The wandering mood: Psychological and neural determinants of rest-related negative affect

Michal Gruberger*, Adi Maron-Katz, Haggai Sharon, Talma Hendler, Eti Ben-Simon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Rest related negative affect (RRNA) has gained scientific interest in the past decade. However, it is mostly studied within the context of mind-wandering (MW), and the relevance of other psychological and neural aspects of the resting state to its' occurrence has never been studied. Several indications associate RRNA with internally directed attention, yet the nature of this relation remains largely unknown. Moreover, the role of neural networks associated with rest related phenomenology - the default mode (DMN), executive (EXE), and salience (SAL) networks, has not been studied in this context. To this end, we explored two 5 (baseline) and 15-minute resting-state simultaneous fMRI-EEG scans of 29 participants. As vigilance has been shown to affect attention, and thus its availability for inward allocation, EEG-based vigilance levels were computed for each participant. Questionnaires for affective assessment were administered before and after scans, and retrospective reports of MW were additionally collected. Results revealed increased negative affect following rest, but only among participants who retained high vigilance levels. Among low-vigilance participants, changes in negative affect were negligible, despite reports of MW occurrence in both groups. In addition, in the high-vigilance group only, a significant increase in functional connectivity (FC) levels was found between the DMN-related ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), associated with emotional processing, and the EXE-related dorsal ACC, associated with monitoring of self and other's behavior. These heightened FC levels further correlated with reported negative affect among this group. Taken together, these results demonstrate that, rather than an unavoidable outcome of the resting state, RRNA depends on internal allocation of attention at rest. Results are discussed in terms of two rest-related possible scenarios which defer in mental and neural processing, and subsequently, in the occurrence of RRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 961
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2013


  • Affect
  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Default mode network
  • Executive network
  • Mind wandering
  • Resting state functional connectivity
  • Salience network
  • Vigilance


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