Browsing by Subject "STIMULI"

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  • Hamalainen, Liisa; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes, Johanna; Thorogood, Rose (2017)
    Video playback is becoming a common method for manipulating social stimuli in experiments. Parid tits are one of the most commonly studied groups of wild birds. However, it is not yet clear if tits respond to video playback or how their behavioural responses should be measured. Behaviours may also differ depending on what they observe demonstrators encountering. Here we present blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) videos of demonstrators discovering palatable or aversive prey (injected with bitter-tasting Bitrex) from coloured feeding cups. First we quantify variation in demonstrators' responses to the prey items: aversive prey provoked high rates of beak wiping and head shaking. We then show that focal blue tits respond differently to the presence of a demonstrator on a video screen, depending on whether demonstrators discover palatable or aversive prey. Focal birds faced the video screen more during aversive prey presentations, and made more head turns. Regardless of prey type, focal birds also hopped more frequently during the presence of a demonstrator (compared to a control video of a different coloured feeding cup in an empty cage). Finally, we tested if demonstrators' behaviour affected focal birds' food preferences by giving individuals a choice to forage from the same cup as a demonstrator, or from the cup in the control video. We found that only half of the individuals made their choice in accordance to social information in the videos, i.e., their foraging choices were not different from random. Individuals that chose in accordance with a demonstrator, however, made their choice faster than individuals that chose an alternative cup. Together, our results suggest that video playback can provide social cues to blue tits, but individuals vary greatly in how they use this information in their foraging decisions.
  • Somppi, Sanni; Törnqvist, Heini; Kujala, Miiamaaria V.; Hänninen, Laura; Krause, Christina M.; Vainio, Outi (2016)
    Appropriate response to companions' emotional signals is important for all social creatures. The emotional expressions of humans and non-human animals have analogies in their form and function, suggesting shared evolutionary roots, but very little is known about how animals other than primates view and process facial expressions. In primates, threat-related facial expressions evoke exceptional viewing patterns compared with neutral or positive stimuli. Here, we explore if domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have such an attentional bias toward threatening social stimuli and whether observed emotional expressions affect dogs' gaze fixation distribution among the facial features (eyes, midface and mouth). We recorded the voluntary eye gaze of 31 domestic dogs during viewing of facial photographs of humans and dogs with three emotional expressions (threatening, pleasant and neutral). We found that dogs' gaze fixations spread systematically among facial features. The distribution of fixations was altered by the seen expression, but eyes were the most probable targets of the first fixations and gathered longer looking durations than mouth regardless of the viewed expression. The examination of the inner facial features as a whole revealed more pronounced scanning differences among expressions. This suggests that dogs do not base their perception of facial expressions on the viewing of single structures, but the interpretation of the composition formed by eyes, midface and mouth. Dogs evaluated social threat rapidly and this evaluation led to attentional bias, which was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics' faces evoked heightened attention but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. We propose that threatening signals carrying differential biological validity are processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways. Both of these mechanisms may have an adaptive significance for domestic dogs. The findings provide a novel perspective on understanding the processing of emotional expressions and sensitivity to social threat in non-primates.
  • 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.
  • Stoycheva, Polina; Tiippana, Kaisa (2018)
    The brain's left hemisphere often displays advantages in processing verbal information, while the right hemisphere favours processing non-verbal information. In the haptic domain due to contra-lateral innervations, this functional lateralization is reflected in a hand advantage during certain functions. Findings regarding the hand-hemisphere advantage for haptic information remain contradictory, however. This study addressed these laterality effects and their interaction with memory retention times in the haptic modality. Participants performed haptic discrimination of letters, geometric shapes and nonsense shapes at memory retention times of 5, 15 and 30 s with the left and right hand separately, and we measured the discriminability index d '. The d ' values were significantly higher for letters and geometric shapes than for nonsense shapes. This might result from dual coding (naming + spatial) or/and from a low stimulus complexity. There was no stimulus-specific laterality effect. However, we found a time-dependent laterality effect, which revealed that the performance of the left hand-right hemisphere was sustained up to 15 s, while the performance of the right-hand-left hemisphere decreased progressively throughout all retention times. This suggests that haptic memory traces are more robust to decay when they are processed by the left hand-right hemisphere.
