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Wandering Minds with Wandering Brain Networks

Abstract

The default mode network (DMN) is associated with the occurrence of mind-wandering or task-unrelated thought. In contrast, the frontal-parietal network (FPN) and visual network (VS) are involved in tasks with external stimuli. However, it is not clear how these functional network interactions support these two different processes – mind-wandering and on-task – especially with regard to individual variation in the mind-wandering experience. In this study, we investigated the functional connectivity and modular structure among the DMN, FPN, and VS. Our results showed that, compared to the on-task period, mind-wandering was associated with increased DMN activity and increased DMN-VS connectivity. Moreover, mind-wandering was accompanied by a large number of transitional nodes, which expressed a diversity of brain regions. Intriguingly, the functional connectivity of the FPN and VS was strongly correlated with individual behavioral performance. Our findings highlight the individual variation of mind-wandering, which implies the importance of other complementary large-scale brain networks.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571111), the Chongqing Research Program of Basic Research and Frontier Technology (cstc2017jcyjAX0110) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (SWU1609109).

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Correspondence to Xu Lei.

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Zhou, X., Lei, X. Wandering Minds with Wandering Brain Networks. Neurosci. Bull. 34, 1017–1028 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12264-018-0278-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12264-018-0278-7

Keywords

  • Mind wandering
  • Default mode network
  • Modularity
  • Functional connectivity