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Brain Sci., Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2012), Pages 85-266

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Subliminal and Supraliminal Processing of Facial Expression of Emotions: Brain Oscillation in the Left/Right Frontal Area
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 85-100; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020085
Received: 30 January 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 26 March 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. Alpha
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The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. Alpha band variation was monitored within the right- and left-cortical side when subjects consciously (supraliminal stimulation) or unconsciously (subliminal stimulation) processed facial patterns. Twenty subjects looked at six facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) under two different conditions: supraliminal (200 ms) vs. subliminal (30 ms) stimulation (140 target-mask pairs for each condition). The results showed that conscious/unconscious processing and the significance of the stimulus can modulate the alpha power. Moreover, it was found that there was an increased right frontal activity for negative emotions vs. an increased left response for positive emotion. The significance of facial expressions was adduced to elucidate cortical different responses to emotional types. Full article
Open AccessArticle Combining Computational Modeling and Neuroimaging to Examine Multiple Category Learning Systems in the Brain
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 176-202; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020176
Received: 1 March 2012 / Revised: 30 March 2012 / Accepted: 18 April 2012 / Published: 23 April 2012
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Abstract
Considerable evidence has argued in favor of multiple neural systems supporting human category learning, one based on conscious rule inference and one based on implicit information integration. However, there have been few attempts to study potential system interactions during category learning. The PINNACLE
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Considerable evidence has argued in favor of multiple neural systems supporting human category learning, one based on conscious rule inference and one based on implicit information integration. However, there have been few attempts to study potential system interactions during category learning. The PINNACLE (Parallel Interactive Neural Networks Active in Category Learning) model incorporates multiple categorization systems that compete to provide categorization judgments about visual stimuli. Incorporating competing systems requires inclusion of cognitive mechanisms associated with resolving this competition and creates a potential credit assignment problem in handling feedback. The hypothesized mechanisms make predictions about internal mental states that are not always reflected in choice behavior, but may be reflected in neural activity. Two prior functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of category learning were re-analyzed using PINNACLE to identify neural correlates of internal cognitive states on each trial. These analyses identified additional brain regions supporting the two types of category learning, regions particularly active when the systems are hypothesized to be in maximal competition, and found evidence of covert learning activity in the “off system” (the category learning system not currently driving behavior). These results suggest that PINNACLE provides a plausible framework for how competing multiple category learning systems are organized in the brain and shows how computational modeling approaches and fMRI can be used synergistically to gain access to cognitive processes that support complex decision-making machinery. Full article
Open AccessArticle Understanding the Evolution of Mammalian Brain Structures; the Need for a (New) Cerebrotype Approach
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 203-224; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020203
Received: 20 March 2012 / Revised: 25 April 2012 / Accepted: 3 May 2012 / Published: 18 May 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1029 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The mammalian brain varies in size by a factor of 100,000 and is composed of anatomically and functionally distinct structures. Theoretically, the manner in which brain composition can evolve is limited, ranging from highly modular (“mosaic evolution”) to coordinated changes in brain structure
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The mammalian brain varies in size by a factor of 100,000 and is composed of anatomically and functionally distinct structures. Theoretically, the manner in which brain composition can evolve is limited, ranging from highly modular (“mosaic evolution”) to coordinated changes in brain structure size (“concerted evolution”) or anything between these two extremes. There is a debate about the relative importance of these distinct evolutionary trends. It is shown here that the presence of taxa-specific allometric relationships between brain structures makes a taxa-specific approach obligatory. In some taxa, the evolution of the size of brain structures follows a unique, coordinated pattern, which, in addition to other characteristics at different anatomical levels, defines what has been called here a “taxon cerebrotype”. In other taxa, no clear pattern is found, reflecting heterogeneity of the species’ lifestyles. These results suggest that the evolution of brain size and composition depends on the complex interplay between selection pressures and constraints that have changed constantly during mammalian evolution. Therefore the variability in brain composition between species should not be considered as deviations from the normal, concerted mammalian trend, but in taxa and species-specific versions of the mammalian brain. Because it forms homogenous groups of species within this complex “space” of constraints and selection pressures, the cerebrotype approach developed here could constitute an adequate level of analysis for evo-devo studies, and by extension, for a wide range of disciplines related to brain evolution. Full article
Open AccessArticle A High-Fat Meal, or Intraperitoneal Administration of a Fat Emulsion, Increases Extracellular Dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 242-253; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020242
Received: 10 April 2012 / Revised: 4 May 2012 / Accepted: 1 June 2012 / Published: 11 June 2012
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Abstract
Evidence links dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell to the ingestion of palatable diets. Less is known, however, about the specific relation of DA to dietary fat and circulating triglycerides (TG), which are stimulated by fat intake and promote overeating. The
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Evidence links dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell to the ingestion of palatable diets. Less is known, however, about the specific relation of DA to dietary fat and circulating triglycerides (TG), which are stimulated by fat intake and promote overeating. The present experiments tested in Sprague-Dawley rats whether extracellular levels of NAc DA increase in response to acute access to fat-rich food or peripheral injection of a fat emulsion and, if so, whether this is related to caloric intake or elevated circulating lipids. When rats consumed more calories of a high-fat meal compared with a low-fat meal, there was a significant increase in extracellular accumbens DA (155% vs. 119%). Systemic injection of a fat emulsion, which like a high-fat diet raises circulating TG but eliminates the factor of taste and allows for the control of caloric intake, also significantly increased extracellular levels of DA (127%) compared to an equicaloric glucose solution (70%) and saline (85%). Together, this suggests that a rise in circulating TG may contribute to the stimulatory effect of a high-fat diet on NAc DA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)

