Center for Behavioral Brain Science

Magdeburg, Germany

Center for Behavioral Brain Science

Magdeburg, Germany

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Ye Z.,Peking University | Ye Z.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Hammer A.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Camara E.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2011

Pramipexole is widely prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease. It has been found to cause impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling. To examine how pramipexole modulates the network of reward anticipation, we carried out a pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging study with a double-blind, within-subject design. During the anticipation of monetary rewards, pramipexole increased the activity of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), enhanced the interaction between the NAcc and the anterior insula, but weakened the interaction between the NAcc and the prefrontal cortex. These results suggest that pramipexole may exaggerate incentive and affective responses to possible rewards, but reduce the top-down control of impulses, leading to an increase in impulsive behaviors. This imbalance between the prefrontal-striatum connectivity and the insula-striatum connectivity may represent the neural mechanism of pathological gambling caused by pramipexole. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Peterson A.J.,Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology | Irvine D.R.F.,Monash University | Irvine D.R.F.,Bionics Institute | Heil P.,Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology | Heil P.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2014

In mammalian auditory systems, the spiking characteristics of each primary afferent (type I auditory-nerve fiber; ANF) are mainly determined by a single ribbon synapse in a single receptor cell (inner hair cell; IHC).ANFspike trains therefore provide a window into the operation of these synapses and cells. It was demonstrated previously (Heil et al., 2007) that the distribution of interspike intervals (ISIs) of cat ANFs during spontaneous activity can be modeled as resulting from refractoriness operating on a non-Poisson stochastic point process of excitation (transmitter release events from the IHC). Here,weinvestigate nonrenewal properties of these cat-ANF spontaneous spike trains, manifest as negative serial ISI correlations and reduced spike-count variability over short timescales.Apreviously discussed excitatory process, the constrained failure of events from a homogeneous Poisson point process, can account for these properties, but does not offer a parsimonious explanation for certain trends in the data. We then investigate a three-parameter model of vesicle-pool depletion and replenishment and find that it accounts for all experimental observations, including the ISI distributions, with only the release probability varying between spike trains. The maximum number of units (single vesicles or groups of simultaneously released vesicles) in the readily releasable pool and their replenishment time constant can be assumed to be constant (∼4 and 13.5 ms, respectively). We suggest that the organization of the IHC ribbon synapses not only enables sustained release of neurotransmitter but also imposes temporal regularity on the release process, particularly when operating at high rates. © 2014 the authors.

Daniel R.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Daniel R.,Princeton University | Pollmann S.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Pollmann S.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory | Year: 2014

Reinforcement learning enables organisms to adjust their behavior in order to maximize rewards. Electrophysiological recordings of dopaminergic midbrain neurons have shown that they code the difference between actual and predicted rewards, i.e., the reward prediction error, in many species. This error signal is conveyed to both the striatum and cortical areas and is thought to play a central role in learning to optimize behavior. However, in human daily life rewards are diverse and often only indirect feedback is available. Here we explore the range of rewards that are processed by the dopaminergic system in human participants, and examine whether it is also involved in learning in the absence of explicit rewards. While results from electrophysiological recordings in humans are sparse, evidence linking dopaminergic activity to the metabolic signal recorded from the midbrain and striatum with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is available. Results from fMRI studies suggest that the human ventral striatum (VS) receives valuation information for a diverse set of rewarding stimuli. These range from simple primary reinforcers such as juice rewards over abstract social rewards to internally generated signals on perceived correctness, suggesting that the VS is involved in learning from trial-and-error irrespective of the specific nature of provided rewards. In addition, we summarize evidence that the VS can also be implicated when learning from observing others, and in tasks that go beyond simple stimulus-action-outcome learning, indicating that the reward system is also recruited in more complex learning tasks. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Geringswald F.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Baumgartner F.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Pollmann S.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Pollmann S.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2012

