Sleep deprivation alters functioning within the neural network underlying the covert orienting of attention.
ABSTRACT: One function of spatial attention is to enable goal-directed interactions with the environment through the allocation of neural resources to motivationally relevant parts of space. Studies have shown that responses are enhanced when spatial attention is predictively biased towards locations where significant events are expected to occur. Previous studies suggest that the ability to bias attention predictively is related to posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) activation [Small, D.M., et al., 2003. The posterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex mediate the anticipatory allocation of spatial attention. Neuroimage 18, 633-41]. Sleep deprivation (SD) impairs selective attention and reduces PCC activity [Thomas, M., et al., 2000. Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. I. Effects of 24 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity. J. Sleep Res. 9, 335-352]. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that SD would affect PCC function and alter the ability to predictively allocate spatial attention. Seven healthy, young adults underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) following normal rest and 34-36 h of SD while performing a task in which attention was shifted in response to peripheral targets preceded by spatially informative (valid), misleading (invalid), or uninformative (neutral) cues. When rested, but not when sleep-deprived, subjects responded more quickly to targets that followed valid cues than those after neutral or invalid cues. Brain activity during validly cued trials with a reaction time benefit was compared to activity in trials with no benefit. PCC activation was greater during trials with a reaction time benefit following normal rest. In contrast, following SD, reaction time benefits were associated with activation in the left intraparietal sulcus, a region associated with receptivity to stimuli at unexpected locations. These changes may render sleep-deprived individuals less able to anticipate the locations of upcoming events, and more susceptible to distraction by stimuli at irrelevant locations.
Project description:Children are able to use spatial cues to orient their attention to discrete locations in space from around 4 years of age. In contrast, no research has yet investigated the ability of children to use informative cues to voluntarily predict when an event will occur in time. The spatial and temporal attention task was used to determine whether children were able to voluntarily orient their attention in time, as well as in space: symbolic spatial and temporal cues predicted where or when an imperative target would appear. Thirty typically developing children (average age 11 yrs) and 32 adults (average age 27 yrs) took part. Confirming previous findings, adults made use of both spatial and temporal cues to optimise behaviour, and were significantly slower to respond to invalidly cued targets in either space or time. Children were also significantly slowed by invalid spatial cues, demonstrating their use of spatial cues to guide expectations. In contrast, children's responses were not slowed by invalid temporal cues, suggesting that they were not using the temporal cue to voluntarily orient attention through time. Children, as well as adults, did however demonstrate signs of more implicit forms of temporal expectation: RTs were faster for long versus short cue-target intervals (the variable foreperiod effect) and slower when the preceding trial's cue-target interval was longer than that on the current trial (sequential effects). Overall, our results suggest that although children implicitly made use of the temporally predictive information carried by the length of the current and previous trial's cue-target interval, they could not deliberately use symbolic temporal cues to speed responses. The developmental trajectory of the ability to voluntarily use symbolic temporal cues is therefore delayed, relative both to the use of symbolic (arrow) spatial cues, and to the use of implicit temporal information.
Project description:Others' gaze and emotional facial expression are important cues for the process of attention orienting. Here, we investigated with magnetoencephalography (MEG) whether the combination of averted gaze and fearful expression may elicit a selectively early effect of attention orienting on the brain responses to targets. We used the direction of gaze of centrally presented fearful and happy faces as the spatial attention orienting cue in a Posner-like paradigm where the subjects had to detect a target checkerboard presented at gazed-at (valid trials) or non gazed-at (invalid trials) locations of the screen. We showed that the combination of averted gaze and fearful expression resulted in a very early attention orienting effect in the form of additional parietal activity between 55 and 70 ms for the valid versus invalid targets following fearful gaze cues. No such effect was obtained for the targets following happy gaze cues. This early cue-target validity effect selective of fearful gaze cues involved the left superior parietal region and the left lateral middle occipital region. These findings provide the first evidence for an effect of attention orienting induced by fearful gaze in the time range of C1. In doing so, they demonstrate the selective impact of combined gaze and fearful expression cues in the process of attention orienting.
