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  Individual variation in the propensity for prospective thought is associated with functional integration between visual and retrosplenial cortex

Villena-Gonzalez, M., Wang, H.-t., Sormaz, M., Mollo, G., Margulies, D. S., Jefferies, E. A., et al. (2018). Individual variation in the propensity for prospective thought is associated with functional integration between visual and retrosplenial cortex. Cortex, 99, 224-234. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2017.11.015.

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Villena-Gonzalez, Mario1, 2, 3, Author
Wang, Hao-ting1, Author
Sormaz, Mladen1, Author
Mollo, Giovanna1, Author
Margulies, Daniel S.4, Author           
Jefferies, Elizabeth A.1, Author
Smallwood, Jonathan1, Author           
1Department of Psychology, University of York, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
2Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, ou_persistent22              
3Faculty of Psychology, Diego Portales University, Santiago, Chile, ou_persistent22              
4Max Planck Research Group Neuroanatomy and Connectivity, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_1356546              


Free keywords: Default network; Retrosplenial cortex; Future thinking; Scene construction
 Abstract: It is well recognized that the default mode network (DMN) is involved in states of imagination, although the cognitive processes that this association reflects are not well understood. The DMN includes many regions that function as cortical “hubs”, including the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial cortex, anterior temporal lobe and the hippocampus. This suggests that the role of the DMN in cognition may reflect a process of cortical integration. In the current study we tested whether functional connectivity from uni-modal regions of cortex into the DMN is linked to features of imaginative thought. We found that strong intrinsic communication between visual and retrosplenial cortex was correlated with the degree of social thoughts about the future. Using an independent dataset, we show that the same region of retrosplenial cortex is functionally coupled to regions of primary visual cortex as well as core regions that make up the DMN. Finally, we compared the functional connectivity of the retrosplenial cortex, with a region of medial prefrontal cortex implicated in the integration of information from regions of the temporal lobe associated with future thought in a prior study. This analysis shows that the retrosplenial cortex is preferentially coupled to medial occipital, temporal lobe regions and the angular gyrus, areas linked to episodic memory, scene construction and navigation. In contrast, the medial prefrontal cortex shows preferential connectivity with motor cortex and lateral temporal and prefrontal regions implicated in language, motor processes and working memory. Together these findings suggest that integrating neural information from visual cortex into retrosplenial cortex may be important for imagining the future and may do so by creating a mental scene in which prospective simulations play out. We speculate that the role of the DMN in imagination may emerge from its capacity to bind together distributed representations from across the cortex in a coherent manner.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-08-282017-06-052017-11-172017-12-052018-02
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2017.11.015
PMID: 29287243
Other: Epub 2017
 Degree: -



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Project information

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Project name : Not all minds that wander are lost: A neurocognitive test of mind-wandering state’s contribution to human cognition / WANDERINGMINDS
Grant ID : 646927
Funding program : Funding Programme 7
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : “Prospective Psychology Stage 2: A Research Competition”
Grant ID : -
Funding program : -
Funding organization : John Templeton Foundation
Project name : -
Grant ID : 2014-21140290
Funding program : Ph.D. fellowship
Funding organization : Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT)

Source 1

Title: Cortex
  Other : Cortex
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Milan [etc.] : Elsevier Masson SAS
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 99 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 224 - 234 Identifier: ISSN: 0010-9452
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925393344