A delicate dance of dynamic changes in the conscious brain

Imagine you’re at work: you’re focused on a task when suddenly your mind starts to wander to thoughts of the weekend–that is, until you catch your boss walking by out of the corner of your eye. This back and forth in consciousness happens naturally and automatically and is the result of two brain states: the dorsal attention network (DAT), which corresponds with our awareness of the environment around us and the default-mode network (DMN), which corresponds with an inward focus on ourselves.

Brain researchers consider these states to be anti-correlated, meaning when one is active, the other is suppressed. Michigan Medicine researchers studying consciousness have provided proof of this phenomenon using fMRI and illustrate, using a unique method, the ever-changing nature of the brain, even when under anesthesia or otherwise unresponsive.

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