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Volume 9 Issue 1 (2013)

Early dynamics of the semantic priming shift original article

pp. 1-14 | First published on 31 March 2013 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0126-9

Frédéric Lavigne, Lucile Chanquoy, Laurent Dumercy, Françoise Vitu


Semantic processing of sequences of words requires the cognitive system to keep several word meanings simultaneously activated in working memory with limited capacity. The real- time updating of the sequence of word meanings relies on dynamic changes in the associates to the words that are activated. Protocols involving two sequential primes report a semantic priming shift from larger priming of associates to the first prime to larger priming of associates to the second prime, in a range of long SOAs (stimulus-onset asynchronies) between the second prime and the target. However, the possibility for an early semantic priming shift is still to be tested, and its dynamics as a function of association strength remain unknown. Three multiple priming experiments are proposed that cross-manipulate association strength between each of two successive primes and a target, for different values of short SO As and prime durations. Results show an early priming shift ranging from priming of associates to the first prime only to priming of strong associates to the first prime and all of the associates to the second prime. We investigated the neural basis of the early priming shift by using a network model of spike frequency adaptive cortical neurons (e.g., Deco & Rolls, 2005), able to code different association strengths between the primes and the target. The cortical network model provides a description of the early dynamics of the priming shift in terms of pro-active and retro-active interferences within populations of excitatory neurons regulated by fast and unselective inhibitory feedback.

Keywords: association strength, concept, interstimulus interval, multiple priming, prime duration

Number perseveration in healthy subjects: Does prolonged stimulus exposure influence performance on a serial addition task? original article

pp. 15-19 | First published on 31 March 2013 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0127-8

Vaitsa Giannouli


Perseverative behavior characterizes mainly patients with severe psychopathology, but it can also be observed in healthy individuals. The aim of the reported experiment was to investigate a serial addition task that elicits strong perseverative behavior in normal subjects by examining the significance of perseveration in the final step of this addition task (Gardner, 1971) as a function of time availability. The classical serial addition task, which was used in the experiment, consisted of 4 consecutive digit decreases in the added numbers following a constant digit (1,000 + 40 + 1,000 + 30 + 1,000 + 20 + 1,000 + 10) and required an additive calculation. The main questions were how and if color and time variations could influence perseverative responses in this task and whether memory performance and relevant mathematical knowledge of the participants could have an effect on responses. The sample of subjects participating in the experiment consisted of 300 healthy university students (112 male, 188 female) ranging from 17 to 40 years of age. They were divided in 5 groups of 60 subjects each. A memory digit span and spatial test were administered and relevant scores were taken for each subject of the 5 groups. Obtained results suggest the presence of a strong perseverative error in the final step of the presentation of digits for the large majority of subjects and for all 5 conditions. It seems that time and color changes and the memory span of the participants have no detectable effect on performance on this specific serial addition task.

Keywords: perseveration, serial addition task, color variation, time variation

Retrospective perceptual distortion of position representation does not lead to delayed localization original article

pp. 20-31 | First published on 31 March 2013 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0128-7

Ricky K. C. Au, Fuminori Ono, Katsumi Watanabe


Previous studies have reported retrospective influences of visual events that occur after target events. In the attentional attraction effect, a position cue presented after a target stimulus distorts the target?s position towards that of the cue. The present study explored the temporal relationship between stimulus presentation and reaction time (RT) in this effect in two experiments. Participants performed a speeded localization task on two vertical lines, the positions of which were to be distorted by an additional attentional cue. No significant difference in RTs was found between the conditions with simultaneous and delayed cues. RT was modulated by the perceived (rather than physical) alignment of the lines. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the strength of attentional capture by modulating the color relevance of the cue to the target. Trials with cues producing stronger attentional capture (with cues of a different color from the targets) were found to induce apparently stronger distortion effects. This result favors the notion that the observed repulsion and attraction effects are driven by attentional mechanisms. Overall, the results imply that the attentional shift induced by the cue might occur rapidly and complete before the establishment of conscious location representation of the cue and the target without affecting overall response time.

Keywords: attention, distortion, reaction time, retrospective, space

Comparing the neural correlates of affective and cognitive theory of mind using fMRI: Involvement of the basal ganglia in affective theory of mind original article

pp. 32-43 | First published on 31 March 2013 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0129-6

Maren E. Bodden, Dorothee Kübler, Susanne Knake, Katja Menzler, Johannes T. Heverhagen, Jens Sommer, Elke Kalbe, Sören Krach, Richard Dodel


Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to infer other people's mental states like intentions or desires. ToM can be differentiated into affective (i.e., recognizing the feelings of another person) and cognitive (i.e., inferring the mental state of the counterpart) subcomponents. Recently, subcortical structures such as the basal ganglia (BG) have also been ascribed to the multifaceted concept ToM and most BG disorders have been reported to elicit ToM deficits. In order to assess both the correlates of affective and cognitive ToM as well as involvement of the basal ganglia, 30 healthy participants underwent event-related fMRI scanning, neuropsychological testing, and filled in questionnaires concerning different aspects of ToM and empathy. Directly contrasting affective (aff) as well as cognitive (cog) ToM to the control (phy) condition, activation was found in classical ToM regions, namely parts of the temporal lobe including the superior temporal sulcus, the supplementary motor area, and parietal structures in the right hemisphere. The contrast aff > phy yielded additional activation in the orbitofrontal cortex on the right and the cingulate cortex, the precentral and inferior frontal gyrus and the cerebellum on the left. The right BG were recruited in this contrast as well. The direct contrast aff > cog showed activation in the temporoparietal junction and the cingulate cortex on the right as well as in the left supplementary motor area. The reverse contrast cog > aff however did not yield any significant clusters. In summary, affective and cognitive ToM partly share neural correlates but can also be differentiated anatomically. Furthermore, the BG are involved in affective ToM and thus their contribution is discussed as possibly providing a motor component of simulation processes, particularly in affective ToM.

Keywords: fMRI , affective and cognitive theory of mind, ToM, mentalizing, basal ganglia, simulation, social cognition

Encoding strategy affects false recall and recognition: Evidence from categorical study material original article

pp. 44-52 | First published on 31 March 2013 | DOI:10.5709/acp-0130-0

Justyna Olszewska, Joanna Ulatowska


The present research investigated memory vulnerability to distortions. Different encoding strategies were used when categorized lists were studied. The authors assumed that an imagery strategy would be responsible for decreasing false memories more than a word-whispering strategy, which is consistent with the model of semantic access and previous research in the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm (the DR M paradigm; Deese, 1959; Roediger & McDermott, 1995). A normative study of category lists and 4 experiments were conducted to verify the memory vulnerability to different encoding strategies (imagery, word-whispering, control). Half of subjects recalled and half recognized previously studied words. The results revealed a marked reduction in false recognition and recall after imagery encoding, relative to after word-whispering encoding.

Keywords: false memory, imagery encoding, categorical study lists, mnemonic strategies