By Elliot T. Berkman, Emily B. Falk and Matthew D. Lieberman


Goal attainment relies in part on one’s ability to maintain a cognitive representation of the desired goal (goal maintenance), monitor the current state vis-à-vis the targeted end state and remain vigilant for lapses in progress (performance monitoring), and inhibit counter-goal behaviors (response inhibition). Because neurocognitive studies have typically examined these three processes in isolation from one another, little is known regarding if and how they interact during goal pursuit. However, these processes frequently co-occur during online, real-world goal pursuit. The present study employed a novel task to investigate how goal maintenance, performance monitoring, and response inhibition interact with one another. We identified functional activations distinct to each of the processes that correspond to results of prior investigations. In addition, we report interactive effects between response inhibition and goal maintenance in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and between performance monitoring and goal maintenance in the superior frontal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus. Implications for studying the neural systems of in situ goals include the need for both experimental designs that distinguish between process, but also more complex, realistic tasks to begin to map interactions among these neurocognitive processes and how they are altered by the presence or absence of one another

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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