Visual Organization of the Default Network

Martin Szinte, Tomas Knapen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The default network (DN) is a brain network with correlated activities spanning frontal, parietal, and temporal cortical lobes. The DN activates for high-level cognition tasks and deactivates when subjects are actively engaged in perceptual tasks. Despite numerous observations, the role of DN deactivation remains unclear. Using computational neuroimaging applied to a large dataset of the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and to two individual subjects scanned over many repeated runs, we demonstrate that the DN selectively deactivates as a function of the position of a visual stimulus. That is, we show that spatial vision is encoded within the DN by means of deactivation relative to baseline. Our results suggest that the DN functions as a set of high-level visual regions, opening up the possibility of using vision-science tools to understand its putative function in cognition and perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3518-3527
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Issue number6
Early online date6 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020


  • deactivation
  • default network
  • Human Connectome Project
  • population receptive field
  • ultra-high-field fMRI


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