[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Empathy is a highly flexible and adaptive process that allows for the interplay of prosocial behavior in many different social contexts. Empathy appears to be a very situated cognitive process, embedded with specific contextual cues that trigger different automatic and controlled responses. In this review, we summarize relevant evidence regarding social context modulation of empathy for pain. Several contextual factors, such as stimulus reality and personal experience, affectively link with other factors, emotional cues, threat information, group membership, and attitudes toward others to influence the affective, sensorimotor, and cognitive processing of empathy. Thus, we propose that the frontoinsular-temporal network, the so-called social context network model (SCNM), is recruited during the contextual processing of empathy. This network would (1) update the contextual cues and use them to construct fast predictions (frontal regions), (2) coordinate the internal (body) and external milieus (insula), and (3) consolidate the context-target associative learning of empathic processes (temporal sites). Furthermore, we propose these context-dependent effects of empathy in the framework of the frontoinsular-temporal network and examine the behavioral and neural evidence of three neuropsychiatric conditions (Asperger syndrome, schizophrenia, and the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia), which simultaneously present with empathy and contextual integration impairments. We suggest potential advantages of a situated approach to empathy in the assessment of these neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as their relationship with the SCNM.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research suggests that individuals with different attachment patterns process social information differently, especially in terms of facial emotion recognition. However, few studies have explored social information processes in adolescents. This study examined the behavioral and ERP correlates of emotional processing in adolescents with different attachment orientations (insecure attachment group and secure attachment group; IAG and SAG, respectively). This study also explored the association of these correlates to individual neuropsychological profiles.
We used a modified version of the dual valence task (DVT), in which participants classify stimuli (faces and words) according to emotional valence (positive or negative). Results showed that the IAG performed significantly worse than SAG on tests of executive function (EF attention, processing speed, visuospatial abilities and cognitive flexibility). In the behavioral DVT, the IAG presented lower performance and accuracy. The IAG also exhibited slower RTs for stimuli with negative valence. Compared to the SAG, the IAG showed a negative bias for faces; a larger P1 and attenuated N170 component over the right hemisphere was observed. A negative bias was also observed in the IAG for word stimuli, which was demonstrated by comparing the N170 amplitude of the IAG with the valence of the SAG. Finally, the amplitude of the N170 elicited by the facial stimuli correlated with EF in both groups (and negative valence with EF in the IAG).
Our results suggest that individuals with different attachment patterns process key emotional information and corresponding EF differently. This is evidenced by an early modulation of ERP components' amplitudes, which are correlated with behavioral and neuropsychological effects. In brief, attachments patterns appear to impact multiple domains, such as emotional processing and EFs.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e70247. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Visual spatial orienting of attention towards exogenous cues has been one of the attentional functions considered to be spared in ADHD. Here we present a design in which 60 (30 ADHD) children, age: 10.9±1.4, were asked to covertly orient their attention to one or two (out of four) cued locations, and search for a target stimulus in one of these locations, while recording behavioral responses and EEG/ERP. In all conditions, ADHD children showed delayed reaction times and poorer behavioral performance. They also exhibited larger cue-elicited P2 but reduced CNV in the preparation stage. Larger amplitude of CNV predicted better performance in the task. Target-elicited N1 and selection negativity were also reduced in the ADHD group compared to non-ADHD. Groups also differed in the early and late P3 time-windows. The present results suggest that exogenous orienting of attention could be dysfunctional in ADHD under certain conditions. This limitation is not necessarily caused by an impairment of the orienting process itself, but instead by a difficulty in maintaining the relevant information acquired during the early preparation stage through the target processing stage, when it is really needed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied brain activity during the displacement of attention in a modified visuo-spatial orienting paradigm. Using a behaviorally relevant no-shift condition as a control, we asked whether ipsi- or contralateral parietal alpha band activity is specifically related to covert shifts of attention. Cue-related event-related potentials revealed an attention directing anterior negativity (ADAN) contralateral to the shift of attention and P3 and contingent negative variation waveforms that were enhanced in both shift conditions as compared to the no-shift task. When attention was shifted away from fixation, alpha band activity over parietal regions ipsilateral to the attended hemifield was enhanced relative to the control condition, albeit with different dynamics in the upper and lower alpha subbands. Contralateral-to-attended parietal alpha band activity was indistinguishable from the no-shift task.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last few decades, several works on cognitive processing during sleep have emerged. The study of cognitive processing with event related potentials (ERPs) during sleep is a topic of great interest, since ERPs allow the study of stimulation with passive paradigms (without conscious response or behavioural response), opening multiple research possibilities during different sleep phases. We review ERPs modulated by cognitive processes during sleep: N1, Mismatch Negativity (MMN), P2, P3, N400-like, N300-N550, among others. The review shows that there are different cognitive discriminations during sleep related to the frequency, intensity, duration, saliency, novelty, proportion of appearance, meaning, and even sentential integration of stimuli. The fascinating results of cognitive processing during sleep imply serious challenges for cognitive models. The studies of ERPs, together with techniques of neuroimaging, have demonstrated the existence of cognitive processing during sleep. A fundamental question to be considered is if these cognitive phenomena are similar to processing that occurs during wakefulness. Based on this question we discussed the existence of possible mechanisms associated with sleep, as well as the specific cognitive and neurophysiologic differences of wakefulness and sleep. Much knowledge is still required to even understand the conjunction of dramatic changes in cerebral dynamics and the occurrence of cognitive processes. We propose some insights based on ERPs research for further construction of theoretical models for integrating both cognitive processing and specific brain sleep dynamics.