  • Kostilainen, Kaisamari; Wikstrom, Valtteri; Pakarinen, Satu; Videman, Mari; Karlsson, Linnea; Keskinen, Maria; Scheinin, Noora M.; Karlsson, Hasse; Huotilainen, Minna (2018)
    We evaluated the feasibility of a multi-feature mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm in studying auditory processing of healthy newborns. The aim was to examine the automatic change-detection and processing of semantic and emotional information in speech in newborns. Brain responses of 202 healthy newborns were recorded with a multi-feature paradigm including a Finnish bi-syllabic pseudo-word/ta-ta/as a standard stimulus, six linguistically relevant deviant stimuli and three emotionally relevant stimuli (happy, sad, angry). Clear responses to emotional sounds were found already at the early latency window 100-200 ms, whereas responses to linguistically relevant minor changes and emotional stimuli at the later latency window 300-500 ms did not reach significance. Moreover, significant interaction between gender and emotional stimuli was found in the early latency window. Further studies on using multi-feature paradigms with linguistic and emotional stimuli in newborns are needed, especially those containing of follow-ups, enabling the assessment of the predictive value of early variations between subjects.
  • Lindstrom, R.; Lepisto-Paisley, T.; Vanhala, R.; Alen, R.; Kujala, T. (2016)
    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by deficient social and communication skills, including difficulties in perceiving speech prosody. The present study addressed processing of emotional prosodic changes (sad, scornful and commanding) in natural word stimuli in typically developed school aged children and in children with ASD and language impairment. We found that the responses to a repetitive word were diminished in amplitude in the children with ASD, reflecting impaired speech encoding. Furthermore, the amplitude of the MMN/LDN component, reflecting cortical discrimination of sound changes, was diminished in the children with ASD for the scornful deviant. In addition, the amplitude of the P3a, reflecting involuntary orienting to attention-catching changes, was diminished in the children with ASD for the scornful deviant and tended to be smaller for the sad deviant. These results suggest that prosody processing in ASD is impaired at various levels of neural processing, including deficient pre-attentive discrimination and involuntary orientation to speech prosody. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Bernardi, Nicolo F.; Codrons, Erwan; di Leo, Rita; Vandoni, Matteo; Cavallaro, Filippo; Vita, Giuseppe; Bernardi, Luciano (2017)
    In light of theories postulating a role formusic in forming emotional and social bonds, here we investigated whether endogenous rhythms synchronize between multiple individuals when listening to music. Cardiovascular and respiratory recordings were taken from multiple individuals (musically trained or music-naive) simultaneously, at rest and during a live concert comprisingmusic excerpts with varying degrees of complexity of the acoustic envelope. Inter-individual synchronization of cardiorespiratory rhythms showed a subtle but reliable increase during passively listening to music compared to baseline. The low-level auditory features of the music were largely responsible for creating or disrupting such synchronism, explaining similar to 80% of its variance, over and beyond subjective musical preferences and previous musical training. Listening to simple rhythms and melodies, which largely dominate the choice of music during rituals and mass events, brings individuals together in terms of their physiological rhythms, which could explain why music is widely used to favor social bonds.
  • Kostilainen, Kaisamari; Partanen, Eino; Mikkola, Kaija; Wikström, Valtteri; Pakarinen, Satu; Fellman, Vineta; Huotilainen, Minna (2020)
    Objective: Auditory change-detection responses provide information on sound discrimination and memory skills in infants. We examined both the automatic change-detection process and the processing of emotional information content in speech in preterm infants in comparison to full-term infants at term age. Methods: Preterm (n = 21) and full-term infants' (n = 20) event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded at term age. A challenging multi-feature mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm with phonetic deviants and rare emotional speech sounds (happy, sad, angry), and a simple one-deviant oddball paradigm with pure tones were used. Results: Positive mismatch responses (MMR) were found to the emotional sounds and some of the phonetic deviants in preterm and full-term infants in the multi-feature MMN paradigm. Additionally, late positive MMRs to the phonetic deviants were elicited in the preterm group. However, no group differences to speech-sound changes were discovered. In the oddball paradigm, preterm infants had positive MMRs to the deviant change in all latency windows. Responses to non-speech sounds were larger in preterm infants in the second latency window, as well as in the first latency window at the left hemisphere electrodes (F3, C3). Conclusions: No significant group-level differences were discovered in the neural processing of speech sounds between preterm and full-term infants at term age. Change-detection of non-speech sounds, however, may be enhanced in preterm infants at term age. Significance: Auditory processing of speech sounds in healthy preterm infants showed similarities to full-term infants at term age. Large individual variations within the groups may reflect some underlying differences that call for further studies.
