Resting-state activity in high-order visual areas as a window into natural human brain activations

Francesca Strappini, Meytal Wilf, Ofer Karp, Hagar Goldberg, Michal Harel, Edna Furman-Haran, Tal Golan, Rafael Malach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A major limitation of conventional human brain research has been its basis in highly artificial laboratory experiments. Due to technical constraints, little is known about the nature of cortical activations during ecological real life. We have previously proposed the “spontaneous trait reactivation (STR)” hypothesis arguing that resting-state patterns, which emerge spontaneously in the absence of external stimulus, reflect the statistics of habitual cortical activations during real life. Therefore, these patterns can serve as a window into daily life cortical activity. A straightforward prediction of this hypothesis is that spontaneous patterns should preferentially correlate to patterns generated by naturalistic stimuli compared with artificial ones. Here we targeted high-level category-selective visual areas and tested this prediction by comparing BOLD functional connectivity patterns formed during rest to patterns formed in response to naturalistic stimuli, as well as to more artificial category-selective, dynamic stimuli. Our results revealed a significant correlation between the resting-state patterns and functional connectivity patterns generated by naturalistic stimuli. Furthermore, the correlations to naturalistic stimuli were significantly higher than those found between resting-state patterns and those generated by artificial control stimuli. These findings provide evidence of a stringent link between spontaneous patterns and the activation patterns during natural vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3618-3635
Number of pages18
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Free viewing
  • Movie
  • Naturalistic scenes
  • Ventral occipital–temporal cortex
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Resting-state activity in high-order visual areas as a window into natural human brain activations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this