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Objectives: Thought suppression has spurred extensive research in clinical and preclinical fields, particularly with regard to the paradoxical aspects of this behavior. However, the involvement of the brain's inhibitory system in the dynamics underlying the continuous effort to suppress thoughts has yet to be clarified. This study aims to provide a unified perspective for the volitional suppression of internal events incorporating the current understanding of the brain's inhibitory system. Materials and methods: Twenty healthy volunteers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while they performed thought suppression blocks alternating with visual imagery blocks. The whole dataset was decomposed by group-independent component analysis into 30 components. After discarding noise components, the 20 valid components were subjected to further analysis of their temporal properties including task-relatedness and between-component residual correlation. Results: Combining a long task period and a data-driven approach, we observed a right-side-dominant, lateral frontoparietal network to be strongly suppression related. This network exhibited increased fluctuation during suppression, which is compatible with the well-known difficulty of suppression maintenance. Conclusions: Between-network correlation provided further insight into the coordinated engagement of the executive control and dorsal attention networks, as well as the reciprocal activation of imagery-related components, thus revealing neural substrates associated with the rivalry between intrusive thoughts and the suppression process.


  • Brain and Behavior

    Brain and Behavior 6(8), 2016

    John Wiley and Sons Ltd


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