Brain regions engaged during social inference, medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and tempoparietal junction (TPJ), are also known to spontaneously engage during rest. While this overlap is well known, the social cognitive function of engaging these regions during rest remains unclear. Building on past research suggesting that new information is committed to memory during rest, we explored whether one function of MPFC and TPJ engagement during rest may be to consolidate new social information. MPFC and TPJ regions significantly increased connectivity during rest after encoding new social information (relative to baseline and post nonsocial encoding rest periods). Moreover, greater connectivity between rTPJ and MPFC, as well as other portions of the default network (vMPFC, anterior temporal lobe, and middle temporal gyrus) during post social encoding rest corresponded with superior social recognition and social associative memory. The tendency to engage MPFC and TPJ during rest may tune people towards social learning.
Keywords: MPFC; TPJ; default network; memory consolidation; social cognition.
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