Browsing by Subject "COGNITIVE CONTROL"

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  • Hotta, Jaakko; Saari, Jukka; Koskinen, Miika; Hlushchuk, Yevhen; Forss, Nina; Hari, Riitta (2017)
    Patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) display various abnormalities in central motor function, and their pain is intensified when they perform or just observe motor actions. In this study, we examined the abnormalities of brain responses to action observation in CRPS. We analyzed 3-T functional magnetic resonance images from 13 upper limb CRPS patients (all female, ages 31-58 years) and 13 healthy, age- and sex-matched control subjects. The functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired while the subjects viewed brief videos of hand actions shown in the first-person perspective. A pattern-classification analysis was applied to characterize brain areas where the activation pattern differed between CRPS patients and healthy subjects. Brain areas with statistically significant group differences (q <.05, false discovery rate-corrected) included the hand representation area in the sensorimotor cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, secondary somatosensory cortex, inferior parietal lobule, orbitofrontal cortex, and thalamus. Our findings indicate that CRPS impairs action observation by affecting brain areas related to pain processing and motor control. Perspective: This article shows that in CRPS, the observation of others' motor actions induces abnormal neural activity in brain areas essential for sensorimotor functions and pain. These results build the cerebral basis for action-observation impairments in CRPS. (C) 2016 by the American Pain Society
  • Vainio, Lari; Ellis, Rob (2020)
    This article reviews evidence for the special inhibitory mechanisms required to keep response activation related to affordances of a non-target object from evoking responses. This evidence presents that response activation triggered by affordances of a non-target are automatically inhibited resulting, for example, in decelerated response speed when the response is compatible with the affordance. The article also highlights the neural processes that differentiate these non-target-related affordance effects from other non-target-related effects such as the Eriksen flanker effect that-contrary to these affordance effects-present decelerated response speed when there is incompatibility between the non-target and the response. The article discusses the role of frontal executive mechanisms in controlling action planning processes in these non-target-related affordance effects. It is also proposed that overlapping inhibition mechanisms prevent executing impulsive actions relative to affordances of a target and exaggerate inhibition of response activation triggered by affordances of a non-target.
  • Törmänen, Minna; Roebers, Claudia M. (2018)
    This longitudinal study investigates the differences in cognitive and socio-emotional development and academic achievement between children educated in special education classes (N = 37) and regular classes (N = 37). The study is retrospective. The first measurement point was while children were attending play-oriented kindergarten and no decision about their education had yet been made. The second measurement point followed after 2 years of schooling. Comparing carefully matched groups, no differences in executive functions (EFs) were found before beginning school. Children assigned to special education had poorer language, fine motor skills and a lower pre-academic self-concept, self-regulatory skills and social integration. Notably, every fourth child in special education was an immigrant, 9% of whom later attended regular classes. After 2 years of schooling in either setting, the groups differed significantly in academic achievement, EFs, fine motor skills and cognitive self-regulatory skills. However, it was not - as school officials had intended - that children in special education classes had caught up, except in regard to their academic self-concept and social integration.
  • Rämä, Pia; Leminen, Alina; Koskenoja-Vainikka, Satu; Leminen, Miika; Alho, Kimmo; Kujala, Teija (2018)
    Dual language experience has typically been shown to improve various executive control functions. We investigated with event-related brain potentials (ERPs) recorded from early (natively) bilingual speakers and control participants whether it also affects auditory selective attention. We delivered to our participants two tone streams, one to the left and one to the right ear. Both streams consisted of standard tones and two types of infrequent deviant tones which had either an enhanced duration or intensity. The participants were instructed to attend either to the right or left stream and to detect longer-duration deviants in the attended stream. The results showed that the early bilinguals did not outperform the controls in target detection accuracy or speed. However, the late portion of the attention-related ERP modulation (the negative difference, Nd) was larger over the left hemisphere in the early bilinguals than in the controls, suggesting that the maintenance of selective attention or further processing of selectively attended sounds is enhanced in the bilinguals. Moreover, the late reorienting negativity (RON) in response to intensity-deviant tones was larger in the bilinguals, suggesting more efficient disengagement of attention from distracting auditory events. Hence, our results demonstrate that brain responses associated with certain aspects of auditory attention are enhanced in the bilingual adults, indicating that early dual language exposure modulates the neuronal responsiveness of auditory modality.
