EyeLink fMRI / MEG Publications
All EyeLink fMRI and MEG research publications (with concurrent eye tracking) up until 2021 (with some early 2022s) are listed below by year. You can search the publications using keywords such as Visual Cortex, Neural Plasticity, MEG, etc. You can also search for individual author names. If we missed any EyeLink fMRI or MEG articles, please email us!
Timo L. Kvamme; Mesud Sarmanlu; Christopher Bailey; Morten Overgaard
In: Neuroscience, vol. 482, pp. 1–17, 2022.
Spontaneous neural oscillations are key predictors of perceptual decisions to bind multisensory signals into a unified percept. Research links decreased alpha power in the posterior cortices to attention and audiovisual binding in the sound-induced flash illusion (SIFI) paradigm. This suggests that controlling alpha oscillations would be a way of controlling audiovisual binding. In the present feasibility study we used MEG-neurofeedback to train one group of subjects to increase left/right and another to increase right/left alpha power ratios in the parietal cortex. We tested for changes in audiovisual binding in a SIFI paradigm where flashes appeared in both hemifields. Results showed that the neurofeedback induced a significant asymmetry in alpha power for the left/right group, not seen for the right/left group. Corresponding asymmetry changes in audiovisual binding in illusion trials (with 2, 3, and 4 beeps paired with 1 flash) were not apparent. Exploratory analyses showed that neurofeedback training effects were present for illusion trials with the lowest numeric disparity (i.e., 2 beeps and 1 flash trials) only if the previous trial had high congruency (2 beeps and 2 flashes). Our data suggest that the relation between parietal alpha power (an index of attention) and its effect on audiovisual binding is dependent on the learned causal structure in the previous stimulus. The present results suggests that low alpha power biases observers towards audiovisual binding when they have learned that audiovisual signals originate from a common origin, consistent with a Bayesian causal inference account of multisensory perception.
Johannes Rennig; Michael S Beauchamp
In: NeuroImage, vol. 247, pp. 118796, 2022.
Regions of the human posterior superior temporal gyrus and sulcus (pSTG/S) respond to the visual mouth movements that constitute visual speech and the auditory vocalizations that constitute auditory speech, and neural responses in pSTG/S may underlie the perceptual benefit of visual speech for the comprehension of noisy auditory speech. We examined this possibility through the lens of multivoxel pattern responses in pSTG/S. BOLD fMRI data was collected from 22 participants presented with speech consisting of English sentences presented in five different formats: visual-only; auditory with and without added auditory noise; and audiovisual with and without auditory noise. Participants reported the intelligibility of each sentence with a button press and trials were sorted post-hoc into those that were more or less intelligible. Response patterns were measured in regions of the pSTG/S identified with an independent localizer. Noisy audiovisual sentences with very similar physical properties evoked very different response patterns depending on their intelligibility. When a noisy audiovisual sentence was reported as intelligible, the pattern was nearly identical to that elicited by clear audiovisual sentences. In contrast, an unintelligible noisy audiovisual sentence evoked a pattern like that of visual-only sentences. This effect was less pronounced for noisy auditory-only sentences, which evoked similar response patterns regardless of intelligibility. The successful integration of visual and auditory speech produces a characteristic neural signature in pSTG/S, highlighting the importance of this region in generating the perceptual benefit of visual speech.
Arunava Samaddar; Brooke S. Jackson; Christopher J. Helms; Nicole A. Lazar; Jennifer E. McDowell; Cheolwoo Park
In: Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, vol. 167, pp. 107361, 2022.
In the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, a common type of analysis is to compare differences across scanning sessions. A challenge to direct comparisons of this type is the low signal-to-noise ratio in fMRI data. By using the property that brain signals from a task-related experiment may exhibit a similar pattern in regions of interest across participants, a semiparametric approach under shape invariance to quantify and test the differences in sessions and groups is developed. The common function is estimated with local polynomial regression and the shape invariance model parameters are estimated using evolutionary optimization methods. The efficacy of the semi-parametric approach is demonstrated on a study of brain activation changes across two sessions associated with practice-related cognitive control. The objective of the study is to evaluate neural circuitry supporting a cognitive control task, and associated practice-related changes via acquisition of blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal collected using fMRI. By using the proposed approach, BOLD signals in multiple regions of interest for control participants and participants with schizophrenia are compared as they perform a cognitive control task (known as the antisaccade task) at two sessions, and the effects of task practice in these groups are quantified.
Aspen H. Yoo; Alfredo Bolaños; Grace E. Hallenbeck; Masih Rahmati; Thomas C. Sprague; Clayton E. Curtis
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 365–379, 2022.
Humans allocate visual working memory (WM) resource according to behavioral relevance, resulting in more precise memories for more important items. Theoretically, items may be maintained by feature-tuned neural populations, where the relative gain of the populations encoding each item determines precision. To test this hypothesis, we compared the amplitudes of delay period activity in the different parts of retinotopic maps representing each of several WM items, predicting the amplitudes would track behavioral priority. Using fMRI, we scanned participants while they remembered the location of multiple items over a WM delay and then reported the location of one probed item using a memory-guided saccade. Importantly, items were not equally probable to be probed (0.6, 0.3, 0.1, 0.0), which was indicated with a precue. We analyzed fMRI activity in 10 visual field maps in occipital, parietal, and frontal cortex known to be important for visual WM. In early visual cortex, but not association cortex, the amplitude of BOLD activation within voxels corresponding to the retinotopic location of visual WM items increased with the priority of the item. Interestingly, these results were contrasted with a common finding that higher-level brain regions had greater delay period activity, demonstrating a dissociation between the absolute amount of activity in a brain area and the activity of different spatially selective populations within it. These results suggest that the distribution of WM resources according to priority sculpts the relative gains of neural populations that encode items, offering a neural mechanism for how prioritization impacts memory precision.
Erin Goddard; Thomas A. Carlson; Alexandra Woolgar
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 290–312, 2022.
Attention can be deployed in different ways: When searching for a taxi in New York City, we can decide where to attend (e.g., to the street) and what to attend to (e.g., yellow cars). Although we use the same word to describe both processes, nonhuman primate data suggest that these produce distinct effects on neural tuning. This has been challenging to assess in humans, but here we used an opportunity afforded by multivariate decoding of MEG data. We found that attending to an object at a particular location and attending to a particular object feature produced effects that interacted multiplicatively. The two types of attention induced distinct patterns of enhancement in occipital cortex, with feature-selective attention producing relatively more enhancement of small feature differences and spatial attention producing relatively larger effects for larger feature differences. An information flow analysis further showed that stimulus representations in occipital cortex were Granger-caused by coding in frontal cortices earlier in time and that the timing of this feedback matched the onset of attention effects. The data suggest that spatial and feature-selective attention rely on distinct neural mechanisms that arise from frontal-occipital information exchange, interacting multiplicatively to selectively enhance task-relevant information.
Emily J. Allen; Ghislain St-Yves; Yihan Wu; Jesse L. Breedlove; Jacob S. Prince; Logan T. Dowdle; Matthias Nau; Brad Caron; Franco Pestilli; Ian Charest; J. Benjamin Hutchinson; Thomas Naselaris; Kendrick Kay
In: Nature Neuroscience, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 116–126, 2022.
Extensive sampling of neural activity during rich cognitive phenomena is critical for robust understanding of brain function. Here we present the Natural Scenes Dataset (NSD), in which high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging responses to tens of thousands of richly annotated natural scenes were measured while participants performed a continuous recognition task. To optimize data quality, we developed and applied novel estimation and denoising techniques. Simple visual inspections of the NSD data reveal clear representational transformations along the ventral visual pathway. Further exemplifying the inferential power of the dataset, we used NSD to build and train deep neural network models that predict brain activity more accurately than state-of-the-art models from computer vision. NSD also includes substantial resting-state and diffusion data, enabling network neuroscience perspectives to constrain and enhance models of perception and memory. Given its unprecedented scale, quality and breadth, NSD opens new avenues of inquiry in cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence.
Clement Abbatecola; Peggy Gerardin; Kim Beneyton; Henry Kennedy; Kenneth Knoblauch
In: Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 669256, 2021.
Cross-modal effects provide a model framework for investigating hierarchical inter-areal processing, particularly, under conditions where unimodal cortical areas receive contextual feedback from other modalities. Here, using complementary behavioral and brain imaging techniques, we investigated the functional networks participating in face and voice processing during gender perception, a high-level feature of voice and face perception. Within the framework of a signal detection decision model, Maximum likelihood conjoint measurement (MLCM) was used to estimate the contributions of the face and voice to gender comparisons between pairs of audio-visual stimuli in which the face and voice were independently modulated. Top–down contributions were varied by instructing participants to make judgments based on the gender of either the face, the voice or both modalities (N = 12 for each task). Estimated face and voice contributions to the judgments of the stimulus pairs were not independent; both contributed to all tasks, but their respective weights varied over a 40-fold range due to top–down influences. Models that best described the modal contributions required the inclusion of two different top–down interactions: (i) an interaction that depended on gender congruence across modalities (i.e., difference between face and voice modalities for each stimulus); (ii) an interaction that depended on the within modalities' gender magnitude. The significance of these interactions was task dependent. Specifically, gender congruence interaction was significant for the face and voice tasks while the gender magnitude interaction was significant for the face and stimulus tasks. Subsequently, we used the same stimuli and related tasks in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm (N = 12) to explore the neural correlates of these perceptual processes, analyzed with Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) and Bayesian Model Selection. Results revealed changes in effective connectivity between the unimodal Fusiform Face Area (FFA) and Temporal Voice Area (TVA) in a fashion that paralleled the face and voice behavioral interactions observed in the psychophysical data. These findings explore the role in perception of multiple unimodal parallel feedback pathways.
Alia Afyouni; Franziska Geringswald; Bruno Nazarian; Marie-Helene Grosbras
Brain activity during antisaccades to faces in adolescence Journal Article
In: Cerebral Cortex Communications, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 1–14, 2021.
Cognitive control and social perception both change during adolescence, but little is known of the interaction of these 2 processes. We aimed to characterize developmental changes in brain activity related to the influence of a social stimulus on cognitive control and more specifically on inhibitory control. Children (age 8–11
Sara Ajina; Kristin Jünemann; Arash Sahraie; Holly Bridge
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 28, pp. 5994–6005, 2021.
Hemianopia, loss of vision in half of the visual field, results from damage to the visual pathway posterior to the optic chiasm. Despite negative effects on quality of life, few rehabilitation options are currently available. Recently, several long-term training programs have been developed that show visual improvement within the blind field, although little is known of the underlying neural changes. Here, we have investigated functional and structural changes in the brain associated with visual rehabilitation. Seven human participants with occipital lobe damage enrolled in a visual training program to distinguish which of two intervals contained a drifting Gabor patch presented within the blind field. Participants performed;25 min of training each day for 3–6 months and undertook psychophysical tests and a magnetic resonance imaging scan before and after training. A control group undertook psychophysical tests before and after an equivalent period without training. Participants who were not at ceiling on baseline tests showed on average 9.6% improvement in Gabor detection, 8.3% in detection of moving dots, and 9.9% improvement in direction discrimination after training. Importantly, psychophysical improvement only correlated with improvement in Humphrey perimetry in the trained region of the visual field. Whole-brain analysis showed an increased neural response to moving stimuli in the blind visual field in motion area V5/hMT. Using a region-of-interest approach, training had a significant effect on the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal compared with baseline. Moreover, baseline V5/hMT activity was correlated to the amount of improvement in visual sensitivity using psychophysical and perimetry tests. This study, identifying a critical role for V5/hMT in boosting visual function, may allow us to determine which patients may benefit most from training and design adjunct interventions to increase training effects.
Tara L. Alvarez; Mitchell Scheiman; Cristian Morales; Suril Gohel; Ayushi Sangoi; Elio M. Santos; Chang Yaramothu; John Vito D'Antonio-Bertagnolli; Xiaobo Li; Bharat B. Biswal
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 11, pp. 6545, 2021.
Convergence insufficiency (CI) is the most common binocular vision problem, associated with blurred/double vision, headaches, and sore eyes that are exacerbated when doing prolonged near work, such as reading. The Convergence Insufficiency Neuro-mechanism Adult Population Study (NCT03593031) investigates the mechanistic neural differences between 50 binocularly normal controls (BNC) and 50 symptomatic CI participants by examining the fast and slow fusional disparity vergence systems. The fast fusional system is preprogrammed and is assessed with convergence peak velocity. The slow fusional system optimizes vergence effort and is assessed by measuring the phoria adaptation magnitude and rate. For the fast fusional system, significant differences are observed between the BNC and CI groups for convergence peak velocity, final position amplitude, and functional imaging activity within the secondary visual cortex, right cuneus, and oculomotor vermis. For the slow fusional system, the phoria adaptation magnitude and rate, and the medial cuneus functional activity, are significantly different between the groups. Significant correlations are observed between vergence peak velocity and right cuneus functional activity (p = 0.002) and the rate of phoria adaptation and medial cuneus functional activity (p = 0.02). These results map the brain-behavior of vergence. Future therapeutic interventions may consider implementing procedures that increase cuneus activity for this debilitating disorder.
Magdalena Boch; Sabrina Karl; Ronald Sladky; Ludwig Huber; Claus Lamm; Isabella C. Wagner
In: NeuroImage, vol. 224, pp. 117414, 2021.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of awake and unrestrained dogs (Canis familiaris) has been established as a novel opportunity for comparative neuroimaging, promising important insights into the evolutionary roots of human brain function and cognition. However, data processing and analysis pipelines are often derivatives of methodological standards developed for human neuroimaging, which may be problematic due to profound neurophysiological and anatomical differences between humans and dogs. Here, we explore whether dog fMRI studies would benefit from a tailored dog haemodynamic response function (HRF). In two independent experiments, dogs were presented with different visual stimuli. BOLD signal changes in the visual cortex during these experiments were used for (a) the identification and estimation of a tailored dog HRF, and (b) the independent validation of the resulting dog HRF estimate. Time course analyses revealed that the BOLD signal in the primary visual cortex peaked significantly earlier in dogs compared to humans, while being comparable in shape. Deriving a tailored dog HRF significantly improved the model fit in both experiments, compared to the canonical HRF used in human fMRI. Using the dog HRF yielded significantly increased activation during visual stimulation, extending from the occipital lobe to the caudal parietal cortex, the bilateral temporal cortex, into bilateral hippocampal and thalamic regions. In sum, our findings provide robust evidence for an earlier onset of the dog HRF in two visual stimulation paradigms, and suggest that using such an HRF will be important to increase fMRI detection power in canine neuroimaging. By providing the parameters of the tailored dog HRF and related code, we encourage and enable other researchers to validate whether our findings generalize to other sensory modalities and experimental paradigms.
Bartosz Bohaterewicz; Anna M. Sobczak; Igor Podolak; Bartosz Wójcik; Dagmara Mȩtel; Adrian A. Chrobak; Magdalena Fa̧frowicz; Marcin Siwek; Dominika Dudek; Tadeusz Marek
In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 14, pp. 605697, 2021.