International Journal of Psychology 08/2009; 44(4):290-304. · 0.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, studies have suggested that gestures influence comprehension of linguistic expressions, for example, eliciting an N400 component in response to a speech/gesture mismatch. In this paper, we investigate the role of gestural information in the understanding of metaphors. Event related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants viewed video clips of an actor uttering metaphorical expressions and producing bodily gestures that were congruent or incongruent with the metaphorical meaning of such expressions. This modality of stimuli presentation allows a more ecological approach to meaning integration. When ERPs were calculated using gesture stroke as time-lock event, gesture incongruity with metaphorical expression modulated the amplitude of the N400 and of the late positive complex (LPC). This suggests that gestural and speech information are combined online to make sense of the interlocutor's linguistic production in an early stage of metaphor comprehension. Our data favor the idea that meaning construction is globally integrative and highly context-sensitive.
Brain and Cognition 03/2009; 70(1):42-52. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last few decades, several works on event related potentials (ERPs hereafter) during sleep have been reported. In spite of numerous studies, clear methodological rules for this kind of study are often missing, making it difficult to valorize the scope of these results. We propose here a description of methodological aspects to be considered when evaluating ERPs during sleep. The use of Rechtschaffen and Kales rules versus automatic methods is assessed, plus the additional use of certain quantitative measures. Additionally, two topics are discussed which must be controlled in ERPs sleep studies: the First Night Effect, and sleep disturbances. Better control of experimental paradigms is relevant for the growth of the neuroscience of sleep.
Biological research 02/2008; 41(3):271-5. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study explores the neural correlates of voluntary modulations of attention in an auditory-visual matching task. Visual stimuli (a female or a male face) were preceded in close temporal proximity by auditory stimuli consisting of the Spanish word for "man" and "woman" ("hombre" or "mujer"). In 80% of the trials the gender of the two stimuli coincided. Participants were asked to mentally count the specific instances in which a female face appeared after hearing the word "man" (10 % of the trials). Our results show attention-related amplitude modulation of the early visual ERP components NI and anterior P2, but also amplitude modulations of (i) the N270 potential usually associated with conflict detection, (ii) a P300 wave related to infrequency, and (iii) an N400 potential related to semantic incongruence. The elicitation of these latter components varied according to task manipulations, evidencing the role of voluntary allocation of attention in fine-tuning cognitive processing, which includes basic processes like detection of infrequency or semantic incongruity often considered to be volition-independent.
Biological research 02/2008; 41(4):453-60. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies on the distribution of attentional resources during time have yielded a differential performance in patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in relation to healthy controls. The Attentional Blink (AB) experimental paradigm probes the ability to discriminate visual stimuli in close temporal proximity. The electro-physiological mechanisms underlying the AB have been intensively studied in healthy individuals, and seems to be very appropriate to evaluate the temporal distribution of attentional resources in ADHD. We recorded Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to stimuli arranged in a rapid serial visual presentation task. Fourteen male children (age: 11.6±2.1) who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD of the combined subtype participated in the study, along with fourteen age and sex-matched healthy controls (11.2±2.3). They were all screened to discard comorbidites. Behavioral responses showed an increased number of commission and omission errors in the ADHD group. Nonetheless, both groups exhibited a significant AB for probes presented in close temporal proximity to targets. ERP waveforms in ADHD showed a P300 component of reduced amplitude, elicited both by detected and undetected probes. However, in the control group the P300 was only elicited by detected probes and its amplitude was larger. As the P3 component is considered to reflect context updating in working memory, its elicitation by missed probes during the attentional blink suggests a failure of an inhibitory selection mecha-nism in ADHD.
The Open Behavioral Science Journal. 01/2008; 2(1).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We explore the hypothesis that induction of holistic or analytic strategies influences comprehension and processing of highly contextualized expressions of ordinary language, such as irony. Twenty undergraduate students were asked to categorize as coherent or incoherent a group of sentences. Each sentence completed a previous story, so that they could be ironical, literal or nonsensical endings. Participants were asked to evaluate whether each sentence was coherent or incoherent. Half of them were initially instructed to consider whether the sentences made sense (holistic condition); the other half were instructed to consider whether the sentences were congruent or incongruent (analytic condition). Behavioral responses and Event Related Potentials were registered during the experiment. Both behavioral and electrophysiological results allow clearly distinguishing between the holistic and the analytic strategies. The fact that the same set of stimuli elicits different ERP waveforms, depending on the strategy with which they are analyzed, suggests that different cognitive processes and different areas of the brain are operating in each case.
