5 years ago

That's me in the spotlight - Neural basis of individual differences in self-consciousness.

Jonathan Smallwood, Irene de Caso, Elizabeth Jefferies, Giulia Poerio
A long-standing literature implicates activity within the default mode network (DMN) to processes linked to the self. However, contemporary work suggests that other large-scale networks networks might also be involved. For instance, goal-directed autobiographical planning requires positive functional connectivity (FC) between DMN and frontoparietal control (FPCN) networks. The present study examined the inter-relationship between trait self-focus (measured via a self-consciousness scale; SCS), incidental memory in a self-reference paradigm, and resting state FC of large-scale networks. Behaviourally, we found that private SCS was linked to stronger incidental memory for self-relevant information. We also examined how patterns of FC differed according to levels of self-consciousness by using the SCS data to drive multiple regression analyses with seeds from the DMN, the FPCN and the limbic network. High levels of SCS was not linked to differences in the functional behaviour of the DMN, however, it was linked to stronger FC between FPCN and a cluster extending into the hippocampus, which meta analytic decoding using Neurosynth linked to episodic memory retrieval. Subsequent analysis demonstrated that trait variance in this pattern of FC was a moderator for the observed relationship between private SCS and enhanced memory for self-items. Together these findings suggest that interactions between the FPCN and hippocampus may support the memory advantage of self-relevant information associated with SCS and confirm theoretical positions that argue that that self-related processing does not simply depend upon the DMN, but instead relies on complex patterns of interactions between multiple large-scale networks.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx076

DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx076

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