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The default mode network and the working memory network are not anti-correlated during all phases of a working memory task

Piccoli, Tommaso, Valente, Giancarlo, Linden, David Edmund Johannes ORCID:, Re, Marta, Esposito, Fabrizio, Sack, Alexander T. and Di Salle, Francesco 2015. The default mode network and the working memory network are not anti-correlated during all phases of a working memory task. PLoS ONE 10 (4) , e0123354. 10.1371/journal.pone.0123354

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INTRODUCTION: The default mode network and the working memory network are known to be anti-correlated during sustained cognitive processing, in a load-dependent manner. We hypothesized that functional connectivity among nodes of the two networks could be dynamically modulated by task phases across time. METHODS: To address the dynamic links between default mode network and the working memory network, we used a delayed visuo-spatial working memory paradigm, which allowed us to separate three different phases of working memory (encoding, maintenance, and retrieval), and analyzed the functional connectivity during each phase within and between the default mode network and the working memory network networks. RESULTS: We found that the two networks are anti-correlated only during the maintenance phase of working memory, i.e. when attention is focused on a memorized stimulus in the absence of external input. Conversely, during the encoding and retrieval phases, when the external stimulation is present, the default mode network is positively coupled with the working memory network, suggesting the existence of a dynamically switching of functional connectivity between "task-positive" and "task-negative" brain networks. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that the well-established dichotomy of the human brain (anti-correlated networks during rest and balanced activation-deactivation during cognition) has a more nuanced organization than previously thought and engages in different patterns of correlation and anti-correlation during specific sub-phases of a cognitive task. This nuanced organization reinforces the hypothesis of a direct involvement of the default mode network in cognitive functions, as represented by a dynamic rather than static interaction with specific task-positive networks, such as the working memory network.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: 2015 Piccoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 2 March 2015
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 06:06

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