Neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with abnormal function of the default mode network (DMN), a distributed network of brain regions more active during rest than during performance of many attention-demanding tasks and characterized by a high degree of functional connectivity (i.e., temporal correlations between brain regions). Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have revealed that the DMN in the healthy brain is associated with stimulus-independent thought and self-reflection and that greater suppression of the DMN is associated with better performance on attention-demanding tasks. In schizophrenia and depression, the DMN is often found to be hyperactivated and hyperconnected. In schizophrenia this may relate to overly intensive self-reference and impairments in attention and working memory. In depression, DMN hyperactivity may be related to negative rumination. These findings are considered in terms of what is known about psychological functions supported by the DMN, and alteration of the DMN in other neuropsychiatric disorders.