Cognition and Brain science Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Cognition and Brain science Unit

Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Williams A.D.,University of New South Wales | Williams A.D.,St Vincents Hospital | Blackwell S.E.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Mackenzie A.,St Vincents Hospital | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology | Year: 2013

Objective: Computerized cognitive-bias modification (CBM) protocols are rapidly evolving in experimental medicine yet might best be combined with Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT). No research to date has evaluated the combined approach in depression. The current randomized controlled trial aimed to evaluate both the independent effects of a CBM protocol targeting imagery and interpretation bias (CBM-I) and the combined effects of CBM-I followed by iCBT. Method: Patients diagnosed with a major depressive episode were randomized to an 11-week intervention (1 week/CBM-I + 10 weeks/iCBT; n = 38) that was delivered via the Internet with no face-to-face patient contact or to a wait-list control (WLC; n = 31). Results: Intent-to-treat marginal models using restricted maximum likelihood estimation demonstrated significant reductions in primary measures of depressive symptoms and distress corresponding to medium-large effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.62-2.40) following CBM-I and the combined (CBM-I + iCBT) intervention. Analyses demonstrated that the change in interpretation bias at least partially mediated the reduction in depression symptoms following CBM-I. Treatment superiority over the WLC was also evident on all outcome measures at both time points (Hedges gs =.59-.98). Significant reductions were also observed following the combined intervention on secondary measures associated with depression: disability, anxiety, and repetitive negative thinking (Cohen's d = 1.51-2.23). Twenty-seven percent of patients evidenced clinically significant change following CBM-I, and this proportion increased to 65% following the combined intervention. Conclusions: The current study provides encouraging results of the integration of Internet-based technologies into an efficacious and acceptable form of treatment delivery. © 2013 American Psychological Association.

Monti M.M.,University of California at Los Angeles | Rosenberg M.,University of California at Los Angeles | Finoia P.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Finoia P.,University of Cambridge | And 3 more authors.
Neurology | Year: 2014

Objective: We employed functional MRI (fMRI) to assess whether (1) patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) retain the ability to willfully engage in top-down processing and (2) what neurophysiologic factors distinguish patients who can demonstrate this ability from patients who cannot. Methods: Sixteen volunteers, 8 patients in vegetative state (VS), 16 minimally conscious patients (MCS), and 4 exit from MCS (eMCS) patients were enrolled in a prospective cross-sectional fMRI study. Participants performed a target detection task in which they counted the number of times a (changing) target word was presented amidst a set of distractors. Results: Three of 8 patients diagnosed as being in a VS exhibited significant activations in response to the task, thereby demonstrating a state of consciousness. Differential activations across tasks were also observed in 6 MCS patients and 1 eMCS patient. A psycho-physiologic interaction analysis revealed that the main factor distinguishing patients who responded to the task from those who did not was a greater connectivity between the anterior section of thalamus and prefrontal cortex. Conclusions: In our sample of patients, the dissociation between overt behavior observable in clinical assessments and residual cognitive faculties is prevalent among DOC patients (37%). A substantial number of patients, including some diagnosed with VS, can demonstrate willful engagement in top-down cognition. While neuroimaging data are not the same as observable behavior, this suggests that the mental status of some VS patients exceeds what can be appreciated clinically. Furthermore, thalamo-frontal circuits might be crucial to sustaining top-down functions. © 2014 American Academy of Neurology.

Fedorenko E.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Duncan J.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Kanwisher N.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Current Biology | Year: 2012

In 1861, Paul Broca stood up before the Anthropological Society of Paris and announced that the left frontal lobe was the seat of speech. Ever since, Broca's eponymous brain region has served as a primary battleground for one of the central debates in the science of the mind and brain: Is human cognition produced by highly specialized brain regions, each conducting a specific mental process, or instead by more general-purpose brain mechanisms, each broadly engaged in a wide range of cognitive tasks? For Broca's area, the debate focuses on specialization for language versus domain-general functions such as hierarchical structure building (e.g., [1, 2]), aspects of action processing (e.g., [3]), working memory (e.g., [4]), or cognitive control (e.g., [5-7]). Here, using single-subject fMRI, we find that both ideas are right: Broca's area contains two sets of subregions lying side by side, one quite specifically engaged in language processing, surrounded by another that is broadly engaged across a wide variety of tasks and content domains. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Egorova N.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Pulvermuller F.,Free University of Berlin | Shtyrov Y.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Shtyrov Y.,University of Aarhus | Shtyrov Y.,Lund University
Brain Topography | Year: 2014

