Neural Mechanisms of the Postdecisional Spreading-of-Alternatives Effect: EEG Study
Humans are unique in developing large lexicons as their communication tool; to achieve this, they are able to learn new words rapidly. However, neural bases of this rapid learning, which may be an expression of a more general cognitive mechanism likely rooted in plasticity at cellular and synaptic levels, are not yet understood. In this update, the author highlights a selection of recent studies that attempted to trace word learning in the human brain noninvasively. A number of brain areas, most notably in hippocampus and neocortex, appear to take part in word acquisition. Critically, the currently available data not only demonstrate the hippocampal role in rapid encoding followed by slow-rate consolidation of cortical word memory traces but also suggest immediate neocortical involvement in the word memory trace formation. Echoing early behavioral studies in ultra-rapid word learning, the reviewed neuroimaging experiments can be taken to suggest that our brain may effectively form new cortical circuits online, as it gets exposed to novel linguistic patterns in the sensory input.
Language is a uniquely human cognitive function which plays a defining role in our psychological and social traits. Despite the obvious importance of language and speech, they remain one of the least understood human cognitive functions with the cortical underpinnings of these crucial skills still obscure. In recent decades, a large amount of data that account for the neural bases of language processes in both children and adults have been acquired through the use of many advanced neurophysiology techniques. These include high-density electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, functional magnetic-resonance tomography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and eye-tracking. The combined use of these approaches continues to shed light on brain mechanisms of language acquisition, comprehension and processing, on speech disorders and their treatment, and on interactions between language and other neurocognitive systems and functions. The aim of this Research Topic in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience is to provide a state-of-the-art overview of this diverse and multidisciplinary area of research, with special emphasis on bridging the gap between different methodologies.
Taking a vegetal motif in Proust's novel "A la recherche du temps perdu" as an example, the paper considers some problems connected with the text understanding and its semantic interpretation.
Proceedings of the conference "Cognitive Science in Moscow: New Research" (June 19, 2019).
Connectivity measures are (typically bivariate) statistical measures that may be used to estimate interactions between brain regions from electrophysiological data. We review both formal and informal descriptions of a range of such measures, suitable for the analysis of human brain electrophysiological data, principally electro- and magnetoencephalography. Methods are described in the space–time,space–frequency, and space–time–frequency domains. Signal processing and information theoretic measures are considered, and linear and nonlinear methods are distinguished. A novel set of crosstime–frequency measures is introduced, including a cross-time–frequency phase synchronization measure.
The theory of cognitive dissonance suggests that individuals prefer new incoming information to be consistent with already existing knowledge. Conflicting or inconsistent information results in an emotionally uncomfortable state called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that a choice between two similarly valued alternatives creates psychological tension (cognitive dissonance) that is reduced by a post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. According to the action-based model of cognitive dissonance, activity in the posterior medial prefrontal cortex (pMFC) underlies the detection of cognitive conflicts and the reduction of the dissonance. Nevertheless, the neurocomputational foundation of cognitive dissonance remains unclear. In this study, for the first time we show that cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the pMFC significantly reduced post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. An ongoing follow-up study that applied anodal tDCS to the pMFC preliminarily showed a tendency to increase choice-induced preference changes. Our results suggest that cognitive dissonance, underlined by the activity of the prefrontal cortex, is a part of the performance-monitoring circuitry
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.
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.