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Distinct patterns of thought mediate the link between brain functional connectome and psychological well-being

By Deniz Vatansever, Theodoros Karapanagiotidis, Daniel S. Margulies, Elizabeth Jefferies, Jonathan Smallwood

Posted 08 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/762344

Ongoing thought patterns constitute important aspects of both healthy and abnormal human cognition. However, the neural mechanisms behind these daily experiences and their contribution to well-being remain a matter of debate. Here, using resting state fMRI and retrospective thought sampling in a large neurotypical cohort (n = 211) we identified two distinct patterns of thought, broadly describing the participants' current concerns and future plans, that significantly explained variability in the individual functional connectomes. Consistent with the view that ongoing thoughts are an emergent property of multiple neural systems, network-based analysis highlighted the central importance of both unimodal and transmodal cortices in the generation of these experiences. Importantly, while state-dependent current concerns predicted better psychological health, mediating the effect of functional connectomes; trait-level future plans were related to better social health, yet with no mediatory influence. Collectively, we show that ongoing thoughts can influence the link between brain physiology and well-being.

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