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Vanderbilt Vision Seminar Series
March 27, 2017

Jorge Riera Diaz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Florida International University

How Does Biophysical Modeling Help Understand Neuroimaging Data in Epilepsy?


In this presentation I will first demonstrate the importance of ion diffusion when performing brain source analysis using EEG and MEG data. We evaluated the physiological range for ion diffusion in the brain from such an extreme pathological to normal conditions. By introducing a diffusive component in the electrophysiological inverse problem, laminar profiles of the neuronal generators were extracted from combined EEG-MEG data. Second, we found particular dysfunctions in the neuro-vascular/metabolic coupling that impacted on the waveform of the hemodynamic response function (HRF), which is crucial for any fMRI analysis. In particular, we proposed useful methods to separate HRF negativities caused by abnormal hyperemic/metabolic responses in epileptogenic cortical regions from those originated from vascular stealing/leaking effects. Finally, we provided evidence for the importance of modeling the epileptic network in the context of a dynamically evolving system. We conclude that in order to improve neuroimaging protocols currently in use in many hospitals worldwide for defining epileptogenic networks inside the brain, diffusional brain current components and abnormalities in HRF models need to be incorporated.

Quantitative Methods Colloquium Series
March 27, 2017

Quantitative Methods Double Feature: Nathan Kuncel and Pascal Deboeck

Critical thinking in higher education: Meaning and measurement
Nathan Kuncel, University of Minnesota Dept. of Psychology

Everyone wants Critical Thinking. Critical Thinking has been identified as an essential skill for the 21st Century Workforce. Colleges make claims that their graduates are infused with critical thinking. Parents, teachers, and school administrators say they want students to learn critical thinking. But what exactly is this thing? I will discuss a series of studies examining the measurement and meaning of critical thinking in educational, vocational, and everyday life settings. It turns out that critical thinking is both a lot less and a lot more than most people think.

Using derivatives to articulate theories and models of change
Pascal Deboeck, University of Utah Dept. of Psychology

Language plays an important role in the substantive theories we develop, and the statistical models that we choose to test. This presentation will begin by introducing three simple words for describing change — level, velocity, and acceleration. These words can serve to integrate many different, existing models of change into a common framework. Moreover, these words can also allow for the building of novel models of change. An example on peer victimization will be explored to highlight differences between common modeling practices, and the potential perspective gained by using derivatives to articulate theories of change.

Clinical Science Brown bag Series
March 28, 2017

Rebecca Cox

Department of Psychology (Olatunji Lab)

Vanderbilt University


Wilson Hall room 316


“Prospective links between sleep disturbance and maladaptive repetitive thought: Implications for anxiety-related disorders”


Although considerable evidence has linked sleep disturbance to symptoms of psychopathology, including repetitive negative thinking, few studies have examined how sleep disturbance may predict repetitive negative thinking over time. Further, no study to date has examined specific mechanisms that may account for this relationship. The present studies sought to address these gaps in the literature by testing focusing and shifting attentional control as two potential mediators of the relationship between sleep disturbance and repetitive negative thinking over a three- and six-month period. Attentional control refers to an individual's capacity to choose what they pay attention to and what they ignore. Results suggest that focusing, but not shifting, attentional control mediates the relationship between sleep disturbance and repetitive negative thinking, specifically worry, rumination, and obsessions over time. These findings provide preliminary evidence for focusing attentional control as a candidate mechanism that may explain the causal role of sleep disturbance in the development of repetitive negative thinking observed in various anxiety-related disorders

CCN Brown Bag Series
March 29, 2017

Frank Tong

Department of Psychology Tong Lab

Vanderbilt University


Wilson Hall Room 113

“Behavioral characterization and modeling of visual working memory” 

In this talk, I will discuss one branch of my lab's research that focuses on behavioral and psychophysical methods to characterize visual working memory. A key theme will be how much (or how little!) we understand about it, and how best to conceptualize the representations utilized by visual working memory. It is well documented that working memory suffers from a severe capacity limit — it is a central bottleneck of the mind. However, researchers have proposed divergent models to account for the capacity limits of visual working memory, ranging from slot models that propose a discrete item limit to resource-based models that propose no upper bound to the number of items that can be maintained. Critically, most models conceptualize the information stored in working memory in an abstracted manner, without consideration of how the nature of the visual information to be maintained might affect the precision of working memory or the coding of relations between items. Here, I will describe some of our forays into this arena, focusing on the visual orientation as an effective test bed to evaluate and compare current models and to investigate the potential role of grouping/chunking in visual working memory. 

