Publications of year 2010
  1. Antoine DelCul. L'accès à la conscience et ses perturbations dans la schizophrénie. Etude des mécanismes cognitifs et cérébraux du masquage visuel rétrograde. PhD thesis, 2010. [bibtex-entry]

  2. Sepideh Sadaghiani. The impact of ongoing brain activity on the variability of human brain function and behaviour. PhD thesis, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

Book chapters
  1. Laurent Cohen, Fabien Vinckier, and Stanislas Dehaene. Anatomical and Functional Correlates of Acquired Peripheral Dyslexias, pages 223-64. Oxford Scholarship Online Monographs, 2010. [bibtex-entry]

Articles in journals
  1. Savita Bernal, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Severine Millotte, and Anne Christophe. Two-year-olds compute syntactic structure on-line. Developmental Science, 13:1:69-76, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  2. Ilaria Berteletti, Daniela Lucangeli, Manuela Piazza, Stanislas Dehaene, and Marco Zorzi. Numerical Estimation in Preschoolers. Developmental Psychology, Vol 46(2):545-551, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  3. Floris P de Lange, Ole Jensen, and Stanislas Dehaene. Accumulation of evidence during sequential decision making: the importance of top-down factors.. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(2):731--738, January 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: In the last decade, great progress has been made in characterizing the accumulation of neural information during simple unitary perceptual decisions. However, much less is known about how sequentially presented evidence is integrated over time for successful decision making. The aim of this study was to study the mechanisms of sequential decision making in humans. In a magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, we presented healthy volunteers with sequences of centrally presented arrows. Sequence length varied between one and five arrows, and the accumulated directions of the arrows informed the subject about which hand to use for a button press at the end of the sequence (e.g., LRLRR should result in a right-hand press). Mathematical modeling suggested that nonlinear accumulation was the rational strategy for performing this task in the presence of no or little noise, whereas quasilinear accumulation was optimal in the presence of substantial noise. MEG recordings showed a correlate of evidence integration over parietal and central cortex that was inversely related to the amount of accumulated evidence (i.e., when more evidence was accumulated, neural activity for new stimuli was attenuated). This modulation of activity likely reflects a top-down influence on sensory processing, effectively constraining the influence of sensory information on the decision variable over time. The results indicate that, when making decisions on the basis of sequential information, the human nervous system integrates evidence in a nonlinear manner, using the amount of previously accumulated information to constrain the accumulation of additional evidence.

  4. S Dehaene and EM Brannon. Space, time,and number: a Kantian research program. trends in cognitive neurosciences, 14:517-19, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  5. Stanislas Dehaene, Kimihiro Nakamura, Antoinette Jobert, Chihiro Kuroki, Seiji Ogawa, and Laurent Cohen. Why do children make mirror errors in reading? Neural correlates of mirror invariance in the visual word form area.. Neuroimage, 49(2):1837--1848, January 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Young children often make mirror errors when learning to read and write, for instance writing their first name from right to left in English. This competence vanishes in most adult readers, who typically cannot read mirror words but retain a strong competence for mirror recognition of images. We used fast behavioral and fMRI repetition priming to probe the brain mechanisms underlying mirror generalization and its absence for words in adult readers. In two groups of French and Japanese readers, we show that the left fusiform visual word form area, a major site of learning during reading acquisition, simultaneously shows a maximal effect of mirror priming for pictures and an absence of mirror priming for words. Thus, learning to read recruits an area which possesses a property of mirror invariance, seemingly present in all primates, which is deleterious for letter recognition and may explain children's transient mirror errors.

  6. Stanislas Dehaene, Felipe Pegado, Lucia W Braga, Paulo Ventura, Gilberto Nunes Filho, Antoinette Jobert, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Régine Kolinsky, José Morais, and Laurent Cohen. How Learning to Read Changes the Cortical Networks for Vision and Language. Science, November 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Does literacy improve brain function? Does it also entail losses? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we measured brain responses to spoken and written language, visual faces, houses, tools, and checkers in adults of variable literacy (10 were illiterate, 22 became literate as adults, and 31 became literate in childhood). As literacy enhanced the left fusiform activation evoked by writing, it induced a small competition with faces at this location but also broadly enhanced visual responses in fusiform and occipital cortex, extending to area V1. Literacy also enhanced phonological activation to speech in the planum temporale and afforded a top-down activation of orthography from spoken inputs. Most changes occurred even when literacy was acquired in adulthood, emphasizing that both childhood and adult education can profoundly refine cortical organization.

