Publications by authors named "Marcia K Johnson"

90 Publications

Age-related delay in reduced accessibility of refreshed items.

Psychol Aging 2020 Aug;35(5):710-719

Department of Psychology.

Previously, we demonstrated that in young adults, briefly thinking of (i.e., refreshing) a just-seen word impairs immediate (100-ms delay) perceptual processing of the word, relative to words seen but not refreshed. We suggested that such reflective-induced inhibition biases attention toward new information. Here, we investigated whether reduced accessibility of refreshed targets dissipates with a longer delay and whether older adults would show a smaller and/or delayed effect compared with young adults. Young adult and older adult participants saw 2 words, followed by a cue to refresh one of these words. After either a 100-ms or 500-ms delay, participants read a word that was the refreshed word (refreshed probe), the nonrefreshed word (nonrefreshed probe), or a new word (novel probe). Young adults were slower to read refreshed probes than nonrefreshed probes at the 100-ms, but not the 500-ms, delay. Conversely, older adults were slower to read refreshed probes than nonrefreshed probes at the 500-ms, but not the 100-ms, delay. The delayed slowing of responses to refreshed probes was primarily observed in older-old adults (75+ years). A delay in suppressing the target of refreshing may disrupt the fluidity with which attention can be shifted to a new target. Importantly, a long-term memory benefit of refreshing was observed for both ages and delays. These results suggest that a full characterization of age-related memory deficits should consider the time course of effects and how specific component cognitive processes affect both working and long-term memory. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pag0000458DOI Listing
August 2020

The effects of face attractiveness on face memory depend on both age of perceiver and age of face.

Cogn Emot 2020 08 20;34(5):875-889. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Face attractiveness can influence memory for previously seen faces. This effect has been shown to differ for young and older perceivers. Two parallel studies examined the moderation of both the age of the face and the age of the perceiver on the relationship between facial attractiveness and face memory. Study 1 comprised 29 young and 31 older participants; Study 2 comprised 25 young and 24 older participants. In both studies, participants completed an incidental face encoding and a surprise old/new recognition test with young and older faces that varied in face attractiveness. Face attractiveness affected memory for young but not older faces. In addition, young but not older perceivers showed a linear effect of facial attractiveness on memory for young faces, while both young and older perceivers showed a quadratic effect on memory for young faces. These findings extend previous work by demonstrating that the effect of facial attractiveness on face memory is a function of both the age of the perceiver and the age of the face. Factors that could account for such moderations of face and perceiver age on the associations between face attractiveness and face memory are discussed (e.g. age differences in social goals and face similarity/distinctiveness).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2019.1694491DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7237279PMC
August 2020

Children's Initial Responses and Beyond: Effects of Niceness and Similarity on Preference, Giving, and Memory.

Child Dev 2019 03 20;90(2):432-440. Epub 2018 Dec 20.

Yale University.

This study assessed children's preference, giving, and memory to investigate the impact of social information over time. We compared 5- and 6-year-olds' (N = 144) immediate or delayed responses to an individual who does or does not share their toy preference (similar vs. dissimilar) or an individual who treats others kindly or poorly (nice vs. mean). Immediately, children all preferred the similar or nice characters but gave more stickers to the similar character. This strong initial effect of similarity was not evident after 1 week; children's preference, giving, and memory reflected a greater long-term impact of niceness than similarity. These findings highlight the importance of using multiple features and measures to elucidate children's evolving views about others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13196DOI Listing
March 2019

Merely presenting one's own name along with target items is insufficient to produce a memory advantage for the items: A critical role of relational processing.

Psychon Bull Rev 2019 Feb;26(1):360-366

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Using the self as a reference point at encoding produces a memory advantage over other types of encoding activities. Even simply co-presenting a target item with self-relevant versus other-relevant information can produce an "incidental" self-memory advantage in the absence of any explicit task demand to evaluate the item's self-relevancy. In the present study, we asked whether an incidental self-memory advantage results from (a) the mere co-presentation of a target item with self-relevant information at encoding or (b) relational processing between a target item and self-relevant information at encoding. During incidental encoding, words were presented in two different colors either above or below a name (the participant's own or another person's). Participants judged either the location of each word in relation to the name ("Is the word above or below the name?") or the color of each word to which the name had no relevance ("Is the word in red or green?"). In a subsequent memory test, we found a self-memory advantage for both items and their associated source features in the location judgment task but not in the color judgment task. Our findings show that a memory advantage for a target item presented with self-relevant versus other-relevant information is more likely when a task agenda places, via relational processing demands, the self-relevant/other-relevant information in the focus of attention along with the target item. Potential processes that mediate this attention-dependent effect are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-018-1515-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6368470PMC
February 2019

Children's decision making: When self-interest and moral considerations conflict.

