The concept of schizotypy or “psychosis proneness” captures individual differences in perceptual, cognitive, and affective experiences that may relate to a range of psychotic disorders. The concept is an important way to assess the contribution of pre-existing psychological and genetically based biological features to the development of illnesses such as schizophrenia (so called endophenotypes). The Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE) is a widely used multi-dimensional measure of the construct and consists of four scales which mirror several groups of psychotic symptoms: Unusual Experiences (UnEx; positive symptoms), Cognitive Disorganization (CogDis; cognitive symptoms), Introvertive Anhedonia (IntAn; negative symptoms), and Impulsive Nonconformity (ImpNon; impulsive and antisocial symptoms). For the purpose of evaluating the suitability of schizotypy as an endophenotype of schizophrenia the current version of the O-LIFE was translated into German: its psychometric properties (including re-test reliability and construct validity) were examined in a large sample (n > 1200) and compared to those of the English original. The German version was both highly reliable and consistent with the original. The study aimed to show that schizotypy as measured by the O-LIFE can indeed be regarded as an endophenotype of schizophrenia in terms of genetic associations regarding relevant dopamine-related candidate polymorphisms of schizotypy [i.e., Val158Met-polymorphism of the COMT gene, uVNTR of the MAOA gene, Taq1A-polymorphism of the DRD2 gene, VNTR of the SLC6A3 (DAT) gene]. We also wanted to compare the genetic associations of the O-LIFE to those published using other operationalizations of schizotypy. Our results show a large number of significant associations and borderline-significant trends between the O-LIFE sub-scales and a range of genes, thereby supporting using the O-LIFE in the search for endophenotypic markers.
schizotypy; schizophrenia; endophenotype; O-LIFE; dopamine; genetic associations; psychosis
Several studies have shown detrimental effects of alcohol on post-error adjustments. In contrast to previous studies, which focused on only one aspect of post-error adaptive behavior, we compared the effect of alcohol and placebo on post-error slowing (PES), post-error reduction of interference (PERI) and post-error improvement of accuracy (PIA). Moreover, we used a between-subjects design (N = 45) comparing a control condition to both an alcohol and an alcohol-placebo condition as to disentangle physiological and expectancy effects of alcohol. In a standard Stroop congruency task, we found that intoxicated participants as well as participants with the incorrect belief of being intoxicated showed significant decreased PES compared to a control group. Furthermore, we found evidence for a condition-independent post-error increase of interference and post-error decrease of accuracy. The underlying mechanisms of the post-error adaptation effects are discussed in terms of the orienting account (Notebaert et al., 2009).
alcohol; placebo; post-error slowing; post-error reduction of interference; post-error improvement of accuracy; orienting account
Face perception is critical for social communication. Given its fundamental importance in the course of evolution, the innate neural mechanisms can anticipate the computations necessary for representing faces. However, the effect of visual deprivation on the formation of neural mechanisms that underlie face perception is largely unknown. We previously showed that sighted individuals can recognize basic facial expressions by haptics surprisingly well. Moreover, the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in the sighted subjects are involved in haptic and visual recognition of facial expressions. Here, we conducted both psychophysical and functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments to determine the nature of the neural representation that subserves the recognition of basic facial expressions in early blind individuals. In a psychophysical experiment, both early blind and sighted subjects haptically identified basic facial expressions at levels well above chance. In the subsequent fMRI experiment, both groups haptically identified facial expressions and shoe types (control). The sighted subjects then completed the same task visually. Within brain regions activated by the visual and haptic identification of facial expressions (relative to that of shoes) in the sighted group, corresponding haptic identification in the early blind activated regions in the inferior frontal and middle temporal gyri. These results suggest that the neural system that underlies the recognition of basic facial expressions develops supramodally even in the absence of early visual experience.
