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The Multi-Source Interference Task: an fMRI task that reliably activates the cingulo-frontal-parietal cognitive/attention network

Abstract

In this protocol we describe how to perform the Multi-Source Interference Task (MSIT), a validated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task that reliably and robustly activates the cingulo-frontal-parietal cognitive/attention network (CFP network) within individual subjects. The MSIT can be used to (i) identify the cognitive/attention network in normal volunteers and (ii) test its integrity in people with neuropsychiatric disorders. It is simple to perform, can be completed in less than 15 min and is not language specific, making it appropriate for children, adults and the elderly. Since its validation, over 100 adults have performed the task. The MSIT produces a robust and temporally stable reaction time interference effect (range 200–350 ms), and single runs of the MSIT have produced CFP network activation in approximately 95% of tested subjects. The robust, reliable and temporally stable neuroimaging and performance data make the MSIT a useful task with which to study normal human cognition and psychiatric pathophysiology.

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Figure 1: MSIT trial examples.
Figure 2: MSIT typical individual fMRI response.

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Acknowledgements

Support for this work was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; Scientist Development Award 01611), the National Science Foundation, the Mental Illness and Neuroscience Discovery (MIND) Institute, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and the Forrest C. Lattner Foundation.

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Bush, G., Shin, L. The Multi-Source Interference Task: an fMRI task that reliably activates the cingulo-frontal-parietal cognitive/attention network. Nat Protoc 1, 308–313 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2006.48

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