November 25, 2020

Disturbance of Information in Superior Parietal Lobe during Dual-task Interference in a Simulated Driving task

Performing a secondary task while driving causes a decline in driving performance. As an important case of dual-task interference, this may generate lethal consequences. Previous investigations on the neural correlates of dual-task interference used simple and artificial stimuli. The neural mechanism of this effect in real-world tasks such as driving, is not yet fully understood. Using fMRI, we aimed to investigate the neural underpinnings of dual-task interference in driving. Participants performed a lane change task in a simulated driving environment, along with a tone discrimination task with either short or long time onset difference (Stimulus Onset Asynchrony, SOA) between the two tasks. Behavioral results indicated a strong dual-task effect on driving reaction times. The univariate analysis of fMRI data uncovered the modulation of the HRF in the sensory, central, and motor regions of the brain across different SOA conditions. To investigate the effect of dual-task interference on the spatial pattern of brain activity in the regions involved in driving, we used multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) with a linear classifier to decode driving directions. Above chance decoding accuracies were observed in visual and motor regions as well as a central superior parietal lobe (SPL). Comparing accuracies across SOAs, no effect of SOA on accuracies was observed in the visual and motor regions. The SPL region, however, showed a drop in decoding accuracy in short compared to long SOA. Also, the classification accuracy in this region was inversely correlated with participants reaction time in the driving task. These results suggest a direct link between the information content of the central region SPL and dual-task interference in a naturalistic simulated driving task.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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