Publications by authors named "Patrik Vuilleumier"

247 Publications

Whole blood serotonin levels in healthy elderly are negatively associated with the functional activity of emotion-related brain regions.

Biol Psychol 2021 Mar 13;160:108051. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, 01187, Dresden, Germany.

Understanding the role of neuromodulators of socio-affective processing is important to ensure psychological wellbeing during older years. Here, we investigated the link between blood serotonin levels and brain and behavioral responses to emotional information in healthy elderly. A priori regions of interest (ROI) were selected due to their role in emotion processing and their dense serotonergic innervation. Correlation analyses were performed between ROI-specific responses to emotional stimuli and whole blood serotonin levels. We found significant negative associations between serotonin and functional activity for the bilateral insula, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and subgenual gyrus. No association with behavioral measures survived correction for multiple testing. Our results mirror prior pharmacological and genetic work on the link between serotonin and emotional brain reactivity in younger adults. Given the involvement of serotonin in several age-related changes, our study encourages future research to characterize the role of this neuromodulator in emotion processing across the lifespan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2021.108051DOI Listing
March 2021

PET Imaging of Dopamine Neurotransmission During EEG Neurofeedback.

Front Physiol 2020 11;11:590503. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Department of Basic Neurosciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Neurofeedback (NFB) is a brain-based training method that enables users to control their own cortical oscillations using real-time feedback from the electroencephalogram (EEG). Importantly, no investigations to date have directly explored the potential impact of NFB on the brain's key neuromodulatory systems. Our study's objective was to assess the capacity of NFB to induce dopamine release as revealed by positron emission tomography (PET). Thirty-two healthy volunteers were randomized to either EEG-neurofeedback (NFB) or EEG-electromyography (EMG), and scanned while performing self-regulation during a single session of dynamic PET brain imaging using the high affinity D receptor radiotracer, [F]Fallypride. NFB and EMG groups down-regulated cortical alpha power and facial muscle tone, respectively. Task-induced effects on endogenous dopamine release were estimated in the frontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and thalamus, using the linearized simplified reference region model (LSRRM), which accounts for time-dependent changes in radiotracer binding following task initiation. Contrary to our hypothesis of a differential effect for NFB vs. EMG training, significant dopamine release was observed in both training groups in the frontal and anterior cingulate cortex, but not in thalamus. Interestingly, a significant negative correlation was observed between dopamine release in frontal cortex and NFB change in spontaneous alpha power, suggesting that intra-individual changes in brain state (i.e., alpha power) could partly result from changes in neuromodulatory tone. Overall, our findings constitute the first direct investigation of neurofeedback's effect on the endogenous release of a key neuromodulator, demonstrating its feasibility and paving the way for future studies using this methodology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.590503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7873858PMC
January 2021

Influence of Background Musical Emotions on Attention in Congenital Amusia.

Front Hum Neurosci 2020 25;14:566841. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Congenital amusia in its most common form is a disorder characterized by a musical pitch processing deficit. Although pitch is involved in conveying emotion in music, the implications for pitch deficits on musical emotion judgements is still under debate. Relatedly, both limited and spared musical emotion recognition was reported in amusia in conditions where emotion cues were not determined by musical mode or dissonance. Additionally, assumed links between musical abilities and visuo-spatial attention processes need further investigation in congenital amusics. Hence, we here test to what extent musical emotions can influence attentional performance. Fifteen congenital amusic adults and fifteen healthy controls matched for age and education were assessed in three attentional conditions: executive control (distractor inhibition), alerting, and orienting (spatial shift) while music expressing either joy, tenderness, sadness, or tension was presented. Visual target detection was in the normal range for both accuracy and response times in the amusic relative to the control participants. Moreover, in both groups, music exposure produced facilitating effects on selective attention that appeared to be driven by the arousal dimension of musical emotional content, with faster correct target detection during joyful compared to sad music. These findings corroborate the idea that pitch processing deficits related to congenital amusia do not impede other cognitive domains, particularly visual attention. Furthermore, our study uncovers an intact influence of music and its emotional content on the attentional abilities of amusic individuals. The results highlight the domain-selectivity of the pitch disorder in congenital amusia, which largely spares the development of visual attention and affective systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.566841DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7868440PMC
January 2021

A novel computerized assessment of manual spatial exploration in unilateral spatial neglect.