blind; facial expression; haptics; supramodal; fMRI; touch; psychophysics
The present study explored whether semantic and motor systems are functionally interwoven via the use of a dual-task paradigm. According to embodied language accounts that propose an automatic and necessary involvement of the motor system in conceptual processing, concurrent processing of hand-related information should interfere more with hand movements than processing of unrelated body-part (i.e., foot, mouth) information. Across three experiments, 100 right-handed participants performed left- or right-hand tapping movements while repeatedly reading action words related to different body-parts, or different body-part names, in both aloud and silent conditions. Concurrent reading of single words related to specific body-parts, or the same words embedded in sentences differing in syntactic and phonological complexity (to manipulate context-relevant processing), and reading while viewing videos of the actions and body-parts described by the target words (to elicit visuomotor associations) all interfered with right-hand but not left-hand tapping rate. However, this motor interference was not affected differentially by hand-related stimuli. Thus, the results provide no support for proposals that body-part specific resources in cortical motor systems are shared between overt manual movements and meaning-related processing of words related to the hand.
action representations; embodied language; motor system; word meaning
Evidence suggests the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) plays an important role in person identification and memory. In humans, neuroimaging studies of person memory report consistent activations in the ATL to famous and personally familiar faces and studies of patients report resection or damage of the ATL causes an associative prosopagnosia in which face perception is intact but face memory is compromised. In addition, high-resolution fMRI studies of non-human primates and electrophysiological studies of humans also suggest regions of the ventral ATL are sensitive to novel faces. The current study extends previous findings by investigating whether similar subregions in the dorsal, ventral, lateral, or polar aspects of the ATL are sensitive to personally familiar, famous, and novel faces. We present the results of two studies of person memory: a meta-analysis of existing fMRI studies and an empirical fMRI study using optimized imaging parameters. Both studies showed left-lateralized ATL activations to familiar individuals while novel faces activated the right ATL. Activations to famous faces were quite ventral, similar to what has been reported in previous high-resolution fMRI studies of non-human primates. These findings suggest that face memory-sensitive patches in the human ATL are in the ventral/polar ATL.
social networks; anterior temporal lobe; temporal pole; fMRI; social cognition; face processing; person memory; semantic memory
Independent component analysis (ICA) techniques offer a data-driven possibility to analyze brain functional MRI data in real-time. Typical ICA methods used in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), however, have been until now mostly developed and optimized for the off-line case in which all data is available. Real-time experiments are ill-posed for ICA in that several constraints are added: limited data, limited analysis time and dynamic changes in the data and computational speed. Previous studies have shown that particular choices of ICA parameters can be used to monitor real-time fMRI (rt-fMRI) brain activation, but it is unknown how other choices would perform. In this rt-fMRI simulation study we investigate and compare the performance of 14 different publicly available ICA algorithms systematically sampling different growing window lengths (WLs), model order (MO) as well as a priori conditions (none, spatial or temporal). Performance is evaluated by computing the spatial and temporal correlation to a target component as well as computation time. Four algorithms are identified as best performing (constrained ICA, fastICA, amuse, and evd), with their corresponding parameter choices. Both spatial and temporal priors are found to provide equal or improved performances in similarity to the target compared with their off-line counterpart, with greatly reduced computation costs. This study suggests parameter choices that can be further investigated in a sliding-window approach for a rt-fMRI experiment.
independent component analysis; whole-brain fMRI; ill-posed problems; real-time
Becoming aware of errors that one has committed might be crucial for strategic behavioral and neuronal adjustments to avoid similar errors in the future. This review addresses conscious error perception (“error awareness”) in healthy subjects as well as the relationship between error awareness and neurological and psychiatric diseases. We first discuss the main findings on error awareness in healthy subjects. A brain region, that appears consistently involved in error awareness processes, is the insula, which also provides a link to the clinical conditions reviewed here. Then we focus on a neurological condition whose core element is an impaired awareness for neurological consequences of a disease: anosognosia for hemiplegia (AHP). The insular cortex has been implicated in both error awareness and AHP, with anterior insular regions being involved in conscious error processing and more posterior areas being related to AHP. In addition to cytoarchitectonic and connectivity data, this reflects a functional and structural gradient within the insula from anterior to posterior. Furthermore, studies dealing with error awareness and lack of insight in a number of psychiatric diseases are reported. Especially in schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) the performance monitoring system seems impaired, thus conscious error perception might be altered.