J Exp Child Psychol 2017 09 4;161:195-201. Epub 2017 May 4.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

When children's self-interests are at odds with their moral considerations, what do they do? In the current study of 5- and 6-year-olds (N=160), we asked (a) whether children would select the offering of a do-gooder over a neutral individual at a personal cost, (b) whether they would reject the offering of a wrongdoer over a neutral individual at a personal cost, and (c) whether these two types of decisions involve comparable levels of conflict. In the absence of material considerations, children preferred a nice character to a neutral one, but this preference was easily overcome for material gain; children accepted a larger offering from a neutral source over a smaller offering from a nice source. In contrast, children's aversion to negative characters was largely unaffected by the same material consideration; they rejected a larger offering from a mean source in favor of a smaller offering from a neutral source. In addition, children's response times indicated that deciding whether or not to "sell out" to a wrongdoer for personal gain engenders conflict but that deciding whether to take a lesser gain from a do-gooder does not. These findings indicate that children weigh both their own material interests and others' social behaviors when selecting social partners and, importantly, that an aversion to wrongdoers is a more powerful influence on these choices than an attraction to do-gooders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.03.008DOI Listing
September 2017

Brain Mechanisms of Reality Monitoring.

Trends Cogn Sci 2017 06 24;21(6):462-473. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Reality monitoring processes are necessary for discriminating between internally generated information and information that originated in the outside world. They help us to identify our thoughts, feelings, and imaginations, and to distinguish them from events we may have experienced or have been told about by someone else. Reality monitoring errors range from confusions between real and imagined experiences, that are byproducts of normal cognition, to symptoms of mental illness such as hallucinations. Recent advances support an emerging neurocognitive characterization of reality monitoring that provides insights into its underlying operating principles and neural mechanisms, the differing ways in which impairment may occur in health and disease, and the potential for rehabilitation strategies to be devised that might help those who experience clinically significant reality monitoring disruption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2017.03.012DOI Listing
June 2017

Source memory that encoding was self-referential: the influence of stimulus characteristics.

Memory 2017 10 8;25(9):1191-1200. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

c Department of Psychology , Yale University , New Haven , CT , USA.

Decades of research suggest that encoding information with respect to the self improves memory (self-reference effect, SRE) for items (item SRE). The current study focused on how processing information in reference to the self affects source memory for whether an item was self-referentially processed (a source SRE). Participants self-referentially or non-self-referentially encoded words (Experiment 1) or pictures (Experiment 2) that varied in valence (positive, negative, neutral). Relative to non-self-referential processing, self-referential processing enhanced item recognition for all stimulus types (an item SRE), but it only enhanced source memory for positive words (a source SRE). In fact, source memory for negative and neutral pictures was worse for items processed self-referentially than non-self-referentially. Together, the results suggest that item SRE and source SRE (e.g., remembering an item was encoded self-referentially) are not necessarily the same across stimulus types (e.g., words, pictures; positive, negative). While an item SRE may depend on the overall likelihood the item generates any association, the enhancing effects of self-referential processing on source memory for self-referential encoding may depend on how embedded a stimulus becomes in one's self-schema, and that depends, in part, on the stimulus' valence and format. Self-relevance ratings during encoding provide converging evidence for this interpretation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2017.1282517DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548658PMC
October 2017

Holistic versus feature-based binding in the medial temporal lobe.

Cortex 2017 06 23;91:56-66. Epub 2017 Jan 23.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

A central question for cognitive neuroscience is how feature-combinations that give rise to episodic/source memories are encoded in the brain. Although there is much evidence that the hippocampus (HIP) is involved in feature binding, and some evidence that other brain regions are as well, there is relatively little evidence about the nature of the resulting representations in different brain regions. We used multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate how feature combinations might be represented, contrasting two possibilities, feature-based versus holistic. Participants viewed stimuli that were composed of three source features - a person (face or body), a scene (indoor or outdoor), and an object (bike or luggage) - which were combined to make eight unique stimulus identities. We reasoned that regions that can classify the eight identities (a multiclass classification) but not the individual features (a binary classification) likely have a holistic representation of each identity. In contrast, regions that can classify the eight identities and can classify each feature are likely to contain feature-based representations of these identities. To further probe the extent of feature-based or holistic classification in each region, we developed and validated a novel approach that directly compares binary and multiclass classification. We found clear evidence for holistic representation in the parahippocampal cortex (PHC), consistent with theories that posit that pattern-separation-like binding mechanisms are not unique to the HIP. Further clarifying the mechanisms of feature binding should benefit from systematic comparisons of multi-feature representations and whether they vary with task, type of stimulus, and/or experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.01.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5446797PMC
June 2017

Monitoring what is real: The effects of modality and action on accuracy and type of reality monitoring error.

