The worth of pictures: using high density event-related potentials to understand the memorial power of pictures and the dynamics of recognition memory.
ABSTRACT: To understand the neural correlates of the memorial power of pictures, pictures and words were systematically varied at study and test within subjects, and high-density event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded at retrieval. Using both conventional and novel methods, the results were presented as ERP waveforms, 50 ms scalp topographies, and video clips, and analyzed using t-statistic topographic maps and nonparametric p-value maps. The authors found that a parietally-based ERP component was enhanced when pictures were presented at study or test, compared to when words were presented. An early frontally-based component was enhanced when words were presented at study compared to pictures. From these data the authors speculate that the memorial power of pictures is related to the ability of pictures to enhance recollection. Familiarity, by contrast, was enhanced when words were presented at study compared to pictures. From these results and the dynamic view of memory afforded by viewing the data as video clips, the authors propose an ERP model of recognition memory.
Project description:Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) has been conceptualized as a transitional stage between healthy aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Therefore, understanding which aspects of memory are impaired and which remain relatively intact in these patients can be useful in determining who will ultimately go on to develop AD, and subsequently designing interventions to help patients live more engaged and independent lives. The dual-process model posits that recognition memory decisions can rely on either familiarity or recollection. Whereas research is fairly consistent in showing impaired recollection in patients with aMCI, the results have been mixed regarding familiarity. A noted difference between these studies investigating familiarity has been stimulus type. The goal of the current investigation was to use high-density event-related potentials (ERPs) to help elucidate the neural correlates of recognition decisions in patients with aMCI for words and pictures. We also hoped to help answer the question of whether patients can rely on familiarity to support successful recognition. Patients and controls participated in separate recognition memory tests of words and pictures while ERPs were recorded during retrieval. Results showed that ERP components typically associated with familiarity and retrieval monitoring were similar between groups for pictures. However, these components were diminished in the patient group for words. Based on recent work, the authors discuss the possibility that implicit conceptual priming could have contributed to the enhanced ERP correlate of familiarity. Further, the authors address the possibility that enhanced retrieval monitoring may be needed to modulate increased familiarity engendered by pictures.
Project description:Pictures and film clips are widely used and accepted stimuli to elicit emotions. Based on theoretical arguments it is often assumed that the emotional effects of films exceed those of pictures, but to date this assumption has not been investigated directly. The aim of the present study was to compare pictures and films in terms of their capacity to induce emotions verified by means of explicit measures. Stimuli were (a) single pictures presented for 6 s, (b) a set of three consecutive pictures with emotionally congruent contents presented for 2 s each, (c) short film clips with a duration of 6 s. A total of 144 participants rated their emotion and arousal states following stimulus presentation. Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that the film clips and 3-picture version were as effective as the classical 1-picture method to elicit positive emotions, however, modulation toward positive valence was little. Modulation toward negative valence was more effective in general. Film clips were less effective than pictorial stimuli in producing the corresponding emotion states (all p < 0.001) and were less arousing (all p ? 0.02). Possible reasons for these unexpected results are discussed.
Project description:Melioidosis causes more than 1,000 deaths in Thailand each year. Infection occurs via inoculation, ingestion or inhalation of the causative organism (Burkholderia pseuodmallei) present in soil and water. Here, we evaluated public awareness of melioidosis using a combination of population-based questionnaire, a public engagement campaign to obtain video clips made by the public, and viewpoints on these video clips as potential educational tools about the disease and its prevention.A questionnaire was developed to evaluate public awareness of melioidosis, and knowledge about its prevention. From 1 March to 31 April 2012, the questionnaire was delivered to five randomly selected adults in each of 928 districts in Thailand. A video clip contest entitled "Melioidosis, an infectious disease that Thais must know" was run between May and October 2012. The best 12 video clips judged by a contest committee were shown to 71 people at risk from melioidosis (diabetics). Focus group interviews were used to evaluate their perceptions of the video clips.Of 4,203 Thais who completed our study questionnaire, 74% had never heard of melioidosis, and 19% had heard of the disease but had no further knowledge. Most participants in all focus group sessions felt that video clips were beneficial and could positively influence them to increase adherence to recommended preventive behaviours, including drinking boiled water and wearing protective gear if in contact with soil or environmental water. Participants suggested that video clips should be presented in the local dialect with simple words rather than medical terms, in a serious manner, with a doctor as the one presenting the facts, and having detailed pictures of each recommended prevention method.In summary, public awareness of melioidosis in Thailand is very low, and video clips could serve as a useful medium to educate people and promote disease prevention.World Melioidosis Congress 2013, Bangkok, Thailand, 18-20 September 2013 (abstract OS VII-04).
