[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the mental architecture between stimulus and response, cognitive models often divide the stimulus-response (SR) interval into stages or modules. Predictions derived from such models are typically tested by focusing on the moment of response emission, through the analysis of response time (RT) distributions. To go beyond the single response event, we recently proposed a method to fractionate verbal RTs into two physiologically defined intervals that are assumed to reflect different processing stages. The analysis of the durations of these intervals can be used to study the interaction between cognitive and motor processing during speech production. Our method is inspired by studies on decision making that used manual responses, in which RTs were fractionated into a premotor time (PMT), assumed to reflect cognitive processing, and a motor time (MT), assumed to reflect motor processing. In these studies, surface EMG activity was recorded from participants' response fingers. EMG onsets, reflecting the initiation of a motor response, were used as the point of fractionation. We adapted this method to speech-production research by measuring verbal responses in combination with EMG activity from facial muscles involved in articulation. However, in contrast to button-press tasks, the complex task of producing speech often resulted in multiple EMG bursts within the SR interval. This observation forced us to decide how to operationalize the point of fractionation: as the first EMG burst after stimulus onset (the stimulus-locked approach), or as the EMG burst that is coupled to the vocal response (the response-locked approach). The point of fractionation has direct consequences on how much of the overall task effect is captured by either interval. Therefore, the purpose of the current paper was to compare both onset-detection procedures in order to make an informed decision about which of the two is preferable. We concluded in favor or the response-locked approach.
Frontiers in Psychology 10/2014; · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Formal models of decision-making have traditionally focused on simple, two-choice perceptual decisions. To date, one of the most influential account of this process is Ratcliff's drift diffusion model (DDM). However, the extension of the model to more complex decisions is not straightforward. In particular, conflicting situations, such as the Eriksen, Stroop, or Simon tasks, require control mechanisms that shield the cognitive system against distracting information. We adopted a novel strategy to constrain response time (RT) models by concurrently investigating two well-known empirical laws in conflict tasks, both at experimental and modeling levels. The two laws, predicted by the DDM, describe the relationship between mean RT and (i) target intensity (Piéron's law), (ii) standard deviation of RT (Wagenmakers-Brown's law). Pioneering work has shown that Piéron's law holds in the Stroop task, and has highlighted an additive relationship between target intensity and compatibility. We found similar results in both Eriksen and Simon tasks. Compatibility also violated Wagenmakers-Brown's law in a very similar and particular fashion in the two tasks, suggesting a common model framework. To investigate the nature of this commonality, predictions of two recent extensions of the DDM that incorporate selective attention mechanisms were simulated and compared to the experimental results. Both models predict Piéron's law and the violation of Wagenmakers-Brown's law by compatibility. Fits of the models to the RT distributions and accuracy data allowed us to further reveal their relative strengths and deficiencies. Combining experimental and computational results, this study sets the groundwork for a unified model of decision-making in conflicting environments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity to evaluate the outcomes of our actions is fundamental for adapting and optimizing behavior and depends on an action-monitoring system that assesses ongoing actions and detects errors. The neuronal network underlying this executive function, classically attributed to the rostral cingulate zone, is poorly characterized in humans, owing to the limited number of direct neurophysiological data. Using intracerebral recordings, we show that the leading role is played by the supplementary motor area (SMA), which rapidly evaluates successful and erroneous actions. The rostral part of medial prefrontal cortex, driven by the SMA, was activated later and exclusively in the case of errors. This suggests a hierarchical organization of the different frontal regions involved in implementation of action monitoring and error processing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When an on-board system detects a drift of a vehicle to the left or to the right, in what way should the information be delivered to the driver? Car manufacturers have so far neglected relevant results from Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. Here we show that this situation possibly led to the sub-optimal design of a lane departure warning system (AFIL, PSA Peugeot Citroën) implemented in commercially available automobile vehicles. Twenty participants performed a two-choice reaction time task in which they were to respond by clockwise or counter-clockwise wheel-rotations to tactile stimulations of their left or right wrist. They performed poorer when responding counter-clockwise to the right vibration and clockwise to the left vibration (incompatible mapping) than when responding according to the reverse (compatible) mapping. This suggests that AFIL implements the worse (incompatible) mapping for the operators. This effect depended on initial practice with the interface. The present research illustrates how basic approaches in Cognitive Science may benefit to Human Factors Engineering and ultimately improve man-machine interfaces and show how initial learning can affect interference effects.
Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:1045. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Formal models of decision-making have traditionally focused on simple, two-choice perceptual decisions. To date, one of the most influential account of this process is Ratcliff’s drift diffusion model (DDM). However, the extension of the model to more complex decisions is not straightforward. In particular, conflicting situations, such as the Eriksen, Stroop, or Simon tasks, require control mechanisms that shield the cognitive system against distracting information. We adopted a novel strategy to constrain response time (RT) models by concurrently investigating two well-known empirical laws in conflict tasks, both at experimental and modeling levels. The two laws, predicted by the DDM, describe the relationship between mean RT and (i) target intensity (Piéron’s law), (ii) standard deviation of RT (Wagenmakers–Brown’s law). Pioneering work has shown that Piéron’s law holds in the Stroop task, and has highlighted an additive relationship between target intensity and compatibility. We found similar results in both Eriksen and Simon tasks. Compatibility also violated Wagenmakers–Brown’s law in a very similar and particular fashion in the two tasks, suggesting a common model framework. To investigate the nature of this commonality, predictions of two recent extensions of the DDM that incorporate selective attention mechanisms were simulated and compared to the experimental results. Both models predict Piéron’s law and the violation of Wagenmakers–Brown’s law by compatibility. Fits of the models to the RT distributions and accuracy data allowed us to further reveal their relative strengths and deficiencies. Combining experimental and computational results, this study sets the groundwork for a unified model of decision-making in conflicting environments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Appropriate reactions to erroneous actions are essential to keeping behavior adaptive. Erring, however, is not an all-or-none process: electromyographic (EMG) recordings of the responding muscles have revealed that covert incorrect response activations (termed "partial errors") occur on a proportion of overtly correct trials. The occurrence of such "partial errors" shows that incorrect response activations could be corrected online, before turning into overt errors. In the present study, we showed that, unlike overt errors, such "partial errors" are poorly consciously detected by participants, who could report only one third of their partial errors. Two parameters of the partial errors were found to predict detection: the surface of the incorrect EMG burst (larger for detected) and the correction time (between the incorrect and correct EMG onsets; longer for detected). These two parameters provided independent information. The correct(ive) responses associated with detected partial errors were larger than the "pure-correct" ones, and this increase was likely a consequence, rather than a cause, of the detection. The respective impacts of the two parameters predicting detection (incorrect surface and correction time), along with the underlying physiological processes subtending partial-error detection, are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In conflict tasks, the irrelevant stimulus attribute needs to be suppressed for the correct response to be produced. In the Simon task, earlier researchers have proposed that this suppression is the reason that, after an initial increase, the interference effect decreases for longer RTs, as reflected by late, negative-going delta plots. This view has been challenged by observations of positive-going delta plots, even for long RTs, in other conflict tasks, despite a similar necessity for suppression. For late negative-going delta plots to be interpreted as reflecting suppression, a necessary, although maybe not sufficient, condition is that similar patterns should be observed for other conflict tasks. We reasoned that a similar suppression could be present, but hidden, in the Eriksen flanker task. By recording and analyzing electromyograms of the muscles involved in response execution, we could compute delta plots separately for trials that elicited a subthreshold incorrect response activation (partial error). Late negative-going delta plots were observable on partial-error trials, although they were weaker than for the Simon task, reducing the impact of this inversion on the overall distribution. We further showed that this pattern is modulated by time pressure. Those results indicate that mechanisms leading to negative-going delta plots, similar to those observed in the Simon task, are also at play in the Eriksen task. The link between negative-going delta plots and executive online control is discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied the impact of sleep deprivation on action monitoring. Each participant performed a Simon task after a normal night of sleep and after 26 h of awakening. Reaction time (RT) distributions were analyzed and the sensitivity of the error negativity (Ne/Ne like) to response correctness was examined.Results showed that (1) the Simon effect persisted for the longest RTs only after sleep deprivation and (2) the sensitivity of the Ne/Ne like to correctness decreased after sleep deprivation, especially on incongruent trials. This suggests that after sleep deprivation (1) the ability to inhibit prepotent response tendencies is impaired and (2) the sensitivity of a response monitoring system as revealed by the error negativity is less sensitive to performance.In conclusion, action monitoring was affected by sleep deprivation as revealed by distributional analyses and the sensitivity of the Ne/Ne like to performance, which may be attributed to the fragility of prefrontal structures to sleep deprivation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The belief that one can exert intentional control over behavior is deeply rooted in virtually all human beings. It has been shown that weakening such belief - e.g. by exposure to 'anti-free will' messages - can lead people to display antisocial tendencies. We propose that this cursory and irresponsible behavior may be facilitated by a breakdown of neurocognitive mechanisms underlying behavioral adjustments. In the study reported here, we tested the hypothesis that weakening belief in intentional control reduces cognitive markers of behavioral control. Participants performed a Simon task before and after reading a scientific text either denying free will (no-free will group) or not mentioning free will (control group). Results showed that the post-error slowing, a cognitive marker of performance adjustment, was reduced in the no-free will group. This reduction was proportional to a decrease of the belief in intentional control. These observations indicate that weakening the belief in free will can impact behavioral adjustment after an error, and could be the cause of antisocial and irresponsible behavior.