Neuropsychol Rehabil 2021 Jan 21:1-22. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Unilateral spatial neglect is a neuropsychological syndrome commonly observed after stroke and defined by the inability to attend or respond to contralesional stimuli. Typically, symptoms are assessed using clinical tests that rely upon visual/perceptual abilities. However, neglect may affect high-level representations controlling attention in other modalities as well. Here we developed a novel manual exploration test using a touch screen computer to quantify spatial search behaviour without visual input. Twelve chronic stroke patients with left neglect and 27 patients without neglect (based on clinical tests) completed our task. Four of the 12 "neglect" patients exhibited clear signs of neglect on our task as compared to "non-neglect" patients and healthy controls, and six other patients (from both groups) also demonstrated signs of neglect compared to healthy controls only. While some patients made asymmetrical responses on only one task, generally, patients with the strongest neglect performed poorly on multiple tasks. This suggests that representations associated with different modalities may be affected separately, but that severe forms of neglect are more likely related to damage in a common underlying representation. Our manual exploration task is easy to administer and can be added to standard neglect screenings to better measure symptom severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2021.1875850DOI Listing
January 2021

Brain functional connectivity dynamics at rest in the aftermath of affective and cognitive challenges.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Mar 24;42(4):1054-1069. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Carry-over effects on brain states have been reported following emotional and cognitive events, persisting even during subsequent rest. Here, we investigated such effects by identifying recurring co-activation patterns (CAPs) in neural networks at rest with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We compared carry-over effects on brain-wide CAPs at rest and their modulation after both affective and cognitive challenges. Healthy participants underwent fMRI scanning during emotional induction with negative valence and performed cognitive control tasks, each followed by resting periods. Several CAPs, overlapping with the default-mode (DMN), salience, dorsal attention, and social cognition networks were impacted by both the preceding events (movie or task) and the emotional valence of the experimental contexts (neutral or negative), with differential dynamic fluctuations over time. Temporal metrics of DMN-related CAPs were altered after exposure to negative emotional content (compared to neutral) and predicted changes in subjective affect on self-reported scores. In parallel, duration rates of another attention-related CAP increased with greater task difficulty during the preceding cognitive control condition, specifically in the negative context. These findings provide new insights on the anatomical organization and temporal inertia of functional brain networks, whose expression is differentially shaped by emotional states, presumably mediating adaptive homeostatic processes subsequent to behaviorally challenging events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7856644PMC
March 2021

Maladaptive emotion regulation traits predict altered corticolimbic recovery from psychosocial stress.

J Affect Disord 2021 Feb 6;280(Pt A):54-63. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Psychiatry Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Campus Biotech, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland; Mood Disorder Unit, Psychiatric Specialties Service, Geneva University Hospital, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland.

Background: Adaptive recovery from stress promotes healthy cognitive affective functioning, whereas maladaptive recovery is linked to poor psychological outcomes. Neural regions, like the anterior cingulate and hippocampus, play critical roles in psychosocial stress responding and serve as hubs in the corticolimbic neural system. To date, however, it is unknown how cognitive emotion regulation traits (cER), adaptive and maladaptive, influence corticolimbic stress recovery. Here, we examined acute psychosocial stress neural recovery, accounting for cER.

Methods: Functional neuroimaging data were collected while forty-seven healthy participants performed blocks of challenging, time-sensitive, mental calculations. Participants immediately received performance feedback (positive/negative/neutral) and their ranking, relative to fictitious peers. Participants rested for 90 seconds after each feedback, allowing for a neural stress recovery period. Collected before scanning, cER scores were correlated with neural activity during each recovery condition.

Results: Negative feedback recovery yielded increased activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but this effect was ultimately explained by maladaptive cER (M-cER), like rumination. Isolating positive after-effects (i.e. positive > negative recovery) yielded a significant positive correlation between M-cER and the anterior cingulate, anterior insula, hippocampus, and striatum.

Conclusions: We provide first evidence of M-cER to predict altered neural recovery from positive stress within corticolimbic regions. Positive feedback may be potentially threatening to individuals with poor stress regulation. Identifying positive stress-induced activation patterns in corticolimbic neural networks linked to M-cER creates the possibility to identify these neural responses as risk factors for social-emotional dysregulation subsequent to rewarding social information, often witnessed in affective disorders, like depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.09.122DOI Listing
February 2021

Computational imaging during video game playing shows dynamic synchronization of cortical and subcortical networks of emotions.

PLoS Biol 2020 11 12;18(11):e3000900. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Emotions are multifaceted phenomena affecting mind, body, and behavior. Previous studies sought to link particular emotion categories (e.g., fear) or dimensions (e.g., valence) to specific brain substrates but generally found distributed and overlapping activation patterns across various emotions. In contrast, distributed patterns accord with multi-componential theories whereby emotions emerge from appraisal processes triggered by current events, combined with motivational, expressive, and physiological mechanisms orchestrating behavioral responses. According to this framework, components are recruited in parallel and dynamically synchronized during emotion episodes. Here, we use functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate brain-wide systems engaged by theoretically defined components and measure their synchronization during an interactive emotion-eliciting video game. We show that each emotion component recruits large-scale cortico-subcortical networks, and that moments of dynamic synchronization between components selectively engage basal ganglia, sensory-motor structures, and midline brain areas. These neural results support theoretical accounts grounding emotions onto embodied and action-oriented functions triggered by synchronized component processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7685507PMC
November 2020

Sustained effects of pleasant and unpleasant smells on resting state brain activity.

