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2022 ◽  
Vol 15 ◽  
Shiyang Xu ◽  
Senqing Qi ◽  
Haijun Duan ◽  
Juan Zhang ◽  
Miriam Akioma ◽  

The performance of working memory can be improved by the corresponding high-value vs. low-value rewards consciously or unconsciously. However, whether conscious and unconscious monetary rewards boosting the performance of working memory is regulated by the difficulty level of working memory task is unknown. In this study, a novel paradigm that consists of a reward-priming procedure and N-back task with differing levels of difficulty was designed to inspect this complex process. In particular, both high-value and low-value coins were presented consciously or unconsciously as the reward cues, followed by the N-back task, during which electroencephalogram signals were recorded. It was discovered that the high-value reward elicited larger event-related potential (ERP) component P3 along the parietal area (reflecting the working memory load) as compared to the low-value reward for the less difficult 1-back task, no matter whether the reward was unconsciously or consciously presented. In contrast, this is not the case for the more difficult 2-back task, in which the difference in P3 amplitude between the high-value and low-value rewards was not significant for the unconscious reward case, yet manifested significance for the conscious reward processing. Interestingly, the results of the behavioral analysis also exhibited very similar patterns as ERP patterns. Therefore, this study demonstrated that the difficulty level of a task can modulate the influence of unconscious reward on the performance of working memory.

2022 ◽  
Vol 15 ◽  
Violeta-Maria Caragea ◽  
Denise Manahan-Vaughan

Dopamine is a key factor in the enablement of cognition and hippocampal information processing. Its action in the hippocampus is mediated by D1/D5 and D2-like (D2, D3, D4) receptors. While D1/D5-receptors are well recognized as strong modulators of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and information storage, much less is known about the role of D2-like receptors (D2R) in these processes. Here, we explored to what extent D2R contribute to synaptic plasticity and cumulative spatial memory derived from semantic and episodic-like information storage. In freely behaving adult rats, we also assessed to what extent short and long-term forms of synaptic plasticity are influenced by pharmacological activation or blockade of D2R. Antagonism of D2R by means of intracerebral treatment with remoxipride, completely prevented the expression of both short-term (<1 h) and long-term potentiation (>4 h), as well as the expression of short-term depression (STD, <1 h) in the hippocampal CA1 region. Scrutiny of involvement of D2R in spatial learning revealed that D2R-antagonism prevented retention of a semantic spatial memory task, and also significantly impaired retention of recent spatiotemporal aspects of an episodic-like memory task. Taken together, these findings indicate that D2R are required for bidirectional synaptic plasticity in the hippocampal CA1 region. Furthermore, they are critically involved in enabling cumulative and episodic-like forms of spatial learning.

S. Savickaite ◽  
C. Morrison ◽  
E. Lux ◽  
J. Delafield-Butt ◽  
D. R. Simmons

AbstractThis paper describes a smart tablet-based drawing app to digitally record participants’ engagement with the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure (ROCF) task, a well-characterised perceptual memory task that assesses local and global memory. Digitisation of the tasks allows for improved ecological validity, especially in children attracted to tablet devices. Further, digital translation of the tasks affords new measures, including accuracy and computation of the fine motor control kinematics employed to carry out the drawing Here, we report a feasibility study to test the relationship between two neurodevelopmental conditions: autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The smart tablet app was employed with 39 adult participants (18-35) characterised for autistic and ADHD traits, and scored using the ROCF perceptual and organisational scoring systems. Trait scores and conditions were predictor variables in linear regression models. Positive correlations were found between the attention-to-detail, attention-switching and communication subscales of the autistic trait questionnaire and organisational scores on the ROCF task. These findings suggest that autistic traits might be linked to differential performance on the ROCF task. Novelty and future applications of the app are discussed.

