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Sample records for songbird sensorimotor learning

  1. Advantages of comparative studies in songbirds to understand the neural basis of sensorimotor integration.

    Murphy, Karagh; James, Logan S; Sakata, Jon T; Prather, Jonathan F

    2017-08-01

    Sensorimotor integration is the process through which the nervous system creates a link between motor commands and associated sensory feedback. This process allows for the acquisition and refinement of many behaviors, including learned communication behaviors such as speech and birdsong. Consequently, it is important to understand fundamental mechanisms of sensorimotor integration, and comparative analyses of this process can provide vital insight. Songbirds offer a powerful comparative model system to study how the nervous system links motor and sensory information for learning and control. This is because the acquisition, maintenance, and control of birdsong critically depend on sensory feedback. Furthermore, there is an incredible diversity of song organizations across songbird species, ranging from songs with simple, stereotyped sequences to songs with complex sequencing of vocal gestures, as well as a wide diversity of song repertoire sizes. Despite this diversity, the neural circuitry for song learning, control, and maintenance remains highly similar across species. Here, we highlight the utility of songbirds for the analysis of sensorimotor integration and the insights about mechanisms of sensorimotor integration gained by comparing different songbird species. Key conclusions from this comparative analysis are that variation in song sequence complexity seems to covary with the strength of feedback signals in sensorimotor circuits and that sensorimotor circuits contain distinct representations of elements in the vocal repertoire, possibly enabling evolutionary variation in repertoire sizes. We conclude our review by highlighting important areas of research that could benefit from increased comparative focus, with particular emphasis on the integration of new technologies. Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.

  2. A sensorimotor area in the songbird brain is required for production of vocalizations in the song learning period of development.

    Piristine, Hande C; Choetso, Tenzin; Gobes, Sharon M H

    2016-11-01

    Sensory feedback is essential for acquiring and maintaining complex motor behaviors, including birdsong. In zebra finches, auditory feedback reaches the song control circuits primarily through the nucleus interfacialis nidopalii (Nif), which provides excitatory input to HVC (proper name)-a premotor region essential for the production of learned vocalizations. Despite being one of the major inputs to the song control pathway, the role of Nif in generating vocalizations is not well understood. To address this, we transiently inactivated Nif in late juvenile zebra finches. Upon Nif inactivation (in both hemispheres or on one side only), birds went from singing stereotyped zebra finch song to uttering highly variable and unstructured vocalizations resembling sub-song, an early juvenile song form driven by a basal ganglia circuit. Simultaneously inactivating Nif and LMAN (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), the output nucleus of a basal ganglia circuit, inhibited song production altogether. These results suggest that Nif is required for generating the premotor drive for song. Permanent Nif lesions, in contrast, have only transient effects on vocal production, with song recovering within a day. The sensorimotor nucleus Nif thus produces a premotor drive to the motor pathway that is acutely required for generating learned vocalizations, but once permanently removed, the song system can compensate for its absence. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 76: 1213-1225, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Circuit mechanisms of sensorimotor learning

    Makino, Hiroshi; Hwang, Eun Jung; Hedrick, Nathan G.; Komiyama, Takaki

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY The relationship between the brain and the environment is flexible, forming the foundation for our ability to learn. Here we review the current state of our understanding of the modifications in the sensorimotor pathway related to sensorimotor learning. We divide the process in three hierarchical levels with distinct goals: 1) sensory perceptual learning, 2) sensorimotor associative learning, and 3) motor skill learning. Perceptual learning optimizes the representations of important sensory stimuli. Associative learning and the initial phase of motor skill learning are ensured by feedback-based mechanisms that permit trial-and-error learning. The later phase of motor skill learning may primarily involve feedback-independent mechanisms operating under the classic Hebbian rule. With these changes under distinct constraints and mechanisms, sensorimotor learning establishes dedicated circuitry for the reproduction of stereotyped neural activity patterns and behavior. PMID:27883902

  4. Learning-related brain hemispheric dominance in sleeping songbirds.

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M H; van de Kamp, Ferdinand C; Zandbergen, Matthijs A; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2015-03-12

    There are striking behavioural and neural parallels between the acquisition of speech in humans and song learning in songbirds. In humans, language-related brain activation is mostly lateralised to the left hemisphere. During language acquisition in humans, brain hemispheric lateralisation develops as language proficiency increases. Sleep is important for the formation of long-term memory, in humans as well as in other animals, including songbirds. Here, we measured neuronal activation (as the expression pattern of the immediate early gene ZENK) during sleep in juvenile zebra finch males that were still learning their songs from a tutor. We found that during sleep, there was learning-dependent lateralisation of spontaneous neuronal activation in the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), a secondary auditory brain region that is involved in tutor song memory, while there was right hemisphere dominance of neuronal activation in HVC (used as a proper name), a premotor nucleus that is involved in song production and sensorimotor learning. Specifically, in the NCM, birds that imitated their tutors well were left dominant, while poor imitators were right dominant, similar to language-proficiency related lateralisation in humans. Given the avian-human parallels, lateralised neural activation during sleep may also be important for speech and language acquisition in human infants.

  5. Learning-related brain hemispheric dominance in sleeping songbirds

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M. H.; van de Kamp, Ferdinand C.; Zandbergen, Matthijs A.; Bolhuis, Johan J.

    2015-01-01

    There are striking behavioural and neural parallels between the acquisition of speech in humans and song learning in songbirds. In humans, language-related brain activation is mostly lateralised to the left hemisphere. During language acquisition in humans, brain hemispheric lateralisation develops as language proficiency increases. Sleep is important for the formation of long-term memory, in humans as well as in other animals, including songbirds. Here, we measured neuronal activation (as the expression pattern of the immediate early gene ZENK) during sleep in juvenile zebra finch males that were still learning their songs from a tutor. We found that during sleep, there was learning-dependent lateralisation of spontaneous neuronal activation in the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), a secondary auditory brain region that is involved in tutor song memory, while there was right hemisphere dominance of neuronal activation in HVC (used as a proper name), a premotor nucleus that is involved in song production and sensorimotor learning. Specifically, in the NCM, birds that imitated their tutors well were left dominant, while poor imitators were right dominant, similar to language-proficiency related lateralisation in humans. Given the avian-human parallels, lateralised neural activation during sleep may also be important for speech and language acquisition in human infants. PMID:25761654

  6. Social modulation of learned behavior by dopamine in the basal ganglia: insights from songbirds.

    Leblois, Arthur

    2013-06-01

    Dysfunction of the dopaminergic system leads to motor, cognitive, and motivational symptoms in brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease. The basal ganglia (BG) are involved in sensorimotor learning and receive a strong dopaminergic signal, shown to play an important role in social interactions. The function of the dopaminergic input to the BG in the integration of social cues during sensorimotor learning remains however largely unexplored. Songbirds use learned vocalizations to communicate during courtship and aggressive behaviors. Like language learning in humans, song learning strongly depends on social interactions. In songbirds, a specialized BG-thalamo-cortical loop devoted to song is particularly tractable for elucidating the signals carried by dopamine in the BG, and the function of dopamine signaling in mediating social cues during skill learning and execution. Here, I review experimental findings uncovering the physiological effects and function of the dopaminergic signal in the songbird BG, in light of our knowledge of the BG-dopamine interactions in mammals. Interestingly, the compact nature of the striato-pallidal circuits in birds led to new insight on the physiological effects of the dopaminergic input on the BG network as a whole. In singing birds, D1-like receptor agonist and antagonist can modulate the spectral variability of syllables bi-directionally, suggesting that social context-dependent changes in spectral variability are triggered by dopaminergic input through D1-like receptors. As variability is crucial for exploration during motor learning, but must be reduced after learning to optimize performance, I propose that, the dopaminergic input to the BG could be responsible for the social-dependent regulation of the exploration/exploitation balance in birdsong, and possibly in learned skills in other vertebrates. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Learning-related brain hemispheric dominance in sleeping songbirds

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M H; van de Kamp, Ferdinand C; Zandbergen, Matthijs A; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2015-01-01

    There are striking behavioural and neural parallels between the acquisition of speech in humans and song learning in songbirds. In humans, language-related brain activation is mostly lateralised to the left hemisphere. During language acquisition in humans, brain hemispheric lateralisation develops

  8. Sensorimotor Learning: Neurocognitive Mechanisms and Individual Differences.

    Seidler, R D; Carson, R G

    2017-07-13

    Here we provide an overview of findings and viewpoints on the mechanisms of sensorimotor learning presented at the 2016 Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement (BANCOM) conference in Deer Creek, OH. This field has shown substantial growth in the past couple of decades. For example it is now well accepted that neural systems outside of primary motor pathways play a role in learning. Frontoparietal and anterior cingulate networks contribute to sensorimotor adaptation, reflecting strategic aspects of exploration and learning. Longer term training results in functional and morphological changes in primary motor and somatosensory cortices. Interestingly, re-engagement of strategic processes once a skill has become well learned may disrupt performance. Efforts to predict individual differences in learning rate have enhanced our understanding of the neural, behavioral, and genetic factors underlying skilled human performance. Access to genomic analyses has dramatically increased over the past several years. This has enhanced our understanding of cellular processes underlying the expression of human behavior, including involvement of various neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes. Surprisingly our field has been slow to adopt such approaches in studying neural control, although this work does require much larger sample sizes than are typically used to investigate skill learning. We advocate that individual differences approaches can lead to new insights into human sensorimotor performance. Moreover, a greater understanding of the factors underlying the wide range of performance capabilities seen across individuals can promote personalized medicine and refinement of rehabilitation strategies, which stand to be more effective than "one size fits all" treatments.

  9. Models of vocal learning in the songbird: Historical frameworks and the stabilizing critic.

    Nick, Teresa A

    2015-10-01

    Birdsong is a form of sensorimotor learning that involves a mirror-like system that activates with both song hearing and production. Early models of song learning, based on behavioral measures, identified key features of vocal plasticity, such as the requirements for memorization of a tutor song and auditory feedback during song practice. The concept of a comparator, which compares the memory of the tutor song to auditory feedback, featured prominently. Later models focused on linking anatomically-defined neural modules to behavioral concepts, such as the comparator. Exploiting the anatomical modularity of the songbird brain, localized lesions illuminated mechanisms of the neural song system. More recent models have integrated neuronal mechanisms identified in other systems with observations in songbirds. While these models explain multiple aspects of song learning, they must incorporate computational elements based on unknown biological mechanisms to bridge the motor-to-sensory delay and/or transform motor signals into the sensory domain. Here, I introduce the stabilizing critic hypothesis, which enables sensorimotor learning by (1) placing a purely sensory comparator afferent of the song system and (2) endowing song system disinhibitory interneuron networks with the capacity both to bridge the motor-sensory delay through prolonged bursting and to stabilize song segments selectively based on the comparator signal. These proposed networks stabilize an otherwise variable signal generated by both putative mirror neurons and a cortical-basal ganglia-thalamic loop. This stabilized signal then temporally converges with a matched premotor signal in the efferent song motor cortex, promoting spike-timing-dependent plasticity in the premotor circuitry and behavioral song learning. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. Sensorimotor learning and the ontogeny of the mirror neuron system

    Catmur, C

    2013-01-01

    Mirror neurons, which have now been found in the human and songbird as well as the macaque, respond to both the observation and the performance of the same action. It has been suggested that their matching response properties have evolved as an adaptation for action understanding; alternatively, these properties may arise through sensorimotor experience. Here I review mirror neuron response characteristics from the perspective of ontogeny; I discuss the limited evidence for mirror neurons in ...

  11. Mechanisms underlying the social enhancement of vocal learning in songbirds.

    Chen, Yining; Matheson, Laura E; Sakata, Jon T

    2016-06-14

    Social processes profoundly influence speech and language acquisition. Despite the importance of social influences, little is known about how social interactions modulate vocal learning. Like humans, songbirds learn their vocalizations during development, and they provide an excellent opportunity to reveal mechanisms of social influences on vocal learning. Using yoked experimental designs, we demonstrate that social interactions with adult tutors for as little as 1 d significantly enhanced vocal learning. Social influences on attention to song seemed central to the social enhancement of learning because socially tutored birds were more attentive to the tutor's songs than passively tutored birds, and because variation in attentiveness and in the social modulation of attention significantly predicted variation in vocal learning. Attention to song was influenced by both the nature and amount of tutor song: Pupils paid more attention to songs that tutors directed at them and to tutors that produced fewer songs. Tutors altered their song structure when directing songs at pupils in a manner that resembled how humans alter their vocalizations when speaking to infants, that was distinct from how tutors changed their songs when singing to females, and that could influence attention and learning. Furthermore, social interactions that rapidly enhanced learning increased the activity of noradrenergic and dopaminergic midbrain neurons. These data highlight striking parallels between humans and songbirds in the social modulation of vocal learning and suggest that social influences on attention and midbrain circuitry could represent shared mechanisms underlying the social modulation of vocal learning.

  12. Mosaic model for sensorimotor learning and control.

    Haruno, M; Wolpert, D M; Kawato, M

    2001-10-01

    Humans demonstrate a remarkable ability to generate accurate and appropriate motor behavior under many different and often uncertain environmental conditions. We previously proposed a new modular architecture, the modular selection and identification for control (MOSAIC) model, for motor learning and control based on multiple pairs of forward (predictor) and inverse (controller) models. The architecture simultaneously learns the multiple inverse models necessary for control as well as how to select the set of inverse models appropriate for a given environment. It combines both feedforward and feedback sensorimotor information so that the controllers can be selected both prior to movement and subsequently during movement. This article extends and evaluates the MOSAIC architecture in the following respects. The learning in the architecture was implemented by both the original gradient-descent method and the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. Unlike gradient descent, the newly derived EM algorithm is robust to the initial starting conditions and learning parameters. Second, simulations of an object manipulation task prove that the architecture can learn to manipulate multiple objects and switch between them appropriately. Moreover, after learning, the model shows generalization to novel objects whose dynamics lie within the polyhedra of already learned dynamics. Finally, when each of the dynamics is associated with a particular object shape, the model is able to select the appropriate controller before movement execution. When presented with a novel shape-dynamic pairing, inappropriate activation of modules is observed followed by on-line correction.

  13. Sensorimotor learning and the ontogeny of the mirror neuron system.

    Catmur, Caroline

    2013-04-12

    Mirror neurons, which have now been found in the human and songbird as well as the macaque, respond to both the observation and the performance of the same action. It has been suggested that their matching response properties have evolved as an adaptation for action understanding; alternatively, these properties may arise through sensorimotor experience. Here I review mirror neuron response characteristics from the perspective of ontogeny; I discuss the limited evidence for mirror neurons in early development; and I describe the growing body of evidence suggesting that mirror neuron responses can be modified through experience, and that sensorimotor experience is the critical type of experience for producing mirror neuron responses. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Transfer of learned perception of sensorimotor simultaneity.

    Pesavento, Michael J; Schlag, John

    2006-10-01

    Synchronizing a motor response to a predictable sensory stimulus, like a periodic flash or click, relies on feedback (somesthetic, auditory, visual, or other) from the motor response. Practically, this results in a small (<50 ms) asynchrony in which the motor response leads the sensory event. Here we show that the perceived simultaneity in a coincidence-anticipation task (line crossing) is affected by changing the perceived simultaneity in a different task (pacing). In the pace task, human subjects were instructed to press a key in perfect synchrony with a red square flashed every second. In training sessions, feedback was provided by flashing a blue square with each key press, below the red square. There were two types of training pace sessions: one in which the feedback was provided with no delay, the other (adapting), in which the feedback was progressively delayed (up to 100 ms). Subjects' asynchrony was unchanged in the first case, but it was significantly increased in the pace task with delay. In the coincidence-anticipation task, a horizontally moving vertical bar crossed a vertical line in the middle of a screen. Subjects were instructed to press a key exactly when the bar crossed the line. They were given no feedback on their performance. Asynchrony on the line-crossing task was tested after the training pace task with feedback. We found that this asynchrony to be significantly increased even though there never was any feedback on the coincidence-anticipation task itself. Subjects were not aware that their sensorimotor asynchrony had been lengthened (sometimes doubled). We conclude that perception of simultaneity in a sensorimotor task is learned. If this perception is caused by coincidence of signals in the brain, the timing of these signals depends on something-acquired by experience-more adaptable than physiological latencies.

  15. Sensorimotor learning configures the human mirror system.

    Catmur, Caroline; Walsh, Vincent; Heyes, Cecilia

    2007-09-04

    Cells in the "mirror system" fire not only when an individual performs an action but also when one observes the same action performed by another agent [1-4]. The mirror system, found in premotor and parietal cortices of human and monkey brains, is thought to provide the foundation for social understanding and to enable the development of theory of mind and language [5-9]. However, it is unclear how mirror neurons acquire their mirror properties -- how they derive the information necessary to match observed with executed actions [10]. We address this by showing that it is possible to manipulate the selectivity of the human mirror system, and thereby make it operate as a countermirror system, by giving participants training to perform one action while observing another. Before this training, participants showed event-related muscle-specific responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation over motor cortex during observation of little- and index-finger movements [11-13]. After training, this normal mirror effect was reversed. These results indicate that the mirror properties of the mirror system are neither wholly innate [14] nor fixed once acquired; instead they develop through sensorimotor learning [15, 16]. Our findings indicate that the human mirror system is, to some extent, both a product and a process of social interaction.

  16. Auditory-vocal mirroring in songbirds.

    Mooney, Richard

    2014-01-01

    Mirror neurons are theorized to serve as a neural substrate for spoken language in humans, but the existence and functions of auditory-vocal mirror neurons in the human brain remain largely matters of speculation. Songbirds resemble humans in their capacity for vocal learning and depend on their learned songs to facilitate courtship and individual recognition. Recent neurophysiological studies have detected putative auditory-vocal mirror neurons in a sensorimotor region of the songbird's brain that plays an important role in expressive and receptive aspects of vocal communication. This review discusses the auditory and motor-related properties of these cells, considers their potential role on song learning and communication in relation to classical studies of birdsong, and points to the circuit and developmental mechanisms that may give rise to auditory-vocal mirroring in the songbird's brain.

  17. Auditory–vocal mirroring in songbirds

    Mooney, Richard

    2014-01-01

    Mirror neurons are theorized to serve as a neural substrate for spoken language in humans, but the existence and functions of auditory–vocal mirror neurons in the human brain remain largely matters of speculation. Songbirds resemble humans in their capacity for vocal learning and depend on their learned songs to facilitate courtship and individual recognition. Recent neurophysiological studies have detected putative auditory–vocal mirror neurons in a sensorimotor region of the songbird's brain that plays an important role in expressive and receptive aspects of vocal communication. This review discusses the auditory and motor-related properties of these cells, considers their potential role on song learning and communication in relation to classical studies of birdsong, and points to the circuit and developmental mechanisms that may give rise to auditory–vocal mirroring in the songbird's brain. PMID:24778375

  18. Neural Correlates of Auditory Processing, Learning and Memory Formation in Songbirds

    Pinaud, R.; Terleph, T. A.; Wynne, R. D.; Tremere, L. A.

    Songbirds have emerged as powerful experimental models for the study of auditory processing of complex natural communication signals. Intact hearing is necessary for several behaviors in developing and adult animals including vocal learning, territorial defense, mate selection and individual recognition. These behaviors are thought to require the processing, discrimination and memorization of songs. Although much is known about the brain circuits that participate in sensorimotor (auditory-vocal) integration, especially the ``song-control" system, less is known about the anatomical and functional organization of central auditory pathways. Here we discuss findings associated with a telencephalic auditory area known as the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM). NCM has attracted significant interest as it exhibits functional properties that may support higher order auditory functions such as stimulus discrimination and the formation of auditory memories. NCM neurons are vigorously dr iven by auditory stimuli. Interestingly, these responses are selective to conspecific, relative to heterospecific songs and artificial stimuli. In addition, forms of experience-dependent plasticity occur in NCM and are song-specific. Finally, recent experiments employing high-throughput quantitative proteomics suggest that complex protein regulatory pathways are engaged in NCM as a result of auditory experience. These molecular cascades are likely central to experience-associated plasticity of NCM circuitry and may be part of a network of calcium-driven molecular events that support the formation of auditory memory traces.

  19. Pattern-Induced Covert Category Learning in Songbirds.

    Comins, Jordan A; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2015-07-20

    Language is uniquely human, but its acquisition may involve cognitive capacities shared with other species. During development, language experience alters speech sound (phoneme) categorization. Newborn infants distinguish the phonemes in all languages but by 10 months show adult-like greater sensitivity to native language phonemic contrasts than non-native contrasts. Distributional theories account for phonetic learning by positing that infants infer category boundaries from modal distributions of speech sounds along acoustic continua. For example, tokens of the sounds /b/ and /p/ cluster around different mean voice onset times. To disambiguate overlapping distributions, contextual theories propose that phonetic category learning is informed by higher-level patterns (e.g., words) in which phonemes normally occur. For example, the vowel sounds /Ι/ and /e/ can occupy similar perceptual spaces but can be distinguished in the context of "with" and "well." Both distributional and contextual cues appear to function in speech acquisition. Non-human species also benefit from distributional cues for category learning, but whether category learning benefits from contextual information in non-human animals is unknown. The use of higher-level patterns to guide lower-level category learning may reflect uniquely human capacities tied to language acquisition or more general learning abilities reflecting shared neurobiological mechanisms. Using songbirds, European starlings, we show that higher-level pattern learning covertly enhances categorization of the natural communication sounds. This observation mirrors the support for contextual theories of phonemic category learning in humans and demonstrates a general form of learning not unique to humans or language. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Sensorimotor Learning during a Marksmanship Task in Immersive Virtual Reality.

    Rao, Hrishikesh M; Khanna, Rajan; Zielinski, David J; Lu, Yvonne; Clements, Jillian M; Potter, Nicholas D; Sommer, Marc A; Kopper, Regis; Appelbaum, Lawrence G

    2018-01-01

    Sensorimotor learning refers to improvements that occur through practice in the performance of sensory-guided motor behaviors. Leveraging novel technical capabilities of an immersive virtual environment, we probed the component kinematic processes that mediate sensorimotor learning. Twenty naïve subjects performed a simulated marksmanship task modeled after Olympic Trap Shooting standards. We measured movement kinematics and shooting performance as participants practiced 350 trials while receiving trial-by-trial feedback about shooting success. Spatiotemporal analysis of motion tracking elucidated the ballistic and refinement phases of hand movements. We found systematic changes in movement kinematics that accompanied improvements in shot accuracy during training, though reaction and response times did not change over blocks. In particular, we observed longer, slower, and more precise ballistic movements that replaced effort spent on corrections and refinement. Collectively, these results leverage developments in immersive virtual reality technology to quantify and compare the kinematics of movement during early learning of full-body sensorimotor orienting.

  1. Sensorimotor Learning in a Computerized Athletic Training Battery.

    Krasich, Kristina; Ramger, Ben; Holton, Laura; Wang, Lingling; Mitroff, Stephen R; Gregory Appelbaum, L

    2016-01-01

    Sensorimotor abilities are crucial for performance in athletic, military, and other occupational activities, and there is great interest in understanding learning in these skills. Here, behavioral performance was measured over three days as twenty-seven participants practiced multiple sessions on the Nike SPARQ Sensory Station (Nike, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon), a computerized visual and motor assessment battery. Wrist-worn actigraphy was recorded to monitor sleep-wake cycles. Significant learning was observed in tasks with high visuomotor control demands but not in tasks of visual sensitivity. Learning was primarily linear, with up to 60% improvement, but did not relate to sleep quality in this normal-sleeping population. These results demonstrate differences in the rate and capacity for learning across perceptual and motor domains, indicating potential targets for sensorimotor training interventions.

  2. Sensorimotor Learning during a Marksmanship Task in Immersive Virtual Reality

    Hrishikesh M. Rao

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Sensorimotor learning refers to improvements that occur through practice in the performance of sensory-guided motor behaviors. Leveraging novel technical capabilities of an immersive virtual environment, we probed the component kinematic processes that mediate sensorimotor learning. Twenty naïve subjects performed a simulated marksmanship task modeled after Olympic Trap Shooting standards. We measured movement kinematics and shooting performance as participants practiced 350 trials while receiving trial-by-trial feedback about shooting success. Spatiotemporal analysis of motion tracking elucidated the ballistic and refinement phases of hand movements. We found systematic changes in movement kinematics that accompanied improvements in shot accuracy during training, though reaction and response times did not change over blocks. In particular, we observed longer, slower, and more precise ballistic movements that replaced effort spent on corrections and refinement. Collectively, these results leverage developments in immersive virtual reality technology to quantify and compare the kinematics of movement during early learning of full-body sensorimotor orienting.

  3. A memory of errors in sensorimotor learning.

    Herzfeld, David J; Vaswani, Pavan A; Marko, Mollie K; Shadmehr, Reza

    2014-09-12

    The current view of motor learning suggests that when we revisit a task, the brain recalls the motor commands it previously learned. In this view, motor memory is a memory of motor commands, acquired through trial-and-error and reinforcement. Here we show that the brain controls how much it is willing to learn from the current error through a principled mechanism that depends on the history of past errors. This suggests that the brain stores a previously unknown form of memory, a memory of errors. A mathematical formulation of this idea provides insights into a host of puzzling experimental data, including savings and meta-learning, demonstrating that when we are better at a motor task, it is partly because the brain recognizes the errors it experienced before. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  4. Common features of neural activity during singing and sleep periods in a basal ganglia nucleus critical for vocal learning in a juvenile songbird.

    Shin Yanagihara

    Full Text Available Reactivations of waking experiences during sleep have been considered fundamental neural processes for memory consolidation. In songbirds, evidence suggests the importance of sleep-related neuronal activity in song system motor pathway nuclei for both juvenile vocal learning and maintenance of adult song. Like those in singing motor nuclei, neurons in the basal ganglia nucleus Area X, part of the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit essential for vocal plasticity, exhibit singing-related activity. It is unclear, however, whether Area X neurons show any distinctive spiking activity during sleep similar to that during singing. Here we demonstrate that, during sleep, Area X pallidal neurons exhibit phasic spiking activity, which shares some firing properties with activity during singing. Shorter interspike intervals that almost exclusively occurred during singing in awake periods were also observed during sleep. The level of firing variability was consistently higher during singing and sleep than during awake non-singing states. Moreover, deceleration of firing rate, which is considered to be an important firing property for transmitting signals from Area X to the thalamic nucleus DLM, was observed mainly during sleep as well as during singing. These results suggest that songbird basal ganglia circuitry may be involved in the off-line processing potentially critical for vocal learning during sensorimotor learning phase.

  5. Learning to perceive in the sensorimotor approach: Piaget's theory of equilibration interpreted dynamically

    Ezequiel Alejandro Di Paolo

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Learning to perceive faces a classical paradox: if understanding is required for perception, how can we learn to perceive something new, something we do not yet understand? According to the sensorimotor approach, perception involves mastery of regular sensorimotor co-variations that depend on the agent and the environment, also known as the ‘laws’ of sensorimotor contingencies. In this sense, perception involves enacting relevant sensorimotor skills in each situation. It is important for this proposal that such skills can be learned and refined with experience and yet up to this date, the sensorimotor approach has had no explicit theory of perceptual learning. The situation is made more complex if we acknowledge the open-ended nature of human learning. In this paper we propose Piaget’s theory of equilibration as a potential candidate to fulfill this role. This theory highlights the importance of intrinsic sensorimotor norms, in terms of the closure of sensorimotor schemes. It also explains how the equilibration of a sensorimotor organization faced with novelty or breakdowns proceeds by re-shaping pre-existing structures in coupling with dynamical regularities of the world. This way learning to perceive is guided by the equilibration of emerging forms of skillful coping with the world. We demonstrate the compatibility between Piaget’s theory and the sensorimotor approach by providing a dynamical formalization of equilibration to give an explicit micro-genetic account of sensorimotor learning and, by extension, of how we learn to perceive. This allows us to draw important lessons in the form of general principles for open-ended sensorimotor learning, including the need for an intrinsic normative evaluation by the agent itself. We also explore implications of our micro-genetic account at the personal level.

  6. Sensorimotor learning biases choice behavior: a learning neural field model for decision making.

    Christian Klaes

    Full Text Available According to a prominent view of sensorimotor processing in primates, selection and specification of possible actions are not sequential operations. Rather, a decision for an action emerges from competition between different movement plans, which are specified and selected in parallel. For action choices which are based on ambiguous sensory input, the frontoparietal sensorimotor areas are considered part of the common underlying neural substrate for selection and specification of action. These areas have been shown capable of encoding alternative spatial motor goals in parallel during movement planning, and show signatures of competitive value-based selection among these goals. Since the same network is also involved in learning sensorimotor associations, competitive action selection (decision making should not only be driven by the sensory evidence and expected reward in favor of either action, but also by the subject's learning history of different sensorimotor associations. Previous computational models of competitive neural decision making used predefined associations between sensory input and corresponding motor output. Such hard-wiring does not allow modeling of how decisions are influenced by sensorimotor learning or by changing reward contingencies. We present a dynamic neural field model which learns arbitrary sensorimotor associations with a reward-driven Hebbian learning algorithm. We show that the model accurately simulates the dynamics of action selection with different reward contingencies, as observed in monkey cortical recordings, and that it correctly predicted the pattern of choice errors in a control experiment. With our adaptive model we demonstrate how network plasticity, which is required for association learning and adaptation to new reward contingencies, can influence choice behavior. The field model provides an integrated and dynamic account for the operations of sensorimotor integration, working memory and action

  7. Learning to perceive in the sensorimotor approach: Piaget's theory of equilibration interpreted dynamically.

    Di Paolo, Ezequiel Alejandro; Barandiaran, Xabier E; Beaton, Michael; Buhrmann, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    if understanding is required for perception, how can we learn to perceive something new, something we do not yet understand? According to the sensorimotor approach, perception involves mastery of regular sensorimotor co-variations that depend on the agent and the environment, also known as the "laws" of sensorimotor contingencies (SMCs). In this sense, perception involves enacting relevant sensorimotor skills in each situation. It is important for this proposal that such skills can be learned and refined with experience and yet up to this date, the sensorimotor approach has had no explicit theory of perceptual learning. The situation is made more complex if we acknowledge the open-ended nature of human learning. In this paper we propose Piaget's theory of equilibration as a potential candidate to fulfill this role. This theory highlights the importance of intrinsic sensorimotor norms, in terms of the closure of sensorimotor schemes. It also explains how the equilibration of a sensorimotor organization faced with novelty or breakdowns proceeds by re-shaping pre-existing structures in coupling with dynamical regularities of the world. This way learning to perceive is guided by the equilibration of emerging forms of skillful coping with the world. We demonstrate the compatibility between Piaget's theory and the sensorimotor approach by providing a dynamical formalization of equilibration to give an explicit micro-genetic account of sensorimotor learning and, by extension, of how we learn to perceive. This allows us to draw important lessons in the form of general principles for open-ended sensorimotor learning, including the need for an intrinsic normative evaluation by the agent itself. We also explore implications of our micro-genetic account at the personal level.

  8. Sensorimotor learning in Dab1(scm) (scrambler) mutant mice.

    Lalonde, R; Strazielle, C

    2011-04-15

    Homozygous Dab1(scm) mouse mutants with cell ectopias in cerebellar cortex and neocortex were compared with non-ataxic controls on two tests of motor coordination: rotorod and grid climbing. Even at the minimal speed of 4 rpm and unlike controls, none of the Dab1(scm) mutants reached criterion on the constant speed rotorod. In contrast, Dab1(scm) mutants improved their performances on the vertical grid over the course of the same number of trials. Thus, despite massive cerebellar degeneration, sensorimotor learning for equilibrium is still possible, indicating the potential usefulness of the grid-climbing test in determining residual functions in mice with massive cerebellar damage. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  9. Grounding the meanings in sensorimotor behavior using reinforcement learning

    Igor eFarkaš

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available The recent outburst of interest in cognitive developmental robotics is fueled by the ambition to propose ecologically plausible mechanisms of how, among other things, a learning agent/robot could ground linguistic meanings in its sensorimotor behaviour. Along this stream, we propose a model that allows the simulated iCub robot to learn the meanings of actions (point, touch and push oriented towards objects in robot's peripersonal space. In our experiments, the iCub learns to execute motor actions and comment on them. Architecturally, the model is composed of three neural-network-based modules that are trained in different ways. The first module, a two-layer perceptron, is trained by back-propagation to attend to the target position in the visual scene, given the low-level visual information and the feature-based target information. The second module, having the form of an actor-critic architecture, is the most distinguishing part of our model, and is trained by a continuous version of reinforcement learning to execute actions as sequences, based on a linguistic command. The third module, an echo-state network, is trained to provide the linguistic description of the executed actions. The trained model generalises well in case of novel action-target combinations with randomised initial arm positions. It can also promptly adapt its behavior if the action/target suddenly changes during motor execution.

  10. Individual differences in implicit motor learning: task specificity in sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning.

    Stark-Inbar, Alit; Raza, Meher; Taylor, Jordan A; Ivry, Richard B

    2017-01-01

    In standard taxonomies, motor skills are typically treated as representative of implicit or procedural memory. We examined two emblematic tasks of implicit motor learning, sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning, asking whether individual differences in learning are correlated between these tasks, as well as how individual differences within each task are related to different performance variables. As a prerequisite, it was essential to establish the reliability of learning measures for each task. Participants were tested twice on a visuomotor adaptation task and on a sequence learning task, either the serial reaction time task or the alternating reaction time task. Learning was evident in all tasks at the group level and reliable at the individual level in visuomotor adaptation and the alternating reaction time task but not in the serial reaction time task. Performance variability was predictive of learning in both domains, yet the relationship was in the opposite direction for adaptation and sequence learning. For the former, faster learning was associated with lower variability, consistent with models of sensorimotor adaptation in which learning rates are sensitive to noise. For the latter, greater learning was associated with higher variability and slower reaction times, factors that may facilitate the spread of activation required to form predictive, sequential associations. Interestingly, learning measures of the different tasks were not correlated. Together, these results oppose a shared process for implicit learning in sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning and provide insight into the factors that account for individual differences in learning within each task domain. We investigated individual differences in the ability to implicitly learn motor skills. As a prerequisite, we assessed whether individual differences were reliable across test sessions. We found that two commonly used tasks of implicit learning, visuomotor adaptation and the

  11. Sensorimotor Learning of Acupuncture Needle Manipulation Using Visual Feedback.

    Won-Mo Jung

    Full Text Available Humans can acquire a wide variety of motor skills using sensory feedback pertaining to discrepancies between intended and actual movements. Acupuncture needle manipulation involves sophisticated hand movements and represents a fundamental skill for acupuncturists. We investigated whether untrained students could improve their motor performance during acupuncture needle manipulation using visual feedback (VF.Twenty-one untrained medical students were included, randomly divided into concurrent (n = 10 and post-trial (n = 11 VF groups. Both groups were trained in simple lift/thrusting techniques during session 1, and in complicated lift/thrusting techniques in session 2 (eight training trials per session. We compared the motion patterns and error magnitudes of pre- and post-training tests.During motion pattern analysis, both the concurrent and post-trial VF groups exhibited greater improvements in motion patterns during the complicated lifting/thrusting session. In the magnitude error analysis, both groups also exhibited reduced error magnitudes during the simple lifting/thrusting session. For the training period, the concurrent VF group exhibited reduced error magnitudes across all training trials, whereas the post-trial VF group was characterized by greater error magnitudes during initial trials, which gradually reduced during later trials.Our findings suggest that novices can improve the sophisticated hand movements required for acupuncture needle manipulation using sensorimotor learning with VF. Use of two types of VF can be beneficial for untrained students in terms of learning how to manipulate acupuncture needles, using either automatic or cognitive processes.

  12. Cortical inter-hemispheric circuits for multimodal vocal learning in songbirds.

    Paterson, Amy K; Bottjer, Sarah W

    2017-10-15

    Vocal learning in songbirds and humans is strongly influenced by social interactions based on sensory inputs from several modalities. Songbird vocal learning is mediated by cortico-basal ganglia circuits that include the SHELL region of lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium (LMAN), but little is known concerning neural pathways that could integrate multimodal sensory information with SHELL circuitry. In addition, cortical pathways that mediate the precise coordination between hemispheres required for song production have been little studied. In order to identify candidate mechanisms for multimodal sensory integration and bilateral coordination for vocal learning in zebra finches, we investigated the anatomical organization of two regions that receive input from SHELL: the dorsal caudolateral nidopallium (dNCL SHELL ) and a region within the ventral arcopallium (Av). Anterograde and retrograde tracing experiments revealed a topographically organized inter-hemispheric circuit: SHELL and dNCL SHELL , as well as adjacent nidopallial areas, send axonal projections to ipsilateral Av; Av in turn projects to contralateral SHELL, dNCL SHELL , and regions of nidopallium adjacent to each. Av on each side also projects directly to contralateral Av. dNCL SHELL and Av each integrate inputs from ipsilateral SHELL with inputs from sensory regions in surrounding nidopallium, suggesting that they function to integrate multimodal sensory information with song-related responses within LMAN-SHELL during vocal learning. Av projections share this integrated information from the ipsilateral hemisphere with contralateral sensory and song-learning regions. Our results suggest that the inter-hemispheric pathway through Av may function to integrate multimodal sensory feedback with vocal-learning circuitry and coordinate bilateral vocal behavior. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Learning speed is affected by personality and reproductive investment in a songbird.

    Hector Fabio Rivera-Gutierrez

    Full Text Available Individuals from different taxa, including songbirds, differ consistently in behaviour and personality when facing different situations. Although our understanding of animal behaviour has increased, knowledge about between-individual differences in cognitive abilities is still limited. By using an experimental approach and a free-living songbird (Parus major as a model, we attempted to understand between-individual differences in habituation to playbacks (as a proxy of learning speed, by investigating the role of personality, age and reproductive investment (clutch size. Pre-breeding males were tested for exploration (a proxy of personality in standardized conditions. In addition, the same individuals were exposed to three playbacks in the field during incubation. Birds significantly moved less, stayed further away and overlapped less the playback with successive playback stimulation. While a decrease in the locomotor behaviour can be explained by personality, differences in habituation of overlapping were predicted by both reproductive investment and personality. Fast explorers habituated less. Moreover, males paired to females with larger clutches did not vary the intensity of overlapping. Since habituation requires information for recognition of non-threatening signals, personality may bias information gathering. While fast explorers may collect less information from the environment, slow explorers (reactive birds seem to pay attention to environmental clues and collect detailed information. We provided evidence that the rate of habituation of behavioural responses, a proxy of cognitive abilities, may be affected by different factors and in a complex way.

  14. Statistical learning in songbirds: from self-tutoring to song culture.

    Fehér, Olga; Ljubičić, Iva; Suzuki, Kenta; Okanoya, Kazuo; Tchernichovski, Ofer

    2017-01-05

    At the onset of vocal development, both songbirds and humans produce variable vocal babbling with broadly distributed acoustic features. Over development, these vocalizations differentiate into the well-defined, categorical signals that characterize adult vocal behaviour. A broadly distributed signal is ideal for vocal exploration, that is, for matching vocal production to the statistics of the sensory input. The developmental transition to categorical signals is a gradual process during which the vocal output becomes differentiated and stable. But does it require categorical input? We trained juvenile zebra finches with playbacks of their own developing song, produced just a few moments earlier, updated continuously over development. Although the vocalizations of these self-tutored (ST) birds were initially broadly distributed, birds quickly developed categorical signals, as fast as birds that were trained with a categorical, adult song template. By contrast, siblings of those birds that received no training (isolates) developed phonological categories much more slowly and never reached the same level of category differentiation as their ST brothers. Therefore, instead of simply mirroring the statistical properties of their sensory input, songbirds actively transform it into distinct categories. We suggest that the early self-generation of phonological categories facilitates the establishment of vocal culture by making the song easier to transmit at the micro level, while promoting stability of shared vocabulary at the group level over generations.This article is part of the themed issue 'New frontiers for statistical learning in the cognitive sciences'. © 2016 The Authors.

  15. Place preference and vocal learning rely on distinct reinforcers in songbirds.

    Murdoch, Don; Chen, Ruidong; Goldberg, Jesse H

    2018-04-30

    In reinforcement learning (RL) agents are typically tasked with maximizing a single objective function such as reward. But it remains poorly understood how agents might pursue distinct objectives at once. In machines, multiobjective RL can be achieved by dividing a single agent into multiple sub-agents, each of which is shaped by agent-specific reinforcement, but it remains unknown if animals adopt this strategy. Here we use songbirds to test if navigation and singing, two behaviors with distinct objectives, can be differentially reinforced. We demonstrate that strobe flashes aversively condition place preference but not song syllables. Brief noise bursts aversively condition song syllables but positively reinforce place preference. Thus distinct behavior-generating systems, or agencies, within a single animal can be shaped by correspondingly distinct reinforcement signals. Our findings suggest that spatially segregated vocal circuits can solve a credit assignment problem associated with multiobjective learning.

  16. Sensorimotor Distractions When Learning with Mobile Phones On-the-Move

    Castellano, Soledad; Arnedillo-Sánchez, Inmaculada

    2016-01-01

    This paper presents a discussion on potential conflicts originated by sensorimotor distractions when learning with mobile phones on-the-move. While research in mobile learning points to the possibility of everywhere, all the time learning; research in the area suggests that tasks performed while on-the-move predominantly require low cognitive…

  17. Explicit and Implicit Processes Constitute the Fast and Slow Processes of Sensorimotor Learning.

    McDougle, Samuel D; Bond, Krista M; Taylor, Jordan A

    2015-07-01

    A popular model of human sensorimotor learning suggests that a fast process and a slow process work in parallel to produce the canonical learning curve (Smith et al., 2006). Recent evidence supports the subdivision of sensorimotor learning into explicit and implicit processes that simultaneously subserve task performance (Taylor et al., 2014). We set out to test whether these two accounts of learning processes are homologous. Using a recently developed method to assay explicit and implicit learning directly in a sensorimotor task, along with a computational modeling analysis, we show that the fast process closely resembles explicit learning and the slow process approximates implicit learning. In addition, we provide evidence for a subdivision of the slow/implicit process into distinct manifestations of motor memory. We conclude that the two-state model of motor learning is a close approximation of sensorimotor learning, but it is unable to describe adequately the various implicit learning operations that forge the learning curve. Our results suggest that a wider net be cast in the search for the putative psychological mechanisms and neural substrates underlying the multiplicity of processes involved in motor learning. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/359568-12$15.00/0.

  18. Song learning and cognitive ability are not consistently related in a songbird.

    Anderson, Rindy C; Searcy, William A; Peters, Susan; Hughes, Melissa; DuBois, Adrienne L; Nowicki, Stephen

    2017-03-01

    Learned aspects of song have been hypothesized to signal cognitive ability in songbirds. We tested this hypothesis in hand-reared song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) that were tutored with playback of adult songs during the critical period for song learning. The songs developed by the 19 male subjects were compared to the model songs to produce two measures of song learning: the proportion of notes copied from models and the average spectrogram cross-correlation between copied notes and model notes. Song repertoire size, which reflects song complexity, was also measured. At 1 year of age, subjects were given a battery of five cognitive tests that measured speed of learning in the context of a novel foraging task, color association, color reversal, detour-reaching, and spatial learning. Bivariate correlations between the three song measures and the five cognitive measures revealed no significant associations. As in other studies of avian cognition, different cognitive measures were for the most part not correlated with each other, and this result remained true when 22 hand-reared female song sparrows were added to the analysis. General linear mixed models controlling for effects of neophobia and nest of origin indicated that all three song measures were associated with better performance on color reversal and spatial learning but were associated with worse performance on novel foraging and detour-reaching. Overall, the results do not support the hypothesis that learned aspects of song signal cognitive ability.

  19. The effect of action video game playing on sensorimotor learning: Evidence from a movement tracking task.

    Gozli, Davood G; Bavelier, Daphne; Pratt, Jay

    2014-10-12

    Research on the impact of action video game playing has revealed performance advantages on a wide range of perceptual and cognitive tasks. It is not known, however, if playing such games confers similar advantages in sensorimotor learning. To address this issue, the present study used a manual motion-tracking task that allowed for a sensitive measure of both accuracy and improvement over time. When the target motion pattern was consistent over trials, gamers improved with a faster rate and eventually outperformed non-gamers. Performance between the two groups, however, did not differ initially. When the target motion was inconsistent, changing on every trial, results revealed no difference between gamers and non-gamers. Together, our findings suggest that video game playing confers no reliable benefit in sensorimotor control, but it does enhance sensorimotor learning, enabling superior performance in tasks with consistent and predictable structure. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  20. Associative and sensorimotor learning for parenting involves mirror neurons under the influence of oxytocin.

    Ho, S Shaun; Macdonald, Adam; Swain, James E

    2014-04-01

    Mirror neuron-based associative learning may be understood according to associative learning theories, in addition to sensorimotor learning theories. This is important for a comprehensive understanding of the role of mirror neurons and related hormone modulators, such as oxytocin, in complex social interactions such as among parent-infant dyads and in examples of mirror neuron function that involve abnormal motor systems such as depression.

  1. Associative and sensorimotor learning for parenting involves mirror neurons under the influence of oxytocin

    Ho, S. Shaun; MacDonald, Adam; Swain, James E.

    2014-01-01

    Mirror neuron–based associative learning may be understood according to associative learning theories, in addition to sensorimotor learning theories. This is important for a comprehensive understanding of the role of mirror neurons and related hormone modulators, such as oxytocin, in complex social interactions such as among parent–infant dyads and in examples of mirror neuron function that involve abnormal motor systems such as depression.

  2. Does (Non-)Meaningful Sensori-Motor Engagement Promote Learning With Animated Physical Systems?

    Pouw, Wim T J L; Eielts, Charly; van Gog, Tamara; Zwaan, Rolf A.; Paas, Fred

    2016-01-01

    Previous research indicates that sensori-motor experience with physical systems can have a positive effect on learning. However, it is not clear whether this effect is caused by mere bodily engagement or the intrinsically meaningful information that such interaction affords in performing the

  3. Statistical learning of recurring sound patterns encodes auditory objects in songbird forebrain.

    Lu, Kai; Vicario, David S

    2014-10-07

    Auditory neurophysiology has demonstrated how basic acoustic features are mapped in the brain, but it is still not clear how multiple sound components are integrated over time and recognized as an object. We investigated the role of statistical learning in encoding the sequential features of complex sounds by recording neuronal responses bilaterally in the auditory forebrain of awake songbirds that were passively exposed to long sound streams. These streams contained sequential regularities, and were similar to streams used in human infants to demonstrate statistical learning for speech sounds. For stimulus patterns with contiguous transitions and with nonadjacent elements, single and multiunit responses reflected neuronal discrimination of the familiar patterns from novel patterns. In addition, discrimination of nonadjacent patterns was stronger in the right hemisphere than in the left, and may reflect an effect of top-down modulation that is lateralized. Responses to recurring patterns showed stimulus-specific adaptation, a sparsening of neural activity that may contribute to encoding invariants in the sound stream and that appears to increase coding efficiency for the familiar stimuli across the population of neurons recorded. As auditory information about the world must be received serially over time, recognition of complex auditory objects may depend on this type of mnemonic process to create and differentiate representations of recently heard sounds.

  4. Learning to breathe and sing: development of respiratory-vocal coordination in young songbirds.

    Veit, Lena; Aronov, Dmitriy; Fee, Michale S

    2011-10-01

    How do animals with learned vocalizations coordinate vocal production with respiration? Songbirds such as the zebra finch learn their songs, beginning with highly variable babbling vocalizations known as subsong. After several weeks of practice, zebra finches are able to produce a precisely timed pattern of syllables and silences, precisely coordinated with expiratory and inspiratory pulses (Franz M, Goller F. J Neurobiol 51: 129-141, 2002). While respiration in adult song is well described, relatively little is known about respiratory patterns in subsong or about the processes by which respiratory and vocal patterns become coordinated. To address these questions, we recorded thoracic air sac pressure in juvenile zebra finches prior to the appearance of any consistent temporal or acoustic structure in their songs. We found that subsong contains brief inspiratory pulses (50 ms) alternating with longer pulses of sustained expiratory pressure (50-500 ms). In striking contrast to adult song, expiratory pulses often contained multiple (0-8) variably timed syllables separated by expiratory gaps and were only partially vocalized. During development, expiratory pulses became shorter and more stereotyped in duration with shorter and fewer nonvocalized parts. These developmental changes eventually resulted in the production of a single syllable per expiratory pulse and a single inspiratory pulse filling each gap, forming a coordinated sequence similar to that of adult song. To examine the role of forebrain song-control nuclei in the development of respiratory patterns, we performed pressure recordings before and after lesions of nucleus HVC (proper name) and found that this manipulation reverses the developmental trends in measures of the respiratory pattern.

