Used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (used + functional_magnetic_resonance_imaging)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Sensori-motor experience leads to changes in visual processing in the developing brain

Karin Harman James
Since Broca's studies on language processing, cortical functional specialization has been considered to be integral to efficient neural processing. A fundamental question in cognitive neuroscience concerns the type of learning that is required for functional specialization to develop. To address this issue with respect to the development of neural specialization for letters, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activation patterns in pre-school children before and after different letter-learning conditions: a sensori-motor group practised printing letters during the learning phase, while the control group practised visual recognition. Results demonstrated an overall left-hemisphere bias for processing letters in these pre-literate participants, but, more interestingly, showed enhanced blood oxygen-level-dependent activation in the visual association cortex during letter perception only after sensori-motor (printing) learning. It is concluded that sensori-motor experience augments processing in the visual system of pre-school children. The change of activation in these neural circuits provides important evidence that ,learning-by-doing' can lay the foundation for, and potentially strengthen, the neural systems used for visual letter recognition. [source]

Involvement of the human frontal eye field and multiple parietal areas in covert visual selection during conjunction search

Tobias Donner
Abstract Searching for a target object in a cluttered visual scene requires active visual attention if the target differs from distractors not by elementary visual features but rather by a feature conjunction. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in human subjects to investigate the functional neuroanatomy of attentional mechanisms employed during conjunction search. In the experimental condition, subjects searched for a target defined by a conjunction of colour and orientation. In the baseline condition, subjects searched for a uniquely coloured target, regardless of its orientation. Eye movement recordings outside the scanner verified subjects' ability to maintain fixation during search. Reaction times indicated that the experimental condition was attentionally more demanding than the baseline condition. Differential activations between conditions were therefore ascribed to top-down modulation of neural activity. The frontal eye field, the ventral precentral sulcus and the following posterior parietal regions were consistently activated: (i) the postcentral sulcus; (ii) the posterior; and (iii) the anterior part of the intraparietal sulcus; and (iv) the junction of the intraparietal with the transverse occipital sulcus. Parietal regions were spatially distinct and displayed differential amplitudes of signal increase with a maximal amplitude in the posterior intraparietal sulcus. Less consistent activation was found in the lateral fusiform gyrus. These results suggest an involvement of the human frontal eye field in covert visual selection of potential targets during search. These results also provide evidence for a subdivision of posterior parietal cortex in multiple areas participating in covert visual selection, with a major contribution of the posterior intraparietal sulcus. [source]

Differential amygdala responses to winning and losing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in humans

Tiziana Zalla
Abstract The amygdala has been shown to respond to many distinct types of affective stimuli, including reward and punishment feedback in animals. In humans, winning and losing situations can be considered as reward and punishment experiences, respectively. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure regional brain activity when human subjects were given feedback on their performance during a simple response time task in a fictitious competitive tournament. Lexical stimuli were used to convey positive ,win' or negative ,lose' feedback. The frequency of positive and negative trials was parametrically varied by the experimenters independently from the subjects' actual performance and unbeknownst to them. The results showed that the parametric increase of winning was associated with left amygdala activation whereas the parametric increase of losing was associated with right amygdala activation. These findings provide functional evidence that the human amygdala differentially responds to changes in magnitude of positive or negative reinforcement conveyed by lexical stimuli. [source]

The neural origins of superficial and individuated judgments about ingroup and outgroup members

Jonathan B. Freeman
Abstract We often form impressions of others based on superficial information, such as a mere glimpse of their face. Given the opportunity to get to know someone, however, our judgments are allowed to become more individuated. The neural origins of these two types of social judgment remain unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to dissociate the neural mechanisms underlying superficial and individuated judgments. Given behavioral evidence demonstrating impairments in individuating others outside one's racial group, we additionally examined whether these neural mechanisms are race-selective. Superficial judgments recruited the amygdala. Individuated judgments engaged a cortical network implicated in mentalizing and theory of mind. One component of this mentalizing network showed selectivity to individuated judgments, but exclusively for targets of one's own race. The findings reveal the distinct,and race-selective,neural bases of our everyday superficial and individuated judgments of others. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Brain responses to auditory and visual stimulus offset: Shared representations of temporal edges