2022 ◽  
Leo Kozachkov ◽  
John Tauber ◽  
Mikael Lundqvist ◽  
Scott L Brincat ◽  
Jean-Jacques Slotine ◽  

Working memory has long been thought to arise from sustained spiking/attractor dynamics. However, recent work has suggested that short-term synaptic plasticity (STSP) may help maintain attractor states over gaps in time with little or no spiking. To determine if STSP endows additional functional advantages, we trained artificial recurrent neural networks (RNNs) with and without STSP to perform an object working memory task. We found that RNNs with and without STSP were both able to maintain memories over distractors presented in the middle of the memory delay. However, RNNs with STSP showed activity that was similar to that seen in the cortex of monkeys performing the same task. By contrast, RNNs without STSP showed activity that was less brain-like. Further, RNNs with STSP were more robust to noise and network degradation than RNNs without STSP. These results show that STSP can not only help maintain working memories, it also makes neural networks more robust.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 17 (1) ◽  
pp. e0261882
Tamara S. Satmarean ◽  
Elizabeth Milne ◽  
Richard Rowe

Aggression and trait anger have been linked to attentional biases toward angry faces and attribution of hostile intent in ambiguous social situations. Memory and emotion play a crucial role in social-cognitive models of aggression but their mechanisms of influence are not fully understood. Combining a memory task and a visual search task, this study investigated the guidance of attention allocation toward naturalistic face targets during visual search by visual working memory (WM) templates in 113 participants who self-reported having served a custodial sentence. Searches were faster when angry faces were held in working memory regardless of the emotional valence of the visual search target. Higher aggression and trait anger predicted increased working memory modulated attentional bias. These results are consistent with the Social-Information Processing model, demonstrating that internal representations bias attention allocation to threat and that the bias is linked to aggression and trait anger.

2022 ◽  
Line Folvik ◽  
Markus H Sneve ◽  
Hedda Ness ◽  
Didac Vidal-Pineiro ◽  
Liisa Raud ◽  

Systems consolidation of new experiences into lasting episodic memories involves interactions between hippocampus and the neocortex. Evidence of this process is seen already during early awake post-encoding rest periods. Functional MRI (fMRI) studies have demonstrated increased hippocampal coupling with task-relevant perceptual regions and reactivation of stimulus-specific encoding patterns following intensive encoding tasks. Here we investigate the spatial and temporal characteristics of these hippocampally anchored post-encoding neocortical modulations. Eighty-nine adults participated in an experiment consisting of interleaved memory task- and resting-state periods. As expected, we observed increased post-encoding functional connectivity between hippocampus and individually localized neocortical regions responsive to stimulus categories encountered during memory encoding. Post-encoding modulations were however not restricted to stimulus-selective cortex, but manifested as a nearly system-wide upregulation in hippocampal coupling with all major functional networks. The spatial configuration of these extensive modulations resembled hippocampal-neocortical interaction patterns estimated from active encoding operations, suggesting hippocampal post-encoding involvement by far exceeds reactivation of perceptual aspects. This reinstatement of encoding patterns during immediate post-encoding rest was not observed in resting-state scans collected 12 hours later, nor in control analyses estimating post-encoding neocortical modulations in functional connectivity using other candidate seed regions. The broad similarity in hippocampal functional coupling between online memory encoding and offline post-encoding rest suggests reactivation in humans may involve a spectrum of cognitive processes engaged during experience of an event.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Kilian Abellaneda-Pérez ◽  
Pablo Martin-Trias ◽  
Catherine Cassé-Perrot ◽  
Lídia Vaqué-Alcázar ◽  
Laura Lanteaume ◽  

AbstractThe BDNF Val66Met gene polymorphism is a relevant factor explaining inter-individual differences to TMS responses in studies of the motor system. However, whether this variant also contributes to TMS-induced memory effects, as well as their underlying brain mechanisms, remains unexplored. In this investigation, we applied rTMS during encoding of a visual memory task either over the left frontal cortex (LFC; experimental condition) or the cranial vertex (control condition). Subsequently, individuals underwent a recognition memory phase during a functional MRI acquisition. We included 43 young volunteers and classified them as 19 Met allele carriers and 24 as Val/Val individuals. The results revealed that rTMS delivered over LFC compared to vertex stimulation resulted in reduced memory performance only amongst Val/Val allele carriers. This genetic group also exhibited greater fMRI brain activity during memory recognition, mainly over frontal regions, which was positively associated with cognitive performance. We concluded that BDNF Val66Met gene polymorphism, known to exert a significant effect on neuroplasticity, modulates the impact of rTMS both at the cognitive as well as at the associated brain networks expression levels. This data provides new insights on the brain mechanisms explaining cognitive inter-individual differences to TMS, and may inform future, more individually-tailored rTMS interventions.