Cortex 2017 02 2;87:108-117. Epub 2016 Jul 2.

Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK; Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. Electronic address:

Reality monitoring refers to processes involved in distinguishing internally generated information from information presented in the external world, an activity thought to be based, in part, on assessment of activated features such as the amount and type of cognitive operations and perceptual content. Impairment in reality monitoring has been implicated in symptoms of mental illness and associated more widely with the occurrence of anomalous perceptions as well as false memories and beliefs. In the present experiment, the cognitive mechanisms of reality monitoring were probed in healthy individuals using a task that investigated the effects of stimulus modality (auditory vs visual) and the type of action undertaken during encoding (thought vs speech) on subsequent source memory. There was reduced source accuracy for auditory stimuli compared with visual, and when encoding was accompanied by thought as opposed to speech, and a greater rate of externalization than internalization errors that was stable across factors. Interpreted within the source monitoring framework (Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993), the results are consistent with the greater prevalence of clinically observed auditory than visual reality discrimination failures. The significance of these findings is discussed in light of theories of hallucinations, delusions and confabulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2016.06.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312673PMC
February 2017

Reactivation during encoding supports the later discrimination of similar episodic memories.

Hippocampus 2016 09 6;26(9):1168-78. Epub 2016 May 6.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Episodic memory is characterized by remembering events as unique combinations of features. Even when some features of events overlap, we are later often able to discriminate among them. Here we ask whether hippocampally mediated reactivation of an earlier event when a similar one occurs supports subsequent memory that two similar but not identical events occurred (mnemonic discrimination). In two experiments, participants viewed objects (Experiment 1) or scenes (Experiment 2) during functional MRI (fMRI). After scanning, participants had to remember whether repeated items had been identical or similar. In Experiment 2, representational similarity between the 1st and 2nd presentation predicted participants' ability to remember that the presentations were different, suggesting that the first item was reactivated while viewing the second. A similar but weaker result was found in Experiment 1 that did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Furthermore, both experiments yielded evidence that the hippocampus was involved in reactivation; hippocampal pattern similarity (and, in Experiment 2, hippocampal activity during the 2nd presentation) correlated with pattern similarity in several regions of visual cortex. These results provide the first fMRI evidence that hippocampally mediated reactivation contributes to the later memory that two similar, but different events occurred. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hipo.22598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996741PMC
September 2016

Cross-trial prediction of treatment outcome in depression: a machine learning approach.

Lancet Psychiatry 2016 Mar 21;3(3):243-50. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Background: Antidepressant treatment efficacy is low, but might be improved by matching patients to interventions. At present, clinicians have no empirically validated mechanisms to assess whether a patient with depression will respond to a specific antidepressant. We aimed to develop an algorithm to assess whether patients will achieve symptomatic remission from a 12-week course of citalopram.

Methods: We used patient-reported data from patients with depression (n=4041, with 1949 completers) from level 1 of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D; ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00021528) to identify variables that were most predictive of treatment outcome, and used these variables to train a machine-learning model to predict clinical remission. We externally validated the model in the escitalopram treatment group (n=151) of an independent clinical trial (Combining Medications to Enhance Depression Outcomes [COMED]; ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00590863).

Findings: We identified 25 variables that were most predictive of treatment outcome from 164 patient-reportable variables, and used these to train the model. The model was internally cross-validated, and predicted outcomes in the STAR*D cohort with accuracy significantly above chance (64·6% [SD 3·2]; p<0·0001). The model was externally validated in the escitalopram treatment group (N=151) of COMED (accuracy 59·6%, p=0.043). The model also performed significantly above chance in a combined escitalopram-buproprion treatment group in COMED (n=134; accuracy 59·7%, p=0·023), but not in a combined venlafaxine-mirtazapine group (n=140; accuracy 51·4%, p=0·53), suggesting specificity of the model to underlying mechanisms.

Interpretation: Building statistical models by mining existing clinical trial data can enable prospective identification of patients who are likely to respond to a specific antidepressant.

Funding: Yale University.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00471-XDOI Listing
March 2016

A self-serving bias in children's memories?

J Exp Psychol Gen 2015 Jun;144(3):528-33

Department of Psychology, Yale University.

Although children's initial perceptions and judgments about sociomoral situations are being actively explored, little is known about what children remember about them. In four experiments testing over 400 children, we investigated children's memories for small acts of giving and taking. When asked to recall their own giving and taking, children were relatively accurate following a number of delays. In contrast, when asked to recall a child's giving or taking, children exaggerated the child's taking after a 1-day or 1-week delay. Notably, this pattern of misremembering occurred only when children recalled the actions of a child but not an adult. We consider the idea that children spontaneously engage in social comparison, which colors their memories of the social world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000072DOI Listing
June 2015

Electrophysiological Correlates of Refreshing: Event-related Potentials Associated with Directing Reflective Attention to Face, Scene, or Word Representations.

J Cogn Neurosci 2015 Sep 11;27(9):1823-39. Epub 2015 May 11.

Yale University.

Refreshing is the component cognitive process of directing reflective attention to one of several active mental representations. Previous studies using fMRI suggested that refresh tasks involve a component process of initiating refreshing as well as the top-down modulation of representational regions central to refreshing. However, those studies were limited by fMRI's low temporal resolution. In this study, we used EEG to examine the time course of refreshing on the scale of milliseconds rather than seconds. ERP analyses showed that a typical refresh task does have a distinct electrophysiological response as compared to a control condition and includes at least two main temporal components: an earlier (∼400 msec) positive peak reminiscent of a P3 response and a later (∼800-1400 msec) sustained positivity over several sites reminiscent of the late directing attention positivity. Overall, the evoked potentials for refreshing representations from three different visual categories (faces, scenes, words) were similar, but multivariate pattern analysis showed that some category information was nonetheless present in the EEG signal. When related to previous fMRI studies, these results are consistent with a two-phase model, with the first phase dominated by frontal control signals involved in initiating refreshing and the second by the top-down modulation of posterior perceptual cortical areas that constitutes refreshing a representation. This study also lays the foundation for future studies of the neural correlates of reflective attention at a finer temporal resolution than is possible using fMRI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00823DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4796063PMC
September 2015

Age-related differences in the neural basis of the subjective vividness of memories: evidence from multivoxel pattern classification.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2015 Sep;15(3):644-61

Department of Psychology and Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA,

Although older adults often show reduced episodic memory accuracy, their ratings of the subjective vividness of their memories often equal or even exceed those of young adults. Such findings suggest that young and older adults may differentially access and/or weight different kinds of information in making vividness judgments. We examined this idea using multivoxel pattern classification of fMRI data to measure category representations while participants saw and remembered pictures of objects and scenes. Consistent with our hypothesis, there were age-related differences in how category representations related to the subjective sense of vividness. During remembering, older adults' vividness ratings were more related, relative to young adults', to category representations in prefrontal cortex. In contrast, young adults' vividness ratings were more related, relative to older adults, to category representations in parietal cortex. In addition, category representations were more correlated among posterior regions in young than in older adults, whereas correlations between PFC and posterior regions did not differ between the 2 groups. Together, these results are consistent with the idea that young and older adults differentially weight different types of information in assessing subjective vividness of their memories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-015-0352-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868956PMC
September 2015

A ten-year follow-up of a study of memory for the attack of September 11, 2001: Flashbulb memories and memories for flashbulb events.

J Exp Psychol Gen 2015 Jun 9;144(3):604-23. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

Within a week of the attack of September 11, 2001, a consortium of researchers from across the United States distributed a survey asking about the circumstances in which respondents learned of the attack (their flashbulb memories) and the facts about the attack itself (their event memories). Follow-up surveys were distributed 11, 25, and 119 months after the attack. The study, therefore, examines retention of flashbulb memories and event memories at a substantially longer retention interval than any previous study using a test-retest methodology, allowing for the study of such memories over the long term. There was rapid forgetting of both flashbulb and event memories within the first year, but the forgetting curves leveled off after that, not significantly changing even after a 10-year delay. Despite the initial rapid forgetting, confidence remained high throughout the 10-year period. Five putative factors affecting flashbulb memory consistency and event memory accuracy were examined: (a) attention to media, (b) the amount of discussion, (c) residency, (d) personal loss and/or inconvenience, and (e) emotional intensity. After 10 years, none of these factors predicted flashbulb memory consistency; media attention and ensuing conversation predicted event memory accuracy. Inconsistent flashbulb memories were more likely to be repeated rather than corrected over the 10-year period; inaccurate event memories, however, were more likely to be corrected. The findings suggest that even traumatic memories and those implicated in a community's collective identity may be inconsistent over time and these inconsistencies can persist without the corrective force of external influences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000055DOI Listing
June 2015

Distinct neural networks support the mere ownership effect under different motivational contexts.

Soc Neurosci 2015 Aug 9;10(4):376-90. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

a Department of Psychology , Yale University , New Haven , CT 06520-8205 , USA.

The "mere ownership effect" refers to individuals' tendency to evaluate objects they own more favorably than comparable objects they do not own. There are numerous behavioral demonstrations of the mere ownership effect, but the neural mechanisms underlying the expression of this self-positivity bias during the evaluation of self-associated objects have not been identified. The present study aimed to identify the neurobiological expression of the mere ownership effect and to assess the potential influence of motivational context. During fMRI scanning, participants made evaluations of objects after ownership had been assigned under the presence or absence of self-esteem threat. In the absence of threat, the mere ownership effect was associated with brain regions implicated in processing personal/affective significance and valence (ventromedial prefrontal cortex [vMPFC], ventral anterior cingulate cortex [vACC], and medial orbitofrontal cortex [mOFC]). In contrast, in the presence of threat, the mere ownership effect was associated with brain regions implicated in selective/inhibitory cognitive control processes (inferior frontal gyrus [IFG], middle frontal gyrus [MFG], and lateral orbitofrontal cortex [lOFC]). These findings indicate that depending on motivational context, different neural mechanisms (and thus likely different psychological processes) support the behavioral expression of self-positivity bias directed toward objects that are associated with the self.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2014.999870DOI Listing
August 2015

Activity in ventromedial prefrontal cortex during self-related processing: positive subjective value or personal significance?

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2015 Apr 16;10(4):494-500. Epub 2014 May 16.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.

Well-being and subjective experience of a coherent world depend on our sense of 'self' and relations between the self and the environment (e.g. people, objects and ideas). The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) is involved in self-related processing, and disrupted vMPFC activity is associated with disruptions of emotional/social functioning (e.g. depression and autism). Clarifying precise function(s) of vMPFC in self-related processing is an area of active investigation. In this study, we sought to more specifically characterize the function of vMPFC in self-related processing, focusing on two alternative accounts: (i) assignment of positive subjective value to self-related information and (ii) assignment of personal significance to self-related information. During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), participants imagined owning objects associated with either their perceived ingroup or outgroup. We found that for ingroup-associated objects, vMPFC showed greater activity for objects with increased than decreased post-ownership preference. In contrast, for outgroup-associated objects, vMPFC showed greater activity for objects with decreased than increased post-ownership preference. Our findings support the idea that the function of vMPFC in self-related processing may not be to represent/evaluate the 'positivity' or absolute preference of self-related information but to assign personal significance to it based on its meaning/function for the self.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4381233PMC
April 2015

Modulating intrinsic connectivity: adjacent subregions within supplementary motor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and parietal cortex connect to separate functional networks during task and also connect during rest.

PLoS One 2014 17;9(3):e90672. Epub 2014 Mar 17.

Departments of Biomedical Engineering, and Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

Supplementary motor area (SMA), the inferior frontal junction (IFJ), superior frontal junction (SFJ) and parietal cortex are active in many cognitive tasks. In a previous study, we found that subregions of each of these major areas were differentially active in component processes of executive function during working memory tasks. In the present study, each of these subregions was used as a seed in a whole brain functional connectivity analysis of working memory and resting state data. These regions show functional connectivity to different networks, thus supporting the parcellation of these major regions into functional subregions. Many regions showing significant connectivity during the working memory residual data (with task events regressed from the data) were also significantly connected during rest suggesting that these network connections to subregions within major regions of cortex are intrinsic. For some of these connections, task demands modulate activity in these intrinsic networks. Approximately half of the connections significant during task were significant during rest, indicating that some of the connections are intrinsic while others are recruited only in the service of the task. Furthermore, the network connections to traditional 'task positive' and 'task negative' (a.k.a 'default mode') regions shift from positive connectivity to negative connectivity depending on task demands. These findings demonstrate that such task-identified subregions are part of distinct networks, and that these networks have different patterns of connectivity for task as they do during rest, engaging connections both to task positive and task negative regions. These results have implications for understanding the parcellation of commonly active regions into more specific functional networks.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090672PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956459PMC
January 2015

Decoding individual natural scene representations during perception and imagery.

