We investigated the contribution of bilingual experience to the development of cognitive reserve (CR) when compared with other, traditionally more researched, CR proxies, in a sample of cognitively healthy senior (60 +) bilingual speakers. Participants performed in an online study where, in addition to a wide inventory of factors known to promote CR, we assessed several factors related to their second language (L2) use. In addition, participants’ inhibitory executive control was measured via the Flanker Task. We used Structural Equation Modeling to derive a latent composite measure of CR informed by traditional CR proxies (i.e., occupational complexity, marital status, current and retrospective socio-economic status, physical exercise, perceived positive support, maximal educational attainment, frequency of leisure activities and extent of social network). We examined whether bilingualism may act as a mediator of the effects of such proxies on cognitive performance therefore assessing the unique contribution of dual language use to CR. First, our analyses revealed facilitatory effects of both L2 age of acquisition and L2 proficiency on the executive performance. Second, our analyses confirmed the moderating role of bilingual experience on the relationship between other factors known to promote CR and cognitive integrity, revealing a strong contribution by bilingualism to CR development. Our findings provide further support to the notion that bilingualism plays an important role in mitigating cognitive decline and promoting successful aging.
The aim of the work was to develop and test the Russian version of the Emotional Contagion Scale. A sample of 518 volunteers from the general population filled in this questionnaire. We examined the 1-factor model (all the items), the 2-factor model (positive/negative) and the 5-factor model (love/happiness/fear/anger/sadness). To measure its construct validity, we asked different subsamples to complete questionnaires of empathy and sensation seeking. The coefficients of test-retest reliability, internal consistency and validity were acceptable. Only the 1-factor model showed acceptable properties by all psychometric criteria. We also observed the gender effect, that is women were more contagious, according to the total scale and all subscales.
As a result of advances in healthcare, the worldwide average life expectancy is steadily increasing. However, this positive trend has societal and individual costs, not least because greater life expectancy is linked to higher incidence of age-related diseases, such as dementia. Over the past few decades, research has isolated various protective “healthy lifestyle” factors argued to contribute positively to cognitive aging, e.g., healthy diet, physical exercise and occupational attainment. The present article critically reviews neuroscientific evidence for another such factor, i.e., speaking multiple languages. Moreover, with multiple societal stakeholders in mind, we contextualize and stress the importance of the research program that seeks to uncover and understand potential connections between bilingual language experience and cognitive aging trajectories, inclusive of the socio-economic impact it can have. If on the right track, this is an important line of research because bilingualism has the potential to cross-over socio-economic divides to a degree other healthy lifestyle factors currently do not and likely cannot.
Research on conversational pragmatics demonstrates how interlocutors tailor the information they share depending on the audience. Previous research showed that, in informal contexts, speakers often provide several alternative answers, whereas in formal contexts, they tend to give only a single answer; however, the psychological underpinnings of these effects remain obscure. To investigate this answer selection process, we measured participants' eye movements in different experimentally modeled social contexts. Participants answered general knowledge questions by providing responses with either single (one) or plural (three) alternatives. Then, a formal (job interview) or informal (conversation with friends) context was presented and participants decided either to report or withdraw their responses after considering the given social context. Growth curve analysis on the eye movements indicates that the selected response option attracted more eye movements. There was a discrepancy between the answer selection likelihood and the proportion of fixations to the corresponding option — but only in the formal context. These findings support a more elaborate decision-making processes in formal contexts. They also suggest that eye movements do not necessarily accompany the options considered in the decision-making processes.
Objective. Epilepsy is a widely spread neurological disease, whose treatment often requires resection of the pathological cortical tissue. Interictal spike analysis observed in the non-invasively collected EEG or MEG data offers an attractive way to localize epileptogenic cortical structures for surgery planning purposes. Interictal spike detection in lengthy multichannel data is a daunting task that is still often performed manually. This frequently limits such an analysis to a small portion of the data which renders the appropriate risks of missing the potentially epileptogenic region. While a plethora of automatic spike detection techniques have been developed each with its own assumptions and limitations, none of them is ideal and the best results are achieved when the output of several automatic spike detectors are combined. This is especially true in the low signal-to-noise ratio conditions. To this end we propose a novel biomimetic approach for automatic spike detection based on a constrained mixed spline machinery that we dub as fast parametric curve matching (FPCM). Approach. Using the peak-wave shape parametrization, the constrained parametric morphological model is constructed and convolved with the observed multichannel data to efficiently determine mixed spline parameters corresponding to each time-point in the dataset. Then the logical predicates that directly map to verbalized text-book like descriptions of the expected interictal event morphology allow us to accomplish the spike detection task. Main results. The results of simulations mimicking typical low SNR scenarios show the robustness and high receiver operating characteristic AUC values of the FPCM method as compared to the spike detection performed using more conventional approaches such as wavelet decomposition, template matching or simple amplitude thresholding. Applied to the real MEG and EEG data from the human patients and to rat ECoG data, the FPCM technique demonstrates reliable detection of the interictal events and localization of epileptogenic zones concordant with independent conclusions made by the epileptologist. Significance. Since the FPCM is computationally light, tolerant to high amplitude artifacts and flexible to accommodate verbalized descriptions of an arbitrary target morphology, it is likely to complement the existing arsenal of means for analysis of noisy interictal datasets.
