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Siobhan M. McAteer; Anthony McGregor; Daniel T. Smith
Oculomotor rehearsal in visuospatial working memory Journal Article
In: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 85, pp. 261–275, 2023.
The neural and cognitive mechanisms of spatial working memory are tightly coupled with the systems that control eye movements, but the precise nature of this coupling is not well understood. It has been argued that the oculomotor system is selectively involved in rehearsal of spatial but not visual material in visuospatial working memory. However, few studies have directly compared the effect of saccadic interference on visual and spatial memory, and there is little consensus on how the underlying working memory representation is affected by saccadic interference. In this study we aimed to examine how working memory for visual and spatial features is affected by overt and covert attentional interference across two experiments. Participants were shown a memory array, then asked to either maintain fixation or to overtly or covertly shift attention in a detection task during the delay period. Using the continuous report task we directly examined the precision of visual and spatial working memory representations and fit psychophysical functions to investigate the sources of recall error associated with different types of interference. These data were interpreted in terms of embodied theories of attention and memory and provide new insights into the nature of the interactions between cognitive and motor systems.
Arthur Pabst; Zoé Bollen; Nicolas Masson; Pauline Billaux; Philippe Timary; Pierre Maurage
An eye-tracking study of biased attentional processing of emotional faces in severe alcohol use disorder Journal Article
In: Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 323, pp. 778–787, 2023.
Background: Social cognition impairments in severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) are increasingly established. However, fundamental aspects of social cognition, and notably the attentional processing of socio-affective information, remain unexplored, limiting our understanding of underlying mechanisms. Here, we determined whether patients with SAUD show attentional biases to specific socio-affective cues, namely emotional faces. Method: In a modified dot-probe paradigm, 30 patients with SAUD and 30 demographically matched healthy controls (HC) were presented with pairs of neutral-emotional (angry, disgusted, happy, sad) faces while having their eye movements recorded. Indices of early/automatic (first fixations, latency to first fixations) and later/controlled (number of fixations, dwell-time) processes were computed. Results: Patients with SAUD did not differ from HC in their attention to angry/disgusted/sad vs. neutral faces. However, patients with SAUD fixated/dwelled less on happy vs. neutral faces in the first block of stimuli than HC, who presented an attentional bias to happy faces. Limitations: Sample-size was determined to detect medium-to-large effects and subtler ones may have been missed. Further, our cross-sectional design provides no explanation as to whether the evidenced biases precede or are a consequence of SAUD. Conclusions: These results extend the social cognition literature in SAUD to the attentional domain, by evidencing the absence of a controlled attentional bias toward positive social cues in SAUD. This may reflect reduced sensitivity to social reward and could contribute to higher order social cognition difficulties and social dysfunction.
Monja Hoven; Alejandro Hirmas; Jan Engelmann; Ruth Holst
The role of attention in decision-making under risk in gambling disorder: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Addictive Behaviors, vol. 138, pp. 1–10, 2023.
Gambling disorder (GD) is a behavioural addiction characterized by impairments in decision-making, favouring risk- and reward-prone choices. One explanatory factor for this behaviour is a deviation in attentional processes, as increasing evidence indicates that GD patients show an attentional bias toward gambling stimuli. However, previous attentional studies have not directly investigated attention during risky decision-making. 26 patients with GD and 29 healthy matched controls (HC) completed a mixed gambles task combined with eye-tracking to investigate attentional biases for potential gains versus losses during decision-making under risk. Results indicate that compared to HC, GD patients gambled more and were less loss averse. GD patients did not show a direct attentional bias towards gains (or relative to losses). Using a recent (neuro)economics model that considers average attention and trial-wise deviations in average attention, we conducted fine-grained exploratory analyses of the attentional data. Results indicate that the average attention for gains in GD patients moderated the effect of gain value on gambling choices, whereas this was not the case for HC. GD patients with high average attention for gains started gambling at less high gain values. A similar trend-level effect was found for losses, where GD patients with high average attention for losses stopped gambling at lower loss values. This study gives more insight into how attentional processes in GD play a role in gambling behaviour, which could have implications for the development of future treatments focusing on attentional training or for the development of interventions that increase the salience of losses.
Carmen Julia Coloma; Ernesto Guerra; Zulema De Barbieri; Andrea Helo; Carmen Julia; Ernesto Guerra; Zulema De Barbieri; Andrea Helo
Article comprehension in monolingual Spanish-speaking children with developmental language disorder: A longitudinal eye tracking study Journal Article
In: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, pp. 1–13, 2023.
Purpose: Article-noun disagreement in spoken language is a marker of children with developmental language disorder (DLD). However, the evidence is less clear regarding article comprehension. This study investigates article comprehension in monolingual Spanish-speaking children with and without DLD. Method: Eye tracking methodology used in a longitudinal experimental design enabled the examination of real time article comprehension. The children at the time 1 were 40 monolingual Spanish-speaking preschoolers (20 with DLD and 20 with typical language development [TLD]). A year later (time 2), 27 of these children (15 with DLD and 12 with TLD) were evaluated. Children listened to simple phrases while inspecting a four object visual context. The article in the phrase agreed in number and gender with only one of the objects. Result: At the time 1, children with DLD did not use articles to identify the correct image, while children with TLD anticipated the correct picture. At the time 2, both groups used the articles' morphological markers, but children with DLD showed a slower and weaker preference for the correct referent compared to their age-matched peers. Conclusion: These findings suggest a later emergence, but a similar developmental trajectory, of article comprehension in children with DLD compared to their peers with TLD.
Rony Lemel; Lilach Shalev; Gal Nitsan; Boaz M. Ben-David
Listen up! ADHD slows spoken-word processing in adverse listening conditions: Evidence from eye movements Journal Article
In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, vol. 133, pp. 1–15, 2023.
Background: Cognitive skills such as sustained attention, inhibition and working memory are essential for speech processing, yet are often impaired in people with ADHD. Offline measures have indicated difficulties in speech recognition on multi-talker babble (MTB) background for young adults with ADHD (yaADHD). However, to-date no study has directly tested online speech processing in adverse conditions for yaADHD. Aims: Gauging the effects of ADHD on segregating the spoken target-word from its sound-sharing competitor, in MTB and working-memory (WM) load. Methods and procedures: Twenty-four yaADHD and 22 matched controls that differ in sustained attention (SA) but not in WM were asked to follow spoken instructions presented on MTB to touch a named object, while retaining one (low-load) or four (high-load) digit/s for later recall. Their eye fixations were tracked. Outcomes and results: In the high-load condition, speech processing was less accurate and slowed by 140ms for yaADHD. In the low-load condition, the processing advantage shifted from early perceptual to later cognitive stages. Fixation transitions (hesitations) were inflated for yaADHD. Conclusions and implications: ADHD slows speech processing in adverse listening conditions and increases hesitation, as speech unfolds in time. These effects, detected only by online eyetracking, relate to attentional difficulties. We suggest online speech processing as a novel purview on ADHD. What this paper adds?: We suggest speech processing in adverse listening conditions as a novel vantage point on ADHD. Successful speech recognition in noise is essential for performance across daily settings: academic, employment and social interactions. It involves several executive functions, such as inhibition and sustained attention. Impaired performance in these functions is characteristic of ADHD. However, to date there is only scant research on speech processing in ADHD. The current study is the first to investigate online speech processing as the word unfolds in time using eyetracking for young adults with ADHD (yaADHD). This method uncovered slower speech processing in multi-talker babble noise for yaADHD compared to matched controls. The performance of yaADHD indicated increased hesitation between the spoken word and sound-sharing alternatives (e.g., CANdle-CANdy). These delays and hesitations, on the single word level, could accumulate in continuous speech to significantly impair communication in ADHD, with severe implications on their quality of life and academic success. Interestingly, whereas yaADHD and controls were matched on WM standardized tests, WM load appears to affect speech processing for yaADHD more than for controls. This suggests that ADHD may lead to inefficient deployment of WM resources that may not be detected when WM is tested alone. Note that these intricate differences could not be detected using traditional offline accuracy measures, further supporting the use of eyetracking in speech tasks. Finally, communication is vital for active living and wellbeing. We suggest paying attention to speech processing in ADHD in treatment and when considering accessibility and inclusion.
Marcello Maniglia; Kristina M. Visscher; Aaron R. Seitz
Consistency of preferred retinal locus across tasks and participants trained with a simulated scotoma Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 203, pp. 1–9, 2023.
After loss of central vision following retinal pathologies such as macular degeneration (MD), patients often adopt compensatory strategies including developing a “preferred retinal locus” (PRL) to replace the fovea in tasks involving fixation. A key question is whether patients develop multi-purpose PRLs or whether their oculomotor strategies adapt to the demands of the task. While most MD patients develop a PRL, clinical evidence suggests that patients may develop multiple PRLs and switch between them according to the task at hand. To understand this, we examined a model of central vision loss in normally seeing individuals and tested whether they used the same or different PRLs across tasks after training. Nineteen participants trained for 10 sessions on contrast detection while in conditions of gaze-contingent, simulated central vision loss. Before and after training, peripheral looking strategies were evaluated during tasks measuring visual acuity, reading abilities and visual search. To quantify strategies in these disparate, naturalistic tasks, we measured and compared the amount of task-relevant information at each of 8 equally spaced, peripheral locations, while participants performed the tasks. Results showed that some participants used consistent viewing strategies across tasks whereas other participants' strategies differed depending on task. This novel method allows quantification of peripheral vision use even in relatively ecological tasks. These results represent one of the first examinations of peripheral viewing strategies across tasks in simulated vision loss. Results suggest that individual differences in peripheral looking strategies following simulated central vision loss may model those developed in pathological vision loss.
Yiru Huang; Zitian Liu; Zidong Chen; Zongyi Zhan; Le Gao; Jingyi Hu; Yanyan Wu; Fang-Fang Yan; Daming Deng; Chang-Bing Huang; Minbin Yu
Visual crowding reveals field- and axis-specific cortical miswiring after long-term axial misalignment in strabismic patients without amblyopia Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 1–11, 2023.
PURPOSE. Inspired by physiological and neuroimaging findings that revealed squint- induced modification of cortical volume and visual receptive field in early visual areas, we hypothesized that strabismic eyes without amblyopia manifest an increase in critical spacing of visual crowding, an essential bottleneck on object recognition and reliable psychophysical index of cortical organization. METHODS. We used real-time eye tracking to ensure gaze-contingent display and examined visual crowding in patients with horizontal concomitant strabismus (both esotropia and exotropia) but without amblyopia and age-matched normal controls. RESULTS. Nineteen patients with exotropia (12 men, mean ± SD = 22.89 ± 7.82 years), matched normal controls (7 men, mean ± SD = 23.07 ± 1.07 years) participated in this 21 patients with esotropia (10 men, mean ± SD = 23.48 ± 6.95 years), and 14 age- study. We found that patients with strabismus without amblyopia showed significantly larger critical spacing with nasotemporal asymmetry in only the radial axis that related to the strabismus pattern, with exotropia exhibiting stronger temporal hemifield crowding and esotropia exhibiting stronger nasal hemifield crowding, in both the deviated and fixating eyes. Moreover, the magnitude of crowding change was related to the duration and degree of strabismic deviation. CONCLUSIONS. Using visual crowding as a psychophysical index of cortical organization, our study demonstrated significantly greater peripheral visual crowding with nasotemporal asymmetry in only the radial axis in patients with strabismus without amblyopia, indicating the existence of hemifield- and axis-specific miswiring of cortical processing in object recognition induced by long-term adaptation to ocular misalignment.
Elle Van Heusden; Christian N. L. Olivers; Mieke Donk
The eyes prefer targets nearby fixation: Quantifying eccentricity-dependent attentional biases in oculomotor selection Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 205, pp. 1–11, 2023.
An important function of peripheral vision is to provide the target of the next eye movement. Here we investigate the extent to which the eyes are biased to select a target closer to fixation over one further away. Participants were presented with displays containing two identical singleton targets and were asked to move their eyes to either one of them. The targets could be presented at three different eccentricities relative to central fixation. In one condition both singletons were presented at the same eccentricity, providing an estimate of the speed of selection at each of the eccentricities. The saccadic latency distributions from this same-eccentricity condition were then used to predict the selection bias when both targets were presented at different eccentricities. The results show that when targets are presented at different eccentricities, participants are biased to select the item closest to fixation. This eccentricity-based bias was considerably stronger than predicted on the basis of saccadic latency distributions in the same-eccentricity condition. This rules out speed of processing per se as a sole explanation for such a bias. Instead, the results are consistent with attentional competition being weighted in favour of items close to fixation.
Lara Koch; Norbert Kathmann; Benedikt Reuter
Lack of speeded disengagement from facial expressions of disgust in remitted major depressive disorder: Evidence from an eye-movement study Journal Article
In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 160, pp. 1–11, 2023.
Acute major depression is characterized by specific abnormalities in the way emotional material is attended to. In late stages of stimulus processing, clinically depressed and dysphoric individuals show difficulties to disengage attention from emotionally negative material. It is unclear, however, whether aberrant disengagement is a transitory attentional phenomenon tied to depressive symptoms, or whether it constitutes a more stable disposition that outlast the symptomatic episode. To address this issue, the current study examined 39 currently euthymic individuals previously affected by major depression (RMD) and 40 healthy control participants reporting no lifetime psychopathology (ND). We used a gaze-contingent eye tracking paradigm designed to separately assess the attentional components of engagement and disengagement when viewing facial expressions of sadness, disgust and happiness. Never-depressed healthy participants, but not remitted euthymic individuals, showed speeded disengagement from facial expressions of disgust. We propose that the lack of this distinct acceleration in previously depressed but fully remitted individuals might reflect an attentional disposition that carries over to euthymic phases of the disease. On the other hand, a tendency to disengage quickly from areas in the visual field that convey social disdain could potentially act as a protective, possibly mood-stabilizing bias in resilient individuals.
Josefine Waldthaler; Alexander Sperlich; Aylin König; Charlotte Stüssel; Frank Bremmer; Lars Timmermann; David Pedrosa
High (130 Hz)- and mid (60 Hz)-frequency deep brain stimulation in the subthalamic nucleus differentially modulate response inhibition: A preliminary combined EEG and eye tracking study Journal Article
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, vol. 37, pp. 1–11, 2023.
While deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) improves motor functions in Parkinson's disease (PD), it may also increase impulsivity by interfering with the inhibition of reflexive responses. The aim of this study was to investigate if varying the pulse frequency of STN-DBS has a modulating effect on response inhibition and its neural correlates. For this purpose, 14 persons with PD repeated an antisaccade task in three stimulation settings (DBS off, high-frequency DBS (130 Hz), mid-frequency DBS (60 Hz)) in a randomized order, while eye movements and brain activity via high-density EEG were recorded. On a behavioral level, 130 Hz DBS stimulation had no effect on response inhibition measured as antisaccade error rate, while 60 Hz DBS induced a slight but significant reduction of directional errors compared with the DBS-off state and 130 Hz DBS. Further, stimulation with both frequencies decreased the onset latency of correct antisaccades, while increasing the latency of directional errors. Time-frequency domain analysis of the EEG data revealed that 60 Hz DBS was associated with an increase in preparatory theta power over a midfrontal region of interest compared with the off-DBS state which is generally regarded as a marker of increased cognitive control. While no significant differences in brain activity over mid- and lateral prefrontal regions of interest emerged between the 60 Hz and 130 Hz conditions, both stimulation frequencies were associated with a stronger midfrontal beta desynchronization during the mental preparation for correct antisaccades compared with DBS off-state which is discussed in the context of potentially enhanced proactive recruitment of the oculomotor network. Our preliminary findings suggest that mid-frequency STN-DBS may provide beneficial effects on response inhibition, while both 130 Hz- and 60 Hz STN-DBS may promote voluntary actions at the expense of slower reflexive responses.
Lisa Kunkel genannt Bode; Anna Sophie Schulte; Björn Hauptmann; Thomas F. Münte; Andreas Sprenger; Björn Machner
Gaze-contingent display technology can help to reduce the ipsilesional attention bias in hemispatial neglect following stroke Journal Article
In: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, vol. 19, pp. 1–15, 2022.
Background: Hemispatial neglect results from unilateral brain damage and represents a disabling unawareness for objects in the hemispace opposite the brain lesion (contralesional). The patients' attentional bias for ipsilesional hemispace represents a hallmark of neglect, which results from an imbalanced attentional priority map in the brain. The aim of this study was to investigate whether gaze-contingent display (GCD) technology, reducing the visual salience of objects in ipsilesional hemispace, is able to rebalance this map and increase awareness and exploration of objects in the neglected contralesional hemispace. Methods: Using remote eye-tracking, we recorded gaze positions in 19 patients with left hemispatial neglect following right-hemisphere stroke and 22 healthy control subjects, while they were watching static naturalistic scenes. There were two task conditions, free viewing (FV) or goal-directed visual search (VS), and four modification conditions including the unmodified original picture, a purely static modification and two differently strong modifications with an additional gaze-contingent mask (GC-LOW, GC-HIGH), that continuously reduced color saturation and contrast of objects in the right hemispace. Results: The patients' median gaze position (Center of Fixation) in the original pictures was markedly deviated to the right in both tasks (FV: 6.8° ± 0.8; VS: 5.5° ± 0.7), reflecting the neglect-typical ipsilesional attention bias. GC modification significantly reduced this bias in FV (GC-HIGH: d = − 3.2 ± 0.4°; p < 0.001). Furthermore, in FV and VS, GC modification increased the likelihood to start visual exploration in the (neglected) left hemifield by about 20%. This alleviation of the ipsilesional fixation bias was not associated with an improvement in detecting left-side targets, in contrast, the GC mask even decreased and slowed the detection of right-side targets. Subjectively, patients found the intervention pleasant and most of the patients did not notice any modification. Conclusions: GCD technology can be used to positively influence visual exploration patterns in patients with hemispatial neglect. Despite an alleviation of the neglect-related ipsilesional fixation bias, a concomitant functional benefit (improved detection of contralesional targets) was not achieved. Future studies may investigate individualized GCD-based modifications as augmented reality applications during the activities of daily living.
