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Department of Psychology

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This list is intended to include all talks and seminars taking place in the Department of Psychology and certain related institutions.
Updated: 4 min 33 sec ago

Fri 17 Mar 16:30: Choice under Computational Complexity The host for this talk is Sander van der Linden

Mon, 26/09/2022 - 11:45
Choice under Computational Complexity

Abstract not available

The host for this talk is Sander van der Linden

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Fri 18 Nov 16:30: Disruption of Information in Working Memory The host for this talk is Deborah Talmi

Thu, 22/09/2022 - 15:17
Disruption of Information in Working Memory

Abstract not available

The host for this talk is Deborah Talmi

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Fri 03 Feb 16:30: Distributed brain network activities in memory resilient to extinction The host for this talk is David Belin

Thu, 22/09/2022 - 14:19
Distributed brain network activities in memory resilient to extinction

Certain memories, including those of drug experience, overcome their extinction to invigorate unwanted behaviours. These powerful memories engage many brain regions; however, whether these regional activities are collectively organized for robust expression remains unknown. In this seminar, I will present ongoing work revealing the oscillatory structure and anatomical pathway of a neural pattern that stitches together brain-distributed activities in extinction-resilient retrieval of cocaine-paired memory. Binding together distributed brain networks in this temporally-structured manner may constitute an organizational principle of maladaptive memories.

The host for this talk is David Belin

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Fri 20 Jan 16:30: Title to be confirmed

Wed, 21/09/2022 - 18:36
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

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Thu 20 Oct 12:30: Identification of candidate neural biomarkers of OCD symptom intensity and response to Deep Brain Stimulation

Tue, 20/09/2022 - 10:25
Identification of candidate neural biomarkers of OCD symptom intensity and response to Deep Brain Stimulation

Abstract: Despite the success of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment of refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there are currently no robust neural signatures for obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms or initial mood and energy improvements often associated with DBS . This may be due to limited opportunities available for conducting intracranial electrophysiological recordings in natural environments where fluctuations in symptoms take place. Recently available DBS platforms offer a way over this hurdle, allowing for streaming of intracranial neural activity both at home and in the clinic. Here, our goal was to identify neural correlates of both OC symptom intensity and acute changes in mood and energy. We conducted longitudinal intracranial recordings in nine participants with refractory OCD implanted with recording-capable DBS devices targeted to ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS). Four of the nine participants were implanted with additional sensing electrodes placed over the orbitofrontal cortex. We captured local field potentials at home during naturalistic exposures to OCD triggers, and in the clinic during variations in stimulation amplitude. All five participants who completed the study were clinical responders to DBS therapy. Using the intracranial data collected during OCD exposures, we computed correlations between spectral power and OCD symptom severity. We identified low delta-band power as a candidate neural biomarker of OC symptom intensity during symptom provocations in one participant (left VC/VS: R=-0.59, p=0.01; right VC/VS: R=-0.56, p=0.04). Electrophysiological analysis of acute response to stimulation revealed a peak in VC/VS alpha band activity that was suppressed with optimal DBS . In OFC , we found a native beta band peak that shifted to alpha band with optimal DBS . We consider these VC/VS and OFC spectral changes in alpha and beta bands as preliminary biomarkers of the initial changes in mood and energy commonly seen during VC/VS DBS . These signals have potential utility for classification of symptom intensity and increased mood and energy in adaptive DBS systems for OCD . Continued opportunities for long-term, naturalistic intracranial electrophysiological recordings will propel biomarker discovery for OCD and other psychiatric disorders.

Biography: Nicole Provenza is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sameer Sheth’s laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine. Nicole completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. David Borton’s laboratory at Brown University in 2021, where she was awarded the Draper Fellowship for her graduate research. Her graduate work focused on developing adaptive deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. As part of her graduate work, Nicole developed a research platform to collect intracranial local field potentials synchronized with disease-relevant behavior at home to aid in identification of neural biomarkers of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in natural environments.

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Thu 20 Oct 12:30: Identification of candidate neural biomarkers of OCD symptom intensity and response to DBS

Tue, 20/09/2022 - 09:56
Identification of candidate neural biomarkers of OCD symptom intensity and response to DBS

Abstract: Despite the success of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment of refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there are currently no robust neural signatures for obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms or initial mood and energy improvements often associated with DBS . This may be due to limited opportunities available for conducting intracranial electrophysiological recordings in natural environments where fluctuations in symptoms take place. Recently available DBS platforms offer a way over this hurdle, allowing for streaming of intracranial neural activity both at home and in the clinic. Here, our goal was to identify neural correlates of both OC symptom intensity and acute changes in mood and energy. We conducted longitudinal intracranial recordings in nine participants with refractory OCD implanted with recording-capable DBS devices targeted to ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS). Four of the nine participants were implanted with additional sensing electrodes placed over the orbitofrontal cortex. We captured local field potentials at home during naturalistic exposures to OCD triggers, and in the clinic during variations in stimulation amplitude. All five participants who completed the study were clinical responders to DBS therapy. Using the intracranial data collected during OCD exposures, we computed correlations between spectral power and OCD symptom severity. We identified low delta-band power as a candidate neural biomarker of OC symptom intensity during symptom provocations in one participant (left VC/VS: R=-0.59, p=0.01; right VC/VS: R=-0.56, p=0.04). Electrophysiological analysis of acute response to stimulation revealed a peak in VC/VS alpha band activity that was suppressed with optimal DBS . In OFC , we found a native beta band peak that shifted to alpha band with optimal DBS . We consider these VC/VS and OFC spectral changes in alpha and beta bands as preliminary biomarkers of the initial changes in mood and energy commonly seen during VC/VS DBS . These signals have potential utility for classification of symptom intensity and increased mood and energy in adaptive DBS systems for OCD . Continued opportunities for long-term, naturalistic intracranial electrophysiological recordings will propel biomarker discovery for OCD and other psychiatric disorders.

