Effects of interactivity and 3D-motion on mental rotation brain activity in an immersive virtual environment
ABSTRACT The combination of virtual reality (VR) and brain measurements is a promising development of HCI, but the maturation of this paradigm requires more knowledge about how brain activity is influenced by parameters of VR applications. To this end we investigate the influence of two prominent VR parameters, 3d-motion and interactivity, while brain activity is measured for a mental rotation task, using functional MRI (fMRI). A mental rotation network of brain areas is identified, matching previous results. The addition of interactivity increases the activation in core areas of this network, with more profound effects in frontal and preparatory motor areas. The increases from 3d-motion are restricted to primarily visual areas. We relate these effects to emerging theories of cognition and potential applications for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Our results demonstrate one way to provoke increased activity in task-relevant areas, making it easier to detect and use for adaptation and development of HCI.
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ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging, particularly that based upon functional magnetic resonance (fMRI), has become a dominant tool in cognitive neuroscience. This review provides a personal and selective perspective on its past, present, and future. Two trends currently characterize the field that broadly reflect a pursuit of "where"- and "how"-type questions. The latter addresses basic mechanisms related to the expression of task-induced neural activity and is likely to be an increasingly important theme in the future. This trend entails an enhanced symbiosis among investigators pursuing similar questions in fields such as computational and theoretical neuroscience as well as through the detailed analysis of microcircuitry.Neuron 12/2008; 60(3):496-502. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies on the neural correlates of perceptual awareness implicate sensory-specific regions and higher cortical regions such as the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in this process. The specific role of PFC regions is, however, unknown. PFC activity could be bottom-up driven, integrating signals from sensory regions. Alternatively, PFC regions could serve more active top-down processes that help to define the content of consciousness. To compare these alternative views of PFC function, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and measured brain activity specifically related to conscious perception of items that varied in ease of identification (by being presented 0, 12, or 60 times previously). A bottom-up account predicts that PFC activity would be largely insensitive to stimulus difficulty, whereas a top-down account predicts reduced PFC activity as identification becomes easier. The results supported the latter prediction by showing reduced activity for previously presented compared to novel items in the PFC and several other regions. This was further confirmed by a functional connectivity analysis showing that the interaction between frontal and visual sensory regions declined as a function of ease of identification. Given the attribution of top-down processing to PFC regions in combination with the marked decline in PFC activity for easy items, these findings challenge the prevailing notion that the PFC is necessary for consciousness.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 02/2008; 20(10):1777-87. · 4.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In this review, the neural underpinnings of the experience of presence are outlined. Firstly, it is shown that presence is associated with activation of a distributed network, which includes the dorsal and ventral visual stream, the parietal cortex, the premotor cortex, mesial temporal areas, the brainstem and the thalamus. Secondly, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is identified as a key node of the network as it modulates the activity of the network and the associated experience of presence. Thirdly, children lack the strong modulatory influence of the DLPFC on the network due to their unmatured frontal cortex. Fourthly, it is shown that presence-related measures are influenced by manipulating the activation in the DLPFC using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) while participants are exposed to the virtual roller coaster ride. Finally, the findings are discussed in the context of current models explaining the experience of presence, the rubber hand illusion, and out-of-body experiences.Frontiers in Neuroscience 05/2009; 3(1):52-9.