  7. G. Dehaene-Lambertz, A. Montavont, A. Jobert, L. Allirol, J. Dubois, L. Hertz-Pannier, and S. Dehaene. Language or music, mother or Mozart? Structural and environmental influences on infants' language networks. Brain Lang, 114(2):53-65, October 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Understanding how language emerged in our species calls for a detailed investigation of the initial specialization of the human brain for speech processing. Our earlier research demonstrated that an adult-like left-lateralized network of perisylvian areas is already active when infants listen to sentences in their native language, but did not address the issue of the specialization of this network for speech processing. Here we used fMRI to study the organization of brain activity in two-month-old infants when listening to speech or to music. We also explored how infants react to their mother's voice relative to an unknown voice. The results indicate that the well-known structural asymmetry already present in the infants' posterior temporal areas has a functional counterpart: there is a left-hemisphere advantage for speech relative to music at the level of the planum temporale. The posterior temporal regions are thus differently sensitive to the auditory environment very early on, channelling speech inputs preferentially to the left side. Furthermore, when listening to the mother's voice, activation was modulated in several areas, including areas involved in emotional processing (amygdala, orbito-frontal cortex), but also, crucially, a large extent of the left posterior temporal lobe, suggesting that the mother's voice plays a special role in the early shaping of posterior language areas. Both results underscore the joint contributions of genetic constraints and environmental inputs in the fast emergence of an efficient cortical network for language processing in humans.

  8. J. Dubois, M. Benders, F. Lazeyras, C. Borradori-Tolsa, R. Ha-Vinh Leuchter, J. F. Mangin, and P. S. Hüppi. Structural asymmetries of perisylvian regions in the preterm newborn.. Neuroimage, March 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: During the last trimester of human pregnancy, the cerebral cortex of foetuses becomes greatly and quickly gyrified, and post-mortem studies have demonstrated that hemispheres are already asymmetric at the level of Heschl gyrus, planum temporale and superior temporal sulcus (STS). Recently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dedicated post-processing tools enabled the quantitative study of brain development non-invasively in the preterm newborn. However, previous investigations were conducted either over the whole brain or in specific sulci. These approaches may consequently fail to highlight most cerebral sites, where anatomical landmarks are hard to delineate among individuals. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to blindly and automatically map early asymmetries over the immature cortex. Voxel-based analyses of cortical and white matter masks were performed over a group of 25 newborns from 26 to 36weeks of gestational age. Inter-individual variations associated with increasing age were first detected in large cerebral regions, with a prevalence of the right hemisphere in comparison with the left. Asymmetries were further highlighted in three specific cortical regions. Confirming previous studies, we observed deeper STS on the right side and larger posterior region of the sylvian fissure on the left side, close to planum temporale. For the first time, we also detected larger anterior region of the sylvian fissure on the left side, close to Broca's region. This study demonstrated that perisylvian regions are the only regions to be asymmetric from early on, suggesting their anatomical specificity for the emergence of functional lateralization in language processing prior to language exposure.

  9. Joachim Forget, Marco Buiatti, and Stanislas Dehaene. Temporal Integration in Visual Word Recognition.. J Cogn Neurosci, 22:1054-68, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Abstract When two displays are presented in close temporal succession at the same location, how does the brain assign them to one versus two conscious percepts? We investigate this issue using a novel reading paradigm in which the odd and even letters of a string are presented alternatively at a variable rate. The results reveal a window of temporal integration during reading, with a nonlinear boundary around approximately 80 msec of presentation duration. Below this limit, the oscillating stimulus is easily fused into a single percept, with all characteristics of normal reading. Above this limit, reading times are severely slowed and suffer from a word-length effect. ERPs indicate that, even at the fastest frequency, the oscillating stimulus elicits synchronous oscillations in posterior visual cortices, while late ERP components sensitive to lexical status vanish above the fusion threshold. Thus, the fusion/segregation dilemma is not resolved by retinal or subcortical filtering, but at cortical level by at most 300 msec. The results argue against theories of visual word recognition and letter binding that rely on temporal synchrony or other fine temporal codes.

  10. Naama Friedmann, Dror Dotan, and Einav Rahamim. Is the visual analyzer orthographic-specific? Reading words and numbers in letter position dyslexia. Cortex, 46(8):982--1004, September 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Letter position dyslexia (LPD) is a deficit in the encoding of letter position within words. It is characterized by errors of letter migration within words, such as reading trail as trial and form as from. In order to examine whether LPD is domain-specific, and to assess the domain-specificity of the visual analysis system, this study explored whether LPD extends to number reading, by testing whether individuals who have letter migrations in word reading also show migrations while reading numbers. The reading of words and numbers of 12 Hebrew-speaking individuals with developmental LPD was assessed. Experiment 1 tested reading aloud of words and numbers, and Experiment 2 tested same-different decisions in words and numbers. The findings indicated that whereas the participants with developmental LPD showed a large number of migration errors in reading words, 10 of them read numbers well, without migration errors, and not differently from the control participants. A closer inspection of the pattern of errors in words and numbers of two individuals who had migrations in both numbers and words showed qualitative differences in the characteristics of migration errors in the two types of stimuli. In word reading, migration errors appeared predominantly in middle letters, whereas the errors in numbers occurred mainly in final (rightmost) digits. Migrations in numbers occurred almost exclusively in adjacent digits, but in words migrations occurred both in adjacent and in nonadjacent letters. The results thus indicate that words can be selectively impaired, without a parallel impairment in numbers, and that even when numbers are also impaired they show different error pattern. Thus, the visual analyzer is actually an orthographic visual analyzer, a module that is domain-specific for the analysis of words.

