Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex supports context-dependent prioritisation of off-task thought.

Nature Communications
A TurnbullJonathan Smallwood

Abstract

When environments lack compelling goals, humans often let their minds wander to thoughts with greater personal relevance; however, we currently do not understand how this context-dependent prioritisation process operates. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) maintains goal representations in a context-dependent manner. Here, we show this region is involved in prioritising off-task thought in an analogous way. In a whole brain analysis we established that neural activity in DLPFC is high both when 'on-task' under demanding conditions and 'off-task' in a non-demanding task. Furthermore, individuals who increase off-task thought when external demands decrease, show lower correlation between neural signals linked to external tasks and lateral regions of the DMN within DLPFC, as well as less cortical grey matter in regions sensitive to these external task relevant signals. We conclude humans prioritise daydreaming when environmental demands decrease by aligning cognition with their personal goals using DLPFC.

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Citations

Apr 18, 2020·The European Journal of Neuroscience·Sofie KrakauJuergen Fell
Dec 5, 2020·Scientific Reports·Theodoros KarapanagiotidisJonathan Smallwood
Dec 15, 2020·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·M E GrossP Seli
Dec 15, 2020·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Theodoros KarapanagiotidisJonathan Smallwood
Mar 6, 2021·IScience·Jonathan SmallwoodElizabeth Jefferies
Mar 15, 2021·Consciousness and Cognition·Rotem Petranker, John D Eastwood
Mar 21, 2021·Nature Communications·Aaron KucyiSusan Whitfield-Gabrieli
Mar 30, 2021·Cognition·Meera Zukosky, Ranxiao Frances Wang
Apr 24, 2020·Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior·Adam TurnbullJonathan Smallwood
Jun 11, 2021·Consciousness and Cognition·Delali KonuJonathan Smallwood
Jul 1, 2021·Nature Communications·Thomas AndrillonNaotsugu Tsuchiya
Jul 19, 2021·Psychiatry Research. Neuroimaging·Gereon Johannes SchnellbächerMikhail Votinov
Jul 7, 2021·Nature Reviews. Neuroscience·Jonathan SmallwoodDaniel S Margulies
Aug 15, 2021·Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology·Alireza Soltani, Etienne Koechlin
Oct 3, 2021·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Brontë MckeownJonathan Smallwood

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
PCA

Software Mentioned

BET ( Brain Extraction Tool
CONN
MCFLIRT
FLAME
TOST
R
CompCor
Neurosynth
FSL
SPM

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