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2021 Brain Imaging and Behavior
Brain imaging of executive function with the computerised multiple elements test
Fuentes-Claramonte P, Santo-Angles A, Argila-Plaza I, Lechón M, Guardiola-Ripoll M, Almodóvar-Payá C, Cullen B, Evans JJ, Manly T, Gee A, Maristany T, Sarró S, Pomarol-Clotet E, McKenna PJ, Salvador R

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The Computerised Multiple Elements Test (CMET) is a novel executive task to assess goal management and maintenance suitable for use within the fMRI environment. Unlike classical executive paradigms, it resembles neuropsychological multi-elements tests that capture goal management in a more ecological way, by requiring the participant to switch between four simple games within a specified time period. The present study aims to evaluate an fMRI version of the CMET and examine its brain correlates. Thirty-one healthy participants performed the task during fMRI scanning. During each block, they were required to play four simple games, with the transition between games being made either voluntarily (executive condition) or automatically (control condition). The executive condition was associated with increased activity in fronto-parietal and cingulo-opercular regions, with anterior insula activity linked to better task performance. In an additional analysis, the activated regions showed to form functional networks during resting-state and to overlap the executive fronto-parietal and cingulo-opercular networks identified in resting-state with independently defined seeds. These results show the ability of the CMET to elicit activity in well-known executive networks, becoming a potential tool for the study of executive impairment in neurological and neuropsychiatric populations in a more ecological way than classical paradigms.
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