Background: Some studies suggest that as much as 40% of all causes of death in a group of patients with schizophrenia can be attributed to suicides and compared with the general population, patients with schizophrenia have an 8.5-fold greater suicide risk (SR). There is a vital need for accurate and reliable methods to predict the SR among patients with schizophrenia based on biological measures. However, it is unknown whether the suicidal risk in schizophrenia can be related to alterations in spontaneous brain activity, or if the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) measures can be used alongside machine learning (ML) algorithms in order to identify patients with SR. Methods: Fifty-nine participants including patients with schizophrenia with and without SR as well as age and gender-matched healthy underwent 13 min resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Both static and dynamic indexes of the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF), the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF), regional homogeneity as well as functional connectivity (FC) were calculated and used as an input for five machine learning algorithms: Gradient boosting (GB), LASSO, Logistic Regression (LR), Random Forest and Support Vector Machine. Results: All groups revealed different intra-network functional connectivity in ventral DMN and anterior SN. The best performance was reached for the LASSO applied to FC with an accuracy of 70% and AUROC of 0.76 (p < 0.05). Significant classification ability was also reached for GB and LR using fALFF and ALFF measures. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that SR in schizophrenia can be seen on the level of DMN and SN functional connectivity alterations. ML algorithms were able to significantly differentiate SR patients. Our results could be useful in developing neuromarkers of SR in schizophrenia based on non-invasive rsfMRI.
Marie Luise Brandi; Juha M. Lahnakoski; Johannes Kopf-Beck; Tobias Nolte; Tanja M. Brückl; Leonhard Schilbach
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 160, pp. 107923, 2021.
Negative interpersonal experiences are a key contributor to psychiatric disorders. While previous research has shown that negative interpersonal experiences influence social cognition, less is known about the effects on participation in social interactions and the underlying neurobiology. To address this, we developed a new naturalistic version of a gaze-contingent paradigm using real video sequences of gaze behaviour that respond to the participants' gaze in real-time in order to create a believable and continuous interactive social situation. Additionally, participants listened to two autobiographical audio-scripts that guided them to imagine a recent stressful and a relaxing situation and performed the gaze-based social interaction task before and after the presentation of either the stressful or the relaxing audio-script. Our results demonstrate that the social interaction task robustly recruits brain areas with known involvement in social cognition, namely the medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral temporoparietal junction, superior temporal sulcus as well as the precuneus. Imagery of negative interpersonal experiences compared to relaxing imagery led to a prolonged change in affective state and to increased brain responses during the subsequent social interaction paradigm in the temporoparietal junction, medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, precuneus and inferior frontal gyrus. Taken together this study presents a new naturalistic social interaction paradigm suitable to study the neural mechanisms of social interaction and the results demonstrate that the imagery of negative interpersonal experiences affects social interaction on neural levels.
Rotem Broday-Dvir; Rafael Malach
In: Cerebral Cortex, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 213–232, 2021.
Resting-state fluctuations are ubiquitous and widely studied phenomena of the human brain, yet we are largely in the dark regarding their function in human cognition. Here we examined the hypothesis that resting-state fluctuations underlie the generation of free and creative human behaviors. In our experiment, participants were asked to perform three voluntary verbal tasks: a verbal fluency task, a verbal creativity task, and a divergent thinking task, during functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning. Blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD)-activity during these tasks was contrasted with a control- deterministic verbal task, in which the behavior was fully determined by external stimuli. Our results reveal that all voluntary verbal-generation responses displayed a gradual anticipatory buildup that preceded the deterministic control-related responses. Critically, the time-frequency dynamics of these anticipatory buildups were significantly correlated with resting-state fluctuations' dynamics. These correlations were not a general BOLD-related or verbal-response related result, as they were not found during the externally determined verbal control condition. Furthermore, they were located in brain regions known to be involved in language production, specifically the left inferior frontal gyrus. These results suggest a common function of resting-state fluctuations as the neural mechanism underlying the generation of free and creative behaviors in the human cortex.
Joana Carvalho; Remco J. Renken; Frans W. Cornelissen
In: NeuroImage, vol. 245, pp. 118690, 2021.
The visual brain has the remarkable capacity to complete our percept of the world even when the information extracted from the visual scene is incomplete. This ability to predict missing information based on information from spatially adjacent regions is an intriguing attribute of healthy vision. Yet, it gains particular significance when it masks the perceptual consequences of a retinal lesion, leaving patients unaware of their partial loss of vision and ultimately delaying diagnosis and treatment. At present, our understanding of the neural basis of this masking process is limited which hinders both quantitative modeling as well as translational application. To overcome this, we asked the participants to view visual stimuli with and without superimposed artificial scotoma (AS). We used fMRI to record the associated cortical activity and applied model-based analyzes to track changes in cortical population receptive fields and connectivity in response to the introduction of the AS. We found that throughout the visual field and cortical hierarchy, pRFs shifted their preferred position towards the AS border. Moreover, extrastriate areas biased their sampling of V1 towards sections outside the AS projection zone, thereby effectively masking the AS with signals from spared portions of the visual field. We speculate that the signals that drive these system-wide population modifications originate in extrastriate visual areas and, through feedback, also reconfigure the neural populations in the earlier visual areas.
Simon Majed Ceh; Sonja Annerer-Walcher; Karl Koschutnig; Christof Körner; Andreas Fink; Mathias Benedek
In: Cortex, vol. 143, pp. 29–46, 2021.
Many goal-directed, as well as spontaneous everyday activities (e.g., planning, mind-wandering), rely on an internal focus of attention. This fMRI–eye-tracking coregistration study investigated brain mechanisms and eye behavior related to internally versus externally directed cognition. Building on an established paradigm, we manipulated internal attention demands within tasks utilizing conditional stimulus masking. Internally directed cognition involved bilateral activation of the lingual gyrus and inferior parietal lobe areas as well as wide-spread deactivation of visual networks. Moreover, internally directed cognition was related to greater pupil diameter, pupil diameter variance, blink duration, fixation disparity variance, and smaller amounts of microsaccades. FMRI–eye-tracking covariation analyses further revealed that larger pupil diameter was related to increased activation of basal ganglia and lingual gyrus. It can be concluded that internally and externally directed cognition are characterized by distinct neurophysiological signatures. The observed neurophysiological differences indicate that internally directed cognition is associated with reduced processing of task-irrelevant information and increased mental load. These findings shed further light on the interplay between neural and perceptual mechanisms contributing to an internal focus of attention.
Adrian Andrzej Chrobak; Bartosz Bohaterewicz; Anna Maria Sobczak; Magdalena Marszał-Wiśniewska; Anna Tereszko; Anna Krupa; Anna Ceglarek; Magdalena Fafrowicz; Amira Bryll; Tadeusz Marek; Dominika Dudek; Marcin Siwek
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 599, 2021.
The goal of this paper is to investigate the baseline brain activity in euthymic bipolar disorder (BD) patients by comparing it to healthy controls (HC) with the use of a variety of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) analyses, such as amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF), fractional ALFF (f/ALFF), ALFF-based functional connectivity (FC), and r egional homogeneity (ReHo). We hypothesize that above-mentioned techniques will differentiate BD from HC indicating dissimilarities between the groups within different brain structures. Forty-two participants divided into two groups of euthymic BD patients (n = 21) and HC (n = 21) underwent rs-fMRI evaluation. Typical band ALFF, slow-4, slow-5, f/ALFF, as well as ReHo indexes were analyzed. Regions with altered ALFF were chosen as ROI for seed-to-voxel analysis of FC. As opposed to HC, BD patients revealed: increased ALFF in left insula; increased slow-5 in left middle temporal pole; increased f/ALFF in left superior frontal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, left middle occipital gyrus, right putamen, and bilateral thalamus. There were no significant differences between BD and HC groups in slow-4 band. Compared to HC, the BD group presented higher ReHo values in the left superior medial frontal gyrus and lower ReHo values in the right supplementary motor area. FC analysis revealed significant hyper-connectivity within the BD group between left insula and bilateral middle frontal gyrus, right superior parietal gyrus, right supramarginal gyrus, left inferior parietal gyrus, left cerebellum, and left supplementary motor area. To our best knowledge, this is the first rs-fMRI study combining ReHo, ALFF, f/ALFF, and subdivided frequency bands (slow-4 and slow-5) in euthymic BD patients. ALFF, f/ALFF, slow-5, as well as REHO analysis revealed significant differences between two studied groups. Although results obtained with the above methods enable to identify group-specific brain structures, no overlap between the brain regions was detected. This indicates that combination of foregoing rs-fMRI methods may complement each other, revealing the bigger picture of the complex resting state abnormalities in BD.
Jongik Chung; Brooke S. Jackson; Jennifer E. Mcdowell; Cheolwoo Park
In: Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 364, pp. 109374, 2021.
Background: In the Gaussian graphical model framework, precision matrices reveal conditional dependence structure among random variables. In functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, estimating such precision matrices of multi-subjects and aggregating them to a group-level is an essential step for constructing a group brain network. New method: In this article, we considered joint estimation of multiple precision matrices with regularized aggregation. Also, in the construction of a group precision matrix, we integrated robust aggregation to the estimation. In the estimation of individual precision matrices, we took a regularization approach to induce sparsity, which made brain network estimation more realistic. Results: We demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed method through simulated examples, and analyses on real fMRI data acquired during eye movement tasks assessing cognitive control. For the fMRI data, the joint estimation of multiple precision matrices (JEMP) with regularized aggregation (RA) captured more robust associations between task-relevant neural regions of interest (ROIs), compared to the analyses using JEMP alone. The JEMP with RA also was sensitive to increased neural efficiency after task practice. Comparison with existing method(s): The simple average of individual precision matrices may be affected by outliers and provide inconsistent outcomes between subject-level and group-level networks. In contrast, the proposed method yielded a robust group graph that could identify and ease the effect of outliers. Conclusions: The proposed method identified regions of practice-induced attenuation associated with reduced cognitive demand after repeat task exposure. Through simulated and real data, we demonstrated that this method does not require any distribution assumption, can identify outliers, and provides robust, representative group brain networks. This method can be applied to datasets that have extensive variability and/or multiple outliers, including applications to specific, and general, cognitive processes, as well as for studies that may require longitudinal data, such as pharmaceutical trials.
Benjamin Haas; Martin I. Sereno; D. Samuel Schwarzkopf
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 25, pp. 5511–5521, 2021.
The ventral visual stream of the human brain is subdivided into patches with categorical stimulus preferences, like faces or scenes. However, the functional organization within these areas is less clear. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and vertex-wise tuning models to independently probe spatial and face-part preferences in the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG) of healthy adult males and females. The majority of responses were well explained by Gaussian population tuning curves for both retinotopic location and the preferred relative position within a face. Parameter maps revealed a common gradient of spatial and face-part selectivity, with the width of tuning curves drastically increasing from posterior to anterior IOG. Tuning peaks clustered more idiosyncratically but were also correlated across maps of visual and face space. Preferences for the upper visual field went along with significantly increased coverage of the upper half of the face, matching recently discovered biases in human perception. Our findings reveal a broad range of neural face-part selectivity in IOG, ranging from narrow to “holistic.” IOG is functionally organized along this gradient, which in turn is correlated with retinotopy.
J. A. Elshout; D. P. Bergsma; A. V. Berg; K. V. Haak
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, vol. 31, pp. 102703, 2021.
Post-chiasmatic damage to the visual system leads to homonymous visual field defects (HVDs), which can severely interfere with daily life activities. Visual Restitution Training (VRT) can recover parts of the affected visual field in patients with chronic HVDs, but training outcome is variable. An untested hypothesis suggests that training potential may be largest in regions with ‘neural reserve', where cortical responses to visual stimulation do not lead to visual awareness as assessed by Humphrey perimetry—a standard behavioural visual field test. Here, we tested this hypothesis in a sample of twenty-seven hemianopic stroke patients, who participated in an assiduous 80-hour VRT program. For each patient, we collected Humphrey perimetry and wide-field fMRI-based retinotopic mapping data prior to training. In addition, we used Goal Attainment Scaling to assess whether personal activities in daily living improved. After training, we assessed with a second Humphrey perimetry measurement whether the visual field was improved and evaluated which personal goals were attained. Confirming the hypothesis, we found significantly larger improvements of visual sensitivity at field locations with neural reserve. These visual field improvements implicated both regions in primary visual cortex and higher order visual areas. In addition, improvement in daily life activities correlated with the extent of visual field enlargement. Our findings are an important step toward understanding the mechanisms of visual restitution as well as predicting training efficacy in stroke patients with chronic hemianopia.
Farzad V. Farahani; Magdalena Fafrowicz; Waldemar Karwowski; Bartosz Bohaterewicz; Anna Maria Sobczak; Anna Ceglarek; Aleksandra Zyrkowska; Monika Ostrogorska; Barbara Sikora-Wachowicz; Koryna Lewandowska; Halszka Oginska; Anna Beres; Magdalena Hubalewska-Mazgaj; Tadeusz Marek
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 111, 2021.
Significant differences exist in human brain functions affected by time of day and by people's diurnal preferences (chronotypes) that are rarely considered in brain studies. In the current study, using network neuroscience and resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data, we examined the effect of both time of day and the individual's chronotype on whole-brain network organization. In this regard, 62 participants (39 women; mean age: 23.97 ± 3.26 years; half morning-versus half evening-type) were scanned about 1 and 10 h after wake-up time for morning and evening sessions, respectively. We found evidence for a time-of-day effect on connectivity profiles but not for the effect of chronotype. Compared with the morning session, we found relatively higher small-worldness (an index that represents more efficient network organization) in the evening session, which suggests the dominance of sleep inertia over the circadian and homeostatic processes in the first hours after waking. Furthermore, local graph measures were changed, predominantly across the left hemisphere, in areas such as the precentral gyrus, putamen, inferior frontal gyrus (orbital part), inferior temporal gyrus, as well as the bilateral cerebellum. These findings show the variability of the functional neural network architecture during the day and improve our understanding of the role of time of day in resting-state functional networks.
Julia Fietz; Dorothee Pöhlchen; Florian P. Binder; Michael Czisch; Philipp G. Sämann; Victor I. Spoormaker; Elisabeth B. Binder; Tanja M. Brückl; Angelika Erhardt; Norma C. Grandi; Sanja Ilic-Cocic; Susanne Lucae; Alina Tontsch; Julius Ziebula
In: Human Brain Mapping, vol. 43, pp. 665–680, 2021.
The diameter of the human pupil tracks working memory processing and is associated with activity in the frontoparietal network. At the same time, recent neuroimaging research has linked human pupil fluctuations to activity in the salience network. In this combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)/pupillometry study, we recorded the pupil size of healthy human participants while they performed a blockwise organized working memory task (N-back) inside an MRI scanner in order to monitor the pupil fluctuations associated neural activity during working memory processing. We first confirmed that mean pupil size closely followed working memory load. Combining this with fMRI data, we focused on blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) correlates of mean pupil size modeled onto the task blocks as a parametric modulation. Interrogating this modulated task regressor, we were able to retrieve the frontoparietal network. Next, to fully exploit the within-block dynamics, we divided the blocks into 1 s time bins and filled these with corresponding pupil change values (first-order derivative of pupil size). We found that pupil change within N-back blocks was positively correlated with BOLD amplitudes in the areas of the salience network (namely bilateral insula, and anterior cingulate cortex). Taken together, fMRI with simultaneous measurement of pupil parameters constitutes a valuable tool to dissect working memory subprocesses related to both working memory load and salience of the presented stimuli.
Emily S. Finn; Peter A. Bandettini
In: NeuroImage, vol. 235, pp. 117963, 2021.
A major goal of human neuroscience is to relate differences in brain function to differences in behavior across people. Recent work has established that whole-brain functional connectivity patterns are relatively stable within individuals and unique across individuals, and that features of these patterns predict various traits. However, while functional connectivity is most often measured at rest, certain tasks may enhance individual signals and improve sensitivity to behavior differences. Here, we show that compared to the resting state, functional connectivity measured during naturalistic viewing—i.e., movie watching—yields more accurate predictions of trait-like phenotypes in the domains of both cognition and emotion. Traits could be predicted using less than three minutes of data from single video clips, and clips with highly social content gave the most accurate predictions. Results suggest that naturalistic stimuli amplify individual differences in behaviorally relevant brain networks.