insula; error awareness; anosognosia; lack of insight; conscious error perception; error-related negativity (ERN); error positivity (Pe)
Does the brain activity underlying the production of deception differ depending on whether or not one believes their deception can be detected? To address this question, we had participants commit a mock theft in a laboratory setting, and then interrogated them while they underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scanning. Crucially, during some parts of the interrogation participants believed a lie-detector was activated, whereas in other parts they were told it was switched-off. We were thus able to examine the neural activity associated with the contrast between producing true vs. false claims, as well as the independent contrast between believing that deception could and could not be detected. We found increased activation in the right amygdala and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), as well as the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), during the production of false (compared to true) claims. Importantly, there was a significant interaction between the effects of deception and belief in the left temporal pole and right hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus, where activity increased during the production of deception when participants believed their false claims could be detected, but not when they believed the lie-detector was switched-off. As these regions are associated with binding socially complex perceptual input and memory retrieval, we conclude that producing deceptive behavior in a context in which one believes this deception can be detected is associated with a cognitively taxing effort to reconcile contradictions between one's actions and recollections.
mock-crime; deception; beliefs; lie-detection; fMRI
We investigate the modulation of post-stimulus endogenous and exogenous oscillations when a visual discrimination is made more difficult. We use exogenous frequency tagging to induce steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEP) while subjects perform a face-car discrimination task, the difficulty of which varies on a trial-to-trial basis by varying the noise (phase coherence) in the image. We simultaneously analyze amplitude modulations of the SSVEP and endogenous alpha activity as a function of task difficulty. SSVEP modulation can be viewed as a neural marker of attention toward/away from the primary task, while modulation of post-stimulus alpha is closely related to cortical information processing. We find that as the task becomes more difficult, the amplitude of SSVEP decreases significantly, approximately 250–450 ms post-stimulus. Significant changes in endogenous alpha amplitude follow SSVEP modulation, occurring at approximately 400–700 ms post-stimulus and, unlike the SSVEP, the alpha amplitude is increasingly suppressed as the task becomes less difficult. Our results demonstrate simultaneous measurement of endogenous and exogenous oscillations that are modulated by task difficulty, and that the specific timing of these modulations likely reflects underlying information processing flow during perceptual decision-making.
alpha oscillations; face perception; electroencephalography (EEG); SSVEP; attention; perceptual decision-making
The study aimed to investigate whether a combination of the P3-based Guilty Knowledge Test (GKT) and reality monitoring (RM) distinguished between individuals who are guilty, witnesses, or informed, and using both tests provided more accurate information than did the use of either measure alone. Participants consisted of 45 males that were randomly and evenly assigned to three groups (i.e., guilty, witness, and informed). The guilty group conducted a mock crime where they intentionally crashed their vehicle into another vehicle in a virtual environment (VE). As those in the witness group drove their own vehicles, they observed the guilty groups' vehicle crash into another vehicle. The informed group read an account and saw screenshots of the accident. All participants were instructed to insist that they were innocent. Subsequently, they performed the P3-based GKT and wrote an account of the accident for the RM analysis. A higher P3 amplitude corresponded to how well the participants recognized the presented stimulus, and a higher RM score corresponded to how well the participants reported vivid sensory information and how much less they reported uncertain information. Findings for the P3-based GKT indicated that the informed group showed lower P3 amplitude when presented with the probe stimulus than did the guilty and witness groups. Regarding the RM analysis, the informed group obtained higher RM scores on visual, temporal, and spatial details and lower scores on cognitive operations than the guilty and witness groups. Finally, discriminant analysis revealed that the combination of the P3-based GKT and RM more accurately distinguished between the three groups than the use of either measure alone. The findings suggest that RM may build upon a weakness of the P3-based GKT's. More specifically, it may build upon its susceptibility to the leakage of information about the crime, therefore helping protect innocent individuals who have information about a crime from being perceived as guilty.
