Dynamic Brain Network Correlates of Spontaneous Fluctuations in Attention

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Human attention is intrinsically dynamic, with focus continuously shifting between elements of the external world and internal, self-generated thoughts. Communication within and between large-scale brain networks also fluctuates spontaneously from moment to moment. However, the behavioral relevance of dynamic functional connectivity and possible link with attentional state shifts is unknown. We used a unique approach to examine whether brain network dynamics reflect spontaneous fluctuations in moment-to-moment behavioral variability, a sensitive marker of attentional state. Nineteen healthy adults were instructed to tap their finger every 600 ms while undergoing fMRI. This novel, but simple, approach allowed us to isolate moment-to-moment fluctuations in behavioral variability related to attention, independent of common confounds in cognitive tasks (e.g., stimulus changes, response inhibition). Spontaneously increasing tap variance (“out-of-the-zone” attention) was associated with increasing activation in dorsal-attention and salience network regions, whereas decreasing tap variance (“in-the-zone” attention) was marked by increasing activation of default mode network (DMN) regions. Independent of activation, tap variance representing out-of-the-zone attention was also time-locked to connectivity both within DMN and between DMN and salience network regions. These results provide novel mechanistic data on the understudied neural dynamics of everyday, moment-to-moment attentional fluctuations, elucidating the behavioral importance of spontaneous, transient coupling within and between attention-relevant networks.

    loading  Loading Related Articles