Markus Frey; Matthias Nau; Christian F. Doeller
Magnetic resonance-based eye tracking using deep neural networks Journal Article
In: Nature Neuroscience, vol. 24, no. 12, pp. 1772–1779, 2021.
Viewing behavior provides a window into many central aspects of human cognition and health, and it is an important variable of interest or confound in many functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. To make eye tracking freely and widely available for MRI research, we developed DeepMReye, a convolutional neural network (CNN) that decodes gaze position from the magnetic resonance signal of the eyeballs. It performs cameraless eye tracking at subimaging temporal resolution in held-out participants with little training data and across a broad range of scanning protocols. Critically, it works even in existing datasets and when the eyes are closed. Decoded eye movements explain network-wide brain activity also in regions not associated with oculomotor function. This work emphasizes the importance of eye tracking for the interpretation of fMRI results and provides an open source software solution that is widely applicable in research and clinical settings.
Esther Fujiwara; Christopher R. Madan; Jeremy B. Caplan; Tobias Sommer
In: Learning and Memory, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 76–81, 2021.
The brain processes underlying impairing effects of emotional arousal on associative memory were previously attributed to two dissociable routes using high-resolution fMRI of the MTL (Madan et al. 2017). Extrahippocampal MTL regions supporting associative encoding of neutral pairs suggested unitization; conversely, associative encoding of negative pairs involved compensatory hippocampal activity. Here, whole-brain fMRI revealed prefrontal contributions: dmPFC was more involved in hippocampal-dependent negative pair learning and vmPFC in extrahippocampal neutral pair learning. Successful encoding of emotional memory associations may require emotion regulation/conflict resolution (dmPFC), while neutral memory associations may be accomplished by anchoring new information to prior knowledge (vmPFC).
Max Garagnani; Evgeniya Kirilina; Friedemann Pulvermüller
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 1–16, 2021.
Embodied theories of grounded semantics postulate that, when word meaning is first acquired, a link is established between symbol (word form) and corresponding semantic information present in modality-specific—including primary—sensorimotor cortices of the brain. Direct experimental evidence documenting the emergence of such a link (i.e., showing that presentation of a previously unknown, meaningless word sound induces, after learning, category-specific reactivation of relevant primary sensory or motor brain areas), however, is still missing. Here, we present new neuroimaging results that provide such evidence. We taught participants aspects of the referential meaning of previously unknown, senseless novel spoken words (such as “Shruba” or “Flipe”) by associating them with either a familiar action or a familiar object. After training, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the participants' brain responses to the new speech items. We found that hearing the newly learnt object-related word sounds selectively triggered activity in the primary visual cortex, as well as secondary and higher visual areas.These results for the first time directly document the formation of a link between the novel, previously meaningless spoken items and corresponding semantic information in primary sensory areas in a category-specific manner, providing experimental support for perceptual accounts of word-meaning acquisition in the brain.
Kyle M. Gilbert; L. Martyn Klassen; Alexander Mashkovtsev; Peter Zeman; Ravi S. Menon; Joseph S. Gati
In: NMR in Biomedicine, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. e4457, 2021.
Many neuroscience applications have adopted functional MRI as a tool to investigate the healthy and diseased brain during the completion of a task. While ultra-high-field MRI has allowed for improved contrast and signal-to-noise ratios during functional MRI studies, it remains a challenge to create local radiofrequency coils that can accommodate an unobstructed visual field and be suitable for routine use, while at the same time not compromise performance. Performance (both during transmission and reception) can be improved by using close-fitting coils; however, maintaining sensitivity over the whole brain often requires the introduction of coil elements proximal to the eyes, thereby partially occluding the subject's visual field. This study presents a 7 T head coil, with eight transmit dipoles and 32 receive loops, that is designed to remove visual obstructions from the subject's line of sight, allowing for an unencumbered view of visual stimuli, the reduction of anxiety induced from small enclosures, and the potential for eye-tracking measurements. The coil provides a practical solution for routine imaging, including a split design (anterior and posterior halves) that facilitates subject positioning, including those with impaired mobility, and the placement of devices required for patient comfort and motion reduction. The transmit and receive coils displayed no degradation of performance due to adaptions to the design topology (both mechanical and electrical) required to create an unobstructed visual field. All computer-aided design files, electromagnetic simulation models, transmit field maps and local specific absorption rate matrices are provided to promote reproduction.
Evan M Gordon; Timothy O Laumann; Scott Marek; Dillan J Newbold; Jacqueline M Hampton; Nicole A Seider; David F Montez; Ashley M Nielsen; Andrew N Van; Annie Zheng; Ryland Miller; Joshua S Siegel; Benjamin P Kay; Abraham Z Snyder; Deanna J Greene; Bradley L Schlaggar; Steven E Petersen; Steven M Nelson; Nico U F Dosenbach
In: Cerebral Cortex, pp. 1–17, 2021.
The striatum and cerebral cortex are interconnected via multiple recurrent loops that play a major role in many neuropsychiatric conditions. Primate corticostriatal connections can be precisely mapped using invasive tract-tracing. However, noninvasive human research has not mapped these connections with anatomical precision, limited in part by the practice of averaging neuroimaging data across individuals. Here we utilized highly sampled resting-state functional connectivity MRI for individual-specific precision functional mapping (PFM) of corticostriatal connections. We identified ten individual-specific subnetworks linking cortex—predominately frontal cortex—to striatum, most of which converged with nonhuman primate tract-tracing work. These included separable connections between nucleus accumbens core/shell and orbitofrontal/medial frontal gyrus; between anterior striatum and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex; between dorsal caudate and lateral prefrontal cortex; and between middle/posterior putamen and supplementary motor/primary motor cortex. Two subnetworks that did not converge with nonhuman primates were connected to cortical regions associated with human language function. Thus, precision subnetworks identify detailed, individual-specific, neurobiologically plausible corticostriatal connectivity that includes human-specific language networks.
Josephine M. Groot; Nya M. Boayue; Gábor Csifcsák; Wouter Boekel; René Huster; Birte U. Forstmann; Matthias Mittner
In: NeuroImage, vol. 224, pp. 117412, 2021.
Mind wandering reflects the shift in attentional focus from task-related cognition driven by external stimuli toward self-generated and internally-oriented thought processes. Although such task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs) are pervasive and detrimental to task performance, their underlying neural mechanisms are only modestly understood. To investigate TUTs with high spatial and temporal precision, we simultaneously measured fMRI, EEG, and pupillometry in healthy adults while they performed a sustained attention task with experience sampling probes. Features of interest were extracted from each modality at the single-trial level and fed to a support vector machine that was trained on the probe responses. Compared to task-focused attention, the neural signature of TUTs was characterized by weaker activity in the default mode network but elevated activity in its anticorrelated network, stronger functional coupling between these networks, widespread increase in alpha, theta, delta, but not beta, frequency power, predominantly reduced amplitudes of late, but not early, event-related potentials, and larger baseline pupil size. Particularly, information contained in dynamic interactions between large-scale cortical networks was predictive of transient changes in attentional focus above other modalities. Together, our results provide insight into the spatiotemporal dynamics of TUTs and the neural markers that may facilitate their detection.
Marcus Grueschow; Nico Stenz; Hanna Thörn; Ulrike Ehlert; Jan Breckwoldt; Monika Brodmann Maeder; Aristomenis K. Exadaktylos; Roland Bingisser; Christian C. Ruff; Birgit Kleim
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 2275, 2021.
Individuals may show different responses to stressful events. Here, we investigate the neurobiological basis of stress resilience, by showing that neural responsitivity of the noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC-NE) and associated pupil responses are related to the subsequent change in measures of anxiety and depression in response to prolonged real-life stress. We acquired fMRI and pupillometry data during an emotional-conflict task in medical residents before they underwent stressful emergency-room internships known to be a risk factor for anxiety and depression. The LC-NE conflict response and its functional coupling with the amygdala was associated with stress-related symptom changes in response to the internship. A similar relationship was found for pupil-dilation, a potential marker of LC-NE firing. Our results provide insights into the noradrenergic basis of conflict generation, adaptation and stress resilience.
Hinke N. Halbertsma; Holly Bridge; Joana Carvalho; Frans W. Cornelissen; Sara Ajina
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 713114, 2021.
Purpose: A stroke that includes the primary visual cortex unilaterally leads to a loss of visual field (VF) representation in the hemifield contralateral to the damage. While behavioral procedures for measuring the VF, such as perimetry, may indicate that a patient cannot see in a particular area, detailed psychophysical testing often detects the ability to perform detection or discrimination of visual stimuli (“blindsight”). The aim of this study was to determine whether functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could be used to determine whether perimetrically blind regions of the VF were still represented in VF maps reconstructed on the basis of visually evoked neural activity. Methods: Thirteen patients with hemianopia and nine control participants were scanned using 3T MRI while presented with visual stimulation. Two runs of a dynamic “wedge and ring” mapping stimulus, totaling approximately 10 min, were performed while participants fixated centrally. Two different analysis approaches were taken: the conventional population receptive field (pRF) analysis and micro-probing (MP). The latter is a variant of the former that makes fewer assumptions when modeling the visually evoked neural activity. Both methods were used to reconstruct the VF by projecting modeled activity back onto the VF. Following a normalization step, these “coverage maps” can be compared to the VF sensitivity plots obtained using perimetry. Results: While both fMRI-based approaches revealed regions of neural activity within the perimetrically “blind” sections of the VF, the MP approach uncovered more voxels in the lesioned hemisphere in which a modest degree of visual sensitivity was retained. Furthermore, MP-based analysis indicated that both early (V1/V2) and extrastriate visual areas contributed equally to the retained sensitivity in both patients and controls. Conclusion: In hemianopic patients, fMRI-based approaches for reconstructing the VF can pick up activity in perimetrically blind regions of the VF. Such regions of the VF may be particularly amenable for rehabilitation to regain visual function. Compared to conventional pRF modeling, MP reveals more voxels with retained visual sensitivity, suggesting it is a more sensitive approach for VF reconstruction.
Silvia L. Isabella; J. Allan Cheyne; Douglas Cheyne
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 786035, 2021.
Cognitive control of action is associated with conscious effort and is hypothesised to be reflected by increased frontal theta activity. However, the functional role of these increases in theta power, and how they contribute to cognitive control remains unknown. We conducted an MEG study to test the hypothesis that frontal theta oscillations interact with sensorimotor signals in order to produce controlled behaviour, and that the strength of these interactions will vary with the amount of control required. We measured neuromagnetic activity in 16 healthy adults performing a response inhibition (Go/Switch) task, known from previous work to modulate cognitive control requirements using hidden patterns of Go and Switch cues. Learning was confirmed by reduced reaction times (RT) to patterned compared to random Switch cues. Concurrent measures of pupil diameter revealed changes in subjective cognitive effort with stimulus probability, even in the absence of measurable behavioural differences, revealing instances of covert variations in cognitive effort. Significant theta oscillations were found in five frontal brain regions, with theta power in the right middle frontal and right premotor cortices parametrically increasing with cognitive effort. Similar increases in oscillatory power were also observed in motor cortical gamma, suggesting an interaction. Right middle frontal and right precentral theta activity predicted changes in pupil diameter across all experimental conditions, demonstrating a close relationship between frontal theta increases and cognitive control. Although no theta-gamma cross-frequency coupling was found, long-range theta phase coherence among the five significant sources between bilateral middle frontal, right inferior frontal, and bilateral premotor areas was found, thus providing a mechanism for the relay of cognitive control between frontal and motor areas via theta signalling. Furthermore, this provides the first evidence for the sensitivity of frontal theta oscillations to implicit motor learning and its effects on cognitive load. More generally these results present a possible a mechanism for this frontal theta network to coordinate response preparation, inhibition and execution.
Hamid Karimi-Rouzbahani; Alexandra Woolgar; Anina N. Rich
In: eLife, vol. 10, pp. e60563, 2021.
There are many monitoring environments, such as railway control, in which lapses of attention can have tragic consequences. Problematically, sustained monitoring for rare targets is difficult, with more misses and longer reaction times over time. What changes in the brain underpin these ‘vigilance decrements'? We designed a multiple-object monitoring (MOM) paradigm to examine how the neural representation of information varied with target frequency and time performing the task. Behavioural performance decreased over time for the rare target (monitoring) condition, but not for a frequent target (active) condition. This was mirrored in neural decoding using magnetoencephalography: coding of critical information declined more during monitoring versus active conditions along the experiment. We developed new analyses that can predict behavioural errors from the neural data more than a second before they occurred. This facilitates pre-empting behavioural errors due to lapses in attention and provides new insight into the neural correlates of vigilance decrements.
Anna M. Monk; Daniel N. Barry; Vladimir Litvak; Gareth R. Barnes; Eleanor A. Maguire
In: eNeuro, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 1–12, 2021.
Our lives unfold as sequences of events. We experience these events as seamless, although they are composed of individual images captured in between the interruptions imposed by eye blinks and saccades. Events typically involve visual imagery from the real world (scenes), and the hippocampus is frequently en-gaged in this context. It is unclear, however, whether the hippocampus would be similarly responsive to unfolding events that involve abstract imagery. Addressing this issue could provide insights into the nature of its contribution to event processing, with relevance for theories of hippocampal function. Consequently, during magnetoencephalography (MEG), we had female and male humans watch highly matched unfolding movie events composed of either scene image frames that reflected the real world, or frames depicting abstract pat-terns. We examined the evoked neuronal responses to each image frame along the time course of the movie events. Only one difference between the two conditions was evident, and that was during the viewing of the first image frame of events, detectable across frontotemporal sensors. Further probing of this difference using source reconstruction revealed greater engagement of a set of brain regions across parietal, frontal, premotor, and cerebellar cortices, with the largest change in broadband (1–30 Hz) power in the hippocampus during scene-based movie events. Hippocampal engagement during the first image frame of scene-based events could reflect its role in registering a recognizable context perhaps based on templates or schemas. The hippo-campus, therefore, may help to set the scene for events very early on.
Anna M. Monk; Marshall A. Dalton; Gareth R. Barnes; Eleanor A. Maguire; American Psychological Association
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 89–103, 2021.
The hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) play key roles in numerous cognitive domains including mind-wandering, episodic memory and imagining the future. Perspectives differ on precisely how they support these diverse functions, but there is general agreement that it involves constructing representations comprised of numerous elements. Visual scenes have been deployed extensively in cognitive neuroscience because they are paradigmatic multi-element stimuli. However, it remains unclear whether scenes, rather than other types of multi-feature stimuli, preferentially engage hippocampus and vmPFC. Here we leveraged the high temporal resolution of magnetoencephalography to test participants as they gradually built scene imagery from three successive auditorily-presented object descriptions and an imagined 3D space. This was contrasted with constructing mental images of non-scene arrays that were composed of three objects and an imagined 2D space. The scene and array stimuli were, therefore, highly matched, and this paradigm permitted a closer examination of step-by-step mental construction than has been undertaken previously. We observed modulation of theta power in our two regions of interest -anterior hippocampus during the initial stage, and in vmPFC during the first two stages, of scene relative to array construction. Moreover, the scene-specific anterior hippocampal activity during the first construction stage was driven by the vmPFC, with mutual entrainment between the two brain regions thereafter. These findings suggest that hippocampal and vmPFC neural activity is especially tuned to scene representations during the earliest stage of their formation, with implications for theories of how these brain areas enable cognitive functions such as episodic memory.
Peter R. Murphy; Niklas Wilming; Diana C. Hernandez-Bocanegra; Genis Prat-Ortega; Tobias H. Donner
In: Nature Neuroscience, vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 987–997, 2021.