  5. Adaptive and Energy Efficient Walking in a Hexapod Robot under Neuromechanical Control and Sensorimotor Learning

    Xiong, Xiaofeng; Wörgötter, Florentin; Manoonpong, Poramate

    2016-01-01

    The control of multilegged animal walking is a neuromechanical process, and to achieve this in an adaptive and energy efficient way is a difficult and challenging problem. This is due to the fact that this process needs in real time: 1) to coordinate very many degrees of freedom of jointed legs; 2......) to generate the proper leg stiffness (i.e., compliance); and 3) to determine joint angles that give rise to particular positions at the endpoints of the legs. To tackle this problem for a robotic application, here we present a neuromechanical controller coupled with sensorimotor learning. The controller...... energy efficient walking, compared to other small legged robots. In addition, this paper also shows that the tight combination of neural control with tunable muscle-like functions, guided by sensory feedback and coupled with sensorimotor learning, is a way forward to better understand and solve adaptive...

  6. Computational advantages of reverberating loops for sensorimotor learning.

    Fortney, Kristen; Tweed, Douglas B

    2012-03-01

    When we learn something new, our brain may store the information in synapses or in reverberating loops of electrical activity, but current theories of motor learning focus almost entirely on the synapses. Here we show that loops could also play a role and would bring advantages: loop-based algorithms can learn complex control tasks faster, with exponentially fewer neurons, and avoid the problem of weight transport. They do all this at a cost: in the presence of long feedback delays, loop algorithms cannot control very fast movements, but in this case, loop and synaptic mechanisms can complement each other-mixed systems quickly learn to make accurate but not very fast motions and then gradually speed up. Loop algorithms explain aspects of consolidation, the role of attention, and the relapses that are sometimes seen after a task has apparently been learned, and they make further predictions.

  7. Song practice promotes acute vocal variability at a key stage of sensorimotor learning.

    Julie E Miller

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Trial by trial variability during motor learning is a feature encoded by the basal ganglia of both humans and songbirds, and is important for reinforcement of optimal motor patterns, including those that produce speech and birdsong. Given the many parallels between these behaviors, songbirds provide a useful model to investigate neural mechanisms underlying vocal learning. In juvenile and adult male zebra finches, endogenous levels of FoxP2, a molecule critical for language, decrease two hours after morning song onset within area X, part of the basal ganglia-forebrain pathway dedicated to song. In juveniles, experimental 'knockdown' of area X FoxP2 results in abnormally variable song in adulthood. These findings motivated our hypothesis that low FoxP2 levels increase vocal variability, enabling vocal motor exploration in normal birds. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After two hours in either singing or non-singing conditions (previously shown to produce differential area X FoxP2 levels, phonological and sequential features of the subsequent songs were compared across conditions in the same bird. In line with our prediction, analysis of songs sung by 75 day (75d birds revealed that syllable structure was more variable and sequence stereotypy was reduced following two hours of continuous practice compared to these features following two hours of non-singing. Similar trends in song were observed in these birds at 65d, despite higher overall within-condition variability at this age. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Together with previous work, these findings point to the importance of behaviorally-driven acute periods during song learning that allow for both refinement and reinforcement of motor patterns. Future work is aimed at testing the observation that not only does vocal practice influence expression of molecular networks, but that these networks then influence subsequent variability in these skills.

  8. Toward an autonomous brain machine interface: integrating sensorimotor reward modulation and reinforcement learning.

    Marsh, Brandi T; Tarigoppula, Venkata S Aditya; Chen, Chen; Francis, Joseph T

    2015-05-13

    For decades, neurophysiologists have worked on elucidating the function of the cortical sensorimotor control system from the standpoint of kinematics or dynamics. Recently, computational neuroscientists have developed models that can emulate changes seen in the primary motor cortex during learning. However, these simulations rely on the existence of a reward-like signal in the primary sensorimotor cortex. Reward modulation of the primary sensorimotor cortex has yet to be characterized at the level of neural units. Here we demonstrate that single units/multiunits and local field potentials in the primary motor (M1) cortex of nonhuman primates (Macaca radiata) are modulated by reward expectation during reaching movements and that this modulation is present even while subjects passively view cursor motions that are predictive of either reward or nonreward. After establishing this reward modulation, we set out to determine whether we could correctly classify rewarding versus nonrewarding trials, on a moment-to-moment basis. This reward information could then be used in collaboration with reinforcement learning principles toward an autonomous brain-machine interface. The autonomous brain-machine interface would use M1 for both decoding movement intention and extraction of reward expectation information as evaluative feedback, which would then update the decoding algorithm as necessary. In the work presented here, we show that this, in theory, is possible. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/357374-14$15.00/0.

  9. Mirroring "meaningful" actions: sensorimotor learning modulates imitation of goal-directed actions.

    Catmur, Caroline; Heyes, Cecilia

    2017-06-19

    Imitation is important in the development of social and technological skills throughout the lifespan. Experiments investigating the acquisition and modulation of imitation (and of its proposed neural substrate, the mirror neuron system) have produced evidence that the capacity for imitation depends on associative learning in which connections are formed between sensory and motor representations of actions. However, evidence that the development of imitation depends on associative learning has been found only for non-goal-directed actions. One reason for the lack of research on goal-directed actions is that imitation of such actions is commonly confounded with the tendency to respond in a spatially compatible manner. However, since the most prominent account of mirror neuron function, and hence of imitation, suggests that these cells encode goal-directed actions, it is important to establish whether sensorimotor learning can also modulate imitation of goal-directed actions. Experiment 1 demonstrated that imitation of goal-directed grasping can be measured while controlling for spatial compatibility, and Experiment 2 showed that this imitation effect can be modulated by sensorimotor training. Together these data support the hypothesis that the capacity for behavioural imitation, and the properties of the mirror neuron system, are constructed in the course of development through associative learning.

  10. Learning New Sensorimotor Contingencies: Effects of Long-Term Use of Sensory Augmentation on the Brain and Conscious Perception.

    König, Sabine U; Schumann, Frank; Keyser, Johannes; Goeke, Caspar; Krause, Carina; Wache, Susan; Lytochkin, Aleksey; Ebert, Manuel; Brunsch, Vincent; Wahn, Basil; Kaspar, Kai; Nagel, Saskia K; Meilinger, Tobias; Bülthoff, Heinrich; Wolbers, Thomas; Büchel, Christian; König, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Theories of embodied cognition propose that perception is shaped by sensory stimuli and by the actions of the organism. Following sensorimotor contingency theory, the mastery of lawful relations between own behavior and resulting changes in sensory signals, called sensorimotor contingencies, is constitutive of conscious perception. Sensorimotor contingency theory predicts that, after training, knowledge relating to new sensorimotor contingencies develops, leading to changes in the activation of sensorimotor systems, and concomitant changes in perception. In the present study, we spell out this hypothesis in detail and investigate whether it is possible to learn new sensorimotor contingencies by sensory augmentation. Specifically, we designed an fMRI compatible sensory augmentation device, the feelSpace belt, which gives orientation information about the direction of magnetic north via vibrotactile stimulation on the waist of participants. In a longitudinal study, participants trained with this belt for seven weeks in natural environment. Our EEG results indicate that training with the belt leads to changes in sleep architecture early in the training phase, compatible with the consolidation of procedural learning as well as increased sensorimotor processing and motor programming. The fMRI results suggest that training entails activity in sensory as well as higher motor centers and brain areas known to be involved in navigation. These neural changes are accompanied with changes in how space and the belt signal are perceived, as well as with increased trust in navigational ability. Thus, our data on physiological processes and subjective experiences are compatible with the hypothesis that new sensorimotor contingencies can be acquired using sensory augmentation.

  11. Learning New Sensorimotor Contingencies: Effects of Long-Term Use of Sensory Augmentation on the Brain and Conscious Perception

    Schumann, Frank; Keyser, Johannes; Goeke, Caspar; Krause, Carina; Wache, Susan; Lytochkin, Aleksey; Ebert, Manuel; Brunsch, Vincent; Wahn, Basil; Kaspar, Kai; Nagel, Saskia K.; Meilinger, Tobias; Bülthoff, Heinrich; Wolbers, Thomas; Büchel, Christian; König, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Theories of embodied cognition propose that perception is shaped by sensory stimuli and by the actions of the organism. Following sensorimotor contingency theory, the mastery of lawful relations between own behavior and resulting changes in sensory signals, called sensorimotor contingencies, is constitutive of conscious perception. Sensorimotor contingency theory predicts that, after training, knowledge relating to new sensorimotor contingencies develops, leading to changes in the activation of sensorimotor systems, and concomitant changes in perception. In the present study, we spell out this hypothesis in detail and investigate whether it is possible to learn new sensorimotor contingencies by sensory augmentation. Specifically, we designed an fMRI compatible sensory augmentation device, the feelSpace belt, which gives orientation information about the direction of magnetic north via vibrotactile stimulation on the waist of participants. In a longitudinal study, participants trained with this belt for seven weeks in natural environment. Our EEG results indicate that training with the belt leads to changes in sleep architecture early in the training phase, compatible with the consolidation of procedural learning as well as increased sensorimotor processing and motor programming. The fMRI results suggest that training entails activity in sensory as well as higher motor centers and brain areas known to be involved in navigation. These neural changes are accompanied with changes in how space and the belt signal are perceived, as well as with increased trust in navigational ability. Thus, our data on physiological processes and subjective experiences are compatible with the hypothesis that new sensorimotor contingencies can be acquired using sensory augmentation. PMID:27959914

  12. Learning New Sensorimotor Contingencies: Effects of Long-Term Use of Sensory Augmentation on the Brain and Conscious Perception.

    Sabine U König

    Full Text Available Theories of embodied cognition propose that perception is shaped by sensory stimuli and by the actions of the organism. Following sensorimotor contingency theory, the mastery of lawful relations between own behavior and resulting changes in sensory signals, called sensorimotor contingencies, is constitutive of conscious perception. Sensorimotor contingency theory predicts that, after training, knowledge relating to new sensorimotor contingencies develops, leading to changes in the activation of sensorimotor systems, and concomitant changes in perception. In the present study, we spell out this hypothesis in detail and investigate whether it is possible to learn new sensorimotor contingencies by sensory augmentation. Specifically, we designed an fMRI compatible sensory augmentation device, the feelSpace belt, which gives orientation information about the direction of magnetic north via vibrotactile stimulation on the waist of participants. In a longitudinal study, participants trained with this belt for seven weeks in natural environment. Our EEG results indicate that training with the belt leads to changes in sleep architecture early in the training phase, compatible with the consolidation of procedural learning as well as increased sensorimotor processing and motor programming. The fMRI results suggest that training entails activity in sensory as well as higher motor centers and brain areas known to be involved in navigation. These neural changes are accompanied with changes in how space and the belt signal are perceived, as well as with increased trust in navigational ability. Thus, our data on physiological processes and subjective experiences are compatible with the hypothesis that new sensorimotor contingencies can be acquired using sensory augmentation.

  13. Prenatal exposure to gamma/neutron irradiation: Sensorimotor alterations and paradoxical effects on learning

    Di Cicco, D.; Antal, S.; Ammassari-Teule, M.

    1991-01-01

    The effects of prenatal exposure on gamma/neutron radiations (0.5 Gy at about the 18th day of fetal life) were studied in a hybrid strain of mice (DBA/Cne males x C57BL/Cne females). During ontogeny, measurements of sensorimotor reflexes revealed in prenatally irradiated mice (1) a delay in sensorial development, (2) deficits in tests involving body motor control, and (3) a reduction of both motility and locomotor activity scores. In adulthood, the behaviour of prenatally irradiated and control mice was examined in the open field test and in reactivity to novelty. Moreover, their learning performance was compared in several situations. The results show that, in the open field test, only rearings were more frequent in irradiated mice. In the presence of a novel object, significant sex x treatment interactions were observed since ambulation and leaning against the novel object increased in irradiated females but decreased in irradiated males. Finally, when submitted to different learning tasks, irradiated mice were impaired in the radial maze, but paradoxically exhibited higher avoidance scores than control mice, possibly because of their low pain thresholds. Taken together, these observations indicate that late prenatal gamma/neutron irradiation induces long lasting alterations at the sensorimotor level which, in turn, can influence learning abilities of adult mice

  14. The cerebellum does more than sensory prediction error-based learning in sensorimotor adaptation tasks.

    Butcher, Peter A; Ivry, Richard B; Kuo, Sheng-Han; Rydz, David; Krakauer, John W; Taylor, Jordan A

    2017-09-01

    Individuals with damage to the cerebellum perform poorly in sensorimotor adaptation paradigms. This deficit has been attributed to impairment in sensory prediction error-based updating of an internal forward model, a form of implicit learning. These individuals can, however, successfully counter a perturbation when instructed with an explicit aiming strategy. This successful use of an instructed aiming strategy presents a paradox: In adaptation tasks, why do individuals with cerebellar damage not come up with an aiming solution on their own to compensate for their implicit learning deficit? To explore this question, we employed a variant of a visuomotor rotation task in which, before executing a movement on each trial, the participants verbally reported their intended aiming location. Compared with healthy control participants, participants with spinocerebellar ataxia displayed impairments in both implicit learning and aiming. This was observed when the visuomotor rotation was introduced abruptly ( experiment 1 ) or gradually ( experiment 2 ). This dual deficit does not appear to be related to the increased movement variance associated with ataxia: Healthy undergraduates showed little change in implicit learning or aiming when their movement feedback was artificially manipulated to produce similar levels of variability ( experiment 3 ). Taken together the results indicate that a consequence of cerebellar dysfunction is not only impaired sensory prediction error-based learning but also a difficulty in developing and/or maintaining an aiming solution in response to a visuomotor perturbation. We suggest that this dual deficit can be explained by the cerebellum forming part of a network that learns and maintains action-outcome associations across trials. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Individuals with cerebellar pathology are impaired in sensorimotor adaptation. This deficit has been attributed to an impairment in error-based learning, specifically, from a deficit in using sensory

  15. Which Way is Up? Lessons Learned from Space Shuttle Sensorimotor Research

    Wood, S. J.; Reschke, M. F.; Harm, D. L.; Paloski, W. H.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2011-01-01

    .g., sensory aids) will have both space and Earth-based applications. Early postflight field tests are recommended to provide the evidence base for best practices for future commercial flight programs. Learning Objective: Overview of the Space Shuttle Program regarding adaptive changes in sensorimotor function, including what was learned from research, what was implemented for medical operations, and what is recommended for commercial flights.

  16. How the songbird brain listens to its own songs

    Hahnloser, Richard

    2010-03-01

    Songbirds are capable of vocal learning and communication and are ideally suited to the study of neural mechanisms of auditory feedback processing. When a songbird is deafened in the early sensorimotor phase after tutoring, it fails to imitate the song of its tutor and develops a highly aberrant song. It is also known that birds are capable of storing a long-term memory of tutor song and that they need intact auditory feedback to match their own vocalizations to the tutor's song. Based on these behavioral observations, we investigate feedback processing in single auditory forebrain neurons of juvenile zebra finches that are in a late developmental stage of song learning. We implant birds with miniature motorized microdrives that allow us to record the electrical activity of single neurons while birds are freely moving and singing in their cages. Occasionally, we deliver a brief sound through a loudspeaker to perturb the auditory feedback the bird experiences during singing. These acoustic perturbations of auditory feedback reveal complex sensitivity that cannot be predicted from passive playback responses. Some neurons are highly feedback sensitive in that they respond vigorously to song perturbations, but not to unperturbed songs or perturbed playback. These findings suggest that a computational function of forebrain auditory areas may be to detect errors between actual feedback and mirrored feedback deriving from an internal model of the bird's own song or that of its tutor.

  17. The genome of a songbird

    Warren, Wesley C.; Clayton, David F.; Ellegren, Hans

    2010-01-01

    The zebra finch is an important model organism in several fields with unique relevance to human neuroscience. Like other songbirds, the zebra finch communicates through learned vocalizations, an ability otherwise documented only in humans and a few other animals and lacking in the chickenthe only...

  18. Estradiol differentially affects auditory recognition and learning according to photoperiodic state in the adult male songbird, European starling (Sturnus vulgaris

    Rebecca M. Calisi

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Changes in hormones can affect many types of learning in vertebrates. Adults experience fluctuations in a multitude of hormones over a temporal scale, from local, rapid action to more long-term, seasonal changes. Endocrine changes during development can affect behavioral outcomes in adulthood, but how learning is affected in adults by hormone fluctuations experienced during adulthood is less understood. Previous reports have implicated the sex steroid hormone estradiol (E2 in both male and female vertebrate cognitive functioning. Here, we examined the effects of E2 on auditory recognition and learning in male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris. European starlings are photoperiodic, seasonally breeding songbirds that undergo different periods of reproductive activity according to annual changes in day length. We simulated these reproductive periods, specifically 1. photosensitivity, 2. photostimulation, and 3. photorefractoriness in captive birds by altering day length. During each period, we manipulated circulating E2 and examined multiple measures of learning. To manipulate circulating E2, we used subcutaneous implants containing either 17-β E2 and/or fadrozole (FAD, a highly specific aromatase inhibitor that suppresses E2 production in the body and the brain, and measured the latency for birds to learn and respond to short, male conspecific song segments (motifs. We report that photostimulated birds given E2 had higher response rates and responded with better accuracy than those given saline controls or FAD. Conversely, photosensitive, animals treated with E2 responded with less accuracy than those given FAD. These results demonstrate how circulating E2 and photoperiod can interact to shape auditory recognition and learning in adults, driving it in opposite directions in different states.

  19. Expressions of multiple neuronal dynamics during sensorimotor learning in the motor cortex of behaving monkeys.

    Yael Mandelblat-Cerf

    Full Text Available Previous studies support the notion that sensorimotor learning involves multiple processes. We investigated the neuronal basis of these processes by recording single-unit activity in motor cortex of non-human primates (Macaca fascicularis, during adaptation to force-field perturbations. Perturbed trials (reaching to one direction were practiced along with unperturbed trials (to other directions. The number of perturbed trials relative to the unperturbed ones was either low or high, in two separate practice schedules. Unsurprisingly, practice under high-rate resulted in faster learning with more pronounced generalization, as compared to the low-rate practice. However, generalization and retention of behavioral and neuronal effects following practice in high-rate were less stable; namely, the faster learning was forgotten faster. We examined two subgroups of cells and showed that, during learning, the changes in firing-rate in one subgroup depended on the number of practiced trials, but not on time. In contrast, changes in the second subgroup depended on time and practice; the changes in firing-rate, following the same number of perturbed trials, were larger under high-rate than low-rate learning. After learning, the neuronal changes gradually decayed. In the first subgroup, the decay pace did not depend on the practice rate, whereas in the second subgroup, the decay pace was greater following high-rate practice. This group shows neuronal representation that mirrors the behavioral performance, evolving faster but also decaying faster at learning under high-rate, as compared to low-rate. The results suggest that the stability of a new learned skill and its neuronal representation are affected by the acquisition schedule.

  20. From sensorimotor learning to memory cells in prefrontal and temporal association cortex: a neurocomputational study of disembodiment.

    Pulvermüller, Friedemann; Garagnani, Max

    2014-08-01

    Memory cells, the ultimate neurobiological substrates of working memory, remain active for several seconds and are most commonly found in prefrontal cortex and higher multisensory areas. However, if correlated activity in "embodied" sensorimotor systems underlies the formation of memory traces, why should memory cells emerge in areas distant from their antecedent activations in sensorimotor areas, thus leading to "disembodiment" (movement away from sensorimotor systems) of memory mechanisms? We modelled the formation of memory circuits in six-area neurocomputational architectures, implementing motor and sensory primary, secondary and higher association areas in frontotemporal cortices along with known between-area neuroanatomical connections. Sensorimotor learning driven by Hebbian neuroplasticity led to formation of cell assemblies distributed across the different areas of the network. These action-perception circuits (APCs) ignited fully when stimulated, thus providing a neural basis for long-term memory (LTM) of sensorimotor information linked by learning. Subsequent to ignition, activity vanished rapidly from APC neurons in sensorimotor areas but persisted in those in multimodal prefrontal and temporal areas. Such persistent activity provides a mechanism for working memory for actions, perceptions and symbols, including short-term phonological and semantic storage. Cell assembly ignition and "disembodied" working memory retreat of activity to multimodal areas are documented in the neurocomputational models' activity dynamics, at the level of single cells, circuits, and cortical areas. Memory disembodiment is explained neuromechanistically by APC formation and structural neuroanatomical features of the model networks, especially the central role of multimodal prefrontal and temporal cortices in bridging between sensory and motor areas. These simulations answer the "where" question of cortical working memory in terms of distributed APCs and their inner structure

  1. Stable schizophrenia patients learn equally well as age-matched controls and better than elderly controls in two sensorimotor rotary pursuit tasks

    Picker, L.J. De; Cornelis, C.; Hulstijn, W.; Dumont, G.J.H.; Fransen, E.; Timmers, M.; Janssens, L.; Morrens, M.; Sabbe, B.G.C.

    2014-01-01

    Objective: To compare sensorimotor performance and learning in stable schizophrenia patients, healthy age- and sex-matched controls and elderly controls on two variations of the rotary pursuit: circle pursuit (true motor learning) and figure pursuit (motor and sequence learning). Method: In the

  2. Interleukin-10/Ceftriaxone prevents E. coli-induced delays in sensorimotor task learning and spatial memory in neonatal and adult Sprague–Dawley rats

    Wallace, K.L.; Lopez, J.; Shaffery, J.P.; Wells, A.; Paul, I.A.; Bennett, W.A.

    2010-01-01

    Intrauterine infection during pregnancy is associated with early activation of the fetal immune system and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. Immune activation can lead to alterations in sensorimotor skills, changes in learning and memory and neural plasticity. Both interleukin-10 (IL-10) and Ceftriaxone have been shown to decrease immune system activation and increase memory capacity, respectively. Using a rodent model of intrauterine infection, we examined sensorimotor development in pups, l...

  3. Neural correlates of vocal learning in songbirds and humans: cross-species fMRI studies into individual differences

    Kant, Anne Marie van der

    2015-01-01

    Animal models, songbirds particularly, are increasingly used to study the human capacity for speech and language. In the light of understanding both language evolution and individual language acquisition these models are highly valuable, provided that they are studied within a valid comparative framework. In the past few decades, non-invasive methods such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Near-InfraRed Spectroscopy (NIRS) have become available for human as well as animal bra...

  4. Auditory-visual stimulus pairing enhances perceptual learning in a songbird.

    Hultsch; Schleuss; Todt

    1999-07-01

    In many oscine birds, song learning is affected by social variables, for example the behaviour of a tutor. This implies that both auditory and visual perceptual systems should be involved in the acquisition process. To examine whether and how particular visual stimuli can affect song acquisition, we tested the impact of a tutoring design in which the presentation of auditory stimuli (i.e. species-specific master songs) was paired with a well-defined nonauditory stimulus (i.e. stroboscope light flashes: Strobe regime). The subjects were male hand-reared nightingales, Luscinia megarhynchos. For controls, males were exposed to tutoring without a light stimulus (Control regime). The males' singing recorded 9 months later showed that the Strobe regime had enhanced the acquisition of song patterns. During this treatment birds had acquired more songs than during the Control regime; the observed increase in repertoire size was from 20 to 30% in most cases. Furthermore, the copy quality of imitations acquired during the Strobe regime was better than that of imitations developed from the Control regime, and this was due to a significant increase in the number of 'perfect' song copies. We conclude that these effects were mediated by an intrinsic component (e.g. attention or arousal) which specifically responded to the Strobe regime. Our findings also show that mechanisms of song learning are well prepared to process information from cross-modal perception. Thus, more detailed enquiries into stimulus complexes that are usually referred to as social variables are promising. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

  5. A hypothesis on a role of oxytocin in the social mechanisms of speech and vocal learning.

    Theofanopoulou, Constantina; Boeckx, Cedric; Jarvis, Erich D

    2017-08-30

    Language acquisition in humans and song learning in songbirds naturally happen as a social learning experience, providing an excellent opportunity to reveal social motivation and reward mechanisms that boost sensorimotor learning. Our knowledge about the molecules and circuits that control these social mechanisms for vocal learning and language is limited. Here we propose a hypothesis of a role for oxytocin (OT) in the social motivation and evolution of vocal learning and language. Building upon existing evidence, we suggest specific neural pathways and mechanisms through which OT might modulate vocal learning circuits in specific developmental stages. © 2017 The Authors.

  6. Learning New Sensorimotor Contingencies: Effects of Long-Term Use of Sensory Augmentation on the Brain and Conscious Perception

    König, Sabine U.; Schumann, Frank; Keyser, Johannes; Goeke, Caspar; Krause, Carina; Wache, Susan; Lytochkin, Aleksey; Ebert, Manuel; Brunsch, Vincent; Wahn, Basil; Kaspar, Kai; Nagel, Saskia K.; Nagel, Saskia Kathi; Meilinger, Tobias; Bülthoff, Heinrich; Wolbers, Thomas; Büchel, Christian; König, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Theories of embodied cognition propose that perception is shaped by sensory stimuli and by the actions of the organism. Following sensorimotor contingency theory, the mastery of lawful relations between own behavior and resulting changes in sensory signals, called sensorimotor contingencies, is

  7. Brief postnatal exposure to phenobarbital impairs passive avoidance learning and sensorimotor gating in rats.

    Gutherz, Samuel B; Kulick, Catherine V; Soper, Colin; Kondratyev, Alexei; Gale, Karen; Forcelli, Patrick A

    2014-08-01

    Phenobarbital is the most commonly utilized drug for the treatment of neonatal seizures. However, mounting preclinical evidence suggests that even brief exposure to phenobarbital in the neonatal period can induce neuronal apoptosis, alterations in synaptic development, and long-lasting changes in behavioral functions. In the present report, we treated neonatal rat pups with phenobarbital and evaluated behavior in adulthood. Pups were treated initially with a loading dose (80 mg/kg) on postnatal day (P)7 and with a lower dose (40 mg/kg) on P8 and P9. We examined sensorimotor gating (prepulse inhibition), passive avoidance, and conditioned place preference for cocaine when the animals reached adulthood. Consistent with our previous reports, we found that three days of neonatal exposure to phenobarbital significantly impaired prepulse inhibition compared with vehicle-exposed control animals. Using a step-though passive avoidance paradigm, we found that animals exposed to phenobarbital as neonates and tested as adults showed significant deficits in passive avoidance retention compared with matched controls, indicating impairment in associative memory and/or recall. Finally, we examined place preference conditioning in response to cocaine. Phenobarbital exposure did not alter the normal conditioned place preference associated with cocaine exposure. Our findings expand the profile of behavioral toxicity induced by phenobarbital. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Brief postnatal exposure to phenobarbital impairs passive-avoidance learning and sensorimotor gating in rats

    Gutherz, Samuel B.; Kulick, Catherine V.; Soper, Colin; Kondratyev, Alexei; Gale, Karen; Forcelli, Patrick A.

    2014-01-01

    Phenobarbital is the most commonly utilized drug for the treatment of neonatal seizures. However, mounting preclinical evidence suggests that even brief exposure to phenobarbital in the neonatal period can induce neuronal apoptosis, alterations in synaptic development, and long-lasting changes in behavioral functions. In the present report, we treated neonatal rat pups with phenobarbital and evaluated behavior in adulthood. Pups were treated initially with a loading dose (80mg/kg) on postnatal day (P)7 and with a lower dose (40 mg/kg) on P8 and P9. We examined sensorimotor gating (prepulse inhibition), passive avoidance, and conditioned place preference to cocaine when the animals reached adulthood. Consistent with our previous reports, we found that three days of neonatal exposure to phenobarbital significantly impaired prepulse inhibition as compared to vehicle-exposed control animals. Using a step-though passive avoidance paradigm, we found that animals exposed to phenobarbital as neonates and tested as adults showed significant deficits in passive avoidance retention as compared to matched controls, indicating impairment in associative memory and/or recall. Finally, we examined place preference conditioning in response to cocaine. Phenobarbital exposure did not alter the normal conditioned place preference associated with cocaine exposure. Our findings expand the profile of behavioral toxicity induced by phenobarbital. PMID:25112558

  9. Cannabinoid exposure during zebra finch sensorimotor vocal learning persistently alters expression of endocannabinoid signaling elements and acute agonist responsiveness

    Lichtman Aron H

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Previously we have found that cannabinoid treatment of zebra finches during sensorimotor stages of vocal development alters song patterns produced in adulthood. Such persistently altered behavior must be attributable to changes in physiological substrates responsible for song. We are currently working to identify the nature of such physiological changes, and to understand how they contribute to altered vocal learning. One possibility is that developmental agonist exposure results in altered expression of elements of endocannabinoid signaling systems. To test this hypothesis we have studied effects of the potent cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN on endocannabinoid levels and densities of CB1 immunostaining in zebra finch brain. Results We found that late postnatal WIN treatment caused a long-term global disregulation of both levels of the endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG and densities of CB1 immunostaining across brain regions, while repeated cannabinoid treatment in adults produced few long-term changes in the endogenous cannabinoid system. Conclusions Our findings indicate that the zebra finch endocannabinoid system is particularly sensitive to exogenous agonist exposure during the critical period of song learning and provide insight into susceptible brain areas.

  10. Stable schizophrenia patients learn equally well as age-matched controls and better than elderly controls in two sensorimotor Rotary Pursuit tasks

    Livia J. De Picker

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Objective: To compare sensorimotor performance and learning in stable schizophrenia patients, healthy age- and sex-matched controls and elderly controls on two variations of the Rotary Pursuit: Circle Pursuit (true motor learning and Figure Pursuit (motor and sequence learning.Method: In the Circle Pursuit a target circle, rotating with increasing speed along a predictable circular path on the computer screen, must be followed by a cursor controlled by a pen on a writing tablet. In the eight-trial Figure Pursuit, subjects learn to draw a complex figure by pursuing the target circle that moves along an invisible trajectory between and around several goals. Tasks were administered thrice (day 1, day 2, day 7 to 30 patients with stable schizophrenia (S, 30 healthy age- and sex-matched controls (C and 30 elderly participants (>65y; E and recorded with a digitizing tablet and pressure-sensitive pen. The outcome measure accuracy (% of time that cursor is within the target was used to assess performance.Results: We observed significant group differences in accuracy, both in Circle and Figure Pursuit tasks (Elearning effects were found in each group. Learning curves were similar in Circle Pursuit but differed between groups in Figure Pursuit. When corrected for group differences in starting level, the learning gains over the three sessions of schizophrenia patients and age-matched controls were equal and both were larger than those of the elderly controls. Conclusion: Despite the reduced sensorimotor performance that was found in the schizophrenia patients their sensorimotor learning seems to be preserved. The relevance of this finding for the evaluation of procedural learning in schizophrenia is discussed. The better performance and learning rate of the patients compared to the elderly controls was unexpected and deserves further study.

  11. Mapping shape to visuomotor mapping: learning and generalisation of sensorimotor behaviour based on contextual information.

    Loes C J van Dam

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Humans can learn and store multiple visuomotor mappings (dual-adaptation when feedback for each is provided alternately. Moreover, learned context cues associated with each mapping can be used to switch between the stored mappings. However, little is known about the associative learning between cue and required visuomotor mapping, and how learning generalises to novel but similar conditions. To investigate these questions, participants performed a rapid target-pointing task while we manipulated the offset between visual feedback and movement end-points. The visual feedback was presented with horizontal offsets of different amounts, dependent on the targets shape. Participants thus needed to use different visuomotor mappings between target location and required motor response depending on the target shape in order to "hit" it. The target shapes were taken from a continuous set of shapes, morphed between spiky and circular shapes. After training we tested participants performance, without feedback, on different target shapes that had not been learned previously. We compared two hypotheses. First, we hypothesised that participants could (explicitly extract the linear relationship between target shape and visuomotor mapping and generalise accordingly. Second, using previous findings of visuomotor learning, we developed a (implicit Bayesian learning model that predicts generalisation that is more consistent with categorisation (i.e. use one mapping or the other. The experimental results show that, although learning the associations requires explicit awareness of the cues' role, participants apply the mapping corresponding to the trained shape that is most similar to the current one, consistent with the Bayesian learning model. Furthermore, the Bayesian learning model predicts that learning should slow down with increased numbers of training pairs, which was confirmed by the present results. In short, we found a good correspondence between the

  12. Sensory, Cognitive, and Sensorimotor Learning Effects in Recognition Memory for Music.

    Mathias, Brian; Tillmann, Barbara; Palmer, Caroline

    2016-08-01

    Recent research suggests that perception and action are strongly interrelated and that motor experience may aid memory recognition. We investigated the role of motor experience in auditory memory recognition processes by musicians using behavioral, ERP, and neural source current density measures. Skilled pianists learned one set of novel melodies by producing them and another set by perception only. Pianists then completed an auditory memory recognition test during which the previously learned melodies were presented with or without an out-of-key pitch alteration while the EEG was recorded. Pianists indicated whether each melody was altered from or identical to one of the original melodies. Altered pitches elicited a larger N2 ERP component than original pitches, and pitches within previously produced melodies elicited a larger N2 than pitches in previously perceived melodies. Cortical motor planning regions were more strongly activated within the time frame of the N2 following altered pitches in previously produced melodies compared with previously perceived melodies, and larger N2 amplitudes were associated with greater detection accuracy following production learning than perception learning. Early sensory (N1) and later cognitive (P3a) components elicited by pitch alterations correlated with predictions of sensory echoic and schematic tonality models, respectively, but only for the perception learning condition, suggesting that production experience alters the extent to which performers rely on sensory and tonal recognition cues. These findings provide evidence for distinct time courses of sensory, schematic, and motoric influences within the same recognition task and suggest that learned auditory-motor associations influence responses to out-of-key pitches.

  13. Cerebellar anodal tDCS increases implicit learning when strategic re-aiming is suppressed in sensorimotor adaptation.

    Leow, Li-Ann; Marinovic, Welber; Riek, Stephan; Carroll, Timothy J

    2017-01-01

    Neurophysiological and neuroimaging work suggests that the cerebellum is critically involved in sensorimotor adaptation. Changes in cerebellar function alter behaviour when compensating for sensorimotor perturbations, as shown by non-invasive stimulation of the cerebellum and studies involving patients with cerebellar degeneration. It is known, however, that behavioural responses to sensorimotor perturbations reflect both explicit processes (such as volitional aiming to one side of a target to counteract a rotation of visual feedback) and implicit, error-driven updating of sensorimotor maps. The contribution of the cerebellum to these explicit and implicit processes remains unclear. Here, we examined the role of the cerebellum in sensorimotor adaptation to a 30° rotation of visual feedback of hand position during target-reaching, when the capacity to use explicit processes was manipulated by controlling movement preparation times. Explicit re-aiming was suppressed in one condition by requiring subjects to initiate their movements within 300ms of target presentation, and permitted in another condition by requiring subjects to wait approximately 1050ms after target presentation before movement initiation. Similar to previous work, applying anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS; 1.5mA) to the right cerebellum during adaptation resulted in faster compensation for errors imposed by the rotation. After exposure to the rotation, we evaluated implicit remapping in no-feedback trials after providing participants with explicit knowledge that the rotation had been removed. Crucially, movements were more adapted in these no-feedback trials following cerebellar anodal tDCS than after sham stimulation in both long and short preparation groups. Thus, cerebellar anodal tDCS increased implicit remapping during sensorimotor adaptation, irrespective of preparation time constraints. The results are consistent with the possibility that the cerebellum contributes to the

  14. Noradrenergic control of gene expression and long-term neuronal adaptation evoked by learned vocalizations in songbirds.

    Tarciso A F Velho

    Full Text Available Norepinephrine (NE is thought to play important roles in the consolidation and retrieval of long-term memories, but its role in the processing and memorization of complex acoustic signals used for vocal communication has yet to be determined. We have used a combination of gene expression analysis, electrophysiological recordings and pharmacological manipulations in zebra finches to examine the role of noradrenergic transmission in the brain's response to birdsong, a learned vocal behavior that shares important features with human speech. We show that noradrenergic transmission is required for both the expression of activity-dependent genes and the long-term maintenance of stimulus-specific electrophysiological adaptation that are induced in central auditory neurons by stimulation with birdsong. Specifically, we show that the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM, an area directly involved in the auditory processing and memorization of birdsong, receives strong noradrenergic innervation. Song-responsive neurons in this area express α-adrenergic receptors and are in close proximity to noradrenergic terminals. We further show that local α-adrenergic antagonism interferes with song-induced gene expression, without affecting spontaneous or evoked electrophysiological activity, thus dissociating the molecular and electrophysiological responses to song. Moreover, α-adrenergic antagonism disrupts the maintenance but not the acquisition of the adapted physiological state. We suggest that the noradrenergic system regulates long-term changes in song-responsive neurons by modulating the gene expression response that is associated with the electrophysiological activation triggered by song. We also suggest that this mechanism may be an important contributor to long-term auditory memories of learned vocalizations.

  15. Countermeasures to Enhance Sensorimotor Adaptability

    Bloomberg, J. J.; Peters, B. T.; Mulavara, A. P.; Brady, R. A.; Batson, C. C.; Miller, C. A.; Cohen, H. S.

    2011-01-01

    During exploration-class missions, sensorimotor disturbances may lead to disruption in the ability to ambulate and perform functional tasks during the initial introduction to a novel gravitational environment following a landing on a planetary surface. The goal of our current project is to develop a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program to facilitate rapid adaptation to novel gravitational environments. We have developed a unique training system comprised of a treadmill placed on a motion-base facing a virtual visual scene that provides an unstable walking surface combined with incongruent visual flow designed to enhance sensorimotor adaptability. We have conducted a series of studies that have shown: Training using a combination of modified visual flow and support surface motion during treadmill walking enhances locomotor adaptability to a novel sensorimotor environment. Trained individuals become more proficient at performing multiple competing tasks while walking during adaptation to novel discordant sensorimotor conditions. Trained subjects can retain their increased level of adaptability over a six months period. SA training is effective in producing increased adaptability in a more complex over-ground ambulatory task on an obstacle course. This confirms that for a complex task like walking, treadmill training contains enough of the critical features of overground walking to be an effective training modality. The structure of individual training sessions can be optimized to promote fast/strategic motor learning. Training sessions that each contain short-duration exposures to multiple perturbation stimuli allows subjects to acquire a greater ability to rapidly reorganize appropriate response strategies when encountering a novel sensory environment. Individual sensory biases (i.e. increased visual dependency) can predict adaptive responses to novel sensory environments suggesting that customized training prescriptions can be developed to enhance

  16. The Computational Sensorimotor Systems Laboratory

    Federal Laboratory Consortium — The Computational Sensorimotor Systems Lab focuses on the exploration, analysis, modeling and implementation of biological sensorimotor systems for both scientific...

  17. Addressing Anger Using Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

    Flynn, Sarah M.

    2010-01-01

    A young woman initiated counselling services at a community agency to address her explosive anger that was a remnant of childhood physical and emotional abuse. Sensorimotor psychotherapy was used to help this client learn how to monitor and regulate her sensorimotor processes. In conjunction with this approach, Cognitive behavioural therapy was…

  18. Syntactic Structures as Descriptions of Sensorimotor Processes

    Alistair Knott

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available In this paper I propose a hypothesis linking elements of a model of theoretical syntax with neural mechanisms in the domain of sensorimotor processing. The syntactic framework I adopt to express this linking hypothesis is Chomsky’s Minimalism: I propose that the language-independent ’Logical Form’ (LF of a sentence reporting a concrete episode in the world can be interpreted as a detailed description of the sensorimotor processes involved in apprehending that episode. The hypothesis is motivated by a detailed study of one particular episode, in which an agent grasps a target object. There are striking similarities between the LF structure of transitive sentences describing this episode and the structure of the sensorimotor processes through which it is apprehended by an observer. The neural interpretation of Minimalist LF structure allows it to incorporate insights from empiricist accounts of syntax, relating to sentence processing and to the learning of syntactic constructions.

  19. Dynamic sensorimotor planning during long-term sequence learning: the role of variability, response chunking and planning errors.

    Verstynen, Timothy; Phillips, Jeff; Braun, Emily; Workman, Brett; Schunn, Christian; Schneider, Walter

    2012-01-01

    Many everyday skills are learned by binding otherwise independent actions into a unified sequence of responses across days or weeks of practice. Here we looked at how the dynamics of action planning and response binding change across such long timescales. Subjects (N = 23) were trained on a bimanual version of the serial reaction time task (32-item sequence) for two weeks (10 days total). Response times and accuracy both showed improvement with time, but appeared to be learned at different rates. Changes in response speed across training were associated with dynamic changes in response time variability, with faster learners expanding their variability during the early training days and then contracting response variability late in training. Using a novel measure of response chunking, we found that individual responses became temporally correlated across trials and asymptoted to set sizes of approximately 7 bound responses at the end of the first week of training. Finally, we used a state-space model of the response planning process to look at how predictive (i.e., response anticipation) and error-corrective (i.e., post-error slowing) processes correlated with learning rates for speed, accuracy and chunking. This analysis yielded non-monotonic association patterns between the state-space model parameters and learning rates, suggesting that different parts of the response planning process are relevant at different stages of long-term learning. These findings highlight the dynamic modulation of response speed, variability, accuracy and chunking as multiple movements become bound together into a larger set of responses during sequence learning.

  20. Social Sensorimotor Contingencies

    Bütepage, Judith

    2016-01-01

    As the field of robotics advances, more robots are employed in our everyday environment. Thus, the implementation of robots that can actively engage in physical collaboration and naturally interact with humans is of high importance. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to study human interaction and social cognition and how these aspects can be implemented in robotic agents. The theory of social sensorimotor contingencies hypothesises that many aspects of human-human interaction de...

  1. Contemporary sensorimotor theory

    Martin, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    This book analyzes the philosophical foundations of sensorimotor theory and discusses the most recent applications of sensorimotor theory to human computer interaction, child’s play, virtual reality, robotics, and linguistics. Why does a circle look curved and not angular? Why does red not sound like a bell? Why, as I interact with the world, is there something it is like to be me? An analytic philosopher might suggest: ``if we ponder the concept of circle we find that it is the essence of a circle to be round’’. However, where does this definition come from? Was it set in stone by the Gods, in other words by divine arbiters of circleness, redness and consciousness? Particularly, with regard to visual consciousness, a first attempt to explain why our conscious experience of the world appears as it does has been attributed to Kevin O’Regan and Alva Noe, who published their sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness in 2001. Starting with a chapter by Kevin O’Regan, Contemporary Sensorimo...

  2. Neural mechanisms of sequence generation in songbirds

    Langford, Bruce

    Animal models in research are useful for studying more complex behavior. For example, motor sequence generation of actions requiring good muscle coordination such as writing with a pen, playing an instrument, or speaking, may involve the interaction of many areas in the brain, each a complex system in itself; thus it can be difficult to determine causal relationships between neural behavior and the behavior being studied. Birdsong, however, provides an excellent model behavior for motor sequence learning, memory, and generation. The song consists of learned sequences of notes that are spectrographically stereotyped over multiple renditions of the song, similar to syllables in human speech. The main areas of the songbird brain involve in singing are known, however, the mechanisms by which these systems store and produce song are not well understood. We used a custom built, head-mounted, miniature motorized microdrive to chronically record the neural firing patterns of identified neurons in HVC, a pre-motor cortical nucleus which has been shown to be important in song timing. These were done in Bengalese finch which generate a song made up of stereotyped notes but variable note sequences. We observed song related bursting in neurons projecting to Area X, a homologue to basal ganglia, and tonic firing in HVC interneurons. Interneuron had firing rate patterns that were consistent over multiple renditions of the same note sequence. We also designed and built a light-weight, low-powered wireless programmable neural stimulator using Bluetooth Low Energy Protocol. It was able to generate perturbations in the song when current pulses were administered to RA, which projects to the brainstem nucleus responsible for syringeal muscle control.

  3. Acquisition of Automatic Imitation Is Sensitive to Sensorimotor Contingency

    Cook, Richard; Press, Clare; Dickinson, Anthony; Heyes, Cecilia

    2010-01-01

    The associative sequence learning model proposes that the development of the mirror system depends on the same mechanisms of associative learning that mediate Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning. To test this model, two experiments used the reduction of automatic imitation through incompatible sensorimotor training to assess whether mirror…

  4. Customizing Countermeasure Prescriptions using Predictive Measures of Sensorimotor Adaptability

    Bloomberg, J. J.; Peters, B. T.; Mulavara, A. P.; Miller, C. A.; Batson, C. D.; Wood, S. J.; Guined, J. R.; Cohen, H. S.; Buccello-Stout, R.; DeDios, Y. E.; hide

    2014-01-01

    Astronauts experience sensorimotor disturbances during the initial exposure to microgravity and during the readapation phase following a return to a gravitational environment. These alterations may lead to disruption in the ability to perform mission critical functional tasks during and after these gravitational transitions. Astronauts show significant inter-subject variation in adaptive capability following gravitational transitions. The ability to predict the manner and degree to which each individual astronaut will be affected would improve the effectiveness of a countermeasure comprised of a training program designed to enhance sensorimotor adaptability. Due to this inherent individual variability we need to develop predictive measures of sensorimotor adaptability that will allow us to predict, before actual space flight, which crewmember will experience challenges in adaptive capacity. Thus, obtaining this information will allow us to design and implement better sensorimotor adaptability training countermeasures that will be customized for each crewmember's unique adaptive capabilities. Therefore the goals of this project are to: 1) develop a set of predictive measures capable of identifying individual differences in sensorimotor adaptability, and 2) use this information to design sensorimotor adaptability training countermeasures that are customized for each crewmember's individual sensorimotor adaptive characteristics. To achieve these goals we are currently pursuing the following specific aims: Aim 1: Determine whether behavioral metrics of individual sensory bias predict sensorimotor adaptability. For this aim, subjects perform tests that delineate individual sensory biases in tests of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive function. Aim 2: Determine if individual capability for strategic and plastic-adaptive responses predicts sensorimotor adaptability. For this aim, each subject's strategic and plastic-adaptive motor learning abilities are assessed using

  5. Brain spontaneous fluctuations in sensorimotor regions were directly related to eyes open and eyes closed: evidences from a machine learning approach

    Bishan eLiang

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies have demonstrated that the difference between resting-state brain activations depends on whether the subject was eyes open (EO or eyes closed (EC. However, whether the spontaneous fluctuations are directly related to these two different resting states are still largely unclear. In the present study, we acquired resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 24 healthy subjects (11 males, 20.17 ± 2.74 years under the EO and EC states. The amplitude of the spontaneous brain activity in low-frequency band was subsequently investigated by using the metric of fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (fALFF for each subject under each state. A support vector machine (SVM analysis was then applied to evaluate whether the category of resting states could be determined from the brain spontaneous fluctuations. We demonstrated that these two resting states could be decoded from the identified pattern of brain spontaneous fluctuations, predominantly based on fALFF in the sensorimotor module. Specifically, we observed prominent relationships between increased fALFF for EC and decreased fALFF for EO in sensorimotor regions. Overall, the present results indicate that a SVM performs well in the discrimination between the brain spontaneous fluctuations of distinct resting states and provide new insight into the neural substrate of the resting states during EC and EO.

  6. At the interface of the auditory and vocal motor systems: NIf and its role in vocal processing, production and learning.

    Lewandowski, Brian; Vyssotski, Alexei; Hahnloser, Richard H R; Schmidt, Marc

    2013-06-01

    Communication between auditory and vocal motor nuclei is essential for vocal learning. In songbirds, the nucleus interfacialis of the nidopallium (NIf) is part of a sensorimotor loop, along with auditory nucleus avalanche (Av) and song system nucleus HVC, that links the auditory and song systems. Most of the auditory information comes through this sensorimotor loop, with the projection from NIf to HVC representing the largest single source of auditory information to the song system. In addition to providing the majority of HVC's auditory input, NIf is also the primary driver of spontaneous activity and premotor-like bursting during sleep in HVC. Like HVC and RA, two nuclei critical for song learning and production, NIf exhibits behavioral-state dependent auditory responses and strong motor bursts that precede song output. NIf also exhibits extended periods of fast gamma oscillations following vocal production. Based on the converging evidence from studies of physiology and functional connectivity it would be reasonable to expect NIf to play an important role in the learning, maintenance, and production of song. Surprisingly, however, lesions of NIf in adult zebra finches have no effect on song production or maintenance. Only the plastic song produced by juvenile zebra finches during the sensorimotor phase of song learning is affected by NIf lesions. In this review, we carefully examine what is known about NIf at the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral levels. We reexamine conclusions drawn from previous studies in the light of our current understanding of the song system, and establish what can be said with certainty about NIf's involvement in song learning, maintenance, and production. Finally, we review recent theories of song learning integrating possible roles for NIf within these frameworks and suggest possible parallels between NIf and sensorimotor areas that form part of the neural circuitry for speech processing in humans. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier

  7. Enhancing Astronaut Performance using Sensorimotor Adaptability Training

    Jacob J Bloomberg

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Astronauts experience disturbances in balance and gait function when they return to Earth. The highly plastic human brain enables individuals to modify their behavior to match the prevailing environment. Subjects participating in specially designed variable sensory challenge training programs can enhance their ability to rapidly adapt to novel sensory situations. This is useful in our application because we aim to train astronauts to rapidly formulate effective strategies to cope with the balance and locomotor challenges associated with new gravitational environments - enhancing their ability to learn to learn. We do this by coupling various combinations of sensorimotor challenges with treadmill walking. A unique training system has been developed that is comprised of a treadmill mounted on a motion base to produce movement of the support surface during walking. This system provides challenges to gait stability. Additional sensory variation and challenge are imposed with a virtual visual scene that presents subjects with various combinations of discordant visual information during treadmill walking. This experience allows them to practice resolving challenging and conflicting novel sensory information to improve their ability to adapt rapidly. Information obtained from this work will inform the design of the next generation of sensorimotor countermeasures for astronauts.

