As a graduate student with adviser Karen Davis, I studied the interaction between pain perception and spontaneous cognition in the brain. I designed and conducted a study that investigated the neural basis of spontaneous attentional fluctuations (or “mind-wandering”) away from pain. Our work included behavioral and functional and structural neuroimaging analyses, which successfully identified brain networks that reflect mind-wandering away from pain within and across individuals. While classic neural pathways for nociception and pain modulation were involved, our work – which we later built upon with a study in chronic pain patients – brought newfound attention in the field to the significance of the default mode and salience networks.
- Kucyi, A., Salomons, T.V., Davis, K.D. (2013). Mind wandering away from pain dynamically engages antinociceptive and default mode brain networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(46):18692-18697.
- Kucyi, A., Moayedi, M., Weissman-Fogel, I., Goldberg, M.B., Freeman, B.V., Tenenbaum, H.C., Davis, K.D. (2014). Enhanced medial prefrontal-default mode network functional connectivity in chronic pain and its association with pain rumination. Journal of Neuroscience 34(11):3969-3975.
- Kucyi, A., Davis, K.D. (2015). The dynamic pain connectome. Trends in Neurosciences 38(2):86-95.
- Kucyi, A., Davis, K.D. (2017). The neural code for pain: from single cell electrophysiology to the dynamic pain connectome. The Neuroscientist 23(4):397-414.