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- Visual adaptation to thin and fat bodies transfers across identity (2012)
- Visual perception is highly variable and can be influenced by the surrounding world. Previous research has revealed that body perception can be biased due to adaptation to thin or fat body shapes. The aim of the present study was to show that adaptation to certain body shapes and the resulting perceptual biases transfer across different identities of adaptation and test stimuli. We designed two similar adaptation experiments in which healthy female participants adapted to pictures of either thin or fat bodies and subsequently compared more or less distorted pictures of their own body to their actual body shape. In the first experiment (n = 16) the same identity was used as adaptation and test stimuli (i.e. pictures of the participant’s own body) while in the second experiment (n = 16) we used pictures of unfamiliar thin or fat bodies as adaptation stimuli. We found comparable adaptation effects in both experiments: After adaptation to a thin body, participants rated a thinner than actual body picture to be the most realistic and vice versa. We therefore assume that adaptation to certain body shapes transfers across different identities. These results raise the questions of whether some type of natural adaptation occurs in everyday life. Natural and predominant exposure to certain bodily features like body shape – especially the thin ideal in Western societies – could bias perception for these features. In this regard, further research might shed light on aspects of body dissatisfaction and the development of body image disturbances in terms of eating disorders.
- Neural signatures of stimulus features in visual working memory - a spatiotemporal approach (2009)
- We examined the neural signatures of stimulus features in visual working memory (WM) by integrating functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potential data recorded during mental manipulation of colors, rotation angles, and color–angle conjunctions. The N200, negative slow wave, and P3b were modulated by the information content of WM, and an fMRI-constrained source model revealed a progression in neural activity from posterior visual areas to higher order areas in the ventral and dorsal processing streams. Color processing was associated with activity in inferior frontal gyrus during encoding and retrieval, whereas angle processing involved right parietal regions during the delay interval. WM for color–angle conjunctions did not involve any additional neural processes. The finding that different patterns of brain activity underlie WM for color and spatial information is consistent with ideas that the ventral/dorsal “what/where” segregation of perceptual processing influences WM organization. The absence of characteristic signatures of conjunction-related brain activity, which was generally intermediate between the 2 single conditions, suggests that conjunction judgments are based on the coordinated activity of these 2 streams. Keywords: EEG, fMRI, source analysis, visual, working memory
- Adolescent Brain Maturation and Cortical Folding: Evidence for Reductions in Gyrification (2014)
- Evidence from anatomical and functional imaging studies have highlighted major modifications of cortical circuits during adolescence. These include reductions of gray matter (GM), increases in the myelination of cortico-cortical connections and changes in the architecture of large-scale cortical networks. It is currently unclear, however, how the ongoing developmental processes impact upon the folding of the cerebral cortex and how changes in gyrification relate to maturation of GM/WM-volume, thickness and surface area. In the current study, we acquired high-resolution (3 Tesla) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from 79 healthy subjects (34 males and 45 females) between the ages of 12 and 23 years and performed whole brain analysis of cortical folding patterns with the gyrification index (GI). In addition to GI-values, we obtained estimates of cortical thickness, surface area, GM and white matter (WM) volume which permitted correlations with changes in gyrification. Our data show pronounced and widespread reductions in GI-values during adolescence in several cortical regions which include precentral, temporal and frontal areas. Decreases in gyrification overlap only partially with changes in the thickness, volume and surface of GM and were characterized overall by a linear developmental trajectory. Our data suggest that the observed reductions in GI-values represent an additional, important modification of the cerebral cortex during late brain maturation which may be related to cognitive development.