Neural substrates of rumination tendency in non-depressed individuals

Camille Piguet, Martin Desseilles, Virginie Sterpenich, Yann Cojan, Gilles Bertschy, Patrik Vuilleumier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tendency to ruminate, experienced by both healthy individuals and depressed patients, can be quantified by the Ruminative Response Scale (RRS). We hypothesized that brain activity associated with rumination tendency might not only occur at rest but also persist to some degree during a cognitive task. We correlated RRS with whole-brain fMRI data of 20 healthy subjects during rest and during a face categorization task with different levels of cognitive demands (easy or difficult conditions). Our results reveal that the more subjects tend to ruminate, the more they activate the left entorhinal region, both at rest and during the easy task condition, under low attentional demands. Conversely, lower tendency to ruminate correlates with greater activation of visual cortex during rest and activation of insula during the easy task condition. These results indicate a particular neural marker of the tendency to ruminate, corresponding to increased spontaneous activity in memory-related areas, presumably reflecting more internally driven trains of thoughts even during a concomitant task. Conversely, people who are not prone to ruminate show more externally driven activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalBiological psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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