Marcus Herdener
Abstract Edges are crucial for the formation of coherent objects from sequential sensory inputs within a single modality. Moreover, temporally coincident boundaries of perceptual objects across different sensory modalities facilitate crossmodal integration. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging in order to examine the neural basis of temporal edge detection across modalities. Onsets of sensory inputs are not only related to the detection of an edge but also to the processing of novel sensory inputs. Thus, we used transitions from input to rest (offsets) as convenient stimuli for studying the neural underpinnings of visual and acoustic edge detection per se. We found, besides modality-specific patterns, shared visual and auditory offset-related activity in the superior temporal sulcus and insula of the right hemisphere. Our data suggest that right hemispheric regions known to be involved in multisensory processing are crucial for detection of edges in the temporal domain across both visual and auditory modalities. This operation is likely to facilitate cross-modal object feature binding based on temporal coincidence. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Changes in neural activity associated with learning to articulate novel auditory pseudowords by covert repetition

Andreas M. Rauschecker
Abstract Learning to articulate novel combinations of phonemes that form new words through a small number of auditory exposures is crucial for development of language and our capacity for fluent speech, yet the underlying neural mechanisms are largely unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to reveal repetition,suppression effects accompanying such learning and reflecting discrete changes in brain activity due to stimulus-specific fine-tuning of neural representations. In an event-related design, subjects were repeatedly exposed to auditory pseudowords, which they covertly repeated. Covert responses during scanning and postscanning overt responses showed evidence of learning. An extensive set of regions activated bilaterally when listening to and covertly repeating novel pseudoword stimuli. Activity decreased, with repeated exposures, in a subset of these areas mostly in the left hemisphere, including premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal cortex, and cerebellum. The changes most likely reflect more efficient representation of the articulation patterns of these novel words in two connected systems, one involved in the perception of pseudoword stimuli (in the left superior temporal cortex) and one for processing the output of speech (in the left frontal cortex). Both of these systems contribute to vocal learning. Hum Brain Mapp 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Enhanced amygdala and medial prefrontal activation during nonconscious processing of fear in posttraumatic stress disorder: An fMRI study

Richard A. Bryant
Abstract Biological models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggest that patients will display heightened amygdala but decreased medial prefrontal activity during processing of fear stimuli. However, a rapid and automatic alerting mechanism for responding to nonconscious signals of fear suggests that PTSD may display heightened rather than decreased MPFC under nonconscious processing of fear stimuli. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine blood oxygenation level-dependent signal changes during nonconscious presentation (16.7 ms, masked) of fearful and neutral faces in 15 participants with PTSD and 15 age and sex-matched healthy control participants. Results indicate that PTSD participants display increased amygdala and MPFC activity during nonconscious processing of fearful faces. These data extend existing models by suggesting that the impaired MPFC activation in PTSD may be limited to conscious fear processing. Hum Brain Mapp, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Medial temporal lobe activity at recognition increases with the duration of mnemonic delay during an object working memory task

Marco Picchioni
Abstract Object working memory (WM) engages a disseminated neural network, although the extent to which the length of time that data is held in WM influences regional activity within this network is unclear. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study a delayed matching to sample task in 14 healthy subjects, manipulating the duration of mnemonic delay. Across all lengths of delay, successful recognition was associated with the bilateral engagement of the inferior and middle frontal gyri and insula, the medial and inferior temporal, dorsal anterior cingulate and the posterior parietal cortices. As the length of time that data was held in WM increased, activation at recognition increased in the medial temporal, medial occipito-temporal, anterior cingulate and posterior parietal cortices. These results confirm the components of an object WM network required for successful recognition, and suggest that parts of this network, including the medial temporal cortex, are sensitive to the duration of mnemonic delay. Hum Brain Mapp 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