The neurobiological basis and temporal dynamics of communicative language processing pose important yet unresolved questions. It has previously been suggested that comprehension of the communicative function of an utterance, i.e. the so-called speech act, is supported by an ensemble of neural networks, comprising lexicosemantic, action and mirror neuron as well as theory of mind circuits, all activated in concert. It has also been demonstrated that recognition of the speech act type occurs extremely rapidly. These findings however, were obtained in experiments with insufficient spatio-temporal resolution, thus possibly concealing important facets of the neural dynamics of the speech act comprehension process. Here, we used magnetoencephalography to investigate the comprehension of Naming and Request actions performed with utterances controlled for physical features, psycholinguistic properties and the probability of occurrence in variable contexts. The results show that different communicative actions are underpinned by a dynamic neural network, which differentiates between speech act types very early after the speech act onset. Within 50-90 ms, Requests engaged mirror-neuron action-comprehension systems in sensorimotor cortex, possibly for processing action knowledge and intentions. Still, within the first 200 ms of stimulus onset (100-150 ms), Naming activated brain areas involved in referential semantic retrieval. Subsequently (200-300 ms), theory of mind and mentalising circuits were activated in medial prefrontal and temporo-parietal areas, possibly indexing processing of intentions and assumptions of both communication partners. This cascade of stages of processing information about actions and intentions, referential semantics, and theory of mind may underlie dynamic and interactive speech act comprehension. © The Author(s) 2013.

Zhang J.,University of Birmingham | Zhang J.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Kourtzi Z.,University of Birmingham
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

Long-term experience through development and evolution and shorter-term training in adulthood have both been suggested to contribute to the optimization of visual functions that mediate our ability to interpret complex scenes. However, the brain plasticity mechanisms that mediate the detection of objects in cluttered scenes remain largely unknown. Here, we combine behavioral and functional MRI (fMRI) measurements to investigate the human-brain mechanisms that mediate our ability to learn statistical regularities and detect targets in clutter. We show two different routes to visual learning in clutter with discrete brain plasticity signatures. Specifically, opportunistic learning of regularities typical in natural contours (i.e., collinearity) can occur simply through frequent exposure, generalize across untrained stimulus features, and shape processing in occipitotemporal regions implicated in the representation of global forms. In contrast, learning to integrate discontinuities (i.e., elements orthogonal to contour paths) requires task-specific training (bootstrap-based learning), is stimulus-dependent, and enhances processing in intraparietal regions implicated in attention-gated learning. We propose that long-term experience with statistical regularities may facilitate opportunistic learning of collinear contours, whereas learning to integrate discontinuities entails bootstrap-based training for the detection of contours in clutter. These findings provide insights in understanding how long-term experience and short-term training interact to shape the optimization of visual recognition processes.

Mobbs D.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Yu R.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Rowe J.B.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Eich H.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

Phylogenetic threats such as spiders evoke our deepest primitive fears. When close or looming, such threats engage evolutionarily conserved monitoring systems and defense reactions that promote self-preservation. With the use of a modified behavioral approach task within functional MRI, we show that, as a tarantula was placed closer to a subject's foot, increased experiences of fear coincided with augmented activity in a cascade of fear-related brain networks including the periaqueductal gray,amygdala, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Activity in the amygdala was also associated with underprediction of the tarantula's threat value and, in addition to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, with monitoring the tarantula's threat value as indexed by its direction of movement. Conversely, the orbitofrontal cortex was engaged as the tarantula grew more distant, suggesting that this region emits safety signals or expels fear. Our findings fractionate the neurobiological mechanisms associated with basic fear and potentially illuminate the perturbed reactions that characterize clinical phobias.