Many decisions under uncertainty entail the temporal accumulation of evidence that informs about the state of the environment. When environments are subject to hidden changes in their state, maximizing accuracy and reward requires non-linear accumulation of evidence. How this adaptive, non-linear computation is realized in the brain is unknown. We analyzed human behavior and cortical population activity (measured with magnetoencephalography) recorded during visual evidence accumulation in a changing environment. Behavior and decision-related activity in cortical regions involved in action planning exhibited hallmarks of adaptive evidence accumulation, which could also be implemented by a recurrent cortical microcircuit. Decision dynamics in action-encoding parietal and frontal regions were mirrored in a frequency-specific modulation of the state of the visual cortex that depended on pupil-linked arousal and the expected probability of change. These findings link normative decision computations to recurrent cortical circuit dynamics and highlight the adaptive nature of decision-related feedback to the sensory cortex.
J. A. Nij Bijvank; E. M. M. Strijbis; I. M. Nauta; S. D. Kulik; L. J. Balk; C. J. Stam; A. Hillebrand; J. J. G. Geurts; B. M. J. Uitdehaag; L. J. Rijn; A. Petzold; M. M. Schoonheim
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, vol. 32, pp. 102848, 2021.
Background: Impaired eye movements in multiple sclerosis (MS) are common and could represent a non-invasive and accurate measure of (dys)functioning of interconnected areas within the complex brain network. The aim of this study was to test whether altered saccadic eye movements are related to changes in functional connectivity (FC) in patients with MS. Methods: Cross-sectional eye movement (pro-saccades and anti-saccades) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data from the Amsterdam MS cohort were included from 176 MS patients and 33 healthy controls. FC was calculated between all regions of the Brainnetome atlas in six conventional frequency bands. Cognitive function and disability were evaluated by previously validated measures. The relationships between saccadic parameters and both FC and clinical scores in MS patients were analysed using multivariate linear regression models. Results: In MS pro- and anti-saccades were abnormal compared to healthy controls A relationship of saccadic eye movements was found with FC of the oculomotor network, which was stronger for regional than global FC. In general, abnormal eye movements were related to higher delta and theta FC but lower beta FC. Strongest associations were found for pro-saccadic latency and FC of the precuneus (beta band $beta$ = -0.23
Anastasia O. Ovchinnikova; Anatoly N. Vasilyev; Ivan P. Zubarev; Bogdan L. Kozyrskiy; Sergei L. Shishkin
In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 619591, 2021.
Gaze-based input is an efficient way of hand-free human-computer interaction. However, it suffers from the inability of gaze-based interfaces to discriminate voluntary and spontaneous gaze behaviors, which are overtly similar. Here, we demonstrate that voluntary eye fixations can be discriminated from spontaneous ones using short segments of magnetoencephalography (MEG) data measured immediately after the fixation onset. Recently proposed convolutional neural networks (CNNs), linear finite impulse response filters CNN (LF-CNN) and vector autoregressive CNN (VAR-CNN), were applied for binary classification of the MEG signals related to spontaneous and voluntary eye fixations collected in healthy participants (n = 25) who performed a game-like task by fixating on targets voluntarily for 500 ms or longer. Voluntary fixations were identified as those followed by a fixation in a special confirmatory area. Spontaneous vs. voluntary fixation-related single-trial 700 ms MEG segments were non-randomly classified in the majority of participants, with the group average cross-validated ROC AUC of 0.66 ± 0.07 for LF-CNN and 0.67 ± 0.07 for VAR-CNN (M ± SD). When the time interval, from which the MEG data were taken, was extended beyond the onset of the visual feedback, the group average classification performance increased up to 0.91. Analysis of spatial patterns contributing to classification did not reveal signs of significant eye movement impact on the classification results. We conclude that the classification of MEG signals has a certain potential to support gaze-based interfaces by avoiding false responses to spontaneous eye fixations on a single-trial basis. Current results for intention detection prior to gaze-based interface's feedback, however, are not sufficient for online single-trial eye fixation classification using MEG data alone, and further work is needed to find out if it could be used in practical applications.
Yali Pan; Steven Frisson; Ole Jensen
Neural evidence for lexical parafoveal processing Journal Article
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 5234, 2021.
In spite of the reduced visual acuity, parafoveal information plays an important role in natural reading. However, competing models on reading disagree on whether words are previewed parafoveally at the lexical level. We find neural evidence for lexical parafoveal processing by combining a rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) approach with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and eye-tracking. In a silent reading task, target words are tagged (flickered) subliminally at 60 Hz. The tagging responses measured when fixating on the pre-target word reflect parafoveal processing of the target word. We observe stronger tagging responses during pre-target fixations when followed by low compared with high lexical frequency targets. Moreover, this lexical parafoveal processing is associated with individual reading speed. Our findings suggest that reading unfolds in the fovea and parafovea simultaneously to support fluent reading.
Thomas Pfeffer; Adrian Ponce-Alvarez; Konstantinos Tsetsos; Thomas Meindertsma; Christoffer Julius Gahnström; Ruud Lucas Brink; Guido Nolte; Andreas Karl Engel; Gustavo Deco; Tobias Hinrich Donner
In: Science Advances, vol. 7, no. 29, pp. eabf5620, 2021.
Influential theories postulate distinct roles of catecholamines and acetylcholine in cognition and behavior. However, previous physiological work reported similar effects of these neuromodulators on the response properties (specifically, the gain) of individual cortical neurons. Here, we show a double dissociation between the effects of catecholamines and acetylcholine at the level of large-scale interactions between cortical areas in humans. A pharmacological boost of catecholamine levels increased cortex-wide interactions during a visual task, but not rest. An acetylcholine boost decreased interactions during rest, but not task. Cortical circuit modeling explained this dissociation by differential changes in two circuit properties: The local excitation-inhibition balance (more strongly increased by catecholamines) and intracortical transmission (more strongly reduced by acetylcholine). The inferred catecholaminergic mechanism also predicted noisier decision-making, which we confirmed for both perceptual and value-based choice behavior. Our work highlights specific circuit mechanisms for shaping cortical network interactions and behavioral variability by key neuromodulatory systems.
Ella Podvalny; Leana E. King; Biyu J. He
In: eLife, vol. 10, pp. e68265, 2021.
Arousal levels perpetually rise and fall spontaneously. How markers of arousal—pupil size and frequency content of brain activity—relate to each other and influence behavior in humans is poorly understood. We simultaneously monitored magnetoencephalography and pupil in healthy volunteers at rest and during a visual perceptual decision-making task. Spontaneously varying pupil size correlates with power of brain activity in most frequency bands across large-scale resting-state cortical networks. Pupil size recorded at prestimulus baseline correlates with subsequent shifts in detection bias (c) and sensitivity (d'). When dissociated from pupil-linked state, prestimulus spectral power of resting state networks still predicts perceptual behavior. Fast spontaneous pupil constriction and dilation correlate with large-scale brain activity as well but not perceptual behavior. Our results illuminate the relation between central and peripheral arousal markers and their respective roles in human perceptual decision-making.
Isabelle A. Rosenthal; Shridhar R. Singh; Katherine L. Hermann; Dimitrios Pantazis; Bevil R. Conway
Color space geometry uncovered with magnetoencephalography Journal Article
In: Current Biology, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 515–526, 2021.
The geometry that describes the relationship among colors, and the neural mechanisms that support color vision, are unsettled. Here, we use multivariate analyses of measurements of brain activity obtained with magnetoencephalography to reverse-engineer a geometry of the neural representation of color space. The analyses depend upon determining similarity relationships among the spatial patterns of neural responses to different colors and assessing how these relationships change in time. We evaluate the approach by relating the results to universal patterns in color naming. Two prominent patterns of color naming could be accounted for by the decoding results: the greater precision in naming warm colors compared to cool colors evident by an interaction of hue and lightness, and the preeminence among colors of reddish hues. Additional experiments showed that classifiers trained on responses to color words could decode color from data obtained using colored stimuli, but only at relatively long delays after stimulus onset. These results provide evidence that perceptual representations can give rise to semantic representations, but not the reverse. Taken together, the results uncover a dynamic geometry that provides neural correlates for color appearance and generates new hypotheses about the structure of color space.
Rodolfo Solís-Vivanco; Ole Jensen; Mathilde Bonnefond
In: Human Brain Mapping, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 1699–1713, 2021.
Detection of unexpected, yet relevant events is essential in daily life. fMRI studies have revealed the involvement of the ventral attention network (VAN), including the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), in such process. In this MEG study with 34 participants (17 women), we used a bimodal (visual/auditory) attention task to determine the neuronal dynamics associated with suppression of the activity of the VAN during top-down attention and its recruitment when information from the unattended sensory modality is involuntarily integrated. We observed an anticipatory power increase of alpha/beta oscillations (12–20 Hz, previously associated with functional inhibition) in the VAN following a cue indicating the modality to attend. Stronger VAN power increases were associated with better task performance, suggesting that the VAN suppression prevents shifting attention to distractors. Moreover, the TPJ was synchronized with the frontal eye field in that frequency band, indicating that the dorsal attention network (DAN) might participate in such suppression. Furthermore, we found a 12–20 Hz power decrease and enhanced synchronization, in both the VAN and DAN, when information between sensory modalities was congruent, suggesting an involvement of these networks when attention is involuntarily enhanced due to multisensory integration. Our results show that effective multimodal attentional allocation includes the modulation of the VAN and DAN through upper-alpha/beta oscillations. Altogether these results indicate that the suppressing role of alpha/beta oscillations might operate beyond sensory regions.
Benjamin J Stauch; Alina Peter; Heike Schuler; Pascal Fries
In: eLife, vol. 10, pp. e68240, 2021.
Under natural conditions, the visual system often sees a given input repeatedly. This provides an opportunity to optimize processing of the repeated stimuli. Stimulus repetition has been shown to strongly modulate neuronal-gamma band synchronization, yet crucial questions remained open. Here we used magnetoencephalography in 30 human subjects and find that gamma decreases across ≈10 repetitions and then increases across further repetitions, revealing plastic changes of the activated neuronal circuits. Crucially, increases induced by one stimulus did not affect responses to other stimuli, demonstrating stimulus specificity. Changes partially persisted when the inducing stimulus was repeated after 25 minutes of intervening stimuli. They were strongest in early visual cortex and increased interareal feedforward influences. Our results suggest that early visual cortex gamma synchronization enables adaptive neuronal processing of recurring stimuli. These and previously reported changes might be due to an interaction of oscillatory dynamics with established synaptic plasticity mechanisms.
Yu Takagi; Laurence Tudor Hunt; Mark W. Woolrich; Timothy E. J. Behrens; Miriam C. Klein-Flügge
In: eLife, vol. 10, pp. 1–27, 2021.
Choices rely on a transformation of sensory inputs into motor responses. Using invasive single neuron recordings, the evolution of a choice process has been tracked by projecting population neural responses into state spaces. Here, we develop an approach that allows us to recover similar trajectories on a millisecond timescale in non-invasive human recordings. We selectively suppress activity related to three task-axes, relevant and irrelevant sensory inputs and response direction, in magnetoencephalography data acquired during context-dependent choices. Recordings from premotor cortex show a progression from processing sensory input to processing the response. In contrast to previous macaque recordings, information related to choice-irrelevant features is represented more weakly than choice-relevant sensory information. To test whether this mechanistic difference between species is caused by extensive over-training common in non-human primate studies, we trained humans on >20,000 trials of the task. Choice-irrelevant features were still weaker than relevant features in premotor cortex after over-training.
Mats W. J. Es; Tom R. Marshall; Eelke Spaak; Ole Jensen; Jan-Mathijs Schoffelen
In: European Journal of Neuroscience, pp. 1–18, 2021.
Sustained attention has long been thought to benefit perception in a continuous fashion, but recent evidence suggests that it affects perception in a discrete, rhythmic way. Periodic fluctuations in behavioral performance over time, and modulations of behavioral performance by the phase of spontaneous oscillatory brain activity point to an attentional sampling rate in the theta or alpha frequency range. We investigated whether such discrete sampling by attention is reflected in periodic fluctuations in the decodability of visual stimulus orientation from magnetoencephalographic (MEG) brain signals. In this exploratory study, human subjects attended one of two grating stimuli while MEG was being recorded. We assessed the strength of the visual representation of the attended stimulus using a support vector machine (SVM) to decode the orientation of the grating (clockwise vs. counterclockwise) from the MEG signal. We tested whether decoder performance depended on the theta/alpha phase of local brain activity. While the phase of ongoing activity in visual cortex did not modulate decoding performance, theta/alpha phase of activity in the FEF and parietal cortex, contralateral to the attended stimulus did modulate decoding performance. These findings suggest that phasic modulations of visual stimulus representations in the brain are caused by frequency-specific top-down activity in the fronto-parietal attention network.
Aurélien Weiss; Valérian Chambon; Junseok K. Lee; Jan Drugowitsch; Valentin Wyart
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 2228, 2021.
Making accurate decisions in uncertain environments requires identifying the generative cause of sensory cues, but also the expected outcomes of possible actions. Although both cognitive processes can be formalized as Bayesian inference, they are commonly studied using different experimental frameworks, making their formal comparison difficult. Here, by framing a reversal learning task either as cue-based or outcome-based inference, we found that humans perceive the same volatile environment as more stable when inferring its hidden state by interaction with uncertain outcomes than by observation of equally uncertain cues. Multivariate patterns of magnetoencephalographic (MEG) activity reflected this behavioral difference in the neural interaction between inferred beliefs and incoming evidence, an effect originating from associative regions in the temporal lobe. Together, these findings indicate that the degree of control over the sampling of volatile environments shapes human learning and decision-making under uncertainty.
Grace E. Hallenbeck; Thomas C. Sprague; Masih Rahmati; Kartik K. Sreenivasan; Clayton E. Curtis
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 4714, 2021.
Although the contents of working memory can be decoded from visual cortex activity, these representations may play a limited role if they are not robust to distraction. We used model-based fMRI to estimate the impact of distracting visual tasks on working memory representations in several visual field maps in visual and frontoparietal association cortex. Here, we show distraction causes the fidelity of working memory representations to briefly dip when both the memorandum and distractor are jointly encoded by the population activities. Distraction induces small biases in memory errors which can be predicted by biases in neural decoding in early visual cortex, but not other regions. Although distraction briefly disrupts working memory representations, the widespread redundancy with which working memory information is encoded may protect against catastrophic loss. In early visual cortex, the neural representation of information in working memory and behavioral performance are intertwined, solidifying its importance in visual memory.
Anja Ischebeck; Hannah Hiebel; Joe Miller; Margit Höfler; Iain D. Gilchrist; Christof Körner
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 153, pp. 107763, 2021.
In serial visual search we shift attention successively from location to location in search for the target. Although such search has been investigated using fMRI, overt attention (i.e., eye movements) was usually neglected or discouraged. As a result, it is unclear what happens in the instant when our gaze falls upon a target as compared to a distractor. In the present experiment, we used a multiple target search task that required eye movements and employed an analysis based on fixations as events of interest to investigate differences between target and distractor processing. Twenty young healthy adults indicated the number of targets (0–3) among distractors in a 20-item display. Compared to distractor fixations, we found that target fixations gave rise to wide-spread activation in the dorsal attention system, as well as in the visual cortex. Targets that were found later during the search activated the left inferior frontal gyrus and the left supramarginal gyrus more strongly than those that were found earlier. Finally, areas associated with visual and verbal working memory showed increased activation with a larger number of targets in the display.
Joonyoung Kang; Hyeji Kim; Seong Hwan Hwang; Minjun Han; Sue Hyun Lee; Hyoung F. Kim
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 2100, 2021.