  11. Anne Giersch, Mitsouko van Assche, Caroline Huron, and David Luck. Visuo-perceptual organization and working memory in patients with schizophrenia.. Neuropsychologia, December 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: We explore the mechanisms sub-tending the re-organization and memorization of visual information by studying how these mechanisms fail in patients with schizophrenia. Several studies have suggested that patients have difficulties in organizing information in perception and memory. We explore to what extent prompting patients to group items influences memory performance. We distinguish automatic grouping from top-down grouping processes, which are especially involved in re-organizing information. The main task was to memorize pairs of figures. Following manipulation of proximity, pairs of figures were part of the same perceptual group (within-group pair, formed on the basis of automatic grouping) or belonged to different groups (between-group pairs, re-grouped through top-down processes). Prior to the memory task, subjects ran a perception task prompting them to prioritize either within-group or between-group pairs. Unlike patients, controls globally benefited from grouping by proximity in the memory task. In addition, the results showed that prioritizing between-group pairs had a deleterious effect in patients, but with a large decrement in memory performance in the case of within-group rather than between-group figures. This occurred despite preserved focalization on within-group figures, as shown by eye-movement recordings. The suggestion is that when patients are prompted to re-group separate items, they can do so, but the benefit derived from automatic grouping is then not only lost but also reversed. This suggests re-organizing visual information not only involves re-grouping separate items but also integrating these new groups in a unified representation, which is impaired in patients with schizophrenia.

  12. Marie-Laure Grillon, Marie-Odile Krebs, Raphaël Gourevitch, Anne Giersch, and Caroline Huron. Episodic memory and impairment of an early encoding process in schizophrenia.. Neuropsychology, 24(1):101--108, January 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Investigations of memory impairment in schizophrenia have frequently revealed a strategic processing deficit at encoding. The authors studied an early encoding process, refreshing (in this case, thinking of a stimulus that has just-previously been presented), and its impact on recognition memory in schizophrenia. Following simultaneous presentation of three words or a single word in the top, middle, or bottom position of the screen, 25 patients with schizophrenia and 25 control participants saw and read a new word (read condition), or a word presented on the previous screen (repeat condition), or saw a dot indicating that they should think of and say the last word to have appeared in that position (refresh condition). Later, on a surprise test, participants were asked to recognize words seen previously and give a Remember, Know, or Guess response according to whether they recognized each on the basis of conscious recollection, familiarity, or guessing. The cognitive operation of refreshing was impaired in schizophrenia: patients were slower on 1-word trials and less accurate on 3-word trials to refresh a word, and their Remember responses did not benefit from refreshing.

  13. Guido Hesselmann, Sepideh Sadaghiani, Karl J Friston, and Andreas Kleinschmidt. Predictive coding or evidence accumulation? False inference and neuronal fluctuations.. PLoS One, 5(3):e9926, 2010. [WWW]
    Abstract: Perceptual decisions can be made when sensory input affords an inference about what generated that input. Here, we report findings from two independent perceptual experiments conducted during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a sparse event-related design. The first experiment, in the visual modality, involved forced-choice discrimination of coherence in random dot kinematograms that contained either subliminal or periliminal motion coherence. The second experiment, in the auditory domain, involved free response detection of (non-semantic) near-threshold acoustic stimuli. We analysed fluctuations in ongoing neural activity, as indexed by fMRI, and found that neuronal activity in sensory areas (extrastriate visual and early auditory cortex) biases perceptual decisions towards correct inference and not towards a specific percept. Hits (detection of near-threshold stimuli) were preceded by significantly higher activity than both misses of identical stimuli or false alarms, in which percepts arise in the absence of appropriate sensory input. In accord with predictive coding models and the free-energy principle, this observation suggests that cortical activity in sensory brain areas reflects the precision of prediction errors and not just the sensory evidence or prediction errors per se.

