Searching for a baseline: Functional imaging and the resting human brain

Debra A. Gusnard, Marcus E. Raichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2780 Scopus citations


Functional brain imaging in humans has revealed task-specific increases in brain activity that are associated with various mental activities. In the same studies, mysterious, task-independent decreases have also frequently been encountered, especially when the tasks of interest have been compared with a passive state, such as simple fixation or eyes closed. These decreases have raised the possibility that there might be a baseline or resting state of brain function involving a specific set of mental operations. We explore this possibility, including the manner in which we might define a baseline and the implications of such a baseline for our understanding of brain function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2001


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