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A frontocentral electrophysiological wave occurring before the response, the N-40, has been reported in response choice situations compared to no-choice situations. This was interpreted as reflecting response selection. The gradual sensitivity of the N-40 to the demands put on response choice was tested by manipulating stimulus-response (S-R) congruence so as to influence response selection processes. After Laplacian transformation, an N-40 clearly emerged and was larger for incongruent (more demanding) than for congruent (less demanding) S-R associations. The N-40, which possibly reflects SMA activation, thus provides information about the implementation of response selection in the brain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Given the large contribution of human error in the failure of complex systems, understanding the source of errors is an important issue. It has been proposed that, in speeded situations, responses biases induce subjects to guess which response will be required. When the guess turns out to be wrong, a fast guess error occurs. In unbiased conditions the possible contribution of fast guess errors remains an open question. We used a response-locked event-related potential (N-40), assumed to reveal the presence of a response selection process during the reaction time, to probe the presence of a response selection in biased and unbiased situations. The N-40 was present without response bias but absent in biased situations. This lends physiological support to the idea that, in a priming paradigm as used here, most errors in biased conditions are fast guesses whereas most errors result from inappropriate response selections in unbiased conditions. This reveals different sources of errors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cortical regions involved in the different stages of speech production are relatively well-established, but their spatio-temporal dynamics remain poorly understood. In particular, the available studies have characterized neural events with respect to the onset of the stimulus triggering a verbal response. The core aspect of language production, however, is not perception but action. In this context, the most relevant question may not be how long after a stimulus brain events happen, but rather how long before the production act do they occur. We investigated speech production-related brain activity time-locked to vocal onset, in addition to the common stimulus-locked approach. We report the detailed temporal interplay between medial and left frontal activities occurring shortly before vocal onset. We interpret those as reflections of, respectively, word selection and word production processes. This medial-lateral organization is in line with that described in non-linguistic action control, suggesting that similar processes are at play in word production and non-linguistic action production. This novel view of the brain dynamics underlying word production provides a useful background for future investigations of the spatio-temporal brain dynamics that lead to the production of verbal responses.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e58197. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twelve subjects performed two temporal tasks, one explicit (Experiment 1) and one implicit (Experiment 2) after one night of sleep deprivation and after one night of normal rest. Experiment 1 involved a 1100-ms duration production task, and in Experiment 2 subjects performed a word identification task requiring implicit estimation of vowel duration (around 150 ms). One night of sleep deprivation had the same pattern of effect on explicit timing in the suprasecond range and implicit timing in the millisecond range. Specifically, sleep deprivation induced productions of shorter intervals in the duration production task and estimation of segmental durations as being longer in the word identification task. Both results are consistent with an acceleration of pacemaker rate.Moreover, in both experiments, we found a correlation between the alertness level of participants and the size of the effect. Therefore, sleep deprivation, which physiologically manipulates cortical arousal level, produced similar performance modulation in suprasecond explicit and subsecond implicit tasks suggesting a common mechanism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the 19th century, it has been known that response latencies are longer for naming pictures than for reading words aloud. While several interpretations have been proposed, a common general assumption is that this difference stems from cognitive word-selection processes and not from articulatory processes. Here we show that, contrary to this widely accepted view, articulatory processes are also affected by the task performed. To demonstrate this, we used a procedure that to our knowledge had never been used in research on language processing: response-latency fractionating. Along with vocal onsets, we recorded the electromyographic (EMG) activity of facial muscles while participants named pictures or read words aloud. On the basis of these measures, we were able to fractionate the verbal response latencies into two types of time intervals: premotor times (from stimulus presentation to EMG onset), mostly reflecting cognitive processes, and motor times (from EMG onset to vocal onset), related to motor execution processes. We showed that premotor and motor times are both longer in picture naming than in reading, although than in reading, although articulation is already initiated in the latter measure. Future studies based on this new approach should bring valuable clues for a better understanding of the relation between the cognitive and motor processes involved in speech production.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experiments were performed to determine if discrete feedback could be discriminated during concurrent performance of motor imagery for brain-computer interface control. An inverse solution feature extraction method captured regions of activity indicative of conflict detection and nterpretation of feedback. Separate classifiers were trained to detect positive and negative feedback based on constrained rates of precision. Tested in simulation, classification rates suggest discrimination of discrete feedback embedded within a trial can improve accuracy in less able brain-computer interface subjects, with little impact on subjects who perform well.
