Brain and Cognition (BRAIN COGNITION )

Publisher: Elsevier


Brain and Cognition, a Journal of Clinical, Experimental, and Theoretical Research, publishes original research articles, theoretical papers, critical reviews, case histories, historical articles, and scholarly notes. Contributions are relevant to all aspects of human neuropsychology other than language or communication. Coverage includes, but is not limited to: memory, cognition, emotion, perception, movement, or praxis, in relationship to brain structure or function. Articles have theoretical import, either formulating new hypothesis, or supporting or refuting new or previously established hypotheses. Interdisciplinary Research Areas include: Neuroanatomy; Neurology; Neurophysiology; Philosophy; Psychiatry; Psychology; Linguistics; Speech pathology; Computer science.

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    Brain and cognition
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In two experiments we investigate conditional reasoning using event-related potentials (ERPs). Our goal was to examine the time course of inference making in two conditional forms, one logically valid (Modus Ponens, MP) and one logically invalid (Affirming the Consequent, AC). We focus particularly on the involvement of semantically-based inferential processes potentially marked by modulations of the N400. We also compared reasoning about emotional and neutral contents with separate sets of stimuli of differing linguistic complexity across the two experiments. Both MP and AC modulated the N400 component, suggesting the involvement of a semantically-based inferential mechanism common across different logical forms, content types, and linguistic features of the problems. Emotion did not have an effect on early components, and did not interact with components related to inference making. There was a main effect of emotion in the 800-1050ms time window, consistent with an effect on sustained attention. The results suggest that conditional reasoning is not a purely formal process but that it importantly implicates semantic processing, and that the effect of emotion on reasoning does not primarily operate through a modulation of early automatic stages of information processing.
    Brain and Cognition 09/2014; 91C:45-53.
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have found evidence for corticolimbic theta band electroencephalographic (EEG) oscillations in the neural processing of visual stimuli perceived as threatening. However, varying temporal and topographical patterns have emerged, possibly due to varying arousal levels of the stimuli. In addition, recent studies suggest neural oscillations in delta, theta, alpha, and beta-band frequencies play a functional role in information processing in the brain. This study implemented a data-driven PCA based analysis investigating the spatiotemporal dynamics of electroencephalographic delta, theta, alpha, and beta-band frequencies during an implicit visual threat processing task. While controlling for the arousal dimension (the intensity of emotional activation), we found several spatial and temporal differences for threatening compared to nonthreatening visual images. We detected an early posterior increase in theta power followed by a later frontal increase in theta power, greatest for the threatening condition. There was also a consistent left lateralized beta desynchronization for the threatening condition. Our results provide support for a dynamic corticolimbic network, with theta and beta band activity indexing processes pivotal in visual threat processing.
    Brain and Cognition 09/2014; 91C:54-61.
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    ABSTRACT: In daily life, responses are often facilitated by anticipatory imagery of expected targets which are announced by associated stimuli from different sensory modalities. Silent music reading represents an intriguing case of visuotonal modality transfer in working memory as it induces highly defined auditory imagery on the basis of presented visuospatial information (i.e. musical notes). Using functional MRI and a delayed sequence matching-to-sample paradigm, we compared brain activations during retention intervals (10s) of visual (VV) or tonal (TT) unimodal maintenance versus visuospatial-to-tonal modality transfer (VT) tasks. Visual or tonal sequences were comprised of six elements, white squares or tones, which were low, middle, or high regarding vertical screen position or pitch, respectively (presentation duration: 1.5s). For the cross-modal condition (VT, session 3), the visuospatial elements from condition VV (session 1) were re-defined as low, middle or high "notes" indicating low, middle or high tones from condition TT (session 2), respectively, and subjects had to match tonal sequences (probe) to previously presented note sequences. Tasks alternately had low or high cognitive load. To evaluate possible effects of music reading expertise, 15 singers and 15 non-musicians were included. Scanner task performance was excellent in both groups. Despite identity of applied visuospatial stimuli, visuotonal modality transfer versus visual maintenance (VT>VV) induced "inhibition" of visual brain areas and activation of primary and higher auditory brain areas which exceeded auditory activation elicited by tonal stimulation (VT>TT). This transfer-related visual-to-auditory activation shift occurred in both groups but was more pronounced in experts. Frontoparietal areas were activated by higher cognitive load but not by modality transfer. The auditory brain showed a potential to anticipate expected auditory target stimuli on the basis of non-auditory information and sensory brain activation rather mirrored expectation than stimulation. Silent music reading probably relies on these basic neurocognitive mechanisms.
