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Investigating the human brainstem with structural and functional MRI

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192472 Year: Pages: 92 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-247-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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The brainstem is one of the least understood parts of the human brain despite its prime importance for the maintenance of basic vital functions. Owing to its role as a relay station between spinal cord, cerebellum and neocortex, the brainstem contains vital nodes of all functional systems in the central nervous system, including the visual, auditory, gustatory, vestibular, somatic and visceral senses, and the somatomotor as well as autonomic nervous systems. While the brainstem has been extensively studied in animals using invasive methods, human studies remain scarce. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a non-invasive and widely available method is one possibility to access the brainstem in humans and measure its structure as well as function. The close vicinity of the brainstem to large arteries and ventricles and the small size of the anatomical structures, however, place high demands on imaging as well as data analysis methods. Nevertheless, the field of brainstem-(f)MRI has significantly advanced in the past few years, largely due to the development of several new tools that facilitate studying this critical part of the human brain. Within this scope, the goal of this Research Topic is to compile work representing the state of the art in functional and structural MRI of the human brainstem.

Basic and applied research on deception and its detection

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192540 Year: Pages: 249 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-254-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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Deception is a ubiquitous phenomenon in social interactions and has attracted a significant amount of research during the last decades. The majority of studies in this field focused on how deception modulates behavioral, autonomic, and brain responses and whether these changes can be used to validly identify lies. Especially the latter question, which historically gave rise to the development of psychophysiological "lie detection" techniques, has been driving research on deception and its detection until today. The detection of deception and concealed information in forensic examinations currently constitutes one of the most frequent applications of psychophysiological methods in the field. With the increasing use of such methods, the techniques for detecting deception have been controversially discussed in the scientific community. It has been proposed to shift from the original idea of detecting deception per se to a more indirect approach that allows for determining whether a suspect has specific knowledge of crime-related details. This so-called Concealed Information Test is strongly linked to basic psychological concepts concerning memory, attention, orienting, and response monitoring. Although research in this field has intensified with the advancement of neuroimaging techniques such as PET and fMRI in the last decade, basic questions on the psychological mechanisms underlying modulatory effects of deception and information concealment on behavioral, autonomic, and brain responses are still poorly understood. This Research Topic brings together contributions from researchers in experimental psychology, psychophysiology, and neuroscience focusing on the understanding of the broad concept of deception including the detection of concealed information, with respect to basic research questions as well as applied issues. This Research Topic is mainly composed of originalresearch articles but reviews and papers elaborating on novel methodological approaches have also been included. Experimental methods include, but are not limited to, behavioral, autonomic, electroencephalographic or brain imaging techniques that allow for revealing relevant facets of deception on a multimodal level. While this Research Topic primarily includes laboratory work, relevant issues for the field use of such methods are also discussed.

Eye movement-related brain activity during perceptual and cognitive processing

Authors: --- --- ---
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192731 Year: Pages: 196 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-273-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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The recording and analysis of electrical brain activity associated with eye movements has a history of several decades. While the early attempts were primarily focused on uncovering the brain mechanisms of eye movements, more recent approaches use eye movements as markers of the ongoing brain activity to investigate perceptual and cognitive processes. This recent approach of segmenting brain activity based on eye movement behavior has several important advantages. First, the eye movement system is closely related to cognitive functions such as perception, attention and memory. This is not surprising since eye movements provide the easiest and the most accurate way to extract information from our visual environment and the eye movement system largely determines what information is selected for further processing. The eye movement-based segmentation offers a great way to study brain activity in relation to these processes. Second, on the methodological level, eye movements constitute a natural marker to segment the ongoing brain activity. This overcomes the problem of introducing artificial markers such as ones for stimulus presentation or response execution that are typical for a lab-based research. This opens possibilities to study brain activity during self-paced perceptual and cognitive behavior under naturalistic conditions such as free exploration of scenes. Third, by relating eye movement behavior to the ongoing brain activity it is possible to see how perceptual and cognitive processes unfold in time, being able to predict how brain activity eventually leads to behavior. This research topic illustrates advantages of the combined recording and analysis of eye movements and neural signals such as EEG, local field potentials and fMRI for investigation of the brain processes in humans and animals. The contributions include research papers, methodology papers and reviews demonstrating conceptual and methodological achievements in this rapidly developing field.

Why and how is the self related to the brain midline regions?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192656 Year: Pages: 207 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-265-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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What the self is and where it comes from has been one of the great problems of philosophy for thousands of years. As science and medicine have progressed this question has moved to also become a central one in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. The advent of in vivo brain imaging has now allowed the scientific investigation of the self to progress further than ever. Many such imaging studies have indicated that brain structures along the cortical midline are particularly closely related to self-specific processing. This association between cortical midline structures (CMS) and self is reinforced by the involvement of these regions in other self-oriented processes, such as mind-wandering or stimulus valuation. Those midline regions involved in self- processing also overlap with another network, the default mode network, which shows high brain activity during the so-called resting state, indicating that there may be a special relationship between self-processing and intrinsic activity. Although such promising groundwork linking the self and CMS has been carried out, many questions remain. These include: what features of the midline regions lead to their apparent importance in self-processing? How can we appropriately account for confounding factors such as familiarity or task-effects in our experiments? How is the self-related to other features of the mind, such as consciousness? How is our methodology influencing our attempts to link the self and the brain? The purpose of this ebook is to address some of these questions, including opinions, perspectives, and hypotheses about the concept of the self, the relationship between CMS and the self, and the specific function of these brain regions in self-processing. It also includes original research papers describing EEG, fMRI, and behavioral experiments investigating different aspects of the self.

Brain Connectivity in Autism

Authors: --- --- --- --- et al.
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192823 Year: Pages: 264 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-282-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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The brain's ability to process information crucially relies on connectivity. Understanding how the brain processes complex information and how such abilities are disrupted in individuals with neuropsychological disorders will require an improved understanding of brain connectivity. Autism is an intriguingly complex neurodevelopmental disorder with multidimensional symptoms and cognitive characteristics. A biological origin for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) had been proposed even in the earliest published accounts (Kanner, 1943; Asperger, 1944). Despite decades of research, a focal neurobiological marker for autism has been elusive. Nevertheless, disruptions in interregional and functional and anatomical connectivity have been a hallmark of neural functioning in ASD. Theoretical accounts of connectivity perceive ASD as a cognitive and neurobiological disorder associated with altered functioning of integrative circuitry. Neuroimaging studies have reported disruptions in functional connectivity (synchronization of activated brain areas) during cognitive tasks and during task-free resting states. While these insights are valuable, they do not address the time-lagged causality and directionality of such correlations. Despite the general promise of the connectivity account of ASD, inconsistencies and methodological differences among studies call for more thorough investigations. A comprehensive neurological account of ASD should incorporate functional, effective, and anatomical connectivity measures and test the diagnostic utility of such measures. In addition, questions pertaining to how cognitive and behavioral intervention can target connection abnormalities in ASD should be addressed. This research topic of the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience addresses “Brain Connectivity in Autism” primarily from cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging perspectives.

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