Right fronto-subcortical white matter microstructure predicts cognitive control ability on the Go/No-go task in a community sample

Kendra E. Hinton, Benjamin B. Lahey, Victoria Villalta-Gil, Brian D. Boyd, Benjamin C. Yvernault, Katherine B. Werts, Andrew J. Plassard, Brooks Applegate, Neil D. Woodward, Bennett A. Landman, David H. Zald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Go/no-go tasks are widely used to index cognitive control. This construct has been linked to white matter microstructure in a circuit connecting the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), subthalamic nucleus (STN), and pre-supplementary motor area. However, the specificity of this association has not been tested. A general factor of whitematter has been identified that is related to processing speed. Given the strong processing speed component in successful performance on the go/no-go task, this general factor could contribute to task performance, but the general factor has often not been accounted for in past studies of cognitive control. Further, studies on cognitive control have generally employed small unrepresentative case-control designs. The present study examined the relationship between go/no-go performance and white matter microstructure in a large community sample of 378 subjects that included participants with a range of both clinical and subclinical nonpsychotic psychopathology. We found that white matter microstructure properties in the right IFG-STN tract significantly predicted task performance, and remained significant after controlling for dimensional psychopathology. The general factor of white matter only reached statistical significance when controlling for dimensional psychopathology. Although the IFG-STN and general factor tracts were highly correlated, when both were included in the model, only the IFG-STN remained a significant predictor of performance. Overall, these findings suggest that while a general factor of white matter can be identified in a young community sample, white matter microstructure properties in the right IFG-STN tract show a specific relationship to cognitive control. The findings highlight the importance of examining both specific and general correlates of cognition, especially in tasks with a speeded component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 13 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • Cognitive control
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • General factor
  • Response inhibition
  • White matter microstructure

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