Fronto-Parietal and Cingulo-Opercular Network Integrity and Global Cognition in Health and Schizophrenia

Date of Award

Winter 12-2014

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Growing evidence suggests that coordinated activity within specific functional brain networks supports cognitive ability, and that abnormalities in brain connectivity may underlie cognitive deficits observed in neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia. Two functional networks, the fronto-parietal network (FPN) and cingulo-opercular network (CON), are hypothesized to support top-down control of executive functioning, and have therefore emerged as potential drivers of cognitive impairment in disease-states. Application of graph theory analysis to functional connectivity data provides characterizations of network topology, allowing for the analysis of relationships between cognitive ability and network integrity. In the current study we applied graph analysis to pseudo-resting state data in 48 schizophrenia patients and 55 healthy controls, and measured overall cognitive ability as the shared variance in performance from tasks of episodic memory, verbal memory, processing speed, goal maintenance, and visual integration. We found that, across all participants, cognitive ability was significantly positively associated with the local and global efficiency of the whole brain, FPN, and CON, but not with the efficiency of a comparison network, the auditory network. Additionally, participation of the right anterior insula, a major hub within the CON, significantly predicted cognition, and this relationship was independent of CON global efficiency. Interestingly, despite these relationships, we did not observe robust reductions in graph metrics between groups. These data suggest that functionally efficient task control networks support better cognitive ability in both health and schizophrenia, and that the right anterior insula may be a particularly important hub for successful cognitive performance across both health and disease.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Deanna Barch

Committee Members

Todd Braver, Steve Petersen


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