Poster Session F, Tuesday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Brain and cognitive mechanisms of top-down attentional control in a naturalistic settings: Benefits of multi-variate electrical analyses
Pawel J. Matusz1,2,3, Nora Turoman2, Ruxandra I. Tivadar2, Chrysa Retsa2, Micah M. Murray2,3,4,5; 1Information Systems Institute at the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO Valais), 3960 Sierre, Switzerland, 2The LINE (Laboratory for Investigative Neurophysiology), Department of Radiology, University Hospital Centre and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland, 3Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203- 5721, USA, 4The EEG Brain Mapping Core, Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland, 5Department of Ophthalmology, University of Lausanne and Fondation Asile des Aveugles, Lausanne, Switzerland
In real-world environments, information is typically multisensory, and objects are a primary unit of information processing. Object recognition and action necessitates attentional selection of task-relevant from among task-irrelevant objects. However, brain and cognitive mechanisms governing attentional selection of multisensory objects remain poorly understood. In multi-stimulus (visual) arrays, attentional selection of objects in humans and animal models is traditionally quantified via “the N2pc component”: spatially-selective enhancements of neural processing of objects within ventral visual cortices app. 150–300ms post-stimulus. We tested whether N2pc is a viable marker of attentional control in naturalistic, multisensory contexts. Participants searched for coloured targets while colour and/or colour-sound distractors preceded search array. Across several datasets, behavioural spatial-cueing effects reflected well control of visual attentional selection by multisensory processes. Contrastingly, traditional analyses of mean N2pc amplitudes over PO7/8 across app. 150–300ms post-cue did not reflect or correlate with multisensory effects observed behaviourally. To provide more direct evidence for brain and cognitive mechanisms underlying attention control in naturalistic, multisensory settings, we analysed lateralised ERPs across N2pc time-windows with electrical neuroimaging and multi-variate pattern analyses. These analyses revealed that multisensory processes control attentional object selection by altering strength of response within the same brain networks and/or altering the engaged brain networks across unisensory and multisensory contexts. We discuss how an approach combining rigorous tasks emulating (multi-sensory/ task-demand) variabilities of real-world environments with cost-effectiveness of EEG and robust analyses of rich spatio-temporal data provided by EEG can offer new insights how neurocognitive functions, like attention control, operate in everyday situations.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial