A core system for the implementation of task sets.
When performing tasks, humans are thought to adopt task sets that configure moment-to-moment data processing. Recently developed mixed blocked/event-related designs allow task set-related signals to be extracted in fMRI experiments, including activity related to cues that signal the beginning of a task block, "set-maintenance" activity sustained for the duration of a task block, and event-related signals for different trial types. Data were conjointly analyzed from mixed design experiments using ten different tasks and 183 subjects. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex/medial superior frontal cortex (dACC/msFC) and bilateral anterior insula/frontal operculum (aI/fO) showed reliable start-cue and sustained activations across all or nearly all tasks. These regions also carried the most reliable error-related signals in a subset of tasks, suggesting that the regions form a "core" task-set system. Prefrontal regions commonly related to task control carried task-set signals in a smaller subset of tasks and lacked convergence across signal types.