  14. Caroline Jolly, Caroline Huron, Jean-Michel Albaret, and Edouard Gentaz. Analyse comparative des traces de lettres cursives d une enfant atteinte dun trouble dacquisition de la coordination et scolarisee en CP avec ceux d enfants ordinaires de GM et de CP. Psychologie Francaise, 55:145-70, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  15. Andreas Kleinschmidt and Notger G Müller. The blind, the lame, and the poor signals of brain function--a comment on Sirotin and Das (2009).. Neuroimage, 50(2):622--625, April 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Last year, a study appeared that questioned the generally held assumption of a generic coupling between electrical and hemodynamic signs of neural activity (Sirotin and Das, 2009). Although the findings of that study can barely surprise the specialists in the field, it has caused a considerable confusion in the nonspecialist community due to the unwarranted claim of having discovered a "hitherto unknown signal." According to this claim, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) would pick up not only signals that reflect electrical brain activity but also purely hemodynamic signals that are not linked to neural activity. Here, we show that that study's failure to obtain significant electrophysiological responses to task structure is easily understood on the basis of findings reported for related functional paradigms. Ironically and counter its intention, the study by Sirotin and Das reminds us of the exquisite sensitivity of spatially pooled hemodynamic signals and the limitations of recording only very local samples of electrical activity by microelectrodes. We suggest that this sensitivity of hemodynamic signals should be converted into spatial resolution. In other words, hemodynamic signals should be used to create maps. Further, we suggest that electrical recordings should be obtained at systematically varying functional positions across these maps. And we speculate that under such appropriate experimental and analytical circumstances correspondence between the two modalities would be retrieved-at the expense of a novel signal lost in oblivion.

  16. Sid Kouider, Vincent de Gardelle, Stanislas Dehaene, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Christophe Pallier. Cerebral bases of subliminal speech priming.. Neuroimage, 49:922-29, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: While the neural correlates of unconscious perception and subliminal priming have been largely studied for visual stimuli, little is known about their counterparts in the auditory modality. Here we used a subliminal speech priming method in combination with fMRI to investigate which regions of the cerebral network for language can respond in the absence of awareness. Participants performed a lexical decision task on target items preceded by subliminal primes, which were either phonetically identical or different from the target. Moreover, the prime and target could be spoken by the same speaker or by two different speakers. Word repetition reduced the activity in the insula and in the left superior temporal gyrus. Although the priming effect on reaction times was independent of voice manipulation, neural repetition suppression was modulated by speaker change in the superior temporal gyrus while the insula showed voice-independent priming. These results provide neuroimaging evidence of subliminal priming for spoken words and inform us on the first, unconscious stages of speech perception.

  17. Sebastien Marti, Jerome Sackur, Mariano Sigman, and Stanislas Dehaene. Mapping introspection's blind spot: Reconstruction of dual-task phenomenology using quantified introspection.. Cognition, 115:303-13, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Psychologists often dismiss introspection as an inappropriate measure, yet subjects readily volunteer detailed descriptions of the time and effort that they spent on a task. Are such reports really so inaccurate? We asked subjects to perform a psychological refractory period experiment followed by extensive quantified introspection. On each trial, just after their objective responses, subjects provided no less than four subjective estimates of the timing of sensory, decision and response events. Based on these subjective variables, we reconstructed the phenomenology of an average trial and compared it to objective times and to predictions derived from the central interference model. Introspections of decision time were highly correlated with objective measures, but there was one point of drastic distortion: subjects were largely unaware that the second target was waiting while the first task was being completed, the psychological refractory period effect. Thus, conscious perception is systematically delayed and distorted while central processing resources are monopolized by another task.

  18. Masaki Maruyama, Peter Bc Fenwick, and Andreas A Ioannides. Interocular yoking in human saccades examined by mutual information analysis.. Nonlinear Biomed Phys, 4 Suppl 1:S10, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : BACKGROUND : Saccadic eye movements align the two eyes precisely to foveate a target. Trial-by-trial variance of eye movement is always observed within an identical experimental condition. This has often been treated as experimental error without addressing its significance. The present study examined statistical linkages between the two eyes' movements, namely interocular yoking, for the variance of eye position and velocity. METHODS : Horizontal saccadic movements were recorded from twelve right-eye-dominant subjects while they decided on saccade direction in Go-Only sessions and on both saccade execution and direction in Go/NoGo sessions. We used infrared corneal reflection to record simultaneously and independently the movement of each eye. Quantitative measures of yoking were provided by mutual information analysis of eye position or velocity, which is sensitive to both linear and non-linear relationships between the eyes' movements. Our mutual information analysis relied on the variance of the eyes movements in each experimental condition. The range of movements for each eye varies for different conditions so yoking was further studied by comparing GO-Only vs. Go/NoGo sessions, leftward vs. rightward saccades. RESULTS : Mutual information analysis showed that velocity yoking preceded positional yoking. Cognitive load increased trial variances of velocity with no increase in velocity yoking, suggesting that cognitive load may alter neural processes in areas to which oculomotor control is not tightly linked. The comparison between experimental conditions showed that interocular linkage in velocity variance of the right eye lagged that of the left eye during saccades. CONCLUSIONS : We conclude quantitative measure of interocular yoking based on trial-to-trial variance within a condition, as well as variance between conditions, provides a powerful tool for studying the binocular movement mechanism.