The ventral striatum (VS) is considered a key region that flexibly updates recent changes in reward values for habit learning. However, this update process may not serve to maintain learned habitual behaviors, which are insensitive to value changes. Here, using fMRI in humans and single-unit electrophysiology in macaque monkeys we report another role of the primate VS: that the value memory subserving habitual seeking is stably maintained in the VS. Days after object-value associative learning, human and monkey VS continue to show increased responses to previously rewarded objects, even when no immediate reward outcomes are expected. The similarity of neural response patterns to each rewarded object increases after learning among participants who display habitual seeking. Our data show that long-term memory of high-valued objects is retained as a single representation in the VS and may be utilized to evaluate visual stimuli automatically to guide habitual behavior.
Sabrina Karl; Ronald Sladky; Claus Lamm; Ludwig Huber
In: Cerebral Cortex Communications, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. tgab047, 2021.
We have limited knowledge on how dogs perceive humans and their actions. Various researchers investigated how they process human facial expressions, but their brain responses to complex social scenarios remain unclear. While undergoing fMRI, we exposed pet dogs to videos showing positive social and neutral nonsocial interactions between their caregivers and another conspecific. Our main interest was how the dogs responded to their caregivers (compared to a stranger) engaging in a pleasant interaction with another dog that could be seen as social rival. We hypothesized that the dogs would show activation increases in limbic areas such as the amygdala, hypothalamus, and insula and likely show higher attention and arousal during the positive caregiver–dog interaction. When contrasting the social with the nonsocial interaction, we found increased activations in the left amygdala and the insular cortex. Crucially, the dogs' hypothalamus showed strongest activation when the caregiver engaged in a positive social interaction. These findings indicate that dogs are sensitive to social affective human–dog interactions and likely show higher valence attribution and arousal in a situation possibly perceived as a potential threat to their caregiver bonds. Our study provides a first window into the neural correlates of social and emotional processing in dogs.
Haena Kim; Namrata Nanavaty; Humza Ahmed; Vani A. Mathur; Brian A. Anderson
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 12, pp. 2440–2460, 2021.
Rewarding and aversive outcomes have opposing effects on behavior, facilitating approach and avoidance, although we need to accurately anticipate each type of outcome to behave effectively. Attention is biased toward stimuli that have been learned to predict either type of outcome, and it remains an open question whether such orienting is driven by separate systems for value-and threat-based orienting or whether there exists a common underlying mechanism of attentional control driven by motivational salience. Here, we provide a direct comparison of the neural correlates of value-and threat-based attentional capture after associative learning. Across multiple measures of behavior and brain activation, our findings overwhelmingly support a motivational salience account of the control of attention. We conclude that there exists a core mechanism of experience-dependent attentional control driven by motivational salience and that prior characterizations of attention as being value driven or supporting threat monitoring need to be revisited.
Na Yeon Kim; Mark A. Pinsk; Sabine Kastner
In: Cerebral Cortex, vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 3107–3121, 2021.
The fundamental receptive field (RF) architecture in human visual cortex becomes adult-like by age 5. However, visuo-spatial functions continue to develop until teenage years. This suggests that, despite the early maturation of the RF structure, functional interactions within and across RFs may mature slowly. Here, we used fMRI to investigate functional interactions among multiple stimuli in the visual cortex of school children (ages 8 to 12) in the context of biased competition theory. In the adult visual system, multiple objects presented in the same visual field compete for neural representation. These competitive interactions occur at the level of the RF and are therefore closely linked to the RF architecture. Like in adults, we found suppression of evoked responses in children's visual cortex when multiple stimuli were presented simultaneously. Such suppression effects were modulated by the spatial distance between the stimuli as a function of RF size across the visual system. Our findings suggest that basic competitive interactions in the visual cortex of children above age 8 operate in an adult-like manner, with subtle differences in early visual areas and area MT. Our study establishes a paradigm and provides baseline data to investigate the neural basis of visuo-spatial processing in typical and atypical development.
Johannes Kirchner; Tamara Watson; Markus Lappe
In: eNeuro, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1–14, 2021.
Our eyes are constantly in motion and the various kinds of eye movements are closely linked to many aspects of human cognitive processing. Measuring all possible eye movements unobtrusively is not achievable with current methods. Video-based eye-trackers only measure rotational but not translational motion of the eye, re- quire a calibration process relying on the participant's self-report of accurate fixation, and do not work if vision of the eyeball is blocked. Scleral search coils attach physical weight on the eyeball and also do not measure translation. Here, we describe a novel and fully automated method to use real-time magnetic resonance imag- ing (MRI) for eye tracking. We achieved a temporal resolution sufficient to measure eye rotations and transla- tions as short as those that occur within a blink and behind a closed eyelid. To demonstrate this method, we measured the full extent of the blink-related eye movement for two individuals, suggesting that the eye ap- proaches a holding position during lid closure and can move by as much as 35° in rotation and 2 mm in trans- lation. We also investigated the coordination of gaze shifts with blinks. We found that the gaze shift is tightly coupled in time to the translational blink movement and that blinks can induce significant temporal shifts of the gaze trajectory between left and right eye. Our MR-based Eye Tracking (MREyeTrack) method allows mea- surement of eye movements in terms of both translation and rotation and enables new opportunities for study- ing ocular motility and its disorders.
Florian Krause; Nikos Kogias; Martin Krentz; Michael Lührs; Rainer Goebel; Erno J. Hermans
In: NeuroImage, vol. 243, pp. 118527, 2021.
It has recently been shown that acute stress affects the allocation of neural resources between large-scale brain networks, and the balance between the executive control network and the salience network in particular. Maladaptation of this dynamic resource reallocation process is thought to play a major role in stress-related psychopathology, suggesting that stress resilience may be determined by the retained ability to adaptively reallocate neural resources between these two networks. Actively training this ability could hence be a potentially promising way to increase resilience in individuals at risk for developing stress-related symptomatology. Using real-time functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, the current study investigated whether individuals can learn to self-regulate stress-related large-scale network balance. Participants were engaged in a bidirectional and implicit real-time fMRI neurofeedback paradigm in which they were intermittently provided with a visual representation of the difference signal between the average activation of the salience and executive control networks, and tasked with attempting to self-regulate this signal. Our results show that, given feedback about their performance over three training sessions, participants were able to (1) learn strategies to differentially control the balance between SN and ECN activation on demand, as well as (2) successfully transfer this newly learned skill to a situation where they (a) did not receive any feedback anymore, and (b) were exposed to an acute stressor in form of the prospect of a mild electric stimulation. The current study hence constitutes an important first successful demonstration of neurofeedback training based on stress-related large-scale network balance – a novel approach that has the potential to train control over the central response to stressors in real-life and could build the foundation for future clinical interventions that aim at increasing resilience.
Irma T. Kurniawan; Marcus Grueschow; Christian C. Ruff
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 29, pp. 6328–6342, 2021.
An organism's fitness is determined by how it chooses to adapt to effort in response to challenges. Exertion of effort correlates with activity in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and noradrenergic pupil dilation, but little is known about the role of these neurophysiological processes for decisions about future efforts, they may provide anticipatory energization to help us accept the challenge or a cost representation that is weighted against the expected rewards. Here, we provide evidence for the former, by measuring pupil and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain responses while 52 human participants (29 females) chose whether to exert efforts to obtain rewards. Both pupil-dilation rate and dmPFC fMRI activity increased with anticipated effort level, and these increases differ depending on the choice outcome: they were stronger when participants chose to accept the challenge compared with when the challenge was declined. Crucially, the choice-dependent modulation of pupil and brain-activity effort representations were stronger in participants whose behavioral choices were more sensitive to effort. Our results identify a process involving the peripheral and central human nervous system that simulates the required energization before overt response, suggesting a role in guiding effort-based decisions.
Hsin Hung Li; Thomas C. Sprague; Aspen H. Yoo; Wei Ji Ma; Clayton E. Curtis
In: Neuron, vol. 109, no. 22, pp. 3699–3712, 2021.
Neural representations of visual working memory (VWM) are noisy, and thus, decisions based on VWM are inevitably subject to uncertainty. However, the mechanisms by which the brain simultaneously represents the content and uncertainty of memory remain largely unknown. Here, inspired by the theory of probabilistic population codes, we test the hypothesis that the human brain represents an item maintained in VWM as a probability distribution over stimulus feature space, thereby capturing both its content and uncertainty. We used a neural generative model to decode probability distributions over memorized locations from fMRI activation patterns. We found that the mean of the probability distribution decoded from retinotopic cortical areas predicted memory reports on a trial-by-trial basis. Moreover, in several of the same mid-dorsal stream areas, the spread of the distribution predicted subjective trial-by-trial uncertainty judgments. These results provide evidence that VWM content and uncertainty are jointly represented by probabilistic neural codes.
Jennifer E. Mack; Colleen Ward; Sofia Stratford
In: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 675–693, 2021.
The present study investigated the impact of the MRI environment on eye-movement measures in the visual-world paradigm. 24 neurotypical young adults performed a linguistic prediction task in a typical lab setting (Lab) and 22 did so during MRI scanning (Scanner). Data analyses focused on eye-tracking data quality and the time course and magnitude of prediction effects. Data quality was reduced in the Scanner as compared to the Lab, as indicated by a higher rate of track loss and saccades/fixations of atypical duration. Predictive eye movement patterns were generally similar in timing and magnitude between the Lab and Scanner, although there was modest evidence for increased prediction effects in the Scanner. In the Scanner environment only, predictive eye movements were linked to better task performance. Evidently, the MRI environment can enhance prediction effects and their relationship to task performance, possibly due to increased deployment of cognitive control mechanisms.
Pupil-based states of brain integration across cognitive states Journal Article
In: Neuroscience, vol. 471, pp. 61–71, 2021.
Arousal is a potent mechanism that provides the brain with functional flexibility and adaptability to external conditions. Within the wake state, arousal levels driven by activity in the neuromodulatory systems are related to specific signatures of neural activation and brain synchrony. However, direct evidence is still lacking on the varying effects of arousal on macroscopic brain characteristics and across a variety of cognitive states in humans. Using a concurrent fMRI-pupillometry approach, we used pupil size as a proxy for arousal and obtained patterns of brain integration associated with increasing arousal levels. We carried out this analysis on resting-state data and data from two attentional tasks implicating different cognitive processes. We found that an increasing level of arousal was related to a state of increased brain integration. This effect was prominent in the salience, visual and default-mode networks in all conditions, while other regions showed task-specificity. Increased integration in the salience network was also related to faster pupil dilation in the two attentional tasks. Furthermore, task performance was related to arousal level, with lower accuracy at higher level of arousal. Taken together, our study provides evidence in humans for pupil size as an index of brain network state, and supports the role of arousal as a switch that drives brain coordination in specific brain regions according to the cognitive state.
Cornelia McCormick; Marshall A. Dalton; Peter Zeidman; Eleanor A. Maguire
In: Cortex, vol. 137, pp. 1–17, 2021.
The precise role played by the hippocampus in supporting cognitive functions such as episodic memory and future thinking is debated, but there is general agreement that it involves constructing representations comprised of numerous elements. Visual scenes have been deployed extensively in cognitive neuroscience because they are paradigmatic multi-element stimuli. However, questions remain about the specificity and nature of the hippocampal response to scenes. Here, we devised a paradigm in which we had participants search pairs of images for either colour or layout differences, thought to be associated with perceptual or spatial constructive processes respectively. Importantly, images depicted either naturalistic scenes or phase-scrambled versions of the same scenes, and were either simple or complex. Using this paradigm during functional MRI scanning, we addressed three questions: 1. Is the hippocampus recruited specifically during scene processing? 2. If the hippocampus is more active in response to scenes, does searching for colour or layout differences influence its activation? 3. Does the complexity of the scenes affect its response? We found that, compared to phase-scrambled versions of the scenes, the hippocampus was more responsive to scene stimuli. Moreover, a clear anatomical distinction was evident, with colour detection in scenes engaging the posterior hippocampus whereas layout detection in scenes recruited the anterior hippocampus. The complexity of the scenes did not influence hippocampal activity. These findings seem to align with perspectives that propose the hippocampus is especially attuned to scenes, and its involvement occurs irrespective of the cognitive process or the complexity of the scenes.
Cornelia McCormick; Eleanor A. Maguire
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 158, pp. 107912, 2021.
Scene imagery features prominently when we recall autobiographical memories, imagine the future and navigate around in the world. Consequently, in this study we sought to better understand how scene representations are supported by the brain. Processing scenes involves a variety of cognitive processes that in the real world are highly interactive. Here, however, our goal was to separate semantic and spatial constructive scene processes in order to identify the brain areas that were distinct to each process, those they had in common, and the connectivity between regions. To this end, participants searched for either semantic or spatial constructive impossibilities in scenes during functional MRI. We focussed our analyses on only those scenes that were possible, thus removing any error detection that would evoke reactions such as surprise or novelty. Importantly, we also counterbalanced possible scenes across participants, enabling us to examine brain activity and connectivity for the same possible scene images under two different conditions. We found that participants adopted different cognitive strategies, which were reflected in distinct oculomotor behaviour, for each condition. These were in turn associated with increased engagement of lateral temporal and parietal cortices for semantic scene processing, the hippocampus for spatial constructive scene processing, and increased activation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) that was common to both. Connectivity analyses showed that the vmPFC switched between semantic and spatial constructive brain networks depending on the task at hand. These findings further highlight the well-known semantic functions of lateral temporal areas, while providing additional support for the previously-asserted contribution of the hippocampus to scene construction, and recent suggestions that the vmPFC may play a key role in orchestrating scene processing.
Sreenivasan Meyyappan; Abhijit Rajan; George R. Mangun; Mingzhou Ding
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 38, pp. 8065–8074, 2021.
Feature-based visual attention refers to preferential selection and processing of visual stimuli based on their nonspatial attributes, such as color or shape. Recent studies have highlighted the inferior frontal junction (IFJ) as a control region for feature but not spatial attention. However, the extent to which IFJ contributes to spatial versus feature attention control remains a topic of debate. We investigated in humans of both sexes the role of IFJ in the control of feature versus spatial attention in a cued visual spatial (attend-left or attend-right) and feature (attend-red or attend-green) attention task using fMRI. Analyzing cue-related fMRI using both univariate activation and multivoxel pattern analysis, we found the following results in IFJ. First, in line with some prior studies, the univariate activations were not different between feature and spatial attentional control. Second, in contrast, the multivoxel pattern analysis decoding accuracy was above chance level for feature attention (attend-red vs attend-green) but not for spatial attention (attend-left vs attend-right). Third, while the decoding accuracy for feature attention was above chance level during attentional control in the cue-to-target interval, it was not during target processing. Fourth, the right IFJ and visual cortex (V4) were observed to be functionally connected during feature but not during spatial attention control, and this functional connectivity was positively associated with subsequent attentional selection of targets in V4, as well as with behavioral performance. These results support a model in which IFJ plays a crucial role in topdown control of visual feature but not visual spatial attention.
Kentaro Miyamoto; Nadescha Trudel; Kevin Kamermans; Michele C. Lim; Alberto Lazari; Lennart Verhagen; Marco K. Wittmann; Matthew F. S. Rushworth
In: Neuron, vol. 109, no. 8, pp. 1396–1408, 2021.
More than one type of probability must be considered when making decisions. It is as necessary to know one's chance of performing choices correctly as it is to know the chances that desired outcomes will follow choices. We refer to these two choice contingencies as internal and external probability. Neural activity across many frontal and parietal areas reflected internal and external probabilities in a similar manner during decision-making. However, neural recording and manipulation approaches suggest that one area, the anterior lateral prefrontal cortex (alPFC), is highly specialized for making prospective, metacognitive judgments on the basis of internal probability; it is essential for knowing which decisions to tackle, given its assessment of how well they will be performed. Its activity predicted prospective metacognitive judgments, and individual variation in activity predicted individual variation in metacognitive judgments. Its disruption altered metacognitive judgments, leading participants to tackle perceptual decisions they were likely to fail.