    Brain and Cognition 09/2014; 91C:35-44.
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has attributed to the right hemisphere (RH) a key role in eliciting false memories to visual emotional stimuli. These results have been explained in terms of two right-hemisphere properties: (i) that emotional stimuli are preferentially processed in the RH and (ii) that visual stimuli are represented more coarsely in the RH. According to this account, false emotional memories are preferentially produced in the RH because emotional stimuli are both more strongly and more diffusely activated during encoding, leaving a memory trace that can be erroneously reactivated by similar but unstudied emotional items at test. If this right-hemisphere hypothesis is correct, then RH damage should result in a reduction in false memories to emotional stimuli relative to left-hemisphere lesions. To investigate this possibility, groups of right-brain-damaged (RBD, N=15), left-brain-damaged (LBD, N=15) and healthy (HC, N=30) participants took part in a recognition memory experiment with emotional (negative and positive) and non-emotional pictures. False memories were operationalized as incorrect responses to unstudied pictures that were similar to studied ones. Both RBD and LBD participants showed similar reductions in false memories for negative pictures relative to controls. For positive pictures, however, false memories were reduced only in RBD patients. The results provide only partial support for the right-hemisphere hypothesis and suggest that inter-hemispheric cooperation models may be necessary to fully account for false emotional memories.
    Brain and Cognition 08/2014; 90C:181-194.
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    ABSTRACT: Space is represented by integrating egocentric and allocentric reference frames; however, little is known about the role of these independent reference frames in number representation. Using patients with unilateral pathologic pain in one limb, we investigated whether number representation is closely linked to space representation by evaluating visual subjective body-midline judgments in dark and light conditions (egocentric and allocentric space, respectively). To evaluate the number representation, pairs of numbers were read aloud to the participant, who was then asked to state the midpoint number that they intuitively perceived to be at the middle of each interval. All of the patients perceived allocentric space accurately in the light condition. However, each of the patients showed perceptual shifts in egocentric space and number representation in the dark as compared with control subjects. Direct comparison showed a consistent relationship between number representation and egocentric space. We suggest that numbers are represented spatially by integrating these independent reference frames.
    Brain and Cognition 07/2014; 90C:151-156.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent evidence implicates the arginine vasopressin (AVP) system in complex neuropsychological disorders which are characterized by deficits in executive functioning (EF). Despite the genetic contribution to EF, little is currently known about its molecular genetic basis. Drawing on research from social neuroscience and the role of related physiological systems in psychopathology, the current study hypothesized that variability in the AVP receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) would be associated with EF in an epidemiological sample of 323 normally developing preschool-aged children. Using a family-based association design, the current study found that variability in the rs7298346 marker, located in the 5'-flanking region, was significantly related to a composite measure of EF in 4-year-old children after controlling for a variety of covariates and children's theory of mind. The converse association between AVPR1A and theory of mind (after controlling for EF) was not significant, suggesting a level of specificity in this relationship. The results are discussed in terms of the difficulties faced by genetic association studies in teasing apart the behavioral phenotypes that characterize complex psychological diseases and the involvement of multiple physiological systems in human behavior.
    Brain and Cognition 07/2014; 90C:116-123.
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    ABSTRACT: Hemispheric asymmetries were investigated by changing the horizontal position of stimuli that had to be remembered in a visuo-spatial short-term memory task. Observers looked at matrices containing a variable number of filled squares on the left or right side of the screen center. At stimulus offset, participants reproduced the positions of the filled squares in an empty response matrix. Stimulus and response matrices were presented in the same quadrant. We observed that memory performance was better when the matrices were shown on the left side of the screen. We distinguished between recall strategies that relied on visual or non-visual (verbal) cues and found that the effect of gaze position occurred more reliably in participants using visual recall strategies. Overall, the results show that there is a solid enhancement of visuo-spatial short-term memory when observers look to the left. In contrast, vertical position had no influence on performance. We suggest that unilateral gaze to the left activates centers in the right hemisphere contributing to visuo-spatial memory.
    Brain and Cognition 07/2014; 90C:63-68.
