57th Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) Annual Meeting (October 11-15, 2017, Vienna, Austria)
The SPR Annual Meeting is attended by scientists, researchers and industry professionals from around the world. The meeting includes presentations of new theory, methods and research in the form of invited addresses, symposia, poster sessions and Presidential and Award addresses. Pre-conference workshops are also offered on specific topics or methodological advances.
The theory of embodied cognition suggests that word meaning resides on the motor and sensory body experience. In order to understand the nature of human language, it is important to decipher how the brain links word meaning with sensory-motor experience. We developed an experimental procedure that allowed investigating acquisition of word meaning by way of rapid associative trial-and-error learning. Eight pseudowords were presented to the participants; four of them were assigned to left and right hand and foot movements, while the other pseudowords did not require actions and were used as controls. Participants were instructed to learn the relations between the pseudowords and actions through a trial-and-error motor learning procedure. Auditory feedback was delivered on each trial informing whether response was correct or erroneous. Magnetoencephalogram was recorded during passive listening of the pseudowords before and after learning. The cortical sources of the magnetic evoked responses were reconstructed using distributed source modeling (MNE software). Neural responses to newly learnt words compared to control pseudowords were significantly enhanced in temporal and frontal cortical regions surrounding the Sylvan fissure of the left hemisphere. This activation was inversely related to the number of trials needed for participants to reach the learning threshold. Thus, our findings revealed a neural signature of rapid associative learning of word meaning and highlighted the role of sensory-motor transformation for association-grounded word semantics.
Supported by RFBR grant 17-29-02168.
RESPONSE TIME IS RELATED TO ATTENTION AND CERTAINTY: EVIDENCE FROM RESPONSE-RELATED AND FEEDBACK-RELATED ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHIC OSCILLATORY ACTIVITY
Yulia M. Nurislamova, Natalia A. Zhozhikashvili, Nikita A. Novikov, Elena G. Chernysheva, Ruslan Khalmuratov, Boris V. Chernyshev
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Cognitive control can be viewed as an interplay between two constituent aspects: maintenance of task-specific processes related to attention, and non-specific regulation of motor threshold, both of them having strong influence on response accuracy and response time. Specifically, slow responses (both correct and erroneous ones) may be related to decreased attention and uncertainty. In the current study, we aimed to find out if response time might be a valid approximation distinguishing trials with high and low levels of attention and decision uncertainty. We used the auditory version of the condensation task, which is highly demanding for sustained attention while involves no inhibition of prepotent responses. We analyzed power and topography of EEG oscillations in theta, alpha, and beta frequency bands; we focused on response-related and feedback-related modulations, since “internal” response-related outcome detection is likely in conditions of attention and certainly, while “external” feedback-related outcome detection is more likely in conditions of inattention and uncertainty. We found that error-related frontal midline theta was strongest on fast erroneous trials. Late post-response posterior alpha suppression was strongest on slow erroneous trials. Feedback-related frontal beta was strongest on slow correct trials. This cumulatively supports our hypothesis and suggests that response time allows distinguishing the two types of trials, with slow trials related to lower levels of attention and higher uncertainty.
The study was implemented in the framework of The Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2017.
Feature binding is an essential aspect of sensory perception, since most realistic objects can be identified only by grasping conjunctions of multiple features and their patterns. Psychophysiological mechanisms of this phenomenon are still under debate; importantly, mutually exclusive points of view exist concerning the role of attention in feature binding. The current study aimed at testing the hypothesis that mismatch negativity (MMN) to specific feature conjunctions may depend upon attention. Two experiments were conducted in the auditory and visual modalities respectively. Within each experiment, we used four stimuli that differed in two distinctive features, with two feature conjunctions designated as standards, and two feature conjunctions designated as deviants. Features used in the auditory modality were tone pitch and location; Gabor grating orientation and spatial frequency were used in the visual modality. Attentional modulation involved four conditions: selective attention to targets, selective ignoring of nontargets, nonselective attention within a given modality, and deviation of attention to a task in a different modality. The basic finding was that MMN was evident only in conditions of within-modality attention. MMN was reduced or abolished in response to ignored feature conjunctions, as well as in conditions of the cross-modal distraction of attention. Thus, contrary to previous studies of MMN under feature conjunctions, our data show that the preattentive stage of feature conjunction processing requires a proper top-down attentional influence.
Supported by Russian Foundation for Humanities, project No 15-06-10742.