Recent reports demonstrate the anti-correlated behaviors between the default (DF) and the dorsal attention (DA) networks. We aimed to investigate the roles of the frontal parietal control (FPC) network in regulating the two anti-correlated networks through three experimental conditions, including resting, continuous self-paced/attended sequential finger tapping (FT), and natural movie watching (MW), respectively. The two goal-directed tasks were chosen to engage either one of the two competing networks-FT for DA whereas MW for default. We hypothesized that FPC will selectively augment/suppress either network depending on how the task targets the specific network; FPC will positively correlate with the target network, but negatively correlate with the network anti-correlated with the target network. We further hypothesized that significant causal links from FPC to both DA and DF are present during all three experimental conditions, supporting the initiative regulating role of FPC over the two opposing systems. Consistent with our hypotheses, FPC exhibited a significantly higher positive correlation with DA (P = 0.0095) whereas significantly more negative correlation with default (P = 0.0025) during FT when compared to resting. Completely opposite to that observed during FT, the FPC was significantly anti-correlated with DA (P = 2.1e-6) whereas positively correlated with default (P = 0.0035) during MW. Furthermore, extensive causal links from FPC to both DA and DF were observed across all three experimental states. Together, our results strongly support the notion that the FPC regulates the anti-correlated default and DA networks.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.