  • Aulbach, Matthias; Harjunen, Ville Johannes; Spape, Michiel; Knittle, Keegan; Haukkala, Ari; Ravaja, Niklas (2020)
    Go/No‐Go tasks, which require participants to inhibit automatic responses to images of palatable foods, have shown diagnostic value in quantifying food‐related impulses. Moreover, they have shown potential for training to control impulsive eating. To test the hypothesis that training modulates early neural markers of response inhibition, the current study investigated how the N2 event‐related brain potential to high‐ and low‐calorie food images changes along Go‐/No‐Go training and how the N2 is related to later eating behavior. 50 healthy adults, (mBMI = 23.01) first completed a food Go/No‐Go task in which high‐ and low‐calorie food images were accompanied by Go‐and No‐Go‐cues with equal frequency. Participants then completed a training block in which high‐calorie foods were predominantly paired with a No‐Go cue and the low‐calorie foods with a Go cue, followed by a block with reversed coupling (order of the training blocks counterbalanced between participants). After each training, there was a snacking opportunity during which calorie intake was measured. Against our preregistered hypotheses, the N2‐amplitudes were not significantly affected by the calorie‐content and there was no training‐related modulation in the N2. In addition , food intake was not influenced by the preceding training blocks and the N2 amplitude did not predict the food intake. Our study suggests that the link between N2 obtained in a food‐related Go/No‐Go task and impulse control is not clear‐cut and may be limited to specific task characteristics. The results are of high importance as they question the previously assumed mechanism of Go/No‐Go training in food‐related inhibitory control.
  • Törnqvist, Heini; Somppi, Sanni; Kujala, Miiamaaria; Vainio, Outi (2020)
    Background. This study examines how dogs observe images of natural scenes containing living creatures (wild animals, dogs and humans) recorded with eye gaze tracking. Because dogs have had limited exposure to wild animals in their lives, we also consider the natural novelty of the wild animal images for the dogs. Methods. The eye gaze of dogs was recorded while they viewed natural images containing dogs, humans, and wild animals. Three categories of images were used: naturalistic landscape images containing single humans or animals, full body images containing a single human or an animal, and full body images containing a pair of humans or animals. The gazing behavior of two dog populations, family and kennel dogs, were compared. Results. As a main effect, dogs gazed at living creatures (object areas) longer than the background areas of the images; heads longer than bodies; heads longer than background areas; and bodies longer than background areas. Dogs gazed less at the object areas vs. the background in landscape images than in the other image categories. Both dog groups also gazed wild animal heads longer than human or dog heads in the images. When viewing single animal and human images, family dogs focused their gaze very prominently on the head areas, but in images containing a pair of animals or humans, they gazed more at the body than the head areas. In kennel dogs, the difference in gazing times of the head and body areas within single or paired images failed to reach significance. Discussion. Dogs focused their gaze on living creatures in all image categories, also detecting them in the natural landscape images. Generally, they also gazed at the biologically informative areas of the images, such as the head, which supports the importance of the head/face area for dogs in obtaining social information. The natural novelty of the species represented in the images as well as the image category affected the gazing behavior of dogs. Furthermore, differences in the gazing strategy between family and kennel dogs was obtained, suggesting an influence of different social living environments and life experiences.
  • Hämäläinen, Liisa; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes, Johanna; Thorogood, Rose (2019)
    Video playback provides a promising method to study social interactions, and the number of video playback experiments has been growing in recent years. Using videos has advantages over live individuals as it increases the repeatability of demonstrations, and enables researchers to manipulate the features of the presented stimulus. How observers respond to video playback might, however, differ among species, and the efficacy of video playback should be validated by investigating if individuals' responses to videos are comparable to their responses to live demonstrators. Here, we use a novel foraging task to compare blue tits' (Cyanistes caeruleus) responses to social information from a live conspecific vs video playback. Birds first received social information about the location of food, and were then presented with a three-choice foraging task where they could search for food from locations marked with different symbols (cross, square, plain white). Two control groups saw only a foraging tray with similar symbols but no information about the location of food. We predicted that socially educated birds would prefer the same location where a demonstrator had foraged, but we found no evidence that birds copied a demonstrator's choice, regardless of how social information was presented. Social information, however, had an influence on blue tits' foraging choices, as socially educated birds seemed to form a stronger preference for a square symbol (against two other options, cross and plain white) than the control birds. Our results suggest that blue tits respond to video playback of a conspecific similarly as to a live bird, but how they use this social information in their foraging decisions, remains unclear.