Matching Items (18)

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Navigating to new frontiers in behavioral neuroscience: traditional neuropsychological tests predict human performance on a rodent-inspired radial-arm maze

Description

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM,

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM, utilized here, serves as an intermediary test between the classic rat radial-arm maze (RAM) and standard human neuropsychological and cognitive tests. We show that the HRAM is a useful instrument to examine working memory ability, explore the relationships between rodent and human memory and cognition models, and evaluate factors that contribute to human navigational ability. One-hundred-and-fifty-seven participants were tested on the HRAM, and scores were compared to performance on a standard cognitive battery focused on episodic memory, working memory capacity, and visuospatial ability. We found that errors on the HRAM increased as working memory demand became elevated, similar to the pattern typically seen in rodents, and that for this task, performance appears similar to Miller's classic description of a processing-inclusive human working memory capacity of 7 ± 2 items. Regression analysis revealed that measures of working memory capacity and visuospatial ability accounted for a large proportion of variance in HRAM scores, while measures of episodic memory and general intelligence did not serve as significant predictors of HRAM performance. We present the HRAM as a novel instrument for measuring navigational behavior in humans, as is traditionally done in basic science studies evaluating rodent learning and memory, thus providing a useful tool to help connect and translate between human and rodent models of cognitive functioning.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-09-09

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Motor system integrity in older adults with autism spectrum disorder

Description

Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may

Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may persist or worsen in late adulthood in those diagnosed with ASD. This study focused on older adults with ASD to study motor behavior and underlying brain integrity. Using a finger tapping task, motor performance was measured in a cross-sectional study comparing older adults with ASD and age-matched typically developing (TD) controls. We hypothesized that older adults with ASD would show poorer motor performance (slower finger tapping speed). We also hypothesized that underlying brain differences, measured using MRI, in regions associated with motor function including the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, as well as the white matter connecting tracts would exist between groups and be associated with the proposed disparity in motor performance.

Method: A finger oscillation (Finger Tapping) test was administered to both ASD (n=21) and TD (n=20) participants aged 40-70 year old participants as a test of fine motor speed. Magnetic resonance (MR) images were collected using a Philips 3 Tesla scanner. 3D T1-weighted and diffusion tensor images (DTI) were obtained to measure gray and white matter volume and white matter integrity, respectively. FreeSurfer, an automated volumetric measurement software, was used to determine group volumetric differences. Mean, radial, and axial diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, and local diffusion homogeneity were measured from DTI images using PANDA software in order to evaluate white matter integrity.

Results: All participants were right-handed and there were no significant differences in demographic variables (ASD/TD, means) including age (51.9/49.1 years), IQ (107/112) and years education (15/16). Total brain volume was not significantly different between groups. No statistically significant group differences were observed in finger tapping speed. ASD participants compared to TDs showed a trend of slower finger tapping (taps/10 seconds) speed on the dominant hand (47.00 (±11.2) vs. (50.5 (±6.6)) and nondominant hand (44.6 (±7.6) vs. (47.2 (±6.6)). However, a large degree of variability was observed in the ASD group, and the Levene’s test for homogeneity of variance approached significance (p=0.053) on the dominant, but not the nondominant, hand. No significant group differences in gray matter regional volume were found for brain regions associated with performing motor tasks. In contrast, group differences were found on several measures of white matter including the corticospinal tract, anterior internal capsule and middle cerebellar peduncle. Brain-behavior correlations showed that dominant finger tapping speed correlated with left hemisphere white matter integrity of the corticospinal tract and right hemisphere cerebellar white matter in the ASD group.

