Background and evoked activity and their interaction in the human brain

Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Oct;27(8):1140-50. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 Jun 4.


Most functional neuroimaging studies have investigated brain activity evoked by certain types of stimulation or tasks. In recent years, resting brain activity and its influence on evoked activity has become accessible for investigation. However, despite numerous studies on background and evoked activities, either observed with vascular (functional magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, optical) or electrophysiological (electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography) or a combination of both methods, so far, there is no generally accepted view concerning both the precise meaning of background activity and its relationship to evoked activity. In this article, we give an overview of the current knowledge on this issue and we review recent studies examining the influence of ongoing activity on behavioral responses and the relationship between ongoing and evoked activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Rest / physiology*