The persistence of experience: Prior attentional and emotional state affects network functioning in a target detection task

Emily R. Stern, Alexandra F. Muratore, Stephan F. Taylor, James L. Abelson, Patrick R. Hof, Wayne K. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Efficient, adaptive behavior relies on the ability to flexibly move between internally focused (IF) and externally focused (EF) attentional states. Despite evidence that IF cognitive processes such as event imagination comprise a significant amount of awake cognition, the consequences of internal absorption on the subsequent recruitment of brain networks during EF tasks are unknown. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study employed a novel attentional state switching task. Subjects imagined positive and negative events (IF task) or performed a working memory task (EF task) before switching to a target detection (TD) task also requiring attention to external information, allowing for the investigation of neural functioning during external attention based on prior attentional state. There was a robust increase of activity in frontal, parietal, and temporal regions during TD when subjects were previously performing the EF compared with IF task, an effect that was most pronounced following negative IF. Additionally, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was less negatively coupled with ventromedial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices during TD following IF compared with EF. These findings reveal the striking consequences for brain activity following immersion in an IF attentional state, which have strong implications for psychiatric disorders characterized by excessive internal focus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3235-3248
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume25
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Default mode
  • External cognition
  • Fronto-parietal
  • Internal cognition
  • Switching

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