Dynamic changes in prefrontal cortex involvement during verbal episodic memory formation
During encoding, the neural activity immediately before or during an event can predict whether that event will be later remembered. The contribution of brain activity immediately after an event to memory formation is however less known. Here, we used repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to investigate the temporal dynamics of episodic memory encoding with a focus on post-stimulus time intervals. At encoding, rTMS was applied during the online processing of the word, at its offset, or 100, 200, 300 or 400ms thereafter. rTMS was delivered to the left ventrolateral (VLPFC) or dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). VLPFC rTMS during the first few hundreds of milliseconds after word offset disrupted subsequent recognition accuracy. We did not observe effects of DLPFC rTMS at any time point. These results suggest that verbal encoding-related VLPFC engagement starts at a relatively late processing stage, and may reflect brain processes related to the offset of the stimulus.
Despite extensive research on face recognition, only a few studies have examined the integration of perceptual features with semantic, biographical, and episodic information. In order to address this issue, we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to target the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the left occipital face area (OFA) during a face recognition task. rTMS was delivered during the encoding of "context" faces (i.e., linked to an occupation, e.g., "lawyer") and "no-context" faces (i.e., linked to a nonword pattern, e.g., "xxxx"). Subjects were then asked to perform a recognition memory task. Accuracy at retrieval showed a mild decrease after left OFA stimulation, whereas rTMS over the left IFG drastically compromised memory performance selectively for no-context faces. On the other hand, absence of rTMS interference on context faces might be due either to the fact that pairing an occupation to a face makes the memory trace stronger, therefore less susceptible to rTMS interference, or to a different functional specificity of the left IFG subregions.
Previous research showed that under uncertainty (when we are not sure about what the correct answer is) in informal contexts such as chatting with friends, we tend to provide any retrieved information indiscriminately. However, in more formal contexts, like a job interview, we apply a more conservative threshold and balance reporting some information while withholding other answers as a way to provide some information while keeping the accuracy high, if possible. The left medial prefrontal cortex (lmPFC) was suggested as one of the areas linked with self-referential processing in metacognitive decisions. In the present research, we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to assess the involvement of the lmPFC in two different types of social contexts: formal and informal. Three groups of participants were exposed for 15 minutes to an offline 1-Hz rTMS stimulation of either: (1) lmPFC, (2) control site (rmPFC) or (3) sham (placebo stimulation). Afterwards, participants answered difficult general knowledge questions and rated their confidence in the correctness of their answers. Finally, they decided if they would report or withhold those answers in a formal (job interview) and in informal (chatting with friends) contexts. There were significantly more reported than withheld answers in the informal context for all three groups. However, in the formal context, there were more withheld than reported answers in the lmPFC group, with no differences in the other two groups. No differences in confidence ratings between groups were found. These results suggest a selective involvement of the lmPFC in self-monitoring in formal contexts; its inhibition seems to highlight the need of accuracy in our answers in a job interview over the socially more acceptable behaviour of always providing an answer when asked.
Event-related repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can dynamically interfere with the memory encoding of complex visual scenes. Here, we investigated the critical time elapsing from stimulus presentation to the formation of an effective memory trace by delivering rTMS (900 ms at 20 Hz) during the encoding of visual scenes at different poststimulus delays (from 100 to 500 ms) in 28 healthy volunteers. The stimulation delay showed a robust inverse correlation with the correct retrieval of encoded images. In particular, rTMS stimulation delivered with a delay of 500 ms and lasting for 400 ms after stimulus offset resulted in a huge drop in retrieval accuracy. Such a timing suggests that rTMS affects the formation of long-term memory through interference with postperceptual executive processes, rather than with perceptual analysis of the stimuli. The effect was specific for stimulation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), whereas rTMS applied to the right DLPFC, vertex (active control site), as well as sham stimulation (placebo) did not affect accuracy. These results confirm the crucial role of the left DLPFC in encoding and provide novel information about the critical timing of its engagement in the formation, consolidation, and maintenance of the memory trace.
Most of us use numbers daily for counting, estimating quantities or formal mathematics, yet despite their importance our understanding of the brain correlates of these processes is still evolving. A neurofunctional model of mental arithmetic, proposed more than a decade ago, stimulated a substantial body of research in this area. Using quantitative meta-analyses of fMRI studies we identified brain regions concordant among studies that used number and calculation tasks. These tasks elicited activity in a set of common regions such as the inferior parietal lobule; however, the regions in which they differed were most notable, such as distinct areas of prefrontal cortices for specific arithmetic operations. Given the current knowledge, we propose an updated topographical brain atlas of mental arithmetic with improved interpretative power.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.