In the contextual cueing paradigm, incidental visual learning of repeated distractor configurations leads to faster search times in repeated compared to new displays. This contextual cueing is closely linked to the visual exploration of the search arrays as indicated by fewer fixations and more efficient scan paths in repeated search arrays. Here, we examined contextual cueing under impaired visual exploration induced by a simulated central scotoma that causes the participant to rely on extrafoveal vision. We let normal-sighted participants search for the target either under unimpaired viewing conditions or with a gaze-contingent central scotoma masking the currently fixated area. Under unimpaired viewing conditions, participants revealed shorter search times and more efficient exploration of the display for repeated compared to novel search arrays and thus exhibited contextual cueing. When visual search was impaired by the central scotoma, search facilitation for repeated displays was eliminated. These results indicate that a loss of foveal sight, as it is commonly observed in maculopathies, e.g., may lead to deficits in high-level visual functions well beyond the immediate consequences of a scotoma. © 2012 Geringswald, Baum- gartner and Pollmann.

Meis S.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Meis S.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Endres T.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Lessmann V.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Lessmann V.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2012

The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is known to regulate synaptic plasticity and memory formation in the hippocampus and the neocortex of the mammalian brain. In contrast, a role of BDNF in mediating synaptic plasticity and fear learning in the amygdala is just beginning to evolve. Using patch clamp recordings from projection neurons of the dorsal lateral amygdala (LA) in acute slices of mice, we now investigated the cellular mechanism of BDNF-mediated long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in the amygdala. LTP was elicited in cortical and thalamic synaptic inputs by pairing postsynaptic depolarisation with presynaptic stimulation. LTP in the cortico-amygdala pathway was not changed in heterozygous BDNF-knockout (BDNF +/-) mice. In contrast, pairing induced LTP in the thalamic input was abolished in BDNF +/- mice (BDNF +/-: 104.0 ± 5.7% of initial EPSC values; WT: 132.5 ± 7.3%). Likewise, inhibition of BDNF/TrkB signalling with TrkB-IgGs as scavenger molecules for endogenous BDNF blocked LTP in wild-type mice in this pathway (TrkB-IgG: 102.7 ± 6.9% of initial EPSC values; control: 132.5 ± 8.7%). Inclusion of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor K252a in the pipette solution also prevented the induction of LTP in the thalamic pathway, indicating a postsynaptic site of action of BDNF in regulating LTP. Reduced BDNF levels in BDNF +/- mice did not affect intrinsic membrane properties of LA projection neurons. Likewise, presynaptic glutamate release, and postsynaptic membrane properties also remained unaffected in BDNF +/- mice. These data suggest a postsynaptic site of action of BDNF in mediating LTP selectively in the thalamic fear conditioning pathway. © 2012 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2012 The Physiological Society.

Endrass T.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Endrass T.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Ullsperger M.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Ullsperger M.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Ullsperger M.,Radboud University Nijmegen
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2014

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by overactivity in frontal and striatal brain regions, and event-related potential studies have shown increased brain activity during performance monitoring. The error-related negativity (ERN) is a component of the event-related potential that is observed following incorrect responses, and signals the need for behavioral adjustments. ERN enhancements have even been considered as a biomarker or endophenotype of OCD. However over the past years, enhanced ERN amplitudes, although less reliably, were also found in anxiety and affective disorders. These results question the specificity of ERN alterations to OCD. The present review summarizes current findings on performance monitoring and feedback processing in OCD and their relation to behavioral measures. Further, it discusses possible differential mechanisms contributing to amplitude variations in different clinical conditions. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Ullsperger M.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Ullsperger M.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Ullsperger M.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Ullsperger M.,University of Oxford | And 8 more authors.
Physiological Reviews | Year: 2014

