Rest-stimulus interaction in the brain: A review

Georg Northoff, Pengmin Qin, Takashi Nakao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)


Studies in animals and humans have demonstrated intrinsic activity in the brain during the resting state. The concept of the default-mode network (DMN) - a set of brain regions in which resting-state activity (RSA) activity is reduced in response to external stimuli - recently raised much controversy concerning the psychological correlates of RSA. However, it remains unclear how RSA interacts with stimulus-induced activity. Here we review studies in humans and animals that address how RSA interacts with stimulus-induced activity; we also discuss, conversely, how stimulus-induced activity can modulate RSA. Psychologically, the rest-stimulus interaction is relevant to predicting subsequent behavioral and mental states. We conclude that a better understanding of the rest-stimulus interaction is likely to be crucial to the elucidation of the brain's contribution to mental states. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior
  • brain function
  • brain region
  • decision making
  • human
  • mental performance
  • neuromodulation
  • nonhuman
  • prediction
  • priority journal
  • rest
  • review
  • stimulus response
  • working memory
  • anatomy and histology
  • animal
  • brain
  • brain mapping
  • motor activity
  • nerve cell network
  • nerve tract
  • physiology
  • psychology
  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Nerve Net
  • Neural Pathways
  • Rest


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