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Neal W. Morton - Dissertation Defense
September 15, 2014

"Developing a Neurocognitive Model of Temporal and Semantic Organization of Memory Search"

Neal W. Morton, Psychology (Professor Sean M. Polyn, Chair of the Ph.D. Committee)

Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Emma Finan
September 16, 2014

Emma Finan, Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Psychosis.

This presentation focuses on evidence based CBT techniques used in psychotherapy for the young person with a first psychotic break, either hospitalized at the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital or attending the Outpatient Psychosis Clinic. It will address particular skills used in dealing with delusions/hallucinations/catatonia/negative symptoms etc. and the nuances involved in dealing with this population compared to other psychiatric disorders. Emphasis will be placed on the transition from inpatient hospitalization to the outpatient setting and how to keep the patient engaged and committed to their ongoing recovery.



CCN Brown Bag Series: Philip Smith
September 17, 2014

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program presents Philip Smith

Wed. 9/17/14

12:10 p.m. Room 115, Wilson Hall

From Shunting Inhibition to Dynamic Normalization: Attentional Selection and Decision-Making in Brief Visual Displays

Normalization models of visual sensitivity assume that the response of a visual mechanism is scaled divisively by the sum of the activity in the excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in its neighborhood. Normalization models of attention assume that the weighting of excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms is modulated by attention. Such models have provided explanations of the effects of attention in both behavioral and single-cell recording studies. In this talk, I discuss how normalization models can be obtained as the asymptotic solutions of shunting differential equations, in which stimulus inputs and the activity in the mechanism control growth rates multiplicatively rather than additively.

The value of the shunting equation approach is that it characterizes the entire time course of the response, not just its asymptotic strength. I describe two models of attention based on shunting dynamics, the integrated system model of Smith and Ratcliff (Psychological Review,

2009) and the competitive interaction theory of Smith and Sewell (Psychological Review, 2013). These models assume that attention, stimulus salience, and the observer's strategy for the task determine the selection of stimuli into visual short-term memory (VSTM) and way in which stimulus representations are weighted. The models provide a unified account of a variety of accuracy and RT findings from simple attentional tasks.



Neuroscience Seminar: Keji Li
September 18, 2014

Keji Li, Department of Psychology (Casagrande Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Pulvinar projection to V1 layer 1 in primate

The lateral pulvinar (PL) forms reciprocal connections with V1 in primates. The projections from pulvinar to V1 end mostly in layer 1 (Ogren and Hendrickson, 1977) where they are able to excite pyramidal neurons in layer 2/3 (Purushothaman et al., 2012), the output neurons to higher order cortical areas. This input must overcome the heavy inhibition on layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons (Holmgren et al., 2003) to contribute to V1 output. However, little has been known beyond the existence of this projection.

V1 layer 1 primarily contains GABAergic interneurons (Gupta et al., 2000) including single bouquet cells (SBC) and neurogliaform cells (NGFC), as well as the apical dendrites of pyramidal cells in layer 2/3 and layer 5. There are a number of ways in which PL projections could positively influence V1 output. PL synapsing directly with pyramidal output cells could boost output signals directly. SBC synapses with other interneurons, and could disinhibit pyramidal cells (Jiang et al., 2013). Metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGluR2) is expressed heavily in V1 layer 1. This receptor is mostly expressed post-synaptically in sensory cortex, and triggers hyperpolarization in glutamatergic synapses. Such synapses could mediate direct disinhibition of output pyramidal cells from glutamatergic pulvinar input, with only on stage of GABAergic interneurons.

Under light and electron microscope, we examined 1) the morphology and distribution of pulvinar projection axons in V1, and 2) whether pulvinar projections to V1 form direct connections with pyramidal cells or with interneurons, in the primate bush baby. We used biotinylated dextran amine for anterograde tracer, and small pressure injections in the pulvinar that is restricted to the near-central representation of the dorsal map in pulvinar (Li et al., 2013), which is architectonically in the lateral pulvinar (PL).

We have found that PL projection to V1 branch almost exclusively in the upper half of V1 layer 1, with en passant boutons and rare branches in layer 2/3. Boutons made by pulvinar projection to layer 1 are significantly smaller than those formed by pulvinar projection to V2 layer 4. At EM level, pulvinar axons were found to only synapse with the spine of non-GABAergic, presumably pyramidal cells, instead of interneurons dendritic shaft or soma.





Roberta Golinkoff - Putting the education back into 'educational' apps
September 19, 2014

Department of Psychology & Human Development: Cognitive Science of Learning and Development Talk Series

Hosting: Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., H. Rodney Sharp Professor, Director, UD Infant Language Project, University of Delaware

Lecture: Putting the education back into "educational apps"

Children are amidst a vast unplanned experiment, surrounded by digital technologies unavailable even five years ago. At the apex of this boom is the introduction of applications (“apps”) for tablet-based and smartphone devices many of which are so-called “educational apps” proliferating at an increasing rate. Parents often think that their children are learning a good deal from computer-based games and apps on topics like reading, vocabulary and mathematics even though many of these “educational” programs have yet to be tested or even informed by research in the science of learning. Building upon decades of work examining the ways in which children learn best, we will present a set of principles designed to guide researchers, parents, educators, and designers in evidence-based app development. In short, we hope to demonstrate how our science can help align the design and use of educational apps with known processes of children’s learning and development.

Department of Psychology Special Seminar: Frederick Verbruggen
September 19, 2014

2014 Randolph Blake Early Career Award Winner

Frederick Verbruggen, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Psychology, University of Exeter

115 Wilson Hall

Banishing the control homunculi in studies of action control and behaviour change

For centuries, human self-control has fascinated scientists and nonscientists alike. Current theories often attribute it to an executive control system. But even though executive control receives a great deal of attention across disciplines, most aspects of it are still poorly understood. Many theories rely on an ill-defined set of ‘homunculi’ doing jobs like 'response inhibition' or ‘updating’ without explaining how they do so. Furthermore, it is not always appreciated that control takes place across different time-scales. These two issues hamper major advances. In this presentation, I will focus on the mechanistic basis for the executive control of actions, and stopping in particular. I propose an integrated account of action control that includes the processes of attentional selection, action selection, and action execution. These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working- and long-term memory. I will also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatised with practice. Finally, I will discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel ‘behavioural change’ interventions. 


Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Laura Hieber
September 23, 2014

Laura Hieber, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

CCN Brown Bag Series: Rob Reinhart
September 24, 2014

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program presents Rob Reinhart, Department of Psychology (Woodman Lab), Vanderbilt University

Wed. 9/24/14


WH 115

Electrical stimulation repairs executive dysfunction in schizophrenia

Approximately 25 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia, yet current knowledge of the illness and conventional treatment options are limited. Here we show that noninvasive electrical brain stimulation can effectively reduce some of the executive control deficits in schizophrenia. We found that transcranial direct-current stimulation over the medial-frontal cortex increased neural activity related to error processing in schizophrenia patients, which is characteristically reduced or absent in the illness. Second, this manipulation of medial-frontal activity caused improvements in a number of behavioral metrics of adaptive control, including task accuracy, the corrective behavior following an error, and learning rates. Third, the electrophysiology and behavior related to executive functioning in schizophrenia patients after stimulation were quantitatively indistinguishable from that of healthy participants. These results suggest an approach for remediating disrupted reward prediction error dopamine related signaling in schizophrenia. These results may have direct application to future intervention therapy development for patients with psychiatric illnesses.



Neuroscience Seminar: Jane Burton
September 25, 2014

Jane Burton, Department of Hearing & Speak (Ramachandran Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Cecilia Mo
September 30, 2014

Cecilia Mo, Political Science Department, Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall 

Title and abstract TBA

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