  19. Masaki Maruyama and Andreas A Ioannides. Modulus and direction of the neural current vector identify distinct functional connectivity modes between human MT+ areas.. J Neurosci Methods, July 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Reconstruction of neural current sources from magnetoencephalography (MEG) data provides two independent estimates of the instantaneous current modulus and its direction. Here, we explore how different information on the modulus and direction affects the inter-hemisphere connectivity of the human medial temporal complex (hMT+). Connectivity was quantified by mutual information values of paired time series of current moduli or directions, with the joint probability distribution estimated with an optimized Gaussian kernel. These time series were obtained from tomographic analysis of single-trial MEG responses to a visual motion stimulus. With a high-contrast stimulus, connectivity measures based on the modulus were relatively strong in the prestimulus period, continuing until 100ms after stimulus onset. The strongest modulus connectivity was produced with a long lag (19ms) of the right hMT+ after the left hMT+. On the other hand, connectivity measures based on direction were relatively strong after 100ms, with a short delay of less than 6ms. These results suggest that nonspecific and probably indirect communication between the homologous areas is turned, by the stimulus arrival, into more precise and direct communication through the corpus callosum. The orientation of the estimated current vector for the strong connectivity can be explained by the curvature of the active cortical sheet. The temporal patterns of modulus and directional connectivity were different at low contrast, but similar to those at high contrast. We conclude that the modulus and direction indicate distinct functional connectivity modes.

  20. Benjamin Morillon, Katia Lehongre, Richard S J Frackowiak, Antoine Ducorps, Andreas Kleinschmidt, David Poeppel, and Anne-Lise Giraud. Neurophysiological origin of human brain asymmetry for speech and language. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107(43):18688--18693, October 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: The physiological basis of human cerebral asymmetry for language remains mysterious. We have used simultaneous physiological and anatomical measurements to investigate the issue. Concentrating on neural oscillatory activity in speech-specific frequency bands and exploring interactions between gestural (motor) and auditory-evoked activity, we find, in the absence of language-related processing, that left auditory, somatosensory, articulatory motor, and inferior parietal cortices show specific, lateralized, speech-related physiological properties. With the addition of ecologically valid audiovisual stimulation, activity in auditory cortex synchronizes with left-dominant input from the motor cortex at frequencies corresponding to syllabic, but not phonemic, speech rhythms. Our results support theories of language lateralization that posit a major role for intrinsic, hardwired perceptuomotor processing in syllabic parsing and are compatible both with the evolutionary view that speech arose from a combination of syllable-sized vocalizations and meaningful hand gestures and with developmental observations suggesting phonemic analysis is a developmentally acquired process.

  21. Kimihiro Nakamura, Sid Kouider, Michiru Makuuchi, Chihiro Kuroki, Ritsuko Hanajima, Yoshikazu Ugawa, and Seiji Ogawa. Neural control of cross-language asymmetry in the bilingual brain.. Cereb Cortex, 20(9):2244--2251, September 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Most bilinguals understand their second language more slowly than their first. This behavioral asymmetry may arise from the perceptual, phonological, lexicosemantic, or strategic components of bilingual word processing. However, little is known about the neural source of such language dominance and how it is regulated in the bilingual brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that unconscious neural priming in bilingual word recognition is language nonselective in the left midfusiform gyrus but exhibits a preference for the dominant language in the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (MTG). These early-stage components of reading were located slightly upstream of the left midlateral MTG, which exhibited enhanced response during a conscious switch of language. Effective connectivity analysis revealed that this language switch is triggered by reentrant signals from inferior frontal cortex and not by bottom-up signals from occipitotemporal cortex. We further confirmed that magnetic stimulation of the same inferior frontal region interferes with conscious language control but does not disrupt unconscious priming by masked words. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the neural bottleneck in the bilingual brain is a cross-language asymmetry of form-meaning association in inferolateral temporal cortex, which is overcome by a top-down cognitive control for implementing a task schema in each language.

  22. Kimihiro Nakamura, Tatsuhide Oga, Motohiko Takahashi, Tamaki Kuribayashi, Yuichi Kanamori, Takumi Matsumiya, Yutaka Maeno, and Masahiro Yamamoto. Symmetrical hemispheric priming in spatial neglect: A hyperactive left-hemisphere phenomenon?. Cortex, December 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Hemispheric rivalry models of spatial neglect suggest that the left hemisphere becomes hyperactive following right-hemisphere lesions since the two hemispheres normally exert an inhibitory influence on each other via callosal connections. Using a masked hemifield priming paradigm, we investigated whether the putative change in hemispheric balance involves other, higher-order abstract representational systems in spatial neglect. Participants consisted of 12 neglect patients with right-hemisphere damage and three groups of control participants, i.e., 12 young healthy controls, 10 age-matched healthy controls and 10 right-hemisphere patients without spatial neglect. In each trial, participants made semantic categorization about a centrally presented target word which was preceded by a masked prime flashed either to the left or right visual field. All three control groups exhibited strong left-hemisphere advantage in inhibitory syllabic priming, consistent with the known left-hemisphere dominance in lexical inhibition during reading. By contrast, neglect patients exhibited a symmetrical pattern of priming between the left and right visual fields. These results suggest that (1) the neglected hemifield can rapidly extract abstract information even from weak and normally non-perceptible visual stimuli, but that (2) the normal left hemispheric dominance in reading is absent in neglect patients probably because of the generalized hyperactivity of the left hemisphere. Our results demonstrate a covert behavioral change in spatial neglect which may reflect the altered inter-hemispheric balance in the bilateral word recognition system encompassing lexico-semantic memory.