Viola Mocz; Maryam Vaziri-Pashkam; Marvin Chun; Yaoda Xu
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 35, pp. 7403–7419, 2021.
In everyday life, we have no trouble categorizing objects varying in position, size, and orientation. Previous fMRI research shows that higher-level object processing regions in the human lateral occipital cortex may link object responses from different affine states (i.e. size and viewpoint) through a general linear mapping function capable of predicting responses to novel objects. In this study, we extended this approach to examine the mapping for both Euclidean (e.g. position and size) and non-Euclidean (e.g. image statistics and spatial frequency) transformations across the human ventral visual processing hierarchy, including areas V1, V2, V3, V4, ventral occipitotemporal cortex (VOT), and lateral occipitotemporal cortex (LOT). The predicted pattern generated from a linear mapping function could capture a significant amount of the changes associated with the transformations throughout the ventral visual stream. The derived linear mapping functions were not category independent, as performance was better for the categories included than those not included in training and better between two similar versus two dissimilar categories in both lower and higher visual regions. Consistent with object representations being stronger in higher than lower visual regions, pattern selectivity and object category representational structure were somewhat better preserved in the predicted patterns in higher than lower visual regions. There were no notable differences between Euclidean and non-Euclidean transformations. These findings demonstrate a near-orthogonal representation of object identity and these non-identity features throughout the human ventral visual processing pathway, with these non-identity features largely untangled from the identity features early in visual processing.
Sophia Nestmann; Daniel Wiesen; Hans Otto Karnath; Johannes Rennig
In: NeuroImage, vol. 234, pp. 117982, 2021.
Lesions to posterior temporo-parietal brain regions are associated with deficits in perception of global, hierarchical shapes, but also with impairments in the processing of objects presented under demanding viewing conditions. Evidence from neuroimaging studies and lesion patterns observed in patients with simultanagnosia and agnosia for object orientation suggest similar brain regions to be involved in perception of global shapes and processing of objects in atypical (‘non-canonical') orientation. In a localizer experiment, we identified individual temporo-parietal brain areas involved in global shape perception and found significantly higher BOLD signals during the processing of non-canonical compared to canonical objects. In a multivariate approach, we demonstrated that posterior temporo-parietal brain areas show distinct voxel patterns for non-canonical and canonical objects and that voxel patterns of global shapes are more similar to those of objects in non-canonical compared to canonical viewing conditions. These results suggest that temporo-parietal brain areas are not only involved in global shape perception but might serve a more general mechanism of complex object perception. Our results challenge a strict attribution of object processing to the ventral visual stream by suggesting specific dorsal contributions in more demanding viewing conditions.
Bao N. Nguyen; Scott C. Kolbe; Ashika Verghese; Christine Nearchou; Allison M. McKendrick; Gary F. Egan; Trichur R. Vidyasagar
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 155, pp. 107819, 2021.
Dyslexia is characterised by poor reading ability. Its aetiology is probably multifactorial, with abnormal visual processing playing an important role. Among adults with normal reading ability, there is a larger representation of central visual field in the primary visual cortex (V1) in those with more efficient visuospatial attention. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that poor reading ability in school-aged children (17 children with dyslexia, 14 control children with normal reading ability) is associated with deficits in visuospatial attention using a visual search task. We corroborated the psychophysical findings with neuroimaging, by measuring the functional size of V1 in response to a central 12° visual stimulus. Consistent with other literature, visual search was impaired and less efficient in the dyslexic children, particularly with more distractor elements in the search array (p = 0.04). We also found atypical interhemispheric asymmetry in functional V1 size in the dyslexia group (p = 0.02). Reading impaired children showed poorer visual search efficiency (p = 0.01), needing more time per unit distractor (higher ms/item). Reading ability was also correlated with V1 size asymmetry (p = 0.03), such that poorer readers showed less left hemisphere bias relative to the right hemisphere. Our findings support the view that dyslexic children have abnormal visuospatial attention and interhemispheric V1 asymmetry, relative to chronological age-matched peers, and that these factors may contribute to inter-individual variation in reading performance in children.
Katya Olmos-Solis; Anouk Mariette Loon; Christian N. L. Olivers
In: Cortex, vol. 135, pp. 61–77, 2021.
To optimize task sequences, the brain must differentiate between current and prospective goals. We previously showed that currently and prospectively relevant object representations in working memory can be dissociated within object-selective cortex. Based on other recent studies indicating that a range of brain areas may be involved in distinguishing between currently relevant and prospectively relevant information in working memory, here we conducted multivoxel pattern analyses of fMRI activity in additional posterior areas (specifically early visual cortex and the intraparietal sulcus) as well as frontal areas (specifically the frontal eye fields and lateral prefrontal cortex). We assessed whether these areas represent the memory content, the current versus prospective status of the memory, or both. On each trial, participants memorized an object drawn from three different categories. The object was the target for either a first task (currently relevant), a second task (prospectively relevant), or for neither task (irrelevant). The results revealed a division of labor across brain regions: While posterior areas preferentially coded for content (i.e., the category), frontal areas carried information about the current versus prospective relevance status of the memory, irrespective of the category. Intraparietal sulcus revealed both strong category- and status-sensitivity, consistent with its hub function of combining stimulus and priority signals. Furthermore, cross-decoding analyses revealed that while current and prospective representations were similar prior to search, they became dissimilar during search, in posterior as well as frontal areas. The findings provide further evidence for a dissociation between content and control networks in working memory.
Heath R. Pardoe; Samantha P. Martin; Yijun Zhao; Allan George; Hui Yuan; Jingjie Zhou; Wei Liu; Orrin Devinsky
In: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, vol. 81, pp. 101–108, 2021.
Introduction: In-scanner head motion is a common cause of reduced image quality in neuroimaging, and causes systematic brain-wide changes in cortical thickness and volumetric estimates derived from structural MRI scans. There are few widely available methods for measuring head motion during structural MRI. Here, we train a deep learning predictive model to estimate changes in head pose using video obtained from an in-scanner eye tracker during an EPI-BOLD acquisition with participants undertaking deliberate in-scanner head movements. The predictive model was used to estimate head pose changes during structural MRI scans, and correlated with cortical thickness and subcortical volume estimates. Methods: 21 healthy controls (age 32 ± 13 years, 11 female) were studied. Participants carried out a series of stereotyped prompted in-scanner head motions during acquisition of an EPI-BOLD sequence with simultaneous recording of eye tracker video. Motion-affected and motion-free whole brain T1-weighted MRI were also obtained. Image coregistration was used to estimate changes in head pose over the duration of the EPI-BOLD scan, and used to train a predictive model to estimate head pose changes from the video data. Model performance was quantified by assessing the coefficient of determination (R2). We evaluated the utility of our technique by assessing the relationship between video-based head pose changes during structural MRI and (i) vertex-wise cortical thickness and (ii) subcortical volume estimates. Results: Video-based head pose estimates were significantly correlated with ground truth head pose changes estimated from EPI-BOLD imaging in a hold-out dataset. We observed a general brain-wide overall reduction in cortical thickness with increased head motion, with some isolated regions showing increased cortical thickness estimates with increased motion. Subcortical volumes were generally reduced in motion affected scans. Conclusions: We trained a predictive model to estimate changes in head pose during structural MRI scans using in-scanner eye tracker video. The method is independent of individual image acquisition parameters and does not require markers to be to be fixed to the patient, suggesting it may be well suited to clinical imaging and research environments. Head pose changes estimated using our approach can be used as covariates for morphometric image analyses to improve the neurobiological validity of structural imaging studies of brain development and disease.
Gabriel Pelletier; Nadav Aridan; Lesley K. Fellows; Tom Schonberg
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 23, pp. 5056–5068, 2021.
Everyday decision-making commonly involves assigning values to complex objects with multiple value-relevant attributes. Drawing on object recognition theories, we hypothesized two routes to multiattribute evaluation: Assessing the value of the whole object based on holistic attribute configuration or summing individual attribute values. In two samples of healthy human male and female participants undergoing eye tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while evaluating novel pseudo objects, we found evidence for both forms of evaluation. Fixations to and transitions between attributes differed systematically when the value of pseudo objects was associated with individual attributes or attribute configurations. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and perirhinal cortex were engaged when configural processing was required. These results converge with our recent findings that individuals with vmPFC lesions were impaired in decisions requiring configural evaluation but not when evaluating the sum of the parts. This suggests that multiattribute decision-making engages distinct evaluation mechanisms relying on partially dissociable neural substrates, depending on the relationship between attributes and value.
Samuel Planton; Stanislas Dehaene
In: Cortex, vol. 145, pp. 13–36, 2021.
The ability to detect the abstract pattern underlying a temporal sequence of events is crucial to many human activities, including language and mathematics, but its cortical correlates remain poorly understood. It is also unclear whether repeated exposure to the same sequence of sensory stimuli is sufficient to induce the encoding of an abstract amodal representation of the pattern. Using functional MRI, we probed the existence of such abstract codes for sequential patterns, their localization in the human brain, and their relation to existing language and math-responsive networks. We used a passive sequence violation paradigm, in which a given sequence is repeatedly presented before rare deviant sequences are introduced. We presented two binary patterns, AABB and ABAB, in four presentation formats, either visual or auditory, and either cued by the identity of the stimuli or by their spatial location. Regardless of the presentation format, a habituation to the repeated pattern and a response to pattern violations were seen in a set of inferior frontal, intraparietal and temporal areas. Within language areas, such pattern-violation responses were only found in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), whereas all math-responsive regions responded to pattern changes. Most of these regions also responded whenever the modality or the cue changed, suggesting a general sensitivity to violation detection. Thus, the representation of sequence patterns appears to be distributed, yet to include a core set of abstract amodal regions, particularly the IFG.
Sonia Poltoratski; Kendrick Kay; Dawn Finzi; Kalanit Grill-Spector
In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, pp. 4745, 2021.
Spatial processing by receptive fields is a core property of the visual system. However, it is unknown how spatial processing in high-level regions contributes to recognition behavior. As face inversion is thought to disrupt typical holistic processing of information in faces, we mapped population receptive fields (pRFs) with upright and inverted faces in the human visual system. Here we show that in face-selective regions, but not primary visual cortex, pRFs and overall visual field coverage are smaller and shifted downward in response to face inversion. From these measurements, we successfully predict the relative behavioral detriment of face inversion at different positions in the visual field. This correspondence between neural measurements and behavior demonstrates how spatial processing in face-selective regions may enable holistic perception. These results not only show that spatial processing in high-level visual regions is dynamically used towards recognition, but also suggest a powerful approach for bridging neural computations by receptive fields to behavior.
John R. Purcell; Andrew Jahn; Justin M. Fine; Joshua W. Brown
In: NeuroImage, vol. 234, pp. 117979, 2021.
Value-based decision-making is presumed to involve a dynamic integration process that supports assessing the potential outcomes of different choice options. Decision frameworks assume the value of a decision rests on both the desirability and risk surrounding an outcome. Previous work has highlighted neural representations of risk in the human brain, and their relation to decision choice. Key neural regions including the insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been implicated in encoding the effects of risk on decision outcomes, including approach and avoidance. Yet, it remains unknown whether these regions are involved in the dynamic integration processes that precede and drive choice, and their relationship with ongoing attention. Here, we used concurrent fMRI and eye-tracking to discern neural activation related to visual attention preceding choice between sure-thing (i.e. safe) and risky gamble options. We found activation in both dorsal ACC (dACC) and posterior insula (PI) scaled in opposite directions with the difference in attention to risky rewards relative to risky losses. PI activation also differentiated foveations on both risky options (rewards and losses) relative to a sure-thing option. These findings point to ACC involvement in ongoing evaluation of risky but higher value options. The role of PI in risky outcomes points to a more general evaluative role in the decision-making that compares both safe and risky outcomes, irrespective of potential for gains or losses.
Estelle Raffin; Adrien Witon; Roberto F Salamanca-Giron; Krystel R Huxlin; Friedhelm C Hummel
In: Cerebral Cortex, pp. 1–19, 2021.
Discrimination and integration of motion direction requires the interplay of multiple brain areas. Theoretical accounts of perception suggest that stimulus-related (i.e., exogenous) and decision-related (i.e., endogenous) factors affect distributed neuronal processing at different levels of the visual hierarchy. To test these predictions, we measured brain activity of healthy participants during a motion discrimination task, using electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We independently modeled the impact of exogenous factors (task demand) and endogenous factors (perceptual decision-making) on the activity of the motion discrimination network and applied Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) to both modalities. DCM for event-related potentials (DCM-ERP) revealed that task demand impacted the reciprocal connections between the primary visual cortex (V1) and medial temporal areas (V5). With practice, higher visual areas were increasingly involved, as revealed by DCM-fMRI. Perceptual decision-making modulated higher levels (e.g., V5-to-Frontal Eye Fields, FEF), in a manner predictive of performance. Our data suggest that lower levels of the visual network support early, feature-based selection of responses, especially when learning strategies have not been implemented. In contrast, perceptual decision-making operates at higher levels of the visual hierarchy by integrating sensory information with the internal state of the subject.
Abhijit Rajan; Sreenivasan Meyyappan; Yuelu Liu; Immanuel Babu Henry Samuel; Bijurika Nandi; George R. Mangun; Mingzhou Ding
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 965–983, 2021.
The top–down control of attention involves command signals arising chiefly in the dorsal attention network (DAN) in frontal and parietal cortex and propagating to sensory cortex to enable the selective processing of incoming stimuli based on their behavioral relevance. Consistent with this view, the DAN is active during preparatory (anticipatory) attention for relevant events and objects, which, in vision, may be defined by different stimulus attributes including their spatial location, color, motion, or form. How this network is organized to support different forms of preparatory attention to different stimulus attributes remains unclear. We propose that, within the DAN, there exist functional microstructures (patterns of activity) specific for controlling attention based on the specific information to be attended. To test this, we contrasted preparatory attention to stimulus location (spatial attention) and to stimulus color (feature attention), and used multivoxel pattern analysis to characterize the corresponding patterns of activity within the DAN. We observed different multivoxel patterns of BOLD activation within the DAN for the control of spatial attention (attending left vs. right) and feature attention (attending red vs. green). These patterns of activity for spatial and feature attentional control showed limited overlap with each other within the DAN. Our findings thus support a model in which the DAN has different functional microstructures for distinctive forms of top–down control of visual attention.
Ryan V. Raut; Abraham Z. Snyder; Anish Mitra; Dov Yellin; Naotaka Fujii; Rafael Malach; Marcus E. Raichle
In: Science Advances, vol. 7, no. 30, pp. eabf2709, 2021.
We propose and empirically support a parsimonious account of intrinsic, brain-wide spatiotemporal organization arising from traveling waves linked to arousal. We hypothesize that these waves are the predominant physiological process reflected in spontaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal fluctuations. The correlation structure ("functional connectivity") of these fluctuations recapitulates the large-scale functional organization of the brain. However, a unifying physiological account of this structure has so far been lacking. Here, using fMRI in humans, we show that ongoing arousal fluctuations are associated with global waves of activity that slowly propagate in parallel throughout the neocortex, thalamus, striatum, and cerebellum. We show that these waves can parsimoniously account for many features of spontaneous fMRI signal fluctuations, including topographically organized functional connectivity. Last, we demonstrate similar, cortex-wide propagation of neural activity measured with electrocorticography in macaques. These findings suggest that traveling waves spatiotemporally pattern brain-wide excitability in relation to arousal.