Pattern Recognition in NeuroImaging (PRNI), 2012 International Workshop on; 01/2012
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the influence of temporal preparation on information processing. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor cortex was delivered during a between-hand choice task. The time interval between the warning and the imperative stimulus varied across blocks of trials was either optimal (500 ms) or nonoptimal (2500 ms) for participants' performance. Silent period duration was shorter prior to the first evidence of response selection for the optimal condition. Amplitude of the motor evoked potential specific to the responding hand increased earlier for the optimal condition. These results revealed an early release of cortical inhibition and a faster integration of the response selection-related inputs to the corticospinal pathway when temporal preparation is better. Temporal preparation may induce cortical activation prior to response selection that speeds up the implementation of the selected response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While there is general agreement that in Parkinson's disease (PD), striatal dopamine (DA) depletion causes motor deficits, the origin of the associated cognitive impairments remains a matter of debate. The present study aimed to decipher the influence of a partial 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion of striatal DA nerve terminals in rats performing a reaction time task previously used to assess cognitive deficits in PD patients. The effects of two behavioral manipulations-foreperiod duration and stimulus-response congruence-known to affect motor processes and executive control, respectively, were studied over 8 weeks postsurgery in control and lesion animals. Two weeks after surgery, the lesion abolished the effect of foreperiod, confirming the direct involvement of striatal DA in motor processes, but failed to alter the effect of congruence. During the following weeks, the effect of foreperiod was reinstated, indicating a recovery of lesion-induced motor symptoms. This recovery was accompanied by a progressive increase of the congruence effect, signaling an executive control deficit in lesion animals. This result provides the first evidence that 6-OHDA lesioned rats exhibit the same cognitive impairment as PD patients in this task. The deficit, however, built up progressively after the lesion and may result from adaptations mitigating lesion-induced motor deficits.
Journal of Neuroscience 08/2011; 31(33):11929-33. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concept of "monitoring" refers to our ability to control our actions on-line. Monitoring involved in speech production is often described in psycholinguistic models as an inherent part of the language system. We probed the specificity of speech monitoring in two psycholinguistic experiments where electroencephalographic activities were recorded. Our focus was on a component previously reported in nonlinguistic manual tasks and interpreted as a marker of monitoring processes. The error negativity (Ne, or error-related negativity), thought to originate in medial frontal areas, peaks shortly after erroneous responses. A component of seemingly comparable properties has been reported, after errors, in tasks requiring access to linguistic knowledge (e.g., speech production), compatible with a generic error-detection process. However, in contrast to its original name, advanced processing methods later revealed that this component is also present after correct responses in visuomotor tasks. Here, we reported the observation of the same negativity after correct responses across output modalities (manual and vocal responses). This indicates that, in language production too, the Ne reflects on-line response monitoring rather than error detection specifically. Furthermore, the temporal properties of the Ne suggest that this monitoring mechanism is engaged before any auditory feedback. The convergence of our findings with those obtained with nonlinguistic tasks suggests that at least part of the monitoring involved in speech production is subtended by a general-purpose mechanism.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 06/2011; 23(6):1419-36. · 4.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The event-related potential called "Error Negativity" (Ne, ERN), which appears when subjects commit errors in choice reaction time tasks, is a marker of response monitoring. By introducing a response probability bias, we show that the Ne is sensitive to response expectancy. We further show that the small negativity evoked by correct responses (Ne-like, CRN) is also sensitive to response expectancy: On unexpected responses, the former decreases while the latter increases to such an extent that the amplitudes of the two components are in the same range of magnitude. Although the sensitivity of the Ne to response expectancy is compatible with the current models accounting for the Ne, the common sensitivity of the Ne and the Ne-like supports the idea that they reflect functionally similar monitoring processes.