The salience network consists of several structures, including the anterior (bilateral) insula, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and three subcortical structures which are the ventral striatum, substantia nigra/ventral tegmental region. It plays the key role of monitoring the salience of external inputs and internal brain events. Specifically, it aids in directing attention by identifying important biological and cognitive events.
This network includes the ventral attention network, which primarily includes the temporoparietal junction and the ventral frontal cortex of the right hemisphere These areas respond when behaviorally relevant stimuli occur unexpectedly.The ventral attention network is inhibited during focused attention in which top-down processing is being used, such as when visually searching for something. This response may prevent goal-driven attention from being distracted by non-relevant stimuli. It becomes active again when the target or relevant information about the target is found.