Mind-wandering and alterations to default mode network connectivity when listening to naturalistic versus artificial sounds

Gould van Praag, Cassandra D, Garfinkel, Sarah N, Sparasci, Oliver, Mees, Alex, Philippides, Andy O, Ware, Mark, Ottaviani, Chrsitina and Critchley, Hugo D (2017) Mind-wandering and alterations to default mode network connectivity when listening to naturalistic versus artificial sounds. Scientific Reports, 7. a45273. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Naturalistic environments have been demonstrated to promote relaxation and wellbeing. We assess opposing theoretical accounts for these effects through investigation of autonomic arousal and alterations of activation and functional connectivity within the default mode network (DMN) of the brain while participants listened to sounds from artificial and natural environments. We found no evidence for increased DMN activity in the naturalistic compared to artificial or control condition, however, seed based functional connectivity showed a shift from anterior to posterior midline functional coupling in the naturalistic condition. These changes were accompanied by an increase in peak high frequency heart rate variability, indicating an increase in parasympathetic activity in the naturalistic condition in line with the Stress Recovery Theory of nature exposure. Changes in heart rate and the peak high frequency were correlated with baseline functional connectivity within the DMN and baseline parasympathetic tone respectively, highlighting the importance of individual neural and autonomic differences in the response to nature exposure. Our findings may help explain reported health benefits of exposure to natural environments, through identification of alterations to autonomic activity and functional coupling within the DMN when listening to naturalistic sounds.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical Medicine
School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP0001 General Including influence of the environment
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP0351 Neurophysiology and neuropsychology
Q Science > QZ Psychology
Depositing User: Cassandra Gould
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 17:19
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 00:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/66945

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