In day-to-day life, we need to apply strategies to cascade different actions for efficient unfolding of behavior. While deficits in action cascading are examined extensively, almost nothing is known about the neuronal mechanisms mediating superior performance above the normal level. To examine this question, we investigate action control in airplane pilot trainees. We use a stop-change paradigm that is able to estimate the efficiency of action cascading on the basis of mathematical constraints. Behavioral and EEG data is analyzed along these constraints and integrated with neurochemical data obtained using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) from the striatal gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) -ergic system. We show that high performance in action cascading, as exemplified in airplane pilot trainees, can be driven by intensified attentional processes, circumventing response selection processes. The results indicate that the efficiency of action cascading and hence the speed of responding as well as attentional gating functions are modulated by striatal GABA and Glutamate+Glutamine concentrations. In superior performance in action cascading similar increases in the concentrations of GABA and Glutamate+Glutamine lead to stronger neurophysiological and behavioral effects as compared to subjects with normal performance in action cascading.
- Action cascading
- Action control
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology