HCP Development

Task Protocols for HCP Development

The HCP Development study uses three customized Psychopy task scripts in its functional MRI protocol. These scripts are now available for download and use by other researchers. 

Guessing Task

The Guessing task aims to elicit neural activity that indexes three different aspects of reward reactivity:

  • Reward vs Punishment responding (monetary win vs loss)
  • Anticipatory activity scaling with value (low, high stakes)
  • Scaling neural activity with reward (and/or loss) magnitude

Participants view a “?” and press a button indicating a binary guess on who is “hiding behind” the question mark (baby or adult). Participants then receive (fixed) feedback indicating whether they were correct or incorrect. Correct feedback is accompanied by monetary wins and incorrect feedback is accompanied by monetary losses. A cue preceding each group of four trials indicates whether high (+$1.00, -$0.50) or low (+$0.20, -$0.10) stakes are paid out on the next set of trials. 

In addition, the Guessing task incidentally serves as a “reward conditioning” procedure that links it to the Reward History Go-NoGo task which is administered immediately after it in HCP-D. On feedback screens, one shape is always displayed when participants receive feedback indicating they won (circle or square, counterbalanced) and a second shape is always displayed when participants receive feedback indicating they lost (circle or square, counterbalanced). Shapes are displayed equivalently for low and high stakes trials. Throughout the Guessing task, participants thus might associate one shape with positive outcomes and the other shape with negative outcomes. The subsequent Reward History Go-Nogo task measures how accurately participants withhold responses to the circles and squares.

Also see:

Delgado, M. R., L. E. Nystrom, C. Fissell, D. C. Noll, and J. A. Fiez. 2000. “Tracking the Hemodynamic Responses to Reward and Punishment in the Striatum.” Journal of Neurophysiology 84 (6): 3072–77. PMID: 11110834


The CARIT (Reward History GoNogo, Conditioned Approach Response Inhibition Task, Winter and Sheridan 2014) Task indexes the interactions between value history and cognitive control.

Its core element is a classic Go NoGo task which allows mapping of differential neural activity when response inhibition demands are high (NoGo trials) compared to freely responding with a motor action (Go). This contrast identifies brain regions important for motor response inhibition.

In addition, the NoGo targets have special “conditioned” qualities. One of the shapes that constitutes a NoGo stimulus had been paired with monetary rewards and the other NoGo stimulus had been paired with monetary losses during the immediately preceding GUESSING task. In the GUESSING task (also in the HCP-Lifespan battery), the shapes (square and circle) were presented on feedback screens indicating whether participants won or lost money on a given trial. One shape was always associated with monetary wins, and the other was always associated with monetary losses (assignment counterbalanced). The previously rewarded shape can be indicated for the Rewarded GoNogo task and used in analyses. This aspect of the task aims to identify reward-control interactions.

Winter, Warren, and Margaret Sheridan. 2014. “Previous Reward Decreases Errors of Commission on Later ‘No-Go’ Trials in Children 4 to 12 Years of Age: Evidence for a Context Monitoring Account.” Developmental Science 17 (5): 797–807. doi: 10.1111/desc.12168

Emotion Task

During the EMOTION (“Matching”) task, participants view emotional faces and shapes and respond by indicating which of two samples (bottom) matches the target (top). This task is a block design. It is intended as a localizer for emotion and face processing networks.

This task is an example of a Cognitive Atlas Face-matching task: http://www.cognitiveatlas.org/task/id/trm_4f24247912761

For more information on the original task this was derived from, see:

Hariri, Ahmad R., Alessandro Tessitore, Venkata S. Mattay, Francesco Fera, and Daniel R. Weinberger. 2002. “The Amygdala Response to Emotional Stimuli: A Comparison of Faces and Scenes.” NeuroImage 17 (1): 317–23. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2002.1179

Download Task Protocols and documentation used in the HCP Development study: 

Download (13MB zip file)

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The Human Connectome Project and Connectome Coordination Facility are funded by the National Institutes of Health, and all information in this site is available to the public domain. No Protected Health Information has been published on this site. Last updated 05/19/2016 15:50:08.