  • Brain and Cognition 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study to elucidate the neurocognitive mechanisms of harmful and helpful dishonest decisions. During scanning, the subjects read scenarios concerning events that could occur in real-life situations and were asked to decide whether to tell a lie as though they were experiencing those events. Half of the scenarios consisted of harmful stories in which the dishonest decisions could be regarded as bad lies, and the other half consisted of helpful stories in which the dishonest decisions could be regarded as good lies. In contrast to the control decision-making task, we found that the decision-making tasks that involved honesty or dishonesty recruited a network of brain regions that included the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In the harmful stories, the right temporoparietal junction and the right medial frontal cortex were activated when the subjects made dishonest decisions compared with honest decisions. No region discriminated between the honest and dishonest decisions made in the helpful stories. These preliminary findings suggest that the neural basis of dishonest decisions is modulated by whether the lying serves to harm or help the target.
    Brain and Cognition 06/2014; 90C:41-49.
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    ABSTRACT: The most diffuse forms of meditation derive from Hinduism and Buddhism spiritual traditions. Different cognitive processes are set in place to reach these meditation states. According to an historical-philological hypothesis (Wynne, 2009) the two forms of meditation could be disentangled. While mindfulness is the focus of Buddhist meditation reached by focusing sustained attention on the body, on breathing and on the content of the thoughts, reaching an ineffable state of nothigness accompanied by a loss of sense of self and duality (Samadhi) is the main focus of Hinduism-inspired meditation. It is possible that these different practices activate separate brain networks. We tested this hypothesis by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. The network related to Buddhism-inspired meditation (16 experiments, 263 subjects, and 96 activation foci) included activations in some frontal lobe structures associated with executive attention, possibly confirming the fundamental role of mindfulness shared by many Buddhist meditations. By contrast, the network related to Hinduism-inspired meditation (8 experiments, 54 activation foci and 66 subjects) triggered a left lateralized network of areas including the postcentral gyrus, the superior parietal lobe, the hippocampus and the right middle cingulate cortex. The dissociation between anterior and posterior networks support the notion that different meditation styles and traditions are characterized by different patterns of neural activation.
    Brain and Cognition 06/2014; 90C:32-40.
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    ABSTRACT: This study dealt with audiovisual rhythm perception involving an observed movement. Two experiments investigated whether a visual beat conveyed by a bouncing human point-light figure facilitated beat perception of concurrent auditory rhythms, and whether this enhancement followed a profile of multisensory integration. In Experiment 1, participants listened to three repetitions of a metrically simple rhythm and detected a perturbation in the third repetition. The rhythm was presented alone or with a visual beat in phase to it. Both conditions were presented with or without an auditory interference sequence at four increasing tempi, which served to progressively weaken the beat of the auditory rhythm. In Experiment 2, participants tapped to a regular auditory beat in the same combinations of visual beat and auditory interference. Results showed that the visual beat improved the perception of (Experiment 1) and the synchronization to (Experiment 2) the auditory rhythms. Moreover, in both experiments, visual enhancement was greater when the performance in the unisensory (auditory) conditions was poorer, consistent with the principle of inverse effectiveness. The relative multisensory gain increased as auditory performance deteriorated, except in one intermediate level. Together these results demonstrate that rhythmic visual movement aids auditory rhythm perception, which may be subserved by a perceptually integrated audiovisual beat that couples the internal motor system.
    Brain and Cognition 06/2014; 90C:19-31.
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have provided insights into the representations of original and relative values and the influence of predictability on decision making. However, whether the predictability of outcomes can influence the processing manner of outcomes (i.e. whether the outcomes are processed in terms of original or relative values) is still unknown. To investigate this issue, we had participants perform a monetary decision task which resulted in two outcomes with the same relative values but different original values in either a predictable or unpredictable condition, while recording event-related potentials (ERP). ERP results showed that the outcome processing in the unpredictable condition elicited more positive deflections in the time window of 300-500ms (P300) than did those in the predictable condition. More importantly, the outcome with high original value elicited a greater P300 component than did that with low original value in the unpredictable condition even though these two outcomes had the same relative values, while in the predictable condition no significant difference was observed between ERPs elicited by the two outcomes even though their original values were different. These results suggest that the outcomes might be processed in terms of relative values in the predictable condition but original values in the unpredictable condition.
    Brain and Cognition 06/2014; 90C:1-7.
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to investigate the contributions of visual letter form and abstract letter identity to the time course of letter recognition, by manipulating the typeface (i.e. font) in which letters were presented. Twenty-six adult participants completed a modified one-back task, where letters where presented in easy-to-read typefaces ("fluent" letter stimuli) or difficult-to-read typefaces ("disfluent" letter stimuli). Task instructions necessitated that participant's focus on letter identity not visual letter form. Electroencephalography was collected and event-related potentials (ERPs) were calculated relative to letter stimuli. It was found that typeface affected both early-mid (N1 amplitude and P2-N2 amplitude and latency) and late processing (450-600ms), thereby including time points whereby it is theorised that abstract identity is extracted from visual letter form (that is, 300ms post-stimulus). Visual features of the letter therefore affect its processing well beyond the currently theorised point at which abstract information is extracted; which could be explained by a feedback loop between abstract letter representations and lower-level visual form processing units, which is not included in current cognitive reading models.