A developmental fMRI study of self-regulatory control

Rachel Marsh
Abstract We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural correlates of self-regulatory control across development in healthy individuals performing the Stroop interference task. Proper performance of the task requires the engagement of self-regulatory control to inhibit an automatized response (reading) in favor of another, less automatic response (color naming). Functional MRI scans were acquired from a sample of 70 healthy individuals ranging in age from 7 to 57 years. We measured task-related regional signal changes across the entire cerebrum and conducted correlation analyses to assess the associations of signal activation with age and with behavioral performance. The magnitude of fMRI signal change increased with age in the right inferolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area [BA] 44/45) and right lenticular nucleus. Greater activation of the right inferolateral prefrontal cortex also accompanied better performance. Activity in the right frontostriatal systems increased with age and with better response inhibition, consistent with the known functions of frontostriatal circuits in self-regulatory control. Age-related deactivations in the mesial prefrontal cortex (BA 10), subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (BA 24), and posterior cingulate cortex (BA 31) likely represented the greater engagement of adults in self-monitoring and free associative thought processes during the easier baseline task, consistent with the improved performance on this task in adults compared with children. Although we cannot exclude the possibility that age-related changes in reading ability or in the strategies used to optimize task performance were responsible for our findings, the correlations of brain activation with performance suggest that changes in frontostriatal activity with age underlie the improvement in self-regulatory control that characterizes normal human development. Hum Brain Mapp, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Using fMRI to dissociate sensory encoding from cognitive evaluation of heat pain intensity

Jian Kong
Abstract Neuroimaging studies of painful stimuli in humans have identified a network of brain regions that is more extensive than identified previously in electrophysiological and anatomical studies of nociceptive pathways. This extensive network has been described as a pain matrix of brain regions that mediate the many interrelated aspects of conscious processing of nociceptive input such as perception, evaluation, affective response, and emotional memory. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy human subjects to distinguish brain regions required for pain sensory encoding from those required for cognitive evaluation of pain intensity. The results suggest that conscious cognitive evaluation of pain intensity in the absence of any sensory stimulation activates a network that includes bilateral anterior insular cortex/frontal operculum, dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, bilateral medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex, right superior parietal cortex, inferior parietal lobule, orbital prefrontal cortex, and left occipital cortex. Increased activity common to both encoding and evaluation was observed in bilateral anterior insula/frontal operculum and medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex. We hypothesize that these two regions play a crucial role in bridging the encoding of pain sensation and the cognitive processing of sensory input. Hum Brain Mapp, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Tactile discrimination of grating orientation: fMRI activation patterns

Minming Zhang
Abstract Grating orientation discrimination is employed widely to test tactile spatial acuity. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural circuitry underlying performance of this task. Two studies were carried out. In the first study, an extensive set of parietal and frontal cortical areas was activated during covert task performance, relative to a rest baseline. The active regions included the postcentral sulcus bilaterally and foci in the left parietal operculum, left anterior intraparietal sulcus, and bilateral premotor and prefrontal cortex. The second study examined selective recruitment of cortical areas during discrimination of grating orientation (a task with a macrospatial component) compared to discrimination of grating spacing (a purely microspatial task). The foci activated on this contrast were in the left anterior intraparietal sulcus, right postcentral sulcus and gyrus, left parieto-occipital cortex, bilateral frontal eye fields, and bilateral ventral premotor cortex. These findings not only confirm and extend previous studies of the neural processing underlying grating orientation discrimination, but also demonstrate that a distributed network of putatively multisensory areas is involved. Hum Brain Mapp, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Functional brain mapping during free viewing of natural scenes

