- Physical exercise during encoding improves vocabulary learning in young female adults: a neuroendocrinological study (2013)
- Acute physical activity has been repeatedly shown to improve various cognitive functions. However, there have been no investigations comparing the effects of exercise during verbal encoding versus exercise prior to encoding on long-term memory performance. In this current psychoneuroendocrinological study we aim to test whether light to moderate ergometric bicycling during vocabulary encoding enhances subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest and encoding after being physically active. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum which has been previously shown to correlate with learning performance. We also controlled for the BDNF val66met polymorphism. We found better vocabulary test performance for subjects that were physically active during the encoding phase compared to sedentary subjects. Post-hoc tests revealed that this effect was particularly present in initially low performers. BDNF in serum and BDNF genotype failed to account for the current result. Our data indicates that light to moderate simultaneous physical activity during encoding, but not prior to encoding, is beneficial for subsequent recall of new items.
- P3b reflects periodicity in linguistic sequences (2012)
- Temporal predictability is thought to affect stimulus processing by facilitating the allocation of attentional resources. Recent studies have shown that periodicity of a tonal sequence results in a decreased peak latency and a larger amplitude of the P3b compared with temporally random, i.e., aperiodic sequences. We investigated whether this applies also to sequences of linguistic stimuli (syllables), although speech is usually aperiodic. We compared aperiodic syllable sequences with two temporally regular conditions. In one condition, the interval between syllable onset was fixed, whereas in a second condition the interval between the syllables’ perceptual center (p-center) was kept constant. Event-related potentials were assessed in 30 adults who were instructed to detect irregularities in the stimulus sequences. We found larger P3b amplitudes for both temporally predictable conditions as compared to the aperiodic condition and a shorter P3b latency in the p-center condition than in both other conditions. These findings demonstrate that even in acoustically more complex sequences such as syllable streams, temporal predictability facilitates the processing of deviant stimuli. Furthermore, we provide first electrophysiological evidence for the relevance of the p-center concept in linguistic stimulus processing.
- Repetition enhancement for frequency-modulated but not unmodulated sounds: a human MEG study (2010)
- Background: Decoding of frequency-modulated (FM) sounds is essential for phoneme identification. This study investigates selectivity to FM direction in the human auditory system. Methodology/Principal Findings: Magnetoencephalography was recorded in 10 adults during a two-tone adaptation paradigm with a 200-ms interstimulus-interval. Stimuli were pairs of either same or different frequency modulation direction. To control that FM repetition effects cannot be accounted for by their on- and offset properties, we additionally assessed responses to pairs of unmodulated tones with either same or different frequency composition. For the FM sweeps, N1m event-related magnetic field components were found at 103 and 130 ms after onset of the first (S1) and second stimulus (S2), respectively. This was followed by a sustained component starting at about 200 ms after S2. The sustained response was significantly stronger for stimulation with the same compared to different FM direction. This effect was not observed for the non-modulated control stimuli. Conclusions/Significance: Low-level processing of FM sounds was characterized by repetition enhancement to stimulus pairs with same versus different FM directions. This effect was FM-specific; it did not occur for unmodulated tones. The present findings may reflect specific interactions between frequency separation and temporal distance in the processing of consecutive FM sweeps.
