We are constantly exposed to socially conflicting situations in everyday life, and cognitive flexibility is essential for adaptively coping with such difficulties. Flexible goal choice and pursuit are not exclusively conscious, and therefore cognitive flexibility involves both explicit and implicit forms of processing. However, it is unclear how individual differences in explicit and implicit aspects of flexibility are associated with neural activity in a resting state. Here, we measured intrinsic fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) as an indicator of regional brain spontaneous activity, together with explicit and implicit aspects of cognitive flexibility using the Cognitive Flexibility Scale (CFS) and Implicit Association Test (IAT). Consistent with the dual processing theory, there was a strong association between explicit aspects of flexibility (CFS score) and “rationalism” thinking style and between implicit aspects (IAT effect) and “experientialism.” The level of explicit flexibility was also correlated with fALFF values in the left lateral prefrontal cortex, whereas the level of implicit flexibility was correlated with fALFF values in the right cerebellum. Furthermore, the fALFF values in both regions predicted individual preference for flexible decision-making strategy in a vignettes simulation task. These results add to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying flexible decision-making for solving social conflicts. More generally, our findings highlight the utility of RS-fMRI combined with both explicit and implicit psychometric measures for better understanding individual differences in social cognition.
Fujino, J., Tei, S., Jankowski, K. F., Kawada, R., Murai, T., & Takahashi, H. (2017). Role of Spontaneous Brain Activity in Explicit and Implicit Aspects of Cognitive Flexibility under Socially Conflicting Situations: A Resting-state fMRI Study using Fractional Amplitude of Low-frequency Fluctuations. Neuroscience, 367, 60–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.10.025