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Poster F31 - Postdoctorial Fellowship Award Winner

Linking subcortical structures to behaviour, micro-saccades and neocortical oscillatory activity supporting cognitive functions

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Tara Ghafari1 (, Mohammad Ebrahim Katebi2, Sayed Mohammad Hossein Ghafari3, Aliza Finch1, Cecilia Mazzetti1, Kelly Garner4, Tjerk Gutteling5, Ole Jensen1; 1Centre for Human Brain Health, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK, 2School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, 3School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, 4School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Australia, 5CERMEP-Imagerie du Vivant, MEG Department, Lyon, France

Growing evidence suggests that subcortical structures play an essential role for key cognitive functions such as attention. However, it is not clear how these structures affect behaviour in relation to oscillatory dynamics associated with attention. We are developing a new research line investigating how the hemispheric asymmetries of subcortical structures relate to lateralisation in neural oscillations, lateralised behavioural biases, and micro-saccades. Across four experiments, we investigated whether the volumetric hemispheric lateralisation of basal ganglia and thalamus could predict the hemispheric asymmetry of oscillations and behavioural bias towards left versus right visual hemifields. The subcortical structures were identified using the FIRST/FSL algorithm applied to MR images. In terms of paradigms, we employed resting state, landmark, covert spatial attention, and visual detection tasks. We did this while measuring behavioural performance, eye-tracking and brain oscillations using MEG (306 sensors). In the spatial attention task, our experiments revealed significant correlations between the hemispheric lateralisation of power of alpha-band oscillations and volumetric lateralisation of the thalamus, caudate nucleus, and globus pallidus. During rest, we observed a significant correlation between the lateralised oscillatory activity and the caudate nucleus as well as the hippocampus. Preliminary findings using the landmark task suggested correlations between hemifield behavioural biases and volumetric lateralisation in the thalamus and caudate nucleus. Our research suggests that subcortical structures impact cognitive control functions. Both outcomes and methodology pave the way for a fresh avenue for exploring the contribution of subcortical structures to cognitive and neural functions.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial


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April 13–16  |  2024