Cortex 2020 Nov 1;132:386-403. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Laboratory of Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Dept. of Neurosciences, University Medical Center, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Research suggests that transient emotional episodes produces sustained effects on psychological functions and brain activity during subsequent resting state. In this fMRI study we investigated whether transient emotions induced by smells could impact brain connectivity at rest in a valence-specific manner. The results suggest a sustained reconfiguration of parts of the default mode network which become more connected with areas implicated in olfactory processing, emotional learning, and action control. We found lingering effects of odorants on subsequent resting state that predominantly involved connections of the precuneus with a network comprising the insula, amygdala, medial orbital gyrus. Unpleasant smells in particular predicted greater coupling between insula, hippocampal structures, and prefrontal cortex, possible reflecting enhanced aversive learning and avoidance motivation. More broadly, our study illustrates a novel approach to characterize the impact of smells on brain function and differentiate the neural signatures of their valence, during task-free rest conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.06.017DOI Listing
November 2020

Current clinical practice in the screening and diagnosis of spatial neglect post-stroke: Findings from a multidisciplinary international survey.

Neuropsychol Rehabil 2020 Jul 21:1-32. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, MAHSC, Manchester, UK.

Spatial neglect has profound implications for quality of life after stroke, yet we lack consensus for screening/diagnosing this heterogeneous syndrome. Our first step in a multi-stage research programme aimed to determine which neglect tests are used (within four categories: cognitive, functional, neurological and neuroimaging/neuromodulation), by which stroke clinicians, in which countries, and whether choice is by professional autonomy or institutional policy. 454 clinicians responded to an online survey: 12 professions (e.g., 39% were occupational therapists) from 33 countries (e.g., 38% from the UK). Multifactorial logistic regression suggested inter-professional differences but fewer differences between countries (Italy was an outlier). Cognitive tests were used by 82% (particularly by psychologists, cancellation and drawing were most popular); 80% used functional assessments (physiotherapists were most likely). 20% (mainly physicians, from Italy) used neuroimaging/ neuromodulation. Professionals largely reported clinical autonomy in their choices. Respondents agreed on the need for a combined approach to screening and further training. This study raises awareness of the translation gap between theory and practice. These findings lay an important foundation to subsequent collaborative action between clinicians, researchers and stroke survivors to reach consensus on screening and diagnostic measures. The immediate next step is a review of the measures' psychometric properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2020.1782946DOI Listing
July 2020

Functional connectivity fingerprints of the human pulvinar: Decoding its role in cognition.

Neuroimage 2020 11 11;221:117162. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Neuroscience Department, Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University Medical School of Geneva, Campus BIOTECH H8, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202, Geneva, Switzerland.

The pulvinar is the largest thalamic nucleus in the brain and considered as a key structure in sensory processing and attention. Although its anatomy is well known, in particular thanks to studies in non-human primates, its role in perception and cognition remains poorly understood. Here, we used resting-state functional connectivity from a large sample of high-resolution data provided by the Human Connectome Project, combined with a large-scale meta-analysis approach to segregate and characterize the functional organization of the pulvinar nucleus. We identified five clusters per pulvinar with distinct connectivity profiles and determined their respective co-activation patterns. Using the Neurosynth database, we then investigated the functional significance of these co-activation networks. Our results confirm the functional heterogeneity of the pulvinar, revealing clearcut differences across clusters in terms of their connectivity patterns and associated cognitive domains. While the anterior and lateral clusters appear to be involved in action and attention domains, the ventromedial and dorsomedial clusters may preferentially subserve emotional processes and saliency detection. In contrast, the inferior cluster shows less specificity but correlates with perception and memory processes. Collectively, our results suggest that the pulvinar underwrites different components of cognition, supporting a central role in the coordination of cortico-subcortical processes mediated by distributed brain networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117162DOI Listing
November 2020

Temporal dynamics of amygdala response to emotion- and action-relevance.