Review

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Open AccessReview The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 101-129; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020101
Received: 18 January 2012 / Revised: 29 February 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (788 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be accompanied
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Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be accompanied by different levels of consciousness. While encoding is based on a hierarchical arrangement of memory systems from procedural to episodic-autobiographical memory, retrieval allows independence in the sense that no matter how information is encoded, it can be retrieved in any memory system. Thus, we illustrate the relations between various long-term memory systems by reviewing the spectrum of abnormalities in mnemonic processing that may arise in the dissociative amnesia—a condition that is usually characterized by a retrieval blockade of episodic-autobiographical memories and occurs in the context of psychological trauma, without evidence of brain damage on conventional structural imaging. Furthermore, we comment on the functions of implicit memories in guiding and even adaptively molding the behavior of patients with dissociative amnesia and preserving, in the absence of autonoetic consciousness, the so-called “internal coherence of life”. Full article
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Open AccessReview Unconscious Effects of Action on Perception
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 130-146; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020130
Received: 19 December 2011 / Revised: 3 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 April 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (407 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We spend much of our life predicting the future. This involves developing theories and making predictions about others’ intentions, goals and about the consequences of the actions we are observing. Adapting our actions and behaviours to the environment is required for achieving our
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We spend much of our life predicting the future. This involves developing theories and making predictions about others’ intentions, goals and about the consequences of the actions we are observing. Adapting our actions and behaviours to the environment is required for achieving our goals, and to do this the motor system relies on input from sensory modalities. However, recent theories suggest that the link between motor and perceptual areas is bidirectional, and that predictions based on planned or intended actions can unconsciously influence and modify our perception. In the following review we describe current theories on the link between action and perception, and examine the ways in which the motor system can unconsciously alter our perception. Full article
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Open AccessReview The “Id” Knows More than the “Ego” Admits: Neuropsychoanalytic and Primal Consciousness Perspectives on the Interface Between Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 147-175; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020147
Received: 16 January 2012 / Revised: 2 March 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 17 April 2012
Cited by 53 | PDF Full-text (1102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the “energy” for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view is
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It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the “energy” for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view is concordant with many of the theoretical formulations of Sigmund Freud. In this reconceptualization, all of consciousness may be dependent on the original evolution of affective phenomenal experiences that coded survival values. These subcortical energies provided a foundation that could be used for the epigenetic construction of perceptual and other higher forms of consciousness. From this perspective, perceptual experiences were initially affective at the primary-process brainstem level, but capable of being elaborated by secondary learning and memory processes into tertiary-cognitive forms of consciousness. Within this view, although all individual neural activities are unconscious, perhaps along with secondary-process learning and memory mechanisms, the primal sub-neocortical networks of emotions and other primal affects may have served as the sentient scaffolding for the construction of resolved perceptual and higher mental activities within the neocortex. The data supporting this neuro-psycho-evolutionary vision of the emergence of mind is discussed in relation to classical psychoanalytical models. Full article
Open AccessReview Behavior in Oblivion: The Neurobiology of Subliminal Priming
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 225-241; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020225
Received: 22 March 2012 / Revised: 9 May 2012 / Accepted: 16 May 2012 / Published: 29 May 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (443 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Subliminal priming refers to behavioral modulation by an unconscious stimulus, and can thus be regarded as a form of unconscious visual processing. Theories on recurrent processing have suggested that the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) comprises of the non-hierarchical transfer of stimulus-related information.
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Subliminal priming refers to behavioral modulation by an unconscious stimulus, and can thus be regarded as a form of unconscious visual processing. Theories on recurrent processing have suggested that the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) comprises of the non-hierarchical transfer of stimulus-related information. According to these models, the neural correlate of subliminal priming (NCSP) corresponds to the visual processing within the feedforward sweep. Research from cognitive neuroscience on these two concepts and the relationship between them is discussed here. Evidence favoring the necessity of recurrent connectivity for visual awareness is accumulating, although some questions, such as the need for global versus local recurrent processing, are not clarified yet. However, this is not to say that recurrent processing is sufficient for consciousness, as a neural definition of consciousness in terms of recurrent connectivity would imply. We argue that the limited interest cognitive neuroscience currently has for the NCSP is undeserved, because the discovery of the NCSP can give insight into why people do (and do not) express certain behavior. Full article
Open AccessReview Anterior Prefrontal Contributions to Implicit Attention Control
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 254-266; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020254
Received: 13 April 2012 / Revised: 4 June 2012 / Accepted: 5 June 2012 / Published: 15 June 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prefrontal cortex function has traditionally been associated with explicit executive function. Recently, however, evidence has been presented that lateral prefrontal cortex is also involved in high-level cognitive processes such as task set selection or inhibition in the absence of awareness. Here, we discuss
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Prefrontal cortex function has traditionally been associated with explicit executive function. Recently, however, evidence has been presented that lateral prefrontal cortex is also involved in high-level cognitive processes such as task set selection or inhibition in the absence of awareness. Here, we discuss evidence that not only lateral prefrontal cortex, but also rostral prefrontal cortex is involved in such kinds of implicit control processes. Specifically, rostral prefrontal cortex activation changes have been observed when implicitly learned spatial contingencies in a search display become invalid, requiring a change of attentional settings for optimal guidance of visual search. Full article
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