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Pullach im Isartal, Germany

Li H.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Peking University | Bao Y.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Poppel E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 4 more authors.
Cognitive Processing | Year: 2014

We investigated attentional demands in visual rhythm perception of periodically moving stimuli using a visual search paradigm. A dynamic search display consisted of vertically "bouncing dots" with regular rhythms. The search target was defined by a unique visual rhythm (i.e., a shorter or longer period) among rhythmic distractors with identical periods. We found that search efficiency for a faster or a slower periodically moving target decreased as the number of distractors increased, although searching for a faster target was about one second faster than searching for a slower target. We conclude that perception of a visual rhythm defined by a unique period is not a "pop-out" process, but a serial one that demands considerable attention. © 2013 Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Bao Y.,Peking University | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Fang Y.,Peking University | And 7 more authors.
Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis | Year: 2014

It has been shown recently that temporal order perception is modulated by language environments. The present study focused on the specific question whether a secondary language experience influences temporal order perception by comparing the temporal order thresholds (TOTs) between Chinese subjects with and without a secondary non-tonal language (i.e., English) experience. Besides monaurally presented paired clicks, binaurally presented two different types of tone pairs were used in order to better capture a potential difference between tonal and non-tonal languages. The results showed a non-significant language effect on monaurally presented click TOTs, but a significant language effect for binaurally presented tone TOTs. Compared to click performance, Chinese subjects without English proficiency demonstrated a significantly lower TOT only for close frequency tone pairs, while Chinese subjects with English proficiency demonstrated lower TOTs for both close frequency and distant frequency tone pairs. These results confirm on the one hand a common and language independent temporal mechanism for perceiving the order of two monaurally presented stimuli, and indicate on the other hand specific mechanisms of neuronal plasticity for perceiving the order of frequency-related auditory stimuli for tonal language speakers with or without a secondary non-tonal language experience. © 2014 by Polish Neuroscience Society - PTBUN, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology.

Peres I.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Vetter C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Blautzik J.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Reiser M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 6 more authors.
Chronobiology International | Year: 2011

Neuroimaging is increasingly used to study the motor system in vivo. Despite many reports of time-of-day influences on motor function at the behavioral level, little is known about these influences on neural motor networks and their activations recorded in neuroimaging. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the authors studied 15 healthy subjects (9 females; mean±SD age: 23±3 yrs) performing a self-paced finger-tapping task at different times of day (morning, midday, afternoon, and evening). Blood-oxygenation-level-dependent signal showed systematic differences across the day in task-related motor areas of the brain, specifically in the supplementary motor area, parietal cortex, and rolandic operculum (pcorr<.0125). The authors found that these time-of-day-dependent hemodynamic modulations are associated with chronotype and not with homeostatic sleep pressure. These results show that consideration of time-of-day for the analysis of fMRI studies is imperative. © Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Park M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Park M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Hennig-Fast K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 11 more authors.
Brain Research | Year: 2013

Music communicates and evokes emotions. The number of studies on the neural correlates of musical emotion processing is increasing but few have investigated the factors that modulate these neural activations. Previous research has shown that personality traits account for individual variability of neural responses. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how the dimensions Extraversion and Neuroticism are related to differences in brain reactivity to musical stimuli expressing the emotions happiness, sadness and fear. 12 participants (7 female, M=20.33 years) completed the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and were scanned while performing a passive listening task. Neurofunctional analyses revealed significant positive correlations between Neuroticism scores and activations in bilateral basal ganglia, insula and orbitofrontal cortex in response to music expressing happiness. Extraversion scores were marginally negatively correlated with activations in the right amygdala in response to music expressing fear. Our findings show that subjects' personality may have a predictive power in the neural correlates of musical emotion processing and should be considered in the context of experimental group homogeneity. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Avram M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Avram M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Hennig-Fast K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 11 more authors.
BMC Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Background: There appears to be an inconsistency in experimental paradigms used in fMRI research on moral judgments. As stimuli, moral dilemmas or moral statements/ pictures that induce emotional reactions are usually employed; a main difference between these stimuli is the perspective of the participants reflecting first-person (moral dilemmas) or third-person perspective (moral reactions). The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to investigate the neural correlates of moral judgments in either first- or third-person perspective.Results: Our results indicate that different neural mechanisms appear to be involved in these perspectives. Although conjunction analysis revealed common activation in the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, third person-perspective elicited unique activations in hippocampus and visual cortex. The common activation can be explained by the role the anterior medial prefrontal cortex may play in integrating different information types and also by its involvement in theory of mind. Our results also indicate that the so-called "actor-observer bias" affects moral evaluation in the third-person perspective, possibly due to the involvement of the hippocampus. We suggest two possible ways in which the hippocampus may support the process of moral judgment: by the engagement of episodic memory and its role in understanding the behaviors and emotions of others.Conclusion: We posit that these findings demonstrate that first or third person perspectives in moral cognition involve distinct neural processes, that are important to different aspects of moral judgments. These  results are important to a deepened understanding of neural correlates of moral cognition-the so-called " first tradition" of neuroethics, with the caveat that any results must be interpreted and employed with prudence, so as to heed neuroethics " second tradition" that sustains the pragmatic evaluation of outcomes, capabilities and limitations of neuroscientific techniques and technologies. © 2014 Avram et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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