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The default network and the combination of cognitive processes that mediate self-generated thought

Axelrod, V; Rees, G; Bar, M; (2017) The default network and the combination of cognitive processes that mediate self-generated thought. Nature Human Behaviourvolume , 1 pp. 896-910. 10.1038/s41562-017-0244-9. Green open access

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Abstract

Self-generated cognitions, such as recalling personal memories or empathizing with others, are ubiquitous and essential for our lives. Such internal mental processing is ascribed to the default mode network—a large network of the human brain—although the underlying neural and cognitive mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we tested the hypothesis that our mental experience is mediated by a combination of activities of multiple cognitive processes. Our study included four functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments with the same participants and a wide range of cognitive tasks, as well as an analytical approach that afforded the identification of cognitive processes during self-generated cognition. We showed that several cognitive processes functioned simultaneously during self-generated mental activity. The processes had specific and localized neural representations, suggesting that they support different aspects of internal processing. Overall, we demonstrate that internally directed experience may be achieved by pooling over multiple cognitive processes.

Type: Article
Title: The default network and the combination of cognitive processes that mediate self-generated thought
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41562-017-0244-9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-017-0244-9
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Consciousness, Human behaviour
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055863
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