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What makes written words so special to the brain

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193790 Year: Pages: 267 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-379-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Reading is an integral part of life in today's information-driven societies. Since the pioneering work of Dejerine on "word blindness" in brain-lesioned patients, the literature has increased exponentially, from neuropsychological case reports to mechanistic accounts of word processing at the behavioural, neurofunctional and computational levels, tapping into diverse aspects of visual word processing. These studies have revealed some exciting findings about visual word processing, including how the brain learns to read, how changes in literacy impact upon word processing strategies, and whether word processing mechanisms vary across different alphabetic, logographic or artificial writing systems. Other studies have attempted to characterise typical and atypical word processes in special populations in order to explain why dyslexic brains struggle with words, how multilingualism changes the way our brains see words, and what the exact developmental signatures are that would shape the acquisition of reading skills. Exciting new insights have also emerged from recent studies that have investigated word stimuli at the system/network level, by looking for instance, at how the reading system interacts with other cognitive systems in a context-dependent fashion, how visual language stimuli are integrated into the speech processing streams, how both left and right hemispheres cooperate and interact during word processing, and what the exact contributions of subcortical and cerebellar regions to reading are. The contributions to this Research Topic highlight the latest findings regarding the different issues mentioned above, particularly how these findings can explain or model the different processes, mechanisms, pathways or cognitive strategies by which the human brain sees words. The introductory editorial, summarising the contributions included here, highlights how varieties of behavioural tests and neuroimaging techniques can be used to investigate word processing mechanisms across different alphabetic and logographic writing systems.

Neural Implementations of Expertise

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196883 Year: Pages: 236 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-688-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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When we think about expertise, we usually consider people who master tasks at a level not reachable by most other people. Although we rarely realise it, however, most humans are experts in many aspects of everyday life. This expertise enables us to find our way through a complex environment that is our life. For instance, we can instantly recognise multiple objects and relations between them to form a meaningful unit, such as an office. Thus, research on expertise is not only important to investigate the cognitive and neural processes within an “elite” group, but it is also a powerful tool to understand how everyone can acquire complex skills. The goal of this Research Topic is to shed further light on the common and distinct neural mechanisms that implement various kinds of expertise. We broadly define expertise as skill in any perceptual, cognitive, social or motor domain, with the common core being optimised information processing due to knowledge acquired from repeated experiences. Thus, we are interested in the full range of mental processes modulated or modified by expertise, from “simple” object or pattern recognition to complex decision making or problem solving in a particular domain. These domains can range from everyday or occupational expertise to sports and rather artificial domains such as board games. In all cases, the aim should be to elucidate how the brain implements these sometimes incredible feats. We are particularly interested in connecting cognitive theories about expertise and expertise-related performance differences with models and data on the neural implementation of expertise. We welcome original research contributions using the full range of behavioural neuroscience methods, as well as theoretical, methodological or historical reviews, and opinion papers focusing on any of the above-mentioned aspects.

Keywords

Expertise --- Sport --- Board games --- Music --- Language --- Perception --- MRI --- fMRI --- EEG

Visual Dysfunction in Schizophrenia: A View into the Mechanisms of Madness?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195152 Year: Pages: 319 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-515-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-10-30 16:33:44
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Research on visual perception in schizophrenia has a long history. However, it is only recently that it has been included in mainstream efforts to understand the cognitive neuroscience of the disorder and to assist with biomarker and treatment development (e.g., the NIMH CNTRICS and RDoC initiatives). Advances in our understanding of visual disturbances in schizophrenia can tell us about both specific computational and neurobiological abnormalities, and about the widespread computational and neurobiological abnormalities in the illness, of which visual disturbances constitute well-studied, replicable, low-level examples. Importantly, far from being a passive sensory registration process, visual perception is active, inferential, and hypothesis-generating, and therefore can provide excellent examples of breakdowns in general brain functions in schizophrenia. Despite progress made in understanding visual processing disturbances in schizophrenia, many challenges exist and many unexplored areas are in need of examination. For example, the directional relationships between perceptual and cognitive disturbances (e.g., in attention, memory, executive function, predictive coding) remain unclear in many cases, as do links with symptoms, including visual hallucinations. The effect of specific visual disturbances on multisensory integration in schizophrenia has also not been explored. In addition, few studies of vision in schizophrenia have used naturalistic stimuli, including real-world objects, and almost no studies have examined processing during interaction with objects or visual exploration, which can provide important data on functioning of the perception for action pathway. Relatedly, studies of visual processing in schizophrenia have also not been conducted within contexts that include emotional stimulation and the presence of reinforcers - characteristics of many real-world situations - and the consequences of this are likely to be an incomplete view of how and when perception is abnormal in the condition. An additional important area involves treatment of visual disturbances in schizophrenia. Two major questions regarding this are: 1) can visual processing be improved in cases where it is impaired (and by what types of interventions affecting which cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms)? and 2) what are the clinical and functional benefits of improving specific visual functions in people with schizophrenia? Other important and understudied questions concern: 1) the extent to which indices of visual functioning can serve as biomarkers such as predictors of relapse, treatment response, and/or recovery; 2) the potential role of visual functioning in diagnosing and predicting illness; 3) the extent to which some visual perception disturbances are diagnostically specific to schizophrenia; and 4) the extent to which visual disturbances are truly manifestations of disease, as opposed to aspects of normal variation that, in combination with disease, serves to modify the clinical presentation. This Frontiers Research Topic explores some of these, and other issues facing this exciting interface between vision science and schizophrenia research. We include papers that span the entire range of different Frontiers paper types, including those that are data driven (using psychophysics, electroencephalography, neuroimaging, computational and animal models, and other methods), reviews, hypotheses, theories, opinion, methods, areas of impact, and historical perspectives.

Manipulative approaches to human brain dynamics

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194797 Year: Pages: 246 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-479-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:33
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In this EBook, we highlight how newly emerging techniques for non-invasive manipulation of the human brain, combined with simultaneous recordings of neural activity, contribute to the understanding of brain functions and neural dynamics in humans. A growing body of evidence indicates that the neural dynamics (e.g., oscillations, synchrony) are important in mediating information processing and networking for various functions in the human brain. Most of previous studies on human brain dynamics, however, show correlative relationships between brain functions and patterns of neural dynamics measured by imaging methods such as electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In contrast, manipulative approaches by non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) have been developed and extensively used. These approaches include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric stimulation (tES) such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), alternating current stimulation (tACS), and random noise stimulation (tRNS), which can directly manipulate neural dynamics in the intact human brain. Although the neural-correlate approach is a strong tool, we think that manipulative approaches have far greater potential to show causal roles of neural dynamics in human brain functions. There have been technical challenges with using manipulative methods together with imaging methods. However, thanks to recent technical developments, it has become possible to use combined methods such as TMS–EEG coregistration. We can now directly measure and manipulate neural dynamics and analyze functional consequences to show causal roles of neural dynamics in various brain functions. Moreover, these combined methods can probe brain excitability, plasticity and cortical networking associated with information processing in the intact human brain. The contributors to this EBook have succeeded in showcasing cutting-edge studies and demonstrate the huge impact of their approaches on many areas in human neuroscience and clinical applications.

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