Andreas Bartels
Abstract Previous imaging studies have used mostly perceptually abstracted, idealized, or static stimuli to show segregation of function in the cerebral cortex. We wanted to learn whether functional segregation is maintained during more natural, complex, and dynamic conditions when many features have to be processed simultaneously, and identify regions whose activity correlates with the perception of specific features. To achieve this, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity when human observers viewed freely dynamic natural scenes (a James Bond movie). The intensity with which they perceived different features (color, faces, language, and human bodies) was assessed psychometrically in separate sessions. In all subjects different features were perceived with a high degree of independence over time. We found that the perception of each feature correlated with activity in separate, specialized areas whose activity also varied independently. We conclude that even in natural conditions, when many features have to be processed simultaneously, functional specialization is preserved. Our method thus opens a new way of brain mapping, which allows the localization of a multitude of brain areas based on a single experiment using uncontrolled, natural stimuli. Furthermore, our results show that the intensity of activity in a specialized area is linearly correlated with the intensity of its perceptual experience. This leads us to suggest that each specialized area is directly responsible for the creation of a feature-specific conscious percept (a microconsciousness). Hum. Brain Mapp. 21:75,83, 2004. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

BOLD Response During Spatial Working Memory in Youth With Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

ALCOHOLISM, Issue 12 2009
Andrea D. Spadoni
Background:, Prenatal alcohol exposure has been consistently linked to neurocognitive deficits and structural brain abnormalities in affected individuals. Structural brain abnormalities observed in regions supporting spatial working memory (SWM) may contribute to observed deficits in visuospatial functioning in youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Methods:, We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response in alcohol-exposed individuals during a SWM task. There were 22 young subjects (aged 10,18 years) with documented histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (ALC, n = 10), and age- and sex-matched controls (CON, n = 12). Subjects performed a SWM task during fMRI that alternated between 2-back location matching (SWM) and simple attention (vigilance) conditions. Results:, Groups did not differ on task accuracy or reaction time to the SWM condition, although CON subjects had faster reaction times during the vigilance condition (617 millisecond vs. 684 millisecond, p = 0.03). Both groups showed similar overall patterns of activation to the SWM condition in expected regions encompassing bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal lobes and parietal areas. However, ALC subjects showed greater BOLD response to the demands of the SWM relative to the vigilance condition in frontal, insular, superior, and middle temporal, occipital, and subcortical regions. CON youth evidenced less increased brain activation to the SWM relative to the vigilance task in these areas (p < 0.05, clusters > 1,664 ,l). These differences remained significant after including Full Scale IQ as a covariate. Similar qualitative results were obtained after subjects taking stimulant medication were excluded from the analysis. Conclusions:, In the context of equivalent performance to a SWM task, the current results suggest that widespread increases in BOLD response in youth with FASDs could either indicate decreased efficiency of relevant brain networks, or serve as a compensatory mechanism for deficiency at neural and/or cognitive levels. In context of existing fMRI evidence of heightened prefrontal activation in response to verbal working memory and inhibition demands, the present findings may indicate that frontal structures are taxed to a greater degree during cognitive demands in individuals with FASDs. [source]

Incentive-elicited mesolimbic activation and externalizing symptomatology in adolescents

