Neural correlates of cognitive efficiency

Bart Rypma, Jeffrey S. Berger, Vivek Prabhakaran, Benjamin Martin Bly, Daniel Y. Kimberg, Bharat B. Biswal, Mark D'Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


Since its inception, experimental psychology has sought to account for individual differences in human performance. Some neuroimaging research, involving complex behavioral paradigms, has suggested that faster-performing individuals show greater neural activity than slower performers. Other research has suggested that faster-performing individuals show less neural activity than slower performers. To examine the neural basis of individual performance differences, we had participants perform a simple speeded-processing task during fMRI scanning. In some prefrontal cortical (PFC) brain regions, faster performers showed less cortical activity than slower performers while in other PFC and parietal regions they showed greater activity. Regional-causality analysis indicated that PFC exerted more influence over other brain regions for slower than for faster individuals. These results suggest that a critical determinant of individual performance differences is the efficiency of interactions between brain regions and that slower individuals may require more prefrontal executive control than faster individuals to perform successfully.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-979
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Cognitive control
  • Executive control
  • Functional MRI
  • Human brain


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