Project description:Conversation is multi-modal, involving both talk and gesture. Does understanding depictive gestures engage processes similar to those recruited in the comprehension of drawings or photographs? Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded from neurotypical adults as they viewed spontaneously produced depictive gestures preceded by congruent and incongruent contexts. Gestures were presented either dynamically in short, soundless video-clips, or statically as freeze frames extracted from gesture videos. In a separate ERP experiment, the same participants viewed related or unrelated pairs of photographs depicting common real-world objects. Both object photos and gesture stimuli elicited less negative ERPs from 400 to 600ms post-stimulus when preceded by matching versus mismatching contexts (dN450). Object photos and static gesture stills also elicited less negative ERPs between 300 and 400ms post-stimulus (dN300). Findings demonstrate commonalities between the conceptual integration processes underlying the interpretation of iconic gestures and other types of image-based representations of the visual world.
Project description:There has been much recent investigation into the role of parietal cortex in memory retrieval. Proposed hypotheses include attention to internal memorial representations, an episodic working memory-type buffer, and an accumulator of retrieved memorial information. The current investigation used event-related potentials (ERPs) to test the episodic buffer hypothesis, and to assess the memorial contribution of parietal cortex in younger and older adults, and in patients with circumscribed lateral parietal lesions. In a standard recognition memory paradigm, subjects studied color pictures of common objects. One-third of the test items were presented in the same viewpoint as the study phase, one-third were presented in a 90 degrees rotated viewpoint, and one-third were presented in a noncanonical viewpoint. Conflicting with the episodic buffer hypothesis, results revealed that the duration of the parietal old/new effect was longest for the canonical condition and shortest for the noncanonical condition. Results also revealed that older adults demonstrated a diminished parietal old/new effect relative to younger adults. Consistent with previous data reported by Simons et al., patients with lateral parietal lesions showed no behavioral impairment compared to controls. Behavioral and ERP data from parietal lesion patients are presented and discussed. From these results, the authors speculate that the parietal old/new effect may be the neural correlate of an individual's subjective recollective experience.
Project description:The meaning of a picture can be extracted rapidly, but the form-to-meaning relationship is less obvious for printed words. In contrast to English words that follow grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence rule, the iconic nature of Chinese words might predispose them to activate their semantic representations more directly from their orthographies. By using the paradigm of repetition blindness (RB) that taps into the early level of word processing, we examined whether Chinese words activate their semantic representations as directly as pictures do. RB refers to the failure to detect the second occurrence of an item when it is presented twice in temporal proximity. Previous studies showed RB for semantically related pictures, suggesting that pictures activate their semantic representations directly from their shapes and thus two semantically related pictures are represented as repeated. However, this does not apply to English words since no RB was found for English synonyms. In this study, we replicated the semantic RB effect for pictures, and further showed the absence of semantic RB for Chinese synonyms. Based on our findings, it is suggested that Chinese words are processed like English words, which do not activate their semantic representations as directly as pictures do.