A traditional view on sentence comprehension holds that the listener parses linguistic input using hierarchical syntactic rules. Recently, physiological evidence for such a claim has been provided by Ding et al.’s (2016) MEG study that demonstrated, using a frequency-tagging paradigm, that regularly occurring syntactic constituents were spontaneously tracked by listeners. Even more recently, this study's results have been challenged as artifactual by Frank and Yang (2018) who successfully re-created Ding's results using a distributional semantic vector model that relied exclusively on lexical information and did not appeal to any hierarchical syntactic representations. The current MEG study was designed to dissociate the two interpretations of Ding et al.’s results. Taking advantage of the morphological richness of Russian, we constructed two types of sentences of different syntactic structure; critically, this was achieved by manipulating a single affix on one of the words while all other lexical roots and affixes in the sentence were kept the same. In Experiment 1, we successfully verified the intuition that due to almost complete lexical overlap the two types of sentences should yield the same activity pattern according to Frank and Yang’s (2018) lexico-semantic model. In Experiment 2, we recorded Russian listeners' MEG activity while they listened to the two types of sentences. Contradicting the hierarchical syntactic account and consistent with the lexico-semantic one, we observed no difference across the conditions in the way participants tracked the stimuli properties. Corroborated by other recent evidence, our findings show that peaks interpreted by Ding et al. as reflecting higher-level syntactic constituency may stem from non-syntactic factors.
A fuller understanding of the effects of auditory tetanization in humans would inform better language and sensory learning paradigms; however, there are still unanswered questions. Here, we probe sustained changes in the event-related potentials (ERPs) to 1020- and 980-Hz tones following a rapid presentation of 1020-Hz tone (every 75 ms, 13.3 Hz, tetanization). Consistent with some previous studies, we revealed the increase in the P2 ERP component after tetanization. Contrary to some other studies, we did not observe the expected N1 increase after tetanization even in the identical experimental sequence. We detected a significant N1 decrease after tetanization. Expanding previous research, we showed that P2 increase and N1 decrease are not specific to the stimulus type (tetanized 1020 Hz and non-tetanized 980 Hz), suggesting the generalizability of tetanization effect to the not-stimulated auditory tones, at least to those of the neighbouring frequency. The ERPs' tetanization effects were observed for at least 30 min—the most prolonged interval examined, consistent with the duration of long-term potentiation, LTP. In addition, the tetanization effects were detectable in the blocks where the participants watched muted videos, an experimental setting that can be easily used in children and other challenging groups. Thus, auditory 13-Hz stimulation affects brain processing of tones including those of neighbouring frequencies.
Background: Altered neuronal excitation–inhibition (E–I) balance is strongly implicated in ASD. However, it is not known whether the direction and degree of changes in the E–I ratio in individuals with ASD correlates with intellec- tual disability often associated with this developmental disorder. The spectral slope of the aperiodic 1/f activity reflects the E–I balance at the scale of large neuronal populations and may uncover its putative alternations in individuals with ASD with and without intellectual disability. Methods: Herein, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to test whether the 1/f slope would differentiate ASD children with average and below–average (< 85) IQ. MEG was recorded at rest with eyes open/closed in 49 boys with ASD aged 6–15 years with IQ ranging from 54 to 128, and in 49 age-matched typically developing (TD) boys. The cor- tical source activity was estimated using the beamformer approach and individual brain models. We then extracted the 1/f slope by fitting a linear function to the log–log-scale power spectra in the high-frequency range. Results: The global 1/f slope averaged over all cortical sources demonstrated high rank-order stability between the two conditions. Consistent with previous research, it was steeper in the eyes-closed than in the eyes-open condi- tion and flattened with age. Regardless of condition, children with ASD and below-average IQ had flatter slopes than either TD or ASD children with average or above-average IQ. These group differences could not be explained by differ- ences in signal-to-noise ratio or periodic (alpha and beta) activity. Limitations: Further research is needed to find out whether the observed changes in E–I ratios are characteristic of children with below-average IQ of other diagnostic groups. Conclusions: The atypically flattened spectral slope of aperiodic activity in children with ASD and below-average IQ suggests a shift of the global E–I balance toward hyper-excitation. The spectral slope can provide an accessible noninvasive biomarker of the E–I ratio for making objective judgments about treatment effectiveness in people with ASD and comorbid intellectual disability.
