Attentional Modulation in the Detection of Irrelevant Deviance: A Simultaneous ERP/fMRI Study

Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4.09). 06/2006; 18(5):689-700. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2006.18.5.689
Source: PubMed


Little is known about the neural mechanisms that control attentional modulation of deviance detection in the auditory modality. In this study, we manipulated the difficulty of a primary task to test the relation between task difficulty and the detection of infrequent, task-irrelevant deviant (D) tones (1,300 Hz) presented among repetitive standard (S) tones (1,000 Hz). Simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)/event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 21 subjects performing a two-alternative forced-choice duration discrimination task (short and long tones of equal probability). The duration of the short tone was always 50 msec. The duration of the long tone was 100 msec in the easy task and 60 msec in the difficult task. As expected, response accuracy decreased and response time (RT) increased in the difficult compared with the easy task. Performance was also poorer for D than for S tones, indicating distraction by task-irrelevant frequency information on trials involving D tones. In the difficult task, an amplitude increase was observed in the difference waves for N1 and P3a, ERP components associated with increased attention to deviant sounds. The mismatch negativity (MMN) response, associated with passive deviant detection, was larger in the easy task, demonstrating the susceptibility of this component to attentional manipulations. The fMRI contrast D > S in the difficult task revealed activation on the right superior temporal gyrus (STG) and extending ventrally into the superior temporal sulcus, suggesting this region's involvement in involuntary attention shifting toward unattended, infrequent sounds. Conversely, passive deviance detection, as reflected by the MMN, was associated with more dorsal activation on the STG. These results are consistent with the view that the dorsal STG region is responsive to mismatches between the memory trace of the standard and the incoming deviant sound, whereas the ventral STG region is activated by involuntary shifts of attention to task-irrelevant auditory features.

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    • "We also found several brain regions with higher activity for incorrect compared to correct trials, e.g., right middle temporal gyrus (BA 21), pre-supplemental motor area (SMA), and bilateral anterior insula. The middle temporal cortex (BA 21), with higher activation for incorrect compared to correct trials has been shown to be activated during voluntary attention shifts to infrequent sounds (Sabri et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2012). A duration discrimination study by Sabri et al. (2006) in humans, suggests that the middle temporal cortex exhibits higher activity to difficult compared to easy trials. "
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    ABSTRACT: Prior studies suggest that reward modulates neural activity in sensory cortices, but less is known about punishment. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and an auditory discrimination task, where participants had to judge the duration of frequency modulated tones. In one session correct performance resulted in financial gains at the end of the trial, in a second session incorrect performance resulted in financial loss. Incorrect performance in the rewarded as well as correct performance in the punishment condition resulted in a neutral outcome. The size of gains and losses was either low or high (10 or 50 Euro cent) depending on the direction of frequency modulation. We analyzed neural activity at the end of the trial, during reinforcement, and found increased neural activity in auditory cortex when gaining a financial reward as compared to gaining no reward and when avoiding financial loss as compared to receiving a financial loss. This was independent on the size of gains and losses. A similar pattern of neural activity for both gaining a reward and avoiding a loss was also seen in right middle temporal gyrus, bilateral insula and pre-supplemental motor area, here however neural activity was lower after correct responses compared to incorrect responses. To summarize, this study shows that the activation of sensory cortices, as previously shown for gaining a reward is also seen during avoiding a loss.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    • "b) Active listening Kiehl et al., 2001 1 1 Kiehl et al., 2005 1 1 Müller et al., 2003 2 1 Opitz et al., 1999 1 1 Opitz et al., 2005 2 2 Sabri et al., 2006 6 5 Sevostianov et al., 2002 6 6 Stevens et al., 2000 2 4 Yoshiura et al., 1999 3 3 a For experimental details, see Supplementary Data, Table 2a and 2b. "
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    ABSTRACT: We meta-analyzed 115 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies reporting auditory-cortex (AC) coordinates for activations related to the active and passive processing of the pitch and spatial location of non-speech sounds, as well as to the active and passive speech and voice processing. We aimed at revealing any systematic differences between AC surface locations of these activations by analyzing the activation loci statistically using the open-source Matlab toolbox VAMCA (Visualization and Meta-analysis on Cortical Anatomy). AC activations associated with pitch processing (e.g., active or passive listening to tones with a varying vs. fixed pitch) had median loci in the middle superior temporal gyrus (STG), lateral to Heschl's gyrus. However, median loci of activations due to the processing of infrequent pitch changes in a tone stream were centered in the STG or planum temporale (PT), significantly posterior to the median loci for other types of pitch processing. Median loci of attention-related modulations due to focused attention to pitch (e.g., attending selectively to low or high tones delivered in concurrent sequences) were, in turn, centered in the STG or superior temporal sulcus (STS), posterior to median loci for passive pitch processing. Activations due to spatial processing were centered in the posterior STG or PT, significantly posterior to pitch processing loci (processing of infrequent pitch changes excluded). In the right-hemisphere AC, the median locus of spatial attention-related modulations was in the STS, significantly inferior to the median locus for passive spatial processing. Activations associated with speech processing and those associated with voice processing had indistinguishable median loci at the border of mid-STG and mid-STS. Median loci of attention-related modulations due to attention to speech were in the same mid-STG/STS region. Thus, while attention to the pitch or location of non-speech sounds seems to recruit AC areas not involved in passive pitch or location processing, focused attention to speech predominantly enhances activations in regions that already respond to human vocalizations during passive listening. This suggests that distinct attention mechanisms might be engaged by attention to speech and attention to more elemental auditory features such as tone pitch or location.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Hearing research
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    • "In this neural noise model, a decreased signal-to-noise ratio leads to slowing at information processing stages that generate perceptual representations. Here, increased N1 amplitude may reflect additional neural processing due to a deviation from a (expected) perceptual template or memory trace [52], [53], [54], whereas the N1 is reduced when expectations are fulfilled. However, when older adults expected horizontal motion, their relatively reduced N1 may reflect a decreased signal-to-noise ratio, which might have been insufficient to support proper evaluation of the motion stimuli. "
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    ABSTRACT: Expecting motion in some particular direction biases sensitivity to that direction, which speeds detection of motion. However, the neural processes underlying this effect remain underexplored, especially in the context of normal aging. To address this, we examined younger and older adults' performance in a motion detection task. In separate conditions, the probability was either 50% or 100% that a field of dots would move coherently in the direction a participant expected (either vertically or horizontally). Expectation and aging effects were assessed via response times (RT) to detect motion and electroencephalography (EEG). In both age groups, RTs were fastest when motion was similar to the expected direction of motion. RT tuning curves exhibited a characteristic U-shape such that detection time increased with an increasing deviation from the participant's expected direction. Strikingly, EEG results showed an analogous, hyperbolic curve for N1 amplitude, reflecting neural biasing. Though the form of behavioral and EEG curves did not vary with age, older adults displayed a clear decline in the speed of detection and a corresponding reduction in EEG N1 amplitude when horizontal (but not vertical) motion was expected. Our results suggest that expectation-based detection ability varies with age and, for older adults, also with axis of motion.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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