Front Hum Neurosci 2014 12;8:59. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Department of Psychology, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA ; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA.

We used a multi-voxel classification analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to determine to what extent item-specific information about complex natural scenes is represented in several category-selective areas of human extrastriate visual cortex during visual perception and visual mental imagery. Participants in the scanner either viewed or were instructed to visualize previously memorized natural scene exemplars, and the neuroimaging data were subsequently subjected to a multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) using a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. We found that item-specific information was represented in multiple scene-selective areas: the occipital place area (OPA), parahippocampal place area (PPA), retrosplenial cortex (RSC), and a scene-selective portion of the precuneus/intraparietal sulcus region (PCu/IPS). Furthermore, item-specific information from perceived scenes was re-instantiated during mental imagery of the same scenes. These results support findings from previous decoding analyses for other types of visual information and/or brain areas during imagery or working memory, and extend them to the case of visual scenes (and scene-selective cortex). Taken together, such findings support models suggesting that reflective mental processes are subserved by the re-instantiation of perceptual information in high-level visual cortex. We also examined activity in the fusiform face area (FFA) and found that it, too, contained significant item-specific scene information during perception, but not during mental imagery. This suggests that although decodable scene-relevant activity occurs in FFA during perception, FFA activity may not be a necessary (or even relevant) component of one's mental representation of visual scenes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921604PMC
February 2014

Brain mechanisms underlying reality monitoring for heard and imagined words.

Psychol Sci 2014 Feb 17;25(2):403-13. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Yale University.

Using functional MRI, we investigated reality monitoring for auditory information. During scanning, healthy young adults heard words in another person's voice and imagined hearing other words in that same voice. Later, outside the scanner, participants judged words as "heard," "imagined," or "new." An area of left middle frontal gyrus (Brodmann's area, or BA, 6) was more active at encoding for imagined items subsequently correctly called "imagined" than for items incorrectly called "heard." An area of left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 45, 44) was more active at encoding for items subsequently called "heard" than "imagined," regardless of the actual source of the item. Scores on an Auditory Hallucination Experience Scale were positively related to activity in superior temporal gyrus (BA 22) for imagined words incorrectly called "heard." We suggest that activity in these areas reflects cognitive operations information (middle frontal gyrus) and semantic and perceptual detail (inferior frontal gyrus and superior temporal gyrus, respectively) used to make reality-monitoring attributions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797613505776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069600PMC
February 2014

Dissociable neural mechanisms for goal-directed versus incidental memory reactivation.

J Neurosci 2013 Oct;33(41):16099-109

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York 10003, and Departments of Psychology and Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8205.

Remembering a past event involves reactivation of distributed patterns of neural activity that represent the features of that event-a process that depends on associative mechanisms supported by medial temporal lobe structures. Although efficient use of memory requires prioritizing those features of a memory that are relevant to current behavioral goals (target features) over features that may be goal-irrelevant (incidental features), there remains ambiguity concerning how this is achieved. We tested the hypothesis that although medial temporal lobe structures may support reactivation of both target and incidental event features, frontoparietal cortex preferentially reactivates those features that match current goals. Here, human participants were cued to remember either the category (face/scene) to which a picture belonged (category trials) or the location (left/right) in which a picture appeared (location trials). Multivoxel pattern analysis of fMRI data were used to measure reactivation of category information as a function of its behavioral relevance (target vs incidental reactivation). In ventral/medial temporal lobe (VMTL) structures, incidental reactivation was as robust as target reactivation. In contrast, frontoparietal cortex exhibited stronger target than incidental reactivation; that is, goal-modulated reactivation. Reactivation was also associated with later memory. Frontoparietal biases toward target reactivation predicted subsequent memory for target features, whereas incidental reactivation in VMTL predicted subsequent memory for nontested features. These findings reveal a striking dissociation between goal-modulated reactivation in frontoparietal cortex and incidental reactivation in VMTL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0207-13.2013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3792452PMC
October 2013

Extended self: spontaneous activation of medial prefrontal cortex by objects that are 'mine'.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2014 Jul 20;9(7):1006-12. Epub 2013 May 20.

