The default mode network in cognition: a topographical perspective

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2021 Aug;22(8):503-513. doi: 10.1038/s41583-021-00474-4. Epub 2021 Jul 5.


The default mode network (DMN) is a set of widely distributed brain regions in the parietal, temporal and frontal cortex. These regions often show reductions in activity during attention-demanding tasks but increase their activity across multiple forms of complex cognition, many of which are linked to memory or abstract thought. Within the cortex, the DMN has been shown to be located in regions furthest away from those contributing to sensory and motor systems. Here, we consider how our knowledge of the topographic characteristics of the DMN can be leveraged to better understand how this network contributes to cognition and behaviour.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Default Mode Network / diagnostic imaging
  • Default Mode Network / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging