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Author: Katharina Schmack (22)


Jan
2018

Predictive coding theories state an aberrant weighting of prior beliefs and present sensory information as a core computational pathology in psychosis. Specifically, it has been proposed that the influence of prior beliefs which attenuate improbable sensory information is weakened, resulting in an overweighing of this potentially misleading information. However, it is currently unclear whether this alteration is specific to perceptual processes or whether it represents a more pervasive deficit that extends to cognitive processes.

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Dec
2017

The premature aging hypothesis of alcohol dependence proposes that the neurobiological and behavioural deficits in individuals with alcohol dependence are analogous to those of chronological aging. However, to date no systematic neurobiological evidence for this hypothesis has been provided. To test the hypothesis, 119 alcohol-dependent subjects and 97 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects underwent structural MRI.

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Nov
2017

Viewing of ambiguous stimuli can lead to bistable perception alternating between the possible percepts. During continuous presentation of ambiguous stimuli, percept changes occur as single events, whereas during intermittent presentation of ambiguous stimuli, percept changes occur at more or less regular intervals either as single events or bursts. Response patterns can be highly variable and have been reported to show systematic differences between patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls.

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May
2017

In bistable vision, subjective perception wavers between two interpretations of a constant ambiguous stimulus. This dissociation between conscious perception and sensory stimulation has motivated various empirical studies on the neural correlates of bistable perception, but the neurocomputational mechanism behind endogenous perceptual transitions has remained elusive. Here, we recurred to a generic Bayesian framework of predictive coding and devised a model that casts endogenous perceptual transitions as a consequence of prediction errors emerging from residual evidence for the suppressed percept.

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Feb
2017

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.

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Jan
2017

Theoretical accounts suggest that an alteration in the brain's learning mechanisms might lead to overhasty inferences, resulting in psychotic symptoms. Here, we sought to elucidate the suggested link between maladaptive learning and psychosis. Ninety-eight healthy individuals with varying degrees of delusional ideation and hallucinatory experiences performed a probabilistic reasoning task that allowed us to quantify overhasty inferences.

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Dec
1969

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions and hallucinations are thought to arise from an alteration in predictive mechanisms of the brain. Here, we empirically tested the hypothesis that schizophrenia is associated with an enhanced signalling of higher-level predictions that shape perception into conformity with acquired beliefs. Twenty-one patients with schizophrenia and twenty-eight healthy controls matched for age and gender took part in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment that assessed the effect of an experimental manipulation of cognitive beliefs on the perception of an ambiguous visual motion stimulus.

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Nov
2016

Our brain continuously evaluates different perceptual interpretations of the available sensory data in order to enable flexible updates of conscious experience. Individuals' perceptual flexibility can be assessed using ambiguous stimuli that cause our perception to continuously switch between two mutually exclusive interpretations. Neural processes underlying perceptual switching are thought to involve the visual cortex, but also non-sensory brain circuits that have been implicated in cognitive processes, such as frontal and parietal regions.

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Dec
1969

Visual perception is strongly shaped by expectations, but it is poorly understood how such perceptual expectations are learned in our dynamic sensory environment. Here, we applied a Bayesian framework to investigate whether perceptual expectations are continuously updated from different aspects of ongoing experience. In two experiments, human observers performed an associative learning task in which rapidly changing expectations about the appearance of ambiguous stimuli were induced.

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Dec
1969

Unfounded convictions involving beliefs in the paranormal, grandiosity ideas or suspicious thoughts are endorsed at varying degrees among the general population. Here, we investigated the neurobiopsychological basis of the observed inter-individual variability in the propensity toward unfounded beliefs. One hundred two healthy individuals were genotyped for four polymorphisms in the COMT gene (rs6269, rs4633, rs4818, and rs4680, also known as val (158) met) that define common functional haplotypes with substantial impact on synaptic dopamine degradation, completed a questionnaire measuring unfounded beliefs, and took part in a behavioral experiment assessing perceptual inference.

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Dec
1969

The affective value of a stimulus substantially influences its potency to gain access to awareness. Here, we sought to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying such affective salience in a combined behavioral and fMRI experiment. Healthy individuals with varying degrees of spider phobia were presented with pictures of spiders and flowers suppressed from view by continuous flash suppression.

