Across-study and within-subject functional connectivity of a right temporo-parietal junction subregion involved in stimulus-context integration.
Bidirectional integration between sensory stimuli and contextual framing is fundamental to action control. Stimuli may entail context-dependent actions, while temporal or spatial characteristics of a stimulus train may establish a contextual framework for upcoming stimuli. Here we aimed at identifying core areas for stimulus-context integration and delineated their functional connectivity (FC) using meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) and analysis of resting-state networks. In a multi-study conjunction, consistently increased activity under higher demands on stimulus-context integration was predominantly found in the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), which represented the largest cluster of overlap and was thus used as the seed for the FC analyses. The conjunction between task-dependent (MACM) and task-free (resting state) FC of the right TPJ revealed a shared network comprising bilaterally inferior parietal and frontal cortices, anterior insula, premotor cortex, putamen and cerebellum, i.e., a ‘ventral’ action/attention network. Stronger task-dependent (vs. task-free) connectivity was observed with the pre-SMA, dorsal premotor cortex, intraparietal sulcus, basal ganglia and primary sensori motor cortex, while stronger resting-state (vs. task-dependent) connectivity was found with the dorsolateral prefrontal and medial parietal cortex. Our data provide strong evidence that the right TPJ may represent a key region for the integration of sensory stimuli and contextual frames in action control. Task-dependent associations with regions related to stimulus processing and motor responses indicate that the right TPJ may integrate ‘collaterals’ of sensory processing and apply (ensuing) contextual frames, most likely via modulation of preparatory loops. Given the pattern of resting-state connectivity, internal states and goal representations may provide the substrates for the contextual integration within the TPJ in the absence of a specific task.