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Hum Brain Mapp. 2005 Sep;26(1):15-29.

Spontaneous low-frequency BOLD signal fluctuations: an fMRI investigation of the resting-state default mode of brain function hypothesis.

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  • 1MR Research Center, Cognitive Neurophysiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute/Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Recent neuroimaging studies have lead to the proposal that rest is characterized by an organized, baseline level of activity, a default mode of brain function that is suspended during specific goal-oriented mental activity. Previous studies have shown that the primary function subserved by the default mode is that of an introspectively oriented, self-referential mode of mental activity. The default mode of brain function hypothesis is readdressed from the perspective of the presence of low-frequency blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal changes (0.012-0.1 Hz) in the resting brain. The results show that the brain during rest is not tonically active in a single mode of brain function. Rather, the findings presented here suggest that the brain recurrently toggles between an introspectively oriented mode (default mode) and a state-of-mind that tentatively might be interpreted as an extrospectively oriented mode that involves a readiness and alertness to changes in the external and internal environment.

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