Our understanding of the human default mode network derives primarily from neuroimaging data but its electrophysiological correlates remain largely unexplored. To address this limitation, we recorded intracranially from the human posteromedial cortex (PMC), a core structure of the default mode network, during various conditions of internally directed (e.g., autobiographical memory) as opposed to externally directed focus (e.g., arithmetic calculation). We observed late-onset (>400 ms) increases in broad high ?-power (70-180 Hz) within PMC subregions during memory retrieval. High ?-power was significantly reduced or absent when subjects retrieved self-referential semantic memories or responded to self-judgment statements, respectively. Conversely, a significant deactivation of high ?-power was observed during arithmetic calculation, the duration of which correlated with reaction time at the signal-trial level. Strikingly, at each recording site, the magnitude of activation during episodic autobiographical memory retrieval predicted the degree of suppression during arithmetic calculation. These findings provide important anatomical and temporal details-at the neural population level-of PMC engagement during autobiographical memory retrieval and address how the same populations are actively suppressed during tasks, such as numerical processing, which require externally directed attention.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1206580109
View details for Web of Science ID 000309211000087
View details for PubMedID 22949666