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Thalamic Function - Beyond a Simple Relay

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198429 Year: Pages: 231 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-842-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The thalamus is often described as a relay. Typified by sensory pathways, this concept leads to thalamic nuclei being viewed as areas that passively streams information from a single source to the cortex, without affecting the nature of that information. However, diverse intrathalamic connections, the varying synaptic and membrane properties of thalamic neurons and the large number of inputs from non-sensory sources make the idea that the thalamus is just a passive relay unlikely. Furthermore, a large number of thalamic nuclei are not primarily driven by sensory signals nor do they exclusively target the cortex, meaning the thalamus must do more than simply pass sensory signals to the cortex. Finally, there is a wealth of research demonstrating that the thalamus does indeed function in ways that are not captured by the concept of a simple relay. So why, given all of this, is the primary paradigm for describing the thalamus, a relay? This Research Topic covers original research, reviews and hypotheses on thalamic function that explore the concept that the thalamus performs computational tasks other than simply passively relaying information.

Overlap of Neural Systems for Processing Language and Music

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199112 Year: Pages: 115 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-911-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The interplay between musical training and speech perception continues to intrigue researchers in the areas of language and music alike. Historically, language function has been attributed to brain regions localized predominately in left hemisphere, whereas music has been attributed to right hemisphere dominant regions. Recent studies demonstrating neural overlap for processing speech and music, and enhanced speech perception and production in musicians suggest that these regions may be inextricably intertwined. The extent of neural overlap between music and speech remains hotly debated, with surprisingly little empirical research exploring specific neural homo-logs and analogs. Moreover, despite recognition that shared processes likely exist throughout development and depend upon an individual’s acoustic experiences, even less research exists on how overlapping neural structures for music and language are affected by developmental trajectories. Nonetheless, the field is well poised to address key empirical questions, in part because of the recent development of new theories that address the neural and developmental interaction between music and language processing in conjunction with the broad availability of sophisticated tools for quantifying brain activity and dynamics. To understand the overlap of neural structures for language and music processing, research is needed to identify those specific functions of each that influence the other, with areas for enhanced perception of pitch and onset time having already been targeted. Research is also needed to identify the extent to which this overlap is developed in infancy or early childhood and the process by which it affects neural reorganization, plasticity, and trainability in adulthood. For this research topic, we would like to further explore the relationship between language and music in the brain from two perspectives: 1) understanding the nature of shared neural and cognitive processing for music and language and 2) understanding the developmental trajectory of these neural systems and how they are influenced by experience. We seek to gather technically diverse original research articles that present new empirical findings relevant to understanding:1. When, in the brain, acoustic information becomes processed specifically as language or music.The shared and independent neural structures for processing music and language.3. How acoustic experiences such as musical training influence overlap of neural structures for language and music.4. How the overlap of processing regions changes over time due to experiences at any developmental stage.

Facing the Other: Novel Theories and Methods in Face Perception Research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197941 Year: Pages: 369 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-794-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-02-03 17:04:57
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We rely heavily on faces during social interactions. Humans possess the ability to recognise thousands of people very quickly and accurately without effort. The serious social difficulties that follow abnormalities of the face recognition system (i.e., prosopagnosia) strongly underline the importance of typical face skills in our everyday life. Over the last fifty years, research on prosopagnosia, along with research in the healthy population, has provided insights into the cognitive and neural features behind typical face recognition. This has also been achieved thanks to non-invasive neuroimaging techniques such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Electroencephalography (EEG), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). However, there is still much debate about the cognitive and neural mechanisms of face perception. In the current Research Topic we plan to gather experimental works, opinions, commentaries, mini-reviews and reviews that focus on new or novel theories and methods in face perception research. Where is the field at the moment? Do we need to re-think the experimental procedures we have adopted so far? Again, what kind of techniques (or combination of them) and analysis methods will be important in the future? From the experimental point of view we encourage both behavioural and neuroimaging contributions (e.g., fMRI, EEG, MEG, DTI and TMS). Despite the main emphasis on face perception, memory and identification, we will also consider original works that focus on other aspects of face processing, such as expression recognition, attractiveness judgments and face imagery. In addition, animal investigations and experimental manipulations that alter face recognition abilities in typical human subjects (e.g., hypnosis) are also welcome. Overall, we are proposing a Research Topic that looks at face processing using different perspectives and welcome contributions from different domains such as psychology, neurology, neuroscience, cognitive science and philosophy. The current Research Topic evolved over the desire to acknowledge the relatively recent loss of three giants in the field: Drs. Shlomo Bentin, Truett Allison and Andy Calder. We dedicate this Research Topic to them and their pioneering studies.

