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Neuropsychologia. 2008 Jan 31;46(2):540-53. Epub 2007 Oct 13.

Data-driven clustering reveals a fundamental subdivision of the human cortex into two global systems.

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Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Global organizational principles are critical for understanding cortical functionality. Recently, we proposed a global sub-division of the posterior cortex into two large-scale systems. One system, labeled extrinsic, comprises the sensory-motor cortex, and is associated with the external environment. The second system, labeled intrinsic, overlaps substantially with the previously described "default-mode" network, and is likely associated with inner-oriented processing. This global partition of the cerebral cortex emerged from hemodynamic imaging data the analysis of which was constrained by pre-determined hypotheses. Here we applied a hypothesis-free, unsupervised two-class clustering algorithm (k-means) to a large set of fMRI data. The two clusters delineated by this unsupervised hypothesis-free procedure showed high anatomical consistency across individuals, and their cortical topography coincided largely with the previously determined extrinsic and intrinsic systems. These new clustering-based results confirm that the intrinsic-extrinsic subdivision constitutes a fundamental cortical divide.

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