Studying the default mode and its mindfulness-induced changes using EEG functional connectivity

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Oct;9(10):1616-24. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst153. Epub 2013 Nov 4.


The default mode network (DMN) has been largely studied by imaging, but not yet by neurodynamics, using electroencephalography (EEG) functional connectivity (FC). mindfulness meditation (MM), a receptive, non-elaborative training is theorized to lower DMN activity. We explored: (i) the usefulness of EEG-FC for investigating the DMN and (ii) the MM-induced EEG-FC effects. To this end, three MM groups were compared with controls, employing EEG-FC (-MPC, mean phase coherence). Our results show that: (i) DMN activity was identified as reduced overall inter-hemispheric gamma MPC during the transition from resting state to a time production task and (ii) MM-induced a state increase in alpha MPC as well as a trait decrease in EEG-FC. The MM-induced EEG-FC decrease was irrespective of expertise or band. Specifically, there was a relative reduction in right theta MPC, and left alpha and gamma MPC. The left gamma MPC was negatively correlated with MM expertise, possibly related to lower internal verbalization. The trait lower gamma MPC supports the notion of MM-induced reduction in DMN activity, related with self-reference and mind-wandering. This report emphasizes the possibility of studying the DMN using EEG-FC as well as the importance of studying meditation in relation to it.

Keywords: default mode network; electroencephalography; functional connectivity; mean phase coherence; mindfulness meditation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness*
  • Models, Neurological*