Haiyan Wang; Matthew Walenski; Kaitlyn Litcofsky; Jennifer E. Mack; M. Marsel Mesulam; Cynthia K. Thompson
Verb production and comprehension in primary progressive aphasia Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurolinguistics, vol. 64, pp. 1–18, 2022.
Studies of word class processing have found verb retrieval impairments in individuals with primary progressive aphasia (Bak et al., 2001; Cappa et al., 1998; Cotelli et al., 2006; Hillis, Heidler-Gary, et al., 2006; Hillis, Oh, & Ken, 2004; Marcotte et al., 2014; Rhee, Antiquena, & Grossman, 2001; Silveri & Ciccarelli, 2007; Thompson, Lukic, et al., 2012) associated primarily with the agrammatic variant. However, fewer studies have focused on verb comprehension, with inconsistent results. Because verbs are critical to both production and comprehension of clauses and sentences, we investigated verb processing across domains in agrammatic, logopenic, and semantic PPA and a group of age-matched healthy controls. Participants completed a confrontation naming task for verb production and an eye-tracking word-picture matching task for online verb comprehension. All PPA groups showed impaired verb production and comprehension relative to healthy controls. Most notably, the PPA-S group performed more poorly than the other two PPA variants in both domains. Overall, the results indicate that semantic deficits in the PPA-S extend beyond object knowledge to verbs as well, adding to our knowledge concerning the nature of the language deficits in the three variants of primary progressive aphasia.
Mahboubeh Habibi; Wolfgang H. Oertel; Brian J. White; Donald C. Brien; Brian C. Coe; Heidi C. Riek; Julia Perkins; Rachel Yep; Laurent Itti; Lars Timmermann; Christoph Best; Elisabeth Sittig; Annette Janzen; Douglas P. Munoz
Eye tracking identifies biomarkers in $alpha$-synucleinopathies versus progressive supranuclear palsy Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurology, vol. 269, pp. 4920–4938, 2022.
Objectives: This study (1) describes and compares saccade and pupil abnormalities in patients with manifest alpha-synucleinopathies ($alpha$SYN: Parkinson's disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)) and a tauopathy (progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)); (2) determines whether patients with rapid-eye-movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), a prodromal stage of $alpha$SYN, already have abnormal responses that may indicate a risk for developing PD or MSA. Methods: Ninety (46 RBD, 27 PD, 17 MSA) patients with an $alpha$SYN, 10 PSP patients, and 132 healthy age-matched controls (CTRL) were examined with a 10-min video-based eye-tracking task (Free Viewing). Participants were free to look anywhere on the screen while saccade and pupil behaviours were measured. Results: PD, MSA, and PSP spent more time fixating the centre of the screen than CTRL. All patient groups made fewer macro-saccades (> 2◦ amplitude) with smaller amplitude than CTRL. Saccade frequency was greater in RBD than in other patients. Following clip change, saccades were temporarily suppressed, then rebounded at a slower pace than CTRL in all patient groups. RBD had distinct, although discrete saccade abnormalities that were more marked in PD, MSA, and even more in PSP. The vertical saccade rate was reduced in all patients and decreased most in PSP. Clip changes produced large increases or decreases in screen luminance requiring pupil constriction or dilation, respectively. PSP elicited smaller pupil constriction/dilation responses than CTRL, while MSA elicited the opposite. Conclusion: RBD patients already have discrete but less pronounced saccade abnormalities than PD and MSA patients. Vertical gaze palsy and altered pupil control differentiate PSP from $alpha$SYN.
Christoph Helmchen; Philipp J. Koch; Gabriel Girard; Norbert Brüggemann; Björn Machner; Andreas Sprenger
NPTX1-related oculomotor apraxia: An intra-hemispheric disconnection disorder Miscellaneous
Oculomotor apraxia (OMA) is a rare and heavily disabling neurological disorder causing severe difficulties in the initia- tion and maintenance of voluntary eye movements when the head is stationary. If patients try to initiate saccades, they are grossly delayed and hypometric (stair-case). .. The aim of this study was to test competing pathophysiological hypotheses by functional and structural MRI, stating that OMA is related to either abnormal (i) inter-hemispheric or (ii) intra-hemispheric connectivity between the FEF and related oculomotor structures (oculomotor network) or (iii) both mechanisms.
Nora Geiser; Brigitte Charlotte Kaufmann; Henrik Rühe; Noortje Maaijwee; Tobias Nef; Dario Cazzoli; Thomas Nyffeler
Visual neglect after PICA stroke—A case study Journal Article
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 12, pp. 1–10, 2022.
After cerebellar stroke, cognition can be impaired, as described within the framework of the so-called Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome (CCAS). However, it remains unclear whether visual neglect can also be part of CCAS. We describe the case of a patient with a subacute cerebellar stroke after thrombosis of the left posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA), who showed a left-sided visual neglect, indicating that the cerebellum also has a modulatory function on visual attention. The neglect, however, was mild and only detectable when using the sensitive neuro-psychological Five-Point Test as well as video-oculography assessment, yet remained unnoticed when evaluated with common neglect-specific paper-pencil tests. Three weeks later, follow-up assessments revealed an amelioration of neglect symptoms. Therefore, these findings suggest that visual neglect may be a part of CCAS, but that the choice of neglect assessments and the time delay since stroke onset may be crucial. Although the exact underlying pathophysiological mechanisms remain unclear, we propose cerebellar–cerebral diaschisis as a possible explanation of why neglect can occur on the ipsilateral side. Further research applying sensitive assessment tools at different post-stroke stages is needed to investigate the incidence, lesion correlates, and pathophysiology of neglect after cerebellar lesions.
Emma Gowen; Ellen Poliakoff; Hayley Shepherd; Waltraud Stadler
Measuring the prediction of observed actions using an occlusion paradigm: Comparing autistic and non-autistic adults Journal Article
In: Autism Research, vol. 15, pp. 1636–1648, 2022.
Action prediction involves observing and predicting the actions of others and plays an important role in social cognition and interacting with others. It is thought to use simulation, whereby the observers use their own motor system to predict the observed actions. As individuals diagnosed with autism are characterized by difficulties understanding the actions of others and motor coordination issues, it is possible that action prediction ability is altered in this population. This study compared action prediction ability between 20 autistic and 22 non-autistic adults using an occlusion paradigm. Participants watched different videos of a female actor carrying out everyday actions. During each video, the action was transiently occluded by a gray rectangle for 1000 ms. During occlusions, the video was allowed to continue as normal or was moved forward (i.e., appearing to continue too far ahead) or moved backwards (i.e., appearing to continue too far behind). Participants were asked to indicate after each occlusion whether the action continued with the correct timing or was too far ahead/behind. Autistic individuals were less accurate than non-autistic individuals, particularly when the video was too far behind. A trend analysis suggested that autistic participants were more likely to judge too far behind occlusions as being in time. These preliminary results suggest that prediction ability may be altered in autistic adults, potentially due to slower simulation or a delayed onset of these processes. Lay Summary: When we observe other people performing everyday actions, we use their movements to help us understand and predict what they are doing. In this study, we found that autistic compared to non-autistic adults were slightly less accurate at predicting other people's actions. These findings help to unpick the different ways that social understanding is affected in autism.
A. Grillini; L. H. Koens; G. Lizaitiene; F. Lange; F. W. Cornelissen; M. A. J. Tijssen
Measuring saccades in patients with Niemann-Pick type C: A comparison between video-oculography and a novel eye tracking test based on continuous psychophysics Journal Article
In: Clinical Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, vol. 7, pp. 1–6, 2022.
Introduction: Vertical supranuclear gaze palsy is a key feature of Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) and is commonly quantified using video-oculography (VOG). VOG requires sitting still for long times and performing specific tasks, thus it can be challenging or impossible for patients severely affected by movement disorders or cognitive impairment. To overcome this limitation, we measure saccades of NP-C patients using a fast eye tracking test based on continuous psychophysics and compare it to VOG. Methods: Saccades of six NP-C patients and six age-matched controls were assessed using VOG and Standardized Oculomotor and Neuro-ophthalmic Disorders Assessment (SONDA). In SONDA, participants continuously track a semi-randomly moving dot on a computer screen while their gaze is being tracked. For both assessments, sac- cades were quantified using four conventional measures: amplitude, gain, latency, and peak velocity. Further- more, SONDA's continuous measures were quantified with several novel spatio-temporal properties. Results: In the NP-C patients, both methods revealed reduced amplitude, gain, peak velocity, and increased la- tency of vertical saccades compared to horizontal saccades and compared to healthy controls. Effect sizes ob- tained with SONDA were overall larger than those for VOG. SONDA's spatio-temporal properties showed similar trends. Conclusion: SONDA reveals a deterioration of vertical saccades in NP-C patients that is consistent with VOG. SONDA's measures based on continuous psychophysics are consistent with traditional saccadic parameters and can potentially provide complementary information. SONDA shows larger effect sizes than VOG, suggesting that it provides robust and clinically relevant outcomes with a more intuitive task and shorter testing time.
Scott N. Grossman; Rachel Calix; Todd Hudson; John Ross Rizzo; Ivan Selesnick; Steven Frucht; Steven L. Galetta; Laura J. Balcer; Janet C. Rucker
Accuracy of clinical versus oculographic detection of pathological saccadic slowing Journal Article
In: Journal of the Neurological Sciences, vol. 442, pp. 1–8, 2022.
Saccadic slowing as a component of supranuclear saccadic gaze palsy is an important diagnostic sign in multiple neurologic conditions, including degenerative, inflammatory, genetic, or ischemic lesions affecting brainstem structures responsible for saccadic generation. Little attention has been given to the accuracy with which clinicians correctly identify saccadic slowing. We compared clinician (n = 19) judgements of horizontal and vertical saccade speed on video recordings of saccades (from 9 patients with slow saccades, 3 healthy controls) to objective saccade peak velocity measurements from infrared oculographic recordings. Clinician groups included neurology residents, general neurologists, and fellowship-trained neuro-ophthalmologists. Saccades with normal peak velocities on infrared recordings were correctly identified as normal in 57% (91/171; 171 = 9 videos × 19 clinicians) of clinician decisions; saccades determined to be slow on infrared recordings were correctly identified as slow in 84% (224/266; 266 = 14 videos × 19 clinicians) of clinician decisions. Vertical saccades were correctly identified as slow more often than horizontal saccades (94% versus 74% of decisions). No significant differences were identified between clinician training levels. Reliable differentiation between normal and slow saccades is clinically challenging; clinical performance is most accurate for detection of vertical saccade slowing. Quantitative analysis of saccade peak velocities enhances accurate detection and is likely to be especially useful for detection of mild saccadic slowing.
Christoph Helmchen; Björn Machner; Andreas Sprenger; David S. Zee
Monocular patching attenuates vertical nystagmus in Wernicke's Encephalopathy via release of activity in subcortical visual pathways Journal Article
In: Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 107–109, 2022.
Downbeat nystagmus (DBN) is common in ataxia syndromes and usually related to cerebellar flocculus dysfunction. Persistent and disabling DBN commonly occurs in B1 deficient Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) causing a functional cerebellar disorder.1 Here we describe a new, unusual phenomenon in a WE patient who has had severe vertical oscillopsia for years due to an incapacitating DBN: oscillopsia and his nystagmus is markedly attenuated when he covers one eye and views monocularly. We propose this is a new clinical sign of emerging activity in subcortical visual pathways.
Christoph Helmchen; Björn Machner; Janina Gablentz; Andreas Sprenger; David S. Zee
Downbeat nystagmus is abolished by alcohol in nonalcoholic Wernicke encephalopathy Journal Article
In: Neurology: Clinical Practice, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. E129–E132, 2022.
Background and ObjectivesLesions of the cerebellar flocculus cause enduring downbeat nystagmus (DBN) with unrelenting oscillopsia. Unlike most patients with DBN, the flocculus is structurally spared in nonalcoholic Wernicke encephalopathy (nWE) with chronic DBN. The objective was to study the effects of alcohol in nWE.MethodsWe recorded eye movements of a unique patient with nWE under controlled alcohol consumption who said his oscillopsia disappeared with a few drinks of alcohol.ResultsHis DBN was markedly diminished by alcohol (by 77.4%), although he remained alert with normal saccades.DiscussionThis striking observation may be caused by the differential effect of alcohol on the perihypoglossal complex and the paramedian tract neurons, which control the level of activity in the flocculus, with opposite (inhibition and excitation, respectively) effects. The finding suggests new ideas about the treatment and pathophysiology of DBN with a structurally intact cerebellum.
Andrea Helo; Ernesto Guerra; Carmen Julia Coloma; Paulina Aravena-Bravo; Pia Rämä
Do children with developmental language disorder activate scene knowledge to guide visual attention? Effect of object-scene inconsistencies on gaze allocation Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 1–9, 2022.
Our visual environment is highly predictable in terms of where and in which locations objects can be found. Based on visual experience, children extract rules about visual scene configurations, allowing them to generate scene knowledge. Similarly, children extract the linguistic rules from relatively predictable linguistic contexts. It has been proposed that the capacity of extracting rules from both domains might share some underlying cognitive mechanisms. In the present study, we investigated the link between language and scene knowledge development. To do so, we assessed whether preschool children (age range = 5;4–6;6) with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), who present several difficulties in the linguistic domain, are equally attracted to object-scene inconsistencies in a visual free-viewing task in comparison with age-matched children with Typical Language Development (TLD). All children explored visual scenes containing semantic (e.g., soap on a breakfast table), syntactic (e.g., bread on the chair back), or both inconsistencies (e.g., soap on the chair back). Since scene knowledge interacts with image properties (i.e., saliency) to guide gaze allocation during visual exploration from the early stages of development, we also included the objects' saliency rank in the analysis. The results showed that children with DLD were less attracted to semantic and syntactic inconsistencies than children with TLD. In addition, saliency modulated syntactic effect only in the group of children with TLD. Our findings indicate that children with DLD do not activate scene knowledge to guide visual attention as efficiently as children with TLD, especially at the syntactic level, suggesting a link between scene knowledge and language development.
Andrea Helo; Ernesto Guerra; Carmen Julia Coloma; María Antonia Reyes; Pia Rämä
Objects shape activation during spoken word recognition in preschoolers with typical and atypical language development: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Language Learning and Development, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 324–351, 2022.
Visually situated spoken words activate phonological, visual, and semantic representations guiding overt attention during visual exploration. We compared the activation of these representations in children with and without developmental language disorder (DLD) across four eye-tracking experiments, with a particular focus on visual (shape) representations. Two types of trials were presented in each experiment. In Experiment 1, participants heard a word while seeing (1) an object visually associated with the spoken word (i.e., shape competitor) together with a phonologically related object (i.e., cohort competitor), or (2) a shape competitor with an unrelated object. In Experiment 2 and 3, participants heard a word while seeing (1) a shape competitor with an object semantically related to the spoken word (i.e., semantic competitor), or (2) a shape competitor with an unrelated object. In Experiment 4, children heard a word while seeing a semantic competitor with (1) the visual referent of the spoken or (2) with an unrelated object. The visual context was previewed for three seconds before the spoken word, except for Experiment 2, where it appeared at the onset of the spoken word (i.e., no preview). The results showed that when a preview was provided both groups were equally attracted by cohort and semantic competitors and preferred the shape competitors over the unrelated objects. However, shape preference disappeared in the DLD group when no preview was provided and when the shape competitor was presented with a semantic competitor. Our results indicate that children with DLD have a less efficient retrieval of shape representation during word recognition compared to typically developing children.
S. N. Hof; F. C. Loonstra; L. R. J. Ruiter; L. J. Rijn; A. Petzold; B. M. J. Uitdehaag; J. A. Nij Bijvank
The prevalence of internuclear ophthalmoparesis in a population-based cohort of individuals with multiple sclerosis Journal Article
In: Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, vol. 63, pp. 1–7, 2022.
Background: Internuclear ophthalmoparesis (INO) occurs in 15–52% of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is reliably detected by infrared oculography. Methods for diagnosing INO with infrared oculography and the association between INO and MS characteristics need confirmation. We aimed to describe INO prevalence and the clinical characteristics of individuals with MS and INO in a population-based cohort of individuals with MS born in the year 1966 (Project Y). Methods: Previously described thresholds for the versional dysconjugacy index (VDI), assessed with standardized infrared oculography, were used to detect INO in participants of project Y. Clinical characteristics, visual functioning and complaints were compared between individuals with MS with INO and individuals with MS without INO. Results: Two-hundred-twenty individuals with MS and 110 healthy controls were included. VDI values exceeding the threshold for INO presented in 53 (24%) individuals with MS and 19 controls (13%). INO was associated with male sex, greater disability, worse cognition and worse arm function in individuals with MS. There was no association with disease duration, visual functioning or complaints. Conclusions: INO is prevalent among individuals with MS aged fifty-three and related to clinical characteristics of MS. INO was more frequently detected in healthy controls than previous studies, implying that oculography based diagnosis of INO requires further refinement.
Wupadrasta Santosh Kumar; Keerthana Manikandan; Dinavahi V. P. S. Murty; Ranjini Garani Ramesh; Simran Purokayastha; Mahendra Javali; Naren Prahalada Rao; Supratim Ray
Stimulus-induced narrowband gamma oscillations are test–retest reliable in human EEG Journal Article
In: Cerebral Cortex Communications, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1–15, 2022.
