Blue light exposure increases functional connectivity between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and multiple cortical regions

William D.S. Killgore, Anna Alkozei, John R. Vanuk, Deva Reign, Michael A. Grandner, Natalie S. Dailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective Blue light is a powerful environmental stimulus that can produce significant phase shifts in the circadian rhythm of melatonin and sleep propensity as well as acute effects on alertness of neurobehavioral performance. Here, we undertook an expansion and reanalysis of our previously published findings to examine the effect of acute blue light exposure on the strength of resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between a previously identified region of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and 106 cortical and subcortical regions. Methods Twenty-nine healthy adults (16 men and 13 women; age 18-32 years) completed a psychomotor vigilance test (PVT) before and after a single 30-min exposure to either blue (λ = 469 nm; n = 17) or amber wavelength (λ = 578 nm; n = 12) light, immediately followed by an rsFC scan. Results Compared with amber light, blue light exposure produced significantly greater functional connectivity between the left DLPFC seed region and 30 cortical and subcortical regions (P < 0.05; false discovery rate-corrected). Although neurobehavioral performance did not differ between light conditions, only those exposed to blue light showed a significant association between rsFC and sustained PVT performance. Better sustained PVT performance was associated with greater connectivity between the left DLPFC and regions associated with visuospatial awareness/motion detection (right temporal-occipital middle temporal gyrus) and memory (left hippocampus), as well as reduced connectivity in a circuit associated with cognitive rumination and distraction (left parahippocampal gyrus). Conclusion Findings suggest that blue-wavelength light may facilitate acute alertness and improved cognitive performance through enhanced rsFC between the left DLPFC and cortical regions associated with visuospatial awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 23 2022


  • blue light
  • functional connectivity
  • prefrontal cortex
  • vigilance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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