Meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of the Wisconsin Card-Sorting Task and component processes


A quantitative meta-analysis using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method was used to investigate the brain basis of the Wisconsin Card-Sorting Task (WCST) and two hypothesized component processes, task switching and response suppression. All three meta-analyses revealed distributed frontoparietal activation patterns consistent with the status of the WCST as an attention-demanding executive task. The WCST was associated with extensive bilateral clusters of reliable cross-study activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and inferior parietal lobule. Task switching revealed a similar, although less robust, frontoparietal pattern with additional clusters of activity in the opercular region of the ventral prefrontal cortex, bilaterally. Response-suppression tasks, represented by studies of the go/no-go paradigm, showed a large and highly right-lateralized region of activity in the right prefrontal cortex. The activation patterns are interpreted as reflecting a neural fractionation of the cognitive components that must be integrated during the performance of the WCST.

Human Brain Mapping