lie detection; Guilty Knowledge Test; reality monitoring; P3; leakage of knowledge
Semantic richness refers to the amount of semantic information that a lexical item possesses. An important measure of semantic richness is the number of related senses that a word has (e.g., TABLE meaning a piece of furniture, a table of contents, to lay aside for future discussion, etc.). We measured electrophysiological response to lexical items with many and few related senses in monolingual English-speaking young adults. Participants performed lexical decision on each item. Overall, high-sense words elicited shorter response latencies and smaller N400 amplitudes than low-sense words. These results constitute further evidence of the importance of semantic richness in lexical processing, and provide evidence that processing of multiple related senses begins as early as 200 milliseconds after stimulus onset.
semantic richness; event-related potentials; N400; metonymy; lexical ambiguity
Background: Emotional context may play a crucial role in movement production. According to simulation theories, emotional states affect motor systems. The aim of this study was to compare postural responses assessed by posturography and electromyography when subjects were instructed to imagine themselves in a painful or a non-painful situation.
Methods: Twenty-nine subjects (22.3 ± 3.7 years) participated in this study. While standing quietly on a posturographic platform, they were instructed to imagine themselves in a painful or non-painful situation. Displacement of the center of pressure (COP), leg muscle electromyographic activity, heart rate, and electrodermal activity were assessed in response to painful and non-painful situations.
Results: The anteroposterior path was shorter (p < 0.05) when subjects imagined themselves in a painful situation (M = 148.0 ± 33.4 mm) compared to a non-painful situation (158.2 ± 38.7 mm). Higher tibialis anterior (TA) activity (RMS-TA = 3.38 ± 1.95% vs. 3.24 ± 1.85%; p < 0.001) and higher variability of soleus (SO) activity (variation coefficient of RMS-SO = 13.5 ± 16.2% vs. M = 9.0 ± 7.2%; p < 0.05) were also observed in painful compared to non-painful situations. No significant changes were observed for other physiological data.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that simulation of painful situations induces changes in postural control and leg muscle activation compared to non-painful situations, as increased stiffness was demonstrated in response to aversive pictures in accordance with previous results.
empathy for pain; posturography; embodiment; socioaffective neuroscience; affiliation
Attentional control refers to the regulatory processes that ensure that our actions are in accordance with our goals. Dual-system accounts view temperament as consisting of both individual variation in emotionality (e.g., trait anxiety) and variation in regulatory attentional mechanisms that act to modulate emotionality. Increasing evidence links trait variation in attentional control to clinical mood and anxiety disorder symptoms, independent of trait emotionality. Attentional biases to threat have been robustly linked to mood and anxiety disorders. However, the role of variation in attentional control in influencing such biases, and the neural underpinnings of trait variation in attentional control, are unknown. Here, we show that individual differences in trait attentional control, even when accounting for trait and state anxiety, are related to the magnitude of an attentional blink (AB) following threat-related targets. Moreover, we demonstrate that activity in dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), is observed specifically in relation to control of attention over threatening stimuli, in line with neural theories of attentional control, such as guided activation theory. These results have key implications for neurocognitive theories of attentional bias and emotional resilience.
anxiety; attentional blink; biased competition; cognitive control; emotion; facial expression; fMRI; prefrontal cortex
The fluctuations in a brain region's activation levels over a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time-course are used in functional connectivity (FC) to identify networks with synchronous responses. It is increasingly recognized that multi-voxel activity patterns contain information that cannot be extracted from univariate activation levels. Here we present a novel analysis method that quantifies regions' synchrony in multi-voxel activity pattern discriminability, rather than univariate activation, across a timeseries. We introduce a measure of multi-voxel pattern discriminability at each time-point, which is then used to identify regions that share synchronous time-courses of condition-specific multi-voxel information. This method has the sensitivity and access to distributed information that multi-voxel pattern analysis enjoys, allowing it to be applied to data from conditions not separable by univariate responses. We demonstrate this by analyzing data collected while people viewed four different types of man-made objects (typically not separable by univariate analyses) using both FC and informational connectivity (IC) methods. IC reveals networks of object-processing regions that are not detectable using FC. The IC results support prior findings and hypotheses about object processing. This new method allows investigators to ask questions that are not addressable through typical FC, just as multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) has added new research avenues to those addressable with the general linear model (GLM).