  8. Enhancing astronaut performance using sensorimotor adaptability training.

    Bloomberg, Jacob J; Peters, Brian T; Cohen, Helen S; Mulavara, Ajitkumar P

    2015-01-01

    Astronauts experience disturbances in balance and gait function when they return to Earth. The highly plastic human brain enables individuals to modify their behavior to match the prevailing environment. Subjects participating in specially designed variable sensory challenge training programs can enhance their ability to rapidly adapt to novel sensory situations. This is useful in our application because we aim to train astronauts to rapidly formulate effective strategies to cope with the balance and locomotor challenges associated with new gravitational environments-enhancing their ability to "learn to learn." We do this by coupling various combinations of sensorimotor challenges with treadmill walking. A unique training system has been developed that is comprised of a treadmill mounted on a motion base to produce movement of the support surface during walking. This system provides challenges to gait stability. Additional sensory variation and challenge are imposed with a virtual visual scene that presents subjects with various combinations of discordant visual information during treadmill walking. This experience allows them to practice resolving challenging and conflicting novel sensory information to improve their ability to adapt rapidly. Information obtained from this work will inform the design of the next generation of sensorimotor countermeasures for astronauts.

  9. A comprehensive account of sound sequence imitation in the songbird.

    Maren Westkott

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available The amazing imitation capabilities of songbirds show that they can memorize sensory sequences and transform them into motor activities which in turn generate the original sound sequences. This suggests that the bird's brain can learn 1. to reliably reproduce spatio-temporal sensory representations and 2. to transform them into corresponding spatio-temporal motor activations by using an inverse mapping. Neither the synaptic mechanisms nor the network architecture enabling these two fundamental aspects of imitation learning are known. We propose an architecture of coupled neuronal modules that mimick areas in the song bird and show that a unique synaptic plasticity mechanism can serve to learn both, sensory sequences in a recurrent neuronal network, as well as an inverse model that transforms the sensory memories into the corresponding motor activations. The proposed membrane potential dependent learning rule together with the architecture that includes basic features of the bird's brain represents the first comprehensive account of bird imitation learning based on spiking neurons.

  10. Training Modalities to Increase Sensorimotor Adaptability

    Bloomberg, J. J.; Mulavara, A. P.; Peters, B. T.; Brady, R.; Audas, C.; Cohen, H. S.

    2009-01-01

    training can be effectively integrated with treadmill exercise and optimized to provide a unique system that combines multiple training requirements in a single countermeasure system. Learning Objectives: The development of a new countermeasure approach that enhances sensorimotor adaptability will be discussed.

  11. The neural dynamics of song syntax in songbirds

    Jin, Dezhe

    2010-03-01

    Songbird is ``the hydrogen atom'' of the neuroscience of complex, learned vocalizations such as human speech. Songs of Bengalese finch consist of sequences of syllables. While syllables are temporally stereotypical, syllable sequences can vary and follow complex, probabilistic syntactic rules, which are rudimentarily similar to grammars in human language. Songbird brain is accessible to experimental probes, and is understood well enough to construct biologically constrained, predictive computational models. In this talk, I will discuss the structure and dynamics of neural networks underlying the stereotypy of the birdsong syllables and the flexibility of syllable sequences. Recent experiments and computational models suggest that a syllable is encoded in a chain network of projection neurons in premotor nucleus HVC (proper name). Precisely timed spikes propagate along the chain, driving vocalization of the syllable through downstream nuclei. Through a computational model, I show that that variable syllable sequences can be generated through spike propagations in a network in HVC in which the syllable-encoding chain networks are connected into a branching chain pattern. The neurons mutually inhibit each other through the inhibitory HVC interneurons, and are driven by external inputs from nuclei upstream of HVC. At a branching point that connects the final group of a chain to the first groups of several chains, the spike activity selects one branch to continue the propagation. The selection is probabilistic, and is due to the winner-take-all mechanism mediated by the inhibition and noise. The model predicts that the syllable sequences statistically follow partially observable Markov models. Experimental results supporting this and other predictions of the model will be presented. We suggest that the syntax of birdsong syllable sequences is embedded in the connection patterns of HVC projection neurons.

  12. The role of sensorimotor learning in the perception of letter-like forms: tracking the causes of neural specialization for letters.

    James, Karin H; Atwood, Thea P

    2009-02-01

    Functional specialization in the brain is considered a hallmark of efficient processing. It is therefore not surprising that there are brain areas specialized for processing letters. To better understand the causes of functional specialization for letters, we explore the emergence of this pattern of response in the ventral processing stream through a training paradigm. Previously, we hypothesized that the specialized response pattern seen during letter perception may be due in part to our experience in writing letters. The work presented here investigates whether or not this aspect of letter processing-the integration of sensorimotor systems through writing-leads to functional specialization in the visual system. To test this idea, we investigated whether or not different types of experiences with letter-like stimuli ("pseudoletters") led to functional specialization similar to that which exists for letters. Neural activation patterns were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after three different types of training sessions. Participants were trained to recognize pseudoletters by writing, typing, or purely visual practice. Results suggested that only after writing practice did neural activation patterns to pseudoletters resemble patterns seen for letters. That is, neural activation in the left fusiform and dorsal precentral gyrus was greater when participants viewed pseudoletters than other, similar stimuli but only after writing experience. Neural activation also increased after typing practice in the right fusiform and left precentral gyrus, suggesting that in some areas, any motor experience may change visual processing. The results of this experiment suggest an intimate interaction among perceptual and motor systems during pseudoletter perception that may be extended to everyday letter perception.

  13. Neural predictors of sensorimotor adaptation rate and savings.

    Cassady, Kaitlin; Ruitenberg, Marit; Koppelmans, Vincent; Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia; De Dios, Yiri; Gadd, Nichole; Wood, Scott; Riascos Castenada, Roy; Kofman, Igor; Bloomberg, Jacob; Mulavara, Ajitkumar; Seidler, Rachael

    2018-04-01

    In this study, we investigate whether individual variability in the rate of visuomotor adaptation and multiday savings is associated with differences in regional gray matter volume and resting-state functional connectivity. Thirty-four participants performed a manual adaptation task during two separate test sessions, on average 9 days apart. Functional connectivity strength between sensorimotor, dorsal cingulate, and temporoparietal regions of the brain was found to predict the rate of learning during the early phase of the adaptation task. In contrast, default mode network connectivity strength was found to predict both the rate of learning during the late adaptation phase and savings. As for structural predictors, greater gray matter volume in temporoparietal and occipital regions predicted faster early learning, whereas greater gray matter volume in superior posterior regions of the cerebellum predicted faster late learning. These findings suggest that the offline neural predictors of early adaptation may facilitate the cognitive aspects of sensorimotor adaptation, supported by the involvement of temporoparietal and cingulate networks. The offline neural predictors of late adaptation and savings, including the default mode network and the cerebellum, likely support the storage and modification of newly acquired sensorimotor representations. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. How infants' reaches reveal principles of sensorimotor decision making

    Dineva, Evelina; Schöner, Gregor

    2018-01-01

    In Piaget's classical A-not-B-task, infants repeatedly make a sensorimotor decision to reach to one of two cued targets. Perseverative errors are induced by switching the cue from A to B, while spontaneous errors are unsolicited reaches to B when only A is cued. We argue that theoretical accounts of sensorimotor decision-making fail to address how motor decisions leave a memory trace that may impact future sensorimotor decisions. Instead, in extant neural models, perseveration is caused solely by the history of stimulation. We present a neural dynamic model of sensorimotor decision-making within the framework of Dynamic Field Theory, in which a dynamic instability amplifies fluctuations in neural activation into macroscopic, stable neural activation states that leave memory traces. The model predicts perseveration, but also a tendency to repeat spontaneous errors. To test the account, we pool data from several A-not-B experiments. A conditional probabilities analysis accounts quantitatively how motor decisions depend on the history of reaching. The results provide evidence for the interdependence among subsequent reaching decisions that is explained by the model, showing that by amplifying small differences in activation and affecting learning, decisions have consequences beyond the individual behavioural act.

  15. Signaling equilibria in sensorimotor interactions.

    Leibfried, Felix; Grau-Moya, Jordi; Braun, Daniel A

    2015-08-01

    Although complex forms of communication like human language are often assumed to have evolved out of more simple forms of sensorimotor signaling, less attention has been devoted to investigate the latter. Here, we study communicative sensorimotor behavior of humans in a two-person joint motor task where each player controls one dimension of a planar motion. We designed this joint task as a game where one player (the sender) possesses private information about a hidden target the other player (the receiver) wants to know about, and where the sender's actions are costly signals that influence the receiver's control strategy. We developed a game-theoretic model within the framework of signaling games to investigate whether subjects' behavior could be adequately described by the corresponding equilibrium solutions. The model predicts both separating and pooling equilibria, in which signaling does and does not occur respectively. We observed both kinds of equilibria in subjects and found that, in line with model predictions, the propensity of signaling decreased with increasing signaling costs and decreasing uncertainty on the part of the receiver. Our study demonstrates that signaling games, which have previously been applied to economic decision-making and animal communication, provide a framework for human signaling behavior arising during sensorimotor interactions in continuous and dynamic environments. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Transoceanic migration by a 12 g songbird.

    DeLuca, William V; Woodworth, Bradley K; Rimmer, Christopher C; Marra, Peter P; Taylor, Philip D; McFarland, Kent P; Mackenzie, Stuart A; Norris, D Ryan

    2015-04-01

    Many fundamental aspects of migration remain a mystery, largely due to our inability to follow small animals over vast spatial areas. For more than 50 years, it has been hypothesized that, during autumn migration, blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) depart northeastern North America and undertake a non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean to either the Greater Antilles or the northeastern coast of South America. Using miniaturized light-level geolocators, we provide the first irrefutable evidence that the blackpoll warbler, a 12 g boreal forest songbird, completes an autumn transoceanic migration ranging from 2270 to 2770 km (mean ± s.d.: 2540 ± 257) and requiring up to 3 days (62 h ± 10) of non-stop flight. This is one of the longest non-stop overwater flights recorded for a songbird and confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  17. Gesture Recognition and Sensorimotor Learning-by-Doing of Motor Skills in Manual Professions: A Case Study in the Wheel-Throwing Art of Pottery

    Glushkova, Alina; Manitsaris, Sotiris

    2018-01-01

    This paper presents a methodological framework for the use of gesture recognition technologies in the learning/mastery of the gestural skills required in wheel-throwing pottery. In the case of self-instruction or training, learners face difficulties due to the absence of the teacher/expert and the consequent lack of guidance. Motion capture…

  18. [Modeling developmental aspects of sensorimotor control of speech production].

    Kröger, B J; Birkholz, P; Neuschaefer-Rube, C

    2007-05-01

    Detailed knowledge of the neurophysiology of speech acquisition is important for understanding the developmental aspects of speech perception and production and for understanding developmental disorders of speech perception and production. A computer implemented neural model of sensorimotor control of speech production was developed. The model is capable of demonstrating the neural functions of different cortical areas during speech production in detail. (i) Two sensory and two motor maps or neural representations and the appertaining neural mappings or projections establish the sensorimotor feedback control system. These maps and mappings are already formed and trained during the prelinguistic phase of speech acquisition. (ii) The feedforward sensorimotor control system comprises the lexical map (representations of sounds, syllables, and words of the first language) and the mappings from lexical to sensory and to motor maps. The training of the appertaining mappings form the linguistic phase of speech acquisition. (iii) Three prelinguistic learning phases--i. e. silent mouthing, quasi stationary vocalic articulation, and realisation of articulatory protogestures--can be defined on the basis of our simulation studies using the computational neural model. These learning phases can be associated with temporal phases of prelinguistic speech acquisition obtained from natural data. The neural model illuminates the detailed function of specific cortical areas during speech production. In particular it can be shown that developmental disorders of speech production may result from a delayed or incorrect process within one of the prelinguistic learning phases defined by the neural model.

  19. Augmentation of Sensorimotor Adaptability Using Stochastic Resonance Technologies

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Astronauts experience sensorimotor dysfunction during adaption to g-transitions that occur when entering and exiting microgravity. These sensorimotor disturbances...

  20. Fetal Origin of Sensorimotor Behavior

    Jaqueline Fagard

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this article is to track the fetal origin of infants’ sensorimotor behavior. We consider development as the self-organizing emergence of complex forms from spontaneously generated activity, governed by the innate capacity to detect and memorize the consequences of spontaneous activity (contingencies, and constrained by the sensory and motor maturation of the body. In support of this view, we show how observations on fetuses and also several fetal experiments suggest that the fetus’s first motor activity allows it to feel the space around it and to feel its body and the consequences of its movements on its body. This primitive motor babbling gives way progressively to sensorimotor behavior which already possesses most of the characteristics of infants’ later behavior: repetition of actions leading to sensations, intentionality, some motor control and oriented reactions to sensory stimulation. In this way the fetus can start developing a body map and acquiring knowledge of its limited physical and social environment.

  1. Distribution of language-related Cntnap2 protein in neural circuits critical for vocal learning.

    Condro, Michael C; White, Stephanie A

    2014-01-01

    Variants of the contactin associated protein-like 2 (Cntnap2) gene are risk factors for language-related disorders including autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and stuttering. Songbirds are useful models for study of human speech disorders due to their shared capacity for vocal learning, which relies on similar cortico-basal ganglia circuitry and genetic factors. Here we investigate Cntnap2 protein expression in the brain of the zebra finch, a songbird species in which males, but not females, learn their courtship songs. We hypothesize that Cntnap2 has overlapping functions in vocal learning species, and expect to find protein expression in song-related areas of the zebra finch brain. We further expect that the distribution of this membrane-bound protein may not completely mirror its mRNA distribution due to the distinct subcellular localization of the two molecular species. We find that Cntnap2 protein is enriched in several song control regions relative to surrounding tissues, particularly within the adult male, but not female, robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), a cortical song control region analogous to human layer 5 primary motor cortex. The onset of this sexually dimorphic expression coincides with the onset of sensorimotor learning in developing males. Enrichment in male RA appears due to expression in projection neurons within the nucleus, as well as to additional expression in nerve terminals of cortical projections to RA from the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the nidopallium. Cntnap2 protein expression in zebra finch brain supports the hypothesis that this molecule affects neural connectivity critical for vocal learning across taxonomic classes. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Eavesdropping on the Arctic: Automated Bioacoustics Promise to Untangle Climate-Induced Shifts in Songbird Migration

    Oliver, R.; Ellis, D.; Gough, L.; Chmura, H.; Sweet, S. K.; Boelman, N.; Krause, J.; Perez, J.; Wingfield, J.

    2017-12-01

    Climate change is altering the seasonality of environmental conditions and the phenology of vegetation, particularly at high northern latitudes. Yet changes in the phenology of wildlife that rely on northern ecosystems is significantly understudied. In much the same way that remote sensing enables global-scale observations of climate and vegetation, ground-based bioacoustic recording networks have the potential to vastly expand the spatial and temporal coverage of wildlife monitoring. However, the enormous datasets that autonomous recorders typically generate demand automated analyses that remain largely undeveloped. To unleash the potential for global-scale bioacoustic monitoring, we developed automated signal processing and machine learning algorithms to generate seasonal times series of breeding songbird vocal activity from 1200 hours of landscape-level recordings in northern Alaska. The calendar dates on which songbird communities arrived to their breeding grounds in five springs (2010-2014) were automatically extracted from the time series, and agreed within 3 days to those determined via traditional avian surveys (RMSE = 1.88 - 3.02). Relative to other years, our bioacoustic approach identified a 1-9 day delay in the arrival of long distance migratory songbird communities to their breeding grounds in 2013 - a spring characterized by persistent snow cover and cold temperatures. Differences in arrival timing among sites were strongly related to the date on which the landscape surrounding the microphone became snow-free, particularly in the supervised approach (supervised: R2 = 0.59, p autonomously, which would provide the coverage necessary to determine and project the influence of climate on rapidly changing ecosystems.

  3. Maternal transfer of mercury to songbird eggs.

    Ackerman, Joshua T; Hartman, C Alex; Herzog, Mark P

    2017-11-01

    We evaluated the maternal transfer of mercury to eggs in songbirds, determined whether this relationship differed between songbird species, and developed equations for predicting mercury concentrations in eggs from maternal blood. We sampled blood and feathers from 44 house wren (Troglodytes aedon) and 34 tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) mothers and collected their full clutches (n = 476 eggs) within 3 days of clutch completion. Additionally, we sampled blood and feathers from 53 tree swallow mothers and randomly collected one egg from their clutches (n = 53 eggs) during mid to late incubation (6-10 days incubated) to evaluate whether the relationship varied with the timing of sampling the mother's blood. Mercury concentrations in eggs were positively correlated with mercury concentrations in maternal blood sampled at (1) the time of clutch completion for both house wrens (R 2  = 0.97) and tree swallows (R 2  = 0.97) and (2) during mid to late incubation for tree swallows (R 2  = 0.71). The relationship between mercury concentrations in eggs and maternal blood did not differ with the stage of incubation when maternal blood was sampled. Importantly, the proportion of mercury transferred from mothers to their eggs decreased substantially with increasing blood mercury concentrations in tree swallows, but increased slightly with increasing blood mercury concentrations in house wrens. Additionally, the proportion of mercury transferred to eggs at the same maternal blood mercury concentration differed between species. Specifically, tree swallow mothers transferred 17%-107% more mercury to their eggs than house wren mothers over the observed mercury concentrations in maternal blood (0.15-1.92 μg/g ww). In contrast, mercury concentrations in eggs were not correlated with those in maternal feathers and, likewise, mercury concentrations in maternal blood were not correlated with those in feathers (all R 2  mercury concentrations from maternal blood to eggs

  4. Virtual Reality Training: "Cybersickness" and Effects on Sensorimotor Functions

    Harm, Deborah L.; Taylor, Laura C.

    2003-01-01

    The overall goal of this study is to examine the extent to which exposure to virtual reality (VR) systems produces motion sickness and disrupts sensorimotor functions. Two of the major problems in using VRs are: 1) potential "cybersickness", a form of motion sickness, and 2) maladaptive sensorimotor coordination following virtual environment (VE) training. It is likely that users will eventually adapt to any unpleasant perceptual experiences in a virtual environment. However the most critical problem for training applications is that sensorimotor coordination strategies learned in the VE may not be similar to the responses required in the real environment. This study will evaluate and compare responses to the two types of VR delivery systems (head-mounted display [HMD] and a dome-projection system [DOME]), two exposure duration periods (30 minutes or 60 minutes), and repeated exposures (3 sessions). Specific responses that we will examine include cybersickness severity and symptom patterns, and several sensorimotor functions (eye-hea.d and eye-head-hand coordination, and postural equilibrium). To date, all hardware and software acquisition, development, integration and testing has been completed. A database has been developed and tested for the input, management and storage of all questionnaire data. All data analysis scripts have been developed and tested. Data was collected from 20 subjects in a pilot study that was conducted to determine the amount of training necessary to achieve a stable performance level. Seven subjects are currently enrolled in the study designed to examine the effects of exposure to VE systems on postural control. Data has been collected from two subjects, and it is expected that the results from ten subjects will be presented.

  5. Sensorimotor gating deficits in multiple system atrophy

    Zoetmulder, Marielle; Biernat, Heidi Bryde; Nikolic, Miki

    2014-01-01

    Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the auditory blink reflex is a measure of sensorimotor gating, which reflects an organism's ability to filter out irrelevant sensory information. PPI has never been studied in patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), although sensorimotor deficits are frequently a...... associated with synucleinopathies. We investigated whether alterations in PPI were more pronounced in MSA compared with Parkinson's disease (PD), idiopathic rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) and healthy controls....

  6. Decoding intention at sensorimotor timescales.

    Mathew Salvaris

    Full Text Available The ability to decode an individual's intentions in real time has long been a 'holy grail' of research on human volition. For example, a reliable method could be used to improve scientific study of voluntary action by allowing external probe stimuli to be delivered at different moments during development of intention and action. Several Brain Computer Interface applications have used motor imagery of repetitive actions to achieve this goal. These systems are relatively successful, but only if the intention is sustained over a period of several seconds; much longer than the timescales identified in psychophysiological studies for normal preparation for voluntary action. We have used a combination of sensorimotor rhythms and motor imagery training to decode intentions in a single-trial cued-response paradigm similar to those used in human and non-human primate motor control research. Decoding accuracy of over 0.83 was achieved with twelve participants. With this approach, we could decode intentions to move the left or right hand at sub-second timescales, both for instructed choices instructed by an external stimulus and for free choices generated intentionally by the participant. The implications for volition are considered.

  7. The songbird as a percussionist: syntactic rules for non-vocal sound and song production in Java sparrows.

    Masayo Soma

    Full Text Available Music and dance are two remarkable human characteristics that are closely related. Communication through integrated vocal and motional signals is also common in the courtship displays of birds. The contribution of songbird studies to our understanding of vocal learning has already shed some light on the cognitive underpinnings of musical ability. Moreover, recent pioneering research has begun to show how animals can synchronize their behaviors with external stimuli, like metronome beats. However, few studies have applied such perspectives to unraveling how animals can integrate multimodal communicative signals that have natural functions. Additionally, studies have rarely asked how well these behaviors are learned. With this in mind, here we cast a spotlight on an unusual animal behavior: non-vocal sound production associated with singing in the Java sparrow (Lonchura oryzivora, a songbird. We show that male Java sparrows coordinate their bill-click sounds with the syntax of their song-note sequences, similar to percussionists. Analysis showed that they produced clicks frequently toward the beginning of songs and before/after specific song notes. We also show that bill-clicking patterns are similar between social fathers and their sons, suggesting that these behaviors might be learned from models or linked to learning-based vocalizations. Individuals untutored by conspecifics also exhibited stereotypical bill-clicking patterns in relation to song-note sequence, indicating that while the production of bill clicking itself is intrinsic, its syncopation appears to develop with songs. This paints an intriguing picture in which non-vocal sounds are integrated with vocal courtship signals in a songbird, a model that we expect will contribute to the further understanding of multimodal communication.

  8. Post-Movement Beta Activity in Sensorimotor Cortex Indexes Confidence in the Estimations from Internal Models.

    Tan, Huiling; Wade, Cian; Brown, Peter

    2016-02-03

    Beta oscillations are a dominant feature of the sensorimotor system. A transient and prominent increase in beta oscillations is consistently observed across the sensorimotor cortical-basal ganglia network after cessation of voluntary movement: the post-movement beta synchronization (PMBS). Current theories about the function of the PMBS have been focused on either the closure of motor response or the processing of sensory afferance. Computational models of sensorimotor control have emphasized the importance of the integration between feedforward estimation and sensory feedback, and therefore the putative motor and sensory functions of beta oscillations may reciprocally interact with each other and in fact be indissociable. Here we show that the amplitude of sensorimotor PMBS is modulated by the history of visual feedback of task-relevant errors, and negatively correlated with the trial-to-trial exploratory adjustment in a sensorimotor adaptation task in young healthy human subjects. The PMBS also negatively correlated with the uncertainty associated with the feedforward estimation, which was recursively updated in light of new sensory feedback, as identified by a Bayesian learning model. These results reconcile the two opposing motor and sensory views of the function of PMBS, and suggest a unifying theory in which PMBS indexes the confidence in internal feedforward estimation in Bayesian sensorimotor integration. Its amplitude simultaneously reflects cortical sensory processing and signals the need for maintenance or adaptation of the motor output, and if necessary, exploration to identify an altered sensorimotor transformation. For optimal sensorimotor control, sensory feedback and feedforward estimation of a movement's sensory consequences should be weighted by the inverse of their corresponding uncertainties, which require recursive updating in a dynamic environment. We show that post-movement beta activity (13-30 Hz) over sensorimotor cortex in young healthy

  9. European hotspots as evidenced by the Palearctic distribution of songbirds

    Sluys, R.; Aliabadian, M.; Roselaar, C.S.; Zachos, F.E.; Habel, J.C.

    2011-01-01

    A database has been created of digitized equal area distribution maps of 2,401 phylogenetic species of songbirds endemic to the Palearctic Region. Geographic distribution of species richness delineated several hotspot regions in the Palearctic, mostly located in mountainous areas. The index of

  10. Management implications of cowbird parasitism on neotropical migrant songbirds

    Scott K. Robinson; Joseph A. Grzybowski; Stephen I. Rothstein; Margaret C. Brittingham; Lisa J. Petit; Frank R. Thompson

    1993-01-01

    Populations of brood parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molofhrus afer) have increased to the point where they pose a potential threat to populations of many neotropical migrant songbirds. Because cowbirds mostly feed in short grass (e.g., pastures and lawns) or on bare ground (e.g., row crops), they benefit directly from human activities. Cowbirds...

  11. Sex differences in the representation of call stimuli in a songbird secondary auditory area.

    Giret, Nicolas; Menardy, Fabien; Del Negro, Catherine

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how communication sounds are encoded in the central auditory system is critical to deciphering the neural bases of acoustic communication. Songbirds use learned or unlearned vocalizations in a variety of social interactions. They have telencephalic auditory areas specialized for processing natural sounds and considered as playing a critical role in the discrimination of behaviorally relevant vocal sounds. The zebra finch, a highly social songbird species, forms lifelong pair bonds. Only male zebra finches sing. However, both sexes produce the distance call when placed in visual isolation. This call is sexually dimorphic, is learned only in males and provides support for individual recognition in both sexes. Here, we assessed whether auditory processing of distance calls differs between paired males and females by recording spiking activity in a secondary auditory area, the caudolateral mesopallium (CLM), while presenting the distance calls of a variety of individuals, including the bird itself, the mate, familiar and unfamiliar males and females. In males, the CLM is potentially involved in auditory feedback processing important for vocal learning. Based on both the analyses of spike rates and temporal aspects of discharges, our results clearly indicate that call-evoked responses of CLM neurons are sexually dimorphic, being stronger, lasting longer, and conveying more information about calls in males than in females. In addition, how auditory responses vary among call types differ between sexes. In females, response strength differs between familiar male and female calls. In males, temporal features of responses reveal a sensitivity to the bird's own call. These findings provide evidence that sexual dimorphism occurs in higher-order processing areas within the auditory system. They suggest a sexual dimorphism in the function of the CLM, contributing to transmit information about the self-generated calls in males and to storage of information about the

  12. Sex differences in the representation of call stimuli in a songbird secondary auditory area

    Nicolas eGiret

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Understanding how communication sounds are encoded in the central auditory system is critical to deciphering the neural bases of acoustic communication. Songbirds use learned or unlearned vocalizations in a variety of social interactions. They have telencephalic auditory areas specialized for processing natural sounds and considered as playing a critical role in the discrimination of behaviorally relevant vocal sounds. The zebra finch, a highly social songbird species, forms lifelong pair bonds. Only male zebra finches sing. However, both sexes produce the distance call when placed in visual isolation. This call is sexually dimorphic, is learned only in males and provides support for individual recognition in both sexes. Here, we assessed whether auditory processing of distance calls differs between paired males and females by recording spiking activity in a secondary auditory area, the caudolateral mesopallium (CLM, while presenting the distance calls of a variety of individuals, including the bird itself, the mate, familiar and unfamiliar males and females. In males, the CLM is potentially involved in auditory feedback processing important for vocal learning. Based on both the analyses of spike rates and temporal aspects of discharges, our results clearly indicate that call-evoked responses of CLM neurons are sexually dimorphic, being stronger, lasting longer and conveying more information about calls in males than in females. In addition, how auditory responses vary among call types differ between sexes. In females, response strength differs between familiar male and female calls. In males, temporal features of responses reveal a sensitivity to the bird’s own call. These findings provide evidence that sexual dimorphism occurs in higher-order processing areas within the auditory system. They suggest a sexual dimorphism in the function of the CLM, contributing to transmit information about the self-generated calls in males and to storage of

  13. Tectonic collision and uplift of Wallacea triggered the global songbird radiation

    Moyle, Robert G.; Oliveros, Carl H.; Andersen, Michael J.; Hosner, Peter A.; Benz, Brett W.; Manthey, Joseph D.; Travers, Scott L.; Brown, Rafe M.; Faircloth, Brant C.

    2016-08-01

    Songbirds (oscine passerines) are the most species-rich and cosmopolitan bird group, comprising almost half of global avian diversity. Songbirds originated in Australia, but the evolutionary trajectory from a single species in an isolated continent to worldwide proliferation is poorly understood. Here, we combine the first comprehensive genome-scale DNA sequence data set for songbirds, fossil-based time calibrations, and geologically informed biogeographic reconstructions to provide a well-supported evolutionary hypothesis for the group. We show that songbird diversification began in the Oligocene, but accelerated in the early Miocene, at approximately half the age of most previous estimates. This burst of diversification occurred coincident with extensive island formation in Wallacea, which provided the first dispersal corridor out of Australia, and resulted in independent waves of songbird expansion through Asia to the rest of the globe. Our results reconcile songbird evolution with Earth history and link a major radiation of terrestrial biodiversity to early diversification within an isolated Australian continent.

  14. Developing Personalized Sensorimotor Adaptability Countermeasures for Spaceflight

    Mulavara, A. P.; Seidler, R. D.; Peters, B.; Cohen, H. S.; Wood, S.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2016-01-01

    Astronauts experience sensorimotor disturbances during their initial exposure to microgravity and during the re-adaptation phase following a return to an Earth-gravitational environment. Interestingly, astronauts who return from spaceflight show substantial differences in their abilities to readapt to a gravitational environment. The ability to predict the manner and degree to which individual astronauts would be affected would improve the effectiveness of countermeasure training programs designed to enhance sensorimotor adaptability. In this paper we will be presenting results from our ground-based study that show how behavioral, brain imaging and genomic data may be used to predict individual differences in sensorimotor adaptability to novel sensorimotor environments. This approach will allow us to better design and implement sensorimotor adaptability training countermeasures against decrements in post-mission adaptive capability that are customized for each crewmember's sensory biases, adaptive capacity, brain structure, functional capacities, and genetic predispositions. The ability to customize adaptability training will allow more efficient use of crew time during training and will optimize training prescriptions for astronauts to ensure expected outcomes.

  15. Strong systematicity through sensorimotor conceptual grounding: an unsupervised, developmental approach to connectionist sentence processing

    Jansen, Peter A.; Watter, Scott

    2012-03-01

    Connectionist language modelling typically has difficulty with syntactic systematicity, or the ability to generalise language learning to untrained sentences. This work develops an unsupervised connectionist model of infant grammar learning. Following the semantic boostrapping hypothesis, the network distils word category using a developmentally plausible infant-scale database of grounded sensorimotor conceptual representations, as well as a biologically plausible semantic co-occurrence activation function. The network then uses this knowledge to acquire an early benchmark clausal grammar using correlational learning, and further acquires separate conceptual and grammatical category representations. The network displays strongly systematic behaviour indicative of the general acquisition of the combinatorial systematicity present in the grounded infant-scale language stream, outperforms previous contemporary models that contain primarily noun and verb word categories, and successfully generalises broadly to novel untrained sensorimotor grounded sentences composed of unfamiliar nouns and verbs. Limitations as well as implications to later grammar learning are discussed.

  16. Sensorimotor memory biases weight perception during object lifting

    Vonne evan Polanen

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available When lifting an object, the brain uses visual cues and an internal object representation to predict its weight and scale fingertip forces accordingly. Once available, tactile information is rapidly integrated to update the weight prediction and refine the internal object representation. If visual cues cannot be used to predict weight, force planning relies on implicit knowledge acquired from recent lifting experience, termed sensorimotor memory. Here, we investigated whether perception of weight is similarly biased according to previous lifting experience and how this is related to force scaling. Participants grasped and lifted series of light or heavy objects in a semi-randomized order and estimated their weights. As expected, we found that forces were scaled based on previous lifts (sensorimotor memory and these effects increased depending on the length of recent lifting experience. Importantly, perceptual weight estimates were also influenced by the preceding lift, resulting in lower estimations after a heavy lift compared to a light one. In addition, the weight estimations were negatively correlated with the magnitude of planned force parameters. This perceptual bias was only found if the current lift was light, but not heavy since the magnitude of sensorimotor memory effects had, according to Weber’s law, relatively less impact on heavy compared to light objects. A control experiment tested the importance of active lifting in mediating these perceptual changes and showed that when weights are passively applied on the hand, no effect of previous sensory experience is found on perception. These results highlight how fast learning of novel object lifting dynamics can shape weight perception and demonstrate a tight link between action planning and perception control. If predictive force scaling and actual object weight do not match, the online motor corrections, rapidly implemented to downscale forces, will also downscale weight estimation in

  17. Acquisition of automatic imitation is sensitive to sensorimotor contingency.

    Cook, Richard; Press, Clare; Dickinson, Anthony; Heyes, Cecilia

    2010-08-01

    The associative sequence learning model proposes that the development of the mirror system depends on the same mechanisms of associative learning that mediate Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning. To test this model, two experiments used the reduction of automatic imitation through incompatible sensorimotor training to assess whether mirror system plasticity is sensitive to contingency (i.e., the extent to which activation of one representation predicts activation of another). In Experiment 1, residual automatic imitation was measured following incompatible training in which the action stimulus was a perfect predictor of the response (contingent) or not at all predictive of the response (noncontingent). A contingency effect was observed: There was less automatic imitation indicative of more learning in the contingent group. Experiment 2 replicated this contingency effect and showed that, as predicted by associative learning theory, it can be abolished by signaling trials in which the response occurs in the absence of an action stimulus. These findings support the view that mirror system development depends on associative learning and indicate that this learning is not purely Hebbian. If this is correct, associative learning theory could be used to explain, predict, and intervene in mirror system development.

  18. Population specific migration patterns of an European-Afrotropical songbird

    Pedersen, Lykke; Tøttrup, Anders P.; Thorup, Kasper

    Every year, billions of songbirds migrate thousands of kilometres between the European and African continent. The fascinating behaviour of migration that we are witnessing today is assumed to have evolved through a series of dispersal events from Africa into Europe since the last glaciation period....... Recent technological advances are currently enabling us to track yet smaller songbirds throughout their migration cycle providing valuable insight into the life cycle of individual birds. However, direct tracking of migratory birds has so far mainly been conducted on single populations and our...... understanding of entire species migration systems is thus still limited. In this project we analyse the spatio-temporal migration schedule of Red-backed Shrikes, Lanius collurio, using tracking data from individuals originating from geographically distinct breeding populations (Scandinavia, the Netherlands...

  19. Picturing words? Sensorimotor cortex activation for printed words in child and adult readers

    Dekker, Tessa M.; Mareschal, Denis; Johnson, Mark H.; Sereno, Martin I.

    2014-01-01

    Learning to read involves associating abstract visual shapes with familiar meanings. Embodiment theories suggest that word meaning is at least partially represented in distributed sensorimotor networks in the brain (Barsalou, 2008; Pulvermueller, 2013). We explored how reading comprehension develops by tracking when and how printed words start activating these “semantic” sensorimotor representations as children learn to read. Adults and children aged 7–10 years showed clear category-specific cortical specialization for tool versus animal pictures during a one-back categorisation task. Thus, sensorimotor representations for these categories were in place at all ages. However, co-activation of these same brain regions by the visual objects’ written names was only present in adults, even though all children could read and comprehend all presented words, showed adult-like task performance, and older children were proficient readers. It thus takes years of training and expert reading skill before spontaneous processing of printed words’ sensorimotor meanings develops in childhood. PMID:25463817

  20. Expression analysis of the speech-related genes FoxP1 and FoxP2 and their relation to singing behavior in two songbird species

    Chen, Qianqian; Heston, Jonathan B.; Burkett, Zachary D.; White, Stephanie A.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Humans and songbirds are among the rare animal groups that exhibit socially learned vocalizations: speech and song, respectively. These vocal-learning capacities share a reliance on audition and cortico-basal ganglia circuitry, as well as neurogenetic mechanisms. Notably, the transcription factors Forkhead box proteins 1 and 2 (FoxP1, FoxP2) exhibit similar expression patterns in the cortex and basal ganglia of humans and the zebra finch species of songbird, among other brain regions. Mutations in either gene are associated with language disorders in humans. Experimental knock-down of FoxP2 in the basal ganglia song control region Area X during song development leads to imprecise copying of tutor songs. Moreover, FoxP2 levels decrease naturally within Area X when zebra finches sing. Here, we examined neural expression patterns of FoxP1 and FoxP2 mRNA in adult Bengalese finches, a songbird species whose songs exhibit greater sequence complexity and increased reliance on audition for maintaining their quality. We found that FoxP1 and FoxP2 expression in Bengalese finches is similar to that in zebra finches, including strong mRNA signals for both factors in multiple song control nuclei and enhancement of FoxP1 in these regions relative to surrounding brain tissue. As with zebra finches, when Bengalese finches sing, FoxP2 is behaviorally downregulated within basal ganglia Area X over a similar time course, and expression negatively correlates with the amount of singing. This study confirms that in multiple songbird species, FoxP1 expression highlights song control regions, and regulation of FoxP2 is associated with motor control of song. PMID:24006346

  1. Common, but Commonly Overlooked: Red-bellied Woodpeckers as Songbird Nest Predators

    Kirsten R. Hazler; Dawn E.W. Drumtra; Matthew R. Marshall; Robert J. Cooper; Paul B. Hamel

    2004-01-01

    Woodpeckers in North America are not widely recognized as nest predators. In this paper, we describe several eyewitness accounts of songbird nest predation by Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus), document evidence that songbirds recognize woodpeckers as nest predators, and show that our observations are consistent with previously published...

  2. Adults with sensorimotor disorders: Enhanced physiological and psychological development following specific sensorimotor training

    Mats eNiklasson

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the study was to investigate, for the first time, if it is possible to integrate primary reflexes in adults with sensorimotor disorders through sensorimotor therapy. Participants consisted of 14 adults, 1 man and 13 women, with an average age of 35 years who completed a sensorimotor therapy program over three years. They were compared with a reference group of 100 youngsters spanning from 11 to 17 years. Procedures were the same for both youngsters and adults including regular visits to a therapist and training approximately 15 minutes each day at home throughout therapy. Assessments of sensorimotor abilities were made before and after the therapy. Results showed significant improvements on all measurements with regard to treatment for both age groups and the main picture indicated small differences between age groups. After therapy adults were better on balance and orientation tests while the youngsters performed better on sports related gross motor movements, processing of speech sounds and had acquired a better relation between visual skills and vestibular function. Conclusions were that motor problems do not disappear with age and that the same diagnostic instruments and treatment methods can be used for both children and adults with sensorimotor difficulties.

  3. Shutting down sensorimotor interference unblocks the networks for stimulus processing: an SMR neurofeedback training study.

    Kober, Silvia Erika; Witte, Matthias; Stangl, Matthias; Väljamäe, Aleksander; Neuper, Christa; Wood, Guilherme

    2015-01-01

    In the present study, we investigated how the electrical activity in the sensorimotor cortex contributes to improved cognitive processing capabilities and how SMR (sensorimotor rhythm, 12-15Hz) neurofeedback training modulates it. Previous evidence indicates that higher levels of SMR activity reduce sensorimotor interference and thereby promote cognitive processing. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups, one experimental (N=10) group receiving SMR neurofeedback training, in which they learned to voluntarily increase SMR, and one control group (N=10) receiving sham feedback. Multiple cognitive functions and electrophysiological correlates of cognitive processing were assessed before and after 10 neurofeedback training sessions. The experimental group but not the control group showed linear increases in SMR power over training runs, which was associated with behavioural improvements in memory and attentional performance. Additionally, increasing SMR led to a more salient stimulus processing as indicated by increased N1 and P3 event-related potential amplitudes after the training as compared to the pre-test. Finally, functional brain connectivity between motor areas and visual processing areas was reduced after SMR training indicating reduced sensorimotor interference. These results indicate that SMR neurofeedback improves stimulus processing capabilities and consequently leads to improvements in cognitive performance. The present findings contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying SMR neurofeedback training and cognitive processing and implicate that SMR neurofeedback might be an effective cognitive training tool. Copyright © 2014 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Risk-sensitivity in Bayesian sensorimotor integration.

    Jordi Grau-Moya

    Full Text Available Information processing in the nervous system during sensorimotor tasks with inherent uncertainty has been shown to be consistent with Bayesian integration. Bayes optimal decision-makers are, however, risk-neutral in the sense that they weigh all possibilities based on prior expectation and sensory evidence when they choose the action with highest expected value. In contrast, risk-sensitive decision-makers are sensitive to model uncertainty and bias their decision-making processes when they do inference over unobserved variables. In particular, they allow deviations from their probabilistic model in cases where this model makes imprecise predictions. Here we test for risk-sensitivity in a sensorimotor integration task where subjects exhibit Bayesian information integration when they infer the position of a target from noisy sensory feedback. When introducing a cost associated with subjects' response, we found that subjects exhibited a characteristic bias towards low cost responses when their uncertainty was high. This result is in accordance with risk-sensitive decision-making processes that allow for deviations from Bayes optimal decision-making in the face of uncertainty. Our results suggest that both Bayesian integration and risk-sensitivity are important factors to understand sensorimotor integration in a quantitative fashion.

  5. Object-Action Complexes: Grounded Abstractions of Sensori-motor Processes

    Krüger, Norbert; Geib, Christopher; Piater, Justus

    2011-01-01

    This paper formalises Object-Action Complexes (OACs) as a basis for symbolic representations of sensorimotor experience and behaviours. OACs are designed to capture the interaction between objects and associated actions in articial cognitive systems. This paper gives a formal denition of OACs, pr......, provides examples of their use for autonomous cognitive robots, and enumerates a number of critical learning problems in terms of OACs....

  6. Improving Sensorimotor Function Using Stochastic Vestibular Stimulation

    Galvan, R. C.; Clark, T. K.; Merfeld, D. M.; Bloomberg, J. J.; Mulavara, A. P.; Oman, C. M.

    2014-01-01

    Astronauts experience sensorimotor changes during spaceflight, particularly during G-transition phases. Post flight sensorimotor changes may include postural and gait instability, spatial disorientation, and visual performance decrements, all of which can degrade operational capabilities of the astronauts and endanger the crew. Crewmember safety would be improved if these detrimental effects of spaceflight could be mitigated by a sensorimotor countermeasure and even further if adaptation to baseline could be facilitated. The goal of this research is to investigate the potential use of stochastic vestibular stimulation (SVS) as a technology to improve sensorimotor function. We hypothesize that low levels of SVS will improve sensorimotor performance through stochastic resonance (SR). The SR phenomenon occurs when the response of a nonlinear system to a weak input signal is optimized by the application of a particular nonzero level of noise. Two studies have been initiated to investigate the beneficial effects and potential practical usage of SVS. In both studies, electrical vestibular stimulation is applied via electrodes on the mastoid processes using a constant current stimulator. The first study aims to determine the repeatability of the effect of vestibular stimulation on sensorimotor performance and perception in order to better understand the practical use of SVS. The beneficial effect of low levels of SVS on balance performance has been shown in the past. This research uses the same balance task repeated multiple times within a day and across days to study the repeatability of the stimulation effects. The balance test consists of 50 sec trials in which the subject stands with his or her feet together, arms crossed, and eyes closed on compliant foam. Varying levels of SVS, ranging from 0-700 micro A, are applied across different trials. The subject-specific optimal SVS level is that which results in the best balance performance as measured by inertial

  7. Sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback as adjunct therapy for Parkinson's disease.

    Philippens, Ingrid H C H M; Wubben, Jacqueline A; Vanwersch, Raymond A P; Estevao, Dave L; Tass, Peter A

    2017-08-01

    Neurofeedback may enhance compensatory brain mechanisms. EEG-based sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback training was suggested to be beneficial in Parkinson's disease. In a placebo-controlled study in parkinsonian nonhuman primates we here show that sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback training reduces MPTP-induced parkinsonian symptoms and both ON and OFF scores during classical L-DOPA treatment. Our findings encourage further development of sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback training as adjunct therapy for Parkinson's disease which might help reduce L-DOPA-induced side effects.

  8. Sensorimotor memory of object weight distribution during multidigit grasp.

    Albert, Frederic; Santello, Marco; Gordon, Andrew M

    2009-10-09

    We studied the ability to transfer three-digit force sharing patterns learned through consecutive lifts of an object with an asymmetric center of mass (CM). After several object lifts, we asked subjects to rotate and translate the object to the contralateral hand and perform one additional lift. This task was performed under two weight conditions (550 and 950 g) to determine the extent to which subjects would be able to transfer weight and CM information. Learning transfer was quantified by measuring the extent to which force sharing patterns and peak object roll on the first post-translation trial resembled those measured on the pre-translation trial with the same CM. We found that the overall gain of fingertip forces was transferred following object rotation, but that the scaling of individual digit forces was specific to the learned digit-object configuration, and thus was not transferred following rotation. As a result, on the first post-translation trial there was a significantly larger object roll following object lift-off than on the pre-translation trial. This suggests that sensorimotor memories for weight, requiring scaling of fingertip force gain, may differ from memories for mass distribution.

  9. A conceptual framework for clutch size evolution in songbirds

    Martin, Thomas E.

    2014-01-01

    Causes of evolved differences in clutch size among songbird species remain debated. I propose a new conceptual framework that integrates aspects of traditional life history theory, while including novel elements, to explain evolution of clutch size among songbirds. I review evidence that selection by nest predation on length of time that offspring develop in the nest creates a gradient in offspring characteristics at nest-leaving (fledging), including flight mobility, spatial dispersion, and self-feeding rate. I postulate that this gradient has consequences for offspring mortality rates and parental energy expenditure per offspring. These consequences then determine how reproductive effort is partitioned among offspring, while reproductive effort evolves from age-specific mortality effects. Using data from a long-term site in Arizona, as well as from the literature, I provide support for hypothesized relationships. Nestling development period consistently explains fledgling mortality, energy expenditure per offspring, and clutch size while accounting for reproductive effort (i.e., total energy expenditure) to thereby support the framework. Tests in this paper are not definitive, but they document previously unrecognized relationships and address diverse traits (developmental strategies, parental care strategies, energy requirements per offspring, evolution of reproductive effort, clutch size) that justify further investigations of hypotheses proposed here.

  10. A mechanism for frequency modulation in songbirds shared with humans.

    Amador, Ana; Margoliash, Daniel

    2013-07-03

    In most animals that vocalize, control of fundamental frequency is a key element for effective communication. In humans, subglottal pressure controls vocal intensity but also influences fundamental frequency during phonation. Given the underlying similarities in the biomechanical mechanisms of vocalization in humans and songbirds, songbirds offer an attractive opportunity to study frequency modulation by pressure. Here, we present a novel technique for dynamic control of subsyringeal pressure in zebra finches. By regulating the opening of a custom-built fast valve connected to the air sac system, we achieved partial or total silencing of specific syllables, and could modify syllabic acoustics through more complex manipulations of air sac pressure. We also observed that more nuanced pressure variations over a limited interval during production of a syllable concomitantly affected the frequency of that syllable segment. These results can be explained in terms of a mathematical model for phonation that incorporates a nonlinear description for the vocal source capable of generating the observed frequency modulations induced by pressure variations. We conclude that the observed interaction between pressure and frequency was a feature of the source, not a result of feedback control. Our results indicate that, beyond regulating phonation or its absence, regulation of pressure is important for control of fundamental frequencies of vocalizations. Thus, although there are separate brainstem pathways for syringeal and respiratory control of song production, both can affect airflow and frequency. We hypothesize that the control of pressure and frequency is combined holistically at higher levels of the vocalization pathways.

  11. Nest mortality of sagebrush songbirds due to a severe hailstorm

    Hightower, Jessica N.; Carlisle, Jason D.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

    2018-01-01

    Demographic assessments of nesting birds typically focus on failures due to nest predation or brood parasitism. Extreme weather events such as hailstorms, however, can also destroy eggs and injure or kill juvenile and adult birds at the nest. We documented the effects of a severe hailstorm on 3 species of sagebrush-associated songbirds: Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus), Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri), and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus), nesting at eight 24 ha study plots in central Wyoming, USA. Across all plots, 17% of 128 nests failed due to the hailstorm; however, all failed nests were located at a subset of study plots (n = 3) where the hailstorm was most intense, and 45% of all nests failures on those plots were due to hail. Mortality rates varied by species, nest architecture, and nest placement. Nests with more robust architecture and those sited more deeply under the shrub canopy were more likely to survive the hailstorm, suggesting that natural history traits may modulate mortality risk due to hailstorms. While sporadic in nature, hailstorms may represent a significant source of nest failure to songbirds in certain locations, especially with increasing storm frequency and severity forecasted in some regions with ongoing climate change.