Sci Rep 2020 07 7;10(1):11138. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Campus Biotech, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

It has been proposed that the human amygdala may not only encode the emotional value of sensory events, but more generally mediate the appraisal of their relevance for the individual's goals, including relevance for action or task-based needs. However, emotional and non-emotional/action-relevance might drive amygdala activity through distinct neural signals, and the relative timing of both kinds of responses remains undetermined. Here, we recorded intracranial event-related potentials from nine amygdalae of patients undergoing epilepsy surgery, while they performed variants of a Go/NoGo task with faces and abstract shapes, where emotion- and action-relevance were orthogonally manipulated. Our results revealed early amygdala responses to emotion facial expressions starting ~ 130 ms after stimulus-onset. Importantly, the amygdala responded to action-relevance not only with face stimuli but also with abstract shapes (squares), and these relevance effects consistently occurred in later time-windows (starting ~ 220 ms) for both faces and squares. A similar dissociation was observed in gamma activity. Furthermore, whereas emotional responses habituated over time, the action-relevance effect increased during the course of the experiment, suggesting progressive learning based on the task needs. Our results support the hypothesis that the human amygdala mediates a broader relevance appraisal function, with the processing of emotion-relevance preceding temporally that of action-relevance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-67862-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340782PMC
July 2020

Brain Networks Processing Temporal Information in Dynamic Facial Expressions.

Cereb Cortex 2020 Oct;30(11):6021-6038

Laboratory for Behavioural Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Basic Neuroscience, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.

This fMRI study examines the role of local and global motion information in facial movements during exposure to novel dynamic face stimuli. We found that synchronous expressions distinctively engaged medial prefrontal areas in the rostral and caudal sectors of anterior cingulate cortex (r/cACC) extending to inferior supplementary motor areas, as well as motor cortex and bilateral superior frontal gyrus (global temporal-spatial processing). Asynchronous expressions in which one part of the face unfolded before the other activated more the right superior temporal sulcus (STS) and inferior frontal gyrus (local temporal-spatial processing). These differences in temporal dynamics had no effect on visual face-responsive areas. Dynamic causal modeling analysis further showed that processing of asynchronous expression features was associated with a differential information flow, centered on STS, which received direct input from occipital cortex and projected to the amygdala. Moreover, STS and amygdala displayed selective interactions with cACC where the integration of both local and global motion cues could take place. These results provide new evidence for a role of local and global temporal dynamics in emotional expressions, extracted in partly separate brain pathways. Importantly, we show that dynamic expressions with synchronous movement cues may distinctively engage brain areas responsible for motor execution of expressions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhaa176DOI Listing
October 2020

Deficits in cognitive and affective theory of mind relate to dissociated lesion patterns in prefrontal and insular cortex.

Cortex 2020 07 8;128:218-233. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Geneva Neuroscience Center, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Laboratory of Behavioural Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Center, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Neuroimaging studies suggest that understanding emotions in others engages brain regions partially common to those associated with more general cognitive Theory-of-Mind (ToM) functions allowing us to infer people's beliefs or intentions. However, neuropsychological studies on brain-damaged patients reveal dissociations between the ability to understand others' emotions and ToM. This discrepancy might underlie the fact that neuropsychological investigations often correlate behavioural impairments only to the lesion site, without considering the impact that the insult might have on other interconnected brain structures. Here we took a network-based approach, and investigated whether deficits in understanding people's emotional and cognitive states relate to damage to similar or differential structures. By combining information from 40 unilateral stroke damaged patients, with normative connectome data from 92 neurotypical individuals, we estimated lesion-induced dysfunctions across the whole brain, and modeled them in relation to patients' behavior. We found a striking dissociation between networks centered in the insular and prefrontal cortex, whose dysfunctions led to selective impairments in understanding emotions and beliefs respectively. Instead, no evidence was observed for neural structures shared between the two conditions. Overall, our data provide novel evidence of segregation between brain networks subserving social inferential abilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.03.019DOI Listing
July 2020

The role of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in dorsomedial prefrontal-amygdala neural circuitry during positive-social emotion regulation.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Aug 20;41(11):3100-3118. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Positive-social emotions mediate one's cognitive performance, mood, well-being, and social bonds, and represent a critical variable within therapeutic settings. It has been shown that the upregulation of positive emotions in social situations is associated with increased top-down signals that stem from the prefrontal cortices (PFC) which modulate bottom-up emotional responses in the amygdala. However, it remains unclear if positive-social emotion upregulation of the amygdala occurs directly through the dorsomedial PFC (dmPFC) or indirectly linking the bilateral amygdala with the dmPFC via the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC), an area which typically serves as a gatekeeper between cognitive and emotion networks. We performed functional MRI (fMRI) experiments with and without effortful positive-social emotion upregulation to demonstrate the functional architecture of a network involving the amygdala, the dmPFC, and the sgACC. We found that effortful positive-social emotion upregulation was associated with an increase in top-down connectivity from the dmPFC on the amygdala via both direct and indirect connections with the sgACC. Conversely, we found that emotion processes without effortful regulation increased network modulation by the sgACC and amygdala. We also found that more anxious individuals with a greater tendency to suppress emotions and intrusive thoughts, were likely to display decreased amygdala, dmPFC, and sgACC activity and stronger connectivity strength from the sgACC onto the left amygdala during effortful emotion upregulation. Analyzed brain network suggests a more general role of the sgACC in cognitive control and sheds light on neurobiological informed treatment interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336138PMC
August 2020

Consensus on the reporting and experimental design of clinical and cognitive-behavioural neurofeedback studies (CRED-nf checklist).

