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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Contextual and temporal variability in large-scale functional network interactions underlying attention Dixon, Matthew Luke


Attentional mechanisms filter and constrain the flow of information processing so that only the most relevant interoceptive and exteroceptive signals are highlighted for further processing. A variety of brain networks play a role in different facets of attention, including the default network, dorsal attention network, salience network, and frontoparietal control network. The present research used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and graph theoretic analyses to examine the extent to which interactions between these large-scale brain networks vary across time and different contexts. We addressed the following questions: (i) is there a fundamental competition between networks involved in attending to perceptual versus conceptual information? (ii) is the frontoparietal control network―the key network implicated in the deliberate control of attention―a domain general system, or does it exhibit a finer level of organization related to perceptual versus conceptual attention? and (iii) how does network configuration vary during different modes of internally-directed attention characterized by conceptual elaboration versus interoceptive awareness? Our findings provide novel insights into these fundamental questions, and provide evidence that network organization dynamically changes across time and context. These findings caution against using resting state data to make general inferences about brain organization.

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