Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown that neural activity fluctuates spontaneously between different states of global synchronization over a timescale of several seconds. Such fluctuations generate transient states of high and low correlation across distributed cortical areas. It has been hypothesized that such fluctuations in global efficiency might alter patterns of activity in local neuronal populations elicited by changes in incoming sensory stimuli. To test this prediction, we used a linear decoder to discriminate patterns of neural activity elicited by face and motion stimuli presented periodically while participants underwent time-resolved fMRI. As predicted, decoding was reliably higher during states of high global efficiency than during states of low efficiency, and this difference was evident across both visual and non-visual cortical regions. The results indicate that slow fluctuations in global network efficiency are associated with variations in the pattern of activity across widespread cortical regions responsible for representing distinct categories of visual stimulus. More broadly, the findings highlight the importance of understanding the impact of global fluctuations in functional connectivity on specialised, stimulus driven neural processes.