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The role of the default mode network in component processes underlying the wandering mind

Poerio, Giulia L and Sormaz, Mladen and Wang, Hao-Ting and Margulies, Daniel and Jefferies, Elizabeth and Smallwood, Jonathan (2017) 'The role of the default mode network in component processes underlying the wandering mind.' Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12 (7). 1047 - 1062. ISSN 1749-5016

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Abstract

Experiences such as mind-wandering illustrate that cognition is not always tethered to events in the here-and-now. Although converging evidence emphasises the default mode network (DMN) in mind-wandering, its precise contribution remains unclear. The DMN comprises cortical regions that are maximally distant from primary sensory and motor cortex, a topological location that may support the stimulus-independence of mind-wandering. The DMN is functionally heterogeneous, comprising regions engaged by memory, social cognition and planning; processes relevant to mind-wandering content. Our study examined the relationships between: (i) individual differences in resting-state DMN connectivity, (ii) performance on memory, social and planning tasks and (iii) variability in spontaneous thought, to investigate whether the DMN is critical to mind-wandering because it supports stimulus-independent cognition, memory retrieval, or both. Individual variation in task performance modulated the functional organization of the DMN: poor external engagement was linked to stronger coupling between medial and dorsal subsystems, while decoupling of the core from the cerebellum predicted reports of detailed memory retrieval. Both patterns predicted off-task future thoughts. Consistent with predictions from component process accounts of mind-wandering, our study suggests a 2-fold involvement of the DMN: (i) it supports experiences that are unrelated to the environment through strong coupling between its sub-systems; (ii) it allows memory representations to form the basis of conscious experience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: default mode network, resting state functional connectivity, perceptual decoupling, component process account, mind-wandering
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2019 17:04
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2019 17:04
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26173

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