  • Teivaanmäki, Sini; Huhdanpää, Hanna; Kiuru, Noona; Aronen, Eeva T.; Närhi, Vesa; Klenberg, Liisa (2020)
    The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between internalizing and externalizing symptoms and deficits in executive functions (EF) as well as to examine the overall heterogeneity of EFs in a sample of preschool children attending a psychiatric clinic (n = 171). First, based on cut-off points signifying clinical levels of impairment on the parent-completed Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), children were assigned into groups of internalizing, externalizing, combined or mild symptoms and compared to a reference group (n = 667) with regard to day care teacher ratings of EFs on the Attention and Executive Function Rating Inventory-Preschool (ATTEX-P). Second, latent profile analysis (LPA) was employed to identify distinct subgroups of children representing different EF profiles with unique strengths and weaknesses in EFs. The first set of analyses indicated that all symptom groups had more difficulties in EFs than the reference group did, and the internalizing group had less inhibition-related problems than the other symptom groups did. Using LPA, five EF profiles were identified: average, weak average, attentional problems, inhibitory problems, and overall problems. The EF profiles were significantly associated with gender, maternal education level, and psychiatric symptom type. Overall, the findings suggest that the comparison of means of internalizing and externalizing groups mainly captures the fairly obvious differences in inhibition-related domains among young psychiatric outpatient children, whereas the person-oriented approach, based on individual differences, identifies heterogeneity related to attentional functions, planning, and initiating one's action. The variability in EF difficulties suggests that a comprehensive evaluation of a child's EF profile is important regardless of the type of psychiatric symptoms the child presents with.
  • Moisala, M.; Salmela, V.; Hietajarvi, L.; Salo, E.; Carlson, S.; Salonen, O.; Lonka, K.; Hakkarainen, K.; Salmela-Aro, K.; Alho, K. (2016)
    The current generation of young people indulges in more media multitasking behavior (e.g., instant messaging while watching videos) in their everyday lives than older generations. Concerns have been raised about how this might affect their attentional functioning, as previous studies have indicated that extensive mediamultitasking in everyday life may be associated with decreased attentional control. In the current study, 149 adolescents and young adults (aged 13-24 years) performed speech-listening and reading tasks that required maintaining attention in the presence of distractor stimuli in the othermodality or dividing attention between two concurrent tasks. Brain activity during task performance was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We studied the relationship between self-reported daily media multitasking (MMT), task performance and brain activity during task performance. The results showed that in the presence of distractor stimuli, a higher MMT score was associated with worse performance and increased brain activity in right prefrontal regions. The level of performance during divided attention did not depend on MMT. This suggests that daily media multitasking is associated with behavioral distractibility and increased recruitment of brain areas involved in attentional and inhibitory control, and that media multitasking in everyday life does not translate to performance benefits in multitasking in laboratory settings. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Sakai, Hiroyuki; Uchiyama, Yuji; Shin, Duk; Hayashi, Masamichi J.; Sadato, Norihiro (2013)
  • Moisala, Mona; Salmela, Viljami; Carlson, Synnöve; Salmela-Aro, Katariina; Lonka, Kirsti; Hakkarainen, Kai; Alho, Kimmo (2018)
    Background: Adolescence is a time of ongoing neural maturation and cognitive development, especially regarding executive functions. In the current study, age-related differences in the neural correlates of different executive functions were tracked by comparing three age groups consisting of adolescents and young adults. Methods: Brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) from 167 human participants (13- to 14-year-old middle adolescents, 16- to 17-year-old late adolescents and 20-to 24-year-old young adults; 80 female, 87 male) while they performed attention and working memory tasks. The tasks were designed to tap into four putative sub-processes of executive function: division of attention, inhibition of distractors, working memory, and attention switching. Results: Behaviorally, our results demonstrated superior task performance in older participants across all task types. When brain activity was examined, young adult participants demonstrated a greater degree of overlap between brain regions recruited by the different executive tasks than adolescent participants. Similarly, functional connectivity between frontoparietal cortical regions was less task specific in the young adult participants than in adolescent participants. Conclusions: Together, these results demonstrate that the similarity between different executive processes in terms of both neural recruitment and functional connectivity increases with age from middle adolescence to early adulthood, possibly contributing to age-related behavioral improvements in executive functioning. These developmental changes in brain recruitment may reflect a more homogenous morphological organization between process-specific neural networks, increased reliance on a more domain-general network involved in executive processing, or developmental changes in cognitive strategy.
