Task-related effects on the temporal and spatial dynamics of resting-state functional connectivity in the default network

PLoS One. 2010 Oct 13;5(10):e13311. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013311.


Recent evidence points to two potentially fundamental aspects of the default network (DN), which have been relatively understudied. One is the temporal nature of the functional interactions among nodes of the network in the resting-state, usually assumed to be static. The second is possible influences of previous brain states on the spatial patterns (i.e., the brain regions involved) of functional connectivity (FC) in the DN at rest. The goal of the current study was to investigate modulations in both the spatial and temporal domains. We compared the resting-state FC of the DN in two runs that were separated by a 45 minute interval containing cognitive task execution. We used partial least squares (PLS), which allowed us to identify FC spatiotemporal patterns in the two runs and to determine differences between them. Our results revealed two primary modes of FC, assessed using a posterior cingulate seed--a robust correlation among DN regions that is stable both spatially and temporally, and a second pattern that is reduced in spatial extent and more variable temporally after cognitive tasks, showing switching between connectivity with certain DN regions and connectivity with other areas, including some task-related regions. Therefore, the DN seems to exhibit two simultaneous FC dynamics at rest. The first is spatially invariant and insensitive to previous brain states, suggesting that the DN maintains some temporally stable functional connections. The second dynamic is more variable and is seen more strongly when the resting-state follows a period of task execution, suggesting an after-effect of the cognitive activity engaged during task that carries over into resting-state periods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Nerve Net*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*