Brain 2020 06;143(6):1674-1685

School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Neurofeedback has begun to attract the attention and scrutiny of the scientific and medical mainstream. Here, neurofeedback researchers present a consensus-derived checklist that aims to improve the reporting and experimental design standards in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7296848PMC
June 2020

Higher availability of α4β2 nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) in dorsal ACC is linked to more efficient interference control.

Neuroimage 2020 07 9;214:116729. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Faculty of Medicine, Geneva University, Geneva, Switzerland; Epilepsy Unit, Department of Neurology, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are widely distributed in the human brain and play an important role in the neuromodulation of brain networks implicated in attentional processes. Previous work in humans showed that heteromeric α4β2 nAChRs are abundant in the cingulo-insular network underlying attentional control. It has been proposed that cholinergic neuromodulation by α4β2 nAChRs is involved in attentional control during demanding tasks, when additional resources are needed to minimize interference from task-irrelevant stimuli and focus on task-relevant stimuli. Here we investigate the link between the availability of α4β2 nAChRs in the cingulo-insular network and behavioral measures of interference control using two versions of the Stroop paradigm, a task known to recruit cingulo-insular areas. We used a previously published PET dataset acquired in 24 non-smoking male subjects in the context of a larger study which investigated the brain distribution of nAChRs in two clinical groups using 2-[(18)F]F-A-85380 PET. We found that higher availability of α4β2 nAChRs in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) predicted better interference control independently of group and age. In line with animal models, our results support the view that the availability of α4β2 nAChRs in the dorsal ACC is linked with more efficient attentional control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116729DOI Listing
July 2020

A Generalizable Multivariate Brain Pattern for Interpersonal Guilt.

Cereb Cortex 2020 May;30(6):3558-3572

Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.

Feeling guilty when we have wronged another is a crucial aspect of prosociality, but its neurobiological bases are elusive. Although multivariate patterns of brain activity show promise for developing brain measures linked to specific emotions, it is less clear whether brain activity can be trained to detect more complex social emotional states such as guilt. Here, we identified a distributed guilt-related brain signature (GRBS) across two independent neuroimaging datasets that used interpersonal interactions to evoke guilt. This signature discriminated conditions associated with interpersonal guilt from closely matched control conditions in a cross-validated training sample (N = 24; Chinese population) and in an independent test sample (N = 19; Swiss population). However, it did not respond to observed or experienced pain, or recalled guilt. Moreover, the GRBS only exhibited weak spatial similarity with other brain signatures of social-affective processes, further indicating the specificity of the brain state it represents. These findings provide a step toward developing biological markers of social emotions, which could serve as important tools to investigate guilt-related brain processes in both healthy and clinical populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz326DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232998PMC
May 2020

Brain networks mediating the influence of background music on selective attention.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2019 12;14(12):1441-1452

Laboratory of Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Prevalent across societies and times, music has the ability to enhance attention, a property relevant to clinical applications, but the underlying brain mechanisms remain unknown. It is also unclear whether music produces similar or differential effects with advancing age. Here, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the influence of music exposure evoking four types of emotions on distinct attentional components measured with a modified attention network test, across 19 young (21 ± 2.6) and 33 old participants (72 ± 5.4). We then determined whether music-related effects differed across age groups and whether they were associated with particular acoustic features. Background music during selective attention requiring distractor conflict resolution was associated with faster response times and greater activations of fronto-parietal areas during happy and high-arousing music, whereas sad and low-valence music was associated with slower responses and greater occipital recruitment. Shifting and altering components of attention were unaffected. The influence of music on performance and brain networks was similar between age groups. These behavioral and neuroimaging results demonstrate the importance of affective music dimensions, particularly arousal, in enhancing selective attention processes. This study adds novel support to the benefits of music in the rehabilitation of attention functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137722PMC
December 2019

Pulvino-cortical interaction: An integrative role in the control of attention.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2020 04 20;111:104-113. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University Medical School of Geneva - Campus BIOTECH H8, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202, Geneva, Switzerland.

