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Author: Matthias Guggenmos (11)


Dec
2017

The phenomenon of bistable perception, in which perception alternates spontaneously despite constant sensory stimulation, has been particularly useful in probing the neural bases of conscious perception. The study of such bistability requires access to the observer's perceptual dynamics, which is usually achieved via active report. This report, however, constitutes a confounding factor in the study of conscious perception and can also be biased in the context of certain experimental manipulations.

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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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Dec
2017

Addiction is supposedly characterized by a shift from goal-directed to habitual decision making, thus facilitating automatic drug intake. The two-step task allows distinguishing between these mechanisms by computationally modeling goal-directed and habitual behavior as model-based and model-free control. In addicted patients, decision making may also strongly depend upon drug-associated expectations.

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Jul
2017

Visual working memory (VWM) is used to maintain visual information available for subsequent goal-directed behavior. The content of VWM has been shown to affect the behavioral response to concurrent visual input, suggesting that visual representations originating from VWM and from sensory input draw upon a shared neural substrate (i.e.

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Mar
2016

It is well established that learning can occur without external feedback, yet normative reinforcement learning theories have difficulties explaining such instances of learning. Here, we propose that human observers are capable of generating their own feedback signals by monitoring internal decision variables. We investigated this hypothesis in a visual perceptual learning task using fMRI and confidence reports as a measure for this monitoring process.

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Sep
2015

Gaze direction and especially direct gaze is a powerful nonverbal cue that plays an important role in social interactions. Here we studied the neural mechanisms underlying the privileged access of direct gaze to visual awareness. We performed functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy human volunteers who were exposed to faces with direct or averted gaze under continuous flash suppression, thereby manipulating their awareness of the faces.

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Aug
2015

The modulation of neural activity in visual cortex is thought to be a key mechanism of visual attention. The investigation of attentional modulation in high-level visual areas, however, is hampered by the lack of clear tuning or contrast response functions. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging study we therefore systematically assessed how small voxel-wise biases in object preference across hundreds of voxels in the lateral occipital complex were affected when attention was directed to objects.

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Feb
2015

A fundamental issue in visual cognition is whether high-level visual areas code objects in a part-based or a view-based (holistic) format. Previous behavioral and neuroimaging studies that examined the viewpoint invariance of object recognition have yielded ambiguous results, providing evidence for either type of representational format. A critical factor distinguishing the two formats could be the availability of attentional resources, as a number of priming studies have found greater viewpoint invariance for attended compared to unattended objects.

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Apr
2015

Perceptual learning is the improvement in perceptual performance through training or exposure. Here, we used fMRI before and after extensive behavioral training to investigate the effects of perceptual learning on the recognition of objects under challenging viewing conditions. Objects belonged either to trained or untrained categories.

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Dec
2013

Schizophrenia is typically associated with higher-level cognitive symptoms, such as disorganized thoughts, delusions, and hallucinations. However, deficits in visual processing have been consistently reported with the illness. Here, we provide strong neurophysiological evidence for a marked perturbation at the earliest level of cortical visual processing in patients with paranoid schizophrenia.

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Aug
2012

Accumulating empirical evidence suggests a role of Bayesian inference and learning for shaping neural responses in auditory and visual perception. However, its relevance for somatosensory processing is unclear. In the present study we test the hypothesis that cortical somatosensory processing exhibits dynamics that are consistent with Bayesian accounts of brain function.

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