  • Putkinen, Vesa; Saarikivi, Katri (2018)
    Musical training has been associated with superior performance in various executive function tasks. To date, only a few neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural substrates of the supposed "musician advantage" in executive functions, precluding definite conclusions about its neural basis. Here, we provide a selective review of neuroimaging studies on plasticity and typical maturation of executive functions, with the aim of investigating how proficient performance in executive function tasks is reflected in brain activity. Specifically, we examine the evidence for the hypothesis that enhanced or mature executive functions are manifested as efficient use of neural systems supporting those functions. We also present preliminary results from a functional magnetic resonance imaging study suggesting-in line with this hypothesis-that musically trained adolescents recruit frontoparietal regions less strongly during executive functions tasks than untrained peers.
  • Ruotsalainen, Ilona; Gorbach, Tetiana; Perkola, Jaana; Renvall, Ville; Syväoja, Heidi J.; Tammelin, Tuija H.; Karvanen, Juha; Parviainen, Tiina (2020)
    Physical activity and exercise beneficially link to brain properties and cognitive functions in older adults, but the findings concerning adolescents remain tentative. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant changes, which are especially pronounced in white matter. Studies provide contradictory evidence regarding the influence of physical activity or aerobic-exercise on executive functions in youth. Little is also known about the link between both fitness and physical activity with the brain’s white matter during puberty. We investigated the connection between aerobic fitness and physical activity with the white matter in 59 adolescents. We further determined whether white matter interacts with the connection of fitness or physical activity with core executive functions. Our results show that only the level of aerobic fitness, but not of physical activity relates to white matter. Furthermore, the white matter of the corpus callosum and the right superior corona radiata moderates the links of aerobic fitness and physical activity with working memory. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness and physical activity have an unequal contribution to the white matter properties in adolescents. We propose that the differences in white matter properties could underlie the variations in the relationship between either physical activity or aerobic fitness with working memory.
  • Hakonen, Maria; May, Patrick J. C.; Jaaskelainen, Iiro P.; Jokinen, Emma; Sams, Mikko; Tiitinen, Hannu (2017)
    Introduction: We examined which brain areas are involved in the comprehension of acoustically distorted speech using an experimental paradigm where the same distorted sentence can be perceived at different levels of intelligibility. This change in intelligibility occurs via a single intervening presentation of the intact version of the sentence, and the effect lasts at least on the order of minutes. Since the acoustic structure of the distorted stimulus is kept fixed and only intelligibility is varied, this allows one to study brain activity related to speech comprehension specifically. Methods: In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment, a stimulus set contained a block of six distorted sentences. This was followed by the intact counterparts of the sentences, after which the sentences were presented in distorted form again. A total of 18 such sets were presented to 20 human subjects. Results: The blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD)-responses elicited by the distorted sentences which came after the disambiguating, intact sentences were contrasted with the responses to the sentences presented before disambiguation. This revealed increased activity in the bilateral frontal pole, the dorsal anterior cingulate/paracingulate cortex, and the right frontal operculum. Decreased BOLD responses were observed in the posterior insula, Heschl's gyrus, and the posterior superior temporal sulcus. Conclusions: The brain areas that showed BOLD-enhancement for increased sentence comprehension have been associated with executive functions and with the mapping of incoming sensory information to representations stored in episodic memory. Thus, the comprehension of acoustically distorted speech may be associated with the engagement of memory-related subsystems. Further, activity in the primary auditory cortex was modulated by prior experience, possibly in a predictive coding framework. Our results suggest that memory biases the perception of ambiguous sensory information toward interpretations that have the highest probability to be correct based on previous experience.
