Alterations in task-induced activity and resting-state fluctuations in visual and DMN areas revealed in long-term meditators

Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Michal Harel, Avital Hahamy, Amos Arieli, Rafael Malach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently we proposed that the information contained in spontaneously emerging (resting-state) fluctuations may reflect individually unique neuro-cognitive traits. One prediction of this conjecture, termed the "spontaneous trait reactivation" (STR) hypothesis, is that resting-state activity patterns could be diagnostic of unique personalities, talents and life-styles of individuals. Long-term meditators could provide a unique experimental group to test this hypothesis. Using fMRI we found that, during resting-state, the amplitude of spontaneous fluctuations in long-term mindfulness meditation (MM) practitioners was enhanced in the visual cortex and significantly reduced in the DMN compared to naïve controls. Importantly, during a visual recognition memory task, the MM group showed heightened visual cortex responsivity, concomitant with weaker negative responses in Default Mode Network (DMN) areas. This effect was also reflected in the behavioral performance, where MM practitioners performed significantly faster than the control group. Thus, our results uncover opposite changes in the visual and default mode systems in long-term meditators which are revealed during both rest and task. The results support the STR hypothesis and extend it to the domain of local changes in the magnitude of the spontaneous fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Default Mode Network
  • FMRI
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Resting-state
  • Visual activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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