Dynamic network participation of functional connectivity hubs assessed by resting-state fMRI

Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 May 6;8:195. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00195. eCollection 2014.


Network studies of large-scale brain connectivity have demonstrated that highly connected areas, or "hubs," are a key feature of human functional and structural brain organization. We use resting-state functional MRI data and connectivity clustering to identify multi-network hubs and show that while hubs can belong to multiple networks their degree of integration into these different networks varies dynamically over time. The extent of the network variation was related to the connectedness of the hub. In addition, we found that these network dynamics were inversely related to positive self-generated thoughts reported by individuals and were further decreased with older age. Moreover, the left caudate varied its degree of participation between a default mode subnetwork and a limbic network. This variation was predictive of individual differences in the reports of past-related thoughts. These results support an association between ongoing thought processes and network dynamics and offer a new approach to investigate the brain dynamics underlying mental experience.

Keywords: brain networks; graphs; mind wandering; self-generated thoughts.