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 12/2007; 36(6):411-30. · 0.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study explores whether the brain can discriminate degrees of semantic congruency during wakefulness and sleep. Experiment 1 was conducted during wakefulness to test degrees of congruency by means of N400 amplitude. In Experiment 2, the same paradigm was applied to a different group of participants during natural night sleep. Stimuli were 108 sentences (definitions with two attributes) with four possible degrees of congruence as ending targets. In both studies, the amplitude of N400-like effect showed modulation according to the degree of congruency. The results indicate that the brain can accomplish sentential semantic discriminations not only in wakefulness but also in sleep.
Brain and Language 10/2006; 98(3):264-75. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: in the target article, sagvolden and collaborators propose that attentional-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (adhd) is the result of a general behavioral deficit which is mainly caused by a hypofunctioning mesolimbic dopaminergic system. although we partly agree with this view, we think that it tends to overlook the dysfunction of prefrontal and frontostriatal executive functions by considering them to be a consequence of alterations in reward and extinction mechanisms. rather, we believe that adhd is the result of an overall cognitive and behavioral condition, associated to a generalized dopaminergic network dysfunction, and may not be easily attributable to a single basic behavioral function.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We commend Arbib for his original proposal that a mirror neuron system may have participated in language origins. However, in our view he proposes a complex evolutionary scenario that could be more parsimonious. We see no necessity to propose a hand-based signing stage as ancestral to vocal communication. The prefrontal system involved in human speech may have its precursors in the monkey's inferior frontal cortical domain, which is responsive to vocalizations and is related to laryngeal control.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although there is extensive literature about the effects of stimulants on sustained attention tasks in attentional deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), little is known about the effect of these drugs on other attentional tasks involving different neural systems. In this study we measured the effect of stimulants on ADHD children, both in the electroencephalographic (EEG) activity during sustained attentional tasks and in psychometric performance during selective attentional tasks. These tasks are known to rely on different cortical networks. Our results in children medicated with 10 mg of d-amphetamine administered 60 min before the study indicate (i) a significant increase in amplitude but not latency of the P300 component of the event-related potential (ERP) during the sustained attentional task and (ii) a significant improvement in the reaction times and correct responses in the selective attentional task. In addition to supporting the use of stimulants in children with attentional deficit/hyperactivity disorder, these results show a multifocal activity improvement of cortical structures linked to dopamine, and interestingly, to attention. All these analyses are framed in a wider study of diverse attentional functions in this syndrome.
Biological research 02/2004; 37(3):461-8. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Topographic distributions and laminar pattern of cortico-cortical projections from the primary auditory field (AI), anterior auditory field (AAF), dorsoposterior field (DP), ventroposterior field (VP), dorsal field (D) and ventral field (V) were studied in relation to tonotopic maps in combined anatomical, electrophysiological and 2-deoxyfluoro-D-glucose (2DG) experiments. Distributions of axons were examined by means of retrogradely-transported fluorescent tracer Fast Blue (FB) injected in the primary (AI) and anterior (AAF) auditory field. Injections of fluorescent tracer were placed in electrophysiologically-identified locations of AI and AAF. Neurons in AAF, DP, VP and V project to AI in the ipsilateral hemisphere. This area also receives projections from AI, AAF and D from the contralateral hemisphere. In AI, DP and VP, neurons are connected with AAF in the ipsilateral hemisphere and AI and AAF in the opposite hemisphere. In all cases, patches of labeling are distributed along 2DG bands oriented parallel to the isofrequency line. Substantial numbers of retrogradedly labeled neurons with similar best frequencies (BFs) were observed in the ipsilateral and moderate to scant numbers in the contralateral hemisphere. In general, regions near the injection sites receive more densely-labeled projections than do more distant targets. In both hemispheres, the supragranular layer III contains the greatest concentration of cortico-cortical cells bodies; the granular and infragranular layer V contains a somewhat lower concentration.
Biological research 02/2003; 36(2):155-69. · 1.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The language of signs is one of mass media used by deaf people. In the present study a qualitative analysis is made on the use of metaphors of a group of deaf adult people of the Community of Deaf people of Chile. Ges- tuals metaphors of varied nature are identified and the possible relations between these and the metaphors of the oral language in Chile are analyzed. Finally, possible implications of the present study for the education of deaf people and the evaluation of the cognitive and lin- guistic abilities are discussed. Resumen
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: El lenguaje de signos es uno de los medios de comunicación utilizado por personas sordas. En el presente estudio se realiza un análisis cualitativo sobre el uso de metáforas en el lenguaje de signos de un grupo de personas adultas sordas de la Comunidad de Sordos de Chile. Se identifican metáforas gestuales de variada índole y se analizan las posibles relaciones entre estas y las metáforas del lenguaje oral en Chile. Por último se comentan posibles implicaciones del presente estudio para la educación de sordos y la relevancia de este en la evaluación de las habilidades cognitivas y lingüísticas de esta población.
Relieve: Revista ELectrónica de Investigación y EValuación Educativa, ISSN 1134-4032, Vol. 11, Nº. 1, 2005.