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Poster B49

Dynamic relationships between brain networks and trait mind-wandering

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Aleah Davis1 (, Harrison Waters2, Shella Keilholz2, Eric H. Schumacher1; 1Georgia Institute of Technology, 2Emory University

Mind wandering is defined as ongoing mental activity unrelated to the task at hand and one's attention is focused internally. Though this has previously been considered maladaptive, it may be an adaptive trait. The fluctuation from externally to internally focused attention relies on several brain networks. The default mode network (DMN) and task positive network (TPN) are regions of the brain implicated in internal and external focused attention, respectively. The TPN consists of the dorsal attention network (DAN), which mediates top-down task-oriented attention, and the frontal parietal network (FPN), which mediates executive control. Changes in correlations of these networks over time can be extracted. They typically show anticorrelation between the DMN and TPN over roughly 20 secs. This is called the quasi-periodic pattern (QPPs). This study investigates the relationship between the QPPs and a tendency to mind wander in everyday life. Subjects were given the Mind Wandering Questionnaire to measure trait-level mind wandering and functional and anatomical fMRI scans were taken during rest. The scans were then processed and QPPs were extracted and analyzed in groups of low, medium, and high mind wandering levels. The results showed that while activity in all networks was consistent across subjects and DMN/TPN correlation remained consistent between groups, the DMN/FPN correlation decreased as the propensity to mind wander increased at the group level. Because the FPN is believed to be a hub for cognitive control, these findings suggest that those with lower levels of trait level mind wandering have higher levels of cognitive control.



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April 13–16  |  2024