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

The concept of extended self refers to the idea that people incorporate self-relevant others or objects into one's sense of self. Initial neural support for the notion of extended self was provided by fMRI evidence that medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) showed greater activation while people imagined objects belonging to them compared with someone else (Kim & Johnson, 2012). This study investigated whether self-associated objects (i.e. 'mine') subsequently engage MPFC spontaneously when a task does not require explicit self-referential judgments. During fMRI scanning, participants detected 'oddballs' (objects with a specific frame color) intermixed with objects participants had previously imagined belonging to them or to someone else and previously unseen non-oddball objects. There was greater activity in MPFC and posterior cingulate cortex for those 'self-owned' objects that participants were more successful at imagining owning compared with 'other-owned' objects. In addition, change in object preference following the ownership manipulation (a mere ownership effect) was predicted by activity in MPFC. Overall, these results provide neural evidence for the idea that personally relevant external stimuli may be incorporated into one's sense of self.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nst082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4090970PMC
July 2014

Foraging for thought: an inhibition-of-return-like effect resulting from directing attention within working memory.

Psychol Sci 2013 Jul 7;24(7):1104-12. Epub 2013 May 7.

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, USA.

Perceptual processing of a target stimulus may be inhibited if its location has just been cued, a phenomenon of spatial attention known as inhibition of return (IOR). In the research reported here, we demonstrated a striking effect, wherein items that have just been the focus of reflective attention (internal attention to an active representation) also are inhibited. Participants saw two items, followed by a cue to think back to (i.e., refresh, or direct reflective attention toward) one item, and then had to identify either the refreshed item, the unrefreshed item, or a novel item. Responses were significantly slower for refreshed items than for unrefreshed items, although refreshed items were better remembered on a later memory test. Control experiments in which we replaced the refresh event with a second presentation of one of the words did not show similar effects. These results suggest that reflective attention can produce an inhibition effect for attended items that may be analogous to IOR effects in perceptual attention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797612466414DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3713103PMC
July 2013

Processing own-age vs. other-age faces: neuro-behavioral correlates and effects of emotion.

Neuroimage 2013 Sep 18;78:363-71. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.

Age constitutes a salient feature of a face and signals group membership. There is evidence of greater attention to and better memory for own-age than other-age faces. However, little is known about the neural and behavioral mechanisms underlying processing differences for own-age vs. other-age faces. Even less is known about the impact of emotion expressed in faces on such own-age effects. Using fMRI, the present study examined brain activity while young and older adult participants identified expressions of neutral, happy, and angry young and older faces. Across facial expressions, medial prefrontal cortex, insula, and (for older participants) amygdala showed greater activity to own-age than other-age faces. These own-age effects in ventral medial prefrontal cortex and insula held for neutral and happy faces, but not for angry faces. This novel and intriguing finding suggests that processing of negative facial emotions under some conditions overrides age-of-face effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.04.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684564PMC
September 2013

Age-related differences in agenda-driven monitoring of format and task information.

Neuropsychologia 2013 Oct 25;51(12):2427-41. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Department of Psychology, Yale University P.O. Box 208205, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, United States. Electronic address:

Age-related source memory deficits may arise, in part, from changes in the agenda-driven processes that control what features of events are relevant during remembering. Using fMRI, we compared young and older adults on tests assessing source memory for format (picture, word) or encoding task (self-, other-referential), as well as on old-new recognition. Behaviorally, relative to old-new recognition, older adults showed disproportionate and equivalent deficits on both source tests compared to young adults. At encoding, both age groups showed expected activation associated with format in posterior visual processing areas, and with task in medial prefrontal cortex. At test, the groups showed similar selective, agenda-related activity in these representational areas. There were, however, marked age differences in the activity of control regions in lateral and medial prefrontal cortex and lateral parietal cortex. Results of correlation analyses were consistent with the idea that young adults had greater trial-by-trial agenda-driven modulation of activity (i.e., greater selectivity) than did older adults in representational regions. Thus, under selective remembering conditions where older adults showed clear differential regional activity in representational areas depending on type of test, they also showed evidence of disrupted frontal and parietal function and reduced item-by-item modulation of test-appropriate features. This pattern of results is consistent with an age-related deficit in the engagement of selective reflective attention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664244PMC
October 2013

Neural mechanisms of reading facial emotions in young and older adults.

Front Psychol 2012 11;3:223. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA.

