Higher brain function relies upon the ability to flexibly integrate information across specialized communities of brain regions; however, it is unclear how this mechanism manifests over time. In this study, we used time-resolved network analysis of fMRI data to demonstrate that the human brain traverses between functional states that maximize either segregation into tight-knit communities or integration across otherwise disparate neural regions. Integrated states enable faster and more accurate performance on a cognitive task, and are associated with dilations in pupil diameter, suggesting that ascending neuromodulatory systems may govern the transition between these alternative modes of brain function. Together, our results confirm a direct link between cognitive performance and the dynamic reorganization of the network structure of the brain.
Published by Elsevier Inc.