- Vom neuronalen Einzelfahrschein zur kortikalen Netzkarte : audio-visuelle Objekterkennung in der Großhirnrinde (2005)
- Die Wahrnehmung von Objekten gelingt uns jeden Tag unzählige Male – zumeist rasend schnell und problemlos. Obwohl fast immer mehrere unserer Sinne gleichzeitig bei ihrer Wahrnehmung angesprochen werden, erscheinen uns diese Objekte dennoch als ganzheitlich und geschlossen. Für die neuronale Verarbeitung eines bellenden Hundes zum Beispiel empfängt die Großhirnrinde zumindest Eingangsdaten des Seh- und des Hörsystems. Sie werden auf getrennten Pfaden und in spezialisierten Arealen mit aufsteigender Komplexität analysiert. Dieses Funktionsprinzip der parallel verteilten Verarbeitung stellt die Wissenschaftler aber auch vor das so genannte »Bindungsproblem«: Wo und wie werden die Details wieder zu einem Ganzen – zu einer neuronalen Repräsentation – zusammengefügt? Am Institut für medizinische Psychologie der Universitätsklinik Frankfurt untersuchen Neurokognitionsforscher die crossmodale Objekterkennung mit einer Kombination modernster Verfahren der Hirnforschung und kommen dabei den Ver - arbeitungspfaden in der Großhirnrinde auf die Spur.
- Praktische Übungen zur Psychophysiologie im Kurs Medizinische Psychologie (2007)
- Die Vermittlung der Zusammenhänge zwischen psychologischen Funktionen und körperlichen Veränderungen sowie deren Relevanz für die Entstehung und Aufrechterhaltung von Krankheiten stellt ein zentrales Ziel der Ausbildung in Medizinischer Psychologie dar. Zur Veranschaulichung dieser Zusammenhänge führten wir ein Psychophysiologie-Praktikum im ersten vorklinischen Semester ein. Die Studierenden führten in Vierergruppen mit Hilfe ausführlicher schriftlicher Instruktionen jeweils ca. 30 Minuten andauernde praktische Übungen durch, die die folgenden Themen behandelten: (1) Stress (abhängige Variable: Herzrate), (2) "Lügendetektor" (abhängige Variable: Hautleitwertsreaktionen), (3) Biofeedback (abhängige Variable: Hauttemperatur) und (4) Elektroenzephalogramm (abhängige Variable: Amplituden der vier klassischen Frequenzbänder). Die praktischen Übungen wurden durch theoretische Gruppenarbeiten und einen Termin zur Zusammenfassung der Ergebnisse der Übungen ergänzt. Die studentische Evaluation des Praktikums war durchweg positiv. So wurde das Praktikum als Bereicherung des Kurses angesehen, und der selbstbeurteilte Kenntnisstand auf dem Gebiet der Psychophysiologie zeigte eine signifikante Verbesserung. Diese Ergebnisse sowie unsere Eindrücke während des Praktikums bekräftigten unseren Entschluss, ein Psychophysiologie-Praktikum als Teil des Kurses der Medizinischen Psychologie und Medizinischen Soziologie fest zu etablieren.
- Distinct gamma-band components reflect the short-term memory maintenance of different sound lateralization angles (2008)
- Oscillatory activity in human electro- or magnetoencephalogram has been related to cortical stimulus representations and their modulation by cognitive processes. Whereas previous work has focused on gamma-band activity (GBA) during attention or maintenance of representations, there is little evidence for GBA reflecting individual stimulus representations. The present study aimed at identifying stimulus-specific GBA components during auditory spatial short-term memory. A total of 28 adults were assigned to 1 of 2 groups who were presented with only right- or left-lateralized sounds, respectively. In each group, 2 sample stimuli were used which differed in their lateralization angles (15° or 45°) with respect to the midsagittal plane. Statistical probability mapping served to identify spectral amplitude differences between 15° versus 45° stimuli. Distinct GBA components were found for each sample stimulus in different sensors over parieto-occipital cortex contralateral to the side of stimulation peaking during the middle 200–300 ms of the delay phase. The differentiation between "preferred" and "nonpreferred" stimuli during the final 100 ms of the delay phase correlated with task performance. These findings suggest that the observed GBA components reflect the activity of distinct networks tuned to spatial sound features which contribute to the maintenance of task-relevant information in short-term memory.