Visual stimulus-induced gamma oscillations in electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings have been recently shown to be compromised in subjects with preclinical Alzheimer's Disease (AD), suggesting that gamma could be an inexpensive biomarker for AD diagnosis provided its characteristics remain consistent across multiple recordings. Previous magnetoencephalography studies in young subjects have reported consistent gamma power over recordings separated by a few weeks to months. Here, we assessed the consistency of stimulus-induced slow (20–35 Hz) and fast gamma (36–66 Hz) oscillations in subjects (n = 40) (age: 50–88 years) in EEG recordings separated by a year, and tested the consistency in the magnitude of gamma power, its temporal evolution and spectral profile. Gamma had distinct spectral/temporal characteristics across subjects, which remained consistent across recordings (average intraclass correlation of $sim$0.7). Alpha (8–12 Hz) and steady-state-visually evoked-potentials were also reliable. We further tested how EEG features can be used to identify 2 recordings as belonging to the same versus different subjects and found high classifier performance (AUC of $sim$0.89), with temporal evolution of slow gamma and spectral profile being most informative. These results suggest that EEG gamma oscillations are reliable across sessions separated over long durations and can also be a potential tool for subject identification.
Koji Kuraoka; Kae Nakamura
Facial temperature and pupil size as indicators of internal state in primates Journal Article
In: Neuroscience Research, 2022.
Studies in human subjects have revealed that autonomic responses provide objective and biologically relevant information about cognitive and affective states. Measures of autonomic responses can also be applied to studies of non-human primates, which are neuro-anatomically and physically similar to humans. Facial temperature and pupil size are measured remotely and can be applied to physiological experiments in primates, preferably in a head-fixed condition. However, detailed guidelines for the use of these measures in non-human primates is lacking. Here, we review the neuronal circuits and methodological considerations necessary for measuring and analyzing facial temperature and pupil size in non-human primates. Previous studies have shown that the modulation of these measures primarily reflects sympathetic reactions to cognitive and emotional processes, including alertness, attention, and mental effort, over different time scales. Integrated analyses of autonomic, behavioral, and neurophysiological data in primates are promising methods that reflect multiple dimensions of emotion and could potentially provide tools for understanding the mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders and vulnerabilities characterized by cognitive and affective disturbances.
Sunwoo Kwon; Berkeley K. Fahrenthold; Matthew R. Cavanaugh; Krystel R. Huxlin; Jude F. Mitchell
Perceptual restoration fails to recover unconscious processing for smooth eye movements after occipital stroke Journal Article
In: eLife, vol. 11, pp. 1–23, 2022.
The visual pathways that guide actions do not necessarily mediate conscious perception. Patients with primary visual cortex (V1) damage lose conscious perception but often retain unconscious abilities (e.g. blindsight). Here, we asked if saccade accuracy and post-saccadic following responses (PFRs) that automatically track target motion upon saccade landing are retained when conscious perception is lost. We contrasted these behaviors in the blind and intact fields of 11 chronic V1-stroke patients, and in 8 visually intact controls. Saccade accuracy was relatively normal in all cases. Stroke patients also had normal PFR in their intact fields, but no PFR in their blind fields. Thus, V1 damage did not spare the unconscious visual processing necessary for automatic, postsaccadic smooth eye movements. Importantly, visual training that recovered motion perception in the blind field did not restore the PFR, suggesting a clear dissociation between pathways mediating perceptual restoration and automatic actions in the V1-damaged visual system.
Nikki A. Lammers; Nils S. Van den Berg; Selma Lugtmeijer; Anouk R. Smits; Yair Pinto; Edward H. F. Haan
Mid-range visual deficits after stroke: Prevalence and co-occurrence Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 1–13, 2022.
Visual deficits are common after stroke and are powerful predictors for the chronic functional outcome. However, while basic visual field and recognition deficits are relatively easy to assess with standardized methods, selective deficits in visual primitives, such as shape or motion, are harder to identify, as they often require a symmetrical bilateral posterior lesion in order to provoke full field deficits. Therefore, we do not know how often they occur. Nevertheless, they can have severe repercussions for daily-life functioning. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and co-occurrence of hemifield “mid-range” visual deficits (i.e. color, shape, location, orientation, correlated motion, contrast, texture and glossiness), using a novel experimental set-up with a gaze-contingent presentation of the stimuli. To this end, a prospective cohort of 220 ischemic (sub)cortical stroke patients and a healthy control group was assessed with this set-up. When comparing performance of patients with controls, the results showed that deficits in motion-perception were most prevalent (26%), followed by color (22%), texture (22%), location (21%), orientation (18%), contrast (14%), shape (14%) and glossiness (13%). 63% of the stroke patients showed one or more mid-range visual deficits. Overlap of deficits was small; they mostly occurred in isolation or co-occurred with only one or two other deficits. To conclude, it was found that deficits in “mid-range” visual functions were very prevalent. These deficits are likely to affect the chronic post-stroke condition. Since we found no strong patterns of co-occurrences, we suggest that an assessment of deficits at this level of visual processing requires screening the full range of visual functions.
Emily A. Lang; Camilla Van Geen; Ellen Tedeschi; Caroline B. Marvin; Daphna Shohamy; Emily A. Lang; Camilla Van Geen; Ellen Tedeschi; Caroline B. Marvin; Daphna Shohamy
Learned temporal statistics guide information seeking and shape memory Journal Article
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, vol. 151, no. 5, pp. 986–995, 2022.
Curiosity drives information seeking and promotes learning. Prior work has focused on how curiosity is elicited by intrinsic qualities of information, leaving open questions about how curiosity, exploration, and learning are shaped by the environment. Here we examine how temporal dynamics of the learning envi- ronment shape curiosity and learning. Participants (n = 71) foraged for the answer to trivia questions in two conditions that differed only in their temporal statistics. In one condition, the timing of information delivery followed a uniform distribution, while in another it followed a heavy-tailed distribution. We found that the two conditions elicited distinct responses in both behavior and pupil dilation: participants were more likely to wait for information and to later remember it in the uniform distribution. By contrast, participants showed greater surprise, evidenced in a spike in pupil dilation, when presented with the answers in the heavy-tailed distribution. Furthermore, pupil dilation was inversely related to curiosity and memory, suggesting that temporal uncertainty may interfere with the positive effects of curiosity on learning. Our findings demonstrate that the predicted timing of information delivery influences information seeking, memory, and physiological arousal, suggesting that information is best learned when it is both intrinsically interesting and presented within a temporally predictable environment.
Chrysanthi Leonidou; Elena Constantinou; Maria Panteli; Georgia Panayiotou
Attentional processing of unpleasant stimuli in alexithymia: Early avoidance followed by attention maintenance bias Journal Article
In: Cogent Psychology, vol. 9, pp. 1–16, 2022.
Alexithymia is a multifaceted personality trait linked to increased risk for psychological, psychosomatic, and physical health problems. One hypothesized mechanism through which alexithymia predisposes individuals to such problems is the interference of alexithymic characteristics in processing affective, particularly unpleasant content. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between alexithymia and biases in attentional processing of threatening vs. neutral pictorial stimuli, disentangling early (vigilance) from late (maintenance) attentional biases. One hundred participants (77 female; 18–35 years old) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and underwent a free viewing task with picture pairs presenting illness, fear and neutral content, during which dwell time on each picture was recorded at time intervals of 0–500 ms, 501–1000 ms and 1001–6500 ms of exposure. Results from multilevel modeling showed that alexithymia interacted with time interval and picture type. Higher alexithymia scores were related to less dwell time towards fear pictures at 501 ms-1000 ms, but more dwell time at 1001 ms-6500 ms after stimulus onset. This effect was particularly observed for the externally oriented thinking and the difficulty in describing feelings facets of alexithymia, but not the difficulty in identifying feelings. There was no effect of alexithymia on early vigilance at 0–500 ms. This study provides evidence on the association between alexithymic traits and early avoidance, along with late maintenance bias to fear, which appears consistent with the view that alexithymia is associated with avoidant emotion regulation processes, but also greater requirements of cognitive resources for processing affective information.
Astar Lev; Yoram Braw; Tomer Elbaum; Michael Wagner; Yuri Rassovsky
Eye tracking during a continuous performance test: Utility for assessing ADHD patients Journal Article
In: Journal of Attention Disorders, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 245–255, 2022.
Objective: The use of continuous performance tests (CPTs) for assessing ADHD related cognitive impairment is ubiquitous. Novel psychophysiological measures may enhance the data that is derived from CPTs and thereby improve clinical decision-making regarding diagnosis and treatment. As part of the current study, we integrated an eye tracker with the MOXO-dCPT and assessed the utility of eye movement measures to differentiate ADHD patients and healthy controls. Method: Adult ADHD patients and gender/age-matched healthy controls performed the MOXO-dCPT while their eye movements were monitored (n = 33 per group). Results: ADHD patients spent significantly more time gazing at irrelevant regions, both on the screen and outside of it, than healthy controls. The eye movement measures showed adequate ability to classify ADHD patients. Moreover, a scale that combined eye movement measures enhanced group prediction, compared to the sole use of conventional MOXO-dCPT indices. Conclusions: Integrating an eye tracker with CPTs is a feasible way of enhancing diagnostic precision and shows initial promise for clarifying the cognitive profile of ADHD patients. Pending replication, these findings point toward a promising path for the evolution of existing CPTs.
Astar Lev; Tomer Elbaum; Corinne Berger; Yoram Braw
Feigned ADHD associated cognitive impairment: Utility of integrating an eye-tracker and the MOXO-dCPT Journal Article
In: Journal of Attention Disorders, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 1–11, 2022.
Objective: The current study assessed the utility of eye-movements measures, gathered while participants performed a commercially available Continuous Performance Test (CPT), to detect feigned ADHD-associated cognitive impairment. Method: Healthy simulators (n = 37), ADHD patients (n = 33), and healthy controls (n = 36) performed an eye-tracker integrated MOXO-dCPT and a stand-alone validity indicator. Results: Simulators gazed significantly longer at regions that were irrelevant for successful MOXO-dCPT performance compared to ADHD patients and healthy controls. This eye-movement measure, however, had lower sensitivity than traditional MOXO-dCPT indices. Discussion: Gaze direction measures, gathered while performing a CPT, show initial promise as validity indicators. Traditional CPT measures, however, are more sensitive and therefore offer a more promising path for the establishment of CPT-based validity indicators. The current study is an initial exploration of the issue and further evaluation of both theoretical and practical aspects is mandated.
Wei Li; Hannah Rohde; Martin Corley
Veritable untruths: Autistic traits and the processing of deception Journal Article
In: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 52, pp. 4921–4930, 2022.
How do we decide whether a statement is literally true? Here, we contrast participants' eventual evaluations of a speaker's meaning with the real-time processes of comprehension. We record participants' eye movements as they respond to potentially misleading instructions to click on one of two objects which might be concealing treasure (the treasure is behind thee, uh, hat). Participants are less likely to click on the named object when the instructions are disfluent. However, when hearing disfluent utterances, a tendency to fixate the named object early increases with participants' autism quotient scores. This suggests that, even where utterances are equivalently understood, the processes by which interpretations are achieved vary across individuals.
Amy M. Lieberman; Allison Fitch; Arielle Borovsky
Flexible fast-mapping: Deaf children dynamically allocate visual attention to learn novel words in American Sign Language Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 1–15, 2022.
Word learning in young children requires coordinated attention between language input and the referent object. Current accounts of word learning are based on spoken language, where the association between language and objects occurs through simultaneous and multimodal perception. In contrast, deaf children acquiring American Sign Language (ASL) perceive both linguistic and non-linguistic information through the visual mode. In order to coordinate attention to language input and its referents, deaf children must allocate visual attention optimally between objects and signs. We conducted two eye-tracking experiments to investigate how young deaf children allocate attention and process referential cues in order to fast-map novel signs to novel objects. Participants were deaf children learning ASL between the ages of 17 and 71 months. In Experiment 1, participants (n = 30) were presented with a novel object and a novel sign, along with a referential cue that occurred either before or after the sign label. In Experiment 2, a new group of participants (n = 32) were presented with two novel objects and a novel sign, so that the referential cue was critical for identifying the target object. Across both experiments, participants showed evidence for fast-mapping the signs regardless of the timing of the referential cue. Individual differences in children's allocation of attention during exposure were correlated with their ability to fast-map the novel signs at test. This study provides first evidence for fast-mapping in sign language, and contributes to theoretical accounts of how word learning develops when all input occurs in the visual modality.
Jia Liu; Jinsheng Hu; Qi Li; Xiaoning Zhao; Ying Liu; Shuqing Liu
Atypical processing pattern of gaze cues in dynamic situations in autism spectrum disorders Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 12, pp. 1–11, 2022.
Psychological studies have generally shown that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have particularity in the processing of social information by using static or abstract images. Yet, a recent study showed that there was no difference in their use of social or non-social cues in dynamic interactive situations. To establish the cause of the inconsistent results, we added gaze cues in different directions to the chase detection paradigm to explore whether they would affect the performance of participants with ASD. Meanwhile, eye-tracking methodology was used to investigate whether the processing patterns of gaze cues were different between individuals with ASD and TD. In this study, unlike typical controls, participants with ASD showed no detection advantage when the direction of gaze was consistent with the direction of movement (oriented condition). The results suggested that individuals with ASD may utilize an atypical processing pattern, which makes it difficult for them to use social information contained in oriented gaze cues in dynamic interactive situations.
Floor C. Loonstra; Lodewijk R. J. De Ruiter; Djoeke Doesburg; Ka-Hoo Lam; Zoe Y. G. J. Van Lierop; Bastiaan Moraal; Eva M. M. Strijbis; Joep Killestein; Bernard M. J. Uitdehaag
Project Y: The search for clues explaining phenotype variability in MS Journal Article
In: Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, vol. 57, pp. 1–8, 2022.
Background: To study phenotypic variability in MS patients, well-defined unbiased cohort studies are necessary. The most common and probably most important confounding factor when studying disease phenotype in MS is age. Objective: To describe study design and subject characteristics of a unique birth cohort (Project Y). The overall aim of Project Y is to identify determinants associated with phenotypic variability in MS, eliminating the possibility of confounding by age. Methods: Project Y is a population-based cross-sectional study of all people with MS born in the Netherlands in 1966. Patients and healthy controls were subjected to comprehensive examinations: functional and static imaging, physical and cognitive measurements, and lifestyle factors early and later in life. In addition body fluids were collected and stored for future biomarker research. Results: 452 eligible MS patients were identified. Between December 2017 and January 2021, 367 MS patients and 125 healthy controls participated. The total number of identified cases results in a current prevalence of at least 189/100.000 for people born in the year 1966 in The Netherlands. Conclusion: Project Y is a unique cohort designed to identify factors associated with phenotypic variability in MS patients without the confounding effects of age. This first description of the Project Y cohort indicates that the prevalence of MS in the Netherlands might be higher than previously presumed. Various studies using Project Y data are ongoing and results will be published in upcoming years.
Wenbo Ma; Min Li; Junru Wu; Zhihao Zhang; Fangfang Jia; Mingsha Zhang; Hagai Bergman; Xuemei Li; Zhipei Ling; Xin Xu
Multiple step saccades in simply reactive saccades could serve as a complementary biomarker for the early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 14, pp. 1–14, 2022.
Objective: It has been argued that the incidence of multiple step saccades (MSS) in voluntary saccades could serve as a complementary biomarker for diagnosing Parkinson's disease (PD). However, voluntary saccadic tasks are usually difficult for elderly subjects to complete. Therefore, task difficulties restrict the application of MSS measurements for the diagnosis of PD. The primary objective of the present study is to assess whether the incidence of MSS in simply reactive saccades could serve as a complementary biomarker for the early diagnosis of PD. Materials and methods: There were four groups of human subjects: PD patients, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients, elderly healthy controls (EHCs), and young healthy controls (YHCs). There were four monkeys with subclinical hemi-PD induced by injection of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) through the unilateral internal carotid artery and three healthy control monkeys. The behavioral task was a visually guided reactive saccade. Results: In a human study, the incidence of MSS was significantly higher in PD than in YHC, EHC, and MCI groups. In addition, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis could discriminate PD from the EHC and MCI groups, with areas under the ROC curve (AUCs) of 0.76 and 0.69, respectively. In a monkey study, while typical PD symptoms were absent, subclinical hemi-PD monkeys showed a significantly higher incidence of MSS than control monkeys when the dose of MPTP was greater than 0.4 mg/kg. Conclusion: The incidence of MSS in simply reactive saccades could be a complementary biomarker for the early diagnosis of PD.
Joel T. Martin; Annalise H. Whittaker; Stephen J. Johnston
Pupillometry and the vigilance decrement: Task-evoked but not baseline pupil measures reflect declining performance in visual vigilance tasks Journal Article
In: European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 778–799, 2022.
Baseline and task-evoked pupil measures are known to reflect the activity of the nervous system's central arousal mechanisms. With the increasing availability, affordability and flexibility of video-based eye tracking hardware, these measures may one day find practical application in real-time biobehavioural monitoring systems to assess performance or fitness for duty in tasks requiring vigilant attention. But real-world vigilance tasks are predominantly visual in their nature and most research in this area has taken place in the auditory domain. Here, we explore the relationship between pupil size—both baseline and task-evoked—and behavioural performance measures in two novel vigilance tasks requiring visual target detection: (1) a traditional vigilance task involving prolonged, continuous and uninterrupted performance (n = 28) and (2) a psychomotor vigilance task (n = 25). In both tasks, behavioural performance and task-evoked pupil responses declined as time spent on task increased, corroborating previous reports in the literature of a vigilance decrement with a corresponding reduction in task-evoked pupil measures. Also in line with previous findings, baseline pupil size did not show a consistent relationship with performance measures. Our data offer novel insights into the complex interplay of brain systems involved in vigilant attention and question the validity of the assumption that baseline (prestimulus) pupil size and task-evoked (poststimulus) pupil measures reflect the tonic and phasic firing modes of the locus coeruleus.
Walker S. McKinney; Shannon E. Kelly; Kathryn E. Unruh; Robin L. Shafer; John A. Sweeney; Martin Styner; Matthew W. Mosconi
Cerebellar volumes and sensorimotor behavior in autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, vol. 16, pp. 1–16, 2022.