Reilly J.,University of Florida | Rodriguez A.D.,University of Florida | Peelle J.E.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Grossman M.,University of Pennsylvania
Cortex | Year: 2011

Portions of left inferior frontal cortex have been linked to semantic memory both in terms of the content of conceptual representation (e.g., motor aspects in an embodied semantics framework) and the cognitive processes used to access these representations (e.g., response selection). Progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by progressive atrophy of left inferior frontal cortex. PNFA can, therefore, provide a lesion model for examining the impact of frontal lobe damage on semantic processing and content. In the current study we examined picture naming in a cohort of PNFA patients across a variety of semantic categories. An embodied approach to semantic memory holds that sensorimotor features such as self-initiated action may assume differential importance for the representation of manufactured artifacts (e.g., naming hand tools). Embodiment theories might therefore predict that patients with frontal damage would be differentially impaired on manufactured artifacts relative to natural kinds, and this prediction was borne out. We also examined patterns of naming errors across a wide range of semantic categories and found that naming error distributions were heterogeneous. Although PNFA patients performed worse overall on naming manufactured artifacts, there was no reliable relationship between anomia and manipulability across semantic categories. These results add to a growing body of research arguing against a purely sensorimotor account of semantic memory, suggesting instead a more nuanced balance of process and content in how the brain represents conceptual knowledge. © 2010 Elsevier.

Zhang J.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Rowe J.B.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Rowe J.B.,University of Cambridge | Rowe J.B.,Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute
NeuroImage | Year: 2015

Statistical regularities exist at different timescales in temporally unfolding event sequences. Recent studies have identified brain regions that are sensitive to the levels of regularity in sensory inputs, enabling the brain to construct a representation of environmental structure and adaptively generate actions or predictions. However, the temporal specificity of the statistical regularity to which the brain responds remains largely unknown. This uncertainty applies to the regularities of sensory inputs as well as instrumental actions. Here, we used fMRI to investigate the neural correlates of regularity in sequences of task events and action selections in a visuomotor choice task. We quantified timescale-dependent regularity measures by calculating Shannon's entropy and surprise from a sliding-window of consecutive task events and actions. Activity in the frontopolar cortex negatively correlated with the entropy in action selection, while activity in the temporoparietal junction, the striatum, and the cerebellum negatively correlated with the entropy in stimulus events at longer timescales. In contrast, activity in the supplementary motor area, the superior frontal gyrus, and the superior parietal lobule was positively correlated with the surprise of each stimulus across different timescales. The results suggest a spatial distribution of regions sensitive to various information regularities according to a temporal hierarchy, which may play a central role in concurrently monitoring the regularity in previous and current events over different timescales to optimize behavioral control in a dynamic environment. © 2014.

Henson R.N.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Wakeman D.G.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Litvak V.,University College London | Friston K.J.,University College London
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2011

We review recent methodological developments within a parametric empirical Bayesian (PEB) framework for reconstructing intracranial sources of extracranial electroencephalographic (EEG) and magnetoencephalographic (MEG) data under linear Gaussian assumptions. The PEB framework offers a natural way to integrate multiple constraints (spatial priors) on this inverse problem, such as those derived from different modalities (e.g., from functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) or from multiple replications (e.g., subjects). Using variations of the same basic generative model, we illustrate the application of PEB to three cases: (1) symmetric integration (fusion) of MEG and EEG; (2) asymmetric integration of MEG or EEG with fMRI, and (3) group-optimization of spatial priors across subjects. We evaluate these applications on multi-modal data acquired from 18 subjects, focusing on energy induced by face perception within a time-frequency window of 100-220 ms, 8-18 Hz. We show the benefts of multi-modal, multi-subject integration in terms of the model evidence and the reproducibility (over subjects) of cortical responses to faces. © 2011 Henson, Wakeman, Litvak and Friston.

Hauk O.,Cognition and Brain science Unit | Pulvermuller F.,Cognition and Brain science Unit
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2011

What determines the laterality of activation in motor cortex for words whose meaning is related to bodily actions? It has been suggested that the neuronal representation of the meaning of action-words is shaped by individual experience. However, core language functions are left-lateralized in the majority of both right- and left-handers. It is still an open question to what degree connections between left-hemispheric core language areas and right-hemispheric motor areas can play a role in semantics. We investigated laterality of brain activation using fMRI in right- and left-handed participants in response to visually presented hand-related action-words, namely uni- and bi-manual actions (such as "throw" and "clap"). These stimulus groups were matched with respect to general (hand-) action-relatedness, but differed with respect to whether they are usually performed with the dominant hand or both hands. We may expect generally more left-hemispheric motor cortex activation for hand-related words in both handedness groups, with possibly more bilateral activation for left-handers compared to right-handers. In our study, both participant groups activated motor cortex bilaterally for bi-manual words. Interestingly, both groups also showed a left-lateralized activation pattern to uni-manual words. We argue that this reflects the effect of left-hemispheric language dominance on the formation of semantic brain circuits on the basis of Hebbian correlation learning. © 2011HaukandPulver- müller.

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