Seminars in Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society
March 29, 2017

Control of Synaptic Connectivity by Astrocytes

Cagla Eroglu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology
Duke University Medical Center

Sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Silvio O. Conte Neuroscience Research Center at Vanderbilt

Neuroscience Brown Bag Series
March 30, 2017

Jennifer Coppola

Department of Psychology

Vanderbilt University


Wilson Hall Room 316

“Dual-immunofluorescence of the m1 acetylcholine receptor and calbindin or calretinin in macaque MT”

Inhibitory interneurons of the primate cortex comprise heterogeneous populations, with considerable structural and functional diversity. Traditionally, these populations were classified based on their morphologies. More recently, immunohistochemical markers have become a prevalent alternative for classification. In the present study, we use calcium-binding protein markers to quantify and characterize expression of the m1 acetylcholine receptor by inhibitory neurons in macaque middle temporal area MT. These results will be compared to known m1 receptor expression by parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons in MT quantified in a previous study. Our results indicate that the majority of calbindin-immunoreactive neurons express the m1 receptor, while only few calretinin-immunoreactive neurons express the m1 receptor. Because of the morphological variation in neurons that express calcium-binding proteins, their activation likely results in different forms of inhibitory regulation of a cortical circuit. As such, variation in the expression of cholinergic receptors by these cell types may result in differences in the neuromodulation of cortical areas exerted by acetylcholine.


Department of Psychology Colloquium Series
March 30, 2017

Jutta Joorman, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Yale University

TITLE:  Cognition and Emotion Regulation in Depression

Sustained negative affect and difficulties experiencing positive affect are hallmark features of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Recent research suggests that difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) are at the core of these cardinal symptoms of MDD with depressed patients exhibiting more frequent use of maladaptive ER and difficulties effectively implementing adaptive strategies. It remains unclear, however, what underlies these difficulties in ER. Cognitive theories of depression have a long tradition of focusing on cognitive factors that increase depression risk and maintain depressive episodes but the link between cognitive and affective aspects of MDD remains to be explored. It is proposed that cognitive biases and deficits in cognitive control putatively associated with depression affect emotion regulation in critical ways thereby setting the stage for maintained negative affect and diminished levels of positive affect. Implications for treatment will be discussed.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

1220 MRB-III


CCN Modeling Meeting
March 31, 2017

Kevin Dieter

Department of Psychology (Blake Lab)

Vanderbilt University


Wilson Hall Room 519

"Psychophysical methods for adaptive threshold measurement"

 In psychology, we frequently want to identify the minimum stimulus conditions necessary to obtain a behavioral effect of interest – that is, we’d like to measure a threshold. However, such measurements can come with a large cost in time, as they are often obtained by exhaustively searching through stimulus space to find conditions of interest. In this presentation, I will overview a few methods (e.g. staircase/QUEST) that can minimize the time needed to experimentally measure thresholds by adaptively selecting stimulus conditions. I will also discuss a few more recent methods (quick CSF, FAST toolbox) that attempt to quickly obtain threshold functions (i.e. psychophysical functions) by estimating their parameters and selecting the most informative stimulus conditions online. My goal is primarily to provide a practical introduction to the advantages and potential pitfalls each of these techniques. I will also provide some basic theoretical background on threshold measurement.

Clinical Science Brown Bag Series
April 4, 2017

Dominique P. Behague

Center for Medicine, Health, and Society

Vanderbilt University Medical School


Wilson Hall Room 316

Title & Abstract TBA

CCN Brown Bag Series
April 5, 2017

Siyuan Yin

Department of Psychology (Trueblood Lab)

Vanderbilt University


Wilson Hall Room 113

Title & Abstract TBA

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