Background: Sensorimotor issues are common in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), though their neural bases are not well understood. The cerebellum is vital to sensorimotor control and reduced cerebellar volumes in ASD have been documented. Our study examined the extent to which cerebellar volumes are associated with multiple sensorimotor behaviors in ASD. Materials and Methods: Fifty-eight participants with ASD and 34 typically developing (TD) controls (8–30 years) completed a structural MRI scan and precision grip testing, oculomotor testing, or both. Force variability during precision gripping as well as absolute error and trial-to-trial error variability of visually guided saccades were examined. Volumes of cerebellar lobules, vermis, and white matter were quantified. The relationships between each cerebellar region of interest (ROI) and force variability, saccade error, and saccade error variability were examined. Results: Relative to TD controls, individuals with ASD showed increased force variability. Individuals with ASD showed a reduced volume of cerebellar vermis VI-VII relative to TD controls. Relative to TD females, females with ASD showed a reduced volume of bilateral cerebellar Crus II/lobule VIIB. Increased volume of Crus I was associated with increased force variability. Increased volume of vermal lobules VI-VII was associated with reduced saccade error for TD controls but not individuals with ASD. Increased right lobule VIII and cerebellar white matter volumes as well as reduced right lobule VI and right lobule X volumes were associated with greater ASD symptom severity. Reduced volumes of right Crus II/lobule VIIB were associated with greater ASD symptom severity in only males, while reduced volumes of right Crus I were associated with more severe restricted and repetitive behaviors only in females. Conclusion: Our finding that increased force variability in ASD is associated with greater cerebellar Crus I volumes indicates that disruption of sensory feedback processing supported by Crus I may contribute to skeletomotor differences in ASD. Results showing that volumes of vermal lobules VI-VII are associated with saccade precision in TD but not ASD implicates atypical organization of the brain systems supporting oculomotor control in ASD. Associations between volumes of cerebellar subregions and ASD symptom severity suggest cerebellar pathological processes may contribute to multiple developmental challenges in ASD.
Drew J. McLaughlin; Maggie E. Zink; Lauren Gaunt; Brent Spehar; Kristin J. Van Engen; Mitchell S. Sommers; Jonathan E. Peelle
Pupillometry reveals cognitive demands of lexical competition during spoken word recognition in young and older adults Journal Article
In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1–13, 2022.
In most contemporary activation-competition frameworks for spoken word recognition, candidate words compete against phonological “neighbors” with similar acoustic properties (e.g., “cap” vs. “cat”). Thus, recognizing words with more competitors should come at a greater cognitive cost relative to recognizing words with fewer competitors, due to increased demands for selecting the correct item and inhibiting incorrect candidates. Importantly, these processes should operate even in the absence of differences in accuracy. In the present study, we tested this proposal by examining differences in processing costs associated with neighborhood density for highly intelligible items presented in quiet. A second goal was to examine whether the cognitive demands associated with increased neighborhood density were greater for older adults compared with young adults. Using pupillometry as an index of cognitive processing load, we compared the cognitive demands associated with spoken word recognition for words with many or fewer neighbors, presented in quiet, for young (n = 67) and older (n = 69) adult listeners. Growth curve analysis of the pupil data indicated that older adults showed a greater evoked pupil response for spoken words than did young adults, consistent with increased cognitive load during spoken word recognition. Words from dense neighborhoods were marginally more demanding to process than words from sparse neighborhoods. There was also an interaction between age and neighborhood density, indicating larger effects of density in young adult listeners. These results highlight the importance of assessing both cognitive demands and accuracy when investigating the mechanisms underlying spoken word recognition.
Mehmet N. Agaoglu; Wai Fung; Susana T. L. Chung
Oculomotor responses of the visual system to an artificial central scotoma may not represent genuine visuomotor adaptation Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 22, no. 10, pp. 1–20, 2022.
Patients with central vision loss often adopt a location outside their scotoma as the new reference for vision, the preferred retinal locus (PRL). The development of a PRL is important not only for the rehabilitation of patients with central vision loss, but also helps us better understand how the brain adapts to the lack of visual input. Many investigators studied this question using a gaze-contingent display paradigm by imposing an artificial scotoma to simulate central vision loss for normally sighted subjects, with an important assumption that the "PRL" thus developed is the result of visuomotor adaptation, as is the case for people with a real scotoma. In this study, we tested the validity of this assumption. We used a gaze-contingent display combined with an artificial scotoma to first train normally sighted subjects to develop a "PRL" for saccade eye movements. Then, we compared the properties of saccades when the artificial scotoma was randomly turned off or on. When the artificial scotoma was absent, subjects automatically reverted to using their fovea, with a shorter saccade latency. Our findings suggest that the development of a "PRL" in response to an artificial scotoma may represent a strategy, instead of a genuine visuomotor adaptation.
Francesca Ales; Luciano Giromini; Lara Warmelink; Megan Polden; Thomas Wilcockson; Claire Kelly; Christina Winters; Alessandro Zennaro; Trevor Crawford
On the use of eye movements in symptom validity assessment of feigned schizophrenia Journal Article
In: Psychological Injury and Law, pp. 1–15, 2022.
Assessing the credibility of reported mental health problems is critical in a variety of assessment situations, particularly in forensic contexts. Previous research has examined how the assessment of performance validity can be improved through the use of bio-behavioral measures (e.g., eye movements). To date, however, there is a paucity of literature on the use of eye tracking technology in assessing the validity of presented symptoms of schizophrenia, a disorder that is known to be associated with oculomotor abnormalities. Thus, we collected eye tracking data from 83 healthy individuals during the completion of the Inventory of Problems – 29 and investigated whether the oculomotor behavior of participants instructed to feign schizophrenia would differ from those of control participants asked to respond honestly. Results showed that feigners had a longer dwell time and a greater number of fixations in the feigning-keyed response options, regardless of whether they eventually endorsed those options (d > 0.80). Implications on how eye tracking technology can deepen comprehension on simulation strategies are discussed, as well as the potential of investigating eye movements to advance the field of symptom validity assessment.
Svetlana Alexeeva; Vladislav Zubov; Alena Konina
The effect of a dyslexia-specific Cyrillic font, LexiaD, on reading speed: further exploration in adolescents with and without dyslexia Journal Article
In: Primenjena Psihologija, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 199–236, 2022.
The current study aims to test the assumption that a specially designed Cyrillic font, LexiaD, can assist adolescents with reading problems and facilitate their reading experience. LexiaD was compared with the widely used Arial font. Two groups of adolescents with dyslexia (N = 34) and without dyslexia (N = 28) silently read 144 sentences from the Russian Sentence Corpus (Laurinavichyute et al., 2019), some of which were presented in LexiaD, and others in Arial, while their eye movements were recorded. LexiaD did not show the desired effect for adolescents at the beginning of the experiment: Arial outperformed it in reading speed in both participant groups. However, by the end of the experiment, LexiaD showed a better performance. Although the speed of the higher-level cognitive processing (e.g., lexical access) in both fonts did not differ significantly, the feature extraction was found to be better in LexiaD than in Arial. Thus, we found some positive effect of LexiaD when participants with and without dyslexia got accustomed to it. A follow-up study with an explicit exposure session is needed to confirm this conclusion.
Talia Ariss; Catharine E. Fairbairn; Michael A. Sayette; Brynne A. Velia; Howard Berenbaum; Sarah Brown-Schmidt
Where to look? Alcohol, affect, and gaze behavior during a virtual social interaction Journal Article
In: Clinical Psychological Science, pp. 1–14, 2022.
COVID-19 forced social interactions to move online. Yet researchers have little understanding of the mental-health consequences of this shift. Given pandemic-related surges in emotional disorders and problematic drinking, it becomes imperative to understand the cognitive and affective processes involved in virtual interactions and the impact of alcohol in virtual social spaces. Participants ( N = 246) engaged in an online video call while their gaze behavior was tracked. Before the interaction, participants were randomly assigned to receive an alcoholic or control beverage. Participants' affect was repeatedly assessed. Results indicated that a proportionally larger amount of time spent gazing at oneself (vs. one's interaction partner) predicted significantly higher negative affect after the exchange. Furthermore, alcohol independently increased self-directed attention, failing to demonstrate its typically potent social-affective enhancement in this virtual context. Results carry potential implications for understanding factors that increase risk for hazardous drinking and negative affect in an increasingly virtual world.
Iti Arora; Alessio Bellato; Teodora Gliga; Danielle Ropar; Puja Kochhar; Chris Hollis; Madeleine Groom
What is the effect of stimulus complexity on attention to repeating and changing information in Autism? Journal Article
In: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 600–616, 2022.
Slower habituation to repeating stimuli characterises Autism, but it is not known whether this is driven by difficulties with information processing or an attentional bias towards sameness. We conducted eye-tracking and presented looming geometrical shapes, clocks with moving arms and smiling faces, as two separate streams of stimuli (one repeating and one changing), to 7–15 years old children and adolescents (n = 103) with Autism, ADHD or co-occurring Autism+ADHD, and neurotypical children (Study-1); and to neurotypical children (n = 64) with varying levels of autistic traits (Study-2). Across both studies, autistic features were associated with longer looks to the repeating stimulus, and shorter looks to the changing stimulus, but only for more complex stimuli, indicating greater difficulty in processing complex or unpredictable information.
Jordi M. Asher; Paul B. Hibbard
Visual field loss: Integrating overlayed information to increase the effective field of view Journal Article
In: Vision, vol. 6, no. 67, pp. 1–12, 2022.
Visual field loss is a debilitating impairment that can impact normal daily activities. The advancement of augmented and virtual realities brings opportunities for potential substitutive technologies for visual field loss. Here we outline a conceptual approach to increasing the amount of useful information by overlaying the blind field into the sighted field. In this proof-of-concept experiment, 33 observers were allocated to either a left or right blind condition (with a simulated scotoma). All observers completed a line bisection task in all three conditions (baseline, scotoma, manipulation), with the baseline condition always completed first. The scotoma condition (baseline with the addition of a simulated scotoma) and the manipulated condition (baseline with the addition of a simulated scotoma, and a “minified window overlay”) were randomised in order of presentation. Predictably, our results show that a simulated scotoma impaired performance on the task. However, observers were able to make use the overlay to improve their estimation of the line's midpoint. Our results show that a substitutive augmentation of this type improved accuracy in estimating the midpoint of a line with a (simulated) scotoma.
Asmara Awada; Shahab Bakhtiari; Catherine Legault; Celine Odier; Christopher C. Pack
Training with optic flow stimuli promotes recovery in cortical blindness Journal Article
In: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, vol. 40, pp. 1–16, 2022.
Background: Cortical blindness is a form of severe vision loss that is caused by damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) or its afferents. This condition has devastating effects on quality of life and independence. While there are few treatments currently available, accumulating evidence shows that certain visual functions can be restored with appropriate perceptual training: Stimulus sensitivity can be increased within portions of the blind visual field. However, this increased sensitivity often remains highly specific to the trained stimulus, limiting the overall improvement in visual function. Objective: Recent advances in the field of perceptual learning show that such specificity can be overcome with training paradigms that leverage the properties of higher-level visual cortical structures, which have greater capacity to generalize across stimulus positions and features. This targeting can be accomplished by using more complex training stimuli that elicit robust responses in these visual structures. Methods: We trained cortically blind subjects with a complex optic flow motion stimulus that was presented in a location of their blind field. Participants were instructed to train with the stimulus at home for approximately 30 minutes per day. Once performance plateaued, the stimulus was moved deeper into the blind field. A battery of pre- and post-training measures, with careful eye tracking, was performed to quantify the improvements. Results:We show that 1) optic flow motion discrimination can be relearned in cortically blind fields; 2) training with an optic flow stimulus can lead to improvements that transfer to different tasks and untrained locations; and 3) such training leads to a significant expansion of the visual field. The observed expansion of the visual field was present even when eye movements were carefully controlled. Finally, we show that regular training is critical for improved visual function, as sporadic training reduced the benefits of training, even when the total numbers of training sessions were equated. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that complex training stimuli can improve outcomes in cortical blindness, provided that patients adhere to a regular training regimen. Nevertheless, such interventions remain limited in their ability
Omer Azriel; Jennifer C. Britton; Chelsea D. Gober; Daniel S. Pine; Yair Bar-Haim
Development and validation of the Attention Bias Questionnaire (ABQ) Journal Article
In: International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 1–11, 2022.
Objectives: Various psychopathologies are associated with threat-related attention biases, which are typically measured using mechanized behavioral tasks. While useful and objective, behavioral measures do not capture the subjective experience of biased attention in daily-living. To complement extant behavioral measures, we developed and validated a self-report measure of threat-related attention bias – the Attention Bias Questionnaire (ABQ). Methods: The ABQ consists of nine items reflecting the subjective experience of attention bias towards threats. To enable personalized relevance in threat-content, the general term “threat” was used, and respondents were instructed to refer to specific things that threaten them personally. In a set of five studies, the ABQ was developed and validated. Internal consistency, discriminant validity, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity were tested. Results: The ABQ emerged as a coherent and stable measure with two sub-scales: Engagement with Threat and Difficulty to Disengage from Threat. ABQ scores were positively correlated with trait anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD, and depression, as well as behaviorally measured attention bias. Conclusion: Assessing the subjective experience of threat-related attention bias can enrich existing knowledge about the cognitive mechanisms underlying psychopathology and complement extant behavioral bias measures in research and clinical evaluation.
Chiara Barattieri di San Pietro; Giovanni Girolamo; Claudio Luzzatti; Marco Marelli
Agency of subjects and eye movements in schizophrenia spectrum disorders Journal Article
In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, vol. 51, no. 6, pp. 1371–1391, 2022.
People with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) show anomalies in language processing with respect to “who is doing what” in an action. This linguistic behavior is suggestive of an atypical representation of the formal concepts of “Agent” in the lexical representation of a verb, i.e., its thematic grid. To test this hypothesis, we administered a silent-reading task with sentences including a semantic violation of the animacy trait of the grammatical subject to 30 people with SSD and 30 healthy control participants (HCs). When the anomalous grammatical subject was the Agent of the event, a significant increase of Gaze Duration was observed in HCs, but not in SSDs. Conversely, when the anomalous subject was a Theme, SSDs displayed an increased probability of go-back movements, unlike HCs. These results are suggestive of a higher tolerability for anomalous Agents in SSD compared to the normal population. The fact that SSD participants did not show a similar tolerability for anomalous Themes rules out the issue of an attention deficit. We suggest that general communication abilities in SSD might benefit from explicit training on deep linguistic structures.
Doug J. K. Barrett; David Souto; Michael Pilling; David M. Baguley
An exploratory investigation of pupillometry as a measure of tinnitus intrusiveness on a test of auditory short-term memory Journal Article
In: Ear and Hearing, vol. 43, no. 5, pp. 1540–1548, 2022.
Objectives: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the potential of pupillometry to provide an objective measure of competition between tinnitus and external sounds during a test of auditory short-term memory. Design: Twelve participants with chronic tinnitus and twelve control participants without tinnitus took part in the study. Pretest sessions used an adaptive method to estimate listeners' frequency discrimination threshold on a test of delayed pitch discrimination for pure tones. Target and probe tones were presented at 72 dB SPL and centered on 750 Hz±2 semitones with an additional jitter of 5 to 20 Hz. Test sessions recorded baseline pupil diameter and task-related pupillary responses (TEPRs) during three blocks of delayed pitch discrimination trials. The difference between target and probe tones was set to the individual's frequency detection threshold for 80% response-accuracy. Listeners with tinnitus also completed the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). Linear mixed effects procedures were applied to examine changes in baseline pupil diameter and TEPRs associated with group (tinnitus versus control), block (1 to 3) and their interaction. The association between THI scores and maximum TEPRs was assessed using simple linear regression. Results: Patterns of baseline pupil dilation across trials diverged in listeners with tinnitus and controls. For controls, baseline pupil dilation remained constant across blocks. For listeners with tinnitus, baseline pupil dilation increased on blocks 2 and 3 compared with block 1. TEPR amplitudes were also larger in listeners with tinnitus than controls. Linear mixed effects models yielded a significant group by block interaction for baseline pupil diameter and a significant main effect of group on maximum TEPR amplitudes. Regression analyses yielded a significant association between THI scores and TEPR amplitude in listeners with tinnitus. Conclusions: Our data indicate measures of baseline pupil diameter, and TEPRs are sensitive to competition between tinnitus and external sounds during a test of auditory short-term memory. This result suggests pupillometry can provide an objective measure of intrusion in tinnitus. Future research will be required to establish whether our findings generalize to listeners across a full range of tinnitus severity.
Dana Basel; Tamar Aviram; Amit Lazarov
Lack of an attention bias away from relatively negative faces in dysphoria is not related to biased emotion identification Journal Article
In: Behavior Therapy, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 182–195, 2022.
Eye-tracking-based attention research has consistently shown a lack of a normative attentional bias away from dysphoric face stimuli in depression, characterizing the attention system of non-depressed individuals. However, this more equal attention allocation pattern could also be related to biased emotion identification, namely, an inclination of depressed individuals to attribute negative emotions to non-negative stimuli when processing mood-congruent stimuli. Here, we examined emotion identification as a possible mechanism associated with attention allocation when processing emotional faces in depression. Attention allocation and emotion identification of participants with high (HD; n = 30) and low (LD; n = 30) levels of depression symptoms were assessed using two corresponding tasks previously shown to yield significant findings in depression, using the same face stimuli (sad, happy, and neutral faces) across both tasks. We examined group differences on each task and possible between-task associations. Results showed that while LD participants dwelled longer on relatively positive faces compared with relatively negative faces on the attention allocation task, HD participants showed no such bias, dwelling equally on both. Trait anxiety did not affect these results. No group differences were noted for emotion identification, and no between-task associations emerged. Present results suggest that depression is characterized by a lack of a general attention bias toward relatively positive faces over relatively negative faces, which is not related to a corresponding bias in emotion identification.
Dana Basel; Amit Lazarov
Reward functioning from an attentional perspective and obsessive-compulsive symptoms — an eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: CNS Spectrums, pp. 1–9, 2022.
