Linking inter-individual differences in neural activation and behavior to intrinsic brain dynamics.
The brain's energy economy excessively favors intrinsic, spontaneous neural activity over extrinsic, evoked activity, presumably to maintain its internal organization. Emerging hypotheses capable of explaining such an investment posit that the brain's intrinsic functional architecture encodes a blueprint for its repertoire of responses to the external world. Yet, there is little evidence directly linking intrinsic and extrinsic activity in the brain. Here we relate differences among individuals in the magnitude of task-evoked activity during performance of an Eriksen flanker task, to spontaneous oscillatory phenomena observed during rest. Specifically, we focused on the amplitude of low-frequency oscillations (LFO, 0.01-0.1 Hz) present in the BOLD signal. LFO amplitude measures obtained during rest successfully predicted the magnitude of task-evoked activity in a variety of regions that were all activated during performance of the flanker task. In these regions, higher LFO amplitude at rest predicted higher task-evoked activity. LFO amplitude measures obtained during rest were also found to have robust predictive value for behavior. In midline cingulate regions, LFO amplitudes predicted not only the speed and consistency of performance but also the magnitude of the behavioral congruency effect embedded in the flanker task. These results support the emerging hypothesis that the brain's repertoire of responses to the external world are represented and updated in the brain's intrinsic functional architecture.