In addition to probabilities of monetary gains and losses, personality traits, socio-economic factors, and specific contexts such as emotions and framing influence financial risk taking. Here, we investigated the effects of joyful, neutral, and sad mood states on participants’ risk-taking behaviour in a simple task with safe and risky options. We also analysed the effect of framing on risk taking. In different trials, a safe option was framed in terms of either financial gains or losses. Moreover, we investigated the effects of emotional contagion and sensation-seeking personality traits on risk taking in this task. We did not observe a significant effect of induced moods on risk taking. Sad mood resulted in a slight non-significant trend of risk aversion compared to a neutral mood. Our results partially replicate previous findings regarding the presence of the framing effect. As a novel finding, we observed that participants with a low emotional contagion score demonstrated increased risk aversion during a sad mood and a similar trend at the edge of significance was present in high sensation seekers. Overall, our results highlight the importance of taking into account personality traits of experimental participants in financial risk-taking studies.
The auditory system detects differences in sounds at an implicit level, but data on this difference might not be sufficient to make explicit discrimination. The biomarkers of implicit auditory memory of ambiguous stimuli could shed light on unconscious auditory processing and implicit auditory learning. Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a, components of event-related potentials (ERPs) reflecting stimuli discrimination without direct attention, were previously detected in response to the local (short-term) irregularity in the auditory sequence even in an unconscious state. At the same time, P3b was elicited only in case of direct attention in response to the global (long-term) irregularity. In this study, we applied the local-global auditory paradigm to obtain possible electrophysiological signatures of implicit detection of hardly distinguishable auditory stimuli. ERPs were recorded from 20 healthy volunteers during active discrimination of deviant sounds in the old-ball sequence and passive listening of the same sounds in the sequence with local-global irregularity. The discrimination task consisted of two blocks with different deviant sounds targeted to respond. The sound discrimination accuracy was at an average of 40%, implying the difficulty of explicit sound recognition. Comparing ERPs to standard and deviant sounds, we found posterior negativity in ERP around 450–600 ms in response to targeted deviant sounds. MMN was significant only in response to non-target deviants. In the passive local-global paradigm, we observed an anterior positivity (284–412 ms), compatible with P3a, in response to a violation of local regularity. Violation of global regularity elicited an anterior negative response (228–586 ms), resembling the N400 component of ERPs. Importantly, the other indexes of auditory discrimination, such as MMN and P3b, were insignificant in ERPs to both regularity violations. The observed P3a and N400 components of ERPs may reflect prediction error signals in the implicit perception of sound patterns even if behavioral recognition was poor.
The ability to exert influence on our emotions plays a significant role in the attainment of our goals. To have control over when and how we experience emotions is thought to be impacted by higher cognitive processes such as executive functions. However, there is inadequate research to support this notion. Hence, we examined the relationship between executive functions – updating, shifting, and inhibition – and emotion regulation strategies – cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. We predicted that updating would positively relate to cognitive reappraisal, while inhibition would positively relate to expressive suppression. Shifting would positively relate to both cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Participants completed updating, shifting, and inhibition tasks. Then, they used expressive suppression or cognitive reappraisal strategies in response to unpleasant pictures, accompanied by a physiological recording. Faster updating was associated with a larger heart rate deceleration during reappraisal. Inhibition was associated with more frequent use of suppression. Overall, the results confirm the idea that a higher level of executive functions is partially related to the effective application of emotion regulation strategies. The content of executive function tasks does not affect the association between executive functions and emotion regulation. These findings are important for psychotherapy, as training executive functions could partially help in the treatment of mood-related disorders.
Much of the uncertainty that clouds our understanding of the world springs from the covert values and intentions held by other people. Thus, it is plausible that specialized mechanisms that compute learning signals under uncertainty of exclusively social origin operate in the brain. To test this hypothesis, we scoured academic databases for neuroimaging studies involving learning under uncertainty, and performed a meta-analysis of brain activation maps that compared learning in the face of social versus nonsocial uncertainty. Although most of the brain activations associated with learning error signals were shared between social and nonsocial conditions, we found some evidence for functional segregation of error signals of exclusively social origin during learning in limited regions of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and insula. This suggests that most behavioral adaptations to navigate social environments are reused from frontal and subcortical areas processing generic value representation and learning, but that a specialized circuitry might have evolved in prefrontal regions to deal with social context representation and strategic action.
Why do people often exhaust unregulated common (shared) natural resources but manage to preserve similar private resources? To answer this question, in this study we combine a neurobiological, economic, and cognitive modeling approach. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging on 50 participants, we show that a sharp decrease of common and private resources is associated with deactivation of the ventral striatum, a brain region involved in the valuation of outcomes. Across individuals, when facing a common resource, ventral striatal activity is anti-correlated with resource preservation (less harvesting), whereas with private resources the opposite pattern is observed. This indicates that neural value signals distinctly modulate behavior in response to the depletion of common versus private resources. Computational modeling suggested that over-harvesting of common resources was facilitated by the modulatory effect of social comparison on value signals. These results provide an explanation of people’s tendency to over-exploit unregulated common natural resources.
A number of neuromarketing studies employed brain responses called event-related potentials or ERPs as neural markers of brand associations. The use of the N400 component of ERPs in particular appeared to be the promising to study typicality of product-brand associations and their role for brand extension (Wang et al., 2012).
The question, however, remains whether the N400 observed in the product-brand associations and brand associations as such can be explained by the same neurobiological mechanisms as the classical N400 response which in the neuroscience of language reflects semantic associations. In this electroencephalographic study, we compared semantic N400 in response to incongruency of sentence endings with the neural response to the degree of incongruency of associations to brands.
To test, whether in the same subjects, incongruent brand associations would elicit the N400 brain response resembling semantic N400 we constructed two-word phrases in which brand names were proceeded by congruent or incongruent adjectives that played the role of brand associations. Sentences lacking any marketing context served as control stimuli and evoked classical centro-parietally distributed N400 response.
The sensitivity of the brain activity to the incongruent brand associations was manifested in the fronto-centrally distributed N400 response within the same time window as in the non-marketing context. However, the correlation analysis of the N400 amplitudes in the brand and non-brand conditions did not reveal significant association between them suggesting different neuronal networks subserving processing of pure semantic and brand-association incongruences. To conclude, further studies employing multichannel EEG or magnetoencephalographic imaging would be necessary to elucidate the brain origin of brand and marketing associations as compared to pure semantic associations.
Visibility and confidence are two subtly (sensation-based and intuition-based) different ways to assess our visual experiences. We investigated how different choice sets affect the ability of confidence and visibility judgments to retrieve conscious information from perceptual decision-making processes. Six participants made introspective judgments on sinusoidal gratings at close to chance signal-to-noise values. We used signal detection theory and mixed regression models to analyze choices and pupilometric recordings. The results suggest that allowing null responses (e.g., “I saw nothing”) asymmetrically affects the signal distribution variances associated with null and non-null responses; confidence is more effective than visibility in accessing unconscious information; and bias-free methods hinder accurate introspective judgment by forbidding free decision criteria. Our findings underscore the importance of the context afforded by choice and stimulus sets, which determines the extent to which elicited introspective judgments are based on the actual information from the past events they are intended to measure.
Converging behavioral and neuroimaging evidence suggests parallel activation of native (L1) and second (L2) language codes in bilinguals, with the modulation of the N400 as the most likely neural correlate of such L1-L2 interplay at lexico-semantic level. However, this relatively late effect may reflect secondary controlled processes, in contrast to earlier modulations found in monolinguals (<200 msec) indicative of fast and automatic lexico-semantic L1 access, which has so far not been documented for bilingualism. To address this, we investigated early neurophysiological crosslinguistic activation during bilingual word access. EEG signals were recorded from a group of late bilinguals during a masked-priming crosslinguistic task in which L1 (Russian) words were presented as subliminal primes for 50 msec before L2 (English) target words. Prime-target pairs matched either phonologically only, semantically only, both phonologically and semantically, or did not match. Cluster-based random permutation analyses revealed a main effect of semantic similarity at 40–60 msec over centro-posterior scalp sites, reflecting a negative-going shift of ERP amplitudes for semantically similar prime-target pairs. Importantly, neural source reconstruction showed activations within a left-hemispheric network comprising the middle and superior temporal cortex and the angular gyrus as the most likely neural substrate of this early semantic effect. Furthermore, analyses also revealed significant differences over frontocentral sites for the main effect of semantic and phonological similarity, ranging from 312 to 356 and 380–444 msec respectively, thus confirming previously described N400 crosslinguistic effects. Our findings confirm the existence of an integrated brain network for the bilingual lexicon and reveal the earliest (∼50 msec) crosslinguistic effect reported so far, suggesting fast and automatic L1–L2 interplay, followed by later (possibly top-down controlled) processing stages.
We used an eye-tracking technique to investigate the effect of green zones and car ownership on the attrac-tiveness of the courtyards of multistorey apartment buildings. Two interest groups—20 people who owned a car and 20 people who did not a car—observed 36 images of courtyards. Images were digitally modified to manipulate the spatial arrangement of key courtyard elements: green zones, parking lots, and children’s play-grounds. The participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of courtyards during hypothetical renting de-cisions. Overall, we investigated whether visual exploration and appraisal of courtyards differed between people who owned a car and those who did not. The participants in both interest groups gazed longer at perceptually salient playgrounds and parking lots than at greenery. We also observed that participants gazed significantly longer at the greenery in courtyards rated as most attractive than those rated as least attractive. They gazed significantly longer at parking lots in courtyards rated as least attractive than those rated as most attractive. Using regression analysis, we further investigated the relationship between gaze fixations on courtyard elements and the attractiveness ratings of courtyards. The model confirmed a significant positive relationship between the number and duration of fixations on greenery and the attractiveness estimates of courtyards, while the model showed an opposite relationship for the duration of fixations on parking lots. Interestingly, the positive association between fixations on greenery and the attractiveness of courtyards was significantly stronger for participants who owned cars than for those who did not. These findings confirmed that the more people pay attention to green areas, the more positively they evaluate urban areas. The results also indicate that urban greenery may differentially affect the preferences of interest groups.
Emotions play an important role in the donation decision process. However, it is still unclear whether pleasant or unpleasant appeals to charity are more effective in collecting donations. At the same time, a valence of an emotional state can lead to opposite consequences in the long term. This review highlights the role of the emotional state in the process of making a decision about acting prosocially. Separately, studies that have shown the importance of addressing both negative and positive emotions are considered. Applied conclusions that can help non-profit organizations create promotional materials for more successful fundraising are drawn.
Multiple studies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) became the basis for revealing selective attention, inhibitory control, and working memory impairments, which correlates with an imbalance in the activity of the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuit associated with maintenance of cognitive control functions. Patients with OCD often demonstrate changes in the parameters of target-oriented eye movement reactions being a consequence of a possible impairment of the cognitive control neurophysiological framework. This review summarizes and analyzes data on cognitive control disorders in OCD obtained with eye movement recording techniques.
It was established that the most often used are smooth pursuit eye movements tasks, memory-guided saccades, and anti-saccadic tasks. Data on smooth pursuit eye movements tasks and memory-guided saccades are contradictory, although they partially confirm selective attention and working memory impairment. Most studies on the anti-saccadic task identified impaired inhibitory control in patients with OCD. Similar disorders in form of increased latency and higher error rate in anti-saccades were also noted in the patients’ first-degree relatives, which allows considering such disorders as manifestations of the endophenotype associated with the underlying risk of OCD. Future confirmation of these results in experiments using complex anti-saccadic tasks with images of various modalities (taking into account the increased anxiety in patients with OCD as the disorder basis) might contribute to validation of the OCD-specific markers.
The current study aimed to compare differences in the cognitive development of children with and without upper limb motor disorders. The study involved 89 children from 3 to 15 years old; 57 children with similar upper limb motor disorders and 32 healthy children. Our results showed that motor disorders could impair cognitive functions, especially memory. In particular, we found that children between 8 and 11 years old with upper limb disorders differed significantly from their healthy peers in both auditory and visual memory scales. These results can be explained by the fact that the development of cognitive functions depends on the normal development of motor skills, and the developmental delay of motor skills affects cognitive functions. Correlation analysis did not reveal any significant relationship between other cognitive functions (attention, thinking, intelligence) and motor function. Altogether, these findings point to the need to adapt general habilitation programs for children with motor disorders, considering the cognitive impairment during their development. The evaluation of children with motor impairment is often limited to their motor dysfunction, leaving their cognitive development neglected. The current study showed the importance of cognitive issues for these children. Moreover, early intervention, particularly focused on memory, can prevent some of the accompanying difficulties in learning and daily life functioning of children with movement disorders.