Jun 1, 2017

The Phenomenal Contents and Neural Correlates of Spontaneous Thoughts across Wakefulness, NREM Sleep, and REM Sleep

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
L PerogamvrosGiulio Tononi

Abstract

Thoughts occur during wake as well as during dreaming sleep. Using experience sampling combined with high-density EEG, we investigated the phenomenal qualities and neural correlates of spontaneously occurring thoughts across wakefulness, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and REM sleep. Across all states, thoughts were associated with activation of a region of the midcingulate cortex. Thoughts during wakefulness additionally involved a medial prefrontal region, which was associated with metacognitive thoughts during wake. Phenomenologically, waking thoughts had more metacognitive content than thoughts during both NREM and REM sleep, whereas thoughts during REM sleep had a more social content. Together, these results point to a core neural substrate for thoughts, regardless of behavioral state, within the midcingulate cortex, and suggest that medial prefrontal regions may contribute to metacognitive content in waking thoughts.

  • References73
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  • References73
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Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Cortex Bone Disorders
Adrenal Cortex Diseases
Electroencephalography
Prefrontal Cortex
Sleep, Slow-Wave
Metacognitive Awareness
Brain
Sleep Stages
Eye Movements
Sleep, REM

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