Project description:The spatial numerical association of response codes effect, referred to as the SNARC effect, reveals that small numbers elicit faster left than right responses, and conversely, large numbers elicit faster right responses. Here, we explored the development of this number-space association by assessing how 7-, 9-, 11-year-olds, and adults differed in spatial orienting of attention on Posner' paradigm. Compared with the previous research, we examined how the cues would affect the level and strength of the SNARC effect in children under the different attentional conditions. Subjects made parity decisions for endogenous attention (Experiment 1) and exogenous attention (Experiment 2). The results showed that adults displayed the SNARC effect in both experiments, relatively speaking, 7- to 11-year-old Chinese children's ability of spatial numerical association progressed gradually. With endogenous attention, the SNARC effect appeared in all age groups except for 7-year-olds for invalid cues. Compared with the endogenous attention condition, the SNARC effect was more significantly affected by cues in the exogenous attention condition. This result might be owing to the fact that the SNARC effect was not demonstrated in 7-year-olds with either valid or invalid cues. Our results suggest that the differences in the spatial orienting of attention are based on the cognitive load associated with processing number information and that this process can be affected by cues. Further, there may be cross-cultural influences on the SNARC effect, as early family training may explain the results seen in this sample of Chinese 7-year-olds. Thus, reaction times decreased with increasing age in the parity judgment task, and reaction times for valid cues were faster than for invalid cues regardless of the age group in both experiments. The SNARC effect was only present for 7-year-olds for valid cues, for endogenous attention.
Project description:Perception of both gaze-direction and symbolic directional cues (e.g. arrows) orient an observer's attention toward the indicated location. It is unclear, however, whether these similar behavioral effects are examples of the same attentional phenomenon and, therefore, subserved by the same neural substrate. It has been proposed that gaze, given its evolutionary significance, constitutes a 'special' category of spatial cue. As such, it is predicted that the neural systems supporting spatial reorienting will be different for gaze than for non-biological symbols. We tested this prediction using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the brain's response during target localization in which laterally presented targets were preceded by uninformative gaze or arrow cues. Reaction times were faster during valid than invalid trials for both arrow and gaze cues. However, differential patterns of activity were evoked in the brain. Trials including invalid rather than valid arrow cues resulted in a stronger hemodynamic response in the ventral attention network. No such difference was seen during trials including valid and invalid gaze cues. This differential engagement of the ventral reorienting network is consistent with the notion that the facilitation of target detection by gaze cues and arrow cues is subserved by different neural substrates.
Project description:Allocation of attentional resources to portions of the available sensory input can be regulated by bottom-up processes, i.e., spontaneous orientation towards an oncoming stimulus (stimulus-driven attention), and by top-down processes, i.e., intentionally and driven by knowledge, expectation and goals. The present study aimed at advancing the understanding of brain networks mediating bottom-up and top-down control of visuospatial attention by employing a paradigm that parametrically varied demands on these two processes. Spatial predictability of peripheral targets was parametrically varied by centrally cueing one, two, three or four of four possible locations. Reaction time decreased linearly with more precise valid cueing of the target location and increased with more precise invalid cueing. Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) enabled measurement of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to cues and to targets. A mostly left-hemispheric network consisting of left intraparietal sulcus, inferior and superior parietal lobule, bilateral precuneus, middle frontal gyri including superior frontal sulci, and middle occipital gyri displayed BOLD responses to cues that increased linearly with more precise spatial cueing, indicating engagement by top-down spatial selective attention. In contrast, bilateral temporoparietal junction, cingulate gyrus, right precentral gyrus and anterior and posterior insula, bilateral fusiform gyri, lingual gyri and cuneus displayed BOLD responses to targets that increased with their spatial unpredictability, indicating engagement by stimulus-driven orienting. The results suggest two largely dissociated neural networks mediating top-down and bottom-up control of visuospatial selective attention.
Project description:Peripheral cueing tasks can be used to measure reflexive (automatic) attention. In these tasks, increases in response time or RT (costs) typically follow contralateral (invalid) cues as attention must move from the location of the cue to the target. Reductions in RT (benefits) to a target typically follow ipsilateral (valid) cues because the cue draws attention to where the target will appear. Two exceptions to RT benefits are inhibition of return (IOR) and masking. IOR is the tendency to respond slower to targets that appear in locations attended within the last 200-2000 ms. Masking occurs when the visibility of a target is blocked by another stimulus (e.g., the cue). Herein, we describe two experiments, both using a modified Posner task with "earth rockets" as cues and "alien spaceships" as targets. Cues were equally likely to appear on the left or right side of a display following targets. Participants were instructed to press a left or right key corresponding to a left or right target. In Experiment 1, we obtained data from 203 children (10.58-16.55 years old). We discovered unexpected costs following cues that typically provide RT benefits. In Experiment 2, we explored IOR, masking, and age differences in the occurrence of these costs. We manipulated the cue-target temporal distance ("stimulus onset asynchrony" or SOA) to explore IOR and the cue-target spatial distance to explore masking. We also considered a wider age range. Sixty-three children and 41 young adults participated. Experiment 2 revealed a three-way interaction between SOA, spatial distance, and age. At the shorter SOA (100 ms) and moderate spatial distance, unexpected costs followed valid cues for younger children (7.07-10.15 years old). These costs also occurred in young adults (18.00-23.02 years old) following far distance cues at this SOA. At the longer SOA (200 ms), these costs followed moderate and far cues for younger children and near cues for young adults. Older children (10.31-14.92 years) did not have unexpected costs. We explain the findings in terms of masking, IOR, and possible developmental mechanisms.
