Control of thought and behavior is fundamental to human intelligence. Evidence suggests a frontoparietal brain network implements such cognitive control across diverse contexts. We identify a mechanism—global connectivity—by which components of this network might coordinate control of other networks. A lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) region's activity was found to predict performance in a high control demand working memory task and also to exhibit high global connectivity. Critically, global connectivity in this LPFC region, involving connections both within and outside the frontoparietal network, showed a highly selective relationship with individual differences in fluid intelligence. These findings suggest LPFC is a global hub with a brainwide influence that facilitates the ability to implement control processes central to human intelligence.
Figure - Cognitive control regions, as defined by successful cognitive control. A, Regions of Interest (ROIs) were defined based on brain activity during successful N-back task performance. The following highly selective criteria were used: preferential activation for trials requiring flexible control (lures), correct > incorrect trials, positive correlation with accuracy across participants. All 3 of these regions were hubs (in top 10% connectivity in the brain).