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  • Tamminen, Henna; Kujala, Teija; Näätänen, Risto; Peltola, Maija S. (2021)
    Cognitive decline is evident in the elderly and it affects speech perception and foreign language learning. A listen-and-repeat training with a challenging speech sound contrast was earlier found to be effective in young monolingual adults and even in advanced L2 university students at the attentive and pre-attentive levels. This study investigates foreign language speech perception in the elderly with the same protocol used with the young adults. Training effects were measured with attentive behavioural measures (N = 9) and with electroencephalography measuring the pre-attentive mismatch negativity (MMN) response (N = 10). Training was effective in identification, but not in discrimination and there were no changes in the MMN. The most attention demanding perceptual functions which benefit from experience-based linguistic knowledge were facilitated through training, whereas pre-attentive processing was unaffected. The elderly would probably benefit from different training types compared to younger adults.
  • Olkkonen, Maria; Aguirre, Geoffrey K.; Epstein, Russell A. (2017)
    Neural responses to stimuli are often attenuated by repeated presentation. When observed in blood oxygen level-dependent signals, this attenuation is known as fMRI adaptation (fMRIa) or fMRI repetition suppression. According to a prominent account, fMRIa reflects the fulfillment of perceptual expectations during recognition of repeated items (Summerfield, Trittschuh, Monti, Mesulam, & Egner, 2008). Supporting this idea, expectation has been shown to modulate fMRIa under some circumstances; however, it is not currently known whether expectation similarly modulates recognition performance. To address this lacuna, we measured behavioral and fMRI responses to faces while varying the extent to which each stimulus was informative about its successor. Behavioral priming was greater when repetitions were more likely, suggesting that recognition was facilitated by the expectation than an item would repeat. Notably, this effect was only observed when stimuli were drawn from a broad set of faces including many ethnicities and both genders, but not when stimuli were drawn from a narrower face set, thus making repetitions less informative. Moreover, expectation did not modulate fMRIa in face-selective cortex, contrary to previous studies, although an exploratory analysis indicated that it did so in a medial frontal region. These results support the idea that expectation modulates recognition efficiency, but insofar as behavioral effects of expectation were not accompanied by fMRI effects in visual cortex, they suggest that fMRIa cannot be entirely explained in terms of fulfilled expectations.
  • Hayashi, Masamichi J.; Ditye, Thomas; Harada, Tokiko; Hashiguchi, Maho; Sadato, Norihiro; Carlson, Synnove; Walsh, Vincent; Kanai, Ryota (2015)
    Although psychological and computational models of time estimation have postulated the existence of neural representations tuned for specific durations, empirical evidence of this notion has been lacking. Here, using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) adaptation paradigm, we show that the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) (corresponding to the supramarginal gyrus) exhibited reduction in neural activity due to adaptation when a visual stimulus of the same duration was repeatedly presented. Adaptation was strongest when stimuli of identical durations were repeated, and it gradually decreased as the difference between the reference and test durations increased. This tuning property generalized across a broad range of durations, indicating the presence of general time-representation mechanisms in the IPL. Furthermore, adaptation was observed irrespective of the subject's attention to time. Repetition of a nontemporal aspect of the stimulus (i.e., shape) did not produce neural adaptation in the IPL. These results provide neural evidence for duration-tuned representations in the human brain.