Adaptive behavior requires the ability to see both the forest and the trees - to focus on local events at some times, and to assess the global context at others. We hypothesized that these computational foci are associated with distinct neuronal states within one population. We recorded from neurons in area 14 of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) as macaques performed a foraging task that alternated between periods of within-patch searching and long (4-second) inter-trial intervals (ITIs) We found that neural activity during and between trials occupies semi-orthogonal subspaces, with greater dimensionality between trials. We found a double dissociation: between trials, patch richness is linearly decodable; whereas during trials, the prey value is linearly decodable. Finally, subjects calibrated their accept-reject behavior during the trial according to patch richness.We conclude that ostensible downtime prioritizes global processing and highlights how neural populations can accomplish foreground and background-oriented cognition by transforming the neural subspace.