A functional benefit of attention is to proactively enhance perceptual sensitivity in space and time. Although attentional orienting has traditionally been associated with cortico-thalamic networks, recent evidence has shown that individuals with cerebellar degeneration (CD) show a reduced reaction time benefit from cues that enable temporal anticipation. The present study examined whether the cerebellum contributes to the proactive attentional modulation in time of perceptual sensitivity. We tested CD participants on a non-speeded, challenging perceptual discrimination task, asking if they benefit from temporal cues. Strikingly, the CD group showed no duration-specific perceptual sensitivity benefit when cued by repeated but aperiodic presentation of the target interval. In contrast, they performed similar to controls when cued by a rhythmic stream. This dissociation further specifies the functional domain of the cerebellum and establishes its role in the attentional adjustment of perceptual sensitivity in time in addition to its well-documented role in motor timing.
De-identified source data files for all figures and analyses in the article have been provided. Additional demographic information was not uploaded as it was not used in any analysis reported in the text, and can be provided upon request in personal communication with the corresponding author, without additional restrictions.
- Richard B Ivry
- Richard B Ivry
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants provided informed consent to participate in the study and for the publication of de-identified data. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of California, Berkeley (CPHS# 2016-02-8439).
- Marisa Carrasco, New York University, United States
© 2021, Breska & Ivry
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cochlear implants are neuroprosthetic devices that can restore hearing in people with severe to profound hearing loss by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. Because of physical limitations on the precision of this stimulation, the acoustic information delivered by a cochlear implant does not convey the same level of acoustic detail as that conveyed by normal hearing. As a result, speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants is typically poorer and more effortful than in listeners with normal hearing. The brain networks supporting speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants are not well understood, partly due to difficulties obtaining functional neuroimaging data in this population. In the current study, we assessed the brain regions supporting spoken word understanding in adult listeners with right unilateral cochlear implants (n=20) and matched controls (n=18) using high-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT), a quiet and non-invasive imaging modality with spatial resolution comparable to that of functional MRI. We found that while listening to spoken words in quiet, listeners with cochlear implants showed greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex than listeners with normal hearing, specifically in a region engaged in a separate spatial working memory task. These results suggest that listeners with cochlear implants require greater cognitive processing during speech understanding than listeners with normal hearing, supported by compensatory recruitment of the left prefrontal cortex.
Sleep strongly affects synaptic strength, making it critical for cognition, especially learning and memory formation. Whether and how sleep deprivation modulates human brain physiology and cognition is not well understood. Here we examined how overnight sleep deprivation vs overnight sufficient sleep affects (a) cortical excitability, measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation, (b) inducibility of long-term potentiation (LTP)- and long-term depression (LTD)-like plasticity via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and (c) learning, memory, and attention. The results suggest that sleep deprivation upscales cortical excitability due to enhanced glutamate-related cortical facilitation and decreases and/or reverses GABAergic cortical inhibition. Furthermore, tDCS-induced LTP-like plasticity (anodal) abolishes while the inhibitory LTD-like plasticity (cathodal) converts to excitatory LTP-like plasticity under sleep deprivation. This is associated with increased EEG theta oscillations due to sleep pressure. Finally, we show that learning and memory formation, behavioral counterparts of plasticity, and working memory and attention, which rely on cortical excitability, are impaired during sleep deprivation. Our data indicate that upscaled brain excitability and altered plasticity, due to sleep deprivation, are associated with impaired cognitive performance. Besides showing how brain physiology and cognition undergo changes (from neurophysiology to higher-order cognition) under sleep pressure, the findings have implications for variability and optimal application of noninvasive brain stimulation.