Here is a simple way to demonstrate the “default mode network,” the way our brains default to the normal pattern, even when we try to change things.
Open up a website, any website.
Go to your browser menu, and find where it says “view source,” “Inspect elements,” or “Inspect website” (on my Mac on Chrome it’s under View –> Developer –> Inspect elements (more info on other browsers here: https://www.lifewire.com/view-web-source-code-4151702)
Edit the weird code that comes up. For example, you can change colors that says things like “blue” to “red,” or change the text. Notice that when you do so, the website part of the page changes to reflect what you type. This can be fun – it feels like editing a website in real time. Change Yahoo to Bahoo, Google to Noodle, Netflix to Petflix. Have at it!
Now, hit refresh on your browser. (it might be Control-R, Command-R, or F5 buttons, if you don’t have a little round arrow on your browser). This will reload the page.
What happens? All your great changes disappear and the regular old webpage reappears. This is the “default,” the way the coding on the website’s server is programmed. You can make temporary changes, but the real version that the world sees, after all, is fixed.
How is this true of your own life? Your own brain?
You might read a book about being a more athletic person, maybe even temporarily do something that makes your heart race, but your body returns to its normal heart rate at rest, knowing what its default, it’s basic state is. This is very useful for getting ourselves back to normal, or doing things without thinking (breathing, anyone?).
However, paying attention takes us out of the default, and we move into a network that is more active at really noticing, maybe writing or math or doing other tasks. Interestingly, connecting the default mode network with our attention is important for our brain function.
Also for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt: Network