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Cognitive Neuroscience

Ben D Amsel, Marta Kutas, Seana Coulson
In grapheme-color synesthesia, seeing a particular letter or number evokes the experience of a highly specific color. Here we investigate the brain's real-time processing of words in this population, by recording event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from 15 grapheme-color synesthetes and 15 controls as they judged the validity of word pairs ("yellow banana" vs. "blue banana") presented under high and low visual contrast. Relative to high contrast words, low contrast words elicited ~30ms delayed P1/N170 visual ERP components in both groups...
July 11, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Hannah M Baumgartner, Christian J Graulty, Steven A Hillyard, Michael A Pitts
Whether visual spatial attention can modulate feedforward input to human primary visual cortex (V1) is debated. A prominent and long-standing hypothesis is that visual spatial attention can influence processing in V1, but only at delayed latencies suggesting a feedback-mediated mechanism and a lack of modulation during the initial afferent volley. The most promising challenge to this hypothesis comes from an event-related potential (ERP) study that showed an amplitude enhancement of the earliest visual ERP component, called the 'C1', in response to spatially attended relative to spatially unattended stimuli...
June 14, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Laura Herde, Valentina Rossi, Gilles Pourtois, Karsten Rauss
Reports of modulations of early visual processing suggest that retinotopic visual cortex may actively predict upcoming stimuli. We tested this idea by showing healthy human participants images of human faces at fixation, with different emotional expressions predicting stimuli in either the upper or the lower visual field. On infrequent test trials, emotional faces were followed by combined stimulation of upper and lower visual fields, thus violating previously established associations. Results showed no effects of such violations at the level of the retinotopic C1 of the visual evoked potential over the full sample...
June 5, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Jamie Ward, Michael J Banissy
In this reply to the eight commentaries to our article, we discuss three important challenges. First, we discuss the relationship of mirror-touch to other forms of synesthesia. We note that synesthetic experiences are generally not mistaken as veridical but this does not mean that they lack percept-like qualities. We acknowledge that neither Threshold Theory nor Self-Other Theory offer a direct account of other forms of synesthesia, although we discuss how the latter could. Second, we discuss alternative explanations...
June 5, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Hweeling Lee, Rüdiger Stirnberg, Tony Stöcker, Nikolai Axmacher
Prior multisensory experience influences how we perceive our environment, and hence how memories are encoded for subsequent retrieval. This study investigated if audiovisual (AV) integration and associative memory formation rely on overlapping or distinct processes. Our functional magnetic resonance imaging results demonstrate that the neural mechanisms underlying AV integration and associative memory overlap substantially. In particular, activity in anterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) is increased during AV integration and also determines the success of novel AV face-name association formation...
May 23, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
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No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 4, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Pin-Hao Andy Chen, Robert S Chavez, Todd F Heatherton
Failure to maintain a healthy body weight may reflect a long-term imbalance between the executive control and reward systems of the brain. The current study examined whether the anatomical connectivity between these two systems predicted individual variability in achieving a healthy body weight, particularly in chronic dieters. Thirty-six female chronic dieters completed a food-cue reactivity task in the scanner. Two regions-of-interest (ROIs) were defined from the reactivity task: the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), which engages cognitive control and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), which represents reward value...
July 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Alexandra M Gaynor, Elizabeth F Chua
Previous research has implicated the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in successful associative encoding and subjective awareness of one's memory performance. We tested the causal role of the PFC in these processes by applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) during a verbal associative encoding and judgment-of-learning (JOL) task. tDCS over the PFC impaired associative encoding compared to sham and parietal tDCS, as shown by fewer hits on a subsequent associative recognition test. There were no effects of tDCS on the magnitude or accuracy of JOLs...
July 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Scott D Slotnick
In an editorial (this issue), I argued that Eklund, Nichols, and Knutsson's 'null data' reflected resting-state/default network activity that inflated their false-positive rates. Commentaries on that paper were received by Nichols, Eklund, and Knutsson (this issue), Hopfinger (this issue), and Cunningham and Koscik (this issue). In this author response, I consider these commentaries. Many issues stemming from Nichols et al. are identified including: (1) Nichols et al. did not provide convincing arguments that resting-state fMRI data reflect null data...
April 19, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Olga Kepinska, Niels O Schiller
In response to Voelker et al. (this issue), we argue for a wide array of neural oscillatory mechanisms underlying learning and practice. While the authors propose frontal theta power as the basis for learning-induced neuroplasticity, we believe that the temporal dynamics of other frequency bands, together with their synchronization properties can offer a fuller account of the neurophysiological changes occurring in the brain during cognitive tasks.
April 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Constantinos I Siettos, Nikolaos Smyrnis
Many studies focus on anatomical brain connectivity in an effort to explain the effect of practice on reaction time (RT) that is observed in many cognitive tasks. In this commentary, we suggest that RT reflects a stochastic process that varies in each single repetition of any cognitive task and cannot be attributed only to anatomical properties of the underlying neuronal circuit. Based on recent evidence from Magnetoencephalographic, Electroencephalographic, and fMRI studies, we further propose that the functional properties of key brain areas and their self-organization into functional connectivity networks contribute to the RT and could also explain the effects of training on the distribution of the RT...