    Brain and Cognition 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In the literature concerning the study of emotional effect on cognition, several researches highlight the mechanisms of reasoning ability and the influence of emotions on this ability. However, up to now, no neuroimaging study was specifically devised to directly compare the influence on reasoning performance of visual task-unrelated with semantic task-related emotional information. In the present functional fMRI study, we devised a novel paradigm in which emotionally negative vs. neutral visual stimuli (context) were used as primes, followed by syllogisms composed of propositions with emotionally negative vs. neutral contents respectively. Participants, in the MR scanner, were asked to assess the logical validity of the syllogisms. We have therefore manipulated the emotional state and arousal induced by the visual prime as well as the emotional interference exerted by the syllogism content. fMRI data indicated a medial prefrontal cortex deactivation and lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation in conditions with negative context. Furthermore, a lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulation caused by syllogism content was observed. Finally, behavioral data confirmed the influence of emotional task-related stimuli on reasoning ability, since the performance was worse in conditions with syllogisms involving negative emotions. Therefore, on the basis of these data, we conclude that emotional states can impair the performance in reasoning tasks by means of the delayed general reactivity, whereas the emotional content of the target may require a larger amount of top-down resources to be processed.
    Brain and Cognition 04/2014; 87:153–160.
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of the present investigation was to test the somatosensory processing model’s (SPM) assertion that tactile actions and perceptions are mediated via egocentric and allocentric frames of reference, respectively (Dijkerman & de Hann’s 2007: Behavioral and Brain Sciences). To accomplish that objective, Experiment 1 required that participants use their right hand to grasp and manually estimate differently sized objects placed on the forearm and palm of their left hand. Following each manual estimation trial, participants grasped the target object to equate tasks (i.e., grasping vs. manual estimation) for terminal tactile feedback. Notably, the different object locations (i.e., forearm and palm) were used to examine whether location-specific differences in mechanoreceptor density impacts the percept of object size (i.e., Weber’s illusion). In addition, we computed just-noticeable-difference (JND) scores to determine whether grasping and manual estimations adhere to, or violate, the allocentric principles of Weber’s law. Results for the grasping task elicited a null expression of Weber’s illusion and JNDs for this task violated Weber’s law. Results for the manual estimation task similarly exhibited a null expression of Weber’s illusion; however, JNDs for the palm but not the forearm condition adhered to Weber’s law. Experiment 2 showed that withdrawing terminal tactile feedback during forearm condition manual estimations resulted in responses that adhered to Weber’s law. Thus, results provide some support for the SPM’s contention that grasping and manual estimations are mediated via ego- and allocentric frames of reference, respectively. However, results further indicate that the dissociation is not complete and is, in part, influenced by the sensory consequences (i.e., terminal tactile feedback) associated with the response.
    Brain and Cognition 01/2014; 86:32–41.
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    ABSTRACT: The trajectory of saccades to a target is often affected whenever there is a distractor in the visual field. Distractors can cause a saccade to deviate towards their location or away from it. The oculomotor mechanisms that produce deviation towards distractors have been thoroughly explored in behavioral, neurophysiological and computational studies. The mechanisms underlying deviation away, on the other hand, remain unclear. Behavioral findings suggest a mechanism of spatially focused, top-down inhibition in a saccade map, and deviation away has become a tool to investigate such inhibition. However, this inhibition hypothesis has little neuroanatomical or neurophysiological support, and recent findings go against it. Here, we propose that deviation away results from an unbalanced saccade drive from the brainstem, caused by spike rate adaptation in brainstem long-lead burst neurons. Adaptation to stimulation in the direction of the distractor results in an unbalanced drive away from it. An existing model of the saccade system was extended with this theory. The resulting model simulates a wide range of findings on saccade trajectories, including findings that have classically been interpreted to support inhibition views. Furthermore, the model replicated the effect of saccade latency on deviation away, but predicted this effect would be absent with large (400 ms) distractor-target onset asynchrony. This prediction was confirmed in an experiment, which demonstrates that the theory both explains classical findings on saccade trajectories and predicts new findings.
    Brain and Cognition 01/2014; 85:259–270.

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