ICON 2014

Wednesday 30 July 2014

SYMPOSIUM 13:  Segregation And Integration Of Cortical Laminar Information Streams And Their Role In Attention

One of the most fascinating anatomical properties of the cortex, established since the time of Ramon y Cajal, is its laminar structure. This prominent anatomical feature suggests distinct functional roles for the different laminae in cognitive processes such as attention. The precise computational function of these cortical layers, however, is a largely open question. Recent theories of cortical function, such as predictive coding, posit that there is a functional segregation of dynamics and computations which occur in the superficial and deep cortical layers. These models predict a strong functional segregation in the connectivity, dynamics, and physiological properties of cells situated in distinct cortical laminae. In this symposium we will present recent experimental work on the anatomical microarchitecture (Nikola Markov) and animal (Charles Schroeder) and human physiology (René Scheeringa) of the cortical laminae that supports the notion of functional segregation between superficial and deep layers. These results constrain and inform computational models of how canonical microcircuits interact, and the characteristic frequencies which support neuronal communication (André Bastos). Together, these studies shed new light on the function of laminar cortical circuits, and how they may support complex and dynamic cognitive functions.

Presenters include:
Markus Barth, The University of Queensland, Australia
Saskia Haegens, Columbia University, USA
René Scheeringa, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Netherlands
Andre M. Bastos, Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience, Germany

SYMPOSIUM 14:  Consciousness, Integrated Information And The Free Energy Principle

One approach to the science of consciousness is to develop a theory designed to explain core features of conscious experience, and look for neuroscientific evidence in favour of this theory. One of the most promising and prominent theories of consciousness in this vein is integrated information theory. Another approach to the science of consciousness is to take an overall theory of brain function and explore its potential to explain core features of conscious experience. One of the most promising and prominent theories of overall brain function centers on the Bayesian brain or free energy principle. This interdisciplinary symposium asks whether these two approaches can and should be combined. This question is important because a confirmatory answer would anchor information integration in overall brain function, and would throw light on the relation between free energy and the mind. The focus will be on the following questions: (1) Is it possible to interpret aspects of integrated information in terms of the free energy principle? (2) Is it possible to interpret aspects of the free energy principle as explanations of conscious experience? (3) Is there a meaningful overlap between the answers to questions (1) and (2)?

Presenters include:
Jakob Hohwy, Monash University, Australia
Guilio Tononi, University of Wisconsin, USA
Anil Seth, University of Sussex, UK
Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Monash University, Australia

SYMPOSIUM 15:  Task Set Representation And Updating: Aging, Training And Reward Motivation

Recent research on the neural representation of task-sets and context-dependent task set updating has emphasized the role of frontal networks associated with goal representation and reward motivation. This symposium presents current research on the neural basis of task-set representation and updating and the role of reward motivation in task-set updating in young and old adults. Frini Karayanidis presents longitudinal data on decline in task-switching performance and reduced white matter microstructure organisation in cognitively intact older adults, and examines the relative contribution of distinct frontal networks. Jutta Kray extends current evidence on transfer of task-switching training in young and old adults, and examines the underlying control processes that mediate this effect. Hannah Schmitt examines the effectiveness of reward motivation on context updating and shows that incentive manipulation affects different processes in young and old adults. Todd Braver hones into the neural processes by which reward motivation enhances task-switching performance using multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of fMRI.

Presenters include:
Frini Karayanidis, University of Newcastle, Australia
Jutta Kray, Saarland University, Germany
Hannah Schmitt, Saarland University, Germany
Jo A. Etzel, Washington University, USA


SYMPOSIUM 16:  Brain Processes Associated With Cognitive Control

This symposium will overview research on brain processes associated with cognitive control. The four talks will review different paradigms and methodologies related to cognitive control, and in particular the interactions between top-down control (supported in part by the dorsal attention network, DAN, and the cingulo-opercular network, CON) and the feed-forward analysis of incoming information. Dr. Diane Beck (University of Illinois) will consider how top-down and bottom up processes interact in forming our percepts, using fMRI, optical imaging, EEG, and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation. Dr. Paul Corballis (University of Auckland) will concentrate on on-line re-direction of attention studies using ERPs. Drs. Gabriele Gratton and Monica Fabiani (University of Illinois) will examine preparatory mechanisms controlling the input of information, making us of optical imaging and ERPS. Finally, Dr. William Gehring (University of Michigan) will discuss error processing during development of young children (relationship to executive function and motivation) and in pediatric anxiety disorders and autism, using ERPs and genetic data.

Presenters include:
Diane M. Beck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Paul M. Corballis, University of Auckland, NZ
Gabriele Gatton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Pauline Baniqued, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


SYMPOSIUM 17:  Sensorimotor Foundations Of Understanding And Interacting With Others

As humans, we have a remarkable ability to make sense of other people’s behaviour by observing their actions. A rich literature within cognitive and social neurosciences provides evidence for a so-called mirror system, comprising brain regions that respond similarly when performing or observing actions. It has been argued that the mirror system critically supports our ability to interact with others in a social world. This symposium presents the state of the art of sensorimotor foundations of social perception from neuroscientific perspectives, with a focus on basic mechanisms that link action perception (Molenberghs), and how social information modulates this link (Cross, Cunnington & Sessa). Sessa presents EEG work on how empathy for pain encompasses dissociable sensorimotor/affective and mentalizing components and on how these empathic components exhibit both contextual and interindividual variance. Molenberghs discusses metaanalytical work calling into question the involvement of a putative mirror system region, BA44, in action execution and perception tasks. Cross shows how information concerning whether an observed agent is animate impacts perception and interaction with that agent, and finally Cunnington explores how an observer’s race or group membership influences how they perceive another agent’s pain.

Presenters include:
Paola Sessa, University of Padova, Italy
Pascal Molenberghs, University of Queensland, Australia
Emily Cross, Bangor University, UK
Ross Cunnington, University of Queensland, Australia


SYMPOSIUM 18:  Mechanisms Of Cognitive Decline In Normal Aging

Cognitive decline is generally accepted as a normal part of aging. Despite extensive research, the underlying mechanisms have yet to be determined. Yet this is an essential step in designing effective intervention programs to reduce the incidence or slow the progress of age-related cognitive decline. This symposium includes a set of studies that examine key mechanisms involved in poorer cognitive performance in normal aging. Axel Mecklinger shows that poor recollection is central to age-related decline in associative memory and presents ERP evidence for recruitment of compensatory perceptual processes in poor performers. Shulan Hsieh shows that the age-related decline in interference control can be mitigated by recruitment of compensatory processes under high task load. Monica Fabiani discusses research comparing age effects on sensory and working memory and focusses on individual differences in the aging process.

Presenters include:
Axel Mecklinger, Saarland University, Germany
Shulan Hsieh, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
Michael D. Rugg, University of Texas, USA
K. Richard Ridderinkhof, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands