Self-prioritization is supported by interactions between large-scale brain networks

Alla Yankouskaya*, Jie Sui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has provided solid evidence that the default mode network (DMN) is implicated in self-referential processing. The functional connectivity of the DMN has also been observed in tasks where self-referential processing leads to self-prioritization (SPE) in perception and decision-making. However, we are less certain about whether (i) SPE solely depends on the interplay within parts of the DMN or is driven by multiple brain networks and (ii) whether SPE is associated with a unique component of interconnected networks or can be explained by related effects such as emotion prioritization. We addressed these questions by identifying and comparing topological clusters of networks involved in self-and emotion prioritization effects generated in an associative-matching task. Using network-based statistics, we found that SPE controlled by emotion is supported by a unique component of interacting networks, including the medial prefrontal part of the DMN (MPFC), frontoparietal network (FPN) and insular salience network (SN). This component emerged as a result of a focal effect confined to few connections, indicating that interaction between DMN, FPC and SN is critical to cognitive operations for the SPE. This result was validated on a separate data set. In contrast, prioritization of happy emotion was associated with a component formed by interactions between the rostral prefrontal part of SN, posterior parietal part of FPN and the MPFC, whereas sad emotion reveals a cluster of the DMN, dorsal attention network (DAN) and visual medial network (VMN). We discussed theoretical and methodological aspects of these findings within the more general domain of social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1261
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K013424/1) and the Leverhulme Trust (RPG‐2019‐010).

Data Availability Statement

Available on request to the corresponding author.


  • default mode network
  • emotion prioritization
  • frontoparietal network
  • large-scale networks
  • salience network
  • self-prioritization


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