  12. Experimental temperature manipulations alter songbird autumnal nocturnal migratory restlessness

    Berchtold Adrienne

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Migrating birds may respond to a variety of environmental cues in order to time migration. During the migration season nocturnally migrating songbirds may migrate or stop-over at their current location, and when migrating they may vary the rate or distance of migration on any given night. It has long been known that a variety of weather-related factors including wind speed and direction, and temperature, are correlated with migration in free-living birds, however these variables are often correlated with each other. In this study we experimentally manipulated temperature to determine if it would directly modulate nocturnal migratory restlessness in songbirds. We experimentally manipulated temperature between 4, 14, and 24°C and monitored nocturnal migratory restlessness during autumn in white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis. White-throated sparrows are relatively shortdistance migrants with a prolonged autumnal migration, and we thus predicted they might be sensitive to weatherrelated cues when deciding whether to migrate or stopover. At warm temperatures (24°C none of the birds exhibited migratory restlessness. The probability of exhibiting migratory restlessness, and the intensity of this restlessness (number of infra-red beam breaks increased at cooler (14°C, 4°C temperatures. These data support the hypothesis that one of the many factors that birds use when making behavioural decisions during migration is temperature, and that birds can respond to temperature directly independently of other weather-related cues.

  13. Normalization of sensorimotor integration by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in cervical dystonia

    Zittel, S.; Helmich, R.C.G.; Demiralay, C.; Munchau, A.; Baumer, T.

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies indicated that sensorimotor integration and plasticity of the sensorimotor system are impaired in dystonia patients. We investigated motor evoked potential amplitudes and short latency afferent inhibition to examine corticospinal excitability and cortical sensorimotor integration,

  14. Sensorimotor Interference When Reasoning About Described Environments

    Avraamides, Marios N.; Kyranidou, Melina-Nicole

    The influence of sensorimotor interference was examined in two experiments that compared pointing with iconic arrows and verbal responding in a task that entailed locating target-objects from imagined perspectives. Participants studied text narratives describing objects at locations around them in a remote environment and then responded to targets from memory. Results revealed only minor differences between the two response modes suggesting that bodily cues do not exert severe detrimental interference on spatial reasoning from imagined perspective when non-immediate described environments are used. The implications of the findings are discussed.

  15. The songbird syrinx morphome: a three-dimensional, high-resolution, interactive morphological map of the zebra finch vocal organ

    Düring Daniel N

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Like human infants, songbirds learn their species-specific vocalizations through imitation learning. The birdsong system has emerged as a widely used experimental animal model for understanding the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for vocal production learning. However, how neural impulses are translated into the precise motor behavior of the complex vocal organ (syrinx to create song is poorly understood. First and foremost, we lack a detailed understanding of syringeal morphology. Results To fill this gap we combined non-invasive (high-field magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography and invasive techniques (histology and micro-dissection to construct the annotated high-resolution three-dimensional dataset, or morphome, of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata syrinx. We identified and annotated syringeal cartilage, bone and musculature in situ in unprecedented detail. We provide interactive three-dimensional models that greatly improve the communication of complex morphological data and our understanding of syringeal function in general. Conclusions Our results show that the syringeal skeleton is optimized for low weight driven by physiological constraints on song production. The present refinement of muscle organization and identity elucidates how apposed muscles actuate different syringeal elements. Our dataset allows for more precise predictions about muscle co-activation and synergies and has important implications for muscle activity and stimulation experiments. We also demonstrate how the syrinx can be stabilized during song to reduce mechanical noise and, as such, enhance repetitive execution of stereotypic motor patterns. In addition, we identify a cartilaginous structure suited to play a crucial role in the uncoupling of sound frequency and amplitude control, which permits a novel explanation of the evolutionary success of songbirds.

  16. Environmental effects of fenitrothion use in forestry: impacts on insect pollinators, songbirds & aquatic organisms

    Ernst, W. R; Pearce, P. A; Pollock, T. L

    1989-01-01

    The Team focused on insect pollinators and pollination, forest songbirds, and aquatic organisms because of a judgement that most well documented negative effects of fenitrothion spraying are in those...

  17. Coupling internal cerebellar models enhances online adaptation and supports offline consolidation in sensorimotor tasks.

    Passot, Jean-Baptiste; Luque, Niceto R; Arleo, Angelo

    2013-01-01

    The cerebellum is thought to mediate sensorimotor adaptation through the acquisition of internal models of the body-environment interaction. These representations can be of two types, identified as forward and inverse models. The first predicts the sensory consequences of actions, while the second provides the correct commands to achieve desired state transitions. In this paper, we propose a composite architecture consisting of multiple cerebellar internal models to account for the adaptation performance of humans during sensorimotor learning. The proposed model takes inspiration from the cerebellar microcomplex circuit, and employs spiking neurons to process information. We investigate the intrinsic properties of the cerebellar circuitry subserving efficient adaptation properties, and we assess the complementary contributions of internal representations by simulating our model in a procedural adaptation task. Our simulation results suggest that the coupling of internal models enhances learning performance significantly (compared with independent forward and inverse models), and it allows for the reproduction of human adaptation capabilities. Furthermore, we provide a computational explanation for the performance improvement observed after one night of sleep in a wide range of sensorimotor tasks. We predict that internal model coupling is a necessary condition for the offline consolidation of procedural memories.

  18. Coupling internal cerebellar models enhances online adaptation and supports offline consolidation in sensorimotor tasks

    Jean-Baptiste ePassot

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The cerebellum is thought to mediate sensorimotor adaptation through the acquisition of internal models of the body–environment interaction. These representations can be of two types, identified as forward and inverse models. The first predicts the sensory consequences of actions, while the second provides the correct commands to achieve desired state transitions. In this paper, we propose a composite architecture consisting of multiple cerebellar internal models to account for the adaptation performance of humans during sensorimotor learning. The proposed model takes inspiration from the cerebellar microcomplex circuit, and employs spiking neurons to process information. We investigate the intrinsic properties of the cerebellar circuitry subserving efficient adaptation properties, and we assess the complementary contributions of internal representations by simulating our model in a procedural adaptation task. Our simulation results suggest that the coupling of internal models enhances learning performance significantly (compared with independent forward and inverse models, and it allows for the reproduction of human adaptation capabilities. Furthermore, we provide a computational explanation for the performance improvement observed after one night of sleep in a wide range of sensorimotor tasks. We predict that internal model coupling is a necessary condition for the offline consolidation of procedural memories.

  19. Towards a sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art.

    Calvo-Merino, B; Jola, C; Glaser, D E; Haggard, P

    2008-09-01

    The field of neuroaesthetics attempts to identify the brain processes underlying aesthetic experience, including but not limited to beauty. Previous neuroaesthetic studies have focussed largely on paintings and music, while performing arts such as dance have been less studied. Nevertheless, increasing knowledge of the neural mechanisms that represent the bodies and actions of others, and which contribute to empathy, make a neuroaesthetics of dance timely. Here, we present the first neuroscientific study of aesthetic perception in the context of the performing arts. We investigated brain areas whose activity during passive viewing of dance stimuli was related to later, independent aesthetic evaluation of the same stimuli. Brain activity of six naïve male subjects was measured using fMRI, while they watched 24 dance movements, and performed an irrelevant task. In a later session, participants rated each movement along a set of established aesthetic dimensions. The ratings were used to identify brain regions that were more active when viewing moves that received high average ratings than moves that received low average ratings. This contrast revealed bilateral activity in the occipital cortices and in right premotor cortex. Our results suggest a possible role of visual and sensorimotor brain areas in an automatic aesthetic response to dance. This sensorimotor response may explain why dance is widely appreciated in so many human cultures.

  20. Perceptual categories enable pattern generalization in songbirds.

    Comins, Jordan A; Gentner, Timothy Q

    2013-08-01

    Since Chomsky's pioneering work on syntactic structures, comparative psychologists interested in the study of language evolution have targeted pattern complexity, using formal mathematical grammars, as the key to organizing language-relevant cognitive processes across species. This focus on formal syntactic complexity, however, often disregards the close interaction in real-world signals between the structure of a pattern and its constituent elements. Whether such features of natural auditory signals shape pattern generalization is unknown. In the present paper, we train birds to recognize differently patterned strings of natural signals (song motifs). Instead of focusing on the complexity of the overtly reinforced patterns, we ask how the perceptual groupings of pattern elements influence the generalization pattern knowledge. We find that learning and perception of training patterns is agnostic to the perceptual features of underlying elements. Surprisingly, however, these same features constrain the generalization of pattern knowledge, and thus its broader use. Our results demonstrate that the restricted focus of comparative language research on formal models of syntactic complexity is, at best, insufficient to understand pattern use. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Responsiveness of sensorimotor cortex during pharmacological intervention with bromazepam.

    Cunha, Marlo; Portela, Cláudio; Bastos, Victor H; Machado, Dionis; Machado, Sergio; Velasques, Bruna; Budde, Henning; Cagy, Maurício; Basile, Luis; Piedade, Roberto; Ribeiro, Pedro

    2008-12-19

    The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of bromazepam on EEG and the motor learning process when healthy subjects were submitted to a typewriting task. We investigated bromazepam due to its abuse by various populations and its prevalent clinical use among older individuals which are more sensitive to the negative effects of long half-life benzodiazepines. A randomized double-blind design was used with subjects divided into three groups: placebo (n=13), bromazepam 3mg (n=13) and bromazepam 6 mg (n=13). EEG data comprising theta, alpha and beta bands was recorded before, during and after the motor task. Our results showed a lower relative power value in the theta band in the Br 6 mg group when compared with PL. We also observed a reduction in relative power in the beta band in the Br 3mg and Br 6 mg when compared with PL group. These findings suggest that Br can contribute to a reduced working memory load in areas related to attention processes. On the other hand, it produces a higher cortical activation in areas associated with sensory integration. Such areas are responsible for accomplishing the motor learning task. The results are an example of the usefulness of integrating electrophysiological data, sensorimotor activity and a pharmacological approach to aid in our understanding of cerebral changes produced by external agents.

  2. Contribution of cerebellar sensorimotor adaptation to hippocampal spatial memory.

    Jean-Baptiste Passot

    Full Text Available Complementing its primary role in motor control, cerebellar learning has also a bottom-up influence on cognitive functions, where high-level representations build up from elementary sensorimotor memories. In this paper we examine the cerebellar contribution to both procedural and declarative components of spatial cognition. To do so, we model a functional interplay between the cerebellum and the hippocampal formation during goal-oriented navigation. We reinterpret and complete existing genetic behavioural observations by means of quantitative accounts that cross-link synaptic plasticity mechanisms, single cell and population coding properties, and behavioural responses. In contrast to earlier hypotheses positing only a purely procedural impact of cerebellar adaptation deficits, our results suggest a cerebellar involvement in high-level aspects of behaviour. In particular, we propose that cerebellar learning mechanisms may influence hippocampal place fields, by contributing to the path integration process. Our simulations predict differences in place-cell discharge properties between normal mice and L7-PKCI mutant mice lacking long-term depression at cerebellar parallel fibre-Purkinje cell synapses. On the behavioural level, these results suggest that, by influencing the accuracy of hippocampal spatial codes, cerebellar deficits may impact the exploration-exploitation balance during spatial navigation.

  3. Sensorimotor abilities predict on-field performance in professional baseball.

    Burris, Kyle; Vittetoe, Kelly; Ramger, Benjamin; Suresh, Sunith; Tokdar, Surya T; Reiter, Jerome P; Appelbaum, L Gregory

    2018-01-08

    Baseball players must be able to see and react in an instant, yet it is hotly debated whether superior performance is associated with superior sensorimotor abilities. In this study, we compare sensorimotor abilities, measured through 8 psychomotor tasks comprising the Nike Sensory Station assessment battery, and game statistics in a sample of 252 professional baseball players to evaluate the links between sensorimotor skills and on-field performance. For this purpose, we develop a series of Bayesian hierarchical latent variable models enabling us to compare statistics across professional baseball leagues. Within this framework, we find that sensorimotor abilities are significant predictors of on-base percentage, walk rate and strikeout rate, accounting for age, position, and league. We find no such relationship for either slugging percentage or fielder-independent pitching. The pattern of results suggests performance contributions from both visual-sensory and visual-motor abilities and indicates that sensorimotor screenings may be useful for player scouting.

  4. Virtual Reality as a Medium for Sensorimotor Adaptation Training and Spaceflight Countermeasures

    Madansingh, S.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2015-01-01

    With the upcoming shift to extra-long duration missions (1 year) aboard the ISS, sensorimotor adaptations during transitory periods in-and-out of microgravity are more important to understand and prepare for. Advances in virtual reality technology enables everyday adoption of these tools for entertainment and use in training. Experiencing virtual environments (VE) allows for the manipulation of visual flow to elicit automatic motor behavior and produce sensorimotor adaptation (SA). Recently, the ability to train individuals using repeatable and varied exposures to SA challenges has shown success by improving performance during exposure to a novel environment (Batson 2011). This capacity to 'learn to learn' is referred to as sensorimotor adaptive generalizability and, through the use of treadmill training, represents an untapped potential for individualized countermeasures. The goal of this study is to determine the feasibility of present head mounted displays (HMDs) to produce compelling visual flow information and the expected adaptations for use in future SA treadmill-based countermeasures. Participants experience infinite hallways providing congruent (baseline) or incongruent visual information (half or double speed) via HMD while walking on an instrumented treadmill at 1.1m/s. As gait performance approaches baseline levels, an adaptation time constant is derived to establish individual time-to-adapt (TTA). It is hypothesized that decreasing the TTA through SA treadmill training will facilitate sensorimotor adaptation during gravitational transitions. In this way, HMD technology represents a novel platform for SA training using off-the-shelf consumer products for greater training flexibility in astronaut and terrestrial applications alike.

  5. Acquisition of a space representation by a naive agent from sensorimotor invariance and proprioceptive compensation

    Gurvan Le Clec’H

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available In this article, we present a simple agent which learns an internal representation of space without a priori knowledge of its environment, body, or sensors. The learned environment is seen as an internal space representation. This representation is isomorphic to the group of transformations applied to the environment. The model solves certain theoretical and practical issues encountered in previous work in sensorimotor contingency theory. Considering the mathematical description of the internal representation, analysis of its properties and simulations, we prove that this internal representation is equivalent to knowledge of space.

  6. Shutting down sensorimotor interferences after stroke: A proof-of-principle SMR neurofeedback study

    Johanna Louise Reichert

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: Neurofeedback training aims at learning self-regulation of brain activity underlying cognitive, emotional or physiological functions. Despite of promising investigations on neurofeedback as a tool for cognitive rehabilitation in neurological diseases, such as after stroke, there is still a lack of research on feasibility and efficiency of neurofeedback in this field. Methods: The present study aimed at investigating behavioral and electrophysiological effects of 10 sessions of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR neurofeedback in a 74-year-old stroke patient (UG20. Based on previous results in healthy young participants, we hypothesized that SMR neurofeedback leads to a decrease in sensorimotor interferences and improved stimulus processing, reflected by changes in event-related potentials and electrophysiological coherence. To assess whether UG20 benefited from the training as much as healthy persons of a similar age, a healthy control group of N = 10 elderly persons was trained as well. Before and after neurofeedback training, participants took part in a multichannel EEG measurement conducted during a nonverbal and a verbal learning task. Results: Both UG20 and the healthy controls were able to regulate their SMR activity during neurofeedback training. Moreover, in a nonverbal learning task, changes in event-related potentials and coherence were observed after training: UG20 showed a better performance in the nonverbal learning task and a higher P3 amplitude after training than before, and coherence between central and parietal electrodes decreased after training. The control group also showed a behavioral improvement in the nonverbal learning task and tendencies for higher P3 amplitudes and decreased central-parietal coherence after training. Single-case analyses indicated that the changes observed in UG20 were not smaller than the changes in healthy controls. Conclusions: Neurofeedback can be successfully applied in a stroke patient and in

  7. Shutting Down Sensorimotor Interferences after Stroke: A Proof-of-Principle SMR Neurofeedback Study

    Reichert, Johanna L.; Kober, Silvia E.; Schweiger, Daniela; Grieshofer, Peter; Neuper, Christa; Wood, Guilherme

    2016-01-01

    Introduction: Neurofeedback training aims at learning self-regulation of brain activity underlying cognitive, emotional or physiological functions. Despite of promising investigations on neurofeedback as a tool for cognitive rehabilitation in neurological diseases, such as after stroke, there is still a lack of research on feasibility and efficiency of neurofeedback in this field. Methods: The present study aimed at investigating behavioral and electrophysiological effects of 10 sessions of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) neurofeedback in a 74-years-old stroke patient (UG20). Based on previous results in healthy young participants, we hypothesized that SMR neurofeedback leads to a decrease in sensorimotor interferences and improved stimulus processing, reflected by changes in event-related potentials (ERPs) and electrophysiological coherence. To assess whether UG20 benefited from the training as much as healthy persons of a similar age, a healthy control group of N = 10 elderly persons was trained as well. Before and after neurofeedback training, participants took part in a multichannel electroencephalography measurement conducted during a non-verbal and a verbal learning task. Results: Both UG20 and the healthy controls were able to regulate their SMR activity during neurofeedback training. Moreover, in a non-verbal learning task, changes in ERPs and coherence were observed after training: UG20 showed a better performance in the non-verbal learning task and a higher P3 amplitude after training than before, and coherence between central and parietal electrodes decreased after training. The control group also showed a behavioral improvement in the non-verbal learning task and tendencies for higher P3 amplitudes and decreased central-parietal coherence after training. Single-case analyses indicated that the changes observed in UG20 were not smaller than the changes in healthy controls. Conclusion: Neurofeedback can be successfully applied in a stroke patient and in healthy

  8. Melatonin delays clutch initiation in a wild songbird

    Greives, Timothy J.; Kingma, Sjouke A.; Beltrami, Giulia; Hau, Michaela

    2012-01-01

    The hormone melatonin is known to play an important role in regulating many seasonal changes in physiology, morphology and behaviour. In birds, unlike in mammals, melatonin has thus far been thought to play little role in timing seasonal reproductive processes. This view is mainly derived from laboratory experiments on male birds. This study tests whether melatonin is capable of influencing the timing of clutch initiation in wild female songbirds. Free-living female great tits (Parus major) treated with melatonin-filled implants prior to the breeding season initiated their first clutch of the season significantly later than females carrying an empty implant. Melatonin treatment did not affect clutch size. Further, melatonin treatment did not delay the onset of daily activity in the wild nor adversely affect body mass in captivity compared with controls. These data suggest a previously unknown role for this hormone in regulating the timing of clutch initiation in the wild. PMID:22171024

  9. Genetic regulation of sex differences in songbirds and lizards

    Wade, Juli

    2016-01-01

    Sex differences in the morphology of neural and peripheral structures related to reproduction often parallel the frequency of particular behaviours displayed by males and females. In a variety of model organisms, these sex differences are organized in development by gonadal steroids, which also act in adulthood to modulate behavioural expression and in some cases to generate parallel anatomical changes on a seasonal basis. Data collected from diverse species, however, suggest that changes in hormone availability are not sufficient to explain sex and seasonal differences in structure and function. This paper pulls together some of this literature from songbirds and lizards and considers the information in the broader context of taking a comparative approach to investigating genetic mechanisms associated with behavioural neuroendocrinology. PMID:26833833

  10. New perspectives on mechanisms of sound generation in songbirds

    Goller, Franz; Larsen, Ole Næsbye

    2002-01-01

    -tone mechanism similar to human phonation with the labia forming a pneumatic valve. The classical avian model proposed that vibrations of the thin medial tympaniform membranes are the primary sound generating mechanism. As a direct test of these two hypotheses we ablated the medial tympaniform membranes in two......The physical mechanisms of sound generation in the vocal organ, the syrinx, of songbirds have been investigated mostly with indirect methods. Recent direct endoscopic observation identified vibrations of the labia as the principal sound source. This model suggests sound generation in a pulse...... atmosphere) as well as direct (labial vibration during tonal sound) measurements of syringeal vibrations support a vibration-based soundgenerating mechanism even for tonal sounds....

  11. Response to nestling throat ligatures by three songbirds

    Robinson, G.L.; Conway, C.J.; Kirkpatrick, C.; Laroche, D.D.

    2010-01-01

    We attempted to collect diet samples using throat ligatures from nestlings of three songbird species in a riparian woodland in southeastern Arizona from May to August 2009. We had success with Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia), observed adult Yellow-breasted Chats (Icteria virens) reclaim food from nestlings, and discontinued the use of throat ligatures when we observed an adult Abert's Towhee (Pipilo aberti) remove two, 34-day-old ligatured nestlings from its nest. Previous studies have reported problems (e.g., aggression toward nestlings by adults) with throat ligatures, but we are the first to document removal (and subsequent nestling mortality) in response to this technique. We urge investigators to exercise caution when using throat ligatures on species for which evidence of the safety and efficacy of this method are lacking, especially when nestlings are small in size relative to adults. ?? 2010 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

  12. Feather growth influences blood mercury level of young songbirds.

    Condon, Anne M; Cristol, Daniel A

    2009-02-01

    Dynamics of mercury in feathers and blood of free-living songbirds is poorly understood. Nestling eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) living along the mercury-contaminated South River (Virginia, USA) had blood mercury levels an order of magnitude lower than their parents (nestling: 0.09 +/- 0.06 mg/kg [mean +/- standard deviation], n = 156; adult: 1.21 +/- 0.57 mg/kg, n = 86). To test whether this low blood mercury was the result of mercury sequestration in rapidly growing feathers, we repeatedly sampled free-living juveniles throughout the period of feather growth and molt. Mean blood mercury concentrations increased to 0.52 +/- 0.36 mg/kg (n = 44) after the completion of feather growth. Some individuals had reached adult blood mercury levels within three months of leaving the nest, but levels dropped to 0.20 +/- 0.09 mg/kg (n = 11) once the autumn molt had begun. Most studies of mercury contamination in juvenile birds have focused on recently hatched young with thousands of rapidly growing feathers. However, the highest risk period for mercury intoxication in young birds may be during the vulnerable period after fledging, when feathers no longer serve as a buffer against dietary mercury. We found that nestling blood mercury levels were not indicative of the extent of contamination because a large portion of the ingested mercury ended up in feathers. The present study demonstrates unequivocally that in songbirds blood mercury level is influenced strongly by the growth and molt of feathers.

  13. Sensorimotor Rhythm Neurofeedback Enhances Golf Putting Performance.

    Cheng, Ming-Yang; Huang, Chung-Ju; Chang, Yu-Kai; Koester, Dirk; Schack, Thomas; Hung, Tsung-Min

    2015-12-01

    Sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) activity has been related to automaticity during skilled action execution. However, few studies have bridged the causal link between SMR activity and sports performance. This study investigated the effect of SMR neurofeedback training (SMR NFT) on golf putting performance. We hypothesized that preelite golfers would exhibit enhanced putting performance after SMR NFT. Sixteen preelite golfers were recruited and randomly assigned into either an SMR or a control group. Participants were asked to perform putting while electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded, both before and after intervention. Our results showed that the SMR group performed more accurately when putting and exhibited greater SMR power than the control group after 8 intervention sessions. This study concludes that SMR NFT is effective for increasing SMR during action preparation and for enhancing golf putting performance. Moreover, greater SMR activity might be an EEG signature of improved attention processing, which induces superior putting performance.

  14. Sensorimotor adaptation is influenced by background music.

    Bock, Otmar

    2010-06-01

    It is well established that listening to music can modify subjects' cognitive performance. The present study evaluates whether this so-called Mozart Effect extends beyond cognitive tasks and includes sensorimotor adaptation. Three subject groups listened to musical pieces that in the author's judgment were serene, neutral, or sad, respectively. This judgment was confirmed by the subjects' introspective reports. While listening to music, subjects engaged in a pointing task that required them to adapt to rotated visual feedback. All three groups adapted successfully, but the speed and magnitude of adaptive improvement was more pronounced with serene music than with the other two music types. In contrast, aftereffects upon restoration of normal feedback were independent of music type. These findings support the existence of a "Mozart effect" for strategic movement control, but not for adaptive recalibration. Possibly, listening to music modifies neural activity in an intertwined cognitive-emotional network.

  15. Sensorimotor Mismapping in Poor-pitch Singing.

    He, Hao; Zhang, Wei-Dong

    2017-09-01

    This study proposes that there are two types of sensorimotor mismapping in poor-pitch singing: erroneous mapping and no mapping. We created operational definitions for the two types of mismapping based on the precision of pitch-matching and predicted that in the two types of mismapping, phonation differs in terms of accuracy and the dependence on the articulation consistency between the target and the intended vocal action. The study aimed to test this hypothesis by examining the reliability and criterion-related validity of the operational definitions. A within-subject design was used in this study. Thirty-two participants identified as poor-pitch singers were instructed to vocally imitate pure tones and to imitate their own vocal recordings with the same articulation as self-targets and with different articulation from self-targets. Definitions of the types of mismapping were demonstrated to be reliable with the split-half approach and to have good criterion-related validity with findings that pitch-matching with no mapping was less accurate and more dependent on the articulation consistency between the target and the intended vocal action than pitch-matching with erroneous mapping was. Furthermore, the precision of pitch-matching was positively associated with its accuracy and its dependence on articulation consistency when mismapping was analyzed on a continuum. Additionally, the data indicated that the self-imitation advantage was a function of articulation consistency. Types of sensorimotor mismapping lead to pitch-matching that differs in accuracy and its dependence on the articulation consistency between the target and the intended vocal action. Additionally, articulation consistency produces the self-advantage. Copyright © 2017 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Hemispheric dominance underlying the neural substrate for learned vocalizations develops with experience

    Chirathivat, Napim; Raja, Sahitya C.; Gobes, Sharon M. H.

    2015-01-01

    Many aspects of song learning in songbirds resemble characteristics of speech acquisition in humans. Genetic, anatomical and behavioural parallels have most recently been extended with demonstrated similarities in hemispheric dominance between humans and songbirds: the avian higher order auditory cortex is left-lateralized for processing song memories in juvenile zebra finches that already have formed a memory of their fathers? song, just like Wernicke?s area in the left hemisphere of the hum...

  17. Pramipexole Modulates Interregional Connectivity Within the Sensorimotor Network.

    Ye, Zheng; Hammer, Anke; Münte, Thomas F

    2017-05-01

    Pramipexole is widely prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease but has been reported to cause impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling. Recent neurocomputational models suggested that D2 agonists may distort functional connections between the striatum and the motor cortex, resulting in impaired reinforcement learning and pathological gambling. To examine how D2 agonists modulate the striatal-motor connectivity, we carried out a pharmacological resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study with a double-blind randomized within-subject crossover design. We analyzed the medication-induced changes of network connectivity and topology with two approaches, an independent component analysis (ICA) and a graph theoretical analysis (GTA). The ICA identified the sensorimotor network (SMN) as well as other classical resting-state networks. Within the SMN, the connectivity between the right caudate nucleus and other cortical regions was weaker under pramipexole than under placebo. The GTA measured the topological properties of the whole-brain network at global and regional levels. Both the whole-brain network under placebo and that under pramipexole were identified as small-world networks. The two whole-brain networks were similar in global efficiency, clustering coefficient, small-world index, and modularity. However, the degree of the right caudate nucleus decreased under pramipexole mainly due to the loss of the connectivity with the supplementary motor area, paracentral lobule, and precentral and postcentral gyrus of the SMN. The two network analyses consistently revealed that pramipexole weakened the functional connectivity between the caudate nucleus and the SMN regions.

  18. Financial incentives enhance adaptation to a sensorimotor transformation.

    Gajda, Kathrin; Sülzenbrück, Sandra; Heuer, Herbert

    2016-10-01

    Adaptation to sensorimotor transformations has received much attention in recent years. However, the role of motivation and its relation to the implicit and explicit processes underlying adaptation has been neglected thus far. Here, we examine the influence of extrinsic motivation on adaptation to a visuomotor rotation by way of providing financial incentives for accurate movements. Participants in the experimental group "bonus" received a defined amount of money for high end-point accuracy in a visuomotor rotation task; participants in the control group "no bonus" did not receive a financial incentive. Results showed better overall adaptation to the visuomotor transformation in participants who were extrinsically motivated. However, there was no beneficial effect of financial incentives on the implicit component, as assessed by the after-effects, and on separately assessed explicit knowledge. These findings suggest that the positive influence of financial incentives on adaptation is due to a component which cannot be measured by after-effects or by our test of explicit knowledge. A likely candidate is model-free learning based on reward-prediction errors, which could be enhanced by the financial bonuses.

  19. Songbirds as sentinels of mercury in terrestrial habitats of eastern North America

    Jackson, Allyson K.; Evers, David C.; Adams, Evan M.; Cristol, Daniel A.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Edmonds, Samuel T.; Gray, Carrie E.; Hoskins, Bart; Lane, Oksana P.; Sauer, Amy; Tear, Timothy

    2015-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed environmental contaminant with a variety of deleterious effects in fish, wildlife, and humans. Breeding songbirds may be useful sentinels for Hg across diverse habitats because they can be effectively sampled, have well-defined and small territories, and can integrate pollutant exposure over time and space. We analyzed blood total Hg concentrations from 8,446 individuals of 102 species of songbirds, sampled on their breeding territories across 161 sites in eastern North America [geometric mean Hg concentration = 0.25 μg/g wet weight (ww), range of the USEPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which will reduce Hg emissions from coal-fired power plants by over 90 %. Mixed-effects modeling indicated that habitat, foraging guild, and age were important predictors of blood Hg concentrations across species and sites. Blood Hg concentrations in adult invertebrate-eating songbirds were consistently higher in wetland habitats (freshwater or estuarine) than upland forests. Generally, adults exhibited higher blood Hg concentrations than juveniles within each habitat type. We used model results to examine species-specific differences in blood Hg concentrations during this time period, identifying potential Hg sentinels in each region and habitat type. Our results present the most comprehensive assessment of blood Hg concentrations in eastern songbirds to date, and thereby provide a valuable framework for designing and evaluating risk assessment schemes using sentinel songbird species in the time after implementation of the new atmospheric Hg standards.

  20. WDR1 Presence in the Songbird Basilar Papilla

    Adler, Henry J.; Sanovich, Elena; Brittan-Powell, Elizabeth F.; Yan, Kai; Dooling, Robert J.

    2009-01-01

    WD40 repeat 1 protein (WDR1) was first reported in the acoustically injured chicken inner ear, and bioinformatics revealed that WDR1 has numerous WD40 repeats, important for protein-protein interactions. It has significant homology to actin interacting protein 1 (Aip1) in several lower species such as yeast, roundworm, fruitfly and frog. Several studies have shown that Aip1 binds cofilin/actin depolymerizing factor, and that these interactions are pivotal for actin disassembly via actin filament severing and actin monomer capping. However, the role of WDR1 in auditory function has yet to be determined. WDR1 is typically restricted to hair cells of the normal avian basilar papilla, but is redistributed towards supporting cells after acoustic overstimulation, suggesting that WDR1 may be involved in inner ear response to noise stress. One aim of the present study was to resolve the question as to whether stress factors, other than intense sound, could induce changes in WDR1 presence in the affected avian inner ear. Several techniques were used to assess WDR1 presence in the inner ears of songbird strains, including Belgian Waterslager (BW) canary, an avian strain with degenerative hearing loss thought to have a genetic basis. Reverse transcription, followed by polymerase chain reactions with WDR1-specific primers, confirmed WDR1 presence in the basilar papillae of adult BW, non-BW canaries, and zebra finches. Confocal microscopy examinations, following immunocytochemistry with anti-WDR1 antibody, localized WDR1 to the hair cell cytoplasm along the avian sensory epithelium. In addition, little, if any, staining by anti-WDR1 antibody was observed among supporting cells in the chicken or songbird ear. The present observations confirm and extend the early findings of WDR1 localization in hair cells, but not in supporting cells, in the normal avian basilar papilla. However, unlike supporting cells in the acoustically damaged chicken basilar papilla, the inner ear of the BW

  1. Sensorimotor influences on speech perception in infancy.

    Bruderer, Alison G; Danielson, D Kyle; Kandhadai, Padmapriya; Werker, Janet F

    2015-11-03

    The influence of speech production on speech perception is well established in adults. However, because adults have a long history of both perceiving and producing speech, the extent to which the perception-production linkage is due to experience is unknown. We addressed this issue by asking whether articulatory configurations can influence infants' speech perception performance. To eliminate influences from specific linguistic experience, we studied preverbal, 6-mo-old infants and tested the discrimination of a nonnative, and hence never-before-experienced, speech sound distinction. In three experimental studies, we used teething toys to control the position and movement of the tongue tip while the infants listened to the speech sounds. Using ultrasound imaging technology, we verified that the teething toys consistently and effectively constrained the movement and positioning of infants' tongues. With a looking-time procedure, we found that temporarily restraining infants' articulators impeded their discrimination of a nonnative consonant contrast but only when the relevant articulator was selectively restrained to prevent the movements associated with producing those sounds. Our results provide striking evidence that even before infants speak their first words and without specific listening experience, sensorimotor information from the articulators influences speech perception. These results transform theories of speech perception by suggesting that even at the initial stages of development, oral-motor movements influence speech sound discrimination. Moreover, an experimentally induced "impairment" in articulator movement can compromise speech perception performance, raising the question of whether long-term oral-motor impairments may impact perceptual development.

  2. Anticipatory phase correction in sensorimotor synchronization.

    Repp, Bruno H; Moseley, Gordon P

    2012-10-01

    Studies of phase correction in sensorimotor synchronization often introduce timing perturbations that are unpredictable with regard to direction, magnitude, and position in the stimulus sequence. If participants knew any or all of these parameters in advance, would they be able to anticipate perturbations and thus regain synchrony more quickly? In Experiment 1, we asked musically trained participants to tap in synchrony with short isochronous tone sequences containing a phase shift (PS) of -100, -40, 40, or 100 ms and provided advance information about its direction, position, or both (but not about its magnitude). The first two conditions had little effect, but in the third condition participants shifted their tap in anticipation of the PS, though only by about ±40 ms on average. The phase correction response to the residual PS was also enhanced. In Experiment 2, we provided complete advance information about PSs of various magnitudes either at the time of the immediately preceding tone ("late") or at the time of the tone one position back ("early") while also varying sequence tempo. Anticipatory phase correction was generally conservative and was impeded by fast tempo in the "late" condition. At fast tempi in both conditions, advancing a tap was more difficult than delaying a tap. The results indicate that temporal constraints on anticipatory phase correction resemble those on reactive phase correction. While the latter is usually automatic, this study shows that phase correction can also be controlled consciously for anticipatory purposes. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Experiments in robotic sensorimotor control during grasp

    Stansfield, S.A.

    1993-01-01

    A series of experiments is presented, using a robot manipulator, which attempt to reproduce human sensorimotor control during grasping. The work utilizes a multifingered, dexterous robot hand equipped with a fingertip force sensor to explore dynamic grasp force adjustment during manipulation. The work is primarily concerned with the relationship between the weight of an object and the grasp force required to lift it. Too weak a grasp is unstable and the object will slip from the hand. Too strong a grasp may damage the object and/or the manipulator. An algorithm is presented which reproduces observed human behavior during grasp-and-lift tasks. The algorithm uses tactile information from the sensor to dynamically adjust the grasp force during lift. It is assumed that there is no a priori knowledge about the object to be manipulated. The effects of different arm/hand postures and object surfaces is explored. Finally, the use of sensory data to detect unexpected object motion and to signal transitions between manipulation phases--with the coincident triggering of new motor programs--is investigated

  4. Sexual dimorphism in striatal dopaminergic responses promotes monogamy in social songbirds.

    Tokarev, Kirill; Hyland Bruno, Julia; Ljubičić, Iva; Kothari, Paresh J; Helekar, Santosh A; Tchernichovski, Ofer; Voss, Henning U

    2017-08-11

    In many songbird species, males sing to attract females and repel rivals. How can gregarious, non-territorial songbirds such as zebra finches, where females have access to numerous males, sustain monogamy? We found that the dopaminergic reward circuitry of zebra finches can simultaneously promote social cohesion and breeding boundaries. Surprisingly, in unmated males but not in females, striatal dopamine neurotransmission was elevated after hearing songs. Behaviorally too, unmated males but not females persistently exchanged mild punishments in return for songs. Song reinforcement diminished when dopamine receptors were blocked. In females, we observed song reinforcement exclusively to the mate's song, although their striatal dopamine neurotransmission was only slightly elevated. These findings suggest that song-triggered dopaminergic activation serves a dual function in social songbirds: as low-threshold social reinforcement in males and as ultra-selective sexual reinforcement in females. Co-evolution of sexually dimorphic reinforcement systems can explain the coexistence of gregariousness and monogamy.

  5. Adaptive strategies in nocturnally migrating insects and songbirds: contrasting responses to wind.

    Chapman, Jason W; Nilsson, Cecilia; Lim, Ka S; Bäckman, Johan; Reynolds, Don R; Alerstam, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Animals that use flight as their mode of transportation must cope with the fact that their migration and orientation performance is strongly affected by the flow of the medium they are moving in, that is by the winds. Different strategies can be used to mitigate the negative effects and benefit from the positive effects of a moving flow. The strategies an animal can use will be constrained by the relationship between the speed of the flow and the speed of the animal's own propulsion in relation to the surrounding air. Here we analyse entomological and ornithological radar data from north-western Europe to investigate how two different nocturnal migrant taxa, the noctuid moth Autographa gamma and songbirds, deal with wind by analysing variation in resulting flight directions in relation to the wind-dependent angle between the animal's heading and track direction. Our results, from fixed locations along the migratory journey, reveal different global strategies used by moths and songbirds during their migratory journeys. As expected, nocturnally migrating moths experienced a greater degree of wind drift than nocturnally migrating songbirds, but both groups were more affected by wind in autumn than in spring. The songbirds' strategies involve elements of both drift and compensation, providing some benefits from wind in combination with destination and time control. In contrast, moths expose themselves to a significantly higher degree of drift in order to obtain strong wind assistance, surpassing the songbirds in mean ground speed, at the cost of a comparatively lower spatiotemporal migratory precision. Moths and songbirds show contrasting but adaptive responses to migrating through a moving flow, which are fine-tuned to the respective flight capabilities of each group in relation to the wind currents they travel within. © 2015 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2015 British Ecological Society.

  6. Interspecific social networks promote information transmission in wild songbirds.

    Farine, Damien R; Aplin, Lucy M; Sheldon, Ben C; Hoppitt, William

    2015-03-22

    Understanding the functional links between social structure and population processes is a central aim of evolutionary ecology. Multiple types of interactions can be represented by networks drawn for the same population, such as kinship, dominance or affiliative networks, but the relative importance of alternative networks in modulating population processes may not be clear. We illustrate this problem, and a solution, by developing a framework for testing the importance of different types of association in facilitating the transmission of information. We apply this framework to experimental data from wild songbirds that form mixed-species flocks, recording the arrival (patch discovery) of individuals to novel foraging sites. We tested whether intraspecific and interspecific social networks predicted the spread of information about novel food sites, and found that both contributed to transmission. The likelihood of acquiring information per unit of connection to knowledgeable individuals increased 22-fold for conspecifics, and 12-fold for heterospecifics. We also found that species varied in how much information they produced, suggesting that some species play a keystone role in winter foraging flocks. More generally, these analyses demonstrate that this method provides a powerful approach, using social networks to quantify the relative transmission rates across different social relationships.

  7. The Effects of Fluency Enhancing Conditions on Sensorimotor Control of Speech in Typically Fluent Speakers: An EEG Mu Rhythm Study

    Tiffani Kittilstved

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Objective: To determine whether changes in sensorimotor control resulting from speaking conditions that induce fluency in people who stutter (PWS can be measured using electroencephalographic (EEG mu rhythms in neurotypical speakers.Methods: Non-stuttering (NS adults spoke in one control condition (solo speaking and four experimental conditions (choral speech, delayed auditory feedback (DAF, prolonged speech and pseudostuttering. Independent component analysis (ICA was used to identify sensorimotor μ components from EEG recordings. Time-frequency analyses measured μ-alpha (8–13 Hz and μ-beta (15–25 Hz event-related synchronization (ERS and desynchronization (ERD during each speech condition.Results: 19/24 participants contributed μ components. Relative to the control condition, the choral and DAF conditions elicited increases in μ-alpha ERD in the right hemisphere. In the pseudostuttering condition, increases in μ-beta ERD were observed in the left hemisphere. No differences were present between the prolonged speech and control conditions.Conclusions: Differences observed in the experimental conditions are thought to reflect sensorimotor control changes. Increases in right hemisphere μ-alpha ERD likely reflect increased reliance on auditory information, including auditory feedback, during the choral and DAF conditions. In the left hemisphere, increases in μ-beta ERD during pseudostuttering may have resulted from the different movement characteristics of this task compared with the solo speaking task. Relationships to findings in stuttering are discussed.Significance: Changes in sensorimotor control related feedforward and feedback control in fluency-enhancing speech manipulations can be measured using time-frequency decompositions of EEG μ rhythms in neurotypical speakers. This quiet, non-invasive, and temporally sensitive technique may be applied to learn more about normal sensorimotor control and fluency enhancement in PWS.

  8. The impact of sensorimotor experience on affective evaluation of dance

    Louise eKirsch

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Past research demonstrates that we are more likely to positively evaluate a stimulus if we have had previous experience with that stimulus. This has been shown for judgement of faces, architecture, artworks and body movements. In contrast, other evidence suggests that this relationship can also work in the inverse direction, at least in the domain of watching dance. Specifically, it has been shown that in certain contexts, people derive greater pleasure from watching unfamiliar movements they would not be able to physically reproduce compared to simpler, familiar actions they could physically reproduce. It remains unknown, however, how different kinds of experience with complex actions, such as dance, might change observers’ affective judgements of these movements. Our aim was to clarify the relationship between experience and affective evaluation of whole body movements. In a between-subjects design, participants received either physical dance training with a video game system, visual and auditory experience or auditory experience only. Participants’ aesthetic preferences for dance stimuli were measured before and after the training sessions. Results show that participants from the physical training group not only improved their physical performance of the dance sequences, but also reported higher enjoyment and interest in the stimuli after training. This suggests that physically learning particular movements leads to greater enjoyment while observing them. These effects are not simply due to increased familiarity with audio or visual elements of the stimuli, as the other two training groups showed no increase in aesthetic ratings post-training. We suggest these results support an embodied simulation account of aesthetics, and discuss how the present findings contribute to a better understanding of the shaping of preferences by sensorimotor experience.

  9. Remodeling of Sensorimotor Brain Connectivity in Gpr88-Deficient Mice.

    Arefin, Tanzil Mahmud; Mechling, Anna E; Meirsman, Aura Carole; Bienert, Thomas; Hübner, Neele Saskia; Lee, Hsu-Lei; Ben Hamida, Sami; Ehrlich, Aliza; Roquet, Dan; Hennig, Jürgen; von Elverfeldt, Dominik; Kieffer, Brigitte Lina; Harsan, Laura-Adela

    2017-10-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated that orchestrated gene activity and expression support synchronous activity of brain networks. However, there is a paucity of information on the consequences of single gene function on overall brain functional organization and connectivity and how this translates at the behavioral level. In this study, we combined mouse mutagenesis with functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine whether targeted inactivation of a single gene would modify whole-brain connectivity in live animals. The targeted gene encodes GPR88 (G protein-coupled receptor 88), an orphan G protein-coupled receptor enriched in the striatum and previously linked to behavioral traits relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders. Connectivity analysis of Gpr88-deficient mice revealed extensive remodeling of intracortical and cortico-subcortical networks. Most prominent modifications were observed at the level of retrosplenial cortex connectivity, central to the default mode network (DMN) whose alteration is considered a hallmark of many psychiatric conditions. Next, somatosensory and motor cortical networks were most affected. These modifications directly relate to sensorimotor gating deficiency reported in mutant animals and also likely underlie their hyperactivity phenotype. Finally, we identified alterations within hippocampal and dorsal striatum functional connectivity, most relevant to a specific learning deficit that we previously reported in Gpr88 -/- animals. In addition, amygdala connectivity with cortex and striatum was weakened, perhaps underlying the risk-taking behavior of these animals. This is the first evidence demonstrating that GPR88 activity shapes the mouse brain functional and structural connectome. The concordance between connectivity alterations and behavior deficits observed in Gpr88-deficient mice suggests a role for GPR88 in brain communication.

  10. Neuroinflammation induces glial aromatase expression in the uninjured songbird brain

    Saldanha Colin J

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Estrogens from peripheral sources as well as central aromatization are neuroprotective in the vertebrate brain. Under normal conditions, aromatase is only expressed in neurons, however following anoxic/ischemic or mechanical brain injury; aromatase is also found in astroglia. This increased glial aromatization and the consequent estrogen synthesis is neuroprotective and may promote neuronal survival and repair. While the effects of estradiol on neuroprotection are well studied, what induces glial aromatase expression remains unknown. Methods Adult male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata were given a penetrating injury to the entopallium. At several timepoints later, expression of aromatase, IL-1β-like, and IL-6-like were examined using immunohisotchemistry. A second set of zebra birds were exposed to phytohemagglutinin (PHA, an inflammatory agent, directly on the dorsal surface of the telencephalon without creating a penetrating injury. Expression of aromatase, IL-1β-like, and IL-6-like were examined using both quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to examine mRNA expression and immunohistochemistry to determine cellular expression. Statistical significance was determined using t-test or one-way analysis of variance followed by the Tukey Kramers post hoc test. Results Following injury in the zebra finch brain, cytokine expression occurs prior to aromatase expression. This temporal pattern suggests that cytokines may induce aromatase expression in the damaged zebra finch brain. Furthermore, evoking a neuroinflammatory response characterized by an increase in cytokine expression in the uninjured brain is sufficient to induce glial aromatase expression. Conclusions These studies are among the first to examine a neuroinflammatory response in the songbird brain following mechanical brain injury and to describe a novel neuroimmune signal to initiate aromatase expression in glia.

  11. Long distance migratory songbirds respond to extremes in arctic seasonality

    Boelman, N.; Asmus, A.; Chmura, H.; Krause, J.; Perez, J. H.; Sweet, S. K.; Gough, L.; Wingfield, J.

    2017-12-01

    Arctic regions are warming rapidly, with extreme weather events increasing in frequency, duration and intensity, as in other regions. Many studies have focused on how shifting seasonality in environmental conditions affect the phenology and productivity of vegetation, while far fewer have examined how arctic fauna responds. We studied two species of long-distance migratory songbirds, Lapland longspurs, Calcarius lapponicus, and White-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, across seven consecutive breeding seasons in northern Alaskan tundra. We aimed to understand how spring environmental conditions affected breeding cycle phenology, food availability, body condition, stress physiology, and ultimately, reproductive success. Spring temperatures, precipitation, storm frequency, and snow-free dates differed significantly among years, with 2013 characterized by unusually late snow cover, and 2015 and 2016 characterized by unusually early snow-free dates and several late spring snowstorms. In response, we found that relative to other study years, there was a significant delay in breeding cycle phenology for both study species in 2013, while breeding cycle phenology was significantly earlier in 2015 only. For both species, we also found significant variation among years in: the seasonal patterns of arthropod availability during the nesting stage; body condition, and; stress physiology. Finally, we found significant variation in reproductive success of both species across years, and that daily survival rates were decreased by snow storm events. Our findings suggest that arctic-breeding passerine communities may be able to adjust phenology to unpredictable shifts in the timing of spring, but extreme conditions during the incubation and nestling stages are detrimental to reproductive success.

  12. Songbirds as sentinels of mercury in terrestrial habitats of eastern North America

    Jackson, Allyson K.; Evers, David C.; Adams, Evan M.; Cristol, Daniel A.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Edmonds, Samuel T.; Gray, Carrie E.; Hoskins, Bart; Lane, Oksana P.; Sauer, Amy; Tear, Timothy

    2015-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed environmental contaminant with a variety of deleterious effects in fish, wildlife, and humans. Breeding songbirds may be useful sentinels for Hg across diverse habitats because they can be effectively sampled, have well-defined and small territories, and can integrate pollutant exposure over time and space. We analyzed blood total Hg concentrations from 8,446 individuals of 102 species of songbirds, sampled on their breeding territories across 161 sites in eastern North America [geometric mean Hg concentration = 0.25 μg/g wet weight (ww), range freshwater or estuarine) than upland forests. Generally, adults exhibited higher blood Hg concentrations than juveniles within each habitat type. We used model results to examine species-specific differences in blood Hg concentrations during this time period, identifying potential Hg sentinels in each region and habitat type. Our results present the most comprehensive assessment of blood Hg concentrations in eastern songbirds to date, and thereby provide a valuable framework for designing and evaluating risk assessment schemes using sentinel songbird species in the time after implementation of the new atmospheric Hg standards.