James M. Bjork
Background:, Opponent-process theories of externalizing disorders (ExD) attribute them to some combination of overactive reward processing systems and/or underactive behavior inhibition systems. Reward processing has been indexed by recruitment of incentive-motivational neurocircuitry of the ventral striatum (VS), including nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Methods:, We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with an incentive task to determine whether externalizing symptomatology in adolescence is correlated with an enhanced VS recruitment by cues for rewards, or by deliveries of rewards. Twelve community-recruited adolescents with externalizing disorders (AED) and 12 age/gender-matched controls responded to targets to win or avoid losing $0, $0.20, $1, $5, or an unknown amount (ranging from $0.20 to $5). Results:, Cues to respond for rewards activated the NAcc (relative to cues for no incentive), in both subject groups similarly, with greatest NAcc recruitment by cues for the largest reward. Loss-anticipatory NAcc signal increase was detected in a volume-of-interest analysis , but this increase occurred only in trials when subjects hit the target. Relative to controls, AED showed significantly elevated NAcc activation by a linear contrast between reward notification versus notification of failure to win reward. In a post hoc reanalysis, VS and pregenual anterior cingulate activation by the reward versus non-reward outcome contrast also directly correlated with Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Externalizing total scores (across all subjects) in lieu of a binary diagnosis. Finally, both groups showed right insula activation by loss notifications (contrasted with avoided losses). Conclusions:, Externalizing behavior, whether assessed dimensionally with a questionnaire, or in the form of a diagnostic categorization, is associated with an exaggerated limbic response to outcomes of reward-directed behavior. This could be a neurobiological signature of the behavioral sensitivity to laboratory reward delivery that is characteristic of children with externalizing symptomatology. Of interest is future research on incentive-motivational processing in more severe, clinically referred AED. [source]

Abnormal activity in reward brain circuits in human narcolepsy with cataplexy

Aurélie Ponz PhD
Objective Hypothalamic hypocretins (or orexins) regulate energy metabolism and arousal maintenance. Recent animal research suggests that hypocretins may also influence reward-related behaviors. In humans, the loss of hypocretin-containing neurons results in a major sleep-wake disorder called narcolepsy-cataplexy, which is associated with emotional disturbances. Here, we aim to test whether narcoleptic patients show an abnormal pattern of brain activity during reward processing. Methods We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in 12 unmedicated patients with narcolepsy-cataplexy to measure the neural responses to expectancy and experience of monetary gains and losses. We statistically compared the patients' data with those obtained in a group of 12 healthy matched controls. Results and Interpretation Our results reveal that activity in the dopaminergic ventral midbrain (ventral tegmental area) was not modulated in narcolepsy-cataplexy patients during high reward expectancy (unlike controls), and that ventral striatum activity was reduced during winning. By contrast, the patients showed abnormal activity increases in the amygdala and in dorsal striatum for positive outcomes. In addition, we found that activity in the nucleus accumbens and the ventral-medial prefrontal cortex correlated with disease duration, suggesting that an alternate neural circuit could be privileged over the years to control affective responses to emotional challenges and compensate for the lack of influence from ventral midbrain regions. Our study offers a detailed picture of the distributed brain network involved during distinct stages of reward processing and shows for the first time, to our knowledge, how this network is affected in hypocretin-deficient narcoleptic patients. ANN NEUROL 2010;67:190,200 [source]

Functional neuroimaging of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty

Sam Harris
Objective The difference between believing and disbelieving a proposition is one of the most potent regulators of human behavior and emotion. When one accepts a statement as true, it becomes the basis for further thought and action; rejected as false, it remains a string of words. The purpose of this study was to differentiate belief, disbelief, and uncertainty at the level of the brain. Methods We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brains of 14 adults while they judged written statements to be "true" (belief), "false" (disbelief), or "undecidable" (uncertainty). To characterize belief, disbelief, and uncertainty in a content-independent manner, we included statements from a wide range of categories: autobiographical, mathematical, geographical, religious, ethical, semantic, and factual. Results The states of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty differentially activated distinct regions of the prefrontal and parietal cortices, as well as the basal ganglia. Interpretation Belief and disbelief differ from uncertainty in that both provide information that can subsequently inform behavior and emotion. The mechanism underlying this difference appears to involve the anterior cingulate cortex and the caudate. Although many areas of higher cognition are likely involved in assessing the truth-value of linguistic propositions, the final acceptance of a statement as "true" or its rejection as "false" appears to rely on more primitive, hedonic processing in the medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula. Truth may be beauty, and beauty truth, in more than a metaphorical sense, and false propositions may actually disgust us. Ann Neurol 2007 [source]