The impact of learning to read on visual processing

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197163 Year: Pages: 73 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-716-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Reading is at the interface between the vision and spoken language domains. An emergent bulk of research indicates that learning to read strongly impacts on non-linguistic visual object processing, both at the behavioral level (e.g., on mirror image processing – enantiomorphy) and at the brain level (e.g., inducing top-down effects as well as neural competition effects). Yet, many questions regarding the exact nature, locus, and consequences of these effects remain hitherto unanswered. The current Special Topic aims at contributing to the understanding of how such a cultural activity as reading might modulate visual processing by providing a landmark forum in which researchers define the state of the art and future directions on this issue. We thus welcome reviews of current work, original research, and opinion articles that focus on the impact of literacy on the cognitive and/or brain visual processes. In addition to studies directly focusing on this topic, we will consider as highly relevant evidence on reading and visual processes in typical and atypical development, including in adult people differing in schooling and literacy, as well as in neuropsychological cases (e.g., developmental dyslexia). We also encourage researchers on nonhuman primate visual processing to consider the potential contribution of their studies to this Special Topic.

Multisensory Integration: Brain, Body and the World

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197927 Year: Pages: 186 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-792-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Behaviour, language, and reasoning are expressions of neural functions par excellence, as the brain must draw on sensory modalities to gather information on the rest of the body and on the outer world. Cortical areas processing the identity and location of sensory inputs were once thought to be organised hierarchically, with some branches dedicated to basic features and other branches dedicated to complex features. Yet current studies have uncovered synergistic effects at early sensory cortices as well as at higher-level association areas. A less hierarchical functional architecture of the brain has emerged such that, irrespective of sensory modality, inputs would be allocated to the best suited cortical substrate. It is our hope that the articles included in this special issue will offer novel insights into recent developments relating to multisensory integration and brain functioning.

The Role of Working Memory and Executive Function in Communication under Adverse Conditions

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198610 Year: Pages: 272 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-861-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Communication is vital for social participation. However, communication often takes place under suboptimal conditions. This makes communication harder and less reliable, leading at worst to social isolation. In order to promote participation, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms underlying communication in different situations. Human communication is often speech based, either oral or written, but may also involve gesture, either accompanying speech or in the form of sign language. For communication to be achieved, a signal generated by one person has to be perceived by another person, attended to, comprehended and responded to. This process may be hindered by adverse conditions including factors that may be internal to the sender (e.g. incomplete or idiosyncratic language production), occur during transmission (e.g. background noise or signal processing) or be internal to the receiver (e.g. poor grasp of the language or sensory impairment). The extent to which these factors interact to generate adverse conditions may differ across the lifespan. Recent work has shown that successful speech communication under adverse conditions is associated with good cognitive capacity including efficient working memory and executive abilities such as updating and inhibition. Further, frontoparietal networks associated with working memory and executive function have been shown to be activated to a greater degree when it is harder to achieve speech comprehension. To date, less work has focused on sign language communication under adverse conditions or the role of gestures accompanying speech communication under adverse conditions. It has been proposed that the role of working memory in communication under such conditions is to keep fragments of an incomplete signal in mind, updating them as appropriate and inhibiting irrelevant information, until an adequate match can be achieved with lexical and semantic representations held in long term memory. Recent models of working memory highlight an episodic buffer whose role is the multimodal integration of information from the senses and long term memory. It is likely that the episodic buffer plays a key role in communication under adverse conditions. The aim of this research topic is to draw together multiple perspectives on communication under adverse conditions including empirical and theoretical approaches. This will facilitate a scientific exchange among individual scientists and groups studying different aspects of communication under adverse conditions and/or the role of cognition in communication. As such, this topic belongs firmly within the field of Cognitive Hearing Science. Exchange of ideas among scientists with different perspectives on these issues will allow researchers to identify and highlight the way in which different internal and external factors interact to make communication in different modalities more or less successful across the lifespan. Such exchange is the forerunner of broader dissemination of results which ultimately, may make it possible to take measures to reduce adverse conditions, thus facilitating communication. Such measures might be implemented in relation to the built environment, the design of hearing aids and public awareness.

