Central Autonomic Network

“The central autonomic network (CAN) is an integral component of an internal regulation system through which the brain controls visceromotor, neuroendocrine, pain, and behavioral responses essential for survival. It includes the insular cortex, amygdala, hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray matter, parabrachial complex, nucleus of the tractus solitarius, and ventrolateral medulla.

The CAN may be critically involved in panic disorders, essential hypertension, obesity, and other medical conditions.”  (Benarroch, 1993)

Central Executive Network

“The central-executive networkis engaged in higher-order cognitive and attentional control.”  In other words, when you must engage your conscious brain to work on a problem, place information in your working memory as you think, focus your attention on a task or problem, etc., you are “thinking” and must focus your controlled attention.”  (McGraw, 2011)

Default Mode Network

DMN is seen to collectively comprise an integrated system for autobiographical, self-monitoring and social cognitive functions.”  It has also been characterized as responsible for REST (rapid episodic spontaneous thinking).  In other words, this is the spontaneous mind wandering and internal self-talk and thinking we engage in when not working on a specific task or, when completing a task that is so automatized (e.g., driving a car) that our mind starts to wander and generate spontaneous thoughts.”  (McGraw, 2011)

Salience Network

“The salience network is a controller or network switcher.  It monitors information from within (internal input) and from the external world surrounding us, which is constantly bombarding us with information.  Think of the salience network as the air traffic controller of the brain.  Its job is to scan all information bombarding us from the outside world and also that from within our own brains.  This controller decides which information is most urgent, task relevant, and which should receive priority in the queue of sending brain signals to areas of the brain for processing.  This controlling network must suppress either the default or executive networks depending on the task at hand.  It must suppress one, and activate the other.”  (McGraw, 2011)