Biography: Nicole Provenza is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sameer Sheth’s laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine. Nicole completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. David Borton’s laboratory at Brown University in 2021, where she was awarded the Draper Fellowship for her graduate research. Her graduate work focused on developing adaptive deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder. As part of her graduate work, Nicole developed a research platform to collect intracranial local field potentials synchronized with disease-relevant behavior at home to aid in identification of neural biomarkers of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in natural environments.

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Fri 14 Oct 16:30: Plastic brains for flexible decisions

Mon, 19/09/2022 - 00:51
Plastic brains for flexible decisions

Understanding the world around us depends on the brain resolving ambiguous information from our senses to inform our decisions and actions. The brain learns to interpret sensory signals by using past experience to optimize perceptual decisions. But how does practice mold the adult human brain and result in improved decisions? We combine ultra high-field structural, functional and neurochemical brain imaging with computational modeling to interrogate the fine-scale human brain circuits that support learning for perceptual decisions. We provide evidence for interactions between subcortical and cortical circuits that gate sensory plasticity and perceptual decision making. We show that thalamocortical plasticity mediates gain control in visual cortex for detecting objects in clutter, while occipital-parietal interactions mediate fine feature retuning through recurrent inhibitory processing in visual cortex. These findings propose a dynamic interplay of adaptive structural and functional plasticity mechanisms for optimized and flexible decision making in the adult human brain.

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Fri 10 Feb 12:00: Inflammation, brain networks and mental health: some questions of causality The host for this talk is Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Tue, 13/09/2022 - 09:47
Inflammation, brain networks and mental health: some questions of causality

Inflammation is strongly associated with mental health disorders, especially depression. However, questions remain about the causal nature of this relationship. Here I will discuss what a causal model of inflamed depression might encompass and I will review selected recent evidence for causality from longitudinal, neuroimaging and epigenetic studies, and from meta-analysis of treatment trials of anti-inflammatory drugs.

The host for this talk is Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

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Fri 10 Feb 12:00: Inflammation, brain networks and mental health: some questions of causality The host for this talk is Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Mon, 12/09/2022 - 15:14
Inflammation, brain networks and mental health: some questions of causality

Abstract not available

The host for this talk is Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

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Fri 18 Nov 16:30: Disruption of Information in Working Memory The host for this talk is Deborah Talmi

Sun, 11/09/2022 - 16:52
Disruption of Information in Working Memory

Abstract not available

The host for this talk is Deborah Talmi

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Fri 04 Nov 16:30: Quality and Location: a view from somatosensation

Sun, 11/09/2022 - 16:51
Quality and Location: a view from somatosensation

Abstract not available

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Fri 28 Oct 16:30: Lessons from genetic studies of Major Depressive Disorder

Sun, 11/09/2022 - 16:47
Lessons from genetic studies of Major Depressive Disorder

Abstract not available

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Fri 10 Mar 16:30: Feedforward and feedback interactions during prediction and attention The hosts for this talk are Tristan Bekinschtein and Andrés Canales-Johnson

Thu, 08/09/2022 - 16:31
Feedforward and feedback interactions during prediction and attention

Abstract not available

The hosts for this talk are Tristan Bekinschtein and Andrés Canales-Johnson

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Fri 28 Oct 16:30: Title to be confirmed

Thu, 08/09/2022 - 15:18
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

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Fri 11 Nov 16:30: Puzzles, Progress and Possible Directions for Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

Thu, 08/09/2022 - 15:09
Puzzles, Progress and Possible Directions for Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

Our sense of balance occurs through integration of vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive signals. Conflict between these signals (e.g. in virtual reality) can create dizziness or nausea. However, in a puzzling clinical condition disabling dizziness is triggered by visual motion that is unproblematic for most people (e.g. cinema) and often without theoretical cue conflict (e.g. supermarket aisles or walking past a railing / high contrast grating). These patients also commonly experience anxiety, and sometimes even out-of-body or dissociative episodes (feeling ‘not there’). The condition is Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD) and the prevailing explanation is that patients have become over-reliant on vision (‘visually dependant’) following a vestibular deficit, and are therefore destabilised by complex visual environments and motion. However, this general framework leaves many puzzles unanswered, which we have begun to address: 1) why do some people develop PPPD and some not, following similar vestibular deficit? We found a spectrum of visually-induced dizziness in the healthy population (N=2335), with 10% in the patient severity range, implying a predisposition to disabling PPPD should a vestibular deficit occur. 2) what is the nature of this predisposition? We found correlation with visual discomfort to stationary images that deviate from natural scene statistics (r= 0.46; N=1387), aligning PPPD with the visual discomfort literature; and with sensitivity and aversion in other senses (e.g. to loud noises, strong tastes; r= 0.54; N=1107), suggesting the predisposition is multisensory (it also correlates with migraine, but findings hold in non-migraineurs). 3) What does it mean to be ‘visually dependent’? We found little correlation between measures of visual dependence, raising questions about how to define and measure the purported root of PPPD symptoms. The next steps are to unpack the nature of multisensory sensitivity, and to model visual dependence using formal sensory integration frameworks.

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