Dynamic Reconfiguration of Visuomotor-Related Functional Connectivity Networks
Cognitive functions arise from the coordination of large-scale brain networks. However, the principles governing interareal functional connectivity dynamics (FCD) remain elusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that human executive functions arise from the dynamic interplay of multiple networks. To do so, we investigated FCD mediating a key executing function, known as arbitrary visuomotor mapping, using brain connectivity analyses of high-gamma activity recorded using MEG and intracranial EEG. Visuomotor mapping was found to arise from the dynamic interplay of three partly overlapping cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical functional connectivity (FC) networks. First, visual and parietal regions coordinated with sensorimotor and premotor areas. Second, the dorsal frontoparietal circuit together with the sensorimotor and associative frontostriatal networks took the lead. Finally, cortico-cortical interhemispheric coordination among bilateral sensorimotor regions coupled with the left frontoparietal network and visual areas. We suggest that these networks reflect the processing of visual information, the emergence of visuomotor plans, and the processing of somatosensory reafference or action's outcomes, respectively. We thus demonstrated that visuomotor integration resides in the dynamic reconfiguration of multiple cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical FC networks. More generally, we showed that visuomotor-related FC is nonstationary and displays switching dynamics and areal flexibility over timescales relevant for task performance. In addition, visuomotor-related FC is characterized by sparse connectivity with density <10%. To conclude, our results elucidate the relation between dynamic network reconfiguration and executive functions over short timescales and provide a candidate entry point toward a better understanding of cognitive architectures. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Executive functions are supported by the dynamic coordination of neural activity over large-scale networks. The properties of large-scale brain coordination processes, however, remain unclear. Using tools combining MEG and intracranial EEG with brain connectivity analyses, we provide evidence that visuomotor behaviors, a hallmark of executive functions, are mediated by the interplay of multiple and spatially overlapping subnetworks. These subnetworks span visuomotor-related areas, the cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical interactions of which evolve rapidly and reconfigure over timescales relevant for behavior. Visuomotor-related functional connectivity dynamics are characterized by sparse connections, nonstationarity, switching dynamics, and areal flexibility. We suggest that these properties represent key aspects of large-scale functional networks and cognitive architectures.
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