Bradley Voytek walks us through a brain surgery (with video)

Bea Luna and colleagues used graph theory to examine the development of functional hubs in the human brain.  The hub architecture develops earlier, but connections between the hubs and “spokes” continue to develop and change into adulthood.

A review in Science of Sue Corkin’s book on the famous neuropsychology patient H.M., who could no longer form memories after his hippocampus was removed.

Permanent Present Tense The Unforgettable Life of the Amnesic Patient, H.M. by Suzanne Corkin Basic Books, New York, 2013. 400 pp. $28.99, C$32. ISBN 9780465031597. Allen Lane, London. £20. ISBN 9781846142710.

Eldar et al show that neural gain influences learning style.  Subjects learned associations between pictures and reward.  The association could be based on different stimulus dimensions and different people had different predispositions for one dimension or the other.  Eldar et al assessed neural gain by pupil dilation (which is correlated with locus coeruleus norepinephrine activity) and found that the higher the gain, the more likely subjects were to follow their predispositions. The increase in gain was thought to boost the asymmetry of strength between different functional networks which are responsible for the predisposition in learning style.

Miller Lab graduate student Simon Kornblith publishes a paper in Neuron from work in his old lab.  By combining FMRI with electrode recording and stimulation, they found an area in the occipitotemporal cortex that has many scene-selective neurons, the lateral place patch (LPP).  By stimulating it, they discover connections to several other cortical areas, including a medial place patch (MPP) in the parahippocampal gyrus.  Elegant and important work, Simon, congratulations!  Now, get back to work. 🙂

A flurry of articles about Picower Institute’s Susumu Tonegawa’s paper implanting false memories in the mouse brain. They identified and tagged a memory engram for one environment, then activated that engram in a different environment while pairing it with shock.  Later, the animals showed fear in the first environment as if they were shocked there.
The Guardian
The New York Times
The cover of Science

The paper: Creating a false memory in the hippocampus

The journal Cortex will peer-review your experimental plan.  If accepted, they agree to publish your results, regardless of how they turn out.  But you must release your raw data so others can have at it.
Article in the Guardian

Shenhav, Botvinick, and Cohen tie together a number of observations and notions into a new theory of ACC function: allocation of control based on an evaluation of the expected value of control (EVC).

Cowell and Cottrell trained a computational model on images used in fMRI studies of object and face processing.  They used multivariate pattern analysis and were able to replicate evidence for a specialized face area even though the model had no specialized processing for faces.  The authors suggest that fMRI evidence for a specialized face area should be interpreted with caution.

Excellent review of an important topic: Working memory capacity.  The limitation in working memory capacity is the most objective, easily measured, and tractable property of conscious thought..
Luck and Vogel (2013)

Miller Lab work cited:
Siegel, M., Warden, M.R., and Miller, E.K. (2009) Phase-dependent neuronal coding of objects in short-term memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106: 21341-21346. View PDF »

Hirabayashi et al observed microcircuits for object association using multiple single-unit recordings in temporal cortex.   This suggests that microcircuits creates precursor representations for a given feature in previous areas in the cortical hierarchy.

Hohl et al use a task with richer behavioral output to better establish a link between neural activity and behavior.

The 2013 Annual Review of Neuroscience is here.  It includes a very nice review of the role of the prefrontal cortex in visual attention by Squire et al

Discovery that some seizures arise in glial cells could offer new targets for epilepsy treatment.  MIT News Release

Boot et al show that it is important for psychology studies to have active controls.  To exclude placebo effects, the control should include the expectation of change without the actual manipulation.

Miller Lab alumnus, Andreas Nieder, finds that abstract decisions divorced from motor plans are distributed across frontal areas, even those traditionally thought of as motor areas.  In fact, they are more strongly encoded in the presupplementary motor area than the prefrontal cortex.
Merten and Nieder 2013

Miller Lab work cited:
Freedman, D.J., Riesenhuber, M., Poggio, T., and Miller, E.K. (2001) Categorical representation of visual stimuli in the primate prefrontal cortex. Science, 291:312-316. View PDF »

Miller, E.K. and Cohen, J.D. (2001) An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24:167-202.  Designated a Current Classic by Thomson Scientific as among the most cited papers in Neuroscience and Behavior. View PDF »

Miller, E.K. (2000) The prefrontal cortex and cognitive control. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 1:59-65.

