Changes in cognitive state alter human functional brain networks

Front Hum Neurosci. 2011 Aug 22;5:83. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00083. eCollection 2011.


The study of the brain as a whole system can be accomplished using network theory principles. Research has shown that human functional brain networks during a resting state exhibit small-world properties and high degree nodes, or hubs, localized to brain areas consistent with the default mode network. However, the study of brain networks across different tasks and or cognitive states has been inconclusive. Research in this field is important because the underpinnings of behavioral output are inherently dependent on whether or not brain networks are dynamic. This is the first comprehensive study to evaluate multiple network metrics at a voxel-wise resolution in the human brain at both the whole-brain and regional level under various conditions: resting state, visual stimulation, and multisensory (auditory and visual stimulation). Our results show that despite global network stability, functional brain networks exhibit considerable task-induced changes in connectivity, efficiency, and community structure at the regional level.

Keywords: efficiency; modularity; network science; small-world; task-based.