  • Jylkka, Jussi; Soveri, Anna; Wahlstrom, Jenny; Lehtonen, Minna; Rodriguez-Fornells, Antoni; Laine, Matti (2017)
    We examined the relationship between self-reported everyday language switching experience and the performance of early bilinguals in tasks measuring different executive functions. Our participants were Finnish-Swedish early bilinguals, aged 16-41 years (N=66, Experiment 1) and 18-69 years (N=111, Experiment 2). An earlier study using a sample from a similar population discovered a negative relationship between self-reported language switching and a mixing cost in error rates in a number-letter task. This finding was not replicated. Instead, we found that a higher rate of reported contextual language switching predicted larger switching cost reaction times in the number-letter task, and that a higher rate of reported unintended language switches predicted larger error rates in a spatial n-back task. We conclude that these results likely reflect individual differences in executive skills, and do not provide evidence for the hypothesis that language switching trains executive functions.
  • Hiltunen, Seppo; Virta, Maarit; Kallio, Sakari; Paavilainen, Petri (2019)
    The neural mechanisms associated with hypnosis were investigated in a group of 9 high hypnotizable subjects by measuring the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related potential (ERP). ERPs were recorded using a passive oddball paradigm to sinusoidal standard and deviant tone stimuli of 500 and 520 Hz, respectively, in four conditions: prehypnosis, neutral hypnosis, hypnotic suggestion for altering the tone perception, and posthypnotic conditions. Earlier studies have indicated that hypnosis and hypnotic suggestions might have an effect on MMN, but the results of our study contradict these results: No statistically significant differences were found between the conditions in the MMN amplitudes.
  • Lappi, Otto (2015)
    A fundamental question in human brain plasticity is how sensory, motor, and cognitive functions adapt in the process of skill acquisition extended over a period of many years. Recently, there has emerged a growing interest in cognitive neuroscience on studying the functional and structural differences in the brains of elite athletes. Elite performance in sports, music, or the arts, allows us to observe sensorimotor and cognitive performance at the limits of human capability. In this mini-review, we look at driving expertise. The emerging brain imaging literature on the neural substrates of real and simulated driving is reviewed (for the first time), and used as the context for interpreting recent findings on the differences between racing drivers and non-athlete controls. Also the cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience of expertise are discussed.
  • Spape, Michiel M.; Ahmed, Imtiaj; Jacucci, Giulio; Ravaja, Niklas (2015)
    Executive control refers to the ability to withstand interference in order to achieve task goals. The effect of conflict adaptation describes that after experiencing interference, subsequent conflict effects are weaker. However, changes in the source of conflict have been found to disrupt conflict adaptation. Previous studies indicated that this specificity is determined by the degree to which one source causes episodic retrieval of a previous source. A virtual reality version of the Simon task was employed to investigate whether changes in a visual representation of the self would similarly affect conflict adaptation. Participants engaged in a mediated Simon task via 3D "avatar" models that either mirrored the participants' movements, or were presented statically. A retrieval cue was implemented as the identity of the avatar: switching it from a male to a female avatar was expected to disrupt the conflict adaptation effect (CAE). The results show that only in static conditions did the CAE depend on the avatar identity, while in dynamic conditions, changes did not cause disruption. We also explored the effect of conflict and adaptation on the degree of movement made with the task-irrelevant hand and replicated the reaction time pattern. The findings add to earlier studies of source-specific conflict adaptation by showing that a visual representation of the self in action can provide a cue that determines episodic retrieval. Furthermore, the novel paradigm is made openly available to the scientific community and is described in its significance for studies of social cognition, cognitive psychology, and human-computer interaction.