Selective attention is a fundamental cognitive function that guides behavior by selecting and prioritizing salient or relevant sensory information of our environment. Despite early evidence and theoretical proposal pointing to an implication of thalamic control in attention, most studies in the past two decades focused on cortical substrates, largely ignoring the contribution of subcortical regions as well as cortico-subcortical interactions. Here, we suggest a key role of the pulvinar in the selection of salient and relevant information via its involvement in priority maps. Prioritization may be achieved through a pulvinar-mediated generation of alpha oscillations, which may then modulate neuronal gain in thalamo-cortical circuits. Such mechanism might orchestrate the synchrony of cortico-cortical interaction, by rendering neural communication more effective, precise and selective. We propose that this theoretical framework will support a timely shift from the prevailing cortico-centric view of cognition to a more integrative perspective of thalamic contributions to attention and executive control processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.01.005DOI Listing
April 2020

Rightward exogenous attentional shifts impair perceptual memory of spatial locations in patients with left unilateral spatial neglect.

Cortex 2020 01 30;122:187-197. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Neurology Department, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Neuroscience Department, Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Spatial remapping implies the updating and maintaining of the spatial position of objects in successive visual images across time, despite their displacement on the retina due to eye movements. In the parietal cortex, the representation of spatial locations appears to be partly centered on gaze direction, and thus modulated by current eye-gaze position. It has been suggested that short-term memory for spatial locations across delays might be impaired in right brain-injured patients with left spatial neglect, but more so after rightward than leftward gaze shifts - an asymmetry attributed to a loss of spatial representations normally transferred from left to right hemisphere during remapping. Because several studies point to a strong link between attentional and oculomotor circuits in the brain, we hypothesized that similar remapping effects might result from attentional displacements without overt eye movements. We tested this hypothesis in right-brain damaged patients with and without left neglect in a visuo-spatial memory task. As predicted, neglect patients showed a selective deficit in location memory following an exogenous attentional shift caused by a brief flash in the periphery of their right (but not left) visual field. We conclude that an attentional displacement without eye movements is sufficient to remap spatial representations across hemifields, and that this process is impaired in neglect patients when a location has to be transferred to the neglected/left side relative to current gaze or attention focus. More generally, these results support the notion of neural overlap between oculomotor and attentional mechanisms, and confirm a role for impaired remapping in the neglect syndrome, wherein spatial representations of contralesional locations may fail to be maintained during active attentional behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.10.002DOI Listing
January 2020

Current Opinions in Brain Imaging Methods and Applications.

Brain Topogr 2019 11;32(6):923-925

Institute of Bioengineering, Center for Neuroprosthetics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10548-019-00747-3DOI Listing
November 2019

Anterior and posterior commissures in agenesis of the corpus callosum: Alternative pathways for attention processes?

Cortex 2019 12 23;121:454-467. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Developmental absence (agenesis) of the corpus callosum (AgCC) is a congenital brain malformation resulting from disruption of corpus callosum formation, a structure that is crucial for the transfer and integration of information, including attention processes, across the brain. This study aimed to investigate previously proposed candidates for alternative inter-hemispheric pathways in AgCC by examining (1) white matter volume and microstructure of the anterior and posterior commissures in children with AgCC compared to typically developing controls (TDC), and (2) in children with AgCC, examine the associations of white matter volume and microstructure of the anterior and posterior commissures and any remaining corpus callosum with attention processes. Participants were 21 children with AgCC (13 complete, 8 partial) recruited from The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, and 30 TDC aged 8-17 years. T1-and diffusion-weighted MR sequences were used to calculate volume and microstructural parameters. Neuropsychological testing assessed attention processes. We found the anterior commissure was significantly larger in volume in children with AgCC than TDC (p = .027), with reduced mean FA (p = .001) associated with increased mean RD (p < .001). In children with AgCC, we found microstructural properties of the anterior commissure associated with attentional processes, specifically, mean FA of the anterior commissure was associated with better divided attention (p = .03), and the association between alerting attention and mean AD and RD was found to be moderated by age (p = .027, p = .008) and the degree of corpus callosum agenesis (p = .025, p = .016). Furthermore, in partial AgCC, larger posterior commissure volume was associated with better orienting attention (p = .035). In conclusion, we provide evidence that the volume and microstructure of the anterior commissure are altered in children with AgCC, and this neuroplastic response might have an influence on attention processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.09.014DOI Listing
December 2019

Better memory for intrinsic versus extrinsic details underlies the enhanced recollective experience of negative events.

Learn Mem 2019 11 15;26(11):455-459. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Department of Basic Neurosciences, University of Geneva, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.

Why we remember emotional events with an increased subjective sense of remembering (SSR) is unclear. SSR for neutral events is linked to memory for various kinds of details. Using the Remember/Know paradigm, participants provided written justifications of their Remember responses indicating what they specifically recollected about a negative or neutral photo seen during encoding. Crucially, Remember responses for negative photos were more often linked to memory for details of the stimuli (intrinsic details) versus details related to external associations (extrinsic details) or emotional reaction at encoding, suggesting that memory for intrinsic details underlies the enhanced SSR of negative stimuli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/lm.049734.119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6796790PMC
November 2019

Impaired visual search with paradoxically increased facilitation by emotional features after unilateral pulvinar damage.

