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Somatosensory Modulation during Speech Planning

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Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor

Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor command and creating a prediction that is used to cancel out the resulting sensory feedback. Currently, there are no published accounts of the perception of tactile signals for motor tasks and contexts related to the lips during both speech planning and production. In this study, we measured the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech planning using light electrical stimulation below the lower lip by comparing perception during mixed speaking and silent reading conditions. Participants were asked to judge whether a constant near-threshold electrical stimulation (subject-specific intensity, 85% detected at rest) was present during different time points relative to an initial visual cue. In the speaking condition, participants overtly produced target words shown on a computer monitor. In the reading condition, participants read the same target words silently to themselves without any movement or sound. We found that detection of the stimulus was attenuated during speaking conditions while remaining at a constant level close to the perceptual threshold throughout the silent reading condition. Perceptual modulation was most intense during speech production and showed some attenuation just prior to speech production during the planning period of speech. This demonstrates that there is a significant decrease in the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech production as well as milliseconds before speech is even produced which has implications for speech disorders such as stuttering and schizophrenia with pronounced deficits in the somatosensory system.

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2019-05

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Startle-evoked movement in multi-jointed, two-dimensional reaching tasks

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Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown

Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed with difficulty. While the presence of SEM in the stroke survivor population advances scientific understanding of movement capabilities following a stroke, published studies using the SEM phenomenon only examined one joint. The ability of SEM to generate multi-jointed movements is understudied and consequently limits SEM as a potential therapy tool. In order to apply SEM as a therapy tool however, the biomechanics of the arm in multi-jointed movement planning and execution must be better understood. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate if SEM could elicit multi-joint reaching movements that were accurate in an unrestrained, two-dimensional workspace. Data was collected from ten subjects with no previous neck, arm, or brain injury. Each subject performed a reaching task to five Targets that were equally spaced in a semi-circle to create a two-dimensional workspace. The subject reached to each Target following a sequence of two non-startling acoustic stimuli cues: "Get Ready" and "Go". A loud acoustic stimuli was randomly substituted for the "Go" cue. We hypothesized that SEM is accessible and accurate for unrestricted multi-jointed reaching tasks in a functional workspace and is therefore independent of movement direction. Our results found that SEM is possible in all five Target directions. The probability of evoking SEM and the movement kinematics (i.e. total movement time, linear deviation, average velocity) to each Target are not statistically different. Thus, we conclude that SEM is possible in a functional workspace and is not dependent on where arm stability is maximized. Moreover, coordinated preparation and storage of a multi-jointed movement is indeed possible.

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2016-12

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Temporal Color Perception

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Color perception has been widely studied and well modeled with respect to combining visible electromagnetic frequencies, yet new technology provides the means to better explore and test novel temporal frequency characteristics of color perception. Experiment 1 tests how reliably participants

Color perception has been widely studied and well modeled with respect to combining visible electromagnetic frequencies, yet new technology provides the means to better explore and test novel temporal frequency characteristics of color perception. Experiment 1 tests how reliably participants categorize static spectral rainbow colors, which can be a useful tool for efficiently identifying those with functional dichromacy, trichromacy, and tetrachromacy. The findings confirm that all individuals discern the four principal opponent process colors, red, yellow, green, and blue, with normal and potential tetrachromats seeing more distinct colors than color blind individuals. Experiment 2 tests the moving flicker fusion rate of the central electromagnetic frequencies within each color category found in Experiment 1 as a test of the Where system. It then compares this to the maximum temporal processing rate for discriminating direction of hue change with colors displayed serially as a test of the What system. The findings confirm respective processing thresholds of about 20 Hz for Where and 2-7 Hz for What processing systems. Experiment 3 tests conditions that optimize false colors based on the spinning Benham’s Top illusion. Findings indicate the same four principal colors emerge as in Experiment 1, but at low saturation levels for trichromats that diminish further for dichromats. Taken together, the three experiments provide an overview of the common categorical boundaries and temporal processing limits of human color vision.

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Date Created
2021

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Investigating the Relationship Between Visual Confirmation Bias and the Low-Prevalence Effect in Visual Search

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Previous research from Rajsic et al. (2015, 2017) suggests that a visual form of confirmation bias arises during visual search for simple stimuli, under certain conditions, wherein people are biased to seek stimuli matching an initial cue color even when

Previous research from Rajsic et al. (2015, 2017) suggests that a visual form of confirmation bias arises during visual search for simple stimuli, under certain conditions, wherein people are biased to seek stimuli matching an initial cue color even when this strategy is not optimal. Furthermore, recent research from our lab suggests that varying the prevalence of cue-colored targets does not attenuate the visual confirmation bias, although people still fail to detect rare targets regardless of whether they match the initial cue (Walenchok et al. under review). The present investigation examines the boundary conditions of the visual confirmation bias under conditions of equal, low, and high cued-target frequency. Across experiments, I found that: (1) People are strongly susceptible to the low-prevalence effect, often failing to detect rare targets regardless of whether they match the cue (Wolfe et al., 2005). (2) However, they are still biased to seek cue-colored stimuli, even when such targets are rare. (3) Regardless of target prevalence, people employ strategies when search is made sufficiently burdensome with distributed items and large search sets. These results further support previous findings that the low-prevalence effect arises from a failure to perceive rare items (Hout et al., 2015), while visual confirmation bias is a bias of attentional guidance (Rajsic et al., 2015, 2017).

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2018