- Conditional associative learning examined in a paralyzed patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using brain-computer interface technology (2008)
- Background Brain-computer interface methodology based on self-regulation of slow-cortical potentials (SCPs) of the EEG (electroencephalogram) was used to assess conditional associative learning in one severely paralyzed, late-stage ALS patient. After having been taught arbitrary stimulus relations, he was evaluated for formation of equivalence classes among the trained stimuli. Methods A monitor presented visual information in two targets. The method of teaching was matching to sample. Three types of stimuli were presented: signs (A), colored disks (B), and geometrical shapes (C). The sample was one type, and the choice was between two stimuli from another type. The patient used his SCP to steer a cursor to one of the targets. A smiley was presented as a reward when he hit the correct target. The patient was taught A-B and B-C (sample – comparison) matching with three stimuli of each type. Tests for stimulus equivalence involved the untaught B-A, C-B, A-C, and C-A relations. An additional test was discrimination between all three stimuli of one equivalence class presented together versus three unrelated stimuli. The patient also had sessions with identity matching using the same stimuli. Results The patient showed high accuracy, close to 100%, on identity matching and could therefore discriminate the stimuli and control the cursor correctly. Acquisition of A-B matching took 11 sessions (of 70 trials each) and had to be broken into simpler units before he could learn it. Acquisition of B-C matching took two sessions. The patient passed all equivalence class tests at 90% or higher. Conclusion The patient may have had a deficit in acquisition of the first conditional association of signs and colored disks. In contrast, the patient showed clear evidence that A-B and B-C training had resulted in formation of equivalence classes. The brain-computer interface technology combined with the matching to sample method is a useful way to assess various cognitive abilities of severely paralyzed patients, who are without reliable motor control.
- Cortical plasticity of audio–visual object representations (2008)
- Several regions in human temporal and frontal cortex are known to integrate visual and auditory object features. The processing of audio–visual (AV) associations in these regions has been found to be modulated by object familiarity. The aim of the present study was to explore training-induced plasticity in human cortical AV integration. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the neural correlates of AV integration for unfamiliar artificial object sounds and images in naïve subjects (PRE training) and after a behavioral training session in which subjects acquired associations between some of these sounds and images (POST-training). In the PRE-training session, unfamiliar artificial object sounds and images were mainly integrated in right inferior frontal cortex (IFC). The POST-training results showed extended integration-related IFC activations bilaterally, and a recruitment of additional regions in bilateral superior temporal gyrus/sulcus and intraparietal sulcus. Furthermore, training-induced differential response patterns to mismatching compared with matching (i.e., associated) artificial AV stimuli were most pronounced in left IFC. These effects were accompanied by complementary training-induced congruency effects in right posterior middle temporal gyrus and fusiform gyrus. Together, these findings demonstrate that short-term cross-modal association learning was sufficient to induce plastic changes of both AV integration of object stimuli and mechanisms of AV congruency processing.
- Investigating human audio-visual object perception with a combination of hypothesis-generating and hypothesis-testing fMRI analysis tools (2011)
- Primate multisensory object perception involves distributed brain regions. To investigate the network character of these regions of the human brain, we applied data-driven group spatial independent component analysis (ICA) to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data set acquired during a passive audio-visual (AV) experiment with common object stimuli. We labeled three group-level independent component (IC) maps as auditory (A), visual (V), and AV, based on their spatial layouts and activation time courses. The overlap between these IC maps served as definition of a distributed network of multisensory candidate regions including superior temporal, ventral occipito-temporal, posterior parietal and prefrontal regions. During an independent second fMRI experiment, we explicitly tested their involvement in AV integration. Activations in nine out of these twelve regions met the max-criterion (A < AV > V) for multisensory integration. Comparison of this approach with a general linear model-based region-of-interest definition revealed its complementary value for multisensory neuroimaging. In conclusion, we estimated functional networks of uni- and multisensory functional connectivity from one dataset and validated their functional roles in an independent dataset. These findings demonstrate the particular value of ICA for multisensory neuroimaging research and using independent datasets to test hypotheses generated from a data-driven analysis.