Cortex 2019 11 29;120:223-239. Epub 2019 Jun 29.

Neuroscience Department, Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Neurology Department, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Posterior thalamic pulvinar nuclei have been implicated in different aspects of spatial attention, but their exact role in humans remain unclear. Most neuropsychological studies of attention deficits after pulvinar lesion have concerned single patients or small samples. Here we examined a group of 13 patients with focal damage to posterior thalamus on a visual search task with faces, allowing us to test several hypotheses concerning pulvinar function in controlling attention to visually salient or emotionally significant stimuli. Our results identified two subgroups of thalamic patients with distinct patterns of attentional responsiveness to emotional and colour features in face targets. One group with lesions located in anterior and ventral portions of thalamus showed intact performance, with a normal facilitation of visual search for faces with emotional (fearful or happy) expressions on both side of space, similar to healthy controls. By contrast, a second group showed a slower and poorer detection of face targets, most severe for neutral faces, but with a paradoxically enhanced facilitation by both colour and emotional features. This second group had lesions centred on the pulvinar, involving mainly the dorso-medial sectors in patients showing enhanced effects of colour features, but extending to more dorso-lateral sectors in those with enhanced effects of emotional features. These findings reveal that pulvinar nuclei are not critical for orienting attention to emotionally or visually salient features, but instead provide new evidence in support of previous hypotheses suggesting an important role in controlling attention in visual scenes with distracting information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.06.009DOI Listing
November 2019

Prism adaptation effect on neural activity and spatial neglect depend on brain lesion site.

Cortex 2019 10 9;119:301-311. Epub 2019 May 9.

Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Prism adaptation (PA) is one of the few rehabilitation techniques for spatial neglect that directly targets physiological mechanisms underlying space representation, but its efficacy and neural mechanisms remain unresolved. Using PA and fMRI in patients with spatial neglect after an acute right-hemispheric stroke, we previously observed post-PA increases in activity in bilateral parietal, frontal, and occipital cortex during specific visuo-spatial tasks (bisection and visual search). However, given a key role of parietal areas for PA in healthy individuals, we hypothesized that such activation might differ according to the site of brain damage. We studied a group of 10 patients with focal right hemisphere stroke and spatial neglect at baseline and after PA, who were divided in two groups (5 patients with frontal and 5 patients with parietal strokes). We compared their behavioural performance and brain activation patterns during fMRI. At the behavioural level, frontal and parietal patients showed similar neglect signs on visuo-spatial tasks before PA, but frontal patients showed larger benefit from PA. Differences were also observed in cortical activity, with enhanced recruitment of right parietal areas in frontal patients and less consistent patterns in parietal patients. Furthermore, fMRI analysis during PA itself (divided in 5 successive periods) showed differential activations between group in anatomically preserved pathways, including occipital areas and cerebellum, that preceded changes in parietal areas and were specific to frontal patients. These data accord with the hypothesis that intact cerebello-parietal connections may underpin improvement of spatial neglect after PA. Altogether, these results provide important insights on brain networks involved in spatial cognition and may allow an optimal selection of patients benefiting from PA after right hemispheric stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.04.022DOI Listing
October 2019

Human amygdala response to unisensory and multisensory emotion input: No evidence for superadditivity from intracranial recordings.

Neuropsychologia 2019 08 31;131:9-24. Epub 2019 May 31.

Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Campus Biotech, Geneva, Switzerland; Department of Basic Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

The amygdala is crucially implicated in processing emotional information from various sensory modalities. However, there is dearth of knowledge concerning the integration and relative time-course of its responses across different channels, i.e., for auditory, visual, and audiovisual input. Functional neuroimaging data in humans point to a possible role of this region in the multimodal integration of emotional signals, but direct evidence for anatomical and temporal overlap of unisensory and multisensory-evoked responses in amygdala is still lacking. We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory activity from 9 amygdalae using intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) in patients prior to epilepsy surgery, and compared electrophysiological responses to fearful, happy, or neutral stimuli presented either in voices alone, faces alone, or voices and faces simultaneously delivered. Results showed differential amygdala responses to fearful stimuli, in comparison to neutral, reaching significance 100-200 ms post-onset for auditory, visual and audiovisual stimuli. At later latencies, ∼400 ms post-onset, amygdala response to audiovisual information was also amplified in comparison to auditory or visual stimuli alone. Importantly, however, we found no evidence for either super- or subadditivity effects in any of the bimodal responses. These results suggest, first, that emotion processing in amygdala occurs at globally similar early stages of perceptual processing for auditory, visual, and audiovisual inputs; second, that overall larger responses to multisensory information occur at later stages only; and third, that the underlying mechanisms of this multisensory gain may reflect a purely additive response to concomitant visual and auditory inputs. Our findings provide novel insights on emotion processing across the sensory pathways, and their convergence within the limbic system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.05.027DOI Listing
August 2019

Neurophysiological evidence for early modulation of amygdala activity by emotional reappraisal.