  23. Felipe Pegado, Tristan Bekinschtein, Nicolas Chausson, Stanislas Dehaene, Laurent Cohen, and Lionel Naccache. Probing the lifetimes of auditory novelty detection processes. Neuropsychologia, 48:3145-54, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  24. Manuela Piazza, Andrea Facoetti, Anna Noemi Trussardi, Ilaria Berteletti, Stefano Conte, Daniela Lucangeli, Stanislas Dehaene, and Marco Zorzi. Developmental trajectory of number acuity reveals a severe impairment in developmental dyscalculia.. Cognition, 116(1):33--41, July 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Developmental dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects the acquisition of knowledge about numbers and arithmetic. It is widely assumed that numeracy is rooted on the "number sense", a core ability to grasp numerical quantities that humans share with other animals and deploy spontaneously at birth. To probe the links between number sense and dyscalculia, we used a psychophysical test to measure the Weber fraction for the numerosity of sets of dots, hereafter called number acuity. We show that number acuity improves with age in typically developing children. In dyscalculics, numerical acuity is severely impaired, with 10-year-old dyscalculics scoring at the level of 5-year-old normally developing children. Moreover, the severity of the number acuity impairment predicts the defective performance on tasks involving the manipulation of symbolic numbers. These results establish for the first time a clear association between dyscalculia and impaired "number sense", and they may open up new horizons for the early diagnosis and rehabilitation of mathematical learning deficits.

  25. Manuela Piazza. Neurocognitive start-up tools for symbolic number representations.. Trends Cogn Sci, 14(12):542--551, December 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Attaching meaning to arbitrary symbols (i.e. words) is a complex and lengthy process. In the case of numbers, it was previously suggested that this process is grounded on two early pre-verbal systems for numerical quantification: the approximate number system (ANS or 'analogue magnitude'), and the object tracking system (OTS or 'parallel individuation'), which children are equipped with before symbolic learning. Each system is based on dedicated neural circuits, characterized by specific computational limits, and each undergoes a separate developmental trajectory. Here, I review the available cognitive and neuroscientific data and argue that the available evidence is more consistent with a crucial role for the ANS, rather than for the OTS, in the acquisition of abstract numerical concepts that are uniquely human.

  26. Philippe Pinel and Stanislas Dehaene. Beyond Hemispheric Dominance: Brain Regions Underlying the Joint Lateralization of Language and Arithmetic to the Left Hemisphere.. J Cogn Neurosci, 22 (1):48-66, January 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Abstract Language and arithmetic are both lateralized to the left hemisphere in the majority of right-handed adults. Yet, does this similar lateralization reflect a single overall constraint of brain organization, such an overall "dominance" of the left hemisphere for all linguistic and symbolic operations? Is it related to the lateralization of specific cerebral subregions? Or is it merely coincidental? To shed light on this issue, we performed a "colateralization analysis" over 209 healthy subjects: We investigated whether normal variations in the degree of left hemispheric asymmetry in areas involved in sentence listening and reading are mirrored in the asymmetry of areas involved in mental arithmetic. Within the language network, a region-of-interest analysis disclosed partially dissociated patterns of lateralization, inconsistent with an overall "dominance" model. Only two of these areas presented a lateralization during sentence listening and reading which correlated strongly with the lateralization of two regions active during calculation. Specifically, the profile of asymmetry in the posterior superior temporal sulcus during sentence processing covaried with the asymmetry of calculation-induced activation in the intraparietal sulcus, and a similar colateralization linked the middle frontal gyrus with the superior posterior parietal lobule. Given recent neuroimaging results suggesting a late emergence of hemispheric asymmetries for symbolic arithmetic during childhood, we speculate that these colateralizations might constitute developmental traces of how the acquisition of linguistic symbols affects the cerebral organization of the arithmetic network.

