Task Encoding across the Multiple Demand Cortex Is Consistent with a Frontoparietal and Cingulo-Opercular Dual Networks Distinction.
UNLABELLED: Multiple-demand (MD) regions of the human brain show coactivation during many different kinds of task performance. Previous work based on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has shown that MD regions may be divided into two closely coupled subnetworks centered around the lateral frontoparietal (FP) and cingulo-opercular cortex. Here, we used on-task fMRI to test whether this division is apparent during the performance of an executive task. Furthermore, we investigated whether there is a difference in the encoding of task between the two subnetworks. Using connectivity methods, we found that activity across the entire MD cortex is correlated during task performance. Meanwhile, however, there was significantly stronger connectivity within each of the subnetworks than between them. Using multivoxel pattern analysis, we also found that, although we were able to decode task-relevant information from all regions of the MD cortex, classification accuracy scores were significantly higher in the FP subnetwork. These results suggest a nested picture with MD regions as a whole showing coactivation and broad rule representation, but with significant functional distinctions between component subnetworks. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Multiple-demand (MD) regions of frontal and parietal cortex appear essential for the orchestration of goal-directed behavior and problem solving. Understanding the relative specialization of regions within the MD cortex is crucial to understanding how we can coordinate and execute complex action plans. By examining functional connectivity during task performance, we extend previous findings suggesting that the MD cortex can be divided into two subnetworks centered around the frontoparietal (FP) and cingulo-opercular (CO) cortex. Furthermore, using multivoxel pattern analysis, we show that, compared with the CO subnetwork, the FP subnetwork manifests more differentiated coding of specific task events.