Biol Psychol 2019 07 23;145:211-223. Epub 2019 May 23.

Laboratory for Behavioural Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Campus Biotech, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; Pre-Surgical Epilepsy Evaluation Unit, Clinic of Neurology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland; Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

How emotions unfold through time in the brain, and how fast they can be regulated by voluntary control, remain unresolved. Psychological accounts of emotion regulation posit cognitive reappraisal mechanisms may alter early emotion generative processes directly, whereas suppression impacts only later processing stages, after emotion has arisen. However, to date, there is no neurophysiological data concerning the precise latency of emotion regulation effects on the amygdala, a major emotion processing relay in the brain. Here we record amygdala activity from six patients undergoing surgery for pharmaco-resistant epilepsy during both reappraisal and suppression. We find that emotion reappraisal strategy, but not suppression, modulates early neural responses to emotional scenes during an extended period of time, starting 130 ms post-stimulus onset. Further, reappraisal produced earlier impact on amygdala responses to positive compared to negative scenes. Our results provide the first neurophysiological support for theoretical accounts of emotion regulation that postulate an early modulation of emotion generative processes by reappraisal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.05.006DOI Listing
July 2019

Differential parietal activations for spatial remapping and saccadic control in a visual memory task.

Neuropsychologia 2019 08 16;131:129-138. Epub 2019 May 16.

Department of Neurosciences, University Medical Center, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland; Campus Biotech, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Remapping is a process that updates visual information in internal spatial representations across eye movements, allowing for stable perception of the environment. Previous work has demonstrated visual remapping activity in parietal cortex during saccades, but it remains unclear whether remapping is triggered by overt saccades only (or by attentional shifts also), and whether it engages parietal areas only (or other cortical areas). Here, we used fMRI to investigate spatial remapping during two visuospatial memory tasks requiring either overt (accompanied by a saccade) or covert (with central fixation) attention shifts to peripheral distracters. Participants had to remember the position and color of a lateralized dot during a saccade or attention shift, requiring them to update the dot position in memory, and then indicate if a second dot matched the first. Differential activation patterns were observed within parietal cortex as a function of the different visual, motor, and interhemispheric remapping demands in the saccade task, presumably mediating the maintenance of spatial position in perceptual and motor maps. Remapping engaged parietal areas adjacent to, but not overlapping with, those activated by saccade execution, while it did not engage the frontal eye fields, pointing to distinct neural substrates for ocular motor and spatial updating processes. No differential activation related to remapping was found during the covert attention shift task, suggesting that this condition did not necessitate the same remapping as the saccade condition. Overall these results further elucidate the mechanisms of spatial remapping in human parietal cortex and their relationship with attention processing and ocular motor behavior, with implications for understanding visuospatial attention deficits in hemispatial neglect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.05.010DOI Listing
August 2019

Cortisol suppression after memory reactivation impairs later memory performance.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2019 08 9;106:226-232. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Condition, Department of Basic Neurosciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Gerontology and Vulnerability (CIGEV), University of Geneva, Switzerland; Swiss National Center of Competences in Research LIVES - Overcoming vulnerabilities: life course perspective, Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Experiencing stressful or traumatic events can result in disabling clinical symptoms of maladaptive emotional memory retrieval, which are only partly addressed by the currently proposed treatments. Cortisol modulation has been shown to affect emotional memory retrieval and potentially reconsolidation, offering an opportunity for developing more efficient treatments for disorders with an emotional memory component. Here, we investigated if cortisol suppression after reactivation of emotional memories weakens later memory thereof. Forty healthy young men were tested in a randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind, and between-subject design, assigned either to a cortisol suppression (metyrapone) group or a placebo group. Participants of both groups, were presented with two emotional stories at an encoding session (Day 1). One of the two stories was later reactivated and followed by metyrapone vs. placebo administration (Day 3). Memory for both stories was tested at a recognition memory session (Day 7). In the group undergoing cortisol suppression after memory reactivation memory performance was weaker compared to the placebo group, tested four days after reactivation. This study shows that cortisol suppression can weaken memory for past events, possibly by altering reconsolidation processes and thus exerting long-lasting weakening effects on the original memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.03.035DOI Listing
August 2019