2021 CNS Virtual Meeting Saturday, March 13, 2021 4:00pm - 6:00pm Poster Session A A1 - Electrophysiological evidence of attention to music in unresponsive hospice patients at the end of life Presenter- Contact Information Lawrence Ward Univerisity of British Columbia Co-Author Elizabeth Blundon University of Miami Co-Author Romayne Gallagher University of British Columbia Co-Author Lauren Dimaio Texas Women's University The objective of this study was to characterize electrophysiological activity associated with listening to music in a small group of unresponsive hospice patients at the end of life. Young, healthy controls were asked to attend to (Active condition) and ignore (Passive condition) brief (~7s) musical excerpts. A small group of hospice patients were asked to attend to the same musical excerpts (Active condition only), both when they were responsive and again when they became unresponsive. Most (84%) controls showed sustained (~3s) posterio-parietal alpha suppression when they were asked to attend to the music, while far fewer (37%) generated the same response when asked to ignore the music. Similarly, 75% of responsive hospice patients, and 100% of unresponsive hospice patients showed sustained (again, ~3s) posterio-parietal alpha suppression when asked to attend to the music. These results suggest that some unresponsive patients at the end of life may be able to listen to music, despite being unable overtly to indicate their awareness. Music-listening may be a more promising way to engage unresponsive patients compared to neutral stimulation. A2 - Arousal compensates for age-related deficits in early visual attentional selectivity under high attentional load Presenter- Contact Information Ringo Huang University of California, Los Angeles Co-Author Kelly Durbin University of Southern California Co-Author David Clewett University of California, Los Angeles Co-Author Martin Dahl Max Planck Institute for Human Development Co-Author Mara Mather University of Southern California Increasing task-focused attentional load can enhance distractor suppression in younger adults. Here, we conducted a concurrent eye-tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in younger and older adults to examine whether attentional load can also enhance distractor suppression in older adults, who often have greater difficulty with inhibitory control. In the MRI scanner, participants performed a foveal target detection task while task-irrelevant checkerboards flickered in the periphery. Attentional load was manipulated by defining the target by its color (low load) or by both its color and orientation (high load). Consistent with prior work, younger adults inhibited visual cortex activation to the distracting checkerboards under high attentional load. However, this load-dependent suppression effect was not observed in older adults. This load-by-age interaction effect was significant, suggesting that unlike younger adults, older adults do not inhibit visual processing of irrelevant distractors as load increases. Surprisingly, the presence of peripheral checkerboard distractors under high attentional load improved, rather than impaired, older adults' reaction times and increased their pupil dilation responses, suggesting that perceptual distractors may benefit late selective attention processes in aging. Additionally, we found greater prefrontal cortex engagement in older relative to younger adults under high attentional load. In summary, younger adults inhibit visual processing of distractors more effectively than older adults as central attentional load increases. However, under high task demands, an upregulation of arousal and prefrontal cortex processes may enable older adults to compensate for such inhibition deficits and improve task-focused attention. A3 - Attentional modulation in early visual cortex: a combined re-analysis of steady-state visual evoked potential studies Presenter- Contact Information Nika Adamian University of Aberdeen Co-Author Søren Andersen University of Aberdeen Steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) are a particularly powerful tool for investigating selective attention. The SSVEP is a continuous oscillatory response of the visual cortex that has the same fundamental frequency as the driving stimulus and whose amplitude is increased with attention to the driving stimulus. When multiple stimuli flickering at different frequencies are presented concurrently, each one of them will drive an SSVEP at its respective frequency, thereby allowing for the assessment of the allocation of attention to each element in a multi-stimulus display. Here we combined the data of eight published SSVEP studies in which participants (n=139 in total) attended to flickering random dot stimuli based on their defining features (e.g. location, color, luminance, or orientation) or feature-conjunctions. The reanalysis first established that in all the studies attention reliably enhanced amplitudes and shortened latencies of SSVEPs, with colour-based attention providing the strongest effect. Next we investigated the modulation of SSVEP amplitudes in a subset of studies where two different features were attended concurrently. While most models of feature-based attention assume that multiple features are combined additively, our results suggest that neuronal enhancement provided by concurrent attention is better described by multiplicative integration. Finally, we used the combined dataset to demonstrate that the increase in SSVEP amplitudes cannot be explained by the synchronization of single-trial phases. Contrary to the prediction of the phase locking account, the variance of complex Fourier coefficients increases with attention, which is more consistent with boosting of largely phase-locked signal with non-phase-locked noise. Phenomenological and electrophysiological correlates of executive and affective mind wandering Presenter- Contact Information Paloma Manguele University of Sussex, School of Psychology Co-Author Sophie Forster University of Sussex, School of Psychology Co-Author Fiona Wiegert University of Sussex, School of Psychology Previous research has highlighted that mind-wandering can serve important functions such as planning for the future, decision making, and strategic problem solving relating to our current concerns. However, such 'executive' forms of mind wandering can also take negative forms in terms of worry. The goals of the present research were to characterize the phenomenology of executive forms of spontaneous mind wandering, in relation to both emotional valence and mental time travel, and to facilitate future research in this area by establishing objective electrophysiological markers for executive and affective dimensions of thought. To address our first goal, two large online studies (total N = 605) employed intermittent probes during an audio lecture at which participants rated and reported their thought contents. Thirty-eight percent of thoughts were rated as moderately or highly strategic. These 'executive thoughts' were more likely to be future-oriented than those rated as less strategic. Individual propensity to strategic thought predicted the prospective bias but was not consistently linked to thought valence or anxiety. We then asked 30 participants to perform a series of thought exercises designed to simulate mind wandering, varying in strategic content and emotional valence, while EEG and facial EMG data were recorded. More strategic thoughts and negative valence were reflected in increased frontal beta and activity of the corrugator supercilii muscle, respectively. Our findings hence provide the foundation for future research testing the ability of these objective electrophysiological markers to index executive and affective dimensions of spontaneous thought contents. Measurement Properties of Pupillary Dynamics Presenter- Contact Information Alexis Torres Arizona State University Co-Author Matthew Robison The University of Texas at Arlington Co-Author Gene Brewer Arizona State University Pupillary dynamics partially index neuromodulatory signals from the noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems. These dynamics have been associated with a vast array of cognitively meaningful behaviors in the fields of perception, attention, and memory. In the current study, we sought to evaluate the psychometric measurement properties of pupillary dynamics across a set of attention tasks (Sustained Attention to Response Task, Psychomotor Vigilance Task, Color-Word Stroop Test, and Arrow Flanker Task) on two days of administration, separated by at least 6 days. Individual estimates of pupil size, pupil size variability, and pupil dilation in response to target stimuli were extracted for each task. We then measured within-task (split-half reliability) and between-task (convergent validity) correlations between these estimates. Overall, we found that individual differences in pupillary dynamics have strong psychometric properties that render them useful for evaluating individual differences. Moreover, pupillary dynamics were task general across 4 attention control tasks indicating that these dynamics likely reflect trait-like neuromodulation.

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