  13. Songbirds as Sentinels of Mercury in Terrestrial Foodwebs of Eastern North America

    Mercury is a globally distributed environmental contaminant with a variety of deleterious effects in fish, wildlife, and humans. Breeding songbirds may be useful sentinels for mercury because they are relatively easy to sample, have well-defined and small territories, and integra...

  14. Relative influence of male and female care in determining nestling mass in a migratory songbird

    Kirk Stodola; Eric Linder; David A. Buehler; Kathlee Franzreb; Daniel Kim; Robert Cooper

    2010-01-01

    Biparental care is common in birds with the allocation of effort being highly variable between the sexes. In most songbird species, the female typically provides the most care in the breeding cycle with both parents providing care when provisioning young. Food provisioning should be directly related to offspring quality; however, the relative influence each parent has...

  15. Songbird Community Variation Among Five Levels of Overstory Retention in Northern Alabama

    Adrian A. Lesak; Yong Wang; Callie Jo Schweitzer

    2004-01-01

    We compared songbird communities among varying degrees of overstory tree retention in the oak-hickory forest of the southern Mid-Cumberland Plateau region. Three 20-ha complete block replicates of 5 experimental treatments (15 treatment units, 4 ha per unit) were used. The five treatments were operational shelterwood stands with target overstory retention levels of...

  16. Songbirds and Birds of Prey, Unit 6, Colorado Division of Wildlife.

    Hooper, Jon K.; Smith, Dwight R.

    This booklet on songbirds and birds of prey is part of a series developed to encourage youth to pursue environmental projects. The manual explains bird anatomy and physiology, bird watching, types of feeders and shelter, and bird identification. Descriptions of feeding, hunting, and nesting habits are given for many species of birds. Also,…

  17. The nest predator assemblage for songbirds in Mono Lake basin riparian habitats

    Quresh S. Latif; Sacha K. Heath; Grant Ballard

    2012-01-01

    Because nest predation strongly limits avian fitness, ornithologists identify nest predators to inform ecological research and conservation. During 2002–2008, we used both video-monitoring of natural nests and direct observations of predation to identify nest predators of open-cup nesting riparian songbirds along tributaries of Mono Lake, California. Video cameras at...

  18. Riparian Songbird Abundance a Decade after Cattle Removal on Hart Mountain and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuges

    Susan L. Earnst; Jennifer A. Ballard; David S. Dobkin

    2005-01-01

    Cattle were removed from the high desert riparian habitats of Hart Mountain and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuges in 1990. This study compares songbird abundance in 2000-2001 to that in 1991-1993 on 69 permanent plots. Of the 51 species for which detections were sufficient to calculate changes in abundance, 71 percent (36/51) exhibited a positive trend and 76 percent (...

  19. Species-specific variation in nesting and postfledging resource selection for two forest breeding migrant songbirds

    Julianna M. A. Jenkins; Frank R. Thompson; John Faaborg; Andrew J. Kroll

    2017-01-01

    Habitat selection is a fundamental component of community ecology, population ecology, and evolutionary biology and can be especially important to species with complex annual habitat requirements, such as migratory birds. Resource preferences on the breeding grounds may change during the postfledging period for migrant songbirds, however, the degree to which selection...

  20. Loss of inhibition in sensorimotor networks in focal hand dystonia

    Cecile Gallea

    2018-01-01

    Interpretation: Impairments of GABAergic neurotransmission in the cerebellum and the sensorimotor cortical areas could explain different aspects of loss of inhibitory control in FHD, the former being involved in maladaptive plasticity, the latter in surround inhibition. Reorganization of the inferior prefrontal cortices, part of the associative network, might be compensatory for the loss of inhibitory control in sensorimotor circuits. These findings suggest that cerebellar and cerebral GABAergic abnormalities could play a role in the functional imbalance of striato-cerebello-cortical loops in dystonia.

  1. Enhancing Functional Performance using Sensorimotor Adaptability Training Programs

    Bloomberg, J. J.; Mulavara, A. P.; Peters, B. T.; Brady, R.; Audas, C.; Ruttley, T. M.; Cohen, H. S.

    2009-01-01

    During the acute phase of adaptation to novel gravitational environments, sensorimotor disturbances have the potential to disrupt the ability of astronauts to perform functional tasks. The goal of this project is to develop a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program designed to facilitate recovery of functional capabilities when astronauts transition to different gravitational environments. The project conducted a series of studies that investigated the efficacy of treadmill training combined with a variety of sensory challenges designed to increase adaptability including alterations in visual flow, body loading, and support surface stability.

  2. Songbird - AN Innovative Uas Combining the Advantages of Fixed Wing and Multi Rotor Uas

    Thamm, F.-P.; Brieger, N.; Neitzke, K.-P.; Meyer, M.; Jansen, R.; Mönninghof, M.

    2015-08-01

    This paper describes a family of innovative fixed wing UAS with can vertical take off and land - the SONGBIRD family. With nominal payloads starting from 0.5 kg they can take off and land safely like a multi-rotor UAV, removing the need for an airstrip for the critical phases of operation. A specially designed flight controller allows stable flight at every point of the transition phase between VTOL and fixed wing mode. Because of this smooth process with a all time stable flight, very expensive payload like hyperspectral sensors or advanced optical cameras can be used. Due to their design all airplanes of the SONGBIRD family have excellent horizontal flight properties, a maximum speed of over 110 km/h, good gliding properties and long flight times of up to 1 h. Missions were flown in wind speeds up to 18 m/s. At every time of the flight it is possible to interrupt the mission and hover over a point of interest for detail investigations. The complete flight, including take-off and landing can be performed by autopilot. Designed for daily use in professional environments, SONGBIRDs are built out of glass-fibre and carbon composites for a long service life. For safe operations comprehensive security features are implemented, for example redundant flight controllers and sensors, advanced power management system and mature fail safe procedures. The aircraft can be dismantled into small parts for transportation. SONGBIRDS are available for different pay loads, from 500 g to 2 kg. The SONGBIRD family are interesting tools combining the advantages of multi-copter and fixed wing UAS.

  3. Crop type influences edge effects on the reproduction of songbirds in sagebrush habitat near agriculture

    Elly C. Knight

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Extensive fragmentation of the sagebrush shrubsteppe of western North America could be contributing to observed population declines of songbirds in sagebrush habitat. We examined whether habitat fragmentation impacts the reproduction of songbirds in sagebrush edge habitat near agriculture, and if potential impacts vary depending on the adjacent crop type. Specifically, we evaluated whether nest abundance and nest survival varied between orchard edge habitat, vineyard edge habitat, and interior habitat. We then examined whether the local nest predator community and vegetation could explain the differences detected. We detected fewer nests in edge than interior habitat. Nest abundance per songbird was also lower in edge than interior habitat, although only adjacent to vineyards. Nest predation was more frequent in orchard edge habitat than vineyard edge or interior habitat. Predators identified with nest cameras were primarily snakes, however, reduced nest survival in orchard edge habitat was not explained by differences in the abundance of snakes or any other predator species identified. Information theoretic analysis of daily survival rates showed that greater study plot shrub cover and lower grass height at nests were partially responsible for the lower rate of predation-specific daily nest survival rate (PDSR observed in orchard edge habitat, but additional factors are likely important. Results of this study suggest that different crop types have different edge effects on songbirds nesting in sagebrush shrubsteppe, and that these reproductive edge effects may contribute to observed declines of these species. Habitat managers should avoid the creation of new orchard-sagebrush habitat edges to avoid further impacts on already declining songbird populations.

  4. Incremental active learning of sensorimotor models in developmental robotics

    Ribes Sanz, Arturo

    2015-01-01

    La rápida evolución de la robótica esta promoviendo que emerjan nuevos campos relacionados con la robótica. Inspirándose en ideas provinientes de la psicología del desarrollo, la robótica del desarrollo es un nuevo campo que pretende proveer a los robots de capacidades que les permiten aprender de una manera abierta durante toda su vida. Hay situaciones donde los ingenieros o los diseñadores no pueden prever todos los posibles problemas que un robot pueda encontrar. Tal como el número de tare...

  5. The role of sensorimotor difficulties in autism spectrum conditions

    Penelope Hannant

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available AbstractIn addition to difficulties in social communication, current diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum conditions (ASC also incorporate sensorimotor difficulties; repetitive motor movements and atypical reactivity to sensory input (APA, 2013. This paper explores whether sensorimotor difficulties are associated with the development and maintenance of symptoms in ASC. Firstly, studies have shown difficulties coordinating sensory input into planning and executing movement effectively in ASC. Secondly, studies have shown associations between sensory reactivity and motor coordination with core ASC symptoms, suggesting these areas each strongly influence the development of social and communication skills. Thirdly, studies have begun to demonstrate that sensorimotor difficulties in ASC could account for reduced social attention early in development, with a cascading effect on later social, communicative and emotional development. These results suggest that sensorimotor difficulties not only contribute to non-social difficulties such as narrow circumscribed interests, but also to the development of social behaviours such as effectively coordinating eye contact with speech and gesture, interpreting others’ behaviour and responding appropriately. Further research is needed to explore the link between sensory and motor difficulties in ASC, and their contribution to the development and maintenance of ASC.

  6. Workspace and sensorimotor theories : Complementary approaches to experience

    Degenaar, J.; Keijzer, F.

    A serious difficulty for theories of consciousness is to go beyond mere correlation between physical processes and experience. Currently, neural workspace and sensorimotor contingency theories are two of the most promising approaches to make any headway here. This paper explores the relation between

  7. Repetitive tactile stimulation changes resting-state functional connectivity – implications for treatment of sensorimotor decline

    Frank eFreyer

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Neurological disorders and physiological aging can lead to a decline of perceptual abilities. In contrast to the conventional therapeutic approach that comprises intensive training and practicing, passive repetitive sensory stimulation (RSS has recently gained increasing attention as an alternative to countervail the sensory decline by improving perceptual abilities without the need of active participation. A particularly effective type of high-frequency RSS, utilizing Hebbian learning principles, improves perceptual acuity as well as sensorimotor functions and has been successfully applied to treat chronic stroke patients and elderly subjects. High-frequency RSS has been shown to induce plastic changes of somatosensory cortex such as representational map reorganization, but its impact on the brain’s ongoing network activity and resting-state functional connectivity has not been investigated so far. Here, we applied high-frequency RSS in healthy human subjects and analyzed resting state Electroencephalography (EEG functional connectivity patterns before and after RSS by means of imaginary coherency (ImCoh, a frequency-specific connectivity measure which is known to reduce overestimation biases due to volume conduction and common reference. Thirty minutes of passive high-frequency RSS lead to significant ImCoh-changes of the resting state mu-rhythm in the individual upper alpha frequency band within distributed sensory and motor cortical areas. These stimulation induced distributed functional connectivity changes likely underlie the previously observed improvement in sensorimotor integration.

  8. Neural Entrainment and Sensorimotor Synchronization to the Beat in Children with Developmental Dyslexia: An EEG Study

    Lincoln J. Colling

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Tapping in time to a metronome beat (hereafter beat synchronization shows considerable variability in child populations, and individual differences in beat synchronization are reliably related to reading development. Children with developmental dyslexia show impairments in beat synchronization. These impairments may reflect deficiencies in auditory perception of the beat which in turn affect auditory-motor mapping, or may reflect an independent motor deficit. Here, we used a new methodology in EEG based on measuring beat-related steady-state evoked potentials (SS-EPs, Nozaradan et al., 2015 in an attempt to disentangle neural sensory and motor contributions to behavioral beat synchronization in children with dyslexia. Children tapped with both their left and right hands to every second beat of a metronome pulse delivered at 2.4 Hz, or listened passively to the beat. Analyses of preferred phase in EEG showed that the children with dyslexia had a significantly different preferred phase compared to control children in all conditions. Regarding SS-EPs, the groups differed significantly for the passive Auditory listening condition at 2.4 Hz, and showed a trend toward a difference in the Right hand tapping condition at 3.6 Hz (sensorimotor integration measure. The data suggest that neural rhythmic entrainment is atypical in children with dyslexia for both an auditory beat and during sensorimotor coupling (tapping. The data are relevant to a growing literature suggesting that rhythm-based interventions may help language processing in children with developmental disorders of language learning.

  9. Imaging auditory representations of song and syllables in populations of sensorimotor neurons essential to vocal communication.

    Peh, Wendy Y X; Roberts, Todd F; Mooney, Richard

    2015-04-08

    Vocal communication depends on the coordinated activity of sensorimotor neurons important to vocal perception and production. How vocalizations are represented by spatiotemporal activity patterns in these neuronal populations remains poorly understood. Here we combined intracellular recordings and two-photon calcium imaging in anesthetized adult zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to examine how learned birdsong and its component syllables are represented in identified projection neurons (PNs) within HVC, a sensorimotor region important for song perception and production. These experiments show that neighboring HVC PNs can respond at markedly different times to song playback and that different syllables activate spatially intermingled PNs within a local (~100 μm) region of HVC. Moreover, noise correlations were stronger between PNs that responded most strongly to the same syllable and were spatially graded within and between classes of PNs. These findings support a model in which syllabic and temporal features of song are represented by spatially intermingled PNs functionally organized into cell- and syllable-type networks within local spatial scales in HVC. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/355589-17$15.00/0.

  10. Expectation violations in sensorimotor sequences: shifting from LTM-based attentional selection to visual search.

    Foerster, Rebecca M; Schneider, Werner X

    2015-03-01

    Long-term memory (LTM) delivers important control signals for attentional selection. LTM expectations have an important role in guiding the task-driven sequence of covert attention and gaze shifts, especially in well-practiced multistep sensorimotor actions. What happens when LTM expectations are disconfirmed? Does a sensory-based visual-search mode of attentional selection replace the LTM-based mode? What happens when prior LTM expectations become valid again? We investigated these questions in a computerized version of the number-connection test. Participants clicked on spatially distributed numbered shapes in ascending order while gaze was recorded. Sixty trials were performed with a constant spatial arrangement. In 20 consecutive trials, either numbers, shapes, both, or no features switched position. In 20 reversion trials, participants worked on the original arrangement. Only the sequence-affecting number switches elicited slower clicking, visual search-like scanning, and lower eye-hand synchrony. The effects were neither limited to the exchanged numbers nor to the corresponding actions. Thus, expectation violations in a well-learned sensorimotor sequence cause a regression from LTM-based attentional selection to visual search beyond deviant-related actions and locations. Effects lasted for several trials and reappeared during reversion. © 2015 New York Academy of Sciences.

  11. Sensorimotor Grounding of Musical Embodiment and the Role of Prediction: A Review.

    Maes, Pieter-Jan

    2016-01-01

    In a previous article, we reviewed empirical evidence demonstrating action-based effects on music perception to substantiate the musical embodiment thesis (Maes et al., 2014). Evidence was largely based on studies demonstrating that music perception automatically engages motor processes, or that body states/movements influence music perception. Here, we argue that more rigorous evidence is needed before any decisive conclusion in favor of a "radical" musical embodiment thesis can be posited. In the current article, we provide a focused review of recent research to collect further evidence for the "radical" embodiment thesis that music perception is a dynamic process firmly rooted in the natural disposition of sounds and the human auditory and motor system. Though, we emphasize that, on top of these natural dispositions, long-term processes operate, rooted in repeated sensorimotor experiences and leading to learning, prediction, and error minimization. This approach sheds new light on the development of musical repertoires, and may refine our understanding of action-based effects on music perception as discussed in our previous article (Maes et al., 2014). Additionally, we discuss two of our recent empirical studies demonstrating that music performance relies on similar principles of sensorimotor dynamics and predictive processing.

  12. Upper extremity sensorimotor control among collegiate football players.

    Laudner, Kevin G

    2012-03-01

    Injuries stemming from shoulder instability are very common among athletes participating in contact sports, such as football. Previous research has shown that increased laxity negatively affects the function of the sensorimotor system potentially leading to a pathological cycle of shoulder dysfunction. Currently, there are no data detailing such effects among football players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the differences in upper extremity sensorimotor control among football players compared with that of a control group. Forty-five collegiate football players and 70 male control subjects with no previous experience in contact sports participated. All the subjects had no recent history of upper extremity injury. Each subject performed three 30-second upper extremity balance trials on each arm. The balance trials were conducted in a single-arm push-up position with the test arm in the center of a force platform and the subjects' feet on a labile device. The trials were averaged, and the differences in radial area deviation between groups were analyzed using separate 1-way analyses of variance (p football players showed significantly more radial area deviation of the dominant (0.41 ± 1.23 cm2, p = 0.02) and nondominant arms (0.47 ± 1.63 cm2, p = 0.03) when compared with the control group. These results suggest that football players may have decreased sensorimotor control of the upper extremity compared with individuals with no contact sport experience. The decreased upper extremity sensorimotor control among the football players may be because of the frequent impacts accumulated during football participation. Football players may benefit from exercises that target the sensorimotor system. These findings may also be beneficial in the evaluation and treatment of various upper extremity injuries among football players.

  13. Male songbirds provide indirect parental care by guarding females during incubation

    Fedy, B.C.; Martin, T.E.

    2009-01-01

    Across many taxa, guarding of fertile mates is a widespread tactic that enhances paternity assurance. However, guarding of mates can also occur during the nonfertile period, and the fitness benefits of this behavior are unclear. Male songbirds, for example, sometimes guard nonfertile females during foraging recesses from incubation. We hypothesized that guarding postreproductive mates may have important, but unrecognized, benefits by enhancing female foraging efficiency, thereby increasing time spent incubating eggs. We tested the hypothesis in 2 songbird species by examining female behavior during natural and experimentally induced absences of males. Male absence caused increased vigilance in foraging females that decreased their efficiency and resulted in less time spent incubating eggs. Male guarding of nonfertile females can thus provide a previously unrecognized form of indirect parental care.

  14. Area-specific migration and recruitment of new neurons in the adult songbird brain

    Vellema, Michiel; Van der Linden, Annemie; Gahr, Manfred

    2010-01-01

    sensitive to plastic changes, such as nucleus higher vocal center (HVC) and area X, recruited similar numbers of new neurons as their surrounding brain tissues, employing no specific directional mechanisms. The distribution pattern in and around HVC could best be described by a random displacement model......Neuron recruitment has been implicated in morphological and functional plasticity in the adult brain. Whereas mammals restrict neuron recruitment specifically to two regions of known plasticity, the hippocampus and olfactory bulb, newborn neurons are found throughout the forebrain of adult...... songbirds. In order to study the area-specificity of the widespread proliferation and recruitment in the songbird brain, six adult male canaries received repetitive intraperitoneal injections of the mitotic marker BrdU (5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine) and were sacrificed after 24 hours to study proliferation...

  15. The effect of mercury on baseline corticosterone in a breeding songbird.

    Maddux, Sarah L; Cristol, Daniel A; Varian-Ramos, Claire W; Bradley, Eric L

    2015-02-01

    Although songbirds accumulate mercury at rates equivalent to better-studied aquatic avian species, effects of mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds remain understudied. Little is known about the effects of mercury on endocrine physiology, but recent evidence indicates that mercury may disrupt the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Both field-based correlational studies and a recent dosing experiment suggest that mercury exposure alters levels of the primary avian stress hormone, CORT. We sampled zebra finches that had been dosed with 0, 0.5, or 1.0 ppm dietary methylmercury for baseline CORT twice; once during pairing and once after successfully fledging young. Circulating levels of CORT were not significantly affected by mercury exposure. However, our findings indicate potentially important differences in CORT responses between the sexes when exposed to environmentally relevant doses of mercury across the nesting cycle.

  16. Concealed by darkness: interactions between predatory bats and nocturnally migrating songbirds illuminated by DNA sequencing

    Ibáñez, Carlos; Popa-Lisseanu, Ana G.; Pastor-Beviá, David; García-Mudarra, Juan L.; Juste, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Recently, several species of aerial-hawking bats have been found to prey on migrating songbirds, but details on this behaviour and its relevance for bird migration are still unclear. We sequenced avian DNA in feather-containing scats of the bird-feeding bat Nyctalus lasiopterus from Spain collected during bird migration seasons. We found very high prey diversity, with 31 bird species from eight families of Passeriformes, almost all of which were nocturnally flying sub-Saharan migrants. Moreov...

  17. Comment on "No evidence of displacement due to wind turbines in breeding grassland songbirds"

    Johnson, Douglas H.

    2016-01-01

    A recent article published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications by Hale et al. (2014) is entitled, “No evidence of displacement due to wind turbines in breeding grassland songbirds.” The conclusion stated in that title, unfortunately, is based on inappropriate statistical analysis of data collected by the authors. In fact, their data provide evidence of potential displacement by wind turbines in 2 of the 3 species considered.

  18. Epidemiology of a Salmonella enterica subsp. Enterica serovar Typhimurium strain associated with a songbird outbreak.

    Blehert, David S.; Hernandez, Sonia M.; Keel, Kevin; Sanchez, Susan; Trees, Eija; ,

    2012-01-01

    Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium is responsible for the majority of salmonellosis cases worldwide. This Salmonella serovar is also responsible for die-offs in songbird populations. In 2009, there was an S. Typhimurium epizootic reported in pine siskins in the eastern United States. At the time, there was also a human outbreak with this serovar that was associated with contaminated peanuts. As peanuts are also used in wild-bird food, it was hypothesized that the pine siskin epizootic was related to this human outbreak. A comparison of songbird and human S. Typhimurium pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns revealed that the epizootic was attributed not to the peanut-associated strain but, rather, to a songbird strain first characterized from an American goldfinch in 1998. This same S. Typhimurium strain (PFGE type A3) was also identified in the PulseNet USA database, accounting for 137 of 77,941 total S. Typhimurium PFGE entries. A second molecular typing method, multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA), confirmed that the same strain was responsible for the pine siskin epizootic in the eastern United States but was distinct from a genetically related strain isolated from pine siskins in Minnesota. The pine siskin A3 strain was first encountered in May 2008 in an American goldfinch and later in a northern cardinal at the start of the pine siskin epizootic. MLVA also confirmed the clonal nature of S. Typhimurium in songbirds and established that the pine siskin epizootic strain was unique to the finch family. For 2009, the distribution of PFGE type A3 in passerines and humans mirrored the highest population density of pine siskins for the East Coast.

  19. Dawn song in natural and artificial continuous day: Light pollution affects songbirds at high latitudes.

    Derryberry, Elizabeth P

    2017-10-01

    In Focus: Da Silva, A., & Kempenaers, B. (2017). Singing from North to South: Latitudinal variation in timing of dawn singing under natural and artificial light conditions. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86, 1286-1297. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12739 Satellite images of the world at night show bright dots connected by glowing lines crisscrossing the globe. As these connect-the-dots become brighter and expand into more and more remote regions, much of the flora and fauna of the world are experiencing evolutionarily unprecedented levels of light at night. Light cues are essential to most physiological and behavioural processes, and so the need to measure the effects of light pollution on these processes is critical. In this issue, Da Silva and Kempenaers take on this task using an important reproductive behaviour in songbirds-dawn song. The geographic, temporal and taxonomic breadth of sampling in this study allows for a close examination of a potentially complex interaction between light pollution and natural variation in the behaviour of dawn singing across latitude, season and species. Their extensive dataset highlights complexity in how songbirds respond to light pollution. Although light pollution has a strong effect on the timing of dawn song, not all songbirds respond the same way to light pollution, and the effects of light pollution vary with changes in natural light levels. Early dawn singers show more flexibility in the timing of dawn song across the season and across latitudes than late dawn singers, and also appear less affected by light pollution at high latitudes than are late dawn singers. These findings suggest that not all songbirds are responding to artificial continuous daylight as they do to natural continuous daylight, highlighting the general need to measure the fitness effects of light pollution. © 2017 The Author. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2017 British Ecological Society.

  20. Virtual Sensorimotor Training for Balance: Pilot Study Results for Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

    Jirikowic, Tracy; Westcott McCoy, Sarah; Price, Robert; Ciol, Marcia A; Hsu, Lin-Ya; Kartin, Deborah

    2016-01-01

    To examine the effects of Sensorimotor Training to Affect Balance, Engagement, and Learning (STABEL), a virtual reality system to train sensory adaptation for balance control, for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Twenty-three children with FASDs received STABEL training in a university laboratory, or home, or were controls. The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2nd edition (MABC-2) and Pediatric Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction for Balance-2 (P-CTSIB-2) were analyzed by group (lab, home, and control), session (pre-STABEL, 1 week post-STABEL, and 1 month post-STABEL), and group-by-session interaction. Significant effects were group and session for MABC-2 Balance and interaction for MABC-2 Total Motor and P-CTSIB-2. Preliminary results support improved sensory adaptation, balance, and motor performance post-STABEL, which warrant further study with a larger, randomized sample.

  1. Redefining reproductive success in songbirds: Moving beyond the nest success paradigm

    Streby, Henry M.; Refsnider, Jeanine M.; Andersen, David E.

    2014-01-01

    One of the most commonly estimated parameters in studies of songbird ecology is reproductive success, as a measure of either individual fitness or population productivity. Traditionally, the “success” in reproductive success refers to whether, or how many, nestlings leave nests. Here, we advocate that “reproductive success” in songbirds be redefined as full-season productivity, or the number of young raised to independence from adult care in a breeding season. A growing body of evidence demonstrates interdependence between nest success and fledgling survival, and emphasizes that data from either life stage alone can produce misleading measures of individual fitness and population productivity. Nest success, therefore, is an insufficient measure of reproductive success, and songbird ecology needs to progress beyond this long-standing paradigm. Full-season productivity, an evolutionarily rational measure of reproductive success, provides the framework for appropriately addressing unresolved questions about the adaptive significance of many breeding behaviors and within which effective breeding-grounds conservation and management can be designed.

  2. Convergent evolution of Hawaiian and Australo-Pacific honeyeaters from distant songbird ancestors.

    Fleischer, Robert C; James, Helen F; Olson, Storrs L

    2008-12-23

    The Hawaiian "honeyeaters," five endemic species of recently extinct, nectar-feeding songbirds in the genera Moho and Chaetoptila, looked and acted like Australasian honeyeaters (Meliphagidae), and no taxonomist since their discovery on James Cook's third voyage has classified them as anything else. We obtained DNA sequences from museum specimens of Moho and Chaetoptila collected in Hawaii 115-158 years ago. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences supports monophyly of the two Hawaiian genera but, surprisingly, reveals that neither taxon is a meliphagid honeyeater, nor even in the same part of the songbird radiation as meliphagids. Instead, the Hawaiian species are divergent members of a passeridan group that includes deceptively dissimilar families of songbirds (Holarctic waxwings, neotropical silky flycatchers, and palm chats). Here we designate them as a new family, the Mohoidae. A nuclear-DNA rate calibration suggests that mohoids diverged from their closest living ancestor 14-17 mya, coincident with the estimated earliest arrival in Hawaii of a bird-pollinated plant lineage. Convergent evolution, the evolution of similar traits in distantly related taxa because of common selective pressures, is illustrated well by nectar-feeding birds, but the morphological, behavioral, and ecological similarity of the mohoids to the Australasian honeyeaters makes them a particularly striking example of the phenomenon.

  3. Inefficient co-feeding transmission of Borrelia afzelii in two common European songbirds

    Heylen, Dieter J. A.; Sprong, Hein; Krawczyk, Aleksandra; Van Houtte, Natalie; Genné, Dolores; Gomez-Chamorro, Andrea; van Oers, Kees; Voordouw, Maarten J.

    2017-01-01

    The spirochete bacterium Borrelia afzelii is the most common cause of Lyme borreliosis in Europe. This tick-borne pathogen can establish systemic infections in rodents but not in birds. However, several field studies have recovered larval Ixodes ricinus ticks infected with B. afzelii from songbirds suggesting successful transmission of B. afzelii. We reviewed the literature to determine which songbird species were the most frequent carriers of B. afzelii-infected I. ricinus larvae and nymphs. We tested experimentally whether B. afzelii is capable of co-feeding transmission on two common European bird species, the blackbird (Turdus merula) and the great tit (Parus major). For each bird species, four naïve individuals were infested with B. afzelii-infected I. ricinus nymphal ticks and pathogen-free larval ticks. None of the co-feeding larvae tested positive for B. afzelii in blackbirds, but a low percentage of infected larvae (3.33%) was observed in great tits. Transstadial transmission of B. afzelii DNA from the engorged nymphs to the adult ticks was observed in both bird species. However, BSK culture found that these spirochetes were not viable. Our study suggests that co-feeding transmission of B. afzelii is not efficient in these two songbird species. PMID:28054584

  4. Sensorimotor integration for functional recovery and the Bobath approach.

    Levin, Mindy F; Panturin, Elia

    2011-04-01

    Bobath therapy is used to treat patients with neurological disorders. Bobath practitioners use hands-on approaches to elicit and reestablish typical movement patterns through therapist-controlled sensorimotor experiences within the context of task accomplishment. One aspect of Bobath practice, the recovery of sensorimotor function, is reviewed within the framework of current motor control theories. We focus on the role of sensory information in movement production, the relationship between posture and movement and concepts related to motor recovery and compensation with respect to this therapeutic approach. We suggest that a major barrier to the evaluation of the therapeutic effectiveness of the Bobath concept is the lack of a unified framework for both experimental identification and treatment of neurological motor deficits. More conclusive analysis of therapeutic effectiveness requires the development of specific outcomes that measure movement quality.

  5. Fashioning the Face: Sensorimotor Simulation Contributes to Facial Expression Recognition.

    Wood, Adrienne; Rychlowska, Magdalena; Korb, Sebastian; Niedenthal, Paula

    2016-03-01

    When we observe a facial expression of emotion, we often mimic it. This automatic mimicry reflects underlying sensorimotor simulation that supports accurate emotion recognition. Why this is so is becoming more obvious: emotions are patterns of expressive, behavioral, physiological, and subjective feeling responses. Activation of one component can therefore automatically activate other components. When people simulate a perceived facial expression, they partially activate the corresponding emotional state in themselves, which provides a basis for inferring the underlying emotion of the expresser. We integrate recent evidence in favor of a role for sensorimotor simulation in emotion recognition. We then connect this account to a domain-general understanding of how sensory information from multiple modalities is integrated to generate perceptual predictions in the brain. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Symbol Grounding Without Direct Experience: Do Words Inherit Sensorimotor Activation From Purely Linguistic Context?

    Günther, Fritz; Dudschig, Carolin; Kaup, Barbara

    2018-05-01

    Theories of embodied cognition assume that concepts are grounded in non-linguistic, sensorimotor experience. In support of this assumption, previous studies have shown that upwards response movements are faster than downwards movements after participants have been presented with words whose referents are typically located in the upper vertical space (and vice versa for downwards responses). This is taken as evidence that processing these words reactivates sensorimotor experiential traces. This congruency effect was also found for novel words, after participants learned these words as labels for novel objects that they encountered either in their upper or lower visual field. While this indicates that direct experience with a word's referent is sufficient to evoke said congruency effects, the present study investigates whether this direct experience is also a necessary condition. To this end, we conducted five experiments in which participants learned novel words from purely linguistic input: Novel words were presented in pairs with real up- or down-words (Experiment 1); they were presented in natural sentences where they replaced these real words (Experiment 2); they were presented as new labels for these real words (Experiment 3); and they were presented as labels for novel combined concepts based on these real words (Experiment 4 and 5). In all five experiments, we did not find any congruency effects elicited by the novel words; however, participants were always able to make correct explicit judgements about the vertical dimension associated to the novel words. These results suggest that direct experience is necessary for reactivating experiential traces, but this reactivation is not a necessary condition for understanding (in the sense of storing and accessing) the corresponding aspects of word meaning. Copyright © 2017 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.

  7. Conscious sensation, conscious perception and sensorimotor theories of consciousness

    Gamez, David

    2014-01-01

    This article explores the hypothesis that the differences between our conscious sensations (color, sound, smell, etc.) could be linked to the different ways in which our senses process and structure information. It is also proposed that the organization of our conscious sensations into a conscious perception of a three-dimensional world could be linked to our mastery of sensorimotor contingencies. These hypotheses are supported by a number of observations, including the appearance of consciou...

  8. Neural representation of the sensorimotor speech-action-repository

    Cornelia eEckers

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available A speech-action-repository (SAR or mental syllabary has been proposed as a central module for sensorimotor processing of syllables. In this approach, syllables occurring frequently within language are assumed to be stored as holistic sensorimotor patterns, while non-frequent syllables need to be assembled from sub-syllabic units. Thus, frequent syllables are processed efficiently and quickly during production or perception by a direct activation of their sensorimotor patterns. Whereas several behavioral psycholinguistic studies provided evidence in support of the existence of a syllabary, fMRI studies have failed to demonstrate its neural reality. In the present fMRI study a reaction paradigm using homogeneous vs. heterogeneous syllable blocks are used during overt vs. covert speech production and auditory vs. visual presentation modes. Two complementary data analyses were performed: (1 in a logical conjunction, activation for syllable processing independent of input modality and response mode was assessed, in order to support the assumption of existence of a supramodal hub within a SAR. (2 In addition priming effects in the BOLD response in homogeneous vs. heterogeneous blocks were measured in order to identify brain regions, which indicate reduced activity during multiple production/perception repetitions of a specific syllable in order to determine state maps. Auditory-visual conjunction analysis revealed an activation network comprising bilateral precentral gyrus and left inferior frontal gyrus (area 44. These results are compatible with the notion of a supramodal hub within the SAR. The main effect of homogeneity priming revealed an activation pattern of areas within frontal, temporal, and parietal lobe. These findings are taken to represent sensorimotor state maps of the SAR. In conclusion, the present study provided preliminary evidence for a SAR.

  9. Mina: A Sensorimotor Robotic Orthosis for Mobility Assistance

    Raj, Anil K.; Neuhaus, Peter D.; Moucheboeuf, Adrien M.; Noorden, Jerryll H.; Lecoutre, David V.

    2011-01-01

    While most mobility options for persons with paraplegia or paraparesis employ wheeled solutions, significant adverse health, psychological, and social consequences result from wheelchair confinement. Modern robotic exoskeleton devices for gait assistance and rehabilitation, however, can support legged locomotion systems for those with lower extremity weakness or paralysis. The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) has developed the Mina, a prototype sensorimotor robotic ort...

  10. Extended Neural Metastability in an Embodied Model of Sensorimotor Coupling

    Miguel Aguilera

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The hypothesis that brain organization is based on mechanisms of metastable synchronization in neural assemblies has been popularized during the last decades of neuroscientific research. Nevertheless, the role of body and environment for understanding the functioning of metastable assemblies is frequently dismissed. The main goal of this paper is to investigate the contribution of sensorimotor coupling to neural and behavioural metastability using a minimal computational model of plastic neural ensembles embedded in a robotic agent in a behavioural preference task. Our hypothesis is that, under some conditions, the metastability of the system is not restricted to the brain but extends to the system composed by the interaction of brain, body and environment. We test this idea, comparing an agent in continuous interaction with its environment in a task demanding behavioural flexibility with an equivalent model from the point of view of 'internalist neuroscience'. A statistical characterization of our model and tools from information theory allows us to show how (1 the bidirectional coupling between agent and environment brings the system closer to a regime of criticality and triggers the emergence of additional metastable states which are not found in the brain in isolation but extended to the whole system of sensorimotor interaction, (2 the synaptic plasticity of the agent is fundamental to sustain open structures in the neural controller of the agent flexibly engaging and disengaging different behavioural patterns that sustain sensorimotor metastable states, and (3 these extended metastable states emerge when the agent generates an asymmetrical circular loop of causal interaction with its environment, in which the agent responds to variability of the environment at fast timescales while acting over the environment at slow timescales, suggesting the constitution of the agent as an autonomous entity actively modulating its sensorimotor coupling

  11. Extended Neural Metastability in an Embodied Model of Sensorimotor Coupling.

    Aguilera, Miguel; Bedia, Manuel G; Barandiaran, Xabier E

    2016-01-01

    The hypothesis that brain organization is based on mechanisms of metastable synchronization in neural assemblies has been popularized during the last decades of neuroscientific research. Nevertheless, the role of body and environment for understanding the functioning of metastable assemblies is frequently dismissed. The main goal of this paper is to investigate the contribution of sensorimotor coupling to neural and behavioral metastability using a minimal computational model of plastic neural ensembles embedded in a robotic agent in a behavioral preference task. Our hypothesis is that, under some conditions, the metastability of the system is not restricted to the brain but extends to the system composed by the interaction of brain, body and environment. We test this idea, comparing an agent in continuous interaction with its environment in a task demanding behavioral flexibility with an equivalent model from the point of view of "internalist neuroscience." A statistical characterization of our model and tools from information theory allow us to show how (1) the bidirectional coupling between agent and environment brings the system closer to a regime of criticality and triggers the emergence of additional metastable states which are not found in the brain in isolation but extended to the whole system of sensorimotor interaction, (2) the synaptic plasticity of the agent is fundamental to sustain open structures in the neural controller of the agent flexibly engaging and disengaging different behavioral patterns that sustain sensorimotor metastable states, and (3) these extended metastable states emerge when the agent generates an asymmetrical circular loop of causal interaction with its environment, in which the agent responds to variability of the environment at fast timescales while acting over the environment at slow timescales, suggesting the constitution of the agent as an autonomous entity actively modulating its sensorimotor coupling with the world. We

  12. Two Mechanisms of Sensorimotor Set Adaptation to Inclined Stance

    Kyoung-Hyun Lee

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Orientation of posture relative to the environment depends on the contributions from the somatosensory, vestibular, and visual systems mixed in varying proportions to produce a sensorimotor set. Here, we probed the sensorimotor set composition using a postural adaptation task in which healthy adults stood on an inclined surface for 3 min. Upon returning to a horizontal surface, participants displayed a range of postural orientations – from an aftereffect that consisted of a large forward postural lean to an upright stance with little or no aftereffect. It has been hypothesized that the post-incline postural change depends on each individual’s sensorimotor set: whether the set was dominated by the somatosensory or vestibular system: Somatosensory dominance would cause the lean aftereffect whereas vestibular dominance should steer stance posture toward upright orientation. We investigated the individuals who displayed somatosensory dominance by manipulating their attention to spatial orientation. We introduced a distraction condition in which subjects concurrently performed a difficult arithmetic subtraction task. This manipulation altered the time course of their post-incline aftereffect. When not distracted, participants returned to upright stance within the 3-min period. However, they continued leaning forward when distracted. These results suggest that the mechanism of sensorimotor set adaptation to inclined stance comprises at least two components. The first component reflects the dominant contribution from the somatosensory system. Since the postural lean was observed among these subjects even when they were not distracted, it suggests that the aftereffect is difficult to overcome. The second component includes a covert attentional component which manifests as the dissipation of the aftereffect and the return of posture to upright orientation.

  13. Sensorimotor Adaptability Training Improves Motor and Dual-Task Performance

    Bloomberg, J.J.; Peters, B.T.; Mulavara, A.P.; Brady, R.; Batson, C.; Cohen, H.S.

    2009-01-01

    The overall objective of our project is to develop a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program designed to facilitate recovery of functional capabilities when astronauts transition to different gravitational environments. The goal of our current study was to determine if SA training using variation in visual flow and support surface motion produces improved performance in a novel sensory environment and demonstrate the retention characteristics of SA training.

  14. Sensorimotor Network Crucial for Inferring Amusement from Smiles.

    Paracampo, Riccardo; Tidoni, Emmanuele; Borgomaneri, Sara; di Pellegrino, Giuseppe; Avenanti, Alessio

    2017-11-01

    Understanding whether another's smile reflects authentic amusement is a key challenge in social life, yet, the neural bases of this ability have been largely unexplored. Here, we combined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with a novel empathic accuracy (EA) task to test whether sensorimotor and mentalizing networks are critical for understanding another's amusement. Participants were presented with dynamic displays of smiles and explicitly requested to infer whether the smiling individual was feeling authentic amusement or not. TMS over sensorimotor regions representing the face (i.e., in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and ventral primary somatosensory cortex (SI)), disrupted the ability to infer amusement authenticity from observed smiles. The same stimulation did not affect performance on a nonsocial task requiring participants to track the smiling expression but not to infer amusement. Neither TMS over prefrontal and temporo-parietal areas supporting mentalizing, nor peripheral control stimulations, affected performance on either task. Thus, motor and somatosensory circuits for controlling and sensing facial movements are causally essential for inferring amusement from another's smile. These findings highlight the functional relevance of IFG and SI to amusement understanding and suggest that EA abilities may be grounded in sensorimotor networks for moving and feeling the body. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  15. Structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system in xenomelia.

    Hänggi, Jürgen; Vitacco, Deborah A; Hilti, Leonie M; Luechinger, Roger; Kraemer, Bernd; Brugger, Peter

    2017-03-01

    Xenomelia is a rare condition characterized by the persistent and compulsive desire for the amputation of one or more physically healthy limbs. We highlight the neurological underpinnings of xenomelia by assessing structural and functional connectivity by means of whole-brain connectome and network analyses of regions previously implicated in empirical research in this condition. We compared structural and functional connectivity between 13 xenomelic men with matched controls using diffusion tensor imaging combined with fiber tractography and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Altered connectivity in xenomelia within the sensorimotor system has been predicted. We found subnetworks showing structural and functional hyperconnectivity in xenomelia compared with controls. These subnetworks were lateralized to the right hemisphere and mainly comprised by nodes belonging to the sensorimotor system. In the connectome analyses, the paracentral lobule, supplementary motor area, postcentral gyrus, basal ganglia, and the cerebellum were hyperconnected to each other, whereas in the xenomelia-specific network analyses, hyperconnected nodes have been found in the superior parietal lobule, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, premotor cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula. Our study provides empirical evidence of structural and functional hyperconnectivity within the sensorimotor system including those regions that are core for the reconstruction of a coherent body image. Aberrant connectivity is a common response to focal neurological damage. As exemplified here, it may affect different brain regions differentially. Due to the small sample size, our findings must be interpreted cautiously and future studies are needed to elucidate potential associations between hyperconnectivity and limb disownership reported in xenomelia.

  16. Own song selectivity in the songbird auditory pathway

    Poirier, Colline; Boumans, Tiny; Vellema, Michiel

    2011-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Like human speech, birdsong is a learned behavior that supports species and individual recognition. Norepinephrine is a catecholamine suspected to play a role in song learning. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of norepinephrine in bird's own song selectivity, a prope...

  17. Distributed cerebellar plasticity implements generalized multiple-scale memory components in real-robot sensorimotor tasks

    Claudia eCasellato

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available The cerebellum plays a crucial role in motor learning and it acts as a predictive controller. Modeling it and embedding it into sensorimotor tasks allows us to create functional links between plasticity mechanisms, neural circuits and behavioral learning. Moreover, if applied to real-time control of a neurorobot, the cerebellar model has to deal with a real noisy and changing environment, thus showing its robustness and effectiveness in learning. A biologically inspired cerebellar model with distributed plasticity, both at cortical and nuclear sites, has been used. Two cerebellum-mediated paradigms have been designed: an associative Pavlovian task and a vestibulo-ocular reflex, with multiple sessions of acquisition and extinction and with different stimuli and perturbation patterns. The cerebellar controller succeeded to generate conditioned responses and finely tuned eye movement compensation, thus reproducing human-like behaviors. Through a productive plasticity transfer from cortical to nuclear sites, the distributed cerebellar controller showed in both tasks the capability to optimize learning on multiple time-scales, to store motor memory and to effectively adapt to dynamic ranges of stimuli.

  18. Synaptic protein changes after a chronic period of sensorimotor perturbation in adult rats: a potential role of phosphorylation/O-GlcNAcylation interplay.

    Fourneau, Julie; Canu, Marie-Hélène; Cieniewski-Bernard, Caroline; Bastide, Bruno; Dupont, Erwan

    2018-05-28

    In human, a chronic sensorimotor perturbation (SMP) through prolonged body immobilization alters motor task performance through a combination of peripheral and central factors. Studies performed on a rat model of SMP have shown biomolecular changes and a reorganization of sensorimotor cortex through events such as morphological modifications of dendritic spines (number, length, functionality). However, underlying mechanisms are still unclear. It is well known that phosphorylation regulates a wide field of synaptic activity leading to neuroplasticity. Another post-translational modification that interplays with phosphorylation is O-GlcNAcylation. This atypical glycosylation, reversible and dynamic, is involved in essential cellular and physiological processes such as synaptic activity, neuronal morphogenesis, learning and memory. We examined potential roles of phosphorylation/O-GlcNAcylation interplay in synaptic plasticity within rat sensorimotor cortex after a SMP period. For this purpose, sensorimotor cortex synaptosomes were separated by sucrose gradient, in order to isolate a subcellular compartment enriched in proteins involved in synaptic functions. A period of SMP induced plastic changes at the pre- and postsynaptic levels, characterized by a reduction of phosphorylation (synapsin1, AMPAR GluA2) and expression (synaptophysin, PSD-95, AMPAR GluA2) of synaptic proteins, as well as a decrease in MAPK/ERK42 activation. Expression levels of OGT/OGA enzymes was unchanged but we observed a specific reduction of synapsin1 O-GlcNAcylation in sensorimotor cortex synaptosomes. The synergistic regulation of synapsin1 phosphorylation/O-GlcNAcylation could affect presynaptic neurotransmitter release. Associated with other pre- and postsynaptic changes, synaptic efficacy could be impaired in somatosensory cortex of SMP rat. Thus, synapsin1 O-GlcNAcylation/phosphorylation interplay also appears to be involved in this synaptic plasticity by finely regulating neural activity

  19. Improving Sensorimotor Function and Adaptation using Stochastic Vestibular Stimulation

    Galvan, R. C.; Bloomberg, J. J.; Mulavara, A. P.; Clark, T. K.; Merfeld, D. M.; Oman, C. M.

    2014-01-01

    Astronauts experience sensorimotor changes during adaption to G-transitions that occur when entering and exiting microgravity. Post space flight, these sensorimotor disturbances can include postural and gait instability, visual performance changes, manual control disruptions, spatial disorientation, and motion sickness, all of which can hinder the operational capabilities of the astronauts. Crewmember safety would be significantly increased if sensorimotor changes brought on by gravitational changes could be mitigated and adaptation could be facilitated. The goal of this research is to investigate and develop the use of electrical stochastic vestibular stimulation (SVS) as a countermeasure to augment sensorimotor function and facilitate adaptation. For this project, SVS will be applied via electrodes on the mastoid processes at imperceptible amplitude levels. We hypothesize that SVS will improve sensorimotor performance through the phenomena of stochastic resonance, which occurs when the response of a nonlinear system to a weak input signal is optimized by the application of a particular nonzero level of noise. In line with the theory of stochastic resonance, a specific optimal level of SVS will be found and tested for each subject [1]. Three experiments are planned to investigate the use of SVS in sensory-dependent tasks and performance. The first experiment will aim to demonstrate stochastic resonance in the vestibular system through perception based motion recognition thresholds obtained using a 6-degree of freedom Stewart platform in the Jenks Vestibular Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. A range of SVS amplitudes will be applied to each subject and the subjectspecific optimal SVS level will be identified as that which results in the lowest motion recognition threshold, through previously established, well developed methods [2,3,4]. The second experiment will investigate the use of optimal SVS in facilitating sensorimotor adaptation to system

  20. Human-like brain hemispheric dominance in birdsong learning.

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M H; Kuijpers, Maaike; Kerkhofs, Amber; Zandbergen, Matthijs A; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2012-07-31

    Unlike nonhuman primates, songbirds learn to vocalize very much like human infants acquire spoken language. In humans, Broca's area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke's area in the temporal lobe are crucially involved in speech production and perception, respectively. Songbirds have analogous brain regions that show a similar neural dissociation between vocal production and auditory perception and memory. In both humans and songbirds, there is evidence for lateralization of neural responsiveness in these brain regions. Human infants already show left-sided dominance in their brain activation when exposed to speech. Moreover, a memory-specific left-sided dominance in Wernicke's area for speech perception has been demonstrated in 2.5-mo-old babies. It is possible that auditory-vocal learning is associated with hemispheric dominance and that this association arose in songbirds and humans through convergent evolution. Therefore, we investigated whether there is similar song memory-related lateralization in the songbird brain. We exposed male zebra finches to tutor or unfamiliar song. We found left-sided dominance of neuronal activation in a Broca-like brain region (HVC, a letter-based name) of juvenile and adult zebra finch males, independent of the song stimulus presented. In addition, juvenile males showed left-sided dominance for tutor song but not for unfamiliar song in a Wernicke-like brain region (the caudomedial nidopallium). Thus, left-sided dominance in the caudomedial nidopallium was specific for the song-learning phase and was memory-related. These findings demonstrate a remarkable neural parallel between birdsong and human spoken language, and they have important consequences for our understanding of the evolution of auditory-vocal learning and its neural mechanisms.

  1. Sensorimotor speech disorders in Parkinson's disease: Programming and execution deficits

    Karin Zazo Ortiz

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Introduction: Dysfunction in the basal ganglia circuits is a determining factor in the physiopathology of the classic signs of Parkinson's disease (PD and hypokinetic dysarthria is commonly related to PD. Regarding speech disorders associated with PD, the latest four-level framework of speech complicates the traditional view of dysarthria as a motor execution disorder. Based on findings that dysfunctions in basal ganglia can cause speech disorders, and on the premise that the speech deficits seen in PD are not related to an execution motor disorder alone but also to a disorder at the motor programming level, the main objective of this study was to investigate the presence of sensorimotor disorders of programming (besides the execution disorders previously described in PD patients. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of 60 adults matched for gender, age and education: 30 adult patients diagnosed with idiopathic PD (PDG and 30 healthy adults (CG. All types of articulation errors were reanalyzed to investigate the nature of these errors. Interjections, hesitations and repetitions of words or sentences (during discourse were considered typical disfluencies; blocking, episodes of palilalia (words or syllables were analyzed as atypical disfluencies. We analysed features including successive self-initiated trial, phoneme distortions, self-correction, repetition of sounds and syllables, prolonged movement transitions, additions or omissions of sounds and syllables, in order to identify programming and/or execution failures. Orofacial agility was also investigated. Results: The PDG had worse performance on all sensorimotor speech tasks. All PD patients had hypokinetic dysarthria. Conclusion: The clinical characteristics found suggest both execution and programming sensorimotor speech disorders in PD patients.

  2. Neural Signature of Value-Based Sensorimotor Prioritization in Humans.

    Blangero, Annabelle; Kelly, Simon P

    2017-11-01

    In situations in which impending sensory events demand fast action choices, we must be ready to prioritize higher-value courses of action to avoid missed opportunities. When such a situation first presents itself, stimulus-action contingencies and their relative value must be encoded to establish a value-biased state of preparation for an impending sensorimotor decision. Here, we sought to identify neurophysiological signatures of such processes in the human brain (both female and male). We devised a task requiring fast action choices based on the discrimination of a simple visual cue in which the differently valued sensory alternatives were presented 750-800 ms before as peripheral "targets" that specified the stimulus-action mapping for the upcoming decision. In response to the targets, we identified a discrete, transient, spatially selective signal in the event-related potential (ERP), which scaled with relative value and strongly predicted the degree of behavioral bias in the upcoming decision both across and within subjects. This signal is not compatible with any hitherto known ERP signature of spatial selection and also bears novel distinctions with respect to characterizations of value-sensitive, spatially selective activity found in sensorimotor areas of nonhuman primates. Specifically, a series of follow-up experiments revealed that the signal was reliably invoked regardless of response laterality, response modality, sensory feature, and reward valence. It was absent, however, when the response deadline was relaxed and the strategic need for biasing removed. Therefore, more than passively representing value or salience, the signal appears to play a versatile and active role in adaptive sensorimotor prioritization. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In many situations such as fast-moving sports, we must be ready to act fast in response to sensory events and, in our preparation, prioritize courses of action that lead to greater rewards. Although behavioral effects of

  3. Sensorimotor peripheral nerve function and physical activity in older men

    Lange-Maia, B. S.; Cauley, J A; Newman, Anne B

    2016-01-01

    We determined whether sensorimotor peripheral nerve (PN) function was associated with physical activity (PA) in older men. The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study Pittsburgh, PA, site (n = 328, age 78.8 ± 4.7 years) conducted PN testing, including: peroneal motor and sural sensory nerve conduction...... (latencies, amplitudes: CMAP and SNAP for motor and sensory amplitude, respectively), 1.4g/10g monoflament (dorsum of the great toe), and neuropathy symptoms. ANOVA and multivariate linear regression modeled PN associations with PA (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly [PASE] and SenseWear Armband). After...

  4. Degree of protandry reflects level of extrapair paternity in migratory songbirds

    Coppack, Timothy; Tøttrup, Anders Peter; Spottiswoode, Claire

    2006-01-01

    Males of most migratory organisms, including many birds, precede female conspecifics on their journey to the breeding areas. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of protandrous migration, yet they have rarely been tested at the interspecific level. Here, we provide...... that the time-lag in spring passage between males and females of five Palearctic migratory songbird species is positively associated with levels of extrapair paternity available from the literature. This suggests that males arrive relatively more in advance of females in species with high sperm competition...

  5. Patterns of change in timing of spring migration in North European songbird populations

    Tøttrup, Anders Peter; Thorup, Kasper; Rahbek, Carsten

    2006-01-01

    From 1976 to 1997 passerines were mist-netted and ringed on the island of Christiansø, in the Baltic Sea. Here we present analyses of phenological changes (i.e. time of arrival) for 25 species based on the entire populations of mist-netted songbirds during spring migration. We used two approaches...... to be important for our understanding of population-dynamic changes in relation to climate change. These differences may also have long-term evolutionary consequences. Migration distance seems to affect the degree of change in arrival time, but we found no difference between species wintering in different regions...... of Africa....

  6. A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness.

    O'Regan, J K; Noë, A

    2001-10-01

    Many current neurophysiological, psychophysical, and psychological approaches to vision rest on the idea that when we see, the brain produces an internal representation of the world. The activation of this internal representation is assumed to give rise to the experience of seeing. The problem with this kind of approach is that it leaves unexplained how the existence of such a detailed internal representation might produce visual consciousness. An alternative proposal is made here. We propose that seeing is a way of acting. It is a particular way of exploring the environment. Activity in internal representations does not generate the experience of seeing. The outside world serves as its own, external, representation. The experience of seeing occurs when the organism masters what we call the governing laws of sensorimotor contingency. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a natural and principled way of accounting for visual consciousness, and for the differences in the perceived quality of sensory experience in the different sensory modalities. Several lines of empirical evidence are brought forward in support of the theory, in particular: evidence from experiments in sensorimotor adaptation, visual "filling in," visual stability despite eye movements, change blindness, sensory substitution, and color perception.

  7. Changing motor perception by sensorimotor conflicts and body ownership

    Salomon, R.; Fernandez, N. B.; van Elk, M.; Vachicouras, N.; Sabatier, F.; Tychinskaya, A.; Llobera, J.; Blanke, O.

    2016-01-01

    Experimentally induced sensorimotor conflicts can result in a loss of the feeling of control over a movement (sense of agency). These findings are typically interpreted in terms of a forward model in which the predicted sensory consequences of the movement are compared with the observed sensory consequences. In the present study we investigated whether a mismatch between movements and their observed sensory consequences does not only result in a reduced feeling of agency, but may affect motor perception as well. Visual feedback of participants’ finger movements was manipulated using virtual reality to be anatomically congruent or incongruent to the performed movement. Participants made a motor perception judgment (i.e. which finger did you move?) or a visual perceptual judgment (i.e. which finger did you see moving?). Subjective measures of agency and body ownership were also collected. Seeing movements that were visually incongruent to the performed movement resulted in a lower accuracy for motor perception judgments, but not visual perceptual judgments. This effect was modified by rotating the virtual hand (Exp.2), but not by passively induced movements (Exp.3). Hence, sensorimotor conflicts can modulate the perception of one’s motor actions, causing viewed “alien actions” to be felt as one’s own. PMID:27225834

  8. Sex differences in sensorimotor mu rhythms during selective attentional processing.

    Popovich, C; Dockstader, C; Cheyne, D; Tannock, R

    2010-12-01

    We used magnetoencephalography to investigate the effect of directed attention on sensorimotor mu (8-12 Hz) response (mu reactivity) to non-painful electrical stimulation of the median nerve in healthy adults. Mu desynchronization in the 10-12 Hz bandwidth is typically observed during higher-order cognitive functions including selective attentional processing of sensorimotor information (Pfurtscheller, Neuper, & Krauz, 2000). We found attention-related sex differences in mu reactivity, with females showing (i) prolonged mu desynchrony when attending to somatosensory stimuli, (ii) attentional modulation of the mu response based on whether attention was directed towards or away from somatosensory stimuli, which was absent in males, and (iii) a trend for greater neuronal excitability of the primary somatosensory region suggesting greater physiological responsiveness to sensory stimulation overall. Our findings suggest sex differences in attentional control strategies when processing somatosensory stimuli, whose salience may be greater for females. These sex differences in attention to somatosensory stimuli may help elucidate the well-documented sex biases in pain processing wherein females typically report greater sensitivity to experimental and clinical pain. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Twitching in sensorimotor development from sleeping rats to robots.

    Blumberg, Mark S; Marques, Hugo Gravato; Iida, Fumiya

    2013-06-17

    It is still not known how the 'rudimentary' movements of fetuses and infants are transformed into the coordinated, flexible and adaptive movements of adults. In addressing this important issue, we consider a behavior that has been perennially viewed as a functionless by-product of a dreaming brain: the jerky limb movements called myoclonic twitches. Recent work has identified the neural mechanisms that produce twitching as well as those that convey sensory feedback from twitching limbs to the spinal cord and brain. In turn, these mechanistic insights have helped inspire new ideas about the functional roles that twitching might play in the self-organization of spinal and supraspinal sensorimotor circuits. Striking support for these ideas is coming from the field of developmental robotics: when twitches are mimicked in robot models of the musculoskeletal system, the basic neural circuitry undergoes self-organization. Mutually inspired biological and synthetic approaches promise not only to produce better robots, but also to solve fundamental problems concerning the developmental origins of sensorimotor maps in the spinal cord and brain. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Shared Action Spaces: a basis function framework for social re-calibration of sensorimotor representations supporting joint action

    Giovanni ePezzulo

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available The article explores the possibilities of formalizing and explaining the mechanisms that support spatial and social perspective alignment sustained over the duration of a social interaction. The basic proposed principle is that in social contexts the mechanisms for sensorimotor transformations and multisensory integration (learn to incorporate information relative to the other actor(s, similar to the "re-calibration" of visual receptive fields in response to repeated tool use. This process aligns or merges the co-actors' spatial representations and creates a "Shared Action Space" supporting key computations of social interactions and joint actions; for example, the remapping between the coordinate systems and frames of reference of the co-actors, including perspective taking, the sensorimotor transformations required for lifting jointly an object, and the predictions of the sensory effects of such joint action. The social re-calibration is proposed to be based on common basis function maps and could constitute an optimal solution to sensorimotor transformation and multisensory integration in joint action or more in general social interaction contexts. However, certain situations such as discrepant postural and viewpoint alignment and associated differences in perspectives between the co-actors could constrain the process quite differently. We discuss how alignment is achieved in the first place, and how it is maintained over time, providing a taxonomy of various forms and mechanisms of space alignment and overlap based, for instance, on automaticity vs. control of the transformations between the two agents. Finally, we discuss the link between low-level mechanisms for the sharing of space and high-level mechanisms for the sharing of cognitive representations.

  11. Functional and structural balances of homologous sensorimotor regions in multiple sclerosis fatigue

    Cogliati Dezza, I; Zito, G; Tomasevic, L

    2015-01-01

    regions-known to be crucial for sensorimotor networks effectiveness-decrease with MS fatigue increase. Functional connectivity measures at rest and during a simple motor task (weak handgrip of either the right or left hand) were derived from primary sensorimotor areas electroencephalographic recordings......Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) is a highly disabling symptom. Among the central mechanisms behind it, an involvement of sensorimotor networks is clearly evident from structural and functional studies. We aimed at assessing whether functional/structural balances of homologous sensorimotor...... in 27 mildly disabled MS patients. Structural MRI-derived inter-hemispheric asymmetries included the cortical thickness of Rolandic regions and the volume of thalami. Fatigue symptoms increased together with the functional inter-hemispheric imbalance of sensorimotor homologous areas activities at rest...

  12. The Origins of Vocal Learning: New Sounds, New Circuits, New Cells

    Nottebohm, Fernando; Liu, Wan-Chun

    2010-01-01

    We do not know how vocal learning came to be, but it is such a salient trait in human evolution that many have tried to imagine it. In primates this is difficult because we are the only species known to possess this skill. Songbirds provide a richer and independent set of data. I use comparative data and ask broad questions: How does vocal…

  13. A winter distribution model for Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a conservation tool for a threatened migratory songbird

    K. P. McFarland; C. C. Rimmer; J. E. Goetz; Y. Aubry; J. M. Wunderle Jr.; A. Hayes-Sutton; J. M. Townsend; A. Llanes Sosa; A. Kirkconnell

    2013-01-01

    Conservation planning and implementation require identifying pertinent habitats and locations where protection and management may improve viability of targeted species. The winter range of Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a threatened Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird, is restricted to the Greater Antilles. We analyzed winter records from the mid-1970s to...

  14. Effects of parents and Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) on nest predation risk for a songbird

    Quresh S. Latif; Sacha K. Heath; John T. Rotenberry

    2012-01-01

    Nest predation limits avian fitness, so ornithologists study nest predation, but they often only document patterns of predation rates without substantively investigating underlying mechanisms. Parental behavior and predator ecology are two fundamental drivers of predation rates and patterns, but the role of parents is less certain, particularly for songbirds. Previous...

  15. Effects of shallow natural gas well structures and associated roads on grassland songbird reproductive success in Alberta, Canada.

    Jenny Yoo

    Full Text Available Grassland songbird populations across North America have experienced dramatic population declines due to habitat loss and degradation. In Canada, energy development continues to fragment and disturb prairie habitat, but effects of oil and gas development on reproductive success of songbirds in North American mixed-grass prairies remains largely unknown. From 2010-2012, in southeastern Alberta, Canada, we monitored 257 nests of two ground-nesting grassland songbird species, Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis and chestnut-collared longspur (Calcarius ornatus. Nest locations varied with proximity to and density of conventional shallow gas well structures and associated roads in forty-two 258-ha mixed-grass prairie sites. We estimated the probabilities of nest success and clutch size relative to gas well structures and roads. There was little effect of distance to or density of gas well structure on nest success; however, Savannah sparrow experienced lower nest success near roads. Clutch sizes were lower near gas well structures and cattle water sources. Minimizing habitat disturbance surrounding gas well structures, and reducing abundance of roads and trails, would help minimize impacts on reproductive success for some grassland songbirds.

  16. Male songbird indicates body size with low-pitched advertising songs.

    Michelle L Hall

    Full Text Available Body size is a key sexually selected trait in many animal species. If size imposes a physical limit on the production of loud low-frequency sounds, then low-pitched vocalisations could act as reliable signals of body size. However, the central prediction of this hypothesis--that the pitch of vocalisations decreases with size among competing individuals--has limited support in songbirds. One reason could be that only the lowest-frequency components of vocalisations are constrained, and this may go unnoticed when vocal ranges are large. Additionally, the constraint may only be apparent in contexts when individuals are indeed advertising their size. Here we explicitly consider signal diversity and performance limits to demonstrate that body size limits song frequency in an advertising context in a songbird. We show that in purple-crowned fairy-wrens, Malurus coronatus coronatus, larger males sing lower-pitched low-frequency advertising songs. The lower frequency bound of all advertising song types also has a significant negative relationship with body size. However, the average frequency of all their advertising songs is unrelated to body size. This comparison of different approaches to the analysis demonstrates how a negative relationship between body size and song frequency can be obscured by failing to consider signal design and the concept of performance limits. Since these considerations will be important in any complex communication system, our results imply that body size constraints on low-frequency vocalisations could be more widespread than is currently recognised.

  17. Retirement investment theory explains patterns in songbird nest-site choice

    Streby, Henry M.; Refsnider, Jeanine M.; Peterson, Sean M.; Andersen, David E.

    2014-01-01

    When opposing evolutionary selection pressures act on a behavioural trait, the result is often stabilizing selection for an intermediate optimal phenotype, with deviations from the predicted optimum attributed to tracking a moving target, development of behavioural syndromes or shifts in riskiness over an individual's lifetime. We investigated nest-site choice by female golden-winged warblers, and the selection pressures acting on that choice by two fitness components, nest success and fledgling survival. We observed strong and consistent opposing selection pressures on nest-site choice for maximizing these two fitness components, and an abrupt, within-season switch in the fitness component birds prioritize via nest-site choice, dependent on the time remaining for additional nesting attempts. We found that females consistently deviated from the predicted optimal behaviour when choosing nest sites because they can make multiple attempts at one fitness component, nest success, but only one attempt at the subsequent component, fledgling survival. Our results demonstrate a unique natural strategy for balancing opposing selection pressures to maximize total fitness. This time-dependent switch from high to low risk tolerance in nest-site choice maximizes songbird fitness in the same way a well-timed switch in human investor risk tolerance can maximize one's nest egg at retirement. Our results also provide strong evidence for the adaptive nature of songbird nest-site choice, which we suggest has been elusive primarily due to a lack of consideration for fledgling survival.

  18. Male songbird indicates body size with low-pitched advertising songs.

    Hall, Michelle L; Kingma, Sjouke A; Peters, Anne

    2013-01-01

    Body size is a key sexually selected trait in many animal species. If size imposes a physical limit on the production of loud low-frequency sounds, then low-pitched vocalisations could act as reliable signals of body size. However, the central prediction of this hypothesis--that the pitch of vocalisations decreases with size among competing individuals--has limited support in songbirds. One reason could be that only the lowest-frequency components of vocalisations are constrained, and this may go unnoticed when vocal ranges are large. Additionally, the constraint may only be apparent in contexts when individuals are indeed advertising their size. Here we explicitly consider signal diversity and performance limits to demonstrate that body size limits song frequency in an advertising context in a songbird. We show that in purple-crowned fairy-wrens, Malurus coronatus coronatus, larger males sing lower-pitched low-frequency advertising songs. The lower frequency bound of all advertising song types also has a significant negative relationship with body size. However, the average frequency of all their advertising songs is unrelated to body size. This comparison of different approaches to the analysis demonstrates how a negative relationship between body size and song frequency can be obscured by failing to consider signal design and the concept of performance limits. Since these considerations will be important in any complex communication system, our results imply that body size constraints on low-frequency vocalisations could be more widespread than is currently recognised.

  19. Do digestive contents confound body mass as a measure of relative condition in nestling songbirds?

    Streby, Henry M.; Peterson, Sean M.; Lehman, Justin A.; Kramer, Gunnar R.; Vernasco, Ben J.; Andersen, David E.

    2014-01-01

    Relative nestling condition, typically measured as nestling mass or as an index including nestling mass, is commonly purported to correlate with fledgling songbird survival. However, most studies directly investigating fledgling survival have found no such relationship. We weighed feces and stomach contents of nestling golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) to investigate the potential contribution of variation in digestive contents to differences in nestling mass. We estimated that the mass of a seventh-day (near fledging) nestling golden-winged warbler varies by 0.65 g (approx. 9% of mean nestling mass) depending on the contents of the nestling's digestive system at the time of weighing, and that digestive contents are dissimilar among nestlings at any moment the brood is removed from the nest for weighing. Our conservative estimate of within-individual variation in digestive contents equals 72% and 24% of the mean within-brood and population-wide range in nestling mass, respectively. Based on our results, a substantive but typically unknown amount of the variation in body mass among nestlings is confounded by differences in digestive contents. We conclude that short-term variation in digestive contents likely precludes the use of body mass, and therefore any mass-dependent index, as a measure of relative nestling condition or as a predictor of survival in golden-winged warblers and likely in many other songbirds of similar size.

  20. Food provisioning and parental status in songbirds: can occupancy models be used to estimate nesting performance?

    Aude Catherine Corbani

    Full Text Available Indirect methods to estimate parental status, such as the observation of parental provisioning, have been problematic due to potential biases associated with imperfect detection. We developed a method to evaluate parental status based on a novel combination of parental provisioning observations and hierarchical modeling. In the summers of 2009 to 2011, we surveyed 393 sites, each on three to four consecutive days at Forêt Montmorency, Québec, Canada. We assessed parental status of 2331 adult songbirds based on parental food provisioning. To account for imperfect detection of parental status, we applied MacKenzie et al.'s (2002 two-state hierarchical model to obtain unbiased estimates of the proportion of sites with successfully nesting birds, and the proportion of adults with offspring. To obtain an independent evaluation of detection probability, we monitored 16 active nests in 2010 and conducted parental provisioning observations away from them. The probability of detecting food provisioning was 0.31 when using nest monitoring, a value within the 0.11 to 0.38 range that was estimated by two-state models. The proportion of adults or sites with broods approached 0.90 and varied depending on date during the sampling season and year, exemplifying the role of eastern boreal forests as highly productive nesting grounds for songbirds. This study offers a simple and effective sampling design for studying avian reproductive performance that could be implemented in national surveys such as breeding bird atlases.

  1. Spatial Aggregation of Forest Songbird Territories and Possible Implications for Area Sensitivity

    Julie Bourque

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available Habitat area requirements of forest songbirds vary greatly among species, but the causes of this variation are not well understood. Large area requirements could result from advantages for certain species when settling their territories near those of conspecifics. This phenomenon would result in spatial aggregations much larger than single territories. Species that aggregate their territories could show reduced population viability in highly fragmented forests, since remnant patches may remain unoccupied if they are too small to accommodate several territories. The objectives of this study were twofold: (1 to seek evidence of territory clusters of forest birds at various spatial scales, lags of 250-550 m, before and after controlling for habitat spatial patterns; and (2 to measure the relationship between spatial autocorrelation and apparent landscape sensitivity for these species. In analyses that ignored spatial variation of vegetation within remnant forest patches, nine of the 17 species studied significantly aggregated their territories within patches. After controlling for forest vegetation, the locations of eight out of 17 species remained significantly clustered. The aggregative pattern that we observed may, thus, be indicative of a widespread phenomenon in songbird populations. Furthermore, there was a tendency for species associated with higher forest cover to be more spatially aggregated [ERRATUM].

  2. Test-retest reliability of the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA).

    Bégel, Valentin; Verga, Laura; Benoit, Charles-Etienne; Kotz, Sonja A; Bella, Simone Dalla

    2018-04-27

    Perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills can be comprehensively assessed with the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA). The battery has been used for testing rhythmic skills in healthy adults and patient populations (e.g., with Parkinson disease), showing sensitivity to timing and rhythm deficits. Here we assessed the test-retest reliability of the BAASTA in 20 healthy adults. Participants were tested twice with the BAASTA, implemented on a tablet interface, with a 2-week interval. They completed 4 perceptual tasks, namely, duration discrimination, anisochrony detection with tones and music, and the Beat Alignment Test (BAT). Moreover, they completed motor tasks via finger tapping, including unpaced and paced tapping with tones and music, synchronization-continuation, and adaptive tapping to a sequence with a tempo change. Despite high variability among individuals, the results showed stable test-retest reliability in most tasks. A slight but significant improvement from test to retest was found in tapping with music, which may reflect a learning effect. In general, the BAASTA was found a reliable tool for evaluating timing and rhythm skills. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  3. Combining direct and indirect tracking techniques to assess the impact of sub-Saharan conditions on cross-continental songbird migration

    Pedersen, Lykke; Fraser, Kevin C.; Kyser, T. Kurt

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how events throughout the annual cycle interact to influence individual fitness and hence population dynamics is crucial to optimize conservation strategies for migratory birds. Despite major advancements in technology, direct tracking devices for passerine songbirds are still limited...

  4. Progress in sensorimotor rehabilitative physical therapy programs for stroke patients

    Chen, Jia-Ching; Shaw, Fu-Zen

    2014-01-01

    Impaired motor and functional activity following stroke often has negative impacts on the patient, the family and society. The available rehabilitation programs for stroke patients are reviewed. Conventional rehabilitation strategies (Bobath, Brunnstrom, proprioception neuromuscular facilitation, motor relearning and function-based principles) are the mainstream tactics in clinical practices. Numerous advanced strategies for sensory-motor functional enhancement, including electrical stimulation, electromyographic biofeedback, constraint-induced movement therapy, robotics-aided systems, virtual reality, intermittent compression, partial body weight supported treadmill training and thermal stimulation, are being developed and incorporated into conventional rehabilitation programs. The concept of combining valuable rehabilitative procedures into “a training package”, based on the patient’s functional status during different recovery phases after stroke is proposed. Integrated sensorimotor rehabilitation programs with appropriate temporal arrangements might provide great functional benefits for stroke patients. PMID:25133141

  5. Forecasting Sensorimotor Adaptability from Baseline Inter-Trial Correlations

    Beaton, K. H.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2016-01-01

    One of the greatest challenges for sensorimotor adaptation to the spaceflight environment is the large variability in symptoms, and corresponding functional impairments, from one crewmember to the next. This renders preflight training and countermeasure development difficult, as a "one-size-fits-all" approach is inappropriate. Therefore, it would be highly advantageous to know ahead of time which crewmembers might have more difficulty adjusting to the novel g-levels inherent to spaceflight. This information could guide individually customized countermeasures, which would enable more efficient use of crew time and provide better outcomes. The principal aim of this work is to look for baseline performance metrics that relate to locomotor adaptability. We propose a novel hypothesis that considers baseline inter-trial correlations, the trial-to-trial fluctuations ("noise") in motor performance, as a predictor of individual adaptive capabilities.

  6. Neural correlates of auditory temporal predictions during sensorimotor synchronization

    Nadine ePecenka

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available Musical ensemble performance requires temporally precise interpersonal action coordination. To play in synchrony, ensemble musicians presumably rely on anticipatory mechanisms that enable them to predict the timing of sounds produced by co-performers. Previous studies have shown that individuals differ in their ability to predict upcoming tempo changes in paced finger-tapping tasks (indexed by cross-correlations between tap timing and pacing events and that the degree of such prediction influences the accuracy of sensorimotor synchronization (SMS and interpersonal coordination in dyadic tapping tasks. The current functional magnetic resonance imaging study investigated the neural correlates of auditory temporal predictions during SMS in a within-subject design. Hemodynamic responses were recorded from 18 musicians while they tapped in synchrony with auditory sequences containing gradual tempo changes under conditions of varying cognitive load (achieved by a simultaneous visual n-back working-memory task comprising three levels of difficulty: observation only, 1-back, and 2-back object comparisons. Prediction ability during SMS decreased with increasing cognitive load. Results of a parametric analysis revealed that the generation of auditory temporal predictions during SMS recruits (1 a distributed network in cortico-cerebellar motor-related brain areas (left dorsal premotor and motor cortex, right lateral cerebellum, SMA proper and bilateral inferior parietal cortex and (2 medial cortical areas (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex. While the first network is presumably involved in basic sensory prediction, sensorimotor integration, motor timing, and temporal adaptation, activation in the second set of areas may be related to higher-level social-cognitive processes elicited during action coordination with auditory signals that resemble music performed by human agents.

  7. Lamotrigine effects sensorimotor gating in WAG/Rij rats

    Ipek Komsuoglu Celikyurt

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: Prepulse inhibition (PPI is a measurable form of sensorimotor gating. Disruption of PPI reflects the impairment in the neural filtering process of mental functions that are related to the transformation of an external stimuli to a response. Impairment of PPI is reported in neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, Huntington′s disease, Parkinson′s diseases, Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and temporal lobe epilepsy with psychosis. Absence epilepsy is the most common type of primary generalized epilepsy. Lamotrigine is an antiepileptic drug that is preferred in absence epilepsy and acts by stabilizing the voltage-gated sodium channels. Aim: In this study, we have compared WAG-Rij rats (genetically absence epileptic rats with Wistar rats, in order to clarify if there is a deficient sensorimotor gating in absence epilepsy, and have examined the effects of lamotrigine (15, 30 mg/kg, i.p. on this phenomenon. Materials and Methods: Depletion in PPI percent value is accepted as a disruption in sensory-motor filtration function. The difference between the Wistar and WAG/Rij rats has been evaluated with the student t test and the effects of lamotrigine on the PPI percent have been evaluated by the analysis of variance (ANOVA post-hoc Dunnett′s test. Results: The PPI percent was low in the WAG/Rij rats compared to the controls (P<0.0001, t:9,612. Although the PPI percent value of the control rats was not influenced by lamotrigine, the PPI percent value of the WAG/Rij rats was raised by lamotrigine treatment (P<0.0001, F:861,24. Conclusions: As a result of our study, PPI was disrupted in the WAG/Rij rats and this disruption could be reversed by an antiepileptic lamotrigine.

  8. Sensorimotor Skills Impact on Temporal Expectation: Evidence from Swimmers

    Marco Bove

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Aim of this study was to assess whether the ability to predict the temporal outcome of a sport action was influenced by the sensorimotor skills previously acquired during a specific sport training. Four groups, each of 30 subjects, were enrolled in this study; subjects of three groups practiced different sports disciplines (i.e., swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and water polo at competitive level whilst the fourth group consisted of control subjects. Subjects were asked to observe a video showing a swimmer doing two laps in crawl style. This video was shown 36 times, and was occluded after variable intervals, randomized across trials, by a dark window that started 3, 6, and 12 s before the swimmer touched the poolside. During the occluded interval, subjects were asked to indicate when the swimmer touched the edge of the pool by clicking on any button of the laptop keyboard. We found that swimmers were more accurate than subjects performing other sports in temporally predicting the final outcome of the swimming task. Particularly, we observed a significant difference in absolute timing error that was lower in swimmers compared to other groups when they were asked to make a temporal prediction with the occluded interval of short duration (i.e., 3 s. Our findings demonstrate that the ability to extract temporal patterns of a motor action depends largely on the subjective expertise, suggesting that sport-acquired sensorimotor skills impact on the temporal representation of the previously observed action, allowing subjects to predict the time course of the action in absence of visual information.

  9. Beta Peak Frequencies at Rest Correlate with Endogenous GABA+/Cr Concentrations in Sensorimotor Cortex Areas.

    Thomas J Baumgarten

    Full Text Available Neuronal oscillatory activity in the beta band (15-30 Hz is a prominent signal within the human sensorimotor cortex. Computational modeling and pharmacological modulation studies suggest an influence of GABAergic interneurons on the generation of beta band oscillations. Accordingly, studies in humans have demonstrated a correlation between GABA concentrations and power of beta band oscillations. It remains unclear, however, if GABA concentrations also influence beta peak frequencies and whether this influence is present in the sensorimotor cortex at rest and without pharmacological modulation. In the present study, we investigated the relation between endogenous GABA concentration (measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy and beta oscillations (measured by magnetoencephalography at rest in humans. GABA concentrations and beta band oscillations were measured for left and right sensorimotor and occipital cortex areas. A significant positive linear correlation between GABA concentration and beta peak frequency was found for the left sensorimotor cortex, whereas no significant correlations were found for the right sensorimotor and the occipital cortex. The results show a novel connection between endogenous GABA concentration and beta peak frequency at rest. This finding supports previous results that demonstrated a connection between oscillatory beta activity and pharmacologically modulated GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that for a predominantly right-handed sample, the correlation between beta band oscillations and endogenous GABA concentrations is evident only in the left sensorimotor cortex.

  10. Beta Peak Frequencies at Rest Correlate with Endogenous GABA+/Cr Concentrations in Sensorimotor Cortex Areas

    Baumgarten, Thomas J.; Oeltzschner, Georg; Hoogenboom, Nienke; Wittsack, Hans-Jörg; Schnitzler, Alfons; Lange, Joachim

    2016-01-01

    Neuronal oscillatory activity in the beta band (15–30 Hz) is a prominent signal within the human sensorimotor cortex. Computational modeling and pharmacological modulation studies suggest an influence of GABAergic interneurons on the generation of beta band oscillations. Accordingly, studies in humans have demonstrated a correlation between GABA concentrations and power of beta band oscillations. It remains unclear, however, if GABA concentrations also influence beta peak frequencies and whether this influence is present in the sensorimotor cortex at rest and without pharmacological modulation. In the present study, we investigated the relation between endogenous GABA concentration (measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy) and beta oscillations (measured by magnetoencephalography) at rest in humans. GABA concentrations and beta band oscillations were measured for left and right sensorimotor and occipital cortex areas. A significant positive linear correlation between GABA concentration and beta peak frequency was found for the left sensorimotor cortex, whereas no significant correlations were found for the right sensorimotor and the occipital cortex. The results show a novel connection between endogenous GABA concentration and beta peak frequency at rest. This finding supports previous results that demonstrated a connection between oscillatory beta activity and pharmacologically modulated GABA concentration in the sensorimotor cortex. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that for a predominantly right-handed sample, the correlation between beta band oscillations and endogenous GABA concentrations is evident only in the left sensorimotor cortex. PMID:27258089

  11. Age- and sex-related disturbance in a battery of sensorimotor and cognitive tasks in Kunming mice.

    Chen, Gui-Hai; Wang, Yue-Ju; Zhang, Li-Qun; Zhou, Jiang-Ning

    2004-12-15

    A battery of tasks, i.e. beam walking, open field, tightrope, radial six-arm water maze (RAWM), novel-object recognition and olfactory discrimination, was used to determine whether there was age- and sex-related memory deterioration in Kunming (KM) mice, and whether these tasks are independent or correlated with each other. Two age groups of KM mice were used: a younger group (7-8 months old, 12 males and 11 females) and an older group (17-18 months old, 12 males and 12 females). The results showed that the spatial learning ability and memory in the RAWM were lower in older female KM mice relative to younger female mice and older male mice. Consistent with this, in the novel-object recognition task, a non-spatial cognitive task, older female mice but not older male mice had impairment of short-term memory. In olfactory discrimination, another non-spatial task, the older mice retained this ability. Interestingly, female mice performed better than males, especially in the younger group. The older females exhibited sensorimotor impairment in the tightrope task and low locomotor activity in the open-field task. Moreover, older mice spent a longer time in the peripheral squares of the open-field than younger ones. The non-spatial cognitive performance in the novel-object recognition and olfactory discrimination tasks was related to performance in the open-field, whereas the spatial cognitive performance in the RAWM was not related to performance in any of the three sensorimotor tasks. These results suggest that disturbance of spatial learning and memory, as well as selective impairment of non-spatial learning and memory, existed in older female KM mice.

  12. Visuo-motor coordination ability predicts performance with brain-computer interfaces controlled by modulation of sensorimotor rhythms (SMR

    Eva Maria Hammer

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Modulation of sensorimotor rhythms (SMR was suggested as a control signal for brain-computer interfaces (BCI. Yet, there is a population of users estimated between 10 to 50% not able to achieve reliable control and only about 20% of users achieve high (80-100% performance. Predicting performance prior to BCI use would facilitate selection of the most feasible system for an individual, thus constitute a practical benefit for the user, and increase our knowledge about the correlates of BCI control. In a recent study, we predicted SMR-BCI performance from psychological variables that were assessed prior to the BCI sessions and BCI control was supported with machine-learning techniques. We described two significant psychological predictors, namely the visuo-motor coordination ability and the ability to concentrate on the task. The purpose of the current study was to replicate these results thereby validating these predictors within a neurofeedback based SMR-BCI that involved no machine learning. Thirty-three healthy BCI novices participated in a calibration session and three further neurofeedback training sessions. Two variables were related with mean SMR-BCI performance: (1 A measure for the accuracy of fine motor skills, i.e. a trade for a person’s visuo-motor control ability and (2 subject’s attentional impulsivity. In a linear regression they accounted for almost 20% in variance of SMR-BCI performance, but predictor (1 failed significance. Nevertheless, on the basis of our prior regression model for sensorimotor control ability we could predict current SMR-BCI performance with an average prediction error of M = 12.07%. In more than 50% of the participants, the prediction error was smaller than 10%. Hence, psychological variables played a moderate role in predicting SMR-BCI performance in a neurofeedback approach that involved no machine learning. Future studies are needed to further consolidate (or reject the present predictors.

  13. Sensorimotor integration in chronic stroke: Baseline differences and response to sensory training.

    Brown, Katlyn E; Neva, Jason L; Feldman, Samantha J; Staines, W Richard; Boyd, Lara A

    2018-01-01

    The integration of somatosensory information from the environment into the motor cortex to inform movement is essential for motor function. As motor deficits commonly persist into the chronic phase of stroke recovery, it is important to understand potential contributing factors to these deficits, as well as their relationship with motor function. To date the impact of chronic stroke on sensorimotor integration has not been thoroughly investigated. The current study aimed to comprehensively examine the influence of chronic stroke on sensorimotor integration, and determine whether sensorimotor integration can be modified with an intervention. Further, it determined the relationship between neurophysiological measures of sensorimotor integration and motor deficits post-stroke. Fourteen individuals with chronic stroke and twelve older healthy controls participated. Motor impairment and function were quantified in individuals with chronic stroke. Baseline neurophysiology was assessed using nerve-based measures (short- and long-latency afferent inhibition, afferent facilitation) and vibration-based measures of sensorimotor integration, which paired vibration with single and paired-pulse TMS techniques. Neurophysiological assessment was performed before and after a vibration-based sensory training paradigm to assess changes within these circuits. Vibration-based, but not nerve-based measures of sensorimotor integration were different in individuals with chronic stroke, as compared to older healthy controls, suggesting that stroke differentially impacts integration of specific types of somatosensory information. Sensorimotor integration was behaviourally relevant in that it related to both motor function and impairment post-stroke. Finally, sensory training modulated sensorimotor integration in individuals with chronic stroke and controls. Sensorimotor integration is differentially impacted by chronic stroke based on the type of afferent feedback. However, both nerve

  14. Physical experience enhances science learning.

    Kontra, Carly; Lyons, Daniel J; Fischer, Susan M; Beilock, Sian L

    2015-06-01

    Three laboratory experiments involving students' behavior and brain imaging and one randomized field experiment in a college physics class explored the importance of physical experience in science learning. We reasoned that students' understanding of science concepts such as torque and angular momentum is aided by activation of sensorimotor brain systems that add kinetic detail and meaning to students' thinking. We tested whether physical experience with angular momentum increases involvement of sensorimotor brain systems during students' subsequent reasoning and whether this involvement aids their understanding. The physical experience, a brief exposure to forces associated with angular momentum, significantly improved quiz scores. Moreover, improved performance was explained by activation of sensorimotor brain regions when students later reasoned about angular momentum. This finding specifies a mechanism underlying the value of physical experience in science education and leads the way for classroom practices in which experience with the physical world is an integral part of learning. © The Author(s) 2015.

  15. Early self-managed focal sensorimotor rehabilitative training enhances functional mobility and sensorimotor function in patients following total knee replacement: a controlled clinical trial.

    Moutzouri, Maria; Gleeson, Nigel; Coutts, Fiona; Tsepis, Elias; John, Gliatis

    2018-02-01

    To assess the effects of early self-managed focal sensorimotor training compared to functional exercise training after total knee replacement on functional mobility and sensorimotor function. A single-blind controlled clinical trial. University Hospital of Rion, Greece. A total of 52 participants following total knee replacement. The primary outcome was the Timed Up and Go Test and the secondary outcomes were balance, joint position error, the Knee Outcome Survey Activities of Daily Living Scale, and pain. Patients were assessed on three separate occasions (presurgery, 8 weeks post surgery, and 14 weeks post surgery). Participants were randomized to either focal sensorimotor exercise training (experimental group) or functional exercise training (control group). Both groups received a 12-week home-based programme prescribed for 3-5 sessions/week (35-45 minutes). Consistently greater improvements ( F 2,98  = 4.3 to 24.8; P effect size range of 1.3-6.5. Overall, the magnitude of improvements in functional mobility and sensorimotor function endorses using focal sensorimotor training as an effective mode of rehabilitation following knee replacement.

  16. Contrasting nest survival patterns for ducks and songbirds in northern mixed-grass prairie

    Grant, Todd; Shaffer, Terry L.; Madden, Elizabeth M.; Nenneman, Melvin P.

    2017-01-01

    Management actions intended to protect or improve habitat for ducks may benefit grassland-nesting passerines, but scant information is available to explore this assumption. During 1998–2003, we examined nest survival of ducks and songbirds to determine whether effects of prescribed fire and other habitat features (e.g., shrub cover and distance to habitat edges) were similar for ducks and passerines breeding in North Dakota. We used the logistic-exposure method to estimate survival of duck and songbird nests (n = 3,171). We used an information-theoretic approach to identify factors that most influenced nest survival. Patterns of nest survival were markedly different between taxonomic groups. For ducks, nest survival was greater during the first postfire nesting season (daily survival rate [DSR] = 0.957, 85% CI = 0.951–0.963), relative to later postfire nesting seasons (DSR = 0.946, 85% CI = 0.942–0.950). Furthermore duck nest survival and nest densities were inversely related. Duck nest survival also was greater as shrub cover decreased and as distance from cropland and wetland edges increased. Passerines had lower nest survival during the first postfire nesting season (DSR = 0.934, 85% CI = 0.924–0.944), when densities also were low compared to subsequent postfire nesting seasons (DSR = 0.947, 85% CI = 0.944–0.950). Parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) reduced passerine nest survival and this effect was more pronounced during the first postfire nesting season compared to subsequent nesting seasons. Passerine nest survival was greater as shrub cover decreased and perhaps for more concealed nests. Duck and songbird nest survival rates were not correlated during this study and for associated studies that examined additional variables using the same dataset, suggesting that different mechanisms influenced their survival. Based on our results, ducks should not be considered direct surrogates for passerines

  17. Humans can integrate force feedback to toes in their sensorimotor control of a robotic hand.

    Panarese, Alessandro; Edin, Benoni B; Vecchi, Fabrizio; Carrozza, Maria C; Johansson, Roland S

    2009-12-01

    Tactile sensory feedback is essential for dexterous object manipulation. Users of hand myoelectric prostheses without tactile feedback must depend essentially on vision to control their device. Indeed, improved tactile feedback is one of their main priorities. Previous research has provided evidence that conveying tactile feedback can improve prostheses control, although additional effort is required to solve problems related to pattern recognition learning, unpleasant sensations, sensory adaptation, and low spatiotemporal resolution. Still, these studies have mainly focused on providing stimulation to hairy skin regions close to the amputation site, i.e., usually to the upper arm. Here, we explored the possibility to provide tactile feedback to the glabrous skin of toes, which have mechanical and neurophysiological properties similar to the fingertips. We explored this paradigm in a grasp-and-lift task, in which healthy participants controlled two opposing digits of a robotic hand by changing the spacing of their index finger and thumb. The normal forces applied by the robotic fingertips to a test object were fed back to the right big and second toe. We show that within a few lifting trials, all the participants incorporated the force feedback received by the foot in their sensorimotor control of the robotic hand.

  18. Navigating beyond ‘here & now’ affordances - on sensorimotor maturation and ‘false belief’ performance

    Maria eBrincker

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available How and when do we learn to understand other people’s perspectives and possibly divergent beliefs? This question has elicited much theoretical and empirical research. A puzzling finding has been that toddlers perform well on so-called implicit false belief (FB tasks but do not show such capacities on traditional explicit FB tasks. I propose a navigational approach, which offers a hitherto ignored way of making sense of the seemingly contradictory results. The proposal involves a distinction between how we navigate FBs as they relate to 1 our current affordances (here & now navigation as opposed to 2 presently non-actual relations, where we need to leave our concrete embodied/situated viewpoint (counterfactual navigation. It is proposed that whereas toddlers seem able to understand FBs in their current affordance space, they do not yet possess the resources to navigate in abstraction from such concrete affordances, which explicit FB tests seem to require. It is hypothesized that counterfactual navigation depends on the development of ‘sensorimotor priors’, i.e. statistical expectations of own kinestetic re-afference, which evidence now suggests matures around age four, consistent with core findings of explicit FB performance.

  19. Memory for multiple cache locations and prey quantities in a food-hoarding songbird

    Nicola eArmstrong

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Most animals can discriminate between pairs of numbers that are each less than four without training. However, North Island robins (Petroica longipes, a food hoarding songbird endemic to New Zealand, can discriminate between quantities of items as high as eight without training. Here we investigate whether robins are capable of other complex quantity discrimination tasks. We test whether their ability to discriminate between small quantities declines with 1. the number of cache sites containing prey rewards and 2. the length of time separating cache creation and retrieval (retention interval. Results showed that subjects generally performed above chance expectations. They were equally able to discriminate between different combinations of prey quantities that were hidden from view in 2, 3 and 4 cache sites from between 1, 10 and 60 seconds. Overall results indicate that North Island robins can process complex quantity information involving more than two discrete quantities of items for up to one minute long retention intervals without training.

  20. Direct observation of syringeal muscle function in songbirds and a parrot

    Larsen, Ole Næsbye; Goller, Franz

    2002-01-01

    on the syrinx. Contraction of m. tracheobronchialis ventralis enlarges the syringeal lumen and thus increases airflow by abducting the LL but does not affect the ML. The largest syringeal muscle, m. syringealis ventralis, plays a minor role, if any, in direct aperture control and thus in gating airflow...... the LTMs further into the tracheal lumen but does not close the syringeal aperture fully. The intrinsic deep muscle, m. syringealis profundus, abducts the LTMs through cranio-laterad movement of a paired, protruding half-ring. The weakly developed extrinsic m. sternotrachealis seems to increase tension......The role of syringeal muscles in controlling the aperture of the avian vocal organ, the syrinx, was evaluated directly for the first time by observing and filming through an endoscope while electrically stimulating different muscle groups of anaesthetised birds. In songbirds (brown thrashers...

  1. Effects of a cognitive modulator in the theta and alpha asymmetry during a typewriting task: a sensorimotor integration perspective.

    Cunha, Marlo; Machado, Sergio; Miana, Luiz Cláudio; Machado, Dionis; Bastos, Victor Hugo; Velasques, Bruna; Cagy, Maurício; Basile, Luis F; Piedade, Roberto; Ribeiro, Pedro

    2009-06-01

    This study aimed to elucidate cortical mechanisms and to identify the areas where occur such mechanisms due to interaction between bromazepam and motor learning. The sample was composed of 45 healthy subjects randomly distributed in 3 groups: placebo (n=15), bromazepam 3 mg (n=15) or bromazepam 6 mg (n=15). To perform the experimental task, subjects sat comfortably at a distance of approximately 20 cm from the typewriter. The typewriter keyboard was covered with a wooden box to avoid visual information about the hands' position. The typewriting task was performed concomitantly with EEG recording. ANOVA two-way results indicated a decreased asymmetry in sensorimotor areas in the experimental groups. Our interpretation is that moderate doses of bromazepam may improve performance on tasks with predictable elements to promote stability of psychomotor functions, but may also impair performance on tasks executed in unpredictable environments.

  2. Sensorimotor nucleus NIf is necessary for auditory processing but not vocal motor output in the avian song system.

    Cardin, Jessica A; Raksin, Jonathan N; Schmidt, Marc F

    2005-04-01

    Sensorimotor integration in the avian song system is crucial for both learning and maintenance of song, a vocal motor behavior. Although a number of song system areas demonstrate both sensory and motor characteristics, their exact roles in auditory and premotor processing are unclear. In particular, it is unknown whether input from the forebrain nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), which exhibits both sensory and premotor activity, is necessary for both auditory and premotor processing in its target, HVC. Here we show that bilateral NIf lesions result in long-term loss of HVC auditory activity but do not impair song production. NIf is thus a major source of auditory input to HVC, but an intact NIf is not necessary for motor output in adult zebra finches.

  3. Principles of brain plasticity in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in healthy subjects

    Ageberg, Eva; Bjorkman, Anders; Rosen, Birgitta

    2009-01-01

    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Principles of brain plasticity are used in the treatment of patients with functional limitations to improve sensorimotor function. Training is included in the treatment of knee injury to improve both patient-reported function and sensorimotor function. However, impairment...... in sensorimotor function often persists despite training. Therefore, it was suggested that training programs need to be more effective to improve sensorimotor function after knee injury. The aim of the current study was to investigate if principles of brain plasticity that have been successfully used on the hand...... age 26 years, range 19-34, 50% women) were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA) (n=14) or placebo cream (n=14). Fifty grams of EMLA, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream...

  4. Reduction of Interhemispheric Functional Connectivity in Sensorimotor and Visual Information Processing Pathways in Schizophrenia

    Xu Lang

    2016-01-01

    Conclusions: Interhemispheric functional connectivity in the sensorimotor and visual processing pathways was reduced in patients with schizophrenia, but this reduction was unrelated to the disease state; thus, this reduction may serve as a trait marker of schizophrenia.

  5. Tracking from the tropics reveals behaviour of juvenile songbirds on their first spring migration.

    Emily A McKinnon

    Full Text Available Juvenile songbirds on spring migration travel from tropical wintering sites to temperate breeding destinations thousands of kilometres away with no prior experience to guide them. We provide a first glimpse at the migration timing, routes, and stopover behaviour of juvenile wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina on their inaugural spring migration by using miniaturized archival geolocators to track them from Central America to the U.S. and Canada. We found significant differences between the timing of juvenile migration and that of more experienced adults: juveniles not only departed later from tropical wintering sites relative to adults, they also became progressively later as they moved northward. The increasing delay was driven by more frequent short stops by juveniles along their migration route, particularly in the U.S. as they got closer to breeding sites. Surprisingly, juveniles were just as likely as adults to cross the Gulf of Mexico, an open-water crossing of 800-1000 km, and migration route at the Gulf was not significantly different for juveniles relative to adults. To determine if the later departure of juveniles was related to poor body condition in winter relative to adults, we examined percent lean body mass, fat scores, and pectoral muscle scores of juvenile versus adult birds at a wintering site in Belize. We found no age-related differences in body condition. Later migration timing of juveniles relative to adults could be an adaptive strategy (as opposed to condition-dependent to avoid the high costs of fast migration and competition for breeding territories with experienced and larger adults. We did find significant differences in wing size between adults and juveniles, which could contribute to lower flight efficiency of juveniles and thus slower overall migration speed. We provide the first step toward understanding the "black box" of juvenile songbird migration by documenting their migration timing and en route performance.