Project description:The present study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural processing of concurrently presented emotional stimuli under varying explicit and implicit attention demands. Specifically, in separate trials, participants indicated the category of either pictures or words. The words were placed over the center of the pictures and the picture-word compound-stimuli were presented for 1500 ms in a rapid event-related design. The results reveal pronounced main effects of task and emotion: the picture categorization task prompted strong activations in visual, parietal, temporal, frontal, and subcortical regions; the word categorization task evoked increased activation only in left extrastriate cortex. Furthermore, beyond replicating key findings regarding emotional picture and word processing, the results point to a dissociation of semantic-affective and sensory-perceptual processes for words: while emotional words engaged semantic-affective networks of the left hemisphere regardless of task, the increased activity in left extrastriate cortex associated with explicitly attending to words was diminished when the word was overlaid over an erotic image. Finally, we observed a significant interaction between Picture Category and Task within dorsal visual-associative regions, inferior parietal, and dorsolateral, and medial prefrontal cortices: during the word categorization task, activation was increased in these regions when the words were overlaid over erotic as compared to romantic pictures. During the picture categorization task, activity in these areas was relatively decreased when categorizing erotic as compared to romantic pictures. Thus, the emotional intensity of the pictures strongly affected brain regions devoted to the control of task-related word or picture processing. These findings are discussed with respect to the interplay of obligatory stimulus processing with task-related attentional control mechanisms.
Project description:Visual mental imagery might be critical in the ability to discriminate imagined from perceived pictures. Our aim was to investigate the neural bases of this specific type of reality-monitoring process in individuals with high visual imagery abilities.A reality-monitoring task was administered to twenty-six healthy participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging. During the encoding phase, 45 words designating common items, and 45 pictures of other common items, were presented in random order. During the recall phase, participants were required to remember whether a picture of the item had been presented, or only a word. Two subgroups of participants with a propensity for high vs. low visual imagery were contrasted.Activation of the amygdala, left inferior occipital gyrus, insula, and precuneus were observed when high visual imagers encoded words later remembered as pictures. At the recall phase, these same participants activated the middle frontal gyrus and inferior and superior parietal lobes when erroneously remembering pictures.The formation of visual mental images might activate visual brain areas as well as structures involved in emotional processing. High visual imagers demonstrate increased activation of a fronto-parietal source-monitoring network that enables distinction between imagined and perceived pictures.
Project description:The extent to which the details of past experiences are retained or forgotten remains controversial. Some studies suggest massive storage while others describe memories as fallible summary recreations of original events. The discrepancy can be ascribed to the content of memories and how memories are evaluated. Many studies have focused on recalling lists of words/pictures, which lack the critical ingredients of real world memories. Here we quantified the ability to remember details about one hour of real life. We recorded video and eye movements while subjects walked along specified routes and evaluated whether they could distinguish video clips from their own experience from foils. Subjects were minimally above chance in remembering the minutiae of their experiences. Recognition of specific events could be partly explained by a machine-learning model of video contents. These results quantify recognition memory for events in real life and show that the details of everyday experience are largely not retained in memory.
Project description:Threatening cues and surrounding contexts trigger specific defensive response patterns. Posturography, a technique for measuring postural strategies, has been used to evaluate motor defensive reactions in humans. When exposed to gun pointed pictures, humans were shown to exhibit an immobility reaction. Short and long-term exposure to violent video games was shown to be a causal risk factor for increased violent and aggressive behavior. Assaultive violence with a gun is a major trigger for motor defensive reactions, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most characteristic psychiatric sequelae. Recent studies point to links between PTSD symptoms and emotional shortfalls in non-clinical trauma-exposed samples. The present study investigated defensive reactions to gun threat and PTSD symptoms in heavy players of violent video games compared to non-players. Male university students were screened according to use of violent video games and divided in three groups: non-players, moderate players, and heavy players. Stimuli were pictures depicting a man pointing a gun directed at the participant. In matched control pictures, non-lethal objects replaced the gun. Posturography was recorded and PTSD symptoms were assessed. When exposed to the threat pictures, non-players exhibited the expected reduction in amplitude of body sway (immobility), heavy players presented atypical augmented amplitude of body sway, and moderate players showed intermediate reactivity. Heavy players presented a significant distinct reaction compared to non-players. They also scored significantly higher in PTSD symptoms than non-players. Disadvantageous defensive reactions and higher vulnerability to PTSD symptoms, revealed in the present study, add to other shortcomings for heavy players.