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Dec
1969

Cognitive theories of depression posit that perception is negatively biased in depressive disorder. Previous studies have provided empirical evidence for this notion, but left open the question whether the negative perceptual bias reflects a stable trait or the current depressive state. Here we investigated the stability of negatively biased perception over time.

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Jun
2015

Delusions, a core symptom of schizophrenia, are thought to arise from an alteration in predictive coding mechanisms that underlie perceptual inference. Here, we aimed to empirically test the hypothesized link between delusions and perceptual inference.
28 patients with schizophrenia and 32 healthy controls matched for age and gender took part in a behavioral experiment that assessed the influence of stabilizing predictions on perception of an ambiguous visual stimulus.

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Jul
2014

Although neural signals of reward anticipation have been studied extensively, the functional relationship between reward and attention has remained unclear: Neural signals implicated in reward processing could either reflect attentional biases towards motivationally salient stimuli, or proceed independently of attentional processes. Here, we sought to disentangle reward and attention-related neural processes by independently modulating reward value and attentional task demands in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in healthy human participants. During presentation of a visual reward cue that indicated whether monetary reward could be obtained in a subsequent reaction time task, participants either attended to the reward cue or performed an unrelated attention-demanding task at two different levels of difficulty.

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Nov
2013

Bistable perception is the spontaneous and automatic alternation between two different perceptual states that occurs when sensory information is ambiguous. Perceptual alternation rates are robust within individuals but vary substantially between individuals. Slowed perceptual switching has been consistently reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) and has been suggested as a trait marker for this disease.

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Aug
2013

Delusions are unfounded yet tenacious beliefs and a symptom of psychotic disorder. Varying degrees of delusional ideation are also found in the healthy population. Here, we empirically validated a neurocognitive model that explains both the formation and the persistence of delusional beliefs in terms of altered perceptual inference.

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Sep
2012

Recent studies have shown that motivational stimulus information is represented in the brain even in situations where the individual is not actively engaged in stimulus evaluation. However, it has remained unclear whether neural representations of such implicit motivational information reflect the motivational value or motivational salience of stimuli. While motivational values correspond to the desirability of stimuli, motivational salience is related to the arousal elicited by the stimulus.

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May
2012

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) involves deficits in the reward system. While neuroimaging studies have focused on affective stimulus processing, few investigations have directly addressed deficits in the anticipation of incentives. We examined neural responses during gain and loss anticipation in patients with MDD before and after treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

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Oct
2009

Alcohol dependence is often associated with impulsivity, which may be correlated with dysfunction of the brain reward system. We explored whether functional brain activation during anticipation of incentive stimuli is associated with impulsiveness in detoxified alcoholics and healthy control subjects.
Nineteen detoxified male alcoholics and 19 age-matched healthy men participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study using a monetary incentive delay (MID) task, in which visual cues predicted that a rapid response to a subsequent target stimulus would either result in monetary gain, avoidance of monetary loss, or no consequence.

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Jun
2009

Increased attribution of incentive salience to neutral or aversive stimuli might be associated with dysfunction of neuronal processing of positive and negative reinforcement and contribute to the formation of delusions in schizophrenia.
Fifteen unmedicated patients with schizophrenia (8 drug-naive and 7 drug-free for at least 3 months) and 15 age- and gender-matched healthy control participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate neural responses to feedback of (successful vs. unsuccessful) monetary gain or avoidance of loss.

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Oct
2008

Reward processing depends critically on dopaminergic neurotransmission in the ventral striatum. The common polymorphism val(158)met of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) accounts for significant interindividual variations in dopamine (DA) degradation, although the direct effect of COMT on striatal DA might be limited. Using fMRI we assessed the influence of COMT val(158)met genotype on brain activations elicited by the anticipation of monetary gains and losses in forty-four healthy volunteers.

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Aug
2008

Dysfunctional activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during working memory (WM) in schizophrenia patients has repeatedly been observed, however little is known about specific medication effects on the modulation of DLPFC activation. We measured activation of DLPFC during a WM task in a longitudinal fMRI study in ten schizophrenia patients first when they received conventional antipsychotics (T1) and a second time after they had been switched to olanzapine (T2). A healthy control group matched for age, handedness and gender was investigated at two corresponding time points.

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