  6. Testosterone-dependency of male solo song in a duetting songbird--evidence from females.

    Voigt, Cornelia; Leitner, Stefan

    2013-01-01

    For male songbirds of the temperate zone there is a tight link between seasonal song behaviour and circulating testosterone levels. Such a relationship does not seem to hold for tropical species where singing can occur year-round and breeding seasons are often extended. White-browed sparrow weavers (Plocepasser mahali) are cooperatively breeding songbirds with a dominant breeding pair and male and female subordinates found in eastern and southern Africa. Each group defends an all-purpose territory year-round. While all group members sing duets and choruses, the most dominant male additionally sings a solo song that comprises a distinct and large syllable repertoire. Previous studies suggested this type of song being associated with reproduction but failed to support a relationship with males' circulating testosterone levels. The present study aimed to investigate the steroid hormone sensitivity of the solo song in more detail. We found that dominant males had significantly higher circulating testosterone levels than subordinates during the early and late breeding seasons. No changes in solo song characteristics were found between both time points. Further, experimental implantation of captive adult females with exogenous testosterone induced solo singing within one week of treatment. Such females produced male-typical song regarding overall structure and syllable composition. Sex differences existed, however, concerning singing activity, repertoire size and temporal organisation of song. These results suggest that solo singing in white-browed sparrow weavers is under the control of gonadal steroid hormones. Moreover, the behaviour is not male-specific but can be activated in females under certain conditions. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Determining the sources of calcium for migratory songbirds using stable strontium isotopes.

    Blum, Joel D; Taliaferro, E Hank; Holmes, Richard T

    2001-02-01

    We investigated natural variations in the stable isotopic composition of strontium (a surrogate for calcium) in the bones of a single species of breeding migratory songbird, as well as in their eggshells, egg contents, and food sources. We use this information to determine the sources of calcium to these migratory songbirds and their offspring. Samples were collected from two locations in the northeastern USA (Hubbard Brook, NH, and Downer Forest, VT.) that differed in soil geochemistry. The mean 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios of food items (caterpillars and snails), eggshells, and egg contents were indistinguishable within each site, but significantly different between the two sites. Mean 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios for the bones of adult females were significantly different between the two sites, but values were significantly lower than those of food items and eggshells at each site. Two of four adult individuals studied at each site had 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios lower than the entire range of values for local food sources. Mixing calculations indicate that up to 60% of skeletal strontium and calcium was derived from foods consumed in the winter grounds where lower 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios predominate. At each study site, the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratio of eggshells differed significantly between clutches, but the mean clutch 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios were unrelated to the skeletal 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratio of the laying adult. These findings suggest that strontium (and hence calcium) for eggshell production in this species is derived predominantly from local food sources in breeding areas. Thus, reductions in available calcium in northern temperate ecosystems due to the influences of acid deposition could be potentially harmful to this and other species of migratory bird.

  8. Reward and vocal production: song-associated place preference in songbirds.

    Riters, Lauren V; Stevenson, Sharon A

    2012-05-15

    Vocal production is crucial for successful social interactions in multiple species. Reward can strongly influence behavior; however, the extent to which reward systems influence vocal behavior is unknown. In songbirds, singing occurs in different contexts. It can be spontaneous and undirected (e.g., song produced alone or as part of a large flock) or directed towards a conspecific (e.g., song used to attract a mate or influence a competitor). In this study, we developed a conditioned place preference paradigm to measure reward associated with different types of singing behavior in two songbird species. Both male zebra finches and European starlings developed a preference for a chamber associated with production of undirected song, suggesting that the production of undirected song is tightly coupled to intrinsic reward. In contrast, neither starlings nor zebra finches developed a place preference in association with directed song; however, male starlings singing directed song that failed to attract a female developed a place aversion. Unsuccessful contact calling behavior was also associated with a place aversion. These findings suggest that directed vocal behavior is not tightly linked to intrinsic reward but may be externally reinforced by social interactions. Data across two species thus support the hypothesis that the production of undirected but not directed song is tightly coupled to intrinsic reward. This study is the first to identify song-associated reward and suggests that reward associated with vocal production differs depending upon the context in which communication occurs. The findings have implications for understanding what motivates animals to engage in social behaviors and ways in which distinct reward mechanisms function to direct socially appropriate behaviors. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Factors driving territory size and breeding success in a threatened migratory songbird, the Canada Warbler

    D. T. Tyler Flockhart

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Successful conservation of migratory birds demands we understand how habitat factors on the breeding grounds influences breeding success. Multiple factors are known to directly influence breeding success in territorial songbirds. For example, greater food availability and fewer predators can have direct effects on breeding success. However, many of these same habitat factors can also result in higher conspecific density that may ultimately reduce breeding success through density dependence. In this case, there is a negative indirect effect of habitat on breeding success through its effects on conspecific density and territory size. Therefore, a key uncertainty facing land managers is whether important habitat attributes directly influence breeding success or indirectly influence breeding success through territory size. We used radio-telemetry, point-counts, vegetation sampling, predator observations, and insect sampling over two years to provide data on habitat selection of a steeply declining songbird species, the Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis. These data were then applied in a hierarchical path modeling framework and an AIC model selection approach to determine the habitat attributes that best predict breeding success. Canada Warblers had smaller territories in areas with high shrub cover, in the presence of red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, at shoreline sites relative to forest-interior sites and as conspecific density increased. Breeding success was lower for birds with smaller territories, which suggests competition for limited food resources, but there was no direct evidence that food availability influenced territory size or breeding success. The negative relationship between shrub cover and territory size in our study may arise because these specific habitat conditions are spatially heterogeneous, whereby individuals pack into patches of preferred breeding habitat scattered throughout the landscape, resulting in reduced

  10. Social status affects the degree of sex difference in the songbird brain.

    Cornelia Voigt

    Full Text Available It is thought that neural sex differences are functionally related to sex differences in the behaviour of vertebrates. A prominent example is the song control system of songbirds. Inter-specific comparisons have led to the hypothesis that sex differences in song nuclei size correlate with sex differences in song behaviour. However, only few species with similar song behaviour in both sexes have been investigated and not all data fit the hypothesis. We investigated the proposed structure-function relationship in a cooperatively breeding and duetting songbird, the white-browed sparrow weaver (Plocepasser mahali. This species lives in groups of 2-10 individuals, with a dominant breeding pair and male and female subordinates. While all male and female group members sing duet and chorus song, a male, once it has reached the dominant position in the group, sings an additional type of song that comprises a distinct and large syllable repertoire. Here we show for both types of male-female comparisons a male-biased sex difference in neuroanatomy of areas of the song production pathway (HVC and RA that does not correlate with the observed polymorphism in song behaviour. In contrast, in situ hybridisation of mRNA of selected genes expressed in the song nucleus HVC reveals a gene expression pattern that is either similar between sexes in female-subordinate male comparisons or female-biased in female-dominant male comparisons. Thus, the polymorphic gene expression pattern would fit the sex- and status-related song behaviour. However, this implies that once a male has become dominant it produces the duetting song with a different neural phenotype than subordinate males.

  11. Species-specific variation in nesting and postfledging resource selection for two forest breeding migrant songbirds.

    Julianna M A Jenkins

    Full Text Available Habitat selection is a fundamental component of community ecology, population ecology, and evolutionary biology and can be especially important to species with complex annual habitat requirements, such as migratory birds. Resource preferences on the breeding grounds may change during the postfledging period for migrant songbirds, however, the degree to which selection changes, timing of change, and whether all or only a few species alter their resource use is unclear. We compared resource selection for nest sites and resource selection by postfledging juvenile ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla and Acadian flycatchers (Empidonax virescens followed with radio telemetry in Missouri mature forest fragments from 2012-2015. We used Bayesian discrete choice modeling to evaluate support for local vegetation characteristics on the probability of selection for nest sites and locations utilized by different ages of postfledging juveniles. Patterns of resource selection variation were species-specific. Resource selection models indicated that Acadian flycatcher habitat selection criteria were similar for nesting and dependent postfledging juveniles and selection criteria diverged when juveniles became independent from adults. After independence, flycatcher resource selection was more associated with understory foliage density. Ovenbirds differed in selection criteria between the nesting and postfledging periods. Fledgling ovenbirds selected areas with higher densities of understory structure compared to nest sites, and the effect of foliage density on selection increased as juveniles aged and gained independence. The differences observed between two sympatric forest nesting species, in both the timing and degree of change in resource selection criteria over the course of the breeding season, illustrates the importance of considering species-specific traits and postfledging requirements when developing conservation efforts, especially when foraging guilds or

  12. Effects of Water and Land-based Sensorimotor Training Programs on Static Balance among University Students

    Abdolhamid Daneshjoo; Ashril Yusof

    2016-01-01

    This study examined the effect of sensorimotor training on static balance in two different environments; in water and on land. Thirty non-clinical university male students (aged 22±0.85 years) were divided randomly into three groups; water, land and control groups. The experimental groups performed their respective sensorimotor training programs for 6 weeks (3 times per week). The Stork Stand Balance Test was used to examine the static balance at pre- and post-time points. Significant main ef...

  13. Type-2 diabetes mellitus reduces cortical thickness and decreases oxidative metabolism in sensorimotor regions after stroke.

    Ferris, Jennifer K; Peters, Sue; Brown, Katlyn E; Tourigny, Katherine; Boyd, Lara A

    2018-05-01

    Individuals with type-2 diabetes mellitus experience poor motor outcomes after ischemic stroke. Recent research suggests that type-2 diabetes adversely impacts neuronal integrity and function, yet little work has considered how these neuronal changes affect sensorimotor outcomes after stroke. Here, we considered how type-2 diabetes impacted the structural and metabolic function of the sensorimotor cortex after stroke using volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). We hypothesized that the combination of chronic stroke and type-2 diabetes would negatively impact the integrity of sensorimotor cortex as compared to individuals with chronic stroke alone. Compared to stroke alone, individuals with stroke and diabetes had lower cortical thickness bilaterally in the primary somatosensory cortex, and primary and secondary motor cortices. Individuals with stroke and diabetes also showed reduced creatine levels bilaterally in the sensorimotor cortex. Contralesional primary and secondary motor cortex thicknesses were negatively related to sensorimotor outcomes in the paretic upper-limb in the stroke and diabetes group such that those with thinner primary and secondary motor cortices had better motor function. These data suggest that type-2 diabetes alters cerebral energy metabolism, and is associated with thinning of sensorimotor cortex after stroke. These factors may influence motor outcomes after stroke.

  14. Repetitive grooming and sensorimotor abnormalities in an ephrin-A knockout model for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    Wurzman, Rachel; Forcelli, Patrick A; Griffey, Christopher J; Kromer, Lawrence F

    2015-02-01

    EphA receptors and ephrin-A ligands play important roles in neural development and synaptic plasticity in brain regions where expression persists into adulthood. Recently, EPHA3 and EPHA7 gene mutations were linked with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and developmental neurological delays, respectively. Furthermore, deletions of ephrin-A2 or ephrin-A3, which exhibit high binding affinity for EphA3 and EphA7 receptors, are associated with subtle deficits in learning and memory behavior and abnormalities in dendritic spine morphology in the cortex and hippocampus in mice. To better characterize a potential role for these ligands in ASDs, we performed a comprehensive behavioral characterization of anxiety-like, sensorimotor, learning, and social behaviors in ephrin-A2/-A3 double knockout (DKO) mice. The predominant phenotype in DKO mice was repetitive and self-injurious grooming behaviors such as have been associated with corticostriatal circuit abnormalities in other rodent models of neuropsychiatric disorders. Consistent with ASDs specifically, DKO mice exhibited decreased preference for social interaction in the social approach assay, decreased locomotor activity in the open field, increased prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle, and a shift towards self-directed activity (e.g., grooming) in novel environments, such as marble burying. Although there were no gross deficits in cognitive assays, subtle differences in performance on fear conditioning and in the Morris water maze resembled traits observed in other rodent models of ASD. We therefore conclude that ephrin-A2/-A3 DKO mice have utility as a novel ASD model with an emphasis on sensory abnormalities and restricted, repetitive behavioral symptoms. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Non-target effects on songbirds from habitat manipulation for Greater Sage-Grouse: Implications for the umbrella species concept

    Carlisle, Jason D.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Smith, Kurt T.; Beck, Jeffery L.

    2018-01-01

    The “umbrella species” concept is a conservation strategy in which creating and managing reserve areas to meet the needs of one species is thought to benefit other species indirectly. Broad-scale habitat protections on behalf of an umbrella species are assumed to benefit co-occurring taxa, but targeted management actions to improve local habitat suitability for the umbrella species may produce unintended effects on other species. Our objective was to quantify the effects of a common habitat treatment (mowing of big sagebrush [Artemisia tridentata]) intended to benefit a high-profile umbrella species (Greater Sage-Grouse [Centrocercus urophasianus]) on 3 sympatric songbird species of concern. We used a before–after control-impact experimental design spanning 3 yr in Wyoming, USA, to quantify the effect of mowing on the abundance, nest-site selection, nestling condition, and nest survival of 2 sagebrush-obligate songbirds (Brewer's Sparrow [Spizella breweri] and Sage Thrasher [Oreoscoptes montanus]) and one open-habitat generalist songbird (Vesper Sparrow [Pooecetes gramineus]). Mowing was associated with lower abundance of Brewer's Sparrows and Sage Thrashers but higher abundance of Vesper Sparrows. We found no Brewer's Sparrows or Sage Thrashers nesting in the mowed footprint posttreatment, which suggests complete loss of nesting habitat for these species. Mowing was associated with higher nestling condition and nest survival for Vesper Sparrows but not for the sagebrush-obligate species. Management prescriptions that remove woody biomass within a mosaic of intact habitat may be tolerated by sagebrush-obligate songbirds but are likely more beneficial for open-habitat generalist species. By definition, umbrella species conservation entails habitat protections at broad spatial scales. We caution that habitat manipulations to benefit Greater Sage-Grouse could negatively affect nontarget species of conservation concern if implemented across large spatial extents.

  16. Balancing out dwelling and moving: optimal sensorimotor synchronization

    Girard, Benoît; Guigon, Emmanuel

    2015-01-01

    Sensorimotor synchronization is a fundamental skill involved in the performance of many artistic activities (e.g., music, dance). After a century of research, the manner in which the nervous system produces synchronized movements remains poorly understood. Typical rhythmic movements involve a motion and a motionless phase (dwell). The dwell phase represents a sizable fraction of the rhythm period, and scales with it. The rationale for this organization remains unexplained and is the object of this study. Twelve participants, four drummers (D) and eight nondrummers (ND), performed tapping movements paced at 0.5–2.5 Hz by a metronome. The participants organized their tapping behavior into dwell and movement phases according to two strategies: 1) Eight participants (1 D, 7 ND) maintained an almost constant ratio of movement time (MT) and dwell time (DT) irrespective of the metronome period. 2) Four participants increased the proportion of DT as the period increased. The temporal variabilities of both the dwell and movement phases were consistent with Weber's law, i.e., their variability increased with their durations, and the longest phase always exhibited the smallest variability. We developed an optimal statistical model that formalized the distribution of time into dwell and movement intervals as a function of their temporal variability. The model accurately predicted the participants' dwell and movement durations irrespective of their strategy and musical skill, strongly suggesting that the distribution of DT and MT results from an optimization process, dependent on each participant's skill to predict time during rest and movement. PMID:25878154

  17. The ADaptation and Anticipation Model (ADAM) of sensorimotor synchronization

    van der Steen, M. C. (Marieke); Keller, Peter E.

    2013-01-01

    A constantly changing environment requires precise yet flexible timing of movements. Sensorimotor synchronization (SMS)—the temporal coordination of an action with events in a predictable external rhythm—is a fundamental human skill that contributes to optimal sensory-motor control in daily life. A large body of research related to SMS has focused on adaptive error correction mechanisms that support the synchronization of periodic movements (e.g., finger taps) with events in regular pacing sequences. The results of recent studies additionally highlight the importance of anticipatory mechanisms that support temporal prediction in the context of SMS with sequences that contain tempo changes. To investigate the role of adaptation and anticipatory mechanisms in SMS we introduce ADAM: an ADaptation and Anticipation Model. ADAM combines reactive error correction processes (adaptation) with predictive temporal extrapolation processes (anticipation) inspired by the computational neuroscience concept of internal models. The combination of simulations and experimental manipulations based on ADAM creates a novel and promising approach for exploring adaptation and anticipation in SMS. The current paper describes the conceptual basis and architecture of ADAM. PMID:23772211

  18. Mina: A Sensorimotor Robotic Orthosis for Mobility Assistance

    Anil K. Raj

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available While most mobility options for persons with paraplegia or paraparesis employ wheeled solutions, significant adverse health, psychological, and social consequences result from wheelchair confinement. Modern robotic exoskeleton devices for gait assistance and rehabilitation, however, can support legged locomotion systems for those with lower extremity weakness or paralysis. The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC has developed the Mina, a prototype sensorimotor robotic orthosis for mobility assistance that provides mobility capability for paraplegic and paraparetic users. This paper describes the initial concept, design goals, and methods of this wearable overground robotic mobility device, which uses compliant actuation to power the hip and knee joints. Paralyzed users can balance and walk using the device over level terrain with the assistance of forearm crutches employing a quadrupedal gait. We have initiated sensory substitution feedback mechanisms to augment user sensory perception of his or her lower extremities. Using this sensory feedback, we hypothesize that users will ambulate with a more natural, upright gait and will be able to directly control the gait parameters and respond to perturbations. This may allow bipedal (with minimal support gait in future prototypes.

  19. The sensorimotor contributions to implicit memory, familiarity, and recollection.

    Topolinski, Sascha

    2012-05-01

    The sensorimotor contributions to memory for prior occurrence were investigated. Previous research has shown that both implicit memory and familiarity draw on gains in stimulus-related processing fluency for old, compared with novel, stimuli, but recollection does not. Recently, it has been demonstrated that processing fluency itself resides in stimulus-specific motor simulations or reenactment (e.g., covert pronouncing simulations for words as stimuli). Combining these lines of evidence, it was predicted that stimulus-specific motor interference preventing simulations should impair both implicit memory and familiarity but leave recollection unaffected. This was tested for words as verbal stimuli associated to pronouncing simulations in the oral muscle system (but also for tunes as vocal stimuli and their associated vocal system, Experiment 2). It was found that oral (e.g., chewing gum), compared with manual (kneading a ball), motor interference prevented mere exposure effects (Experiments 1-2), substantially reduced repetition priming in word fragment completion (Experiment 3), reduced the familiarity estimates in a remember-know task (Experiment 5) and in receiver-operating characteristics (Experiment 6), and completely neutralized familiarity measured by self-reports (Experiment 4) and skin conductance responses (Experiment 7), while leaving recollection and free recall unaffected (across Experiments 1-7). This pattern establishes a rare memory dissociation in healthy participants, that is, explicit without implicit memory or recognizing without feeling familiar. Implications for embodied memory and neuropsychology are discussed.

  20. Multimodal sensorimotor system in unicellular zoospores of a fungus.

    Swafford, Andrew J M; Oakley, Todd H

    2018-01-19

    Complex sensory systems often underlie critical behaviors, including avoiding predators and locating prey, mates and shelter. Multisensory systems that control motor behavior even appear in unicellular eukaryotes, such as Chlamydomonas , which are important laboratory models for sensory biology. However, we know of no unicellular opisthokonts that control motor behavior using a multimodal sensory system. Therefore, existing single-celled models for multimodal sensorimotor integration are very distantly related to animals. Here, we describe a multisensory system that controls the motor function of unicellular fungal zoospores. We found that zoospores of Allomyces arbusculus exhibit both phototaxis and chemotaxis. Furthermore, we report that closely related Allomyces species respond to either the chemical or the light stimuli presented in this study, not both, and likely do not share this multisensory system. This diversity of sensory systems within Allomyces provides a rare example of a comparative framework that can be used to examine the evolution of sensory systems following the gain/loss of available sensory modalities. The tractability of Allomyces and related fungi as laboratory organisms will facilitate detailed mechanistic investigations into the genetic underpinnings of novel photosensory systems, and how multisensory systems may have functioned in early opisthokonts before multicellularity allowed for the evolution of specialized cell types. © 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  1. Hg-contaminated terrestrial spiders pose a potential risk to songbirds at Caddo Lake (Texas/Louisiana, USA).

    Gann, Gretchen L; Powell, Cleveland H; Chumchal, Matthew M; Drenner, Ray W

    2015-02-01

    Methylmercury (MeHg) is an environmental contaminant that can have adverse effects on wildlife. Because MeHg is produced by bacteria in aquatic ecosystems, studies of MeHg contamination of food webs historically have focused on aquatic organisms. However, recent studies have shown that terrestrial organisms such as songbirds can be contaminated with MeHg by feeding on MeHg-contaminated spiders. In the present study, the authors examined the risk that MeHg-contaminated terrestrial long-jawed orb weaver spiders (Tetragnatha sp.) pose to songbirds at Caddo Lake (Texas/Louisiana, USA). Methylmercury concentrations in spiders were significantly different in river, wetland, and open-water habitats. The authors calculated spider-based wildlife values (the minimum spider MeHg concentrations causing physiologically significant doses in consumers) to assess exposure risks for arachnivorous birds. Methylmercury concentrations in spiders exceeded wildlife values for Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) nestlings, with the highest risk in the river habitat. The present study indicates that MeHg concentrations in terrestrial spiders vary with habitat and can pose a threat to small-bodied nestling birds that consume large amounts of spiders at Caddo Lake. This MeHg threat to songbirds may not be unique to Caddo Lake and may extend throughout the southeastern United States. © 2014 SETAC.

  2. Graph theoretical model of a sensorimotor connectome in zebrafish.

    Stobb, Michael; Peterson, Joshua M; Mazzag, Borbala; Gahtan, Ethan

    2012-01-01

    Mapping the detailed connectivity patterns (connectomes) of neural circuits is a central goal of neuroscience. The best quantitative approach to analyzing connectome data is still unclear but graph theory has been used with success. We present a graph theoretical model of the posterior lateral line sensorimotor pathway in zebrafish. The model includes 2,616 neurons and 167,114 synaptic connections. Model neurons represent known cell types in zebrafish larvae, and connections were set stochastically following rules based on biological literature. Thus, our model is a uniquely detailed computational representation of a vertebrate connectome. The connectome has low overall connection density, with 2.45% of all possible connections, a value within the physiological range. We used graph theoretical tools to compare the zebrafish connectome graph to small-world, random and structured random graphs of the same size. For each type of graph, 100 randomly generated instantiations were considered. Degree distribution (the number of connections per neuron) varied more in the zebrafish graph than in same size graphs with less biological detail. There was high local clustering and a short average path length between nodes, implying a small-world structure similar to other neural connectomes and complex networks. The graph was found not to be scale-free, in agreement with some other neural connectomes. An experimental lesion was performed that targeted three model brain neurons, including the Mauthner neuron, known to control fast escape turns. The lesion decreased the number of short paths between sensory and motor neurons analogous to the behavioral effects of the same lesion in zebrafish. This model is expandable and can be used to organize and interpret a growing database of information on the zebrafish connectome.

  3. Ultrasonic vocalizations, predictability and sensorimotor gating in the rat.

    Webber, Emily S; Mankin, David E; McGraw, Justin J; Beckwith, Travis J; Cromwell, Howard C

    2013-09-15

    Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a measure of sensorimotor gating in diverse groups of animals including humans. Emotional states can influence PPI in humans both in typical subjects and in individuals with mental illness. Little is known about emotional regulation during PPI in rodents. We used ultrasonic vocalization recording to monitor emotional states in rats during PPI testing. We altered the predictability of the PPI trials to examine any alterations in gating and emotional regulation. We also examined PPI in animals selectively bred for high or low levels of 50kHz USV emission. Rats emitted high levels of 22kHz calls consistently throughout the PPI session. USVs were sensitive to prepulses during the PPI session similar to startle. USV rate was sensitive to predictability among the different levels tested and across repeated experiences. Startle and inhibition of startle were not affected by predictability in a similar manner. No significant differences for PPI or startle were found related to the different levels of predictability; however, there was a reduction in USV signals and an enhancement of PPI after repeated exposure. Animals selectively bred to emit high levels of USVs emitted significantly higher levels of USVs during the PPI session and a reduced ASR compared to the low and random selective lines. Overall, the results support the idea that PPI tests in rodents induce high levels of negative affect and that manipulating emotional styles of the animals alters the negative impact of the gating session as well as the intensity of the startle response. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Graph theoretical model of a sensorimotor connectome in zebrafish.

    Michael Stobb

    Full Text Available Mapping the detailed connectivity patterns (connectomes of neural circuits is a central goal of neuroscience. The best quantitative approach to analyzing connectome data is still unclear but graph theory has been used with success. We present a graph theoretical model of the posterior lateral line sensorimotor pathway in zebrafish. The model includes 2,616 neurons and 167,114 synaptic connections. Model neurons represent known cell types in zebrafish larvae, and connections were set stochastically following rules based on biological literature. Thus, our model is a uniquely detailed computational representation of a vertebrate connectome. The connectome has low overall connection density, with 2.45% of all possible connections, a value within the physiological range. We used graph theoretical tools to compare the zebrafish connectome graph to small-world, random and structured random graphs of the same size. For each type of graph, 100 randomly generated instantiations were considered. Degree distribution (the number of connections per neuron varied more in the zebrafish graph than in same size graphs with less biological detail. There was high local clustering and a short average path length between nodes, implying a small-world structure similar to other neural connectomes and complex networks. The graph was found not to be scale-free, in agreement with some other neural connectomes. An experimental lesion was performed that targeted three model brain neurons, including the Mauthner neuron, known to control fast escape turns. The lesion decreased the number of short paths between sensory and motor neurons analogous to the behavioral effects of the same lesion in zebrafish. This model is expandable and can be used to organize and interpret a growing database of information on the zebrafish connectome.

  5. Encoding of temporal intervals in the rat hindlimb sensorimotor cortex

    Eric Bean Knudsen

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The gradual buildup of neural activity over experimentally imposed delay periods, termed climbing activity, is well documented and is a potential mechanism by which interval time is encoded by distributed cortico-thalamico-striatal networks in the brain. Additionally, when multiple delay periods are incorporated, this activity has been shown to scale its rate of climbing proportional to the delay period. However, it remains unclear whether these patterns of activity occur within areas of motor cortex dedicated to hindlimb movement. Moreover, the effects of behavioral training (e.g. motor tasks under different reward conditions but with similar behavioral output are not well addressed. To address this, we recorded activity from the hindlimb sensorimotor cortex (HLSMC of two groups of rats performing a skilled hindlimb press task. In one group, rats were trained only to a make a valid press within a finite window after cue presentation for reward (non-interval trained, nIT; n=5, while rats in the second group were given duration-specific cues in which they had to make presses of either short or long duration to receive reward (interval trained, IT; n=6. Using PETH analyses, we show that cells recorded from both groups showed climbing activity during the task in similar proportions (35% IT and 47% nIT, however only climbing activity from IT rats was temporally scaled to press duration. Furthermore, using single trial decoding techniques (Wiener filter, we show that press duration can be inferred using climbing activity from IT animals (R=0.61 significantly better than nIT animals (R=0.507, p<0.01, suggesting IT animals encode press duration through temporally scaled climbing activity. Thus, if temporal intervals are behaviorally relevant then the activity of climbing neurons is temporally scaled to encode the passage of time.

  6. Localized brain activation related to the strength of auditory learning in a parrot.

    Hiroko Eda-Fujiwara

    Full Text Available Parrots and songbirds learn their vocalizations from a conspecific tutor, much like human infants acquire spoken language. Parrots can learn human words and it has been suggested that they can use them to communicate with humans. The caudomedial pallium in the parrot brain is homologous with that of songbirds, and analogous to the human auditory association cortex, involved in speech processing. Here we investigated neuronal activation, measured as expression of the protein product of the immediate early gene ZENK, in relation to auditory learning in the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus, a parrot. Budgerigar males successfully learned to discriminate two Japanese words spoken by another male conspecific. Re-exposure to the two discriminanda led to increased neuronal activation in the caudomedial pallium, but not in the hippocampus, compared to untrained birds that were exposed to the same words, or were not exposed to words. Neuronal activation in the caudomedial pallium of the experimental birds was correlated significantly and positively with the percentage of correct responses in the discrimination task. These results suggest that in a parrot, the caudomedial pallium is involved in auditory learning. Thus, in parrots, songbirds and humans, analogous brain regions may contain the neural substrate for auditory learning and memory.

  7. Forecasting Sensorimotor Adaptability from Baseline Inter-Trial Correlations

    Beaton, K. H.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2014-01-01

    One of the greatest challenges surrounding adaptation to the spaceflight environment is the large variability in symptoms, and corresponding functional impairments, from one crewmember to the next. This renders preflight training and countermeasure development difficult, as a "one-size-fits-all" approach is inappropriate. Therefore, it would be highly advantageous to know ahead of time which crewmembers might have more difficulty adjusting to the novel g-levels inherent to spaceflight. Such knowledge could guide individually customized countermeasures, which would enable more efficient use of crew time, both preflight and inflight, and provide better outcomes. The primary goal of this project is to look for a baseline performance metric that can forecast sensorimotor adaptability without exposure to an adaptive stimulus. We propose a novel hypothesis that considers baseline inter-trial correlations, the trial-to-trial fluctuations in motor performance, as a predictor of individual sensorimotor adaptive capabilities. To-date, a strong relationship has been found between baseline inter-trial correlations and adaptability in two oculomotor systems. For this project, we will explore an analogous predictive mechanism in the locomotion system. METHODS: Baseline Inter-trial Correlations: Inter-trial correlations specify the relationships among repeated trials of a given task that transpire as a consequence of correcting for previous performance errors over multiple timescales. We can quantify the strength of inter-trial correlations by measuring the decay of the autocorrelation function (ACF), which describes how rapidly information from past trials is "forgotten." Processes whose ACFs decay more slowly exhibit longer-term inter-trial correlations (longer memory processes), while processes whose ACFs decay more rapidly exhibit shorterterm inter-trial correlations (shorter memory processes). Longer-term correlations reflect low-frequency activity, which is more easily

  8. Humans can integrate feedback of discrete events in their sensorimotor control of a robotic hand.

    Cipriani, Christian; Segil, Jacob L; Clemente, Francesco; ff Weir, Richard F; Edin, Benoni

    2014-11-01

    Providing functionally effective sensory feedback to users of prosthetics is a largely unsolved challenge. Traditional solutions require high band-widths for providing feedback for the control of manipulation and yet have been largely unsuccessful. In this study, we have explored a strategy that relies on temporally discrete sensory feedback that is technically simple to provide. According to the Discrete Event-driven Sensory feedback Control (DESC) policy, motor tasks in humans are organized in phases delimited by means of sensory encoded discrete mechanical events. To explore the applicability of DESC for control, we designed a paradigm in which healthy humans operated an artificial robot hand to lift and replace an instrumented object, a task that can readily be learned and mastered under visual control. Assuming that the central nervous system of humans naturally organizes motor tasks based on a strategy akin to DESC, we delivered short-lasting vibrotactile feedback related to events that are known to forcefully affect progression of the grasp-lift-and-hold task. After training, we determined whether the artificial feedback had been integrated with the sensorimotor control by introducing short delays and we indeed observed that the participants significantly delayed subsequent phases of the task. This study thus gives support to the DESC policy hypothesis. Moreover, it demonstrates that humans can integrate temporally discrete sensory feedback while controlling an artificial hand and invites further studies in which inexpensive, noninvasive technology could be used in clever ways to provide physiologically appropriate sensory feedback in upper limb prosthetics with much lower band-width requirements than with traditional solutions.

  9. Homeostasis of exercise hyperpnea and optimal sensorimotor integration: the internal model paradigm.

    Poon, Chi-Sang; Tin, Chung; Yu, Yunguo

    2007-10-15

    Homeostasis is a basic tenet of biomedicine and an open problem for many physiological control systems. Among them, none has been more extensively studied and intensely debated than the dilemma of exercise hyperpnea - a paradoxical homeostatic increase of respiratory ventilation that is geared to metabolic demands instead of the normal chemoreflex mechanism. Classical control theory has led to a plethora of "feedback/feedforward control" or "set point" hypotheses for homeostatic regulation, yet so far none of them has proved satisfactory in explaining exercise hyperpnea and its interactions with other respiratory inputs. Instead, the available evidence points to a far more sophisticated respiratory controller capable of integrating multiple afferent and efferent signals in adapting the ventilatory pattern toward optimality relative to conflicting homeostatic, energetic and other objectives. This optimality principle parsimoniously mimics exercise hyperpnea, chemoreflex and a host of characteristic respiratory responses to abnormal gas exchange or mechanical loading/unloading in health and in cardiopulmonary diseases - all without resorting to a feedforward "exercise stimulus". Rather, an emergent controller signal encoding the projected metabolic level is predicted by the principle as an exercise-induced 'mental percept' or 'internal model', presumably engendered by associative learning (operant conditioning or classical conditioning) which achieves optimality through continuous identification of, and adaptation to, the causal relationship between respiratory motor output and resultant chemical-mechanical afferent feedbacks. This internal model self-tuning adaptive control paradigm opens a new challenge and exciting opportunity for experimental and theoretical elucidations of the mechanisms of respiratory control - and of homeostatic regulation and sensorimotor integration in general.

  10. Sensorimotor rhythm-based brain-computer interface training: the impact on motor cortical responsiveness

    Pichiorri, F.; De Vico Fallani, F.; Cincotti, F.; Babiloni, F.; Molinari, M.; Kleih, S. C.; Neuper, C.; Kübler, A.; Mattia, D.

    2011-04-01

    The main purpose of electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-computer interface (BCI) technology is to provide an alternative channel to support communication and control when motor pathways are interrupted. Despite the considerable amount of research focused on the improvement of EEG signal detection and translation into output commands, little is known about how learning to operate a BCI device may affect brain plasticity. This study investigated if and how sensorimotor rhythm-based BCI training would induce persistent functional changes in motor cortex, as assessed with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and high-density EEG. Motor imagery (MI)-based BCI training in naïve participants led to a significant increase in motor cortical excitability, as revealed by post-training TMS mapping of the hand muscle's cortical representation; peak amplitude and volume of the motor evoked potentials recorded from the opponens pollicis muscle were significantly higher only in those subjects who develop a MI strategy based on imagination of hand grasping to successfully control a computer cursor. Furthermore, analysis of the functional brain networks constructed using a connectivity matrix between scalp electrodes revealed a significant decrease in the global efficiency index for the higher-beta frequency range (22-29 Hz), indicating that the brain network changes its topology with practice of hand grasping MI. Our findings build the neurophysiological basis for the use of non-invasive BCI technology for monitoring and guidance of motor imagery-dependent brain plasticity and thus may render BCI a viable tool for post-stroke rehabilitation.

  11. Virtual Sensorimotor Balance Training for Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Feasibility Study.

    McCoy, Sarah Westcott; Jirikowic, Tracy; Price, Robert; Ciol, Marcia A; Hsu, Lin-Ya; Dellon, Brian; Kartin, Deborah

    2015-11-01

    Diminished sensory adaptation has been associated with poor balance control for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). A virtual reality system, Sensorimotor Training to Affect Balance, Engagement and Learning (STABEL), was developed to train sensory control for balance. The purpose of this study was to examine the STABEL system in children with FASD and children with typical development (TD) to (1) determine the feasibility of the STABEL system and (2) explore the immediate effects of the STABEL system on sensory attention and postural control. This is a technical report with observational study data. Eleven children with FASD and 11 children with TD, aged 8 to 16 years, completed 30 minutes of STABEL training. The children answered questions about their experience using STABEL. Sensory attention and postural control were measured pre- and post-STABEL training with the Multimodal Balance Entrainment Response system and compared using repeated-measures analysis of variance. All children engaged in game play and tolerated controlled sensory input during the STABEL protocol. Immediate effects post-STABEL training in both groups were increased postural sway velocity and some changes in entrainment gain. Children with FASD showed higher entrainment gain to vestibular stimuli. There were no significant changes in sensory attention fractions. The small sample size, dose of STABEL training, and exploratory statistical analyses are study limitations, but findings warrant larger systematic study to examine therapeutic effects. Children completed the training protocol, demonstrating the feasibility of the STABEL system. Differences in postural sway velocity post-STABEL training may have been affected by fatigue, warranting further investigation. Limited immediate effects suggest more practice is needed to affect sensory attention; however, entrainment gain changes suggest the STABEL system provoked vestibular responses during balance practice. © 2015

  12. Using virtual reality to augment perception, enhance sensorimotor adaptation, and change our minds.

    Wright, W Geoffrey

    2014-01-01

    Technological advances that involve human sensorimotor processes can have both intended and unintended effects on the central nervous system (CNS). This mini review focuses on the use of virtual environments (VE) to augment brain functions by enhancing perception, eliciting automatic motor behavior, and inducing sensorimotor adaptation. VE technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in medical rehabilitation, training simulators, gaming, and entertainment. Although these VE applications have often been shown to optimize outcomes, whether it be to speed recovery, reduce training time, or enhance immersion and enjoyment, there are inherent drawbacks to environments that can potentially change sensorimotor calibration. Across numerous VE studies over the years, we have investigated the effects of combining visual and physical motion on perception, motor control, and adaptation. Recent results from our research involving exposure to dynamic passive motion within a visually-depicted VE reveal that short-term exposure to augmented sensorimotor discordance can result in systematic aftereffects that last beyond the exposure period. Whether these adaptations are advantageous or not, remains to be seen. Benefits as well as risks of using VE-driven sensorimotor stimulation to enhance brain processes will be discussed.

  13. Using virtual reality to augment perception, enhance sensorimotor adaptation, and change our minds

    W. Geoffrey Wright

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Technological advances that involve human sensorimotor processes can have both intended and unintended effects on the central nervous system (CNS. This mini-review focuses on the use of virtual environments (VE to augment brain functions by enhancing perception, eliciting automatic motor behavior, and inducing sensorimotor adaptation. VE technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in medical rehabilitation, training simulators, gaming, and entertainment. Although these VE applications have often been shown to optimize outcomes, whether it be to speed recovery, reduce training time, or enhance immersion and enjoyment, there are inherent drawbacks to environments that can potentially change sensorimotor calibration. Across numerous VE studies over the years, we have investigated the effects of combining visual and physical motion on perception, motor control, and adaptation. Recent results from our research involving exposure to dynamic passive motion within a visually-depicted VE reveal that short-term exposure to augmented sensorimotor discordance can result in systematic aftereffects that last beyond the exposure period. Whether these adaptations are advantageous or not, remains to be seen. Benefits as well as risks of using VE-driven sensorimotor stimulation to enhance brain processes will be discussed.

  14. Sensorimotor integration and psychopathology: motor control abnormalities related to psychiatric disorders.

    Velasques, Bruna; Machado, Sergio; Paes, Flávia; Cunha, Marlo; Sanfim, Antonio; Budde, Henning; Cagy, Mauricio; Anghinah, Renato; Basile, Luis F; Piedade, Roberto; Ribeiro, Pedro

    2011-12-01

    Recent evidence is reviewed to examine relationships among sensorimotor and cognitive aspects in some important psychiatry disorders. This study reviews the theoretical models in the context of sensorimotor integration and the abnormalities reported in the most common psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and squizophrenia. The bibliographical search used Pubmed/Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, Cochrane data base and Scielo databases. The terms chosen for the search were: Alzheimer's disease, AD, autism spectrum disorder, and Squizophrenia in combination with sensorimotor integration. Fifty articles published in English and were selected conducted from 1989 up to 2010. We found that the sensorimotor integration process plays a relevant role in elementary mechanisms involved in occurrence of abnormalities in most common psychiatric disorders, participating in the acquisition of abilities that have as critical factor the coupling of different sensory data which will constitute the basis of elaboration of consciously goal-directed motor outputs. Whether these disorders are associated with an abnormal peripheral sensory input or defective central processing is still unclear, but some studies support a central mechanism. Sensorimotor integration seems to play a significant role in the disturbances of motor control, like deficits in the feedforward mechanism, typically seen in AD, autistic and squizophrenic patients.

  15. Finger tapping and pre-attentive sensorimotor timing in adults with ADHD.

    Hove, Michael J; Gravel, Nickolas; Spencer, Rebecca M C; Valera, Eve M

    2017-12-01

    Sensorimotor timing deficits are considered central to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the tasks establishing timing impairments often involve interconnected processes, including low-level sensorimotor timing and higher level executive processes such as attention. Thus, the source of timing deficits in ADHD remains unclear. Low-level sensorimotor timing can be isolated from higher level processes in a finger-tapping task that examines the motor response to unexpected shifts of metronome onsets. In this study, adults with ADHD and ADHD-like symptoms (n = 25) and controls (n = 26) performed two finger-tapping tasks. The first assessed tapping variability in a standard tapping task (metronome-paced and unpaced). In the other task, participants tapped along with a metronome that contained unexpected shifts (±15, 50 ms); the timing adjustment on the tap following the shift captures pre-attentive sensorimotor timing (i.e., phase correction) and thus should be free of potential higher order confounds (e.g., attention). In the standard tapping task, as expected, the ADHD group had higher timing variability in both paced and unpaced tappings. However, in the pre-attentive task, performance did not differ between the ADHD and control groups. Together, results suggest that low-level sensorimotor timing and phase correction are largely preserved in ADHD and that some timing impairments observed in ADHD may stem from higher level factors (such as sustained attention).

  16. Beyond the sensorimotor plasticity: cognitive expansion of prism adaptation in healthy individuals.

    Carine eMICHEL

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Sensorimotor plasticity allows us to maintain an efficient motor behavior in reaction to environmental changes. One of the classical models for the study of sensorimotor plasticity is prism adaptation. It consists of pointing to visual targets while wearing prismatic lenses that shift the visual field laterally. The conditions of the development of the plasticity and the sensorimotor after-effects have been extensively studied for more than a century. However, the interest taken in this phenomenon was considerably increased since the demonstration of neglect rehabilitation following prism adaptation by Rossetti and his colleagues in 1998. Mirror effects, i.e. simulation of neglect in healthy individuals, were observed for the first time by Colent and collaborators in 2000. The present review focuses on the expansion of prism adaptation to cognitive functions in healthy individuals during the last 15 years. Cognitive after-effects have been shown in numerous tasks even in those that are not intrinsically spatial in nature. Altogether, these results suggest the existence of a strong link between low-level sensorimotor plasticity and high-level cognitive functions and raise important questions about the mechanisms involved in producing unexpected cognitive effects following prism adaptation. Implications for the functional mechanisms and neuroanatomical network of prism adaptation are discussed to explain how sensorimotor plasticity may affect cognitive processes.

  17. Maturation of Sensori-Motor Functional Responses in the Preterm Brain.

    Allievi, Alessandro G; Arichi, Tomoki; Tusor, Nora; Kimpton, Jessica; Arulkumaran, Sophie; Counsell, Serena J; Edwards, A David; Burdet, Etienne

    2016-01-01

    Preterm birth engenders an increased risk of conditions like cerebral palsy and therefore this time may be crucial for the brain's developing sensori-motor system. However, little is known about how cortical sensori-motor function matures at this time, whether development is influenced by experience, and about its role in spontaneous motor behavior. We aimed to systematically characterize spatial and temporal maturation of sensori-motor functional brain activity across this period using functional MRI and a custom-made robotic stimulation device. We studied 57 infants aged from 30 + 2 to 43 + 2 weeks postmenstrual age. Following both induced and spontaneous right wrist movements, we saw consistent positive blood oxygen level-dependent functional responses in the contralateral (left) primary somatosensory and motor cortices. In addition, we saw a maturational trend toward faster, higher amplitude, and more spatially dispersed functional responses; and increasing integration of the ipsilateral hemisphere and sensori-motor associative areas. We also found that interhemispheric functional connectivity was significantly related to ex-utero exposure, suggesting the influence of experience-dependent mechanisms. At term equivalent age, we saw a decrease in both response amplitude and interhemispheric functional connectivity, and an increase in spatial specificity, culminating in the establishment of a sensori-motor functional response similar to that seen in adults. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.

  18. Sensorimotor control and neuromuscular activity of the shoulder in adolescent competitive swimmers with generalized joint hypermobility

    Frydendal, Thomas; Eshøj, Henrik; Liaghat, Behnam

    2018-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: Shoulder pain is highly prevalent in competitive swimmers, and generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) is considered a risk factor. Sensorimotor control deficiencies and altered neuromuscular activation of the shoulder may represent underlying factors. RESEARCH QUESTION: To investigate...... whether competitive swimmers with GJH including shoulder hypermobility (GJHS) differ in shoulder sensorimotor control and muscle activity from those without GJH and no shoulder hypermobility (NGJH). METHODS: Competitive swimmers (aged 13-17) were recruited. GJHS or NGJH status was determined using...... (29%) pectoralis major activity during BL-EO compared to NGJH (5.35 ± 1.77%MVE vs. 7.51 ± 1.96%MVE; p = 0.043). SIGNIFICANCE: Adolescent competitive swimmers with GJHS displayed no shoulder sensorimotor control deficiencies and no generally altered shoulder muscle activity pattern, except...

  19. Sensorimotor Gating in Neurotensin-1 Receptor Null Mice

    Feifel, D.; Pang, Z.; Shilling, P.D.; Melendez, G.; Schreiber, R.; Button, D.

    2009-01-01

    BACKGROUND Converging evidence has implicated endogenous neurotensin (NT) in the pathophysiology of brain processes relevant to schizophrenia. Prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex (PPI) is a measure of sensorimotor gating and considered to be of strong relevance to neuropsychiatric disorders associated with psychosis and cognitive dysfunction. Mice genetically engineered to not express NT display deficits in PPI that model the PPI deficits seen in schizophrenia patients. NT1 receptors have been most strongly implicated in mediating the psychosis relevant effects of NT such as attenuating PPI deficits. To investigate the role of NT1 receptors in the regulation of PPI, we measured baseline PPI in wildtype (WT) and NT1 knockout (KO) mice. We also tested the effects of amphetamine and dizocilpine, a dopamine agonist and NMDA antagonist, respectively, that reduce PPI as well as the NT1 selective receptor agonist, PD149163, known to increase PPI in rats. METHODS Baseline PPI and acoustic startle response were measured in WT and NT1 knockout KO mice. After baseline testing, mice were tested again after receiving intraperatoneal (IP) saline or one of three doses of amphetamine (1.0, 3.0 and 10.0 mg/kg), dizocilpine (0.3, 1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg) and PD149163 (0.5, 2.0 and 6.0 mg/kg) on separate test days. RESULTS Baseline PPI and acoustic startle response in NT1 KO mice were not significantly different from NT1 WT mice. WT and KO mice exhibited similar responses to the PPI-disrupting effects of dizocilpine and amphetamine. PD149163 significantly facilitated PPI (P < 0.004) and decreased the acoustic startle response (P < 0.001) in WT but not NT1 KO mice. CONCLUSIONS The data does not support the regulation of baseline PPI or the PPI disruptive effects of amphetamine or dizocilpine by endogenous NT acting at the NT1 receptor, although they support the antipsychotic potential of pharmacological activation of NT1 receptors by NT1 agonists. PMID:19596359

  20. Individual differences and repeatability in vocal production: stress-induced calling exposes a songbird's personality

    Guillette, Lauren M.; Sturdy, Christopher B.

    2011-11-01

    Recent research in songbirds has demonstrated that male singing behavior varies systematically with personality traits such as exploration and risk taking. Here we examine whether the production of bird calls, in addition to bird songs, is repeatable and related to exploratory behavior, using the black-capped chickadee ( Poecile atricapillus) as a model. We assessed the exploratory behavior of individual birds in a novel environment task. We then recorded the vocalizations and accompanying motor behavior of both male and female chickadees, over the course of several days, in two different contexts: a control condition with no playback and a stressful condition where chick-a-dee mobbing calls were played to individual birds. We found that several vocalizations and behaviors were repeatable within both a control and a stressful context, and across contexts. While there was no relationship between vocal output and exploratory behavior in the control context, production of alarm and chick-a-dee calls in the stressful condition was positively associated with exploratory behavior. These findings are important because they show that bird calls, in addition to bird song, are an aspect of personality, in that calls are consistent both within and across contexts, and covary with other personality measures (exploration).

