Intrinsic resting-state activity predicts working memory brain activation and behavioral performance

Hum Brain Mapp. 2013 Dec;34(12):3204-15. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22136. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


Although resting-state brain activity has been demonstrated to correspond with task-evoked brain activation, the relationship between intrinsic and evoked brain activity has not been fully characterized. For example, it is unclear whether intrinsic activity can also predict task-evoked deactivation and whether the rest-task relationship is dependent on task load. In this study, we addressed these issues on 40 healthy control subjects using resting-state and task-driven [N-back working memory (WM) task] functional magnetic resonance imaging data collected in the same session. Using amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) as an index of intrinsic resting-state activity, we found that ALFF in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior/superior parietal lobules was positively correlated with WM task-evoked activation, while ALFF in the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, superior frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and fusiform gyrus was negatively correlated with WM task-evoked deactivation. Further, the relationship between the intrinsic resting-state activity and task-evoked activation in lateral/superior frontal gyri, inferior/superior parietal lobules, superior temporal gyrus, and midline regions was stronger at higher WM task loads. In addition, both resting-state activity and the task-evoked activation in the superior parietal lobule/precuneus were significantly correlated with the WM task behavioral performance, explaining similar portions of intersubject performance variance. Together, these findings suggest that intrinsic resting-state activity facilitates or is permissive of specific brain circuit engagement to perform a cognitive task, and that resting activity can predict subsequent task-evoked brain responses and behavioral performance.

Keywords: ALFF; N-back working memory; behavior; load dependency; resting-state fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen