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Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 18;7:12141. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12141.

Dynamic reconfiguration of the default mode network during narrative comprehension.

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Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540-1010, USA.
Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540-1010, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3G3.
School of Computer Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190416 Jerusalem, Israel.


Does the default mode network (DMN) reconfigure to encode information about the changing environment? This question has proven difficult, because patterns of functional connectivity reflect a mixture of stimulus-induced neural processes, intrinsic neural processes and non-neuronal noise. Here we introduce inter-subject functional correlation (ISFC), which isolates stimulus-dependent inter-regional correlations between brains exposed to the same stimulus. During fMRI, we had subjects listen to a real-life auditory narrative and to temporally scrambled versions of the narrative. We used ISFC to isolate correlation patterns within the DMN that were locked to the processing of each narrative segment and specific to its meaning within the narrative context. The momentary configurations of DMN ISFC were highly replicable across groups. Moreover, DMN coupling strength predicted memory of narrative segments. Thus, ISFC opens new avenues for linking brain network dynamics to stimulus features and behaviour.

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