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Front Hum Neurosci. 2012 Jun 21;6:189. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00189. eCollection 2012.

On the relationship between the "default mode network" and the "social brain".

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.

Abstract

The default mode network (DMN) of the brain consists of areas that are typically more active during rest than during active task performance. Recently however, this network has been shown to be activated by certain types of tasks. Social cognition, particularly higher-order tasks such as attributing mental states to others, has been suggested to activate a network of areas at least partly overlapping with the DMN. Here, we explore this claim, drawing on evidence from meta-analyses of functional MRI data and recent studies investigating the structural and functional connectivity of the social brain. In addition, we discuss recent evidence for the existence of a DMN in non-human primates. We conclude by discussing some of the implications of these observations.

KEYWORDS:

TPJ; default mode network; fMRI; medial frontal cortex; mentalizing; posterior cingulate; social cognition; theory of mind

PMID:
22737119
PMCID:
PMC3380415
DOI:
10.3389/fnhum.2012.00189
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