Replay bursts in humans coincide with activation of the default mode and parietal alpha networks.
Higgins C., Liu Y., Vidaurre D., Kurth-Nelson Z., Dolan R., Behrens T., Woolrich M.
Our brains at rest spontaneously replay recently acquired information, but how this process is orchestrated to avoid interference with ongoing cognition is an open question. Here we investigated whether replay coincided with spontaneous patterns of whole-brain activity. We found, in two separate datasets, that replay sequences were packaged into transient bursts occurring selectively during activation of the default mode network (DMN) and parietal alpha networks. These networks are believed to support inwardly oriented attention and inhibit bottom-up sensory processing and were characterized by widespread synchronized oscillations coupled to increases in high frequency power, mechanisms thought to coordinate information flow between disparate cortical areas. Our data reveal a tight correspondence between two widely studied phenomena in neural physiology and suggest that the DMN may coordinate replay bursts in a manner that minimizes interference with ongoing cognition.