The past decade has seen a large number of neuroimaging studies focused on the anti-correlated functional relationship between the default mode network (DMN) and the dorsal attention network (DAN). Due principally to the low-temporal resolution of functional neuroimaging modalities, the fast-neuronal dynamics across these networks remains poorly understood. Here we report novel human intracranial electrophysiology data from six neurosurgical patients (four males) with simultaneous coverage of well-characterized nodes of the DMN and DAN. Subjects performed an arithmetic processing task, shown previously to evoke reliable deactivations (below baseline) in the DMN and activations in the DAN. In this cohort, we show that DMN deactivations lag DAN activations by over 200 milliseconds. Our findings suggest a clear temporal order of processing across the two networks during the current task and place the DMN further than the DAN in a plausible information-processing hierarchy.Significance Statement: The human brain contains an intrinsic and strictly organized network architecture. Our understanding of the interplay across association networks has relied primarily on the slow fluctuations of the hemodynamic response, and as such it has lacked critical evidence regarding the temporal dynamics of activity across these networks. The current study presents evidence from high spatiotemporal methods showing that well-studied areas of the default mode network (DMN) display delayed task-induced activity relative to divergent responses in dorsal attention network (DAN) nodes. This finding provides direct and critical evidence regarding the temporal chronology of neuronal events across opposing brain networks.
View details for PubMedID 30315126