Brain Networks

The BRAIN functions via NETWORKS of neurons.

Early ideas about the BRAIN came from anatomical dissection.  This dissection identified regions which were named as separate parts – and early research identified certain functions attributed to those brain parts.

Recent research (especially since development of the functional MRI - fMRI) has determined that a key way that the Brain processes information and responds is through NETWORKS.  A nerve cell (neuron) or brain area can belong to multiple NETWORKS.

NETWORKS involved in memory, thoughts and emotions identified so far include:

  • DMN = Default Mode Network – involved in thinking about oneself, autobiographical memory and social cognition.  Usually active at rest when reflecting or thinking about future events.
  • SN = Salience Network – involved in detection and integration of “salient” internal-external stimuli as well as autonomic and emotional regulation, and conflict monitoring. The SN includes several areas including the amygdala and thalamus.  The SN is felt to regulate the dynamic interplay between the DMN and CEN.
  • CEN = Central Executive Network – involved in working memory and executive functioning.  The CEN is usually engaged during tasks requiring attention and inactive at rest.
Stress Response