Background. Recently, a novel approach to obsessive-compulsive disorder has emerged, implicating altered reward functioning in the disorder. Yet, no study to date has directly examined the attentional aspect of reward functioning in participants with obsessive- compulsive (OC) symptoms, with past research mostly relying on reaction-time-based tasks. Methods. A reward-based value-modulated attentional capture task was completed by a sample of nonclinical student participants—44 with high (HOC) and 48 with low (LOC) levels ofOC symptoms. We measured the extent to which high and low reward-signaling distractors captured attention and impaired performance on the task, resulting in a lower possibility of obtaining a monetary reward. Attentional capture was indexed via fixation data, and further explored using saccade data. Results. Both groups performed more poorly when a high-reward signaling distractor was present, compared to when a low-reward signaling distractor was present. Importantly, this difference was significantly greater in the HOC group, and was found to be driven by the specific effects of reward-signaling distractors. Similar results emerged when exploring saccade data, and remained significant after controlling for both addiction-related compulsivity and depres- sive symptoms. Conclusions. Current findings suggest that attentional reward-related functioning may be associated with OC symptoms. Different aspects of reward functioning, including attention, should be further explored and incorporated into future research and clinical endeavors.
Doris Bazzini; Chris Dickinson; Alison N. Cooke; Amanda Pepper; Jessica Udry; Sidney Murray
Athletic image type influences women's social physique anxiety and visual attention Journal Article
In: Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 123–132, 2022.
Media images depicting idealized female physiques have been shown to heighten body dissatisfaction and body objectification. A potentially buffering factor in media exposure are depictions of female athletes performing their sports, which are associated with reduced objectification. These findings have not been extended to social physique anxiety (SPA), a heightened concern that one's body does not meet comparative standards of physicality and beauty. Sixty-nine college-aged women reported levels of SPA following exposure to images of the same female professional athletes performing their sport, or in a sexualized pose. Visual attention to body parts on the images was measured via an eye tracker to explore whether fixations corresponded with the experience of SPA. Performance images lowered feelings of SPA relative to sexual images, and induced a lesser percentage of time visually fixating on the head/face, and more time fixating on arms and legs, relative to sexual images of the athletes. No differences emerged for fixations on the torso across conditions. Exploratory mediation models were also conducted to explore the influence of visual attention on the relationship between image type and SPA. These findings are considered in light of the nature of objectifying images of women and the importance of promoting empowering images to audiences.
Laura Benhaim-Sitbon; Maria Lev; Uri Polat
Binocular fusion disorders impair basic visual processing Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1–16, 2022.
In an era of increasing screen consumption, the requirement for binocular vision is demanding, leading to the emergence of syndromes such as the computer vision syndrome (CVS) or visual discomfort reported by virtual reality (VR) users. Heterophoria (phoria) is a latent eye misalignment (with a prevalence up to 35%) that appears in conditions that disrupt binocular vision and may affect the quality of binocular fusion. Collinear facilitation (CF), the mechanism for grouping contour elements, is a process that reveals lateral interactions by improving the visibility of a target by flankers placed collinearly. An abnormal pattern of CF has been observed in strabismic amblyopia. We hypothesize that phoria may affect CF in the horizontal meridian (HM) due to latent eye misalignment and its impact on binocular fusion. Fully corrected participants (phoria group and controls) completed a standard CF experiment for horizontal and vertical meridians during binocular and monocular viewing. Phoric observers exhibited (1) an asymmetry and an abnormal pattern of CF only for the HM, during both monocular and binocular viewing, (2) poor binocular summation between the monocular inputs, and (3) no binocular advantage of the CF. Phoria affects the CF in a way that is reminiscent of meridional amblyopia without being attributed to abnormal refraction. The abnormal pattern of CF in monocular viewing suggests that phoria could be a binocular developmental disorder that affects monocular spatial interactions. We suggest that the results could contribute to explain the visual discomfort experienced with VR users or symptoms when presenting CVS.
Sinem B. Beylergil; Camilla Kilbane; Aasef G. Shaikh; Fatema F. Ghasia
Eye movements in Parkinson's disease during visual search Journal Article
In: Journal of the Neurological Sciences, vol. 440, pp. 1–16, 2022.
Visual spatial dysfunction is not uncommon in Parkinson's disease. We hypothesized that visual search behavior is impaired in Parkinson's disease and the deficits correlate with changes in the amplitudes and frequency of fixational and non-fixational rapid eye movements. We measured eye movements, the horizontal and vertical angular position vectors of the right and left eye using high-resolution video oculography, in the Parkinsonian cohort who viewed a blank scene and pictures with real-life scene. Latter was associated with a task of searching an object hidden in a clutter, either at an expected or an unexpected location. Parkinsonian cohort took longer initial time to reach the region of interest. The ultimate response time was comparable in both Parkinson's disease and their healthy peers. The fixation duration was comparable in two cohorts but there was a trend wise decline for the ones located at unexpected locations. Parkinson's disease participants made more fixational saccades with significantly larger amplitude and less non-fixational saccades with significantly smaller amplitude during blank scene viewing. However, overall scanned area of the blank scene was not affected in Parkinson's disease. The Parkinson's disease participants made less non-fixational saccades with amplitudes comparable to healthy control during the visual search of a target object. Fixational saccades during visual search were larger in Parkinson's disease particularly when target was placed at an unexpected location, but the frequency was unchanged.
Sinem Balta Beylergil; Jordan Murray; Angela M. Noecker; Palak Gupta; Camilla Kilbane; Cameron C. McIntyre; Fatema F. Ghasia; Aasef G. Shaikh
Temporal patterns of spontaneous fixational eye movements: The influence of basal ganglia Journal Article
In: Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 45–55, 2022.
Background:Spontaneity is a unique feature of the nervous system. One of the fundamentally critical and recognized forms of spontaneous motor activity is witnessed in the visuomotor system. Microsaccades, the miniature spontaneous eye movements, are critical for the visual perception. We hypothesized that microsaccades follow specific temporal patterns that are modulated by the basal ganglia output.Methods:We used high-resolution video-oculography to capture microsaccades in 48 subjects (31 healthy and 17 with Parkinson's disease) when subjects were asked to hold their gaze on a straight-ahead target projected on white background. We analyzed spontaneous discharge patterns of microsaccades.Results:The first analysis considering coefficient of variation in intersaccadic interval distribution demonstrated that microsaccades in Parkinson's disease are more dispersed than the control group. The second analysis scrutinized microsaccades' temporal variability and revealed 3 distinct occurrence patterns: regular rhythmic, clustered, and randomly occurring following a Poisson-like process. The regular pattern was relatively more common in Parkinson's disease. Subthalamic DBS modulated this temporal pattern. The amount of change in the temporal variability depended on the DBS-induced volume of tissue activation and its overlap with the subthalamic nucleus. The third analysis determined the autocorrelations of microsaccades within 2-second time windows. We found that Parkinson's disease altered local temporal organization in microsaccade generation, and DBS had a modulatory effect.Conclusion:The microsaccades occur in 3 temporal patterns. The basal ganglia are one of the modulators of the microsaccade spontaneity.
Isha Bhutada; Peggy Skelly; Jonathan Jacobs; Jordan Murray; Aasef G. Shaikh; Fatema F. Ghasia
Reading difficulties in amblyopia: Consequence of visual sensory and oculomotor dysfunction Journal Article
In: Journal of the Neurological Sciences, vol. 442, pp. 1–13, 2022.
Introduction: Reading is a vision-reliant task, requiring sequential eye movements. Binocularly discordant input results in visual sensory and oculomotor dysfunction in amblyopia, which may contribute to reading difficulties. This study aims to determine the contributions of fixation eye movement (FEM) abnormalities, clinical type and severity of amblyopia to reading performance under binocular and monocular viewing conditions. Methods: Twenty-three amblyopic patients and nine healthy controls were recruited. Eye movements elicited during fixation and reading of preselected passages were collected for each subject using infrared video- oculography. Subjects were classified as having no nystagmus (n = 9), fusion maldevelopment nystagmus (FMN
Trevor Meyer; Laureano Moro-Velazquez; Seneca Motley; Ankur Butala; Ashley Paul; Quincy M. Samus; Pedro Irazoqui; Najim Dehak; Esther S. Oh
Automatic extraction of oculographic signals as digital biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease Journal Article
In: Alzheimer's Association International Conference, vol. 18, pp. 1–4, 2022.
Background: Similar to other neurological diseases, subtle early neurological changes that occur in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) are difficult to quantify and track objectively. One relevant bio-signal is eyemovement, as it presents a unique window into cognitive processes as a direct measure of real-time inputs to the brain. Eye-tracking allows us to estimate timestamped activity of neural function and begin to infer and quantify atten- tion, reprocessing (eg. word revisits), andmany other aspects relevant to assessing AD. The goal of this study was to investigate the saccadic movements and trial progress during administration of the Stroop test in AD compared to normal controls. Method: 5 AD subjects and 12 age-matched cognitively normal controls were recruited from the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center and the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. An Eyelink Portable Duo in head-free-to-move mode was used to track eye move- ments. Movement of the eyes were analyzed by automatically segmenting saccade movements throughout a trial. We then analyzed the eye movements in the context of cognitive performance, by identifying when subjects progress to each word in the Stroop test. We compared the performance of each group using a Wilcoxon RankSum test with the SciPy package using Python. Result:
K. A. Mitchnick; Z. Ahmad; S. D. Mitchnick; J. D. Ryan; R. S. Rosenbaum; E. Freud
Damage to the human dentate gyrus impairs the perceptual discrimination of complex, novel objects Journal Article
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 172, pp. 1–12, 2022.
The hippocampus (HPC), and the dentate gyrus (DG) subregion in particular, is purported to be a pattern separator, orthogonally representing similar information so that distinct memories may be formed. The HPC may also be involved in complex perceptual discrimination. It is unclear if this role is limited to spatial/scene stimuli or extends to the discrimination of objects. Also unclear is whether the DG itself contributes to pattern separation beyond memory. BL, an individual with bilateral DG lesions, was previously shown to have poor discrimination of similar, everyday objects in memory. Here, we demonstrate that BL's deficit extends to complex perceptual discrimination of novel objects. Specifically, BL was presented with closely matched possible and impossible objects, which give rise to fundamentally different 3D perceptual representations despite being visually similar. BL performed significantly worse than controls when asked to select an odd object (e.g., impossible) amongst three identical counterpart objects (e.g., possible) presented at different rotations. His deficit was also evident in an atypical eye fixation pattern during this task. In contrast, BL's performance was indistinguishable from that of controls on other tasks involving the same objects, indicating that he could visually differentiate the object pairs, that he perceived the objects holistically in 3D, and that he has only a mild weakness in categorizing object possibility. Furthermore, his performance on standardized neuropsychological measures indicated intact mental rotation, visual-spatial attention, and working memory (visual and auditory). Collectively, these results provide evidence that the DG is necessary for complex perceptual discrimination of novel objects, indicating that the DG might function as a generic pattern separator of a wide range of stimuli within high-level perception, and that its role is not limited to memory.
Miranda J. Munoz; Lisa C. Goelz; Gian D. Pal; Jessica A. Karl; Leo Verhagen Metman; Sepehr Sani; Joshua M. Rosenow; Jody D. Ciolino; Ajay S. Kurani; Daniel M. Corcos; Fabian J. David
Increased subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation amplitude impairs inhibitory control of eye movements in Parkinson's disease Journal Article
In: Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 866–876, 2022.
Background and Objectives: Bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) can have detrimental effects on eye movement inhibitory control. To investigate this detrimental effect of bilateral STN DBS, we examined the effects of manipulating STN DBS amplitude on inhibitory control during the antisaccade task. The prosaccade error rate during the antisaccade task, that is, directional errors, was indicative of impaired inhibitory control. We hypothesized that as stimulation amplitude increased, the prosaccade error rate would increase. Materials and Methods: Ten participants with bilateral STN DBS completed the antisaccade task on six different stimulation amplitudes (including zero amplitude) after a 12-hour overnight withdrawal from antiparkinsonian medication. Results: We found that the prosaccade error rate increased as stimulation amplitude increased (p < 0.01). Additionally, prosaccade error rate increased as the modeled volume of tissue activated (VTA) and STN overlap decreased, but this relationship depended on stimulation amplitude (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that higher stimulation amplitude settings can be modulatory for inhibitory control. Some individual variability in the effect of stimulation amplitude can be explained by active contact location and VTA-STN overlap. Higher stimulation amplitudes are more deleterious if the active contacts fall outside of the STN resulting in a smaller VTA-STN overlap. This is clinically significant as it can inform clinical optimization of STN DBS parameters. Further studies are needed to determine stimulation amplitude effects on other aspects of cognition and whether inhibitory control deficits on the antisaccade task result in a meaningful impact on the quality of life.
Miranda J. Munoz; James L. Reilly; Gian D. Pal; Leo Verhagen Metman; Yessenia M. Rivera; Quentin H. Drane; Daniel M. Corcos; Fabian J. David; Lisa C. Goelz
Medication adversely impacts visually-guided eye movements in Parkinson's disease Journal Article
In: Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 143, pp. 145–153, 2022.
Objective: We examined whether previous inconsistent findings about the effect of anti-Parkinsonian medication on visually-guided saccades (VGS) were due to the use of different paradigms, which change the timing of fixation offset and target onset, or different target eccentricities. Methods: Thirty-three participants with Parkinson's disease (PD) completed the VGS tasks OFF and ON medication, along with 13 healthy controls. Performance on 3 paradigms (gap, step, and overlap) and 2 target eccentricities was recorded. We used mixed models to determine the effect of medication, paradigm, and target eccentricity on saccade latency, gain, and peak velocity. Results: First, we confirmed known paradigm effects on latency, and target eccentricity effects on gain and peak velocity in participants with PD. Second, latency was positively associated with OFF medication Movement Disorders Society – Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) motor score in PD. Third, medication prolonged latency for the larger target eccentricity across the 3 paradigms, while decreasing gain and peak velocity in the step paradigm across target eccentricities. Conclusions: Medication adversely affected and was not therapeutically beneficial for VGS. Previous inconsistencies may have resulted from chosen target eccentricity. Significance: The negative medication effect on VGS may be clinically significant, as many activities in daily life require oculomotor control, inhibitory control, and visually-guided shifts of attention.
Jordan Murray; Palak Gupta; Cody Dulaney; Kiran Garg; Aasef G. Shaikh; Fatema F. Ghasia
Effect of viewing conditions on fixation eye movements and eye alignment in amblyopia Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 1–16, 2022.
PURPOSE. Patients with amblyopia are known to have fixation instability, which arises from alteration of physiologic fixation eye movements (FEMs) and nystagmus. We assessed the effects of monocular, binocular, and dichoptic viewing on FEMs and eye alignment in patients with and without fusion maldevelopment nystagmus (FMN). METHODS. Thirty-four patients with amblyopia and seven healthy controls were recruited for this study. Eye movements were recorded using infrared video-oculography during (1) fellow eye viewing (FEV), (2) amblyopic eye viewing (AEV), (3) both eye viewing (BEV), and (4) dichoptic viewing (DcV) at varying fellow eye (FE) contrasts. The patients were classified per the clinical type of amblyopia and FEM waveforms into those without nystagmus, those with nystagmus with and without FMN. Fixational saccades and intersaccadic drifts, quick and slow phases of nystagmus, and bivariate contour ellipse area were analyzed in the FE and amblyopic eye (AE). RESULTS. We found that FEMs are differentially affected with increased amplitude of quick phases of FMN observed during AEV than BEV and during DcV at lower FE contrasts. Increased fixation instability was seen in anisometropic patients at lower FE contrasts. Incomitance of eye misalignment was seen with the greatest increase during FEV. Strabismic/mixed amblyopia patients without FMN were more likely to demonstrate a fixation switch where the AE attends to the target during DcV than patients with FMN. CONCLUSIONS. Our findings suggest that FEM abnormalities modulate with different viewing conditions as used in various amblyopia therapies. Increased FEM abnormalities could affect the visual function deficits and may have treatment implications.
Stuart B. Murray; Tomislav D. Zbozinek; Michelle Craske; Reza Tadayonnejad; Michael Strober; Ausaf A. Bari; John P. O'Doherty; Jamie D. Feusner
Neural, physiological, and psychological markers of appetitive conditioning in anorexia nervosa: a study protocol Journal Article
In: Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1–11, 2022.
Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a chronic and disabling psychiatric condition characterized by low hedonic drive towards food, and is thought to be inclusive of altered dimensions of reward processing. Whether there exists a fundamental aberrancy in the capacity to acquire and maintain de novo hedonic associations—a critical component of hedonic responding—has never been studied in AN. Methods: This multi-modal study will employ a 2-day Pavlovian appetitive conditioning paradigm to interrogate the (1) acquisition, (2) extinction, (3) spontaneous recovery and (4) reinstatement of appetitive learning in adolescents and young adults with AN. Participants will be 30 currently ill, underweight individuals with AN; 30 weight-restored individuals with AN; and 30 age-matched healthy controls, all aged 12–22 years. All subjects will undergo clinical assessment, followed by the 2-day appetitive conditioning task during which fMRI, pupillometry, heart rate deceleration, and subjective ratings will be acquired. Discussion: This study will be the first to interrogate appetitive conditioning in AN—a disorder characterized by altered hedonic responding to food. Results will help establish objective biomarkers of appetitive conditioning in AN and lay the groundwork for developing novel lines of treatment for AN and other psychiatric disorders involving diminished ability to experience pleasure and reward. Trial registration: Pending. Intended registry: Clinicaltrials.gov.
Dinavahi V. P. S. Murty; Keerthana Manikandan; Wupadrasta Santosh Kumar; Ranjini Garani Ramesh; Simran Purokayastha; Bhargavi Nagendra; M. L. Abhishek; Aditi Balakrishnan; Mahendra Javali; Naren Prahalada Rao; Supratim Ray
Stimulus-induced gamma rhythms are weaker in human elderly with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease Journal Article
In: Bio-protocol, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 1–13, 2022.
