Several brain areas show signal decreases during many different cognitive tasks in functional imaging studies, including the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and a medial frontal region incorporating portions of the medial frontal gyrus and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (MFG/vACC). It has been suggested that these areas are components in a default mode network that is engaged during rest and disengaged during cognitive tasks. This study investigated the functional connectivity between the PCC and MFG/vACC during a working memory task and at rest by examining temporal correlations in magnetic resonance signal levels between the regions. The two regions were functionally connected in both conditions. In addition, performance on the working memory task was positively correlated with the strength of this functional connection not only during the working memory task, but also at rest. Thus, it appears these regions are components of a network that may facilitate or monitor cognitive performance, rather than becoming disengaged during cognitive tasks. In addition, these data raise the possibility that the individual differences in coupling strength between these two regions at rest predict differences in cognitive abilities important for this working memory task.
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