  27. Emilie Qiao, Fabien Vinckier, Marcin Szwed, Lionel Naccache, Romain Valabregue, Stanislas Dehaene, and Laurent Cohen. Unconsciously deciphering handwriting: Subliminal invariance for handwritten words in the visual word form area.. Neuroimage, 49 (2):1786-99, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Expert readers exhibit a remarkable ability to recognize handwriting, in spite of enormous variability in character shape-a competence whose cerebral underpinnings are unknown. Subliminal priming, combined with neuroimaging, can reveal which brain areas automatically compute an invariant representation of visual stimuli. Here, we used behavioral and fMRI priming to study the areas involved in invariant handwritten word recognition. Compared to printed words, easily readable handwritten words caused additional activity in ventral occipitotemporal cortex, particularly in the right hemisphere, while difficult handwriting also mobilized an attentional parietofrontal network. Remarkably, however, subliminal repetition effects were observed across printed and handwritten styles, whether easy or difficult to read, both behaviorally and in the activation of the left visual word form area (VWFA). These results indicate that the left inferotemporal VWFA possesses an unsuspected degree of fast and automatic visual invariance for handwritten words, although surprisingly this invariance can be reflected both as repetition suppression and as repetition enhancement.

  28. Elena Rusconi, Philippe Pinel, Stanislas Dehaene, and Andreas Kleinschmidt. The enigma of Gerstmann's syndrome revisited: a telling tale of the vicissitudes of neuropsychology.. Brain, 133(Pt 2):320--332, February 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Eighty years ago, the Austrian neurologist Josef Gerstmann observed in a few patients a concomitant impairment in discriminating their own fingers, writing by hand, distinguishing left from right and performing calculations. He claimed that this tetrad of symptoms constituted a syndromal entity, assigned it to a lesion of the dominant parietal lobe and suggested that it was due to damage of a common functional denominator. Ever since, these claims have been debated and an astute synopsis and sceptical discussion was presented 40 years ago by MacDonald Critchley in this journal. Nonetheless, Gerstmann's syndrome has continued to intrigue both clinical neurologists and researchers in neuropsychology, and more frequently than not is described in textbooks as an example of parietal lobe damage. In this review, we revisit the chequered history of this syndrome, which can be seen as a case study of the dialectic evolution of concepts in neuropsychology. In light of several modern era findings of pure cases we conclude that it is legitimate to label the conjunction of symptoms first described by Gerstmann as a 'syndrome', but that it is very unlikely that damage to the same population of cortical neurons should account for all of the four symptoms. Instead, we propose that a pure form of Gerstmann's syndrome might arise from disconnection, via a lesion, to separate but co-localized fibre tracts in the subcortical parietal white matter, a hypothesis for which we have recently provided evidence using combined imaging of functional and structural organization in the healthy brain.

  29. Sepideh Sadaghiani, Guido Hesselmann, Karl J. Friston, and Andreas Kleinschmidt. The relation of ongoing brain activity, evoked neural response, and cognition. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 4, article 20, 2010, June. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  30. Sepideh Sadaghiani, René Scheeringa, Katia Lehongre, Benjamin Morillon, Anne-Lise Giraud, and Andreas Kleinschmidt. Intrinsic connectivity networks, alpha oscillations, and tonic alertness: a simultaneous electroencephalography/functional magnetic resonance imaging study.. J Neurosci, 30(30):10243--10250, July 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Trial-by-trial variability in perceptual performance on identical stimuli has been related to spontaneous fluctuations in ongoing activity of intrinsic functional connectivity networks (ICNs). In a paradigm requiring sustained vigilance for instance, we previously observed that higher prestimulus activity in a cingulo-insular-thalamic network facilitated subsequent perception. Here, we test our proposed interpretation that this network underpins maintenance of tonic alertness. We used simultaneous acquisition of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) in the absence of any paradigm to test an ensuing hypothesis, namely that spontaneous fluctuations in this ICN's activity (as measured by fMRI) should show a positive correlation with the electrical signatures of tonic alertness (as recorded by concurrent EEG). We found in human subjects (19 male, 7 female) that activity in a network comprising dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, anterior prefrontal cortex and thalamus is positively correlated with global field power (GFP) of upper alpha band (10-12 Hz) oscillations, the most consistent electrical index of tonic alertness. Conversely, and in line with earlier findings, alpha band power was negatively correlated with activity in another ICN, the so-called dorsal attention network which is most prominently involved in selective spatial attention. We propose that the cingulo-insular-thalamic network serves maintaining tonic alertness through generalized expression of cortical alpha oscillations. Attention is mediated by activity in other systems, e.g., the dorsal attention network for space, selectively disrupts alertness-related suppression and hence manifests as local attenuation of alpha activity.