Stimulus-induced narrow-band gamma oscillations (20–70 Hz) are induced in the visual areas of the brain when particular visual stimuli, such as bars, gratings, or full-screen hue, are shown to the subject. Such oscillations are modulated by higher cognitive functions, like attention, and working memory, and have been shown to be abnormal in certain neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. However, although electroencephalogram (EEG) remains one of the most non-invasive, inexpensive, and accessible methods to record brain signals, some studies have failed to observe discernable gamma oscillations in human EEG. In this manuscript, we have described in detail a protocol to elicit robust gamma oscillations in human EEG. We believe that our protocol could help in developing non-invasive gamma-based biomarkers in human EEG, for the early detection of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Krishnaveni Nagarajan; Gang Luo; Monika Narasimhan; PremNandhini Satgunam
Children with amblyopia make more saccadic fixations when doing the visual search task Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciencephthalmology & visual science, vol. 63, no. 13, pp. 1–7, 2022.
Purpose: Individuals with amblyopia are known to have functional vision deficits (e.g., reduced reading speed) in spite of good visual acuity in the nonamblyopic eye. We studied and compared eye movements in children with and without amblyopia to examine how a visual scene is explored during visual search. Methods: Children (six to 16 years of age) in the control group (n = 14) and cases group with anisometropic amblyopia (n = 23) participated in a visual search study, in which they looked for targets in real-world images displayed on a computer monitor. Eyelink 1000 Plus was used to track the eye movements. Three viewing conditions were randomized: dominant/fellow eye, nondominant/amblyopic eye, and binocular viewing. Visual search performance was measured by combining search time and accuracy. Results: As expected, poorer visual search performance was observed in the amblyopic eye when compared to the controls and fellow eye (P < 0.005). However, the reaction time was longer even in binocular and fellow eye viewing conditions than the controls (P < 0.028). Children with amblyopia made more saccades (17 vs. 12
Adam J. Naples; Jennifer H. Foss-Feig; Julie M. Wolf; Vinod H. Srihari; James C. McPartland
Predictability modulates neural response to eye contact in ASD Journal Article
In: Molecular Autism, vol. 13, no. 42, pp. 1–12, 2022.
Background: Deficits in establishing and maintaining eye-contact are early and persistent vulnerabilities of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the neural bases of these deficits remain elusive. A promising hypothesis is that social features of autism may reflect difficulties in making predictions about the social world under conditions of uncertainty. However, no research in ASD has examined how predictability impacts the neural processing of eye-contact in naturalistic interpersonal interactions. Method: We used eye tracking to facilitate an interactive social simulation wherein onscreen faces would establish eye-contact when the participant looked at them. In Experiment One, receipt of eye-contact was unpredictable; in Experiment Two, receipt of eye-contact was predictable. Neural response to eye-contact was measured via the N170 and P300 event-related potentials (ERPs). Experiment One included 23 ASD and 46 typically developing (TD) adult participants. Experiment Two included 25 ASD and 43 TD adult participants. Results: When receipt of eye-contact was unpredictable, individuals with ASD showed increased N170 and increased, but non-specific, P300 responses. The magnitude of the N170 responses correlated with measures of sensory and anxiety symptomology, such that increased response to eye-contact was associated with increased symptomology. However, when receipt of eye-contact was predictable, individuals with ASD, relative to controls, exhibited slower N170s and no differences in the amplitude of N170 or P300. Limitations: Our ASD sample was composed of adults with IQ > 70 and included only four autistic women. Thus, further research is needed to evaluate how these results generalize across the spectrum of age, sex, and cognitive ability. Additionally, as analyses were exploratory, some findings failed to survive false-discovery rate adjustment. Conclusions: Neural response to eye-contact in ASD ranged from attenuated to hypersensitive depending on the predictability of the social context. These findings suggest that the vulnerabilities in eye-contact during social interactions in ASD may arise from differences in anticipation and expectation of eye-contact in addition to the perception of gaze alone.
Sergio Navas-León; Milagrosa Sánchez-Martín; Ana Tajadura-Jiménez; Lize De Coster; Mercedes Borda-Más; Luis Morales
Eye movements and eating disorders: Protocol for an exploratory experimental study examining the relationship in young-adult women with subclinical symptomatology Journal Article
In: Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 10, no. 47, pp. 1–8, 2022.
Background: Recent research indicates that patients with anorexia (AN) show specific eye movement abnormalities such as shorter prosaccade latencies, more saccade inhibition errors, and increased rate of saccadic intrusions compared to participants without AN. However, it remains unknown whether these abnormal eye movement patterns, which may serve as potential biomarkers and endophenotypes for an early diagnosis and preventive clinical treatments, start to manifest also in people with subclinical eating disorders (ED) symptomatology. Therefore, we propose a protocol for an exploratory experimental study to investigate whether participants with subclinical ED symptomatology and control participants differ in their performance on several eye movement tasks. Methods: The sample will be recruited through convenience sampling. The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire will be administered as a screening tool to split the sample into participants with subclinical ED symptomatology and control participants. A fixation task, prosaccade/antisaccade task, and memory-guided task will be administered to both groups. Additionally, we will measure anxiety and premorbid intelligence as confounding variables. Means comparison, exploratory Pearson's correlations and discriminant analysis will be performed. Discussion: This study will be the first to elucidate the presence of specific eye movement abnormalities in participants with subclinical ED symptomatology. The results may open opportunities for developing novel diagnostic tools/therapies being helpful to the EDs research community and allied fields.
Andrea L. Nelson; Leanne Quigley; Jonathan Carriere; Elizabeth Kalles; Daniel Smilek; Christine Purdon
Avoidance of mild threat observed in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) using eye tracking Journal Article
In: Journal of Anxiety Disorders, vol. 88, pp. 1–10, 2022.
Attentional biases towards threat are assumed to be a causal factor in the development of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, findings have been inconsistent, and studies often examine single time-point bias during threat exposure, instead of across time. Attention to threat may shift throughout exposure (e.g., from initial engagement to avoidance), and research suggests that threat intensity and state anxiety influence attentional biases. No studies to our knowledge have examined biases across time and with varying threat intensity and state anxiety. Participants with GAD (n=38) and non-anxious controls (n=25) viewed emotional (high threat, mild threat, and positive) and neutral image pairs under calm and anxious mood states while their eye movements were tracked. Participants showed an initial orientation to emotional images, and, under the anxious mood induction, demonstrated a bias towards threatening images at first fixation and over time. Results suggest it may be normative to attend to threat cues over other stimuli while in an anxious state. Individuals with GAD uniquely showed a bias away from mild (but not high) threat images over time relative to controls. Implications for theories of attentional biases to threat and clinical implications for GAD and anxiety disorders broadly are discussed.
José P. Ossandón; Paul Zerr; Idris Shareef; Ramesh Kekunnaya; Brigitte Röder
Active vision in sight recovery individuals with a history of long-lasting congenital blindness Journal Article
In: eNeuro, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1–17, 2022.
What we see is intimately linked to how we actively and systematically explore the world through eye movements. However, it is unknown to what degree visual experience during early development is necessary for such systematic visual exploration to emerge. The present study investigated visual exploration behavior in 10 human participants whose sight had been restored only in childhood or adulthood, after a period of congenital blindness because of dense bilateral congenital cataracts. Participants freely explored real-world images while their eye movements were recorded. Despite severe residual visual impairments and gaze instability (nystag-mus), visual exploration patterns were preserved in individuals with reversed congenital cataract. Modeling analyses indicated that, similar to healthy control subjects, visual exploration in individuals with reversed congenital cataract was based on the low-level (luminance contrast) and high-level (object components) visual content of the images. Moreover, participants used visual short-term memory representations for narrowing down the exploration space. More systematic visual exploration in individuals with reversed congenital cataract was associated with better object recognition, suggesting that active vision might be a driving force for visual system development and recovery. The present results argue against a sensitive period for the development of neural mechanisms associated with visual exploration.
Ashley C. Parr; Olivia G. Calancie; Brian C. Coe; Sarosh Khalid-Khan; Douglas P. Munoz
Impulsivity and emotional dysregulation predict choice behavior during a mixed-strategy game in adolescents with borderline personality disorder Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 15, pp. 1–21, 2022.
Impulsivity and emotional dysregulation are two core features of borderline personality disorder (BPD), and the neural mechanisms recruited during mixed-strategy interactions overlap with frontolimbic networks that have been implicated in BPD. We investigated strategic choice patterns during the classic two-player game, Matching Pennies, where the most efficient strategy is to choose each option randomly from trial-to-trial to avoid exploitation by one's opponent. Twenty-seven female adolescents with BPD (mean age: 16 years) and twenty-seven age-matched female controls (mean age: 16 years) participated in an experiment that explored the relationship between strategic choice behavior and impulsivity in both groups and emotional dysregulation in BPD. Relative to controls, BPD participants showed marginally fewer reinforcement learning biases, particularly decreased lose-shift biases, increased variability in reaction times (coefficient of variation; CV), and a greater percentage of anticipatory decisions. A subset of BPD participants with high levels of impulsivity showed higher overall reward rates, and greater modulation of reaction times by outcome, particularly following loss trials, relative to control and BPD participants with lower levels of impulsivity. Additionally, BPD participants with higher levels of emotional dysregulation showed marginally increased reward rate and increased entropy in choice patterns. Together, our preliminary results suggest that impulsivity and emotional dysregulation may contribute to variability in mixed-strategy decision-making in female adolescents with BPD.
Ashley C. Parr; Heidi C. Riek; Brian C. Coe; Giovanna Pari; Mario Masellis; Connie Marras; Douglas P. Munoz
Genetic variation in the dopamine system is associated with mixed-strategy decision-making in patients with Parkinson's disease Journal Article
In: European Journal of Neuroscience, pp. 1–22, 2022.
Decision-making during mixed-strategy games requires flexibly adapting choice strategies in response to others' actions and dynamically tracking outcomes. Such decisions involve diverse cognitive processes, including reinforcement learning, which are affected by disruptions to the striatal dopamine system. We therefore investigated how genetic variation in dopamine function affected mixed-strategy decision-making in Parkinson's disease (PD), which involves striatal dopamine pathology. Sixty-six PD patients (ages 49–85, Hoehn and Yahr Stages 1–3) and 22 healthy controls (ages 54–75) competed in a mixed-strategy game where successful performance depended on minimizing choice biases (i.e., flexibly adapting choices trial by trial). Participants also completed a fixed-strategy task that was matched for sensory input, motor outputs and overall reward rate. Factor analyses were used to disentangle cognitive from motor aspects within both tasks. Using a within-subject, multi-centre design, patients were examined on and off dopaminergic therapy, and genetic variation was examined via a multilocus genetic profile score representing the additive effects of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence dopamine transmission: rs4680 (COMT Val158Met), rs6277 (C957T) and rs907094 (encoding DARPP-32). PD and control participants displayed comparable mixed-strategy choice behaviour (overall); however, PD patients with genetic profile scores indicating higher dopamine transmission showed improved performance relative to those with low scores. Exploratory follow-up tests across individual SNPs revealed better performance in individuals with the C957T polymorphism, reflecting higher striatal D2/D3 receptor density. Importantly, genetic variation modulated cognitive aspects of performance, above and beyond motor function, suggesting that genetic variation in dopamine signalling may underlie individual differences in cognitive function in PD.
Olga Parshina; Anastasiya Lopukhina; Sofya Goldina; Ekaterina Iskra; Margarita Serebryakova; Vladislava Staroverova; Nina Zdorova; Olga Dragoy
Global reading processes in children with high risk of dyslexia: A scanpath analysis Journal Article
In: Annals of Dyslexia, vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 403–425, 2022.
The study presents the first systematic comparison of the global reading processes via scanpath analysis in Russian-speaking children with and without reading difficulties. First, we compared basic eye-movement characteristics in reading sentences in two groups of children in grades 1 to 5 (N = 72 in high risk of developmental dyslexia group and N = 72 in the control group). Next, using the scanpath method, we investigated which global reading processes these children adopt to read the entire sentence and how these processes differ between the groups. Finally, we were interested in the timeframe of the change in the global reading processes from the 1st to the 5th grades for both groups. We found that the main difference in word-level measures between groups was the reading speed reflected in fixation durations. However, the examination of the five identified global reading processes revealed qualitative similarities in reading patterns between groups. Children in the control group progressed quickly and by the 4th grade engaged in an adult-like fluent reading process. The high-risk group started with the beginner reading process, then similar to first graders in the control group, engaged mostly in the intermediate and upper-intermediate reading processes in 2nd to 4th grades. They reach the advanced process in the 5th grade, the same pattern preferred by the control group second graders. Overall, the scanpath analysis reveals that although there are quantitative differences in the word-level eye-tracking measures between groups, qualitatively children in the high-risk group read on par with typically developing peers but with a 3-year reading delay.
Lijuan Huang; Yunyu Zhou; Wencong Chen; Ping Lin; Yan Xie; Kaiwen He; Shasha Zhang; Yuyu Wu; Ningdong Li
Correlations of FRMD7 gene mutations with ocular oscillations Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1–10, 2022.
Mutations in the FERM domain containing 7 (FRMD7) gene have been proven to be responsible for infantile nystagmus (IN). The purpose of this study is to investigate FRMD7 gene mutations in patients with IN, and to evaluate the nystagmus intensity among patients with and without FRMD7 mutations. The affected males were subdivided into three groups according to whether or not having FRMD7 mutations and the types of mutations. Fifty-two mutations were detected in FRMD7 in 56 pedigrees and 34 sporadic patients with IN, including 28 novel and 24 previous reported mutations. The novel identified mutations further expand the spectrum of FRMD7 mutations. The parameters of nystagmus intensity and the patients' best corrected visual acuity were not statistically different among the patients with and without identified FRMD7 mutations, and also not different among patients with different mutant types. The FERM-C domain, whose amino acids are encoded by exons 7, 8 and 9, could be the harbor region for most mutations. Loss-of-function is suggested to be the common molecular mechanism for the X-linked infantile nystagmus.
Todd E. Hudson; Jenna Conway; John-Ross Rizzo; John Martone; Liyung T. Chou; Laura J. Balcer; Steven L. Galetta; Janet C. Rucker
Rapid automatized picture naming in an outpatient concussion center: Quantitative eye movements during the obile universal lexicon evaluation system (MULES) test Journal Article
In: Clinical and Translational Neuroscience, vol. 6, pp. 1–12, 2022.
Number and picture rapid automatized naming (RAN) tests are useful sideline diagnostic tools. The main outcome measure of these RAN tests is the completion time, which is prolonged with a concussion, yet yields no information about eye movement behavior. We investigated eye movements during a digitized Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES) test of rapid picture naming. A total of 23 participants with a history of concussion and 50 control participants performed MULES testing with simultaneous eye tracking. The test times were longer in participants with a concussion (32.4 s [95% CI 30.4, 35.8] vs. 26.9 s [95% CI 25.9, 28.0]
Divya Jain; Kristy B. Arbogast; Catherine C. McDonald; Olivia E. Podolak; Susan S. Margulies; Kristina B. Metzger; David R. Howell; Mitchell M. Scheiman; Christina L. Master
Eye tracking metrics differences among uninjured adolescents and those with acute or persistent post-concussion symptoms Journal Article
In: Optometry and Vision Science, vol. 99, no. 8, pp. 616–625, 2022.
SIGNIFICANCE Eye tracking assessments that include pupil metrics can supplement current clinical assessments of vision and autonomic dysfunction in concussed adolescents. PURPOSE This study aimed to explore the utility of a 220-second eye tracking assessment in distinguishing eye position, saccadic movement, and pupillary dynamics among uninjured adolescents, those with acute post-concussion symptoms (≤28 days since concussion), or those with persistent post-concussion symptoms (>28 days since concussion). METHODS Two hundred fifty-six eye tracking metrics across a prospective observational cohort of 180 uninjured adolescents recruited from a private suburban high school and 224 concussed adolescents, with acute or persistent symptoms, recruited from a tertiary care subspecialty concussion care program, 13 to 17 years old, from August 2017 to June 2021 were compared. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used, and Bonferroni corrections were applied to account for multiple comparisons and constructed receiver operating characteristic curves. Principal components analysis and regression models were applied to determine whether eye tracking metrics can augment clinical and demographic information in differentiating uninjured controls from concussed adolescents. RESULTS Two metrics of eye position were worse in those with concussion than uninjured adolescents, and only one metric was significantly different between acute cases and persistent cases. Concussed adolescents had larger left and right mean, median, minimum, and maximum pupil size than uninjured controls. Concussed adolescents had greater differences in mean, median, and variance of left and right pupil size. Twelve metrics distinguished female concussed participants from uninjured; only four were associated with concussion status in males. A logistic regression model including clinical and demographics data and transformed eye tracking metrics performed better in predicting concussion status than clinical and demographics data alone. CONCLUSIONS Objective eye tracking technology is capable of quickly identifying vision and pupillary disturbances after concussion, augmenting traditional clinical concussion assessments. These metrics may add to existing clinical practice for monitoring recovery in a heterogeneous adolescent concussion population.
Anupama Janardhanan; Vijaylakshmi Perumalswamy; Shashikant Shetty; Chitaranjan Mishra; Matt J. Dunn
Acquired vertical pendular nystagmus in diffuse unilateral subacute neuroretinitis: A diagnostic dilemma Journal Article
In: Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 2, pp. 503–505, 2022.
A retinal infectious pathology, an acquired vertical nystagmus, and a suspicious neuroimaging result! Independently, these three entities are not uncommon. However, when they are consecutively observed in a young patient, it ramifies into an intriguing clinical scenario. A 17-year-old diagnosed case of diffuse unilateral subacute neuroretinitis presented to us with acute-onset vertical oscillations. On neuroimaging, she was found to have cerebellar dysgenesis. This case prompted us to revisit the pathogenesis of acquired vertical nystagmus and evaluate whether it resulted from disturbance of afferent (severe visual impairment) or efferent (cerebellar dysfunction) components of the neural integrator mechanism.