2022 ◽  
Vol 119 (2) ◽  
pp. e2113311119
Stefania Sarno ◽  
Manuel Beirán ◽  
Joan Falcó-Roget ◽  
Gabriel Diaz-deLeon ◽  
Román Rossi-Pool ◽  

Little is known about how dopamine (DA) neuron firing rates behave in cognitively demanding decision-making tasks. Here, we investigated midbrain DA activity in monkeys performing a discrimination task in which the animal had to use working memory (WM) to report which of two sequentially applied vibrotactile stimuli had the higher frequency. We found that perception was altered by an internal bias, likely generated by deterioration of the representation of the first frequency during the WM period. This bias greatly controlled the DA phasic response during the two stimulation periods, confirming that DA reward prediction errors reflected stimulus perception. In contrast, tonic dopamine activity during WM was not affected by the bias and did not encode the stored frequency. More interestingly, both delay-period activity and phasic responses before the second stimulus negatively correlated with reaction times of the animals after the trial start cue and thus represented motivated behavior on a trial-by-trial basis. During WM, this motivation signal underwent a ramp-like increase. At the same time, motivation positively correlated with accuracy, especially in difficult trials, probably by decreasing the effect of the bias. Overall, our results indicate that DA activity, in addition to encoding reward prediction errors, could at the same time be involved in motivation and WM. In particular, the ramping activity during the delay period suggests a possible DA role in stabilizing sustained cortical activity, hypothetically by increasing the gain communicated to prefrontal neurons in a motivation-dependent way.

2022 ◽  
Vishruth Nagam

This study aims to investigate growing Internet use in relation to cognition. Existing literature suggests human capability to utilize the Internet as an external (transactive) memory source. Formational mechanisms of such transactive memory systems and comparative effects of Internet use on transactive memory and semantic memory are both relatively unknown points of research explored in this study.This study comprises two experimental memory task surveys, confirming and yielding findings in memory research. Semantic memory is negatively affected by notions of information saved online. An adaptive dynamic is also revealed—1) as users often have a vague idea of desired information before searching for it on the Internet, first accessing semantic memory serves as an aid for subsequent transactive memory use and 2) successful initial transactive memory access eliminates the need for subsequently accessing semantic memory for desired information. Internet users form and reinforce transactive memory systems with the Internet by repeatedly defaulting to first accessing semantic memory then transactive memory or to accessing transactive memory only, and decrease reliance on transactive memory systems by repeatedly defaulting to only semantic memory. Users have some degree of control over transactive memory systems they engage in, a phenomenon to be potentially explored in future research directions.

2022 ◽  
Vol 119 (2) ◽  
pp. e2026011119
Eleonore H. M. Smalle ◽  
Tatsuya Daikoku ◽  
Arnaud Szmalec ◽  
Wouter Duyck ◽  
Riikka Möttönen

Human learning is supported by multiple neural mechanisms that maturate at different rates and interact in mostly cooperative but also sometimes competitive ways. We tested the hypothesis that mature cognitive mechanisms constrain implicit statistical learning mechanisms that contribute to early language acquisition. Specifically, we tested the prediction that depleting cognitive control mechanisms in adults enhances their implicit, auditory word-segmentation abilities. Young adults were exposed to continuous streams of syllables that repeated into hidden novel words while watching a silent film. Afterward, learning was measured in a forced-choice test that contrasted hidden words with nonwords. The participants also had to indicate whether they explicitly recalled the word or not in order to dissociate explicit versus implicit knowledge. We additionally measured electroencephalography during exposure to measure neural entrainment to the repeating words. Engagement of the cognitive mechanisms was manipulated by using two methods. In experiment 1 (n = 36), inhibitory theta-burst stimulation (TBS) was applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or to a control region. In experiment 2 (n = 60), participants performed a dual working-memory task that induced high or low levels of cognitive fatigue. In both experiments, cognitive depletion enhanced word recognition, especially when participants reported low confidence in remembering the words (i.e., when their knowledge was implicit). TBS additionally modulated neural entrainment to the words and syllables. These findings suggest that cognitive depletion improves the acquisition of linguistic knowledge in adults by unlocking implicit statistical learning mechanisms and support the hypothesis that adult language learning is antagonized by higher cognitive mechanisms.

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