Dissociable theta networks underlie the switch and mixing costs during task switching

Montana McKewen, Patrick S. Cooper, Patrick Skippen, Aaron S.W. Wong, Patricia T. Michie, Frini Karayanidis

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6 Citations (Scopus)


During task-switching paradigms, both event-related potentials and time-frequency analyses show switch and mixing effects at frontal and parietal sites. Switch and mixing effects are associated with increased power in broad frontoparietal networks, typically stronger in the theta band (~4–8 Hz). However, it is not yet known whether mixing and switch costs rely upon common or distinct networks. In this study, we examine proactive and reactive control networks linked to task switching and mixing effects, and whether strength of connectivity in these networks is associated with behavioural outcomes. Participants (n = 197) completed a cued-trials task-switching paradigm with concurrent electroencephalography, after substantial task practice to establish strong cue-stimulus–response representations. We used inter-site phase clustering, a measure of functional connectivity across electrode sites, to establish cross-site connectivity from a frontal and a parietal seed. Distinct theta networks were activated during proactive and reactive control periods. During the preparation interval, mixing effects were associated with connectivity from the frontal seed to parietal sites, and switch effects with connectivity from the parietal seed to occipital sites. Lateralised occipital connectivity was common to both switch and mixing effects. After target onset, frontal and parietal seeds showed a similar pattern of connectivity across trial types. These findings are consistent with distinct and common proactive control networks and common reactive networks in highly practised task-switching performers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4643-4657
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • cognitive control
  • connectivity
  • EEG
  • task-switching
  • theta

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