April 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Chiara Della Libera, Riccardo Calletti, Jana Eštočinová, Leonardo Chelazzi, Elisa Santandrea
Recent evidence indicates that the attentional priority of objects and locations is altered by the controlled delivery of reward, reflecting reward-based attentional learning. Here, we take an approach hinging on intersubject variability to probe the neurobiological bases of the reward-driven plasticity of spatial priority maps. Specifically, we ask whether an individual's susceptibility to the reward-based treatment can be accounted for by specific predictors, notably personality traits that are linked to reward processing (along with more general personality traits), but also gender...
April 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
William A Cunningham, Timothy R Koscik
We seek to balance the need to minimize false positives with the need to maximize power. We propose a compartmentalized series of analyses that a priori selects regions of voxels that have different degrees of predicted involvement. Alpha thresholds are allocated based on the strength of expected theoretical relationships. For example, confirmatory studies might allocate most of the error to the regions predicted from the literature and thus use a relatively more liberal threshold on these voxels. Simulations reveal that this technique increases power for hypothesized regions, while maintaining a constant false-positive rate and allowing exploratory analysis...
March 13, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Joseph B Hopfinger
Slotnick (this issue) makes a strong case that any attempt to assess the reliabiltiy of statistical correction procedures should use truly random data. In addition, however, there is an important side effect of the over-reliance on any given threshold to determine the worth of an experiment. Placing too much faith in any method of correction obscures the point that replication across labs remains a most critical part of scientific study. Especially for expensive methods, such as fMRI, an overemphasis on increasingly conservative thresholds can negatively impact the potential for replication of studies and the pursuit and reporting of innovative results...
March 7, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Thomas E Nichols, Anders Eklund, Hans Knutsson
A recent Editorial in Cognitive Neuroscience reconsiders the findings of our work on the accuracy of false positive rate control with cluster inference in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in particular criticizing our use of resting-state fMRI as a source for null data in the evaluation of task fMRI methods. We defend this use of resting fMRI data, as while there is much structure in this data, we argue it is representative of task data noise and task analysis software should be able to accommodate this noise...
February 22, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Joseph B Hopfinger
Mechanisms of attention are a prime target for investigating the plasticity of the adult brain, as these core mechanisms act at the intersection of top-down and bottom-up processing, and the wide variety of methods used in attention research can be utilized to elucidate the mechanisms of plasticity. This special issue of Cognitive Neuroscience presents three new empirical papers and a discussion paper with peer commentaries. In the first article, Voelker, Sheese and colleagues investigate the influence of genetic variation on the effectiveness of attention training...
January 20, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Scott D Slotnick
Analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data typically involves over one hundred thousand independent statistical tests; therefore, it is necessary to correct for multiple comparisons to control familywise error. In a recent paper, Eklund, Nichols, and Knutsson used resting-state fMRI data to evaluate commonly employed methods to correct for multiple comparisons and reported unacceptable rates of familywise error. Eklund et al.'s analysis was based on the assumption that resting-state fMRI data reflect null data; however, their 'null data' actually reflected default network activity that inflated familywise error...
January 5, 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Avery A Rizio, Nancy A Dennis
Intentional forgetting is posited to utilize both encoding and inhibition to control what information enters long-term memory. Within the context of the directed forgetting paradigm, evidence for the role of inhibition to support forgetting has been examined primarily during encoding. Specifically, past studies have shown that when encoding processes are intentionally inhibited, information is less likely to be remembered. Despite the recruitment of such inhibitory processes, not all items are successfully forgotten...
January 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience
Pascale Voelker, Denise Piscopo, Aldis P Weible, Gary Lynch, Mary K Rothbart, Michael I Posner, Cristopher M Niell
We appreciate the many comments we received on our discussion paper and believe that they reflect a recognition of the importance of this topic worldwide. We point out in this reply that there appears to be a confusion between the role of oscillations in creating white matter and other functions of oscillations in communicating between neural areas during task performance or at rest. We also discuss some mechanisms other than the enhancement of white matter that must influence reaction time. We recognize the limited understanding we have of transfer and outline some future directions designed to improve our understanding of this process...
August 2, 2016: Cognitive Neuroscience
Shenbing Kuang
Voelker et al. (this issue) discuss the idea of linking white matter (WM) plasticity to improved reaction time (RT) during training. While compelling, this argument has important confounds and should be taken with cautions. RT is constrained not only by the speed of signal transmission in WM, but also by the properties of synaptic and neural processing in cortical gray matter. It is still unclear to what extent RT variability could be explained by WM plasticity and cortical plasticity. Future studies should examine both WM plasticity and cortical plasticity in relation to RT changes, to fully understand the brain mechanisms underlying RT improvement during training...
July 29, 2016: Cognitive Neuroscience
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