Task-positive network

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The task-positive network (TPN), also known as the dorsal attention network (DAN), is one of two sensory orienting systems in the human brain, the other being the task-negative network. It is involved in voluntary (top-down) orienting and shows activity increases after presentation of cues indicating where, when, or to what subjects should direct their attention.

The task-positive network is bilateral and includes the intraparietal sulcus and the junction of the precentral and superior frontal sulcus (frontal eye fields) in each hemisphere.[1]

During rest the TPN has been claimed to subserve intermittent “external awareness”, defined as the conscious perception through different sensory modalities of one`s surrounding environment.[2]


During performance of attention-demanding tasks, prefrontal and parietal structures comprising the task-positive network are characterized by increases in activation; in contrast, default mode network structures, including posterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortices, are characterized by decreased activity. During wakeful rest, the opposite pattern emerges, with the default mode network becoming more active and the task-positive network less active. [3]


  1. ^ Fox, M.D., Corbetta, M., Snyder, A.Z., Vincent, J.L., & Raichle, M.E. (2006). Spontaneous neuronal activity distinguishes human dorsal and ventral attention systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 10046-10051.
  2. ^ Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Demertzi, Athena; Schabus, Manuel; Noirhomme, Quentin; Bredart, Serge; Boly, Melanie; Phillips, Christophe; Soddu, Andrea; Luxen, Andre; Moonen, Gustave; Laureys, Steven (1 March 2011). "Two Distinct Neuronal Networks Mediate the Awareness of Environment and of Self". Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (3): 570–578. doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21488. 
  3. ^ Hamilton, J.Paul (2011). "Default-Mode and Task-Positive Network Activity in Major Depressive Disorder: Implications for Adaptive and Maladaptive Rumination". Biological Psychiatry, Society of Biological Psychiatry 70: 327–333. Retrieved 6 June 2014.