Conclusions: No significant differences were observed between groups in finger tapping speed but the high degree of variability seen in the ASD group. Differences in motor performance appear to be associated with observed brain differences, particularly in the integrity of white matter tracts contributing to motor functioning.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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A Micro Analysis of Response Trends in Dogs Working to Distinguish Odors of a Common Explosive Chemical

Description

In response to the growing prevalence of improvised explosive devices, a study was conducted that called into question the current methodology used to train explosive detection dogs. The study analyzed

In response to the growing prevalence of improvised explosive devices, a study was conducted that called into question the current methodology used to train explosive detection dogs. The study analyzed the effects of training these dogs using concept formation training versus standard pure training. It was hypothesized that dogs who received concept formation training would have a higher accuracy at generalizing to mixtures. The logic behind this hypothesis was that if a dog was trained elementally with pure samples, they would not be able to accurately recognize a diluted or modified version of the target Ammonium Nitrate scent. Group Elemental dogs had slightly higher accuracies during the concept testing portion of the study compared to the Group Concept dogs. Additionally, during the generalization phase of the experiment, the Group Elemental dogs performed equally well to the Group Concept dogs. Overall, concept formation training and elemental training were suggested to be equally effective according to the results of the dogs in this study. For the future, this experiment should be repeated with a larger sample size as it has great potential for giving insight on improving the training of explosive detection dogs.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Empathy and Pro-Human Social Behavior in Dogs: Will Dogs Attempt to Rescue a Person in Distress?

Description

There are many anecdotal stories of dogs rescuing their owners from dangerous situations, but this rescue behavior has yet to be shown in an experimental setting. Studies have shown that

There are many anecdotal stories of dogs rescuing their owners from dangerous situations, but this rescue behavior has yet to be shown in an experimental setting. Studies have shown that dogs behave differently towards crying humans, but do not seek help for their owners when they are in distress. This study sought to determine if a dog could recognize when its owner was in distress and would attempt to rescue the owner. The experiment consisted of three conditions: a distress condition to determine how dogs respond to an owner calling for help, a reading condition to control for proximity-seeking and sound, and a food control to use as a basis for motivation and door-opening ability of the dog. Sixty dogs were tested in all three conditions in a pseudo-random order so that an equal number of dogs completed the conditions in each order. 38% of the dogs opened the apparatus for any condition, while 32% opened for the food and distress conditions and 27% opened for the reading condition, which shows that rescue in general is unlikely. There was no significant difference in the proportion of dogs who opened the apparatus for each condition, indicating that dogs are no more likely to rescue their distressed owners than they are to open the apparatus for other conditions and may not be able to sense that the owner is in distress. The similarities in the success rates also show that the owner can be just as motivating for a dog as food. Overall, the low success rates suggest that dogs are not generally likely to rescue a person who is trapped, even when they are calling for help.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Utilizing MRI Texture Analysis and APOE Genotype to Predict the Aging Brain as a Potential Method for Early Assessment of Alzheimer's Disease

Description

Background: Noninvasive MRI methods that can accurately detect subtle brain changes are highly desirable when studying disease-modifying interventions. Texture analysis is a novel imaging technique which utilizes the extraction of