The Temporal Dynamics of Cognitive Processing

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198887 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-888-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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From our ability to attend to many stimuli occurring in rapid succession to the transformation of memories during a night of sleep, cognition occurs over widely varying time scales spanning milliseconds to days and beyond. Cognitive processing is often influenced by several behavioral variables as well as nonlinear interactions between multiple neural systems. This frequently produces unpredictable patterns of behavior and makes understanding the underlying temporal factors influencing cognition a fruitful area of hypothesis development and scientific inquiry. Across two reviews, a perspective, and twelve original research articles covering the domains of learning, memory, attention, cognitive control, and social decision making this research topic sheds new light on the temporal dynamics of cognitive processing.

The Social Nature of Emotions

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199099 Year: Pages: 220 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-909-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Emotion is a defining aspect of the human condition. Emotions pervade our social and professional lives, they affect our thinking and behavior, and they profoundly shape our relationships and social interactions. Emotions have traditionally been conceptualized and studied as individual phenomena, with research focusing on cognitive and expressive components and on physiological and neurological processes underlying emotional reactions. Over the last two decades, however, an increasing scholarly awareness has emerged that emotions are inherently social – that is, they tend to be elicited by other people, expressed at other people, and regulated to influence other people or to comply with social norms (Fischer & Manstead, 2008; Keltner & Haidt, 1999; Parkinson, 1996; Van Kleef, 2009). Despite this increasing awareness, the inclusion of the social dimension as a fundamental element in emotion research is still in its infancy (Fischer & Van Kleef, 2010). We therefore organized this special Research Topic on the social nature of emotions to review the state of the art in research and methodology and to stimulate theorizing and future research. The emerging field of research into the social nature of emotions has focused on three broad sets of questions. The first set of questions pertains to how social-contextual factors shape the experience, regulation, and expression of emotions. Studies have shown, for instance, that the social context influences the emotions people feel and express (Clark, Fitness, & Brissette, 2004; Doosje, Branscombe, Spears, & Manstead, 2004; Fischer & Evers, 2011). The second set of questions concerns social-contextual influences on the recognition and interpretation of emotional expressions. Studies have shown that facial expressions are interpreted quite differently depending on the social context (e.g., in terms of status, culture, or gender) in which they are expressed (Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002; Hess & Fischer, 2013; Mesquita & Markus, 2004; Tiedens, 2001). The third set of questions has to do with the ways in which people respond to the emotional expressions of others, and how such responses are shaped by the social context. Studies have shown that emotional expressions can influence the behavior of others, for instance in group settings (Barsade, 2002; Cheshin, Rafaeli & Bos, 2011; Heerdink, Van Kleef, Homan, & Fischer, 2013), negotiations (Sinaceur & Tiedens, 2006; Van Kleef, De Dreu, & Manstead, 2004), and leadership (Sy, Côté, & Saavedra, 2005; Van Kleef, Homan, Beersma, & Van Knippenberg, 2010). This Research Topic centers around these and related questions regarding the social nature of emotions, thereby highlighting new research opportunities and guiding future directions in the field. We bring together a collection of papers to provide an encyclopedic, open-access snapshot of the current state of the art of theorizing and research on the social nature of emotion. The state of the art work that is presented in this e-book helps advance the understanding of the social nature of emotions. It brings together the latest cutting-edge findings and thoughts on this central topic in emotion science, as it heads toward the next frontier.