Successful goal-directed behavior requires not only correct action selection, planning, and execution but also the ability to flexibly adapt behavior when performance problems occur or the environment changes. A prerequisite for determining the necessity, type, and magnitude of adjustments is to continuously monitor the course and outcome of one's actions. Feedback-control loops correcting deviations from intended states constitute a basic functional principle of adaptation at all levels of the nervous system. Here, we review the neurophysiology of evaluating action course and outcome with respect to their valence, i.e., reward and punishment, and initiating short- and long-term adaptations, learning, and decisions. Based on studies in humans and other mammals, we outline the physiological principles of performance monitoring and subsequent cognitive, motivational, autonomic, and behavioral adaptation and link them to the underlying neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, psychological theories, and computational models. We provide an overview of invasive and noninvasive systemic measures, such as electrophysiological, neuroimaging, and lesion data. We describe how a wide network of brain areas encompassing frontal cortices, basal ganglia, thalamus, and monoaminergic brain stem nuclei detects and evaluates deviations of actual from predicted states indicating changed action costs or outcomes. This information is used to learn and update stimulus and action values, guide action selection, and recruit adaptive mechanisms that compensate errors and optimize goal achievement. © 2014 the American Physiological Society.

Ullsperger M.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Ullsperger M.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Ullsperger M.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Fischer A.G.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | And 5 more authors.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences | Year: 2014

Successful goal-directed behavior critically depends on performance monitoring, a set of cognitive and affective functions determining whether adaptive control is needed and, if so, which type and magnitude is required. Knowledge of the brain structures involved in such a process has grown enormously, although the time course of performance-monitoring (PM) activity remains poorly understood. Here, we review evidence from EEG recordings in humans and show that monitored events elicit a rather uniform sequence of cortical activity reflecting the detection, accumulation, and weighting of evidence for the necessity to adapt and (re)act. We link the EEG findings with invasive and pharmacological findings and evaluate the neurobiological plausibility of current theories of PM. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Heil P.,Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology | Heil P.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
JARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology | Year: 2014

Absolute auditory threshold decreases with increasing sound duration, a phenomenon explainable by the assumptions that the sound evokes neural events whose probabilities of occurrence are proportional to the sound's amplitude raised to an exponent of about 3 and that a constant number of events are required for threshold (Heil and Neubauer, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:6151-6156, 2003). Based on this probabilistic model and on the assumption of perfect binaural summation, an equation is derived here that provides an explicit expression of the binaural threshold as a function of the two monaural thresholds, irrespective of whether they are equal or unequal, and of the exponent in the model. For exponents >0, the predicted binaural advantage is largest when the two monaural thresholds are equal and decreases towards zero as the monaural threshold difference increases. This equation is tested and the exponent derived by comparing binaural thresholds with those predicted on the basis of the two monaural thresholds for different values of the exponent. The thresholds, measured in a large sample of human subjects with equal and unequal monaural thresholds and for stimuli with different temporal envelopes, are compatible only with an exponent close to 3. An exponent of 3 predicts a binaural advantage of 2 dB when the two ears are equally sensitive. Thus, listening with two (equally sensitive) ears rather than one has the same effect on absolute threshold as doubling duration. The data suggest that perfect binaural summation occurs at threshold and that peripheral neural signals are governed by an exponent close to 3. They might also shed new light on mechanisms underlying binaural summation of loudness. © 2013 Association for Research in Otolaryngology.

Pastukhov A.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Vonau V.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Stonkute S.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Braun J.,Center for Behavioral Brain science
Vision Research | Year: 2013

We compared the spatial and temporal allocation of attention as revealed by microsaccades. Observers viewed several concurrent "rapid serial visual presentation" (RSVP) streams in the periphery while maintaining fixation. They continually attended to, and discriminated targets in one particular, cued stream. Over and above this continuous allocation, spatial attention transients ("attention shifts") were prompted by changes in the cued stream location and temporal attention transients ("attentional blinks") by successful target discriminations. Note that the RSVP paradigm avoided the preparatory suppression of microsaccades in anticipation of stimulus or task events, which had been prominent in earlier studies. Both stream changes and target discriminations evoked residual modulations of microsaccade rate and direction, which were consistent with the presumed attentional dynamics in each case (i.e., attention shift and attentional blink, respectively). Interestingly, even microsaccades associated with neither stream change nor target discrimination reflected the continuous allocation of attention, inasmuch as their direction was aligned with the meridian of the target stream. We conclude that attentional allocation shapes microsaccadic activity continuously, not merely during dynamic episodes such as attentional shifts or blinks. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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