Jingqi Jiang; Yiqin Zhu; Marcus A. Rodriguez; Xu Wen; Mingyi Qian
Social anxiety does not impair attention inhibition: An emotion anti-saccade task Journal Article
In: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, vol. 77, pp. 1–7, 2022.
Background and objectives: Attention avoidance and attention vigilance are two typical attentional biases in individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Attention inhibition is a type of attention control, which may be the key factor affecting attention vigilance and attention avoidance. However, previous studies have not examined the difference between the attention inhibition in individuals with SAD and healthy controls. Methods: To further explore this question, the current study used the single anti-saccade task with emotional facial stimuli to assess attention inhibition in 27 individuals with SAD and 22 healthy controls. Results: Regardless of the emotional valence of the facial stimuli, error rates in the social anxiety group were lower than that of the healthy control group, but there was no significant group difference in the saccade latency. Limitations: This research only examined the attentional inhibition process highly related to attention avoidance and attention vigilance. Future research may benefit from adopting different research paradigms for more robust and generalizable conclusions. Conclusions: Results suggest that individuals with SAD have better attention inhibition abilities than healthy control. Such enhanced attention inhibition may underlie their avoidance of threatening social cues.
Martin E. Johansson; Ian G. M. Cameron; Nicolien M. Van der Kolk; Nienke M. Vries; Eva Klimars; Ivan Toni; Bastiaan R. Bloem; Rick C. Helmich
Aerobic exercise alters brain function and structure in Parkinson's disease: A randomized controlled trial Journal Article
In: Annals of Neurology, vol. 91, pp. 203–216, 2022.
Objective: Randomized clinical trials have shown that aerobic exercise attenuates motor symptom progression in Parkinson's disease, but the underlying neural mechanisms are unclear. Here, we investigated how aerobic exercise influences disease-related functional and structural changes in the corticostriatal sensorimotor network, which is involved in the emergence of motor deficits in Parkinson's disease. Additionally, we explored effects of aerobic exercise on tissue integrity of the substantia nigra, and on behavioral and cerebral indices of cognitive control. Methods: The Park-in-Shape trial is a single-center, double-blind randomized controlled trial in 130 Parkinson's disease patients who were randomly assigned (1:1 ratio) to aerobic exercise (stationary home trainer) or stretching (active control) interventions (duration = 6 months). An unselected subset from this trial (exercise
Holly Joseph; Daisy Powell
Does a specialist typeface affect how fluently children with and without dyslexia process letters, words, and passages? Journal Article
In: Dyslexia, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 448–470, 2022.
Children with dyslexia are at risk of poor academic attainment and lower life chances if they do not receive the support they need. Alongside phonics-based interventions which already have a strong evidence base, specialist dyslexia typefaces have been offered as an additional or alternative form of support. The current study examined whether one such typeface, Dyslexie, had a benefit over a standard typeface in identifying letters, reading words, and reading passages. 71 children, aged 8–12 years, 37 of whom had a diagnosis of dyslexia, completed a rapid letter naming task, a word reading efficiency task, and a passage reading task in two typefaces, Dyslexie and Calibri. Spacing between letters and words was kept constant. Results showed no differences in word or passage reading between the two typesfaces, but letter naming did appear to be more fluent when letters were presented in Dyslexie rather than Calibri text for all children. The results suggest that a typeface in which letters are designed to be distinctive from one another may be beneficial for letter identification and that an intervention in which children are taught letters in a specialist typeface is worthy of consideration.
Tatiana Karpouzian-Rogers; Rob Hurley; Mustafa Seckin; Stacey Moeller; Nathan Gill; Hui Zhang; Christina Coventry; Matthew Nelson; Sandra Weintraub; Emily Rogalski; M. Marsel Mesulam
Eye movements as a measure of word comprehension deficits in primary progressive aphasia Journal Article
In: Brain and Language, vol. 232, pp. 1–5, 2022.
Introduction: Eye movement studies can uncover subtle aspects of language processing impairment in individuals with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), who may have difficulty understanding words. This study examined eye movement patterns on a word-object matching task in response to varying levels of word-knowledge in PPA. Methods: Participants with semantic and non-semantic PPA completed an object-matching task, where a word was presented and participants then selected the corresponding pictured object from an array. Afterwards, participants defined words for trials to which they incorrectly pointed. Linear mixed-effects analyses examined fixation differences on targets and related and unrelated foils. Results: On incorrectly-pointed trials, participants demonstrated greater fixation duration on related foils, demonstrating intra-category blurring. For words that could not be defined, there was similar fixation duration on related and unrelated foils, demonstrating inter-category semantic blurring. Discussion: This study demonstrated that fixation patterns reflect varying levels of word knowledge in PPA.
Chaim N. Katz; Andrea G. P. Schjetnan; Kramay Patel; Victoria Barkley; Kari L. Hoffman; Suneil K. Kalia; Katherine D. Duncan; Taufik A. Valiante
A corollary discharge mediates saccade-related inhibition of single units in mnemonic structures of the human brain Journal Article
In: Current Biology, vol. 32, no. 14, pp. 3082–3094, 2022.
Despite the critical link between visual exploration and memory, little is known about how neuronal activity in the human mesial temporal lobe (MTL) is modulated by saccades. Here, we characterize saccade-associated neuronal modulations, unit-by-unit, and contrast them to image onset and to occipital lobe neurons. We reveal evidence for a corollary discharge (CD)-like modulatory signal that accompanies saccades, inhibiting/exciting a unique population of broad-/narrow-spiking units, respectively, before and during saccades and with directional selectivity. These findings comport well with the timing, directional nature, and inhibitory circuit implementation of a CD. Additionally, by linking neuronal activity to event-related potentials (ERPs), which are directionally modulated following saccades, we recontextualize the ERP associated with saccades as a proxy for both the strength of inhibition and saccade direction, providing a mechanistic underpinning for the more commonly recorded saccade-related ERP in the human brain.
B. C. Kaufmann; D. Cazzoli; P. Bartolomeo; J. Frey; T. Pflugshaupt; S. E. J. Knobel; T. Nef; R. M. Müri; T. Nyffeler
Auditory spatial cueing reduces neglect after right-hemispheric stroke: A proof of concept study Journal Article
In: Cortex, vol. 148, pp. 152–167, 2022.
Spatial neglect after right-hemispheric stroke, characterized by the failure to attend or respond to the contralesional space, is a strong negative outcome predictor. Neglect is a supramodal syndrome affecting not only the visual but also the auditory modality. Preliminary studies used this audio-visual cross-modal effect to show short-lasting effects on attention towards the neglected space. The aim of the present study was to introduce a new technique of auditory stimulation combining the unspecific effect of music (i.e., patients choose their preferred music) with the effects of auditory spatial cueing (i.e., the music is presented dynamically as moving from right to left). The effect of this new auditory stimulation technique was investigated in two proof-of-concept experiments using repeated-measures, cross-over designs including 21 patients with visual neglect after a first right-hemispheric stroke. In Experiment I (n = 9), neglect patients showed a significantly larger improvement in Letter Cancellation after listening to preferred music with than without auditory spatial cueing. After granting the feasibility of this new auditory stimulation technique, we investigated the long-term aftereffects in Experiment II (n = 12). Herefore, we used video-oculography during Free Visual Exploration, a sensitive and reliable tool to assess spatial attention over time. Listening to music with auditory spatial cueing – as compared to music without auditory spatial cueing – significantly improved neglect severity in terms of visual exploration behaviour for up to 3h. A voxel-based-lesion-symptom mapping analysis over all patients revealed that the response variability in listening to music with auditory spatial cueing is determined by the integrity of the right inferior parietal lobule, the second branch of the superior longitudinal fascicle, and parieto-parietal callosal fibres. Our study shows that listening to music with auditory spatial cueing significantly reduces neglect severity and has the potential to be used as an add-on in the neurorehabilitation of neglect.
Hassen Kerkeni; Dominik Brügger; Georgios Mantokoudis; Mathias Abegg; David S. Zee
Pharmacological and behavioral strategies to improve vision in acquired pendular nystagmus Journal Article
In: American Journal of Case Reports, vol. 23, pp. 1–5, 2022.
Objective: Unusual setting of medical care. Background: Acquired pendular nystagmus (APN) is a back and forth, oscillatory eye movement in which the 2 oppositely directed slow phases have similar waveforms. APN occurs commonly in multiple sclerosis and causes a disabling oscillopsia that impairs vision. Previous studies have proven that symptomatic therapy with gabapentin or me-mantine can reduce the nystagmus amplitude or frequency. However, the effect of these medications on visual acuity (VA) is less known and to our knowledge the impact of non-pharmacological strategies such as blinking on VA has not been reported. This is a single observational study without controls (Class IV) and is meant to suggest a future strategy for study of vision in patients with disabling nystagmus and impaired vision. Case Report: A 49-year-old woman with primary progressive multiple sclerosis with spastic paraparesis and a history of optic atrophy presented with asymmetrical binocular APN and bothersome oscillopsia. We found that in the eye with greater APN her visual acuity improved by 1 line (from 0.063 to 0.08 decimals) immediately after blinking. During treatment with memantine, her VA without blinking increased by 2 lines, from 0.063 to 0.12, but improved even more (from 0.12 to 0.16) after blinking. In the contralateral eye with a barely visible nystagmus, VA was reduced by 1 line briefly ($sim$500 ms) after blinking. Conclusions: In a patient with APN, blinking transiently improved vision. The combination of pharmacological treatment with memantine and the blinking strategy may induce better VA and less oscillopsia than either alone.
Julie A. Kirkby; Rhiannon S. Barrington; Denis Drieghe; Simon P. Liversedge
Parafoveal processing and transposed-letter effects in dyslexic reading Journal Article
In: Dyslexia, vol. 28, pp. 359–374, 2022.
During parafoveal processing, skilled readers encode letter identity independently of letter position (Johnson et al., 2007). In the current experiment, we examined orthographic parafoveal processing in readers with dyslexia. Specifically, the eye movements of skilled readers and adult readers with dyslexia were recorded during a boundary paradigm experiment (Rayner, 1975). Parafoveal previews were either identical to the target word (e.g., nearly), a transposed-letter preview (e.g., enarly), or a substituted-letter preview (e.g., acarly). Dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers demonstrated orthographic parafoveal preview benefits during silent sentence reading and both reading groups encoded letter identity and letter position information parafoveally. However, dyslexic adults showed, that very early in lexical processing, during parafoveal preview, the positional information of a word's initial letters were encoded less flexibly compared to during skilled adult reading. We suggest that dyslexic readers are less able to benefit from correct letter identity information (i.e., in the letter transposition previews) due to the lack of direct mapping of orthography to phonology. The current findings demonstrate that dyslexic readers show consistent and dyslexic-specific reading difficulties in foveal and parafoveal processing during silent sentence reading.
Kelsey E. Klein; Elizabeth A. Walker; Bob McMurray
Delayed lexical access and cascading effects on spreading semantic activation during Spoken word recognition in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants: Evidence from eye-tracking Journal Article
In: Ear and Hearing, pp. 1–20, 2022.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to characterize the dynamics of real-time lexical access, including lexical competition among phonologically similar words, and spreading semantic activation in school-age children with hearing aids (HAs) and children with cochlear implants (CIs). We hypothesized that developing spoken language via degraded auditory input would lead children with HAs or CIs to adapt their approach to spoken word recognition, especially by slowing down lexical access. DESIGN: Participants were children ages 9- to 12-years old with normal hearing (NH), HAs, or CIs. Participants completed a Visual World Paradigm task in which they heard a spoken word and selected the matching picture from four options. Competitor items were either phonologically similar, semantically similar, or unrelated to the target word. As the target word unfolded, children's fixations to the target word, cohort competitor, rhyme competitor, semantically related item, and unrelated item were recorded as indices of ongoing lexical access and spreading semantic activation. RESULTS: Children with HAs and children with CIs showed slower fixations to the target, reduced fixations to the cohort competitor, and increased fixations to the rhyme competitor, relative to children with NH. This wait-and-see profile was more pronounced in the children with CIs than the children with HAs. Children with HAs and children with CIs also showed delayed fixations to the semantically related item, although this delay was attributable to their delay in activating words in general, not to a distinct semantic source. CONCLUSIONS: Children with HAs and children with CIs showed qualitatively similar patterns of real-time spoken word recognition. Findings suggest that developing spoken language via degraded auditory input causes long-term cognitive adaptations to how listeners recognize spoken words, regardless of the type of hearing device used. Delayed lexical access directly led to delays in spreading semantic activation in children with HAs and CIs. This delay in semantic processing may impact these children's ability to understand connected speech in everyday life.
Alexander Kolevzon; Tess Levy; Sarah Barkley; Sandra Bedrosian-Sermone; Matthew Davis; Jennifer Foss-Feig; Danielle Halpern; Katherine Keller; Ana Kostic; Christina Layton; Rebecca Lee; Bonnie Lerman; Matthew Might; Sven Sandin; Paige M. Siper; Laura G. Sloofman; Hannah Walker; Jessica Zweifach; Joseph D. Buxbaum
An open-label study evaluating the safety, behavioral, and electrophysiological outcomes of low-dose ketamine in children with ADNP syndrome Journal Article
In: Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 1–13, 2022.
Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) syndrome is a rare genetic condition associated with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. Preclinical evidence suggests that low-dose ketamine may induce expression of ADNP and that neuroprotective effects of ketamine may be mediated by ADNP. The goal of the proposed research was to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and behavioral outcomes of low-dose ketamine in children with ADNP syndrome. We also sought to explore the feasibility of using electrophysiological markers of auditory steady-state response and computerized eye tracking to assess biomarker sensitivity to treatment. This study utilized a single-dose (0.5 mg/kg), open-label design, with ketamine infused intravenously over 40 min. Ten children with ADNP syndrome ages 6 to 12 years were enrolled. Ketamine was generally well tolerated, and there were no serious adverse events. The most common adverse events were elation/silliness (50%), fatigue (40%), and increased aggression (40%). Using parent-report instruments to assess treatment effects, ketamine was associated with nominally significant improvement in a wide array of domains, including social behavior, attention deficit and hyperactivity, restricted and repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities, a week after administration. Results derived from clinician-rated assessments aligned with findings from the parent reports. Overall, nominal improvement was evident based on the Clinical Global Impressions - Improvement scale, in addition to clinician-based scales reflecting key domains of social communication, attention deficit and hyperactivity, restricted and repetitive behaviors, speech, thinking, and learning, activities of daily living, and sensory sensitivities. Results also highlight the potential utility of electrophysiological measurement of auditory steady-state response and eye-tracking to index change with ketamine treatment. Findings are intended to be hypothesis generating and provide preliminary support for the safety and efficacy of ketamine in ADNP syndrome in addition to identifying useful endpoints for a ketamine clinical development program. However, results must be interpreted with caution given limitations of this study, most importantly the small sample size and absence of a placebo-control group.
Isabel Kreis; Lei Zhang; Steffen Moritz; Gerit Pfuhl
Spared performance but increased uncertainty in schizophrenia: Evidence from a probabilistic decision-making task Journal Article
In: Schizophrenia Research, vol. 243, pp. 414–423, 2022.
Aberrant attribution of salience to in fact little informative events might explain the emergence of positive symptoms in schizophrenia and has been linked to belief uncertainty. Uncertainty is thought to be encoded by neuromodulators, including norepinephrine. However, norepinephrinergic encoding of uncertainty, measured as task-related pupil dilation, has rarely been explored in schizophrenia. Here, we addressed this question by comparing individuals with a disorder from the schizophrenia spectrum to a non-psychiatric control group on behavioral and pupillometric measures in a probabilistic prediction task, where different levels of uncertainty were introduced. Behaviorally, patients performed similar to controls, but their belief uncertainty was higher, particularly when instability of the task environment was high, suggesting an increased sensitivity to this instability. Furthermore, while pupil dilation scaled positively with uncertainty, this was less the case for patients, suggesting aberrant neuromodulatory regulation of neural gain, which may hinder the reduction of uncertainty in the long run. Together, the findings point to abnormal uncertainty processing and norepinephrinergic signaling in schizophrenia, potentially informing future development of both psychopharmacological therapies and psychotherapeutic approaches that deal with the processing of uncertain information.
Bing Dai; Kwang Meng Cham; Larry Allen Abel
Perception of coherent motion in infantile nystagmus syndrome Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 1–10, 2022.
PURPOSE. Research on infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS) and motion perception is limited. We investigated how individuals with INS perform coherent motion tasks. Particularly, we assessed how the null position affects their performance. METHODS. Subjects with INS and controls identified the direction of coherent motion stimuli (22 subjects with INS and 13 controls) in a two-alternative forced-choice design. For subjects with INS, testing was done at the null position and 15 degrees away from it. If there was no null, testing was done at primary gaze position and 15 degrees away from primary. For controls, testing was done at primary gaze position and 20 degrees away from primary. Horizontal and vertical motion coherence thresholds were determined. RESULTS. Subjects with INS showed significantly higher horizontal and vertical motion coherence thresholds compared with controls at both gaze positions (P < 0.001). Within the INS group, for 12 subjects with INS who had an identified null position, no differences in coherence thresholds were found between their null and 15 degrees away from it (P > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Coherent motion perception was impaired in subjects with INS. The null position did not significantly influence motion coherence thresholds for either horizontal or vertical motion.
Kelly M. Dann; Aaron Veldre; Phillipa Hay; Stephen Touyz; Sally Andrews
Assessing cognitive flexibility in anorexia nervosa using eye tracking: A registered report Journal Article
In: International Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 55, no. 10, pp. 1411–1417, 2022.