The ability to read and appropriately respond to emotions in others is central for successful social interaction. Young and older adults are better at identifying positive than negative facial expressions and also expressions of young than older faces. Little, however, is known about the neural processes associated with reading different emotions, particularly in faces of different ages, in samples of young and older adults. During fMRI, young and older participants identified expressions in happy, neutral, and angry young and older faces. The results suggest a functional dissociation of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) in reading facial emotions that is largely comparable in young and older adults: Both age groups showed greater vmPFC activity to happy compared to angry or neutral faces, which was positively correlated with expression identification for happy compared to angry faces. In contrast, both age groups showed greater activity in dmPFC to neutral or angry than happy faces which was negatively correlated with expression identification for neutral compared to happy faces. A similar region of dmPFC showed greater activity for older than young faces, but no brain-behavior correlations. Greater vmPFC activity in the present study may reflect greater affective processing involved in reading happy compared to neutral or angry faces. Greater dmPFC activity may reflect more cognitive control involved in decoding and/or regulating negative emotions associated with neutral or angry than happy, and older than young, faces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394436PMC
October 2012

Lost thoughts: implicit semantic interference impairs reflective access to currently active information.

J Exp Psychol Gen 2013 Feb 16;142(1):6-11. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Department of Psychology, Yale University.

Why do we lose, or have trouble accessing, an idea that was in the focus of attention only a moment ago, especially in the absence of any apparent distraction? We tested the hypothesis that accessing a single item that is already active is affected by implicit interference (interference of which we have little or no awareness). We presented masked words that were semantically related or unrelated to a single visible target word that participants were cued to think of (refresh) a half second after its offset. Masked related but not unrelated words increased time to refresh the target but did not influence time required to read a target that was physically present. These findings provide novel evidence that an item in the focus of attention is subject to semantic interference. We suggest that such implicit semantic interference may contribute to the common "lost thought" experience and to cognitive deficits in populations in which refreshing is impaired.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407824PMC
February 2013

Negative effects of item repetition on source memory.

Mem Cognit 2012 Aug;40(6):889-901

Department of Psychology, Yale University, 2 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.

In the present study, we explored how item repetition affects source memory for new item-feature associations (picture-location or picture-color). We presented line drawings varying numbers of times in Phase 1. In Phase 2, each drawing was presented once with a critical new feature. In Phase 3, we tested memory for the new source feature of each item from Phase 2. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated and replicated the negative effects of item repetition on incidental source memory. Prior item repetition also had a negative effect on source memory when different source dimensions were used in Phases 1 and 2 (Experiment 3) and when participants were explicitly instructed to learn source information in Phase 2 (Experiments 4 and 5). Importantly, when the order between Phases 1 and 2 was reversed, such that item repetition occurred after the encoding of critical item-source combinations, item repetition no longer affected source memory (Experiment 6). Overall, our findings did not support predictions based on item predifferentiation, within-dimension source interference, or general interference from multiple traces of an item. Rather, the findings were consistent with the idea that prior item repetition reduces attention to subsequent presentations of the item, decreasing the likelihood that critical item-source associations will be encoded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-012-0196-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4922421PMC
August 2012

The cognitive neuroscience of true and false memories.

Nebr Symp Motiv 2012 ;58:15-52

Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Of central relevance to the recovered/false memory debate is understanding the factors that cause us to believe that a mental experience is a memory of an actual past experience. According to the source monitoring framework (SMF), memories are attributions that we make about our mental experiences based on their subjective qualities, our prior knowledge and beliefs, our motives and goals, and the social context. From this perspective, we discuss cognitive behavioral studies using both objective (e.g., recognition, source memory) and subjective (e.g., ratings of memory characteristics) measures that provide much information about the encoding, revival and monitoring processes that yield both true and false memories. The chapter also considers how neuroimaging findings, especially from functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, are contributing to our understanding of the relation between memory and reality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1195-6_2DOI Listing
March 2012

Memory: enduring traces of perceptual and reflective attention.

Neuron 2011 Nov;72(4):520-35

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Attention and memory are typically studied as separate topics, but they are highly intertwined. Here we discuss the relation between memory and two fundamental types of attention: perceptual and reflective. Memory is the persisting consequence of cognitive activities initiated by and/or focused on external information from the environment (perceptual attention) and initiated by and/or focused on internal mental representations (reflective attention). We consider three key questions for advancing a cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory: to what extent do perception and reflection share representational areas? To what extent are the control processes that select, maintain, and manipulate perceptual and reflective information subserved by common areas and networks? During perception and reflection, to what extent are common areas responsible for binding features together to create complex, episodic memories and for reviving them later? Considering similarities and differences in perceptual and reflective attention helps integrate a broad range of findings and raises important unresolved issues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3248396PMC
November 2011
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