All LIBC researchers meet every two weeks to give a researcher the opportunity to present their research. Everyone is encouraged to ask questions and offer constructive criticism.
During this presentation, I would like to receive feedback on an experimental design for an fMRI project that I would like to conduct this summer, in collaboration with Henk van Steenbergen. In this experiment, we wish to examine whether hedonic responses in the brain to attractive compared to neutral foods are modulated by cognitive load. This is particularly relevant in food rich societies, as the expected reward from the consumption of highly palatable foods has been found to be at least as predictive of food (over)consumption as actual food deprivation (Lowe & Butryn, 2007). Participants categorize pictures of tasty and neutral food items, as well as non-food objects as edible or inedible (Toepel, Knebel, Hudry, le Coutre, & Murray, 2009). We expect greater reward processing of attractive food pictures compared to neutral food pictures under low cognitive load, as reflected in greater responses in reward areas such as the nucleus accumbens and ventral striatum to these pictures (Berridge, 2009). We however predict this effect to be eliminated by high cognitive load, because participants who are under high cognitive load may not have the attentional resources available to extract the hedonic relevance of the tasty foods (Van Dillen, Papies, & Hofmann, 2013). Thus, we expect cognitive load toshort-circuit the processing of reward. Based on previous research examining the effects of cognitive load on processing of negative affect (Van Dillen, Heslenfeld, & Koole, 2009), we expect this modulation to take place in brain areas engaged in working memory processing, such as the DLPFC and the superior parietal cortex.
Date: 25! April 2013
Location: Onderwijsgebouw, Room V4-18
In this talk I will present my PhD project entitled "Neural mechanisms and brain structures underlying individual differences in acquisition of vocabulary and grammar of an artificial language. A neurolinguistic study of language aptitude." Language aptitude is a specific talent for learning foreign languages, extensively investigated within the field of second language acquisition. In my project I approach it from a neurolinguistic perspective, investigating how, in terms of neural correlates, highly skilled learners differ from the average ones.The project consists of three parts: a language aptitude test by means of which the participants are being recruited; MRI part where three different neuroimaging techniques (event-related fMRI, resting-state fMRI, and DTI) will be employed in order to establish the neural correlates of grammar and vocabulary learning; and a memory performance task aiming at establishing the behavioral correlates of the acquired imaging data. The talk will concentrate on the theoretical background and design of the study.
Date: 16 May 2013
Location: Onderwijsgebouw, room V-2-18/22
Understanding how the brain integrates features from diverse sensory modalities that are processed in distinct cortical regions calls for the examination of integration processes (''the binding problem''). Recent studies of feature-repetition effects demonstrated interactions across perceptual features from different modalities: repeating only some features of the multimodal stimuli hinders performance compared to repeating all or none of the features (Zmigrod, Spapé, & Hommel, 2009). These partial-repetition costs point to the existence of temporary memory traces of multimodal information (object file / event files). Here, we investigated whether brain stimulation with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) influences the integration processes. In Experiment 1, tDCS was employed over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) which is linked with cognitive control processes (Metuki, Sela, & Lavidor, 2012), while in Experiment 2, we applied tDCS over the right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) which is a multimodal region associated with sensory convergence of multisensory information (Bolognini et al., 2010). In different sessions, healthy participants received anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS (2mA, 15 min) while performing the audio-visual event file task. The results show that there is no significant difference in terms of partial repetition costs between the stimulations over the left DLPFC, yet anodal stimulation over the right PPC modulates the integration between auditory and visual features, as compared to cathodal and sham stimulation. In additional control experiment, no such effect was found in the left PPC. These findings emphasize the role of the right posterior parietal cortex in multimodal feature integration. tDCS may be considered as an effective therapeutic modulation tool in cognitive rehabilitation, especially in populations where multimodal integration does not operate in the most resourceful manner, such as in older adults (Diaconescu , Hasher, & McIntosh, 2012) and in autistic children (Zmigrod et al., in press).
Date: 30 May 2013
Location: Onderwijsgebouw room V-4-18/22
The influence of pharmacological challenges (serotonergic and cholinergic agents) on resting state fMRI and neuropsychological functioning in dementia patients (patients with Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobe dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies) and healthy controls. Studying the effects of challenging these neurotransmitter systems will hopefully result in earlier en better differential diagnosis, better treatment prediction plus monitoring and personalized medication in dementia.
Date: 20 June 2013
Location: Onderwijsgebouw, Room V-2-18/22
Date: 5 september 2013
Location: Onderwijsgebouw, room to be announced
Date: 20 september 2013
Location: to be announced