In this study, we aimed to compare the oscillatory dynamics accompanying self-referential and non-self-referential stimulus-independent thoughts. Electroencephalograms were recorded in 30 healthy participants who were asked to press buttons classifying their spontaneous thoughts as self-referential or non-self-referential. EEG data were analyzed using independent component analysis in conjunction with dipole localization. Self-referential thoughts, as compared to non-self-referential thoughts, were accompanied by more pronounced decreases of theta, alpha, and beta spectral power in the anterior hub of the default-mode network, in the left lateral prefrontal, motor/somatosensory, and temporal cortices. These oscillatory dynamics are interpreted as a reflection of autobiographical memory retrieval intrinsic to self-referential thoughts. Abbreviations: BA: Brodmann area; BOLD: blood oxygenation level-dependent; DMN: default mode network; EEG: electroencephalogram; ERSP: event-related spectral perturbations; fMRI: functional magnetic resonance imaging; PCC: posterior cingulate cortex; PET: positron emission tomography; PFC: prefrontal cortex; SIT: stimulus-independent thought; WM: working memory.
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