Mor Regev; Andrea R. Halpern; Adrian M. Owen; Aniruddh D. Patel; Robert J. Zatorre
Mapping specific mental content during musical imagery Journal Article
In: Cerebral Cortex, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 3622–3640, 2021.
Humans can mentally represent auditory information without an external stimulus, but the specificity of these internal representations remains unclear. Here, we asked how similar the temporally unfolding neural representations of imagined music are compared to those during the original perceived experience. We also tested whether rhythmic motion can influence the neural representation of music during imagery as during perception. Participants first memorized six 1-min-long instrumental musical pieces with high accuracy. Functional MRI data were collected during: 1) silent imagery of melodies to the beat of a visual metronome; 2) same but while tapping to the beat; and 3) passive listening. During imagery, inter-subject correlation analysis showed that melody-specific temporal response patterns were reinstated in right associative auditory cortices. When tapping accompanied imagery, the melody-specific neural patterns were reinstated in more extensive temporal-lobe regions bilaterally. These results indicate that the specific contents of conscious experience are encoded similarly during imagery and perception in the dynamic activity of auditory cortices. Furthermore, rhythmic motion can enhance the reinstatement of neural patterns associated with the experience of complex sounds, in keeping with models of motor to sensory influences in auditory processing.
Sarah Schuster; Nicole Alexandra; Florian Hutzler; Fabio Richlan; Martin Kronbichler; Stefan Hawelka
In: NeuroImage, vol. 228, pp. 117687, 2021.
Evidence accrues that readers form multiple hypotheses about upcoming words. The present study investigated the hemodynamic effects of predictive processing during natural reading by means of combining fMRI and eye movement recordings. In particular, we investigated the neural and behavioral correlates of precision-weighted prediction errors, which are thought to be indicative of subsequent belief updating. Participants silently read sentences in which we manipulated the cloze probability and the semantic congruency of the final word that served as an index for precision and prediction error respectively. With respect to the neural correlates, our findings indicate an enhanced activation within the left inferior frontal and middle temporal gyrus suggesting an effect of precision on prediction update in higher (lexico-)semantic levels. Despite being evident at the neural level, we did not observe any evidence that this mechanism resulted in disproportionate reading times on participants' eye movements. The results speak against discrete predictions, but favor the notion that multiple words are activated in parallel during reading. 1.
Alyssa H Sinclair; Grace M Manalili; Iva K Brunec; R. Alison Adcock; Morgan D Barense
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 118, no. 51, pp. e2117625118, 2021.
The brain supports adaptive behavior by generating predictions, learning from errors, and updating memories to incorporate new information. Prediction error, or surprise, triggers learning when reality contradicts expectations. Prior studies have shown that the hippocampus signals prediction errors, but the hypothesized link to memory updating has not been demonstrated. In a human functional MRI study, we elicited mnemonic prediction errors by interrupting familiar narrative videos immediately before the expected endings. We found that prediction errors reversed the relationship between univariate hippocampal activation and memory: greater hippocampal activation predicted memory preservation after expected endings, but memory updating after surprising endings. In contrast to previous studies, we show that univariate activation was insufficient for understanding hippocampal prediction error signals. We explain this surprising finding by tracking both the evolution of hippocampal activation patterns and the connectivity between the hippocampus and neuromodulatory regions. We found that hippocampal activation patterns stabilized as each narrative episode unfolded, suggesting sustained episodic representations. Prediction errors disrupted these sustained representations and the degree of disruption predicted memory updating. The relationship between hippocampal activation and subsequent memory depended on concurrent basal forebrain activation, supporting the idea that cholinergic modulation regulates attention and memory. We conclude that prediction errors create conditions that favor memory updating, prompting the hippocampus to abandon ongoing predictions and make memories malleable.
Nathan Tardiff; John D. Medaglia; Danielle S. Bassett; Sharon L. Thompson-Schill
In: NeuroImage, vol. 240, pp. 118369, 2021.
There is growing interest in how neuromodulators shape brain networks. Recent neuroimaging studies provide evidence that brainstem arousal systems, such as the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system (LC-NE), influence functional connectivity and brain network topology, suggesting they have a role in flexibly reconfiguring brain networks in order to adapt behavior and cognition to environmental demands. To date, however, the relationship between brainstem arousal systems and functional connectivity has not been assessed within the context of a task with an established relationship between arousal and behavior, with most prior studies relying on incidental variations in arousal or pharmacological manipulation and static brain networks constructed over long periods of time. These factors have likely contributed to a heterogeneity of effects across studies. To address these issues, we took advantage of the association between LC-NE-linked arousal and exploration to probe the relationships between exploratory choice, arousal—as measured indirectly via pupil diameter—and brain network dynamics. Exploration in a bandit task was associated with a shift toward fewer, more weakly connected modules that were more segregated in terms of connectivity and topology but more integrated with respect to the diversity of cognitive systems represented in each module. Functional connectivity strength decreased, and changes in connectivity were correlated with changes in pupil diameter, in line with the hypothesis that brainstem arousal systems influence the dynamic reorganization of brain networks. More broadly, we argue that carefully aligning dynamic network analyses with task designs can increase the temporal resolution at which behaviorally- and cognitively-relevant modulations can be identified, and offer these results as a proof of concept of this approach.
Hamid B. Turker; Elizabeth Riley; Wen Ming Luh; Stan J. Colcombe; Khena M. Swallow
In: NeuroImage, vol. 236, pp. 118047, 2021.
The locus coeruleus (LC) plays a central role in regulating human cognition, arousal, and autonomic states. Efforts to characterize the LC's function in humans using functional magnetic resonance imaging have been hampered by its small size and location near a large source of noise, the fourth ventricle. We tested whether the ability to characterize LC function is improved by employing neuromelanin-T1 weighted images (nmT1) for LC localization and multi-echo functional magnetic resonance imaging (ME-fMRI) for estimating intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC). Analyses indicated that, relative to a probabilistic atlas, utilizing nmT1 images to individually localize the LC increases the specificity of seed time series and clusters in the iFC maps. When combined with independent components analysis (ME-ICA), ME-fMRI data provided significant improvements in the temporal signal to noise ratio and DVARS relative to denoised single echo data (1E-fMRI). The effects of acquiring nmT1 images and ME-fMRI data did not appear to only reflect increases in power: iFC maps for each approach overlapped only moderately. This is consistent with findings that ME-fMRI offers substantial advantages over 1E-fMRI acquisition and denoising. It also suggests that individually identifying LC with nmT1 scans is likely to reduce the influence of other nearby brainstem regions on estimates of LC function.
Renée M. Visser; Joe Bathelt; H. Steven Scholte; Merel Kindt
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 50, pp. 10278–10292, 2021.
Most of our knowledge about human emotional memory comes from animal research. Based on this work, the amygdala is often labelled the brain's "fear center", but it is unclear to what degree neural circuitries underlying fear and extinction learning are conserved across species. Neuroimaging studies in humans yield conflicting findings, with many studies failing to show amygdala activation in response to learned threat. Such null-findings are often treated as resulting from MRI-specific problems related to measuring deep brain structures. Here we test this assumption in a mega-analysis of three studies on fear acquisition (n=98; 68 female) and extinction learning (n=79; 53 female). The conditioning procedure involved presentation of two pictures of faces and two pictures of houses: one of each pair was followed by an electric shock (CS+), the other one was never followed by a shock (CS-), and participants were instructed to learn these contingencies. Results revealed widespread responses to the CS+ compared to CS- in the fear network, including anterior insula, midcingulate cortex, thalamus and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, but not the amygdala, which actually responded stronger to the CS-. Results were independent of spatial smoothing, and individual differences in trait anxiety and conditioned pupil responses. In contrast, robust amygdala activation distinguished faces from houses, refuting the idea that poor signal could account for the absence of effects. Moving forward, we suggest that apart from imaging larger samples at higher resolution, alternative statistical approaches may be employed to identify cross-species similarities in fear and extinction learning.
Tianlu Wang; Lena M. Hofbauer; Dante Mantini; Céline R. Gillebert
In: Neuroimage: Reports, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 100039, 2021.
The attentional priority map plays a key role in the distribution of attention, and is modulated by bottom-up sensory as well as top-down task-dependent factors. The intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is a key candidate to hold a neural representation of the attentional priority map. In the current study, we examined the role of the IPS during covert attention to spatial locations with high or low eccentricity in one or both visual hemifields. To this end, eighteen neurologically healthy participants performed a cued letter discrimination task in which they were endogenously cued to attend to a location at a 5 or 10◦ eccentricity in the left and/or right visual field. We briefly presented a four-letter target array and subsequently probed perceptual performance while acquiring event- related functional MRI data. While behavioural results showed greater letter discrimination performance at the low eccentricity compared to the high eccentricity location, no neural effect of eccentricity was observed. The results further showed that attending to one visual hemifield produced higher activation in the left parietal and occipital cortex compared to attending bilaterally. Future studies may consider increasing the involvement of top-down control of attention to the cued location to study the neural effect of eccentricity, e.g., through manipulating the task difficulty.
Bo Yao; Jason R. Taylor; Briony Banks; Sonja A. Kotz
In: NeuroImage, vol. 239, pp. 118313, 2021.
Growing evidence shows that theta-band (4–7 Hz) activity in the auditory cortex phase-locks to rhythms of overt speech. Does theta activity also encode the rhythmic dynamics of inner speech? Previous research established that silent reading of direct speech quotes (e.g., Mary said: “This dress is lovely!”) elicits more vivid inner speech than indirect speech quotes (e.g., Mary said that the dress was lovely). As we cannot directly track the phase alignment between theta activity and inner speech over time, we used EEG to measure the brain's phase-locked responses to the onset of speech quote reading. We found that direct (vs. indirect) quote reading was associated with increased theta phase synchrony over trials at 250–500 ms post-reading onset, with sources of the evoked activity estimated in the speech processing network. An eye-tracking control experiment confirmed that increased theta phase synchrony in direct quote reading was not driven by eye movement patterns, and more likely reflects synchronous phase resetting at the onset of inner speech. These findings suggest a functional role of theta phase modulation in reading-induced inner speech.
Nicole H. Yuen; Fred Tam; Nathan W. Churchill; Tom A. Schweizer; Simon J. Graham
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 1–20, 2021.
Introduction: Driving motor vehicles is a complex task that depends heavily on how visual stimuli are received and subsequently processed by the brain. The potential impact of distraction on driving performance is well known and poses a safety concern – especially for individuals with cognitive impairments who may be clinically unfit to drive. The present study is the first to combine functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and eye-tracking during simulated driving with distraction, providing oculomotor metrics to enhance scientific understanding of the brain activity that supports driving performance. Materials and Methods: As initial work, twelve healthy young, right-handed participants performed turns ranging in complexity, including simple right and left turns without oncoming traffic, and left turns with oncoming traffic. Distraction was introduced as an auditory task during straight driving, and during left turns with oncoming traffic. Eye-tracking data were recorded during fMRI to characterize fixations, saccades, pupil diameter and blink rate. Results: Brain activation maps for right turns, left turns without oncoming traffic, left turns with oncoming traffic, and the distraction conditions were largely consistent with previous literature reporting the neural correlates of simulated driving. When the effects of distraction were evaluated for left turns with oncoming traffic, increased activation was observed in areas involved in executive function (e.g., middle and inferior frontal gyri) as well as decreased activation in the posterior brain (e.g., middle and superior occipital gyri). Whereas driving performance remained mostly unchanged (e.g., turn speed, time to turn, collisions), the oculomotor measures showed that distraction resulted in more consistent gaze at oncoming traffic in a small area of the visual scene; less time spent gazing at off-road targets (e.g., speedometer, rear-view mirror); more time spent performing saccadic eye movements; and decreased blink rate. Conclusion: Oculomotor behavior modulated with driving task complexity and distraction in a manner consistent with the brain activation features revealed by fMRI. The results suggest that eye-tracking technology should be included in future fMRI studies of simulated driving behavior in targeted populations, such as the elderly and individuals with cognitive complaints – ultimately toward developing better technology to assess and enhance fitness to drive.
Shengnan Zhu; Yang Zhang; Junli Dong; Lihong Chen; Wenbo Luo
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 1–9, 2021.
The role of different spatial frequency bands in threat detection has been explored extensively. However, most studies use manual responses and the results are mixed. Here, we aimed to investigate the contribution of spatial frequency information to threat detection by using three response types, including manual responses, eye movements, and reaching movements, together with a priming paradigm. The results showed that both saccade and reaching responses were significantly faster to threatening stimuli than to nonthreatening stimuli when primed by low-spatial-frequency gratings rather than by high-spatial-frequency gratings. However, the manual response times to threatening stimuli were comparable to nonthreatening stimuli, irrespective of the spatial frequency content of the primes. The findings provide clear evidence that low-spatial-frequency information can facilitate threat detection in a response-specific manner, possibly through the subcortical magnocellular pathway dedicated to processing threat-related signals, which is automatically prioritized in the oculomotor system and biases behavior.
Kristin Marie Zimmermann; Kirsten Daniela Schmidt; Franziska Gronow; Jens Sommer; Frank Leweke; Andreas Jansen
In: NeuroImage, vol. 238, pp. 1–14, 2021.
Studies on social cognition often use complex visual stimuli to asses neural processes attributed to abilities like “mentalizing” or “Theory of Mind” (ToM). During the processing of these stimuli, eye gaze, however, shapes neural signal patterns. Individual differences in neural operations on social cognition may therefore be obscured if individuals' gaze behavior differs systematically. These obstacles can be overcome by the combined analysis of neural signal and natural viewing behavior. Here, we combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with eye-tracking to examine effects of unconstrained gaze on neural ToM processes in healthy individuals with differing levels of emotional awareness, i.e. alexithymia. First, as previously described for emotional tasks, people with higher alexithymia levels look less at eyes in both ToM and task-free viewing contexts. Further, we find that neural ToM processes are not affected by individual differences in alexithymia per se. Instead, depending on alexithymia levels, gaze on critical stimulus aspects reversely shapes the signal in medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and anterior temporoparietal junction (TPJ) as distinct nodes of the ToM system. These results emphasize that natural selective attention affects fMRI patterns well beyond the visual system. Our study implies that, whenever using a task with multiple degrees of freedom in scan paths, ignoring the latter might obscure important conclusions.
Fosca Al Roumi; Sébastien Marti; Liping Wang; Marie Amalric; Stanislas Dehaene
In: Neuron, vol. 109, no. 16, pp. 2627–2639, 2021.
How does the human brain store sequences of spatial locations? We propose that each sequence is internally compressed using an abstract, language-like code that captures its numerical and geometrical regularities. We exposed participants to spatial sequences of fixed length but variable regularity while their brain activity was recorded using magneto-encephalography. Using multivariate decoders, each successive location could be decoded from brain signals, and upcoming locations were anticipated prior to their actual onset. Crucially, sequences with lower complexity, defined as the minimal description length provided by the formal language, led to lower error rates and to increased anticipations. Furthermore, neural codes specific to the numerical and geometrical primitives of the postulated language could be detected, both in isolation and within the sequences. These results suggest that the human brain detects sequence regularities at multiple nested levels and uses them to compress long sequences in working memory.
Damiano Azzalini; Anne Buot; Stefano Palminteri; Catherine Tallon-Baudry
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 23, pp. 5102–5114, 2021.