Background: Noninvasive MRI methods that can accurately detect subtle brain changes are highly desirable when studying disease-modifying interventions. Texture analysis is a novel imaging technique which utilizes the extraction of a large number of image features with high specificity and predictive power. In this investigation, we use texture analysis to assess and classify age-related changes in the right and left hippocampal regions, the areas known to show some of the earliest change in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Apolipoprotein E (APOE)'s e4 allele confers an increased risk for AD, so studying differences in APOE e4 carriers may help to ascertain subtle brain changes before there has been an obvious change in behavior. We examined texture analysis measures that predict age-related changes, which reflect atrophy in a group of cognitively normal individuals. We hypothesized that the APOE e4 carriers would exhibit significant age-related differences in texture features compared to non-carriers, so that the predictive texture features hold promise for early assessment of AD. Methods: 120 normal adults between the ages of 32 and 90 were recruited for this neuroimaging study from a larger parent study at Mayo Clinic Arizona studying longitudinal cognitive functioning (Caselli et al., 2009). As part of the parent study, the participants were genotyped for APOE genetic polymorphisms and received comprehensive cognitive testing every two years, on average. Neuroimaging was done at Barrow Neurological Institute and a 3D T1-weighted magnetic resonance image was obtained during scanning that allowed for subsequent texture analysis processing. Voxel-based features of the appearance, structure, and arrangement of these regions of interest were extracted utilizing the Mayo Clinic Python Texture Analysis Pipeline (pyTAP). Algorithms applied in feature extraction included Grey-Level Co-Occurrence Matrix (GLCM), Gabor Filter Banks (GFB), Local Binary Patterns (LBP), Discrete Orthogonal Stockwell Transform (DOST), and Laplacian-of-Gaussian Histograms (LoGH). Principal component (PC) analysis was used to reduce the dimensionality of the algorithmically selected features to 13 PCs. A stepwise forward regression model was used to determine the effect of APOE status (APOE e4 carriers vs. noncarriers), and the texture feature principal components on age (as a continuous variable). After identification of 5 significant predictors of age in the model, the individual feature coefficients of those principal components were examined to determine which features contributed most significantly to the prediction of an aging brain. Results: 70 texture features were extracted for the two regions of interest in each participant's scan. The texture features were coded as 70 initial components andwere rotated to generate 13 principal components (PC) that contributed 75% of the variance in the dataset by scree plot analysis. The forward stepwise regression model used in this exploratory study significantly predicted age, accounting for approximately 40% of the variance in the data. The regression model revealed 5 significant regressors (2 right PC's, APOE status, and 2 left PC by APOE interactions). Finally, the specific texture features that contributed to each significant PCs were identified. Conclusion: Analysis of image texture features resulted in a statistical model that was able to detect subtle changes in brain integrity associated with age in a group of participants who are cognitively normal, but have an increased risk of developing AD based on the presence of the APOE e4 phenotype. This is an important finding, given that detecting subtle changes in regions vulnerable to the effects of AD in patients could allow certain texture features to serve as noninvasive, sensitive biomarkers predictive of AD. Even with only a small number of patients, the ability for us to determine sensitive imaging biomarkers could facilitate great improvement in speed of detection and effectiveness of AD interventions..

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Basketball Shooting in Rhythm Reliability of View Judgment and Player Accuracy

Description

When a sports performance is at its peak, it is akin to a musical performance in the sense that each player seems to perform their part effortlessly, creating a rhythmic

When a sports performance is at its peak, it is akin to a musical performance in the sense that each player seems to perform their part effortlessly, creating a rhythmic flow of counterparts all moving as one. Rhythm and timing are vital elements in sports like basketball in which syncopated passing and shooting appear to facilitate accuracy. This study tests if shooting baskets “in rhythm,” as measured by the catch-to-release time, reliably enhances shooting accuracy. It then tests if an “in rhythm” timing is commonly detected and agreed upon by observers, and if observer timing ratings are related to shooting accuracy. Experiment 1 tests the shooting accuracy of two amateur basketball players after different delays between catching a pass and shooting the ball. Shots were taken from the three-point line (180 shots). All shots were recorded and analyzed for accuracy as a function of delay time, and the recordings were used to select stimuli varying in timing intervals for observers to view in Experiment 2. In Experiment 2, 24 observers each reviewed 17 video clips of the shots to test visual judgment of shooting-in-rhythm. The delay times ranged from 0.3 to 3.2 seconds, with a goal of having some of the shots taken too fast, some close to in rhythm, and some too slow. Observers rated if each shot occurs too fast, in rhythm slightly fast, in rhythm slightly slow, or too slow. In Experiment 1, shooters exhibited a significant cubic fit with better shooting performance in the middle of the timing distribution (1.2 sec optimal delay) between catching a pass and shooting. In Experiment, 2 observers reliably judged shots to be in rhythm centered at 1.1 ± 0.2 seconds, which matched the delay that leads to optimal performance for the shooters found in Experiment 1. The pattern of findings confirms and validates that there is a common “in rhythm” catch-to-shoot delay time of a little over 1 second that both optimizes shooter accuracy and is reliably recognized by observers.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Who's Top Dog? The Sociability towards Humans of Six Different Canid Types

Description

We compared sociability towards humans of domesticated and tame members of several Canidae: Belyaev's fox (Vulpes vulpes), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray wolf (Canis lupus), dingo (Canis l. dingo), New

We compared sociability towards humans of domesticated and tame members of several Canidae: Belyaev's fox (Vulpes vulpes), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray wolf (Canis lupus), dingo (Canis l. dingo), New Guinea singing dog (Canis l. dingo), and dog (Canis l. familiaris). We defined sociability as motivation or willingness to engage with humans. Our operationalized definition of sociability is the latency to approach (LTA) the human experimenter and the amount of time the canid spent within one meter of the human experimenter (PTC). We added an unfamiliar and familiar experimenter condition to deduce whether or not canids discriminated on who they were more social with: an owner or a stranger. To each experimenter condition we added a passive and active phase to discern whether or not canids were more social when called or not. Across all conditions and phases dogs were significantly more social than all other canid types. We concluded genetic differences due to domestication and environmental differences due to socialization accounted for sociability differences seen in dogs compared to the other canid types.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Does Adapting the Body Schema to a Partner Facilitate Motor Learning?