  1. Factors influencing the movement biology of migrant songbirds confronted with an ecological barrier

    Smolinsky, J. A.; Diehl, Robert H.; Radzio, T. A.; Delaney, D. K.; Moore, F. R

    2013-01-01

    Whether or not a migratory songbird embarks on a long-distance flight across an ecological barrier is likely a response to a number of endogenous and exogenous factors. During autumn 2008 and 2009, we used automated radio tracking to investigate how energetic condition, age, and weather influenced the departure timing and direction of Swainson’s thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) during migratory stopover along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Most birds left within 1 h after sunset on the evening following capture. Those birds that departed later on the first night or remained longer than 1 day were lean. Birds that carried fat loads sufficient to cross the Gulf of Mexico generally departed in a seasonally appropriate southerly direction, whereas lean birds nearly always flew inland in a northerly direction. We did not detect an effect of age or weather on departures. The decision by lean birds to reorient movement inland may reflect the suitability of the coastal stopover site for deposition of fuel stores and the motivation to seek food among more extensive forested habitat away from the barrier.

  2. Postbreeding elevational movements of western songbirds in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

    Wiegardt, Andrew; Wolfe, Jared; Ralph, C John; Stephens, Jaime L; Alexander, John

    2017-10-01

    Migratory species employ a variety of strategies to meet energetic demands of postbreeding molt. As such, at least a few species of western Neotropical migrants are known to undergo short-distance upslope movements to locations where adults molt body and flight feathers (altitudinal molt migration). Given inherent difficulties in measuring subtle movements of birds occurring in western mountains, we believe that altitudinal molt migration may be a common yet poorly documented phenomenon. To examine prevalence of altitudinal molt migration, we used 29 years of bird capture data in a series of linear mixed-effect models for nine commonly captured species that breed in northern California and southern Oregon. Candidate models were formulated a priori to examine whether elevation and distance from the coast can be used to predict abundance of breeding and molting birds. Our results suggest that long-distance migrants such as Orange-crowned Warbler ( Oreothlypis celata ) moved higher in elevation and Audubon's Warbler ( Setophaga coronata ) moved farther inland to molt after breeding. Conversely, for resident and short-distance migrants, we found evidence that birds either remained on the breeding grounds until they finished molting, such as Song Sparrow ( Melospiza melodia ) or made small downslope movements, such as American Robin ( Turdus migratorius ). We conclude that altitudinal molt migration may be a common, variable, and complex behavior among western songbird communities and is related to other aspects of a species' natural history, such as migratory strategy.

  3. No need to talk, I know you: familiarity influences early multisensory integration in a songbird's brain

    Isabelle GEORGE

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available It is well known that visual information can affect auditory perception, as in the famous McGurk effect, but little is known concerning the processes involved. To address this issue, we used the best-developed animal model to study language-related processes in the brain: songbirds. European starlings were exposed to audiovisual compared to auditory-only playback of conspecific songs, while electrophysiological recordings were made in their primary auditory area (Field L. The results show that the audiovisual condition modulated the auditory responses. Enhancement and suppression were both observed, depending on the stimulus familiarity. Seeing a familiar bird led to suppressed auditory responses while seeing an unfamiliar bird led to response enhancement, suggesting that unisensory perception may be enough if the stimulus is familiar while redundancy may be required for unfamiliar items. This is to our knowledge the first evidence that multisensory integration may occur in a low-level, putatively unisensory area of a non-mammalian vertebrate brain, and also that familiarity of the stimuli may influence modulation of auditory responses by vision.

  4. Ventilation patterns of the songbird lung/air sac system during different behaviors.

    Mackelprang, Rebecca; Goller, Franz

    2013-10-01

    Unidirectional, continuous airflow through the avian lung is achieved through an elaborate air sac system with a sequential, posterior to anterior ventilation pattern. This classical model was established through various approaches spanning passively ventilated systems to mass spectrometry analysis of tracer gas flow into various air sacs during spontaneous breathing in restrained ducks. Information on flow patterns in other bird taxa is missing, and these techniques do not permit direct tests of whether the basic flow pattern can change during different behaviors. Here we use thermistors implanted into various locations of the respiratory system to detect small pulses of tracer gas (helium) to reconstruct airflow patterns in quietly breathing and behaving (calling, wing flapping) songbirds (zebra finch and yellow-headed blackbird). The results illustrate that the basic pattern of airflow in these two species is largely consistent with the model. However, two notable differences emerged. First, some tracer gas arrived in the anterior set of air sacs during the inspiration during which it was inhaled, suggesting a more rapid throughput through the lung than previously assumed. Second, differences in ventilation between the two anterior air sacs emerged during calling and wing flapping, indicating that adjustments in the flow pattern occur during dynamic behaviors. It is unclear whether this modulation in ventilation pattern is passive or active. This technique for studying ventilation patterns during dynamic behaviors proves useful for establishing detailed timing of airflow and modulation of ventilation in the avian respiratory system.

  5. Variation in circulating testosterone during mating predicts reproductive success in a wild songbird.

    Beate Apfelbeck

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Testosterone is an important sex hormone and mediates reproduction in male vertebrates. There is ample evidence that testosterone coordinates the expression of physiological, morphological and behavioural traits during reproduction and many of these traits are under sexual selection. However, only few studies so far have examined if individual variation in testosterone is correlated with reproductive success. Because socially monogamous bird species pass through different phases within a breeding cycle and each of these phases requires the expression of different behaviours, the relation between testosterone and reproductive success could vary with breeding stage. Here we investigate the link between reproductive success and testosterone in European stonechats – a socially monogamous songbird with biparental care. Previous studies found that territorial aggression in breeding stonechats depends on testosterone and that testosterone levels peak during the mating phase. Thus, high testosterone levels during mating may influence reproductive success by promoting territorial aggression and mate guarding. We found that males with two breeding attempts produced a similar number of fledglings as males with three breeding attempts. However, males with two breeding attempts expressed higher levels of testosterone than males with just one or those with three breeding attempts, regardless of whether testosterone was measured during the mating or the parental phase of the first brood. Furthermore, testosterone levels during mating, but not during parenting correlated with the total annual number of fledglings. Thus, individual variation in levels of plasma testosterone predicted reproductive success in stonechats.

  6. Local density regulates migratory songbird reproductive success through effects on double-brooding and nest predation.

    Woodworth, Bradley K; Wheelwright, Nathaniel T; Newman, Amy E M; Norris, D Ryan

    2017-08-01

    Knowledge of the density-dependent processes that regulate animal populations is key to understanding, predicting, and conserving populations. In migratory birds, density-dependence is most often studied during the breeding season, yet we still lack a robust understanding of the reproductive traits through which density influences individual reproductive success. We used 27-yr of detailed, individual-level productivity data from an island-breeding population of Savannah sparrows Passerculus sandwichensis to evaluate effects of local and total annual population density on female reproductive success. Local density (number of neighbors within 50 m of a female's nest) had stronger effects on the number of young fledged than did total annual population density. Females nesting in areas of high local density were more likely to suffer nest predation and less likely to initiate and fledge a second clutch, which led to fewer young fledged in a season. Fledging fewer young subsequently decreased the likelihood of a female recruiting offspring into the breeding population in a subsequent year. Collectively, these results provide insight into the scale and reproductive mechanisms mediating density-dependent reproductive success and fitness in songbirds. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  7. Late Pleistocene songbirds of Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia); the first fossil passerine fauna described from Wallacea

    Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Wahyu; Jatmiko; Wasisto, Sri; Tocheri, Matthew W.; Mayr, Gerald

    2017-01-01

    Background Passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) dominate modern terrestrial bird communities yet their fossil record is limited. Liang Bua is a large cave on the Indonesian island of Flores that preserves Late Pleistocene–Holocene deposits (∼190 ka to present day). Birds are the most diverse faunal group at Liang Bua and are present throughout the stratigraphic sequence. Methods We examined avian remains from the Late Pleistocene deposits of Sector XII, a 2 × 2 m area excavated to about 8.5 m depth. Although postcranial passerine remains are typically challenging to identify, we found several humeral characters particularly useful in discriminating between groups, and identified 89 skeletal elements of passerines. Results At least eight species from eight families are represented, including the Large-billed Crow (Corvus cf. macrorhynchos), the Australasian Bushlark (Mirafra javanica), a friarbird (Philemon sp.), and the Pechora Pipit (Anthus cf. gustavi). Discussion These remains constitute the first sample of fossil passerines described in Wallacea. Two of the taxa no longer occur on Flores today; a large sturnid (cf. Acridotheres) and a grassbird (Megalurus sp.). Palaeoecologically, the songbird assemblage suggests open grassland and tall forests, which is consistent with conditions inferred from the non-passerine fauna at the site. Corvus cf. macrorhynchos, found in the Homo floresiensis-bearing layers, was likely part of a scavenging guild that fed on carcasses of Stegodon florensis insularis alongside vultures (Trigonoceps sp.), giant storks (Leptoptilos robustus), komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), and probably H. floresiensis as well. PMID:28828271

  8. Social information changes stress hormone receptor expression in the songbird brain.

    Cornelius, Jamie M; Perreau, Gillian; Bishop, Valerie R; Krause, Jesse S; Smith, Rachael; Hahn, Thomas P; Meddle, Simone L

    2018-01-01

    Social information is used by many vertebrate taxa to inform decision-making, including resource-mediated movements, yet the mechanisms whereby social information is integrated physiologically to affect such decisions remain unknown. Social information is known to influence the physiological response to food reduction in captive songbirds. Red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) that were food reduced for several days showed significant elevations in circulating corticosterone (a "stress" hormone often responsive to food limitation) only if their neighbors were similarly food restricted. Physiological responses to glucocorticoid hormones are enacted through two receptors that may be expressed differentially in target tissues. Therefore, we investigated the influence of social information on the expression of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA in captive red crossbill brains. Although the role of MR and GR in the response to social information may be highly complex, we specifically predicted social information from food-restricted individuals would reduce MR and GR expression in two brain regions known to regulate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity - given that reduced receptor expression may lessen the efficacy of negative feedback and release inhibitory tone on the HPA. Our results support these predictions - offering one potential mechanism whereby social cues could increase or sustain HPA-activity during stress. The data further suggest different mechanisms by which metabolic stress versus social information influence HPA activity and behavioral outcomes. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Late Pleistocene songbirds of Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia; the first fossil passerine fauna described from Wallacea

    Hanneke J.M. Meijer

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Background Passerines (Aves: Passeriformes dominate modern terrestrial bird communities yet their fossil record is limited. Liang Bua is a large cave on the Indonesian island of Flores that preserves Late Pleistocene–Holocene deposits (∼190 ka to present day. Birds are the most diverse faunal group at Liang Bua and are present throughout the stratigraphic sequence. Methods We examined avian remains from the Late Pleistocene deposits of Sector XII, a 2 × 2 m area excavated to about 8.5 m depth. Although postcranial passerine remains are typically challenging to identify, we found several humeral characters particularly useful in discriminating between groups, and identified 89 skeletal elements of passerines. Results At least eight species from eight families are represented, including the Large-billed Crow (Corvus cf. macrorhynchos, the Australasian Bushlark (Mirafra javanica, a friarbird (Philemon sp., and the Pechora Pipit (Anthus cf. gustavi. Discussion These remains constitute the first sample of fossil passerines described in Wallacea. Two of the taxa no longer occur on Flores today; a large sturnid (cf. Acridotheres and a grassbird (Megalurus sp.. Palaeoecologically, the songbird assemblage suggests open grassland and tall forests, which is consistent with conditions inferred from the non-passerine fauna at the site. Corvus cf. macrorhynchos, found in the Homo floresiensis-bearing layers, was likely part of a scavenging guild that fed on carcasses of Stegodon florensis insularis alongside vultures (Trigonoceps sp., giant storks (Leptoptilos robustus, komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis, and probably H. floresiensis as well.

  10. Songbird Respiration is Controlled by Multispike Patterns at Millisecond Temporal Resolution

    Holmes, Caroline; Srivastava, Kyle; Vellema, Michiel; Elemans, Coen; Nemenman, Ilya; Sober, Samuel

    Although the importance of precise timing of neural action potentials (spikes) is well known in sensory systems, approaches to motor control have focused almost exclusively on firing rates. Here we examined whether precise timing of spikes in multispike patterns has an effect on the motor output in the respiratory system of the Bengalese finch, a songbird. By recording from single motor neurons and the muscle fibers they innervate in freely behaving birds, we find that the spike trains are significantly non-Poisson, suggesting that the precise timing of spikes is tightly controlled. We further find that even a one millisecond shift of an individual spike in a multispike pattern predicts a significantly different air sac pressure. Finally, we provide evidence for the causal relation between precise spike timing and the motor output in this organism by stimulating the motor system with precisely timed patterns of electrical impulses. We observe that shifting a single pulse by as little as two milliseconds elicits differences in resulting air sac pressure. These results demonstrate that the precise timing of spikes does play a role in motor control. This work was partially supported by NSF Grant IOS/1208126, NIH Grant 5R90DA033462 , NIH Grant R01NS084844, and NIH Grant F31DC013753.

  11. Contrasting impacts of competition on ecological and social trait evolution in songbirds.

    Drury, Jonathan P; Tobias, Joseph A; Burns, Kevin J; Mason, Nicholas A; Shultz, Allison J; Morlon, Hélène

    2018-01-01

    Competition between closely related species has long been viewed as a powerful selective force that drives trait diversification, thereby generating phenotypic diversity over macroevolutionary timescales. However, although the impact of interspecific competition has been documented in a handful of iconic insular radiations, most previous studies have focused on traits involved in resource use, and few have examined the role of competition across large, continental radiations. Thus, the extent to which broad-scale patterns of phenotypic diversity are shaped by competition remain largely unclear, particularly for social traits. Here, we estimate the effect of competition between interacting lineages by applying new phylogenetic models that account for such interactions to an exceptionally complete dataset of resource-use traits and social signaling traits for the entire radiation of tanagers (Aves, Thraupidae), the largest family of songbirds. We find that interspecific competition strongly influences the evolution of traits involved in resource use, with a weaker effect on plumage signals, and very little effect on song. Our results provide compelling evidence that interspecific exploitative competition contributes to ecological trait diversification among coexisting species, even in a large continental radiation. In comparison, signal traits mediating mate choice and social competition seem to diversify under different evolutionary models, including rapid diversification in the allopatric stage of speciation.

  12. The role of motivation and reward neural systems in vocal communication in songbirds.

    Riters, Lauren V

    2012-04-01

    Many vertebrates are highly motivated to communicate, suggesting that the consequences of communication may be rewarding. Past studies show that dopamine and opioids in the medial preoptic nucleus (mPOA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) play distinct roles in motivation and reward. In songbirds, multiple lines of recent evidence indicate that the roles of dopamine and opioid activity in mPOA and VTA in male birdsong differ depending upon whether song is used to attract females (sexually-motivated) or is produced spontaneously (undirected). Evidence is reviewed supporting the hypotheses that (1) mPOA and VTA interact to influence the context in which a male sings, (2) distinct patterns of dopamine activity underlie the motivation to produce sexually-motivated and undirected song, (3) sexually-motivated communication is externally reinforced by opioids released as part of social interactions, and (4) undirected communication is facilitated and rewarded by immediate opioid release linked to the act of singing. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. The effects of force-fledging and premature fledging on the survival of nestling songbirds

    Streby, Henry M.; Peterson, Sean M.; Lehman, Justin A.; Kramer, Gunnar R.; Iknayan, Kelly J.; Andersen, David E.

    2013-01-01

    Despite the broad consensus that force-fledging of nestling songbirds lowers their probability of survival and therefore should be generally avoided by researchers, that presumption has not been tested. We used radiotelemetry to monitor the survival of fledglings of OvenbirdsSeiurus aurocapilla and Golden-winged Warblers Vermivora chrysoptera that we unintentionally force-fledged (i.e. nestlings left the nest in response to our research activities at typical fledging age), that fledged prematurely (i.e. nestlings left the nest earlier than typical fledging age), and that fledged independently of our activities. Force-fledged Ovenbirds experienced significantly higher survival than those that fledged independent of our activities, and prematurely fledged Ovenbirds had a similarly high survival to those that force-fledged at typical fledging age. We observed a similar, though not statistically significant, pattern in Golden-winged Warbler fledgling survival. Our results suggest that investigator-induced force-fledging of nestlings, even when deemed premature, does not necessarily result in reduced fledgling survival in these species. Instead, our results suggest that a propensity or ability to fledge in response to disturbance may be a predictor of a higher probability of fledgling survival.

  14. Concealed by darkness: interactions between predatory bats and nocturnally migrating songbirds illuminated by DNA sequencing.

    Ibáñez, Carlos; Popa-Lisseanu, Ana G; Pastor-Beviá, David; García-Mudarra, Juan L; Juste, Javier

    2016-10-01

    Recently, several species of aerial-hawking bats have been found to prey on migrating songbirds, but details on this behaviour and its relevance for bird migration are still unclear. We sequenced avian DNA in feather-containing scats of the bird-feeding bat Nyctalus lasiopterus from Spain collected during bird migration seasons. We found very high prey diversity, with 31 bird species from eight families of Passeriformes, almost all of which were nocturnally flying sub-Saharan migrants. Moreover, species using tree hollows or nest boxes in the study area during migration periods were not present in the bats' diet, indicating that birds are solely captured on the wing during night-time passage. Additional to a generalist feeding strategy, we found that bats selected medium-sized bird species, thereby assumingly optimizing their energetic cost-benefit balance and injury risk. Surprisingly, bats preyed upon birds half their own body mass. This shows that the 5% prey to predator body mass ratio traditionally assumed for aerial hunting bats does not apply to this hunting strategy or even underestimates these animals' behavioural and mechanical abilities. Considering the bats' generalist feeding strategy and their large prey size range, we suggest that nocturnal bat predation may have influenced the evolution of bird migration strategies and behaviour. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. A positive relationship between spring temperature and productivity in 20 songbird species in the boreal zone.

    Meller, Kalle; Piha, Markus; Vähätalo, Anssi V; Lehikoinen, Aleksi

    2018-03-01

    Anthropogenic climate warming has already affected the population dynamics of numerous species and is predicted to do so also in the future. To predict the effects of climate change, it is important to know whether productivity is linked to temperature, and whether species' traits affect responses to climate change. To address these objectives, we analysed monitoring data from the Finnish constant effort site ringing scheme collected in 1987-2013 for 20 common songbird species together with climatic data. Warm spring temperature had a positive linear relationship with productivity across the community of 20 species independent of species' traits (realized thermal niche or migration behaviour), suggesting that even the warmest spring temperatures remained below the thermal optimum for reproduction, possibly due to our boreal study area being closer to the cold edge of all study species' distributions. The result also suggests a lack of mismatch between the timing of breeding and peak availability of invertebrate food of the study species. Productivity was positively related to annual growth rates in long-distance migrants, but not in short-distance migrants. Across the 27-year study period, temporal trends in productivity were mostly absent. The population sizes of species with colder thermal niches had decreasing trends, which were not related to temperature responses or temporal trends in productivity. The positive connection between spring temperature and productivity suggests that climate warming has potential to increase the productivity in bird species in the boreal zone, at least in the short term.

  16. Effects of nocturnal illumination on life-history decisions and fitness in two wild songbird species.

    de Jong, Maaike; Ouyang, Jenny Q; Da Silva, Arnaud; van Grunsven, Roy H A; Kempenaers, Bart; Visser, Marcel E; Spoelstra, Kamiel

    2015-05-05

    The effects of artificial night lighting on animal behaviour and fitness are largely unknown. Most studies report short-term consequences in locations that are also exposed to other anthropogenic disturbance. We know little about how the effects of nocturnal illumination vary with different light colour compositions. This is increasingly relevant as the use of LED lights becomes more common, and LED light colour composition can be easily adjusted. We experimentally illuminated previously dark natural habitat with white, green and red light, and measured the effects on life-history decisions and fitness in two free-living songbird species, the great tit (Parus major) and pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) in two consecutive years. In 2013, but not in 2014, we found an effect of light treatment on lay date, and of the interaction of treatment and distance to the nearest lamp post on chick mass in great tits but not in pied flycatchers. We did not find an effect in either species of light treatment on breeding densities, clutch size, probability of brood failure, number of fledglings and adult survival. The finding that light colour may have differential effects opens up the possibility to mitigate negative ecological effects of nocturnal illumination by using different light spectra. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  17. Restless roosts: Light pollution affects behavior, sleep, and physiology in a free-living songbird.

    Ouyang, Jenny Q; de Jong, Maaike; van Grunsven, Roy H A; Matson, Kevin D; Haussmann, Mark F; Meerlo, Peter; Visser, Marcel E; Spoelstra, Kamiel

    2017-11-01

    The natural nighttime environment is increasingly polluted by artificial light. Several studies have linked artificial light at night to negative impacts on human health. In free-living animals, light pollution is associated with changes in circadian, reproductive, and social behavior, but whether these animals also suffer from physiologic costs remains unknown. To fill this gap, we made use of a unique network of field sites which are either completely unlit (control), or are artificially illuminated with white, green, or red light. We monitored nighttime activity of adult great tits, Parus major, and related this activity to within-individual changes in physiologic indices. Because altered nighttime activity as a result of light pollution may affect health and well-being, we measured oxalic acid concentrations as a biomarker for sleep restriction, acute phase protein concentrations and malaria infection as indices of immune function, and telomere lengths as an overall measure of metabolic costs. Compared to other treatments, individuals roosting in the white light were much more active at night. In these individuals, oxalic acid decreased over the course of the study. We also found that individuals roosting in the white light treatment had a higher probability of malaria infection. Our results indicate that white light at night increases nighttime activity levels and sleep debt and affects disease dynamics in a free-living songbird. Our study offers the first evidence of detrimental effects of light pollution on the health of free-ranging wild animals. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. Light pollution alters the phenology of dawn and dusk singing in common European songbirds.

    Da Silva, Arnaud; Valcu, Mihai; Kempenaers, Bart

    2015-05-05

    Artificial night lighting is expanding globally, but its ecological consequences remain little understood. Animals often use changes in day length as a cue to time seasonal behaviour. Artificial night lighting may influence the perception of day length, and may thus affect both circadian and circannual rhythms. Over a 3.5 month period, from winter to breeding, we recorded daily singing activity of six common songbird species in 12 woodland sites, half of which were affected by street lighting. We previously reported on analyses suggesting that artificial night lighting affects the daily timing of singing in five species. The main aim of this study was to investigate whether the presence of artificial night lighting is also associated with the seasonal occurrence of dawn and dusk singing. We found that in four species dawn and dusk singing developed earlier in the year at sites exposed to light pollution. We also examined the effects of weather conditions and found that rain and low temperatures negatively affected the occurrence of dawn and dusk singing. Our results support the hypothesis that artificial night lighting alters natural seasonal rhythms, independently of other effects of urbanization. The fitness consequences of the observed changes in seasonal timing of behaviour remain unknown.

  19. Variation in social relationships relates to song preferences and EGR1 expression in a female songbird.

    Schubloom, Hannah E; Woolley, Sarah C

    2016-09-01

    Social experiences can profoundly shape social behavior and the underlying neural circuits. Across species, the formation of enduring social relationships is associated with both neural and behavioral changes. However, it remains unclear how longer-term relationships between individuals influence brain and behavior. Here, we investigated how variation in social relationships relates to variation in female preferences for and neural responses to song in a pair-bonding songbird. We assessed variation in the interactions between individuals in male-female zebra finch pairs and found that female preferences for their mate's song were correlated with the degree of affiliation and amount of socially modulated singing, but not with the frequency of aggressive interactions. Moreover, variation in measures of pair quality and preference correlated with variation in the song-induced expression of EGR1, an immediate early gene related to neural activity and plasticity, in brain regions important for auditory processing and social behavior. For example, females with weaker preferences for their mate's song had greater EGR1 expression in the nucleus Taeniae, the avian homologue of the mammalian medial amygdala, in response to playback of their mate's courtship song. Our data indicate that the quality of social interactions within pairs relates to variation in song preferences and neural responses to ethologically relevant stimuli and lend insight into neural circuits sensitive to social information. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 76: 1029-1040, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Does the sensorimotor system minimize prediction error or select the most likely prediction during object lifting?

    McGregor, Heather R.; Pun, Henry C. H.; Buckingham, Gavin; Gribble, Paul L.

    2016-01-01

    The human sensorimotor system is routinely capable of making accurate predictions about an object's weight, which allows for energetically efficient lifts and prevents objects from being dropped. Often, however, poor predictions arise when the weight of an object can vary and sensory cues about object weight are sparse (e.g., picking up an opaque water bottle). The question arises, what strategies does the sensorimotor system use to make weight predictions when one is dealing with an object whose weight may vary? For example, does the sensorimotor system use a strategy that minimizes prediction error (minimal squared error) or one that selects the weight that is most likely to be correct (maximum a posteriori)? In this study we dissociated the predictions of these two strategies by having participants lift an object whose weight varied according to a skewed probability distribution. We found, using a small range of weight uncertainty, that four indexes of sensorimotor prediction (grip force rate, grip force, load force rate, and load force) were consistent with a feedforward strategy that minimizes the square of prediction errors. These findings match research in the visuomotor system, suggesting parallels in underlying processes. We interpret our findings within a Bayesian framework and discuss the potential benefits of using a minimal squared error strategy. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using a novel experimental model of object lifting, we tested whether the sensorimotor system models the weight of objects by minimizing lifting errors or by selecting the statistically most likely weight. We found that the sensorimotor system minimizes the square of prediction errors for object lifting. This parallels the results of studies that investigated visually guided reaching, suggesting an overlap in the underlying mechanisms between tasks that involve different sensory systems. PMID:27760821

  1. Test-retest reliability of the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA)

    Bégel, Valentin; Verga, Laura; Benoit, Charles-Etienne; Kotz, Sonja A; Bella, Simone Dalla

    2018-01-01

    Perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills can be comprehensively assessed with the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA). The battery has been used for testing rhythmic skills in healthy adults and patient populations (e.g., with Parkinson disease),

  2. Keep your options open: an information-based driving principle for sensorimotor systems.

    Alexander S Klyubin

    Full Text Available The central resource processed by the sensorimotor system of an organism is information. We propose an information-based quantity that allows one to characterize the efficiency of the perception-action loop of an abstract organism model. It measures the potential of the organism to imprint information on the environment via its actuators in a way that can be recaptured by its sensors, essentially quantifying the options available and visible to the organism. Various scenarios suggest that such a quantity could identify the preferred direction of evolution or adaptation of the sensorimotor loop of organisms.

  3. A jacket for assisting sensorimotor-related impairments and spatial perception

    Blumenstein, Tobias; Turova, Varvara; Alves-Pinto, Ana; Lampe, Renée

    2017-01-01

    A sensorimotor jacket, which is able to measure distances to nearby objects with ultrasonic sensors and to transmit information about distances via vibrating transducers, has been designed with the aim of improving the spatial awareness of patients with cerebral palsy and to facilitate spatial orientation for blind people. The efficiency was tested for patients diagnosed with cerebral palsy, blind participants and healthy people. A positive impact of the sensorimotor jacket on the performance in a spatial task has been established both in patients with cerebral palsy and blind participants. Moreover, for patients with cerebral palsy, the training effect was visible after only three training exercises. (paper)

  4. Functional Task Test: 1. Sensorimotor changes Associated with Postflight Alterations in Astronaut Functional Task Performance

    Bloomberg, J. J.; Arzeno, N. H.; Buxton, R. E.; Feiveson, A. H.; Kofman, I. S.; Lee, S. M. C.; Miller, C. A.; Mulavara, A. P.; Platts, S. H.; Peters, B. T.; hide

    2011-01-01

    Space flight is known to cause alterations in multiple physiological systems including changes in sensorimotor, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular systems. These changes may affect a crewmember s ability to perform critical mission tasks immediately after landing on a planetary surface. The overall goal of this project is to determine the effects of space flight on functional tests that are representative of high priority exploration mission tasks and to identify the key underlying physiological factors that contribute to decrements in performance. This presentation will focus on the sensorimotor contributions to postflight functional performance.

  5. Physical and neural entrainment to rhythm: human sensorimotor coordination across tasks and effector systems

    Jessica Marie Ross

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available The human sensorimotor system can be readily entrained to environmental rhythms, through multiple sensory modalities. In this review, we provide an overview of theories of timekeeping that make this neuroentrainment possible. First, we present recent evidence that contests the assumptions made in classic timekeeper models. The role of state estimation, sensory feedback and movement parameters on the organization of sensorimotor timing are discussed in the context of recent experiments that examined simultaneous timing and force control. This discussion is extended to the study of coordinated multi-effector movements and how they may be entrained.

  6. Changes in neural resting state activity in primary and higher-order motor areas induced by a short sensorimotor intervention based on the Feldenkrais method

    Julius eVerrel

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available We use functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate short-term neural effects of a brief sensorimotor intervention adapted from the Feldenkrais method, a movement-based learning method. Twenty-one participants (10 men, 19-30 years took part in the study. Participants were in a supine position in the scanner with extended legs while an experienced Feldenkrais practitioner used a planar board to touch and apply minimal force to different parts of the sole and toes of their left foot under two experimental conditions. In the local condition, the practitioner explored movement within foot and ankle. In the global condition, the practitioner focused on the connection and support from the foot to the rest of the body. Before (baseline and after each intervention (post-local, post-global, we measured brain activity during intermittent pushing/releasing with the left leg and during resting state. Independent localizer tasks were used to identify regions of interest (ROI.Brain activity during left-foot pushing did not significantly differ between conditions in sensorimotor areas. Resting state activity (regional homogeneity, ReHo increased from baseline to post-local in medial right motor cortex, and from baseline to post-global in the left supplementary/cingulate motor area. Contrasting post-global to post-local showed higher ReHo in right lateral motor cortex. ROI analyses showed significant increases in ReHo in pushing-related areas from baseline to both post-local and post-global, and this increase tended to be more pronounced post-local. The results of this exploratory study show that a short, non-intrusive sensorimotor intervention can have short-term effects on spontaneous cortical activity in functionally related brain regions. Increased resting state activity in higher-order motor areas supports the hypothesis that the global intervention engages action-related neural processes.

  7. Body temperature changes during simulated bacterial infection in a songbird: fever at night and hypothermia during the day.

    Sköld-Chiriac, Sandra; Nord, Andreas; Tobler, Michael; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Hasselquist, Dennis

    2015-09-01

    Although fever (a closely regulated increase in body temperature in response to infection) typically is beneficial, it is energetically costly and may induce detrimentally high body temperatures. This can increase the susceptibility to energetic bottlenecks and risks of overheating in some organisms. Accordingly, it could be particularly interesting to study fever in small birds, which have comparatively high metabolic rates and high, variable body temperatures. We therefore investigated two aspects of fever and other sickness behaviours (circadian variation, dose dependence) in a small songbird, the zebra finch. We injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at the beginning of either the day or the night, and subsequently monitored body temperature, body mass change and food intake for the duration of the response. We found pronounced circadian variation in the body temperature response to LPS injection, manifested by (dose-dependent) hypothermia during the day but fever at night. This resulted in body temperature during the peak response being relatively similar during the day and night. Day-to-night differences might be explained in the context of circadian variation in body temperature: songbirds have a high daytime body temperature that is augmented by substantial heat production peaks during activity. This might require a trade-off between the benefit of fever and the risk of overheating. In contrast, at night, when body temperature is typically lower and less variable, fever can be used to mitigate infection. We suggest that the change in body temperature during infection in small songbirds is context dependent and regulated to promote survival according to individual demands at the time of infection. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  8. Fat, weather, and date affect migratory songbirds' departure decisions, routes, and time it takes to cross the Gulf of Mexico.

    Deppe, Jill L; Ward, Michael P; Bolus, Rachel T; Diehl, Robert H; Celis-Murillo, Antonio; Zenzal, Theodore J; Moore, Frank R; Benson, Thomas J; Smolinsky, Jaclyn A; Schofield, Lynn N; Enstrom, David A; Paxton, Eben H; Bohrer, Gil; Beveroth, Tara A; Raim, Arlo; Obringer, Renee L; Delaney, David; Cochran, William W

    2015-11-17

    Approximately two thirds of migratory songbirds in eastern North America negotiate the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), where inclement weather coupled with no refueling or resting opportunities can be lethal. However, decisions made when navigating such features and their consequences remain largely unknown due to technological limitations of tracking small animals over large areas. We used automated radio telemetry to track three songbird species (Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush) from coastal Alabama to the northern Yucatan Peninsula (YP) during fall migration. Detecting songbirds after crossing ∼1,000 km of open water allowed us to examine intrinsic (age, wing length, fat) and extrinsic (weather, date) variables shaping departure decisions, arrival at the YP, and crossing times. Large fat reserves and low humidity, indicative of beneficial synoptic weather patterns, favored southward departure across the Gulf. Individuals detected in the YP departed with large fat reserves and later in the fall with profitable winds, and flight durations (mean = 22.4 h) were positively related to wind profit. Age was not related to departure behavior, arrival, or travel time. However, vireos negotiated the GOM differently than thrushes, including different departure decisions, lower probability of detection in the YP, and longer crossing times. Defense of winter territories by thrushes but not vireos and species-specific foraging habits may explain the divergent migratory behaviors. Fat reserves appear extremely important to departure decisions and arrival in the YP. As habitat along the GOM is degraded, birds may be limited in their ability to acquire fat to cross the Gulf.

  9. Predation-related costs and benefits of conspecific attraction in songbirds--an agent-based approach.

    Szymkowiak, Jakub; Kuczyński, Lechosław

    2015-01-01

    Songbirds that follow a conspecific attraction strategy in the habitat selection process prefer to settle in habitat patches already occupied by other individuals. This largely affects the patterns of their spatio-temporal distribution and leads to clustered breeding. Although making informed settlement decisions is expected to be beneficial for individuals, such territory clusters may potentially provide additional fitness benefits (e.g., through the dilution effect) or costs (e.g., possibly facilitating nest localization if predators respond functionally to prey distribution). Thus, we hypothesized that the fitness consequences of following a conspecific attraction strategy may largely depend on the composition of the predator community. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the settling behavior of birds that use a conspecific attraction strategy and breed in a multi-predator landscape with predators that exhibited different foraging strategies. Moreover, we investigated whether Bayesian updating of prior settlement decisions according to the perceived predation risk may improve the fitness of birds that rely on conspecific cues. Our results provide evidence that the fitness consequences of conspecific attraction are predation-related. We found that in landscapes dominated by predators able to respond functionally to prey distribution, clustered breeding led to fitness costs. However, this cost could be reduced if birds performed Bayesian updating of prior settlement decisions and perceived nesting with too many neighbors as a threat. Our results did not support the hypothesis that in landscapes dominated by incidental predators, clustered breeding as a byproduct of conspecific attraction provides fitness benefits through the dilution effect. We suggest that this may be due to the spatial scale of songbirds' aggregative behavior. In general, we provide evidence that when considering the fitness consequences of conspecific attraction for

  10. Warm springs, early lay dates, and double brooding in a North American migratory songbird, the black-throated blue warbler.

    Andrea K Townsend

    Full Text Available Numerous studies have correlated the advancement of lay date in birds with warming climate trends, yet the fitness effects associated with this phenological response have been examined in only a small number of species. Most of these species--primarily insectivorous cavity nesters in Europe--exhibit fitness declines associated with increasing asynchrony with prey. Here, we use 25 years of demographic data, collected from 1986 to 2010, to examine the effects of spring temperature on breeding initiation date, double brooding, and annual fecundity in a Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird, the black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens. Data were collected from birds breeding at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA, where long-term trends toward warmer springs have been recorded. We found that black-throated blue warblers initiated breeding earlier in warmer springs, that early breeders were more likely to attempt a second brood than those starting later in the season, and that double brooding and lay date were linked to higher annual fecundity. Accordingly, we found selection favored earlier breeding in most years. However, in contrast to studies of several other long-distance migratory species in Europe, this selection pressure was not stronger in warmer springs, indicating that these warblers were able to adjust mean lay date appropriately to substantial inter-annual variation in spring temperature. Our results suggest that this North American migratory songbird might not experience the same fecundity declines as songbirds that are unable to adjust their timing of breeding in pace with spring temperatures.

  11. Predation-related costs and benefits of conspecific attraction in songbirds--an agent-based approach.

    Jakub Szymkowiak

    Full Text Available Songbirds that follow a conspecific attraction strategy in the habitat selection process prefer to settle in habitat patches already occupied by other individuals. This largely affects the patterns of their spatio-temporal distribution and leads to clustered breeding. Although making informed settlement decisions is expected to be beneficial for individuals, such territory clusters may potentially provide additional fitness benefits (e.g., through the dilution effect or costs (e.g., possibly facilitating nest localization if predators respond functionally to prey distribution. Thus, we hypothesized that the fitness consequences of following a conspecific attraction strategy may largely depend on the composition of the predator community. We developed an agent-based model in which we simulated the settling behavior of birds that use a conspecific attraction strategy and breed in a multi-predator landscape with predators that exhibited different foraging strategies. Moreover, we investigated whether Bayesian updating of prior settlement decisions according to the perceived predation risk may improve the fitness of birds that rely on conspecific cues. Our results provide evidence that the fitness consequences of conspecific attraction are predation-related. We found that in landscapes dominated by predators able to respond functionally to prey distribution, clustered breeding led to fitness costs. However, this cost could be reduced if birds performed Bayesian updating of prior settlement decisions and perceived nesting with too many neighbors as a threat. Our results did not support the hypothesis that in landscapes dominated by incidental predators, clustered breeding as a byproduct of conspecific attraction provides fitness benefits through the dilution effect. We suggest that this may be due to the spatial scale of songbirds' aggregative behavior. In general, we provide evidence that when considering the fitness consequences of conspecific

  12. Mapping of the brain hemodynamic responses to sensorimotor stimulation in a rodent model: A BOLD fMRI study.

    Salem Boussida

    Full Text Available Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent functional MRI (BOLD fMRI during electrical paw stimulation has been widely used in studies aimed at the understanding of the somatosensory network in rats. However, despite the well-established anatomical connections between cortical and subcortical structures of the sensorimotor system, most of these functional studies have been concentrated on the cortical effects of sensory electrical stimulation. BOLD fMRI study of the integration of a sensorimotor input across the sensorimotor network requires an appropriate methodology to elicit functional activation in cortical and subcortical areas owing to the regional differences in both neuronal and vascular architectures between these brain regions. Here, using a combination of low level anesthesia, long pulse duration of the electrical stimulation along with improved spatial and temporal signal to noise ratios, we provide a functional description of the main cortical and subcortical structures of the sensorimotor rat brain. With this calibrated fMRI protocol, unilateral non-noxious sensorimotor electrical hindpaw stimulation resulted in robust positive activations in the contralateral sensorimotor cortex and bilaterally in the sensorimotor thalamus nuclei, whereas negative activations were observed bilaterally in the dorsolateral caudate-putamen. These results demonstrate that, once the experimental setup allowing necessary spatial and temporal signal to noise ratios is reached, hemodynamic changes related to neuronal activity, as preserved by the combination of a soft anesthesia with a soft muscle relaxation, can be measured within the sensorimotor network. Moreover, the observed responses suggest that increasing pulse duration of the electrical stimulus adds a proprioceptive component to the sensory input that activates sensorimotor network in the brain, and that these activation patterns are similar to those induced by digits paw's movements. These findings may

  13. A predictive processing theory of sensorimotor contingencies: Explaining the puzzle of perceptual presence and its absence in synesthesia.

    Seth, Anil K

    2014-01-01

    Normal perception involves experiencing objects within perceptual scenes as real, as existing in the world. This property of "perceptual presence" has motivated "sensorimotor theories" which understand perception to involve the mastery of sensorimotor contingencies. However, the mechanistic basis of sensorimotor contingencies and their mastery has remained unclear. Sensorimotor theory also struggles to explain instances of perception, such as synesthesia, that appear to lack perceptual presence and for which relevant sensorimotor contingencies are difficult to identify. On alternative "predictive processing" theories, perceptual content emerges from probabilistic inference on the external causes of sensory signals, however, this view has addressed neither the problem of perceptual presence nor synesthesia. Here, I describe a theory of predictive perception of sensorimotor contingencies which (1) accounts for perceptual presence in normal perception, as well as its absence in synesthesia, and (2) operationalizes the notion of sensorimotor contingencies and their mastery. The core idea is that generative models underlying perception incorporate explicitly counterfactual elements related to how sensory inputs would change on the basis of a broad repertoire of possible actions, even if those actions are not performed. These "counterfactually-rich" generative models encode sensorimotor contingencies related to repertoires of sensorimotor dependencies, with counterfactual richness determining the degree of perceptual presence associated with a stimulus. While the generative models underlying normal perception are typically counterfactually rich (reflecting a large repertoire of possible sensorimotor dependencies), those underlying synesthetic concurrents are hypothesized to be counterfactually poor. In addition to accounting for the phenomenology of synesthesia, the theory naturally accommodates phenomenological differences between a range of experiential states

  14. Counting on the mental number line to make a move: Sensorimotor ('pen') control and numerical processing

    Sheridan, R.; Rooijen, M. van; Giles, O.; Mushtaq, F.; Steenbergen, B.; Mon-Williams, M.; Waterman, A.H.

    2017-01-01

    Mathematics is often conducted with a writing implement. But is there a relationship between numerical processing and sensorimotor 'pen' control? We asked participants to move a stylus so it crossed an unmarked line at a location specified by a symbolic number (1-9), where number colour indicated

  15. Increased connectivity between sensorimotor and attentional areas in Parkinson's disease

    Onu, Mihaela; Badea, Liviu; Roceanu, Adina; Bajenaru, Ovidiu; Tivarus, Madalina

    2015-01-01

    Our study is using Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to evaluate functional connectivity changes in Parkinson's disease (PD) in an unbiased manner. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data was collected for 27 PD patients and 16 healthy subjects. Differences for intra- and inter-network connectivity between healthy subjects and patients were investigated using FMRIB Software Library (FSL) tools (Melodic ICA, dual regression, FSLNets). Twenty-three ICA maps were identified as components of neuronal origin. For intra-network connectivity changes, eight components showed a significant connectivity increase in patients (p < 0.05); these were correlated with clinical scores and were largest for (sensori)motor networks. For inter-network connectivity changes, we found higher connectivity between the sensorimotor network and the spatial attention network (p = 0.0098) and lower connectivity between anterior and posterior default mode networks (DMN) (p = 0.024), anterior DMN and visual recognition networks (p = 0.026), as well as between visual attention and main dorsal attention networks (p = 0.03), for patients as compared to healthy subjects. The area under the Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curve for the best predictor (partial correlation between sensorimotor and spatial attention networks) was 0.772. These functional alterations were not associated with any gray or white matter structural changes. Our results show higher connectivity between sensorimotor and spatial attention areas in patients that may be related to the reduced movement automaticity in PD. (orig.)

  16. Motor Adaptation and Manual Transfer: Insight into the Persistent Nature of Sensorimotor Representations

    Green, Sharon; Grierson, Lawrence E. M.; Dubrowski, Adam; Carnahan, Heather

    2010-01-01

    It is well known that sensorimotor memories are built and updated through experience with objects. These representations are useful to anticipatory and feedforward control processes that preset grip and load forces during lifting. When individuals lift objects with qualities that are not congruent with their memory-derived expectations, feedback…

  17. Human-Inspired Eigenmovement Concept Provides Coupling-Free Sensorimotor Control in Humanoid Robot

    Alexandrov, A.V.; Lippi, V.; Mergner, T.; Frolov, A. A.; Hettich, G.; Húsek, Dušan

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 11, 25 April (2017), č. článku 22. ISSN 1662-5188 Institutional support: RVO:67985807 Keywords : human sensorimotor system * neuromechanics * biorobotics * motor control * eigenmovements Subject RIV: JD - Computer Applications, Robotics OBOR OECD: Robotics and automatic control Impact factor: 1.821, year: 2016

  18. Influence of spinal cord injury on cerebral sensorimotor systems : A PET study

    Roelcke, U; Curt, A; Otte, A; Missimer, J; Maguire, RP; Dietz, [No Value; Leenders, KL

    Objectives-To assess the effect of a transverse spinal cord lesion on cerebral energy metabolism in view of sensorimotor reorganisation. Methods-PET and F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose were used to study resting cerebral glucose metabolism in 11 patients with complete paraplegia or tetraplegia after spinal

  19. Increased connectivity between sensorimotor and attentional areas in Parkinson's disease

    Onu, Mihaela [Medical Imaging Department, Clinical Hospital ' ' Prof. Dr. Th. Burghele' ' , Bucharest (Romania); Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Biophysics, Bucharest (Romania); Badea, Liviu [National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics, Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics Group, Bucharest (Romania); Roceanu, Adina; Bajenaru, Ovidiu [University of Bucharest Emergency Hospital, Neurology Department, Bucharest (Romania); Tivarus, Madalina [University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Imaging Sciences and Rochester Center for Brain Imaging, Rochester, NY (United States)

    2015-09-15

    Our study is using Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to evaluate functional connectivity changes in Parkinson's disease (PD) in an unbiased manner. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data was collected for 27 PD patients and 16 healthy subjects. Differences for intra- and inter-network connectivity between healthy subjects and patients were investigated using FMRIB Software Library (FSL) tools (Melodic ICA, dual regression, FSLNets). Twenty-three ICA maps were identified as components of neuronal origin. For intra-network connectivity changes, eight components showed a significant connectivity increase in patients (p < 0.05); these were correlated with clinical scores and were largest for (sensori)motor networks. For inter-network connectivity changes, we found higher connectivity between the sensorimotor network and the spatial attention network (p = 0.0098) and lower connectivity between anterior and posterior default mode networks (DMN) (p = 0.024), anterior DMN and visual recognition networks (p = 0.026), as well as between visual attention and main dorsal attention networks (p = 0.03), for patients as compared to healthy subjects. The area under the Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curve for the best predictor (partial correlation between sensorimotor and spatial attention networks) was 0.772. These functional alterations were not associated with any gray or white matter structural changes. Our results show higher connectivity between sensorimotor and spatial attention areas in patients that may be related to the reduced movement automaticity in PD. (orig.)

  20. Emotional-volitional components of operator reliability. [sensorimotor function testing under stress

    Mileryan, Y. A.

    1975-01-01

    Sensorimotor function testing in a tracking task under stressfull working conditions established a psychological characterization for a successful aviation pilot: Motivation significantly increased the reliability and effectiveness of their work. Their acitivities were aimed at suppressing weariness and the feeling of fear caused by the stress factors; they showed patience, endurance, persistence, and a capacity for lengthy volitional efforts.

  1. Sensorimotor performance in euthymic bipolar disorder: the MPraxis (PennCNP analysis

    Maila de C. Neves

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Background: Sensorimotor deficits are an important phenomenological facet observed in patients with bipolar disorder (BD. However, there is little research on this topic. We hypothesize that the MPraxis test can be used to screen for motor impairments in BD aiming movements. Method: The MPraxis, which is a quick and easy-to-apply computerized test, measures sensorimotor control. During the test, the participant must move the computer mouse cursor over an ever-shrinking green box and click on it once. We predict that the MPraxis test is capable of detecting differences in sensorimotor performance between patients with BD and controls. We assessed 21 euthymic type I BD patients, without DSM-IV-TR Axis I comorbidity, and 21 healthy controls. Results and conclusions: Compared to the controls, the patients with BD presented a lower response time in their movements in all conditions. Our results showed sensorimotor deficits in BD and suggested that the MPraxis test can be used to screen for motor impairments in patients with euthymic BD.

  2. The Influence of Gravito-Inertial Force on Sensorimotor Integration and Reflexive Responses

    Curthoys, Ian S.; Guedry, Fred E.; Merfeld, Daniel M.; Watt, Doug G. D.; Tomko, David L.; Wade, Charles E. (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    Sensorimotor responses (e.g.. eye movements, spinal reflexes, etc depend upon the interpretation of the neural signals from the sensory systems. Since neural signals from the otoliths may represent either tilt (gravity) or translation (linear inertial force), sensory signals from the otolith organs are necessarily somewhat ambiguous. Therefore. the neural responses to changing otolith signals depend upon the context of the stimulation (e.g- active vs. passive, relative orientation of gravity, etc.) as well as upon other sensory signals (e.g., vision. canals, etc.). This session will focus upon the -role -played by the sensory signals from the otolith organs in producing efficient sensorimotor and behavioral responses. Curthoys will show the influence of the peripheral anatomy and physiology. Tomko will discuss the influence of tilt and translational otolith signals on eye movements. Merfeld will demonstrate the rate otolith organs play during the interaction of sensory signals from the canals and otoliths. Watt will show the influence of the otoliths on spinal/postural responses. Guedry will discuss the contribution of vestibular information to "path of movement"' perception and to the development of a stable vertical reference. Sensorimotor responses to the ambiguous inertial force stimulation provide an important tool to investigate how the nervous system processes patterns of sensory information and yields functional sensorimotor responses.

  3. Altered contralateral sensorimotor system organization after experimental hemispherectomy: a structural and functional connectivity study.

    Otte, Willem M; van der Marel, Kajo; van Meer, Maurits P A; van Rijen, Peter C; Gosselaar, Peter H; Braun, Kees P J; