Dynamic reorganization of human resting-state networks during visuospatial attention

Sara Spadone, Stefania Della Penna, Carlo Sestieri, Viviana Betti, Annalisa Tosoni, Mauro Gianni Perrucci, Gian Luca Romani, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Fundamental problems in neuroscience today are understanding how patterns of ongoing spontaneous activity are modified by task performance and whether/how these intrinsic patterns influence task-evoked activation and behavior. We examined these questions by comparing instantaneous functional connectivity (IFC) and directed functional connectivity (DFC) changes in two networks that are strongly correlated and segregated at rest: the visual (VIS) network and the dorsal attention network (DAN). We measured how IFC and DFC during a visuospatial attention task, which requires dynamic selective rerouting of visual information across hemispheres, changed with respect to rest. During the attention task, the two networks remained relatively segregated, and their general pattern of within-network correlation was maintained. However, attention induced a decrease of correlation in the VIS network and an increase of the DAN→VIS IFC and DFC, especially in a top-down direction. In contrast, within the DAN, IFC was not modified by attention, whereas DFC was enhanced. Importantly, IFC modulations were behaviorally relevant. We conclude that a stable backbone of within-network functional connectivity topography remains in place when transitioning between resting wakefulness and attention selection. However, relative decrease of correlation of ongoing "idling" activity in visual cortex and synchronization between frontoparietal and visual cortex were behaviorally relevant, indicating that modulations of resting activity patterns are important for task performance. Higher order resting connectivity in the DAN was relatively unaffected during attention, potentially indicating a role for simultaneous ongoing activity as a "prior" for attention selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8112-8117
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 30 2015


  • Attention networks
  • Directional connectivity
  • Functional connectivity
  • Resting-state networks
  • Task-evoked activity


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