Description

Often learning new skills, such as how to throw a basketball or how to play the piano, are better accomplished practicing with another than from self-practice. Why? We propose that

Often learning new skills, such as how to throw a basketball or how to play the piano, are better accomplished practicing with another than from self-practice. Why? We propose that during joint action, partners learn to adjust their behavior to each other. For example, when dancing with a partner, we must adjust the timing, the force, and the spatial locations of movements to those of the partner. We call these adjustments a joint body schema (JBS). That is, the locations of our own effectors and our own movements are adapted by interaction with the partner. Furthermore, we propose that after a JBS is established, learning new motor skills can be enhanced by the learner's attunement to the specifics of the partner's actions. We test this proposal by having partners engage in a motor task requiring cooperation (to develop the JBS). Then we determined whether a) the JBS enhances the coordination on an unrelated task, and b) whether the JBS enhances the learning of a new motor skill. In fact, participants who established a JBS showed stronger coordination with a partner and better motor learning from the partner than did control participants. Several applications of this finding are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Human Auditory Biases Match Natural Regularities Found With Animal Calls

Description

Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic

Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic frequency and intensity has shown that people exhibit a bias to expect the perception of pitch and loudness to change together. Researchers have proposed that this perceptual bias occurs because sound sources tend to follow a natural regularity of a correlation between changes in intensity and frequency of sound. They postulate that the auditory system has adapted to expect this naturally occurring relationship to facilitate auditory scene analysis, the tracking and parsing sources of sound as listeners analyze their auditory environments. However, this correlation has only been tested with human speech and musical sounds. The current study explores if animal sounds also exhibit the same natural correlation between intensity and frequency and tests if people exhibit a perceptual bias to assume this correlation when listening to animal calls. Our principal hypotheses are that animal sounds will tend to exhibit a positive correlation between intensity and frequency and that, when hearing such sounds change in intensity, listeners will perceive them to also change in frequency and vice versa. Our tests with 21 animal calls and 8 control stimuli along with our experiment with participants responding to these stimuli supported these hypotheses. This research provides a further example of coupling of perceptual biases with natural regularities in the auditory domain, and provides a framework for understanding perceptual biases as functional adaptations that help perceivers more accurately anticipate and utilize reliable natural patterns to enhance scene analyses in real world environments.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Effects of Loudness Change on Tempo Perception and Action in Percussion

Description

Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase

Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase their loudness (in music, loudness is referred to as dynamics). This study tested five hypotheses: 1) As actual tempo changes, listeners perceive that the tempo is changing; 2) There is a perceptual bias to perceive increases in acoustic intensity as also increasing in tempo; 3) All individuals, regardless of percussion experience, display the bias described in hypothesis 2; 4) Unskilled or non-percussionists increase or decrease produced tempo as they respectively increase or decrease loudness; and 5) Skilled percussionist produce less change in tempo due to changes in loudness than non-percussionists. In Experiment 1, percussionists and non-percussionists listened to metronome samples that gradually change in intensity and/or tempo. Participants identified the direction and size of their perceived tempo change using a computer mouse. In Experiment 2, both groups of participants produced various tempo and dynamic changes on a drum pad. Our findings support that both percussionists and non-percussionists, to some extent, display a perceptual bias to perceive tempo changes as a function of intensity changes. We also found that non-percussionists altered their tempo as a function of changing dynamic levels, whereas percussionists did not. Overall, our findings support that listeners tend to experience some integrality between perceptual dimensions of perceived tempo and loudness. Dimensional integration also persists when playing percussion instruments though experience with percussion instruments reduces this effect.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05