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Distant from input: evidence of regions within the default mode network supporting perceptually-decoupled and conceptually-guided cognition

Murphy, Charlotte, Jefferies, Elizabeth, Rueschemeyer, Shirley-Ann, Sormaz, Mladen, Wang, Hao-ting, Margulies, Daniel S. and Smallwood, Jonathan 2018. Distant from input: evidence of regions within the default mode network supporting perceptually-decoupled and conceptually-guided cognition. NeuroImage 171 , pp. 393-401. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.01.017

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Abstract

The default mode network supports a variety of mental operations such as semantic processing, episodic memory retrieval, mental time travel and mind-wandering, yet the commonalities between these functions remains unclear. One possibility is that this system supports cognition that is independent of the immediate environment; alternatively or additionally, it might support higher-order conceptual representations that draw together multiple features. We tested these accounts using a novel paradigm that separately manipulated the availability of perceptual information to guide decision-making and the representational complexity of this information. Using task based imaging we established regions that respond when cognition combines both stimulus independence with multi-modal information. These included left and right angular gyri and the left middle temporal gyrus. Although these sites were within the default mode network, they showed a stronger response to demanding memory judgements than to an easier perceptual task, contrary to the view that they support automatic aspects of cognition. In a subsequent analysis, we showed that these regions were located at the extreme end of a macroscale gradient, which describes gradual transitions from sensorimotor to transmodal cortex. This shift in the focus of neural activity towards transmodal, default mode, regions might reflect a process of where the functional distance from specific sensory enables conceptually rich and detailed cognitive states to be generated in the absence of input.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 9 January 2018
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 10:45
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/123792

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