Wallis, J.D., Anderson, K.C., and Miller, E.K. (2001) Single neurons in the prefrontal cortex encode abstract rules. Nature, 411:953-956. View PDF »

Betsy Murray and crew find evidence to resolve two different views of the function of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).  One view is that the OFC provides inhibitory control and emotion regulation.  The other view is that processes the value of things.  They show that damage limited to the OFC does not affect inhibitory or emotional control, but damage to nearby fiber tracts do.  There you go.

Pannunzi et al propose a model of visual category learning in which bottom-up sensory inputs to the inferior temporal cortex are sculpted by top-down inputs from the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC improves signal to noise by enhancing the category-relevant features of the stimuli.

Miller Lab work cited:
Freedman, D.J., Riesenhuber, M., Poggio, T., and Miller, E.K. (2001) Categorical representation of visual stimuli in the primate prefrontal cortex. Science, 291:312-316. View PDF »

Freedman, D.J., Riesenhuber, M., Poggio, T., and Miller, E.K (2003) A comparison of primate prefrontal and inferior temporal cortices during visual categorization. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(12):5235-5246. View PDF »

Meyers, E.M., Freedman, D.J., Kreiman, G., Miller, E.K., and Poggio, T. (2008) Dynamic population coding of category information in the inferior temporal cortex and prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology. 100:1407-1419. View PDF »

Muhammad, R., Wallis, J.D., and Miller, E.K. (2006) A comparison of abstract rules in the prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex, the inferior temporal cortex and the striatum. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18: 974-989. View PDF »

Seger, C.A. and Miller, E.K. (2010) Category learning in the brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, Vol. 33: 203-219. View PDF »

Ekstrom and Watrous review the role of low frequency oscillatory coupling in cognition.  The propose that different  resonant frequencies within the same networks support movement vs memory related functions.  They provide further evidence and argument for a role for oscillatory coupling in multiplexing of function.  In other words, different frequency coupling can allow the same networks to have different roles by allowing them to communicate different messages to different targets.

Miller Lab work on oscillatory coupling and multiplexing:
Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2007) Top-down versus bottom-up control of attention in the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices. Science. 315: 1860-1862   View PDF »

Miller, E.K. and Buschman, T.J. (2013) Cortical circuits for the control of attention.  Current Opinion in Neurobiology.  23:216–222  View PDF »

Matt Chafee and crew show that monkeys under the influence of ketamine show similar deficits as human schizophrenia patients on a test of context processing.
Blackman et al 2013

Attentional blink is decreased attention to a second stimulus if it quickly follows (200-500 ms) another stimulus.  Maloney et al find that neural information  in area LIP tracks attentional blink.

Maloney et al 2013

More evidence for a role for beta coherence in cognition.
Lipsman et al
find that an increase in beta coherence in human VM prefrontal cortex just before humans subjectively evaluated faces as “sad” but not before “happy” judgments, especially true when the faces were more ambiguous and thus more difficult to judge.

Miller Lab work on beta coherence and cognition:

  • Miller, E.K. and Buschman, T.J. (2013) Cortical circuits for the control of attention.  Current Opinion in Neurobiology.  23:216–222  View PDF »
  • Buschman, T.J., Denovellis, E.L., Diogo, C., Bullock, D. and Miller, E.K. (2012) Synchronous oscillatory neural ensembles for rules in the prefrontal cortex. Neuron, 76: 838-846.  View PDF
  • Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2009) Serial, covert, shifts of attention during visual search are reflected by the frontal eye fields and correlated with population oscillations. Neuron, 63: 386-396. View PDF »
  • Buschman, T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2007) Top-down versus bottom-up control of attention in the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices. Science. 315: 1860-1862  View PDF »

He uses non-invasive stimulation to phase cancel the tremor.   The stimulation mirrors but is opposite phase of the motor cortex oscillation.  Reduces tremor by ~40%  Brittain et al 2013

Charlie Schroeder shows us the laminar profile of oscillations in cortex.  Different strengths for different frequency bands in different cortical layers.  Attention phase-synchronizes oscillations across layers facilitating communication between them. See Lakatos et al (2005) J. Neurophys.

Circuits from different thalamic nuclei  to cortex, one broad and modulatory, the other narrow and specific, may regulate oscillatory entrainment.

New Neuron paper shows cortical entrainment that matches periodic sensory inputs; phase depended on the attended frequency content., enhancing attended representations.  Lakatos et al 2013

Entrainment may explain cocktail party effect. Low frequency phase and high gamma power track attended speech.  Zion Golumbic et al

Zara Bergstrom, Jon Simons and crew show that people can beat EEG tests of guilt detection by suppressing the guilty memories.  Research calls into question reliability of such tests.