Domain general and domain preferential brain regions associated with different types of task switching: A Meta-Analysis

Chobok Kim, Sara E. Cilles, Nathan F. Johnson, Brian T. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


One of our highest evolved functions as human beings is our capacity to switch between multiple tasks effectively. A body of research has identified a distributed frontoparietal network of brain regions which contribute to task switching. However, relatively less is known about whether some brain regions may contribute to switching in a domain-general manner while others may be more preferential for different kinds of switching. To explore this issue, we conducted three meta-analyses focusing on different types of task switching frequently used in the literature (perceptual, response, and context switching), and created a conjunction map of these distinct switch types. A total of 36 switching studies with 562 activation coordinates were analyzed using the activation likelihood estimation method. Common areas associated with switching across switch type included the inferior frontal junction and posterior parietal cortex. In contrast, domain-preferential activation was observed for perceptual switching in the dorsal portion of the premotor cortex and for context switching in frontopolar cortex. Our results suggest that some regions within the frontoparietal network contribute to domain-general switching processes while others contribute to more domain-preferential processes, according to the type of task switch performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Brain imaging
  • Cognitive control
  • Context switching
  • Meta-analysis
  • Perceptual switching
  • Response switching
  • Switch type
  • Task switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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