MVPA; fMRI; method; multivariate; networks; connectivity; pattern discriminability
Cerebellar contributions to motor learning are well-documented. For example, under some conditions, patients with cerebellar damage are impaired at visuomotor adaptation and at acquiring new action sequences. Moreover, cerebellar activation has been observed in functional MRI (fMRI) investigations of various motor learning tasks. The early phases of motor learning are cognitively demanding, relying on processes such as working memory, which have been linked to the cerebellum as well. Here, we investigated cerebellar contributions to motor learning using activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis. This allowed us to determine, across studies and tasks, whether or not the location of cerebellar activation is constant across differing motor learning tasks, and whether or not cerebellar activation in early learning overlaps with that observed for working memory. We found that different regions of the anterior cerebellum are engaged for implicit and explicit sequence learning and visuomotor adaptation, providing additional evidence for the modularity of cerebellar function. Furthermore, we found that lobule VI of the cerebellum, which has been implicated in working memory, is activated during the early stages of explicit motor sequence learning. This provides evidence for a potential role for the cerebellum in the cognitive processing associated with motor learning. However, though lobule VI was activated across both early explicit sequence learning and working memory studies, there was no spatial overlap between these two regions. Together, our results support the idea of modularity in the formation of internal representations of new motor tasks in the cerebellum, and highlight the cognitive processing relied upon during the early phases of motor skill learning.
cerebellum; sequence learning; visuomotor adaptation; working memory; meta-analysis
Sustained attention is an essential brain function that enables a subject to maintain attention level over the time of a task. In previous work, the right inferior parietal lobe (IPL) has been reported as one of the main brain regions related to sustained attention, however, the right lateralization of vigilance/sustained attention is unclear because information about the network for sustained attention is traditionally provided by neglect patients who typically have right brain damage. Here, we investigated sustained attention by applying a virtual lesion technique, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), over the left and right superior parietal lobe (SPL) and IPL. We used two different types of visual sustained attention tasks: spatial (location based) and non-spatial (feature based). When the participants performed the spatial task, repetitive TMS (rTMS) over either the right or left IPL induced a significant decrement of sustained attention causing a progressive increment of errors and response time. In contrast, participants' performance was not changed by rTMS on the non-spatial task. Also, omission errors (true negative) gradually increased with time on right and left IPL rTMS conditions, while commission errors (false positive) were relatively stable. These findings suggest that the maintenance of attention, especially in tasks regarding spatial location, is not uniquely lateralized to the right IPL, but may also involve participation of the left IPL.
sustained attention; vigilance; repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation; inferior parietal lobe; spatial attention
Although a proportion of individuals report chronic cognitive difficulties after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), results from behavioral testing have been inconsistent. In fact, the variability inherent to the mTBI population may be masking subtle cognitive deficits. We hypothesized that this variability could be reduced by accounting for post-concussion syndrome (PCS) in the sample. Thirty-six participants with mTBI (>1 year post-injury) and 36 non-head injured controls performed information processing speed (Paced Visual Serial Addition Task, PVSAT) and working memory (n-Back) tasks. Both groups were split by PCS diagnosis (4 groups, all n = 18), with categorization of controls based on symptom report. Participants with mTBI and persistent PCS had significantly greater error rates on both the n-Back and PVSAT, at every difficulty level except 0-Back (used as a test of performance validity). There was no difference between any of the other groups. Therefore, a cognitive deficit can be observed in mTBI participants, even 1 year after injury. Correlations between cognitive performance and symptoms were only observed for mTBI participants, with worse performance correlating with lower sleep quality, in addition to a medium effect size association (falling short of statistical significance) with higher PCS symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. These results suggest that the reduction in cognitive performance is not due to greater symptom report itself, but is associated to some extent with the initial injury. Furthermore, the results validate the utility of our participant grouping, and demonstrate its potential to reduce the variability observed in previous studies.
head injury; minor; post-concussion syndrome; cognition; neuropsychological tests