Forrest Gump or The Matrix? Preference-based decisions are subjective and entail self-reflection. However, these self-related features are unaccounted for by known neural mechanisms of valuation and choice. Self-related processes have been linked to a basic interoceptive biological mechanism, the neural monitoring of heartbeats, in particular in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a region also involved in value encoding. We thus hypothesized a functional coupling between the neural monitoring of heartbeats and the precision of value encoding in vmPFC. Human participants of both sexes were presented with pairs of movie titles. They indicated either which movie they preferred or performed a control objective visual discrimination that did not require self-reflection. Using magnetoencephalography, we measured heartbeat-evoked responses (HERs) before option presentation and confirmed that HERs in vmPFC were larger when preparing for the subjective, self-related task. We retrieved the expected cortical value network during choice with time-resolved statistical modeling. Crucially, we show that larger HERs before option presentation are followed by stronger value encoding during choice in vmPFC. This effect is independent of overall vmPFC baseline activity. The neural interaction between HERs and value encoding predicted preference-based choice consistency over time, accounting for both interindividual differences and trial-to-trial fluctuations within individuals. Neither cardiac activity nor arousal fluctuations could account for any of the effects. HERs did not interact with the encoding of perceptual evidence in the discrimination task. Our results show that the self-reflection underlying preference-based decisions involves HERs, and that HER integration to subjective value encoding in vmPFC contributes to preference stability.
Anne Buot; Damiano Azzalini; Maximilien Chaumon; Catherine Tallon-Baudry
Does stroke volume influence heartbeat evoked responses? Journal Article
In: Biological Psychology, vol. 165, pp. 108165, 2021.
We know surprisingly little on how heartbeat-evoked responses (HERs) vary with cardiac parameters. Here, we measured both stroke volume, or volume of blood ejected at each heartbeat, with impedance cardiography, and HER amplitude with magneto-encephalography, in 21 male and female participants at rest with eyes open. We observed that HER co-fluctuates with stroke volume on a beat-to-beat basis, but only when no correction for cardiac artifact was performed. This highlights the importance of an ICA correction tailored to the cardiac artifact. We also observed that easy-to-measure cardiac parameters (interbeat intervals, ECG amplitude) are sensitive to stroke volume fluctuations and can be used as proxies when stroke volume measurements are not available. Finally, interindividual differences in stroke volume were reflected in MEG data, but whether this effect is locked to heartbeats is unclear. Altogether, our results question assumptions on the link between stroke volume and HERs.
Jonathan Daume; Peng Wang; Alexander Maye; Dan Zhang; Andreas K. Engel
In: NeuroImage, vol. 224, pp. 117376, 2021.
The phase of neural oscillatory signals aligns to the predicted onset of upcoming stimulation. Whether such phase alignments represent phase resets of underlying neural oscillations or just rhythmically evoked activity, and whether they can be observed in a rhythm-free visual context, however, remains unclear. Here, we recorded the magnetoencephalogram while participants were engaged in a temporal prediction task, judging the visual or tactile reappearance of a uniformly moving stimulus. The prediction conditions were contrasted with a control condition to dissociate phase adjustments of neural oscillations from stimulus-driven activity. We observed stronger delta band inter-trial phase consistency (ITPC) in a network of sensory, parietal and frontal brain areas, but no power increase reflecting stimulus-driven or prediction-related evoked activity. Delta ITPC further correlated with prediction performance in the cerebellum and visual cortex. Our results provide evidence that phase alignments of low-frequency neural oscillations underlie temporal predictions in a non-rhythmic visual and crossmodal context.
Linda Drijvers; Ole Jensen; Eelke Spaak
In: Human Brain Mapping, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 1138–1152, 2021.
During communication in real-life settings, the brain integrates information from auditory and visual modalities to form a unified percept of our environment. In the current magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, we used rapid invisible frequency tagging (RIFT) to generate steady-state evoked fields and investigated the integration of audiovisual information in a semantic context. We presented participants with videos of an actress uttering action verbs (auditory; tagged at 61 Hz) accompanied by a gesture (visual; tagged at 68 Hz, using a projector with a 1,440 Hz refresh rate). Integration difficulty was manipulated by lower-order auditory factors (clear/degraded speech) and higher-order visual factors (congruent/incongruent gesture). We identified MEG spectral peaks at the individual (61/68 Hz) tagging frequencies. We furthermore observed a peak at the intermodulation frequency of the auditory and visually tagged signals (fvisual − fauditory = 7 Hz), specifically when lower-order integration was easiest because signal quality was optimal. This intermodulation peak is a signature of nonlinear audiovisual integration, and was strongest in left inferior frontal gyrus and left temporal regions; areas known to be involved in speech-gesture integration. The enhanced power at the intermodulation frequency thus reflects the ease of lower-order audiovisual integration and demonstrates that speech-gesture information interacts in higher-order language areas. Furthermore, we provide a proof-of-principle of the use of RIFT to study the integration of audiovisual stimuli, in relation to, for instance, semantic context.
Elisa Infanti; D. Samuel Schwarzkopf
Mapping sequences can bias population receptive field estimates Journal Article
In: NeuroImage, vol. 211, pp. 116636, 2020.
Population receptive field (pRF) modelling is a common technique for estimating the stimulus-selectivity of populations of neurons using neuroimaging. Here, we aimed to address if pRF properties estimated with this method depend on the spatio-temporal structure and the predictability of the mapping stimulus. We mapped the polar angle preference and tuning width of voxels in visual cortex (V1–V4) of healthy, adult volunteers. We compared sequences sweeping orderly through the visual field or jumping from location to location employing stimuli of different width (45° vs 6°) and cycles of variable duration (8s vs 60s). While we did not observe any systematic influence of stimulus predictability, the temporal structure of the sequences significantly affected tuning width estimates. Ordered designs with large wedges and short cycles produced systematically smaller estimates than random sequences. Interestingly, when we used small wedges and long cycles, we obtained larger tuning width estimates for ordered than random sequences. We suggest that ordered and random mapping protocols show different susceptibility to other design choices such as stimulus type and duration of the mapping cycle and can produce significantly different pRF results.
Kristen R. Hamilton; Jason F. Smith; Stefanie F. Gonçalves; Jazlyn A. Nketia; Olivia N. Tasheuras; Mark Yoon; Katya Rubia; Theresa J. Chirles; Carl W. Lejuez; Alexander J. Shackman
Striatal bases of temporal discounting in early adolescents Journal Article
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 144, pp. 107492, 2020.
Steeper rates of temporal discounting—the degree to which smaller-sooner (SS) rewards are preferred over larger-later (LL) ones—have been associated with impulsive and ill-advised behaviors in adolescence. Yet, the underlying neural systems remain poorly understood. Here we used a well-established temporal discounting paradigm and functional MRI (fMRI) to examine engagement of the striatum—including the caudate, putamen, and ventral striatum (VS)—in early adolescence (13–15 years; N = 27). Analyses provided evidence of enhanced activity in the caudate and VS during impulsive choice. Exploratory analyses revealed that trait impulsivity was associated with heightened putamen activity during impulsive choices. A more nuanced pattern was evident in the cortex, with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex mirroring the putamen and posterior parietal cortex showing the reverse association. Taken together, these observations provide an important first glimpse at the distributed neural systems underlying economic choice and trait-like individual differences in impulsivity in the early years of adolescence, setting the stage for prospective-longitudinal and intervention research.
Christoph Helmchen; Björn Machner; Matthias Rother; Peer Spliethoff; Martin Göttlich; Andreas Sprenger
In: Human Brain Mapping, vol. 41, no. 9, pp. 2527–2547, 2020.
We examined the effect of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) on resting state brain activity using fMRI (rs-fMRI) in patients with bilateral vestibulopathy. Based on our previous findings, we hypothesized that GVS, which excites the vestibular nerve fibers, (a) increases functional connectivity in temporoparietal regions processing vestibular signals, and (b) alleviates abnormal visual–vestibular interaction. Rs-fMRI of 26 patients and 26 age-matched healthy control subjects was compared before and after GVS. The stimulation elicited a motion percept in all participants. Using different analyses (degree centrality, DC; fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations [fALFF] and seed-based functional connectivity, FC), group comparisons revealed smaller rs-fMRI in the right Rolandic operculum of patients. After GVS, rs-fMRI increased in the right Rolandic operculum in both groups and in the patients' cerebellar Crus 1 which was related to vestibular hypofunction. GVS elicited a fALFF increase in the visual cortex of patients that was inversely correlated with the patients' rating of perceived dizziness. After GVS, FC between parietoinsular cortex and higher visual areas increased in healthy controls but not in patients. In conclusion, short-term GVS is able to modulate rs-fMRI in healthy controls and BV patients. GVS elicits an increase of the reduced rs-fMRI in the patients' right Rolandic operculum, which may be an important contribution to restore the disturbed visual–vestibular interaction. The GVS-induced changes in the cerebellum and the visual cortex were associated with lower dizziness-related handicaps in patients, possibly reflecting beneficial neural plasticity that might subserve visual–vestibular compensation of deficient self-motion perception.
Lara Henco; Marie Luise Brandi; Juha M. Lahnakoski; Andreea O. Diaconescu; Christoph Mathys; Leonhard Schilbach
In: Cortex, vol. 131, pp. 221–236, 2020.
Computational models of social learning and decision-making provide mechanistic tools to investigate the neural mechanisms that are involved in understanding other people. While most studies employ explicit instructions to learn from social cues, everyday life is characterized by the spontaneous use of such signals (e.g., the gaze of others) to infer on internal states such as intentions. To investigate the neural mechanisms of the impact of gaze cues on learning and decision-making, we acquired behavioural and fMRI data from 50 participants performing a probabilistic task, in which cards with varying winning probabilities had to be chosen. In addition, the task included a computer-generated face that gazed towards one of these cards providing implicit advice. Participants' individual belief trajectories were inferred using a hierarchical Gaussian filter (HGF) and used as predictors in a linear model of neuronal activation. During learning, social prediction errors were correlated with activity in inferior frontal gyrus and insula. During decision-making, the belief about the accuracy of the social cue was correlated with activity in inferior temporal gyrus, putamen and pallidum while the putamen and insula showed activity as a function of individual differences in weighting the social cue during decision-making. Our findings demonstrate that model-based fMRI can give insight into the behavioural and neural aspects of spontaneous social cue integration in learning and decision-making. They provide evidence for a mechanistic involvement of specific components of the basal ganglia in subserving these processes.
John M. Henderson; Jessica E. Goold; Wonil Choi; Taylor R. Hayes
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 32, no. 10, pp. 2013–2023, 2020.
During real-world scene perception, viewers actively direct their attention through a scene in a controlled sequence of eye fixations. During each fixation, local scene properties are attended, analyzed, and interpreted. What is the relationship between fixated scene properties and neural activity in the visual cortex? Participants inspected photographs of real-world scenes in an MRI scanner while their eye movements were recorded. Fixation-related fMRI was used tomeasure activation as a function of lower- and higher-level scene properties at fixation, operationalized as edge density and meaning maps, respectively. We found that edge density at fixation was most associated with activation in early visual areas, whereas semantic content at fixation was most associated with activation along the ventral visual streamincluding core object and scene-selective areas (lateral occipital complex, parahippocampal place area, occipital place area, and retrosplenial cortex). The observed activation from semantic content was not accounted for by differences in edge density. The results are consistent with active vision models in which fixation gates detailed visual analysis for fixated scene regions, and this gating influences both lower and higher levels of scene analysis.
Yaseen A. Jamal; Daniel D. Dilks
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117, no. 20, pp. 11059–11067, 2020.
Can the primary visual cortex (V1), once wired up in development, change in adulthood? Although numerous studies have demonstrated topographic reorganization in adult V1 following the loss of bottom-up input, others have challenged such findings, offering alternative explanations. Here we use a noninvasive and reversible deprivation paradigm and converging neural and behavioral approaches to address these alternatives in the experimental test case of short-term topographic reorganization in adult human V1. Specifically, we patched one eye in typical adults, thereby depriving the cortical representation of the other eye's blind spot (BS), and immediately tested for topographic reorganization using functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychophysics. Strikingly, within just minutes of eye-patching, the BS representation in V1 began responding to stimuli presented outside of the BS, and these same stimuli were perceived as elongated toward the BS. Thus, we provide converging neural and behavioral evidence of rapid topographic reorganization in adult human V1, and the strongest evidence yet that visual deprivation produces bona fide cortical change.
Andy Jeesu Kim; Brian A. Anderson
In: Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 11, no. 1-2, pp. 5–15, 2020.
Our attention is strongly influenced by reward learning. Stimuli previously associated with monetary reward have been shown to automatically capture attention in both behavioral and neurophysiological studies. Stimuli previously associated with positive social feedback similarly capture attention; however, it is unknown whether such social facilitation of attention relies on similar or dissociable neural systems. Here, we used the value-driven attentional capture paradigm in an fMRI study to identify the neural correlates of attention to stimuli previously associated with social reward. The results reveal learning-dependent priority signals in the contralateral visual cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and caudate tail, similar to studies using monetary reward. An additional priority signal was consistently evident in the right middle frontal gyrus (MFG). Our findings support the notion of a common neural mechanism for directing attention on the basis of selection history that generalizes across different types of reward.
Andy Jeesu Kim; Brian A. Anderson
In: eNeuro, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 1–12, 2020.
Anxiety is an adaptive neural state that promotes rapid responses under heightened vigilance when survival is threatened. Anxiety has consistently been found to potentiate the attentional processing of physically salient stimuli. However, a recent study demonstrated that a threat manipulation reduces attentional capture by reward-associated stimuli, suggesting a more complex relationship between anxiety and the control of attention. The mechanisms by which threat can reduce the distracting quality of stimuli are unknown. In this study, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on human subjects, we examined the neural correlates of attention to previously reward-associated stimuli with and without the threat of unpredictable electric shock. We replicate enhanced distractor-evoked activity throughout the value-driven attention network (VDAN) in addition to enhanced stimulus-evoked activity generally under threat. Importantly, these two factors interacted such that the representation of previously reward-associated distractors was particularly pronounced under threat. Our results from neuroimaging fit well with the principle of arousal-biased competition (ABC), although such effects are typically associated with behavioral measures of increased attention to stimuli that already possess elevated attentional priority. The findings of our study suggest that ABC can be leveraged to support more efficient ignoring of reward cues, revealing new insights into the functional significance of ABC as a mechanism of attentional control, and provide a mechanistic explanation of how threat reduces attention to irrelevant reward information.
Tamar Kolodny; Michael Paul Schallmo; Jennifer Gerdts; Raphael A. Bernier; Scott O. Murray
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 2269–2281, 2020.
A prominent hypothesis regarding the pathophysiology of autism is that an increase in the balance between neural excitation and inhibition results in an increase in neural responses. However, previous reports of population-level response magnitude in individuals with autism have been inconsistent. Critically, network interactions have not been considered in previous neuroimaging studies of excitation and inhibition imbalance in autism. In particular, a defining characteristic of cortical organization is its hierarchical and interactive structure; sensory and cognitive systems are comprised of networks where later stages inherit and build upon the processing of earlier input stages, and also influence and shape earlier stages by top-down modulation. Here we used the well established connections of the human visual system to examine response magnitudes in a higher-order motion processing region [middle temporal area (MT+)] and its primary input region (V1). Simple visual stimuli were presented to adult individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD; n = 24, mean age 23 years, 8 females) and neurotypical controls (n = 24, mean age 22, 8 females) during fMRI scanning. We discovered a strong dissociation of fMRI response magnitude between region MT+ and V1 in individuals with ASD: individuals with high MT+ responses had attenuated V1 responses. The magnitude of MT+ amplification and of V1 attenuation was associated with autism severity, appeared to result from amplified suppressive feedback from MT+ to V1, and was not present in neurotypical controls. Our results reveal the potential role of altered hierarchical network interactions in the pathophysiology of ASD.