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Attention reorganizes connectivity across networks in a frequency specific manner

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Attention allows our brain to focus its limited resources on a given task. It does so by selective modulation of neural activity and of functional connectivity (FC) across brain-wide networks. While there is extensive literature on activity changes, surprisingly few studies examined brain-wide FC modulations that can be cleanly attributed to attention compared to matched visual processing. In contrast to prior approaches, we used an ultra-long trial design that avoided transients from trial onsets, included slow fluctuations (<0.1Hz) that carry important information on FC, and allowed for frequency-segregated analyses. We found that FC derived from long blocks had a nearly two-fold higher gain compared to FC derived from traditional (short) block designs. Second, attention enhanced intrinsic (negative or positive) correlations across networks, such as between the default-mode network (DMN), the dorsal attention network (DAN), and the visual system (VIS). In contrast attention de-correlated the intrinsically correlated visual regions. Third, the de-correlation within VIS was driven primarily by high frequencies, whereas the increase in DAN-VIS predominantly by low frequencies. These results pinpoint two fundamentally distinct effects of attention on connectivity. Information flow increases between distinct large-scale networks, and de-correlation within sensory cortex indicates decreased redundancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage
Volume144
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
ISSN1053-8119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

ID: 49157572