Objective: Cognitive flexibility research in anorexia nervosa (AN) has primarily focused on group differences between clinical and control participants, but research in the general population utilizing the mixed pro- anti-saccade flexibility task has demonstrated individual differences in trait anxiety are a determinant of switching performance, and switching impairments are more pronounced for keypress than saccadic (eye-movement) responses. The aim of the current research is to explore trait anxiety and differences in saccadic and keypress responding as potential determinants of performance on flexibility tasks in AN. Method: We will compare performance on the mixed pro- anti-saccade paradigm between female adult participants with a current diagnosis of AN and matched control participants, observing both saccadic and keypress responses while controlling for trait anxiety (State - Trait Anxiety Inventory) and spatial working memory (Corsi Block Tapping Test). Associations with eating disorder-related symptoms (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire), flexibility in everyday life (Eating Disorder Flexibility Index), and the Clinical Perfectionism Questionnaire will also be assessed. Results: Data which controls for individual differences in trait anxiety and assesses flexibility at both the task- and response-set level may be used to more accurately understand differences in performance on cognitive flexibility tasks by participants with AN. Discussion: Clarifying the effects of trait anxiety on flexibility, and differences between task- and response-set switching may advance our understanding of how cognitive flexibility relates to flexibility in everyday life and improve translation to therapeutic approaches. Public significance statement: This research will compare performance on a flexibility task between participants with anorexia nervosa (AN) and controls while observing their eye-movements to examine whether trait anxiety and type of response (eye-movement and keypress) are associated with performance. This data may improve our understanding of why participants with AN perform more poorly on cognitive flexibility tasks, and how poor cognitive flexibility relates to eating disorder-related issues with flexibility in everyday life.
Bertrand Degos; Pierre Pouget; Marcus Missal
From anticipation to impulsivity in Parkinson's disease Journal Article
In: npj Parkinson's Disease, vol. 8, pp. 1–12, 2022.
Anticipatory actions require to keep track of elapsed time and inhibitory control. These cognitive functions could be impacted in Parkinson's disease (iPD). To test this hypothesis, a saccadic reaction time task was used where a visual warning stimulus (WS) predicted the occurrence of an imperative one (IS) appearing after a short delay. In the implicit condition, subjects were not informed about the duration of the delay, disfavoring anticipatory behavior but leaving inhibitory control unaltered. In the explicit condition, delay duration was cued. This should favor anticipatory behavior and perhaps alter inhibitory control. This hypothesis was tested in controls (N = 18) and age-matched iPD patients (N = 20; ON and OFF L-DOPA). We found that the latency distribution of saccades before the IS was bimodal. The 1st mode weakly depended on temporal information and was more prominent in iPD. Saccades in this mode were premature and could result of a lack of inhibition. The 2nd mode covaried with cued duration suggesting that these movements were genuine anticipatory saccades. The explicit condition increased the probability of anticipatory saccades before the IS in controls and iPDON but not iPDOFF patients. Furthermore, in iPD patients the probability of sequences of 1st mode premature responses increased. In conclusion, the triggering of a premature saccade or the initiation of a controlled anticipatory one could be conceptualized as the output of two independent stochastic processes. Altered time perception and increased motor impulsivity could alter the balance between these two processes in favor of the latter in iPD, particularly OFF L-Dopa.
Daniel G. Dillon; Amit Lazarov; Sarah Dolan; Yair Bar-Haim; Diego A. Pizzagalli; Franklin R. Schneier
Fast evidence accumulation in social anxiety disorder enhances decision making in a probabilistic reward task Journal Article
In: Emotion, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1–18, 2022.
Choices and response times in two-alternative decision-making tasks can be modeled by assuming that individuals steadily accrue evidence in favor of each alternative until a response boundary for one of them is crossed, at which point that alternative is chosen. Prior studies have reported that evidence accumulation during decision-making tasks takes longer in adults with psychopathology than in healthy controls, indicating that slow evidence accumulation may be transdiagnostic. However, few studies have examined perceptual decision making in anxiety disorders, where hypervigilance might enhance performance. Therefore, this study used the Hierarchical Drift Diffusion model to investigate evidence accumulation in adults with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and healthy controls as they performed a probabilistic reward task (PRT), in which social rewards were delivered for correct perceptual judgments. Adults with SAD completed the PRT before and after gaze-contingent music reward therapy (GCMRT), which trains attention allocation and has shown efficacy for SAD. Healthy controls also completed the PRT twice. Results revealed excellent performance in adults with SAD, especially after GCMRT: relative to controls, they showed faster evidence accumulation, better discriminability, and earned more rewards. These data highlight a positive effect of attention training on performance in anxious adults and show how a behavioral trait that is typically problematic-hypervigilance in SAD-can nevertheless confer advantages in certain contexts. The data also indicate that, in contrast to other forms of psychopathology, SAD is not characterized by slow evidence accumulation, at least in the context of the social PRT.
Ciara Egan; Anna Siyanova-Chanturia; Paul Warren; Manon W. Jones
As clear as glass: How figurativeness and familiarity impact simile processing in readers with and without dyslexia Journal Article
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 76, no. 2, pp. 231–247, 2022.
For skilled readers, idiomatic language confers faster access to overall meaning compared with non-idiomatic language, with a processing advantage for figurative over literal interpretation. However, currently very little research exists to elucidate whether atypical readers—such as those with developmental dyslexia—show such a processing advantage for figurative interpretations of idioms, or whether their reading impairment implicates subtle differences in semantic access. We wanted to know whether an initial figurative interpretation of similes, for both typical and dyslexic readers, is dependent on familiarity. Here, we tracked typical and dyslexic readers' eye movements as they read sentences containing similes (e.g., as cold as ice), orthogonally manipulated for novelty (e.g., familiar: as cold as ice, novel: as cold as snow) and figurativeness (e.g., literal: as cold as ice [low temperature], figurative: as cold as ice [emotionally distant]), with figurativeness being defined by the sentence context. Both participant groups exhibited a processing advantage for familiar and figurative similes over novel and literal similes. However, compared with typical readers, participants with dyslexia had greater difficulty processing similes both when they were unfamiliar and when the context biased the simile meaning towards a literal rather than a figurative interpretation. Our findings suggest a semantic processing anomaly in dyslexic readers, which we discuss in light of recent literature on sentence-level semantic processing.
Mahtab Farahbakhsh; Elaine J. Anderson; Roni O. Maimon-Mor; Andy Rider; John A. Greenwood; Nashila Hirji; Serena Zaman; Pete R. Jones; D. Samuel Schwarzkopf; Geraint Rees; Michel Michaelides; Tessa M. Dekker
A demonstration of cone function plasticity after gene therapy in achromatopsia Journal Article
In: Brain, vol. 145, pp. 3803–3815, 2022.
Recent advances in regenerative therapy have placed the treatment of previously incurable eye diseases within arms' reach. Achromatopsia is a severe monogenic heritable retinal disease that disrupts cone function from birth, leaving patients with complete colour blindness, low acuity, photosensitivity and nystagmus. While successful gene-replacement therapy in non-primate models of achromatopsia has raised widespread hopes for clinical treatment, it was yet to be determined if and how these therapies can induce new cone function in the human brain. Using a novel multimodal approach, we demonstrate for the first time that gene therapy can successfully activate dormant cone-mediated pathways in children with achromatopsia (CNGA3- and CNGB3-associated, 10–15 years). To test this, we combined functional MRI population receptive field mapping and psychophysics with stimuli that selectively measure cone photoreceptor signalling. We measured cortical and visual cone function before and after gene therapy in four paediatric patients, evaluating treatment-related change against benchmark data from untreated patients (n = 9) and normal-sighted participants (n = 28). After treatment, two of the four children displayed strong evidence for novel cone-mediated signals in visual cortex, with a retinotopic pattern that was not present in untreated achromatopsia and which is highly unlikely to emerge by chance. Importantly, this change was paired with a significant improvement in psychophysical measures of cone-mediated visual function. These improvements were specific to the treated eye, and provide strong evidence for successful read-out and use of new cone-mediated information. These data show for the first time that gene replacement therapy in achromatopsia within the plastic period of development can awaken dormant cone-signalling pathways after years of deprivation. This reveals unprecedented neural plasticity in the developing human nervous system and offers great promise for emerging regenerative therapies.
Lisa Feldmann; Carolin Zsigo; Charlotte Piechaczek; Pia Theresa Schröder; Christian Wachinger; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Ellen Greimel
Visual attention during cognitive reappraisal in adolescent major depression: Evidence from two eye-tracking studies Journal Article
In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 153, pp. 1–10, 2022.
Adolescent major depression (MD) is associated with impaired emotion regulation. However, results on cognitive reappraisal (CR) are mixed. Investigation of gaze behavior during CR allows a more thorough understanding of intact and deviant CR processes in MD. These studies examined for the first time the role of visual attention during CR in MD. We applied an established CR paradigm in two separate studies, with each study focusing on a different CR strategy. In Study 1, we investigated “distancing” in 39 adolescents with MD and 44 healthy controls (HCs). In Study 2, we applied “reinterpretation” in an independent sample of 37 HCs and 19 adolescents with MD. In both studies, adolescents either down-regulated negative affect to negative pictures via CR or attended them, while eye-movements were continuously recorded. Results of both studies showed that adolescents with MD and HCs did not differ in self-reported ER success. The groups showed comparable gaze behaviour patterns for emotional interest areas and entire pictures. Findings suggest that adolescents with MD are capable of applying CR when instructed and show intact visual attention processes. Future studies should examine whether repeatedly instructing adolescents with MD to apply CR might lead to improved emotion regulation in daily life.
Amanda Fernandez; Leanne Quigley; Keith Dobson; Christopher Sears
Coherence of attention and memory biases in currently and previously depressed women Journal Article
In: Cognition and Emotion, pp. 1–16, 2022.
Previous research has found that depression is characterised by biased processing of emotional information. Although most studies have examined cognitive biases in isolation, simultaneous examination of multiple biases is required to understand how they may interact and influence one another to produce depression vulnerability. In this study, the attention and memory biases of currently depressed, previously depressed, and never depressed women were examined using the same stimuli and a unified methodology. Participants viewed negative, positive, and neutral words while their eye gaze was tracked and recorded. After a distraction task, participants completed an incidental recognition test that included words from the eye-tracking task and new words. The results supported the hypothesised mediation model for positive words: currently depressed women had a reduced attention bias for positive words and, in turn, had poorer memory for positive words relative to never depressed women. Previously depressed women, however, showed a lack of coherence between attention and memory biases for positive words. The groups did not differ in their attention or memory biases for negative words. The findings provide novel evidence in support of a causal link between the absence of protective attention and memory biases for positive information in clinical depression.
Julia Fietz; Dorothee Pöhlchen; Florian P. Binder; Michael Czisch; Philipp G. Sämann; Victor I. Spoormaker
Pupillometry tracks cognitive load and salience network activity in a working memory functional magnetic resonance imaging task Journal Article
In: Human Brain Mapping, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 665–680, 2022.
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.
Cecilia E. García Cena; David Gómez-Andrés; Irene Pulido-Valdeolivas; Victoria Galán Sánchez-Seco; Angela Domingo-Santos; Sara Moreno-García; Julián Benito-León
Toward an automatic assessment of cognitive dysfunction in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis patients using eye movement analysis Journal Article
In: Sensors, vol. 22, pp. 1–18, 2022.
Despite the importance of cognitive function in multiple sclerosis, it is poorly represented in the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), the commonly used clinical measure to assess disability, suggesting that an analysis of eye movement, which is generated by an extensive and well-coordinated functional network that is engaged in cognitive function, could have the potential to extend and complement this more conventional measure. We aimed to measure the eye movement of a case series of MS patients with relapsing–remitting MS to assess their cognitive status using a conventional gaze tracker. A total of 41 relapsing–remitting MS patients and 43 age-matched healthy controls were recruited for this study. Overall, we could not find a clear common pattern in the eye motor abnormalities. Vertical eye movement was more impaired in MS patients than horizontal movement. Increased latencies were found in the prosaccades and reflexive saccades of antisaccade tests. The smooth pursuit was impaired with more corrections (backup and catchup movements, p<0.01). No correlation was found between eye movement variables and EDSS or disease duration. Despite significant alterations in the behavior of the eye movements in MS patients, which are compatible with altered cognitive status, there is no common pattern of these alterations. We interpret this as a consequence of the patchy, heterogeneous distribution of white matter involvement in MS that provokes multiple combinations of impairment at different points in the different networks involved in eye motor control. Further studies are therefore required.
Carola Bloch; Ralf Tepest; Mathis Jording; Kai Vogeley; Christine M. Falter-Wagner
Intrapersonal synchrony analysis reveals a weaker temporal coherence between gaze and gestures in adults with autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1–12, 2022.
The temporal encoding of nonverbal signals within individuals, referred to as intrapersonal synchrony (IaPS), is an implicit process and essential feature of human communication. Based on existing evidence, IaPS is thought to be a marker of nonverbal behavior characteristics in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but there is a lack of empirical evidence. The aim of this study was to quantify IaPS in adults during an experimentally controlled real-life interaction task. A sample of adults with a confirmed ASD diagnosis and a matched sample of typically-developed adults were tested (N = 48). Participants were required to indicate the appearance of a target invisible to their interaction partner nonverbally through gaze and pointing gestures. Special eye-tracking software allowed automated extraction of temporal delays between nonverbal signals and their intrapersonal variability with millisecond temporal resolution as indices for IaPS. Likelihood ratio tests of multilevel models showed enlarged delays between nonverbal signals in ASD. Larger delays were associated with greater intrapersonal variability in delays. The results provide a quantitative constraint on nonverbal temporality in typically-developed adults and suggest weaker temporal coherence between nonverbal signals in adults with ASD. The results provide a potential diagnostic marker and inspire predictive coding theories about the role of IaPS in interpersonal synchronization processes.
Ariel Boyle; Aaron Johnson; Mark Ellenbogen
Intranasal oxytocin alters attention to emotional facial expressions, particularly for males and those with depressive symptoms Journal Article
In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 142, pp. 1–13, 2022.
Intranasal oxytocin (OT) can enhance emotion recognition, perhaps by promoting increased attention to social cues. Some studies indicate that individuals with difficulties processing social information, including those with psychopathology, show more pronounced effects in response to OT. As such, there is interest in the potential therapeutic use of OT in populations with deficits in social cognition. The present study examined the effects of intranasal OT on the processing of facial features and selective attention to emotional facial expressions, as well as whether individual differences in depressive symptom severity predict sensitivity to intranasal OT. In a double-blind placebo-controlled within-subject design, eye tracking was used to measure attention to facial features in an emotional expression appraisal task, and attention to emotional expressions in a free-viewing task with a quadrant of multiple faces. OT facilitated the processing of positive cues, enhancing the maintenance of attention to the mouth region of happy faces and to happy faces within a quadrant, with similar effect sizes, despite the latter effect not being statistically significant. Further, persons with depressive symptoms, and particularly males, were sensitive to OT's effects. For males only, OT, relative to placebo, increased attentional focus to the mouth region of all faces. Individuals with depressive symptoms showed less attentional focus on angry (males only) and sad facial expressions, and more attention to happy faces (particularly for males). Results indicate increased sensitivity to OT in males and persons at risk for depression, with OT administration promoting a positive bias in selective attention to social stimuli.
Sven Braeutigam; Jessica Clare Scaife; Tipu Aziz; Rebecca J. Park
A longitudinal magnetoencephalographic study of the effects of deep brain stimulation on neuronal dynamics in severe anorexia nervosa Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 16, pp. 1–12, 2022.
Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized by the relentless pursuit of thinness, leading to severe emaciation. Magnetoencephalography (MEG)was used to record the neuronal response in seven patients with treatment-resistant AN while completing a disorder-relevant food wanting task. The patients underwent a 15-month protocol, where MEG scans were conducted pre-operatively, post-operatively prior to deep brain stimulation (DBS) switch on, twice during a blind on/off month and at protocol end. Electrodes were implanted bilaterally into the nucleus accumbens with stimulation at the anterior limb of the internal capsule using rechargeable implantable pulse generators. Three patients met criteria as responders at 12 months of stimulation, showing reductions of eating disorder psychopathology of over 35%. An increase in alpha power, as well as evoked power at latencies typically associated with visual processing, working memory, and contextual integration was observed in ON compared to OFF sessions across all seven patients. Moreover, an increase in evoked power at P600-like latencies as well as an increase in $gamma$-band phase-locking over anterior-to-posterior regions were observed for high- compared to low-calorie food image only in ON sessions. These findings indicate that DBS modulates neuronal process in regions far outside the stimulation target site and at latencies possibly reflecting task specific processing, thereby providing further evidence that deep brain stimulation can play a role in the treatment of otherwise intractable psychiatric disorders.
Jana Bretthauer; Daniela Canu; Ulf Thiemann; Christian Fleischhaker; Heike Brauner; Katharina Müller; Nikolaos Smyrnis; Monica Biscaldi; Stephan Bender; Christoph Klein
Attention for emotion—How young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders look at facial expressions of affect Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 13, pp. 1–17, 2022.
While Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Schizophrenia (SCZ) differ in many clinically relevant features such as symptomatology and course, they may also share genetic underpinnings, affective problems, deviancies in social interactions, and are all characterized by some kind of cognitive impairment. This situation calls for a joint investigation of the specifics of cognitive (dys-)functions of the three disorders. Such endeavor should focus, among other domains, on the intersection of processing cognitive, affective and social information that is crucial in effective real-life interactions and can be accomplished when attentional preferences for human facial expressions of emotions is studied. To that end, attention to facial expressions of basic emotions was examined in young adults with ASD, ADHD, or SCZ in the present study. The three clinical groups were compared with an age-matched group of typically-developing participants (TD) during the free contemplation of five different facial emotions presented simultaneously, by varying identities, through the registration of eye movements. We showed, that dwell times and fixation counts differed for the different emotions in TD and in a highly similar way in ADHD. Patients with ASD differed from TD by showing a stronger differentiation between emotions and partially different attentional preferences. In contrast, the SCZ group showed an overall more restricted scanning behavior and a lack of differentiation between emotions. The ADHD group, showed an emotion-specific gazing pattern that was highly similar to that of controls. Thus, by analyzing eye movements, we were able to differentiate three different viewing patterns that allowed us to distinguish between the three clinical groups. This outcome suggests that attention for emotion may not tap into common pathophysiological processes and argues for a multi-dimensional approach to the grouping of disorders with neurodevelopmental etiology.