  31. Philipp Sterzer and Andreas Kleinschmidt. Anterior insula activations in perceptual paradigms: often observed but barely understood.. Brain Struct Funct, 214(5-6):611--622, June 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Anterior insular cortex is among the non-sensory brain regions most commonly found activated in functional brain imaging studies on visual and auditory perception. However, most of these studies do not explicitly address the functional role of this specific brain region in perception, but rather report its activation as a by-product. Here, we attempt to characterize the involvement of anterior insular cortex in various perceptual paradigms, including studies of visual awareness, perceptual decision making, cross-modal sensory processes and the role of spontaneous neural activity fluctuations in perception. We conclude that anterior insular cortex may be associated with perception in that it underpins heightened alertness of either stimulus- or task-driven origin, or both. Such a mechanism could integrate endogenous and exogenous functional demands under the joint criterion of whether they challenge an individual's homeostasis.

  32. G. Varoquaux, S. Sadaghiani, P. Pinel, A. Kleinschmidt, J. B. Poline, and B. Thirion. A group model for stable multi-subject ICA on fMRI datasets.. Neuroimage, 51(1):288--299, May 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: Spatial Independent Component Analysis (ICA) is an increasingly used data-driven method to analyze functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data. To date, it has been used to extract sets of mutually correlated brain regions without prior information on the time course of these regions. Some of these sets of regions, interpreted as functional networks, have recently been used to provide markers of brain diseases and open the road to paradigm-free population comparisons. Such group studies raise the question of modeling subject variability within ICA: how can the patterns representative of a group be modeled and estimated via ICA for reliable inter-group comparisons? In this paper, we propose a hierarchical model for patterns in multi-subject fMRI datasets, akin to mixed-effect group models used in linear-model-based analysis. We introduce an estimation procedure, CanICA (Canonical ICA), based on i) probabilistic dimension reduction of the individual data, ii) canonical correlation analysis to identify a data subspace common to the group iii) ICA-based pattern extraction. In addition, we introduce a procedure based on cross-validation to quantify the stability of ICA patterns at the level of the group. We compare our method with state-of-the-art multi-subject fMRI ICA methods and show that the features extracted using our procedure are more reproducible at the group level on two datasets of 12 healthy controls: a resting-state and a functional localizer study.

  33. Arnaud Viarouge, Edward M. Hubbard, Stanislas Dehaene, and and Jerome Sackur. Number Line Compression and the Illusory Perception of Random Numbers. Exp Psychol, 57:446-54, 2010. [PDF] [bibtex-entry]

  34. Marc Wittmann, Virginie van Wassenhove, A. D Bud Craig, and Martin P Paulus. The neural substrates of subjective time dilation.. Front Hum Neurosci, 4:2, 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: An object moving towards an observer is subjectively perceived as longer in duration than the same object that is static or moving away. This "time dilation effect" has been shown for a number of stimuli that differ from standard events along different feature dimensions (e.g. color, size, and dynamics). We performed an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, while subjects viewed a stream of five visual events, all of which were static and of identical duration except the fourth one, which was a deviant target consisting of either a looming or a receding disc. The duration of the target was systematically varied and participants judged whether the target was shorter or longer than all other events. A time dilation effect was observed only for looming targets. Relative to the static standards, the looming as well as the receding targets induced increased activation of the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortices (the "core control network"). The decisive contrast between looming and receding targets representing the time dilation effect showed strong asymmetric activation and, specifically, activation of cortical midline structures (the "default network"). These results provide the first evidence that the illusion of temporal dilation is due to activation of areas that are important for cognitive control and subjective awareness. The involvement of midline structures in the temporal dilation illusion is interpreted as evidence that time perception is related to self-referential processing.

  35. Ariel Zylberberg, Diego Fernández Slezak, Pieter R Roelfsema, Stanislas Dehaene, and Mariano Sigman. The brain's router: a cortical network model of serial processing in the primate brain. PLoS Comput Biol, 6(4):e1000765, April 2010. [WWW] [PDF]
    Abstract: The human brain efficiently solves certain operations such as object recognition and categorization through a massively parallel network of dedicated processors. However, human cognition also relies on the ability to perform an arbitrarily large set of tasks by flexibly recombining different processors into a novel chain. This flexibility comes at the cost of a severe slowing down and a seriality of operations (100-500 ms per step). A limit on parallel processing is demonstrated in experimental setups such as the psychological refractory period (PRP) and the attentional blink (AB) in which the processing of an element either significantly delays (PRP) or impedes conscious access (AB) of a second, rapidly presented element. Here we present a spiking-neuron implementation of a cognitive architecture where a large number of local parallel processors assemble together to produce goal-driven behavior. The precise mapping of incoming sensory stimuli onto motor representations relies on a "router" network capable of flexibly interconnecting processors and rapidly changing its configuration from one task to another. Simulations show that, when presented with dual-task stimuli, the network exhibits parallel processing at peripheral sensory levels, a memory buffer capable of keeping the result of sensory processing on hold, and a slow serial performance at the router stage, resulting in a performance bottleneck. The network captures the detailed dynamics of human behavior during dual-task-performance, including both mean RTs and RT distributions, and establishes concrete predictions on neuronal dynamics during dual-task experiments in humans and non-human primates.



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