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J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 15;34(42):14108-14. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2815-14.2014.

Goal-congruent default network activity facilitates cognitive control.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, Department of Human Development, Human Neuroscience Institute, and nathan.spreng@gmail.com.
2
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, Department of Human Development.
3
Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J1P3, Canada.
4
Cornell MRI Facility, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, and.

Abstract

Substantial neuroimaging evidence suggests that spontaneous engagement of the default network impairs performance on tasks requiring executive control. We investigated whether this impairment depends on the congruence between executive control demands and internal mentation. We hypothesized that activation of the default network might enhance performance on an executive control task if control processes engage long-term memory representations that are supported by the default network. Using fMRI, we scanned 36 healthy young adult humans on a novel two-back task requiring working memory for famous and anonymous faces. In this task, participants (1) matched anonymous faces interleaved with anonymous face, (2) matched anonymous faces interleaved with a famous face, or (3) matched a famous faces interleaved with an anonymous face. As predicted, we observed a facilitation effect when matching famous faces, compared with anonymous faces. We also observed greater activation of the default network during these famous face-matching trials. The results suggest that activation of the default network can contribute to task performance during an externally directed executive control task. Our findings provide evidence that successful activation of the default network in a contextually relevant manner facilitates goal-directed cognition.

KEYWORDS:

cognitive control; default mode network; fMRI; long-term memory; n-back; working memory

PMID:
25319706
PMCID:
PMC4198547
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2815-14.2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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