Project description:Each saccade shifts the projections of the visual scene on the retina. It has been proposed that the receptive fields of neurons in oculomotor areas are predictively remapped to account for these shifts. While remapping of the whole visual scene seems prohibitively complex, selection by attention may limit these processes to a subset of attended locations. Because attentional selection consumes time, remapping of attended locations should evolve in time, too. In our study, we cued a spatial location by presenting an attention-capturing cue at different times before a saccade and constructed maps of attentional allocation across the visual field. We observed no remapping of attention when the cue appeared shortly before saccade. In contrast, when the cue appeared sufficiently early before saccade, attentional resources were reallocated precisely to the remapped location. Our results show that pre-saccadic remapping takes time to develop suggesting that it relies on the spatial and temporal dynamics of spatial attention.
Project description:Distinct attentional mechanisms enhance the sensory processing of visual stimuli that appear at task-relevant locations and have task-relevant features. We used a combination of psychophysics and computational modeling to investigate how these two types of attention--spatial and feature based--interact to modulate sensitivity when combined in one task. Observers monitored overlapping groups of dots for a target change in color saturation, which they had to localize as being in the upper or lower visual hemifield. Pre-cues indicated the target's most likely location (left/right), color (red/green), or both location and color. We measured sensitivity (d') for every combination of the location cue and the color cue, each of which could be valid, neutral, or invalid. When three competing saturation changes occurred simultaneously with the target change, there was a clear interaction: The spatial cueing effect was strongest for the cued color, and the color cueing effect was strongest at the cued location. In a second experiment, only the target dot group changed saturation, such that stimulus competition was low. The resulting cueing effects were statistically independent and additive: The color cueing effect was equally strong at attended and unattended locations. We account for these data with a computational model in which spatial and feature-based attention independently modulate the gain of sensory responses, consistent with measurements of cortical activity. Multiple responses then compete via divisive normalization. Sufficient competition creates interactions between the two cueing effects, although the attentional systems are themselves independent. This model helps reconcile seemingly disparate behavioral and physiological findings.
Project description:Sleep deprivation affects the performance of postural control and several other aspects related to attentional mechanisms that may alter sensory cue acquisition strategies. This study aimed to examine the possible effects of horizontal saccades and ocular fixation on a target in the performance of postural control in young adults with sleep deprivation. Twenty-six adults formed two groups, tested in two evaluations. In the first evaluation, participants slept normally on the night before. In the second evaluation, 13 participants were sleep deprived (SD) and 13 slept normally (control group [CG]) on the night before. In both evaluations, each participant stood upright as still as possible, in two experimental conditions: fixating the eye on a target and performing saccadic movement toward a target presented in two different locations (0.5 Hz). Each participant performed 3 trials in each condition, lasting 62 s each. Body oscillation was obtained in both anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions. Results showed that SD participants swayed with a larger magnitude and higher velocity after sleep deprivation in the fixation condition. In the saccadic condition, body sway magnitude and velocity were reduced but were still larger/higher in the SD participants. Sleep deprivation deteriorates the performance of postural control. Saccadic eye movements improve postural control performance even in sleep-deprived participants but are still not sufficient to avoid postural control deterioration due to sleep deprivation.
Project description:Sleep deprivation (SD) performed before stroke induces an ischemic tolerance state as observed in other forms of preconditioning. As the mechanisms underlying this effect are not well understood we used DNA oligonucleotide microarray analysis, to identify the genes and the gene-pathways underlying SD preconditioning. Gene expression was analyzed 3 days after stroke surgery in four experimental groups: i) SD performed before focal cerebral ischemia induction; ii) SD performed before Sham surgery; iii) IS without SD; and iv) Sham surgery without SD. SD was performed by gentle handling during the last 6h of the light period and ischemia was induced immediately after. Stroke induced a massive alteration in gene expression both in sleep deprived and non-sleep deprived animals. However, compared to animals that underwent ischemia alone, SD induced a general reduction in transcriptional changes with a reduction in the upregulation of genes involved in cell cycle regulation and immune response. Moreover an upregulation of a new neuroendocrine pathway which included melanin concentrating hormone, glycoprotein hormones-ë±-polypeptide and hypocretin was observed exclusively in rats sleep deprived before stroke. Our data indicate that SD before stroke reprogrammed the signaling response to injury. The inhibition of cell cycle regulation and inflammation are neuroprotective mechanisms reported also for other forms of preconditioning treatment whereas the implication of the neuroendocrine function is novel and has never been described before. These results therefore provide new insights into neuroprotective mechanisms involved in ischemic tolerance mechanisms.