Perceiving and Acting in the Real World: From Neural Activity to Behavior

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450282 Year: Pages: 280 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-028-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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One remarkable ability of the human brain is to process large amounts of information about our surroundings to allow us to interact effectively with them. In everyday life, the most common way to interact with objects is by reaching, grasping, lifting and manipulating them. Although these may sound like simple tasks, the perceptual properties of the target object, such as its location, size, shape, and orientation all need to be processed in order to set the movement parameters that allow an accurate reach-to-grasp-to lift movement. Several brain areas work in concert to process this outstanding amount of visual information and drive the execution of a motor plan in just a few hundred milliseconds. How are these processes orchestrated? In developing this type of comprehensive knowledge about the interactions between objects perception and goal-directed actions, we have a window into the mechanisms underlying the functioning of the visuo-motor system. With this research topic we aim to further understand the neural mechanisms that mediate our interactions with the world. Therefore, we particularly encourage submission of papers that attempt to relate such findings to real-world situations by investigating behavioural and neural correlates of information processing related to eye-hand coordination and visually-guided actions, including reaching, grasping, and lifting movements. This topic welcomes submissions of original research using any relevant techniques and methods, from behavioural kinematics/kinetics, to neuroimaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as well as neuropsychological studies.One remarkable ability of the human brain is to process large amounts of information about our surroundings to allow us to interact effectively with them. In everyday life, the most common way to interact with objects is by reaching, grasping, lifting and manipulating them. Although these may sound like simple tasks, the perceptual properties of the target object, such as its location, size, shape, and orientation all need to be processed in order to set the movement parameters that allow an accurate reach-to-grasp-to lift movement. Several brain areas work in concert to process this outstanding amount of visual information and drive the execution of a motor plan in just a few hundred milliseconds. How are these processes orchestrated? In developing this type of comprehensive knowledge about the interactions between objects perception and goal-directed actions, we have a window into the mechanisms underlying the functioning of the visuo-motor system. With this research topic we aim to further understand the neural mechanisms that mediate our interactions with the world. Therefore, we particularly encourage submission of papers that attempt to relate such findings to real-world situations by investigating behavioural and neural correlates of information processing related to eye-hand coordination and visually-guided actions, including reaching, grasping, and lifting movements. This topic welcomes submissions of original research using any relevant techniques and methods, from behavioural kinematics/kinetics, to neuroimaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as well as neuropsychological studies.

At Risk for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: An Affective Neuroscience Approach to Understanding the Spectrum

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450268 Year: Pages: 260 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-026-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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Neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental disorders constitute about 13% of the global burden of disease surpassing both cardiovascular disease and cancer. The total cost worldwide of these diseases is estimated to exceed 100 million disability-adjusted life years. In order to begin to address this important problem, the present Research Topic brings together a group of leading affective neuroscience researchers to present their state-of-the-art findings using an affective neuroscience approach to investigate the spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders from patients to those at risk. They focus on different aspects of the emotional and social cognitive disturbances which are core features of neuropsychiatric disorders. While progress has been slow over last couple of decades, we are finally beginning to glimpse some of the underlying neural mechanisms of the emotional and social cognitive disturbances in patients and those at risk. With the technological advances in affective neuroscience and neuroimaging presented in this volume, we hope that progress will be much swifter in the coming years such that we can provide better care for patients and those at risk.

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