Neural mechanisms of spontaneous experience
The study of of spontaneous thought, mind wandering, and rumination in the brain is a relatively new topic in cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Despite the prominence of these experiences in daily life, and the critical relevance to mental health, scientists currently understand very little about the neural mechanisms. Using multimodal techniques such as human intracranial electrophysiology, neurostimulation, and fMRI, we are exploring new hypotheses about how these experiences are generated from large-scale brain networks, hippocampal memory systems, and neurochemical systems (discussed in Kucyi et al., 2018a; 2018b). A deeper understanding of the neural mechanisms could enable development of neuromodulation interventions that are designed to directly target the brain activity that drives the disruptions of spontaneous experience (for example, in disorders of mood and anxiety).