Description: Intentional action is essential to human behavior, yet its neural basis remains poorly understood. In order to identify neural networks specifically involved in intentional action, freely chosen and externally cued intentions have previously been contrasted. This has led to the identification of a fronto-parietal network, which is involved in freely choosing one's intentions. However, it remains unclear whether this network encodes specific intentions, or whether it merely reflects general preparatory or control processes correlated with intentional action. Here, we used MVPA on fMRI data to identify brain regions encoding non-motor intentions that were either freely chosen or externally cued. We found that a fronto-parietal network, including the lateral prefrontal cortex, premotor, and parietal cortex, contained information about both freely chosen and externally cued intentions. Importantly, MVPA cross-classification indicated that this network represents the content of our intentions similarly, regardless of whether these intentions are freely chosen or externally cued. This finding suggests that the intention network has a general role in processing and representing intentions independent of their origin.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.044
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