Tag: Attention

The effects of extinction-aroused attention on context conditioning

The effects of extinction-aroused attention on context conditioning

Published in: Learning & Memory, Volume 25, Issue 4, 165-175

Abstract
“Two experiments assessed the effects of extinguishing a conditioned cue on subsequent context conditioning. Each experiment used a different video-game method where sensors predicted attacking spaceships and participants responded to the sensor in a way that prepared them for the upcoming attack. In Experiment 1 extinction of a cue which signaled a spaceship-attack outcome facilitated subsequent learning when the attack occurred unsignaled. In Experiment 2 extinction of a cue facilitated subsequent learning, regardless of whether the spaceship outcome was the same or different as used in the earlier training. In neither experiment did the extinction context become inhibitory. Results are discussed in terms of current associative theories of attention and conditioning.”

Written by: James Byron Nelson, Andrew M. Fabiano, Jeffrey A. Lamoureux
For full text: http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/25/4/165.full

Control Changes the Way We Look at the World

Control Changes the Way We Look at the World

Published in: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Volume 30, Issue 4, April 2018, 603-619

Abstract
“The feeling of control is a fundamental aspect of human experience and accompanies our voluntary actions all the time. However, how the sense of control interacts with wider perception, cognition, and behavior remains poorly understood. This study focused on how controlling an external object influences the allocation of attention. Experiment 1 examined attention to an object that is under a different level of control from the others. Participants searched for a target among multiple distractors on screen. All the distractors were partially under the participant’s control (50% control level), and the search target was either under more or less control than the distractors. The results showed that, against this background of partial control, visual attention was attracted to an object only if it was more controlled than other available objects and not if it was less controlled. Experiment 2 examined attention allocation in contexts of either perfect control or no control over most of the objects. Specifically, the distractors were under either perfect (100%) control or no (0%) control, and the search target had one of six levels of control varying from 0% to 100%. When differences in control between the distractors and the target were small, visual attention was now more strongly drawn to search targets that were less controlled than distractors, rather than more controlled, suggesting attention to objects over which one might be losing control. Experiment 3 studied the events of losing or gaining control as opposed to the states of having or not having control. ERP measures showed that P300 amplitude proportionally encoded the magnitude of both increases and decreases in degree of control. However, losing control had more marked effects on P170 and P300 than gaining an equivalent degree of control, indicating high priority for efficiently detecting failures of control. Overall, our results suggest that controlled objects preferentially attract attention in uncontrolled environments. However, once control has been registered, the brain becomes highly sensitive to subsequent loss of control. Our findings point toward careful perceptual monitoring of degree of one’s own agentic control over external objects. We suggest that control has intrinsic cognitive value because perceptual systems are organized to detect it and, once it has been acquired, to maintain it.”

Written by: Wen Wen, Patrick Haggard
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01226

Task-residual functional connectivity of language and attention networks

Task-residual functional connectivity of language and attention networks

Published in: Brain and Cognition, Volume 122, April 2018, 52-58

Abstract
“Functional connectivity using task-residual data capitalizes on remaining variance after mean task-related signal is removed from a time series. The degree of network specificity in language and attention domains featured by task-residual and resting-state data types were compared. Functional connectivity based on task-residual data evidenced stronger laterality of the language and attention connections and thus greater network specificity compared to resting-state functional connectivity of the same connections. Covariance between network nodes of task-residuals may thus reflect the degree to which two regions are coordinated in their specific activity, rather than a general shared co-activation. Task-residual functional connectivity provides complementary data to that of resting-state, emphasizing network relationships during task engagement.”

Written by: Stella M. Tran, Keith M. McGregor, George Andrew James, Kaundinya Gopinath, Venkatagiri Krishnamurthy, Lisa C. Krishnamurthy, Bruce Crosson
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2018.02.003

Association of the N100 TMS-evoked potential with attentional processes: A motor cortex TMS–EEG study

Association of the N100 TMS-evoked potential with attentional processes: A motor cortex TMS–EEG study

Published in: Brain and Cognition, Volume 122, April 2018, 9-16

Abstract
“The most thoroughly studied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-evoked electroencephalogram (EEG) potential (TEP), N100, is often defined as a measure of cortical inhibition.

We explored the association of the N100 amplitude with attention in 51 young healthy adults. Navigated TMS with simultaneous EEG registering was applied over the left primary motor cortex at the intensity of 110% of the resting motor threshold. Attention was assessed with the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT).

We found a negative Pearson correlation (p = .023, r = −0.317) between the left centroparietal N100 amplitude and the PASAT score. Of the participants, the 17 with the highest PASAT scores and 17 with the lowes scores were selected for further analysis, in which a significant between-group difference in the left centroparietal N100 was found (p = .017). The topographic specificity of this finding was further confirmed with linear mixed model (LMM) analysis, in which significant differences were detected in the N100 amplitude; most prominently in the left centroparietal region (p = .001). A smaller N100 amplitude was associated with better performance in the attention task.

Our findings suggest that the GABA-B-ergic TEP N100 is associated with attentional processes and thus represents cortical inhibition beyond motor inhibition.”

Written by: Outi Kaarre, Marja Aikia, Elisa Kallioniemi, Mervi Kononen, Virve Kekkonen, Noora Heikkinen, Petri Kivimaki, Tommi Tolmunen, Sara Maatta, Eila Laukkanen
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2018.01.004

How Does Rumination Impact Cognition? A First Mechanistic Model

How Does Rumination Impact Cognition? A First Mechanistic Model

Published in: Topics in Cognitive Science, Volume 10, Issue 1, 175-191

Abstract
“Rumination is a process of uncontrolled, narrowly focused negative thinking that is often self‐referential, and that is a hallmark of depression. Despite its importance, little is known about its cognitive mechanisms. Rumination can be thought of as a specific, constrained form of mind‐wandering. Here, we introduce a cognitive model of rumination that we developed on the basis of our existing model of mind‐wandering. The rumination model implements the hypothesis that rumination is caused by maladaptive habits of thought. These habits of thought are modeled by adjusting the number of memory chunks and their associative structure, which changes the sequence of memories that are retrieved during mind‐wandering, such that during rumination the same set of negative memories is retrieved repeatedly. The implementation of habits of thought was guided by empirical data from an experience sampling study in healthy and depressed participants. On the basis of this empirically derived memory structure, our model naturally predicts the declines in cognitive task performance that are typically observed in depressed patients. This study demonstrates how we can use cognitive models to better understand the cognitive mechanisms underlying rumination and depression.”

Written by: Marieke K. van Vugt, Maarten van der Velde, ESM-MERGE Investigators
For full text: https://doi.org/10.1111/tops.12318

The Awakening of the Attention: Evidence for a Link Between the Monitoring of Mind Wandering and Prospective Goals

The Awakening of the Attention: Evidence for a Link Between the Monitoring of Mind Wandering and Prospective Goals

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Volume 147, Issue 3, 431-443

Abstract
“Across 2 independent samples, we examined the relation between individual differences in rates of self-caught mind wandering and individual differences in temporal monitoring of an unrelated response goal. Rates of self-caught mind wandering were assessed during a commonly used sustained-attention task, and temporal goal monitoring was indexed during a well-established prospective-memory task. The results from both samples showed a positive relation between rates of self-caught mind wandering during the sustained-attention task and rates of checking a clock to monitor the amount of time remaining before a response was required in the prospective-memory task. This relation held even when controlling for overall propensity to mind-wander (indexed by intermittent thought probes) and levels of motivation (indexed by subjective reports). These results suggest the possibility that there is a common monitoring system that monitors the contents of consciousness and the progress of ongoing goals and tasks.”

Written by: Paul Seli, Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel Smilek, Brandon C.W. Ralph
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000385

Smile! Social reward drives attention

Smile! Social reward drives attention

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Volume 44, Issue 2, 206-214

Abstract
“Human social behavior is fine-tuned by interactions between individuals and their environments. Here we show that social motivation plays an important role in this process. Using a novel manipulation of social reward that included elements of real-life social exchanges, we demonstrate the emergence of attentional orienting for coincidental spatial associations that received positive social reward. After an interaction with the experimenter, participants completed a computerized task in which they received positive, negative, or no social reward for their performance to spatially congruent, spatially incongruent, and neutral cue–target pairings, respectively. Even though cue–target spatial correspondences remained at chance, attentional benefits emerged and persisted a day later for targets that received positive social reward. Our data further revealed that participants’ level of social competence, as measured by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient scale, was predictably related to the magnitude of their reward-driven attentional benefits. No attentional effects emerged when the social interaction and social reward manipulations were removed. These results show that motivational incentives available during social exchanges affect later individual cognitive functioning, providing one of the first insights into why seemingly ambiguous social signals produce reliable and persistent attentional effects.”

Written by: Dana A. Hayward, E.J. Pereira, A.R. Otto, J. Ristic
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000459

Working memory load and the retro-cue effect: A diffusion model account

Working memory load and the retro-cue effect: A diffusion model account

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Volume 44, Issue 2, 286-310

Abstract
“Retro-cues (i.e., cues presented between the offset of a memory array and the onset of a probe) have consistently been found to enhance performance in working memory tasks, sometimes ameliorating the deleterious effects of increased memory load. However, the mechanism by which retro-cues exert their influence remains a matter of debate. To inform this debate, we applied a hierarchical diffusion model to data from 4 change detection experiments using single item, location-specific probes (i.e., a local recognition task) with either visual or verbal memory stimuli. Results showed that retro-cues enhanced the quality of information entering the decision process—especially for visual stimuli—and decreased the time spent on nondecisional processes. Further, cues interacted with memory load primarily on nondecision time, decreasing or abolishing load effects. To explain these findings, we propose an account whereby retro-cues act primarily to reduce the time taken to access the relevant representation in memory upon probe presentation, and in addition protect cued representations from visual interference.”

Written by: Peter Shepherdson, Klaus Oberauer, Alessandra S. Souza
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000448

Are goal states represented during kinematic imitation?

Are goal states represented during kinematic imitation?

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Volume 44, Issue 2, 226-242

Abstract
“A number of studies have shown that observation of another person’s actions can modulate one’s own actions, such as when 2 individuals cooperate in order to complete a joint task. However, little is known about whether or not direct matching of specific movements is modulated by the goals of the actions observed. In a series of 7 experiments, we employed an action observation paradigm in which 2 coactors sat opposite each other and took turns to reach out to targets presented on a shared workspace. Importantly, coactors performed either the same goal at the reached-to location or a different goal. Although results consistently showed that the reaching action of 1 individual slows the observer’s reaching action to the same spatial location, the effect was not modulated according to the adopted goals of coactors. These findings challenge the notion that the processes involved in the imitation of specific movements code for the action goals of those movements.”

Written by: G. G. Cole, M. A. Atkinson, A. D. C. D’Souza, T. N. Welsh, P. A. Skarrat
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000429

Decision-making training reduces the attentional blink

Decision-making training reduces the attentional blink

Published in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Volume 44, Issue 2, 195-205

Abstract
“Practice or training on a particular task often yields gains for the trained task; however, the extent to which these benefits generalize to other stimuli/tasks is contentious. It has been suggested that behavioral decision-making/response selection training may enhance temporal visual attention, as measured using the attentional blink (AB) paradigm. Here, we show that AB can indeed be reduced through response selection training, which requires repeatedly performing a speeded decision-making task. Training gains garnered by this approach transferred to distinct AB measures, but not to unrelated measures of visual search and multitasking ability. Moreover, these changes were still evident 2 weeks after training completion. Crucially, training on 2 active control tasks—visual search and motion discrimination—did not elicit similar gains. Such malleability of temporal visual attention via response selection training offers tantalizing prospects for future cognitive enhancement endeavors.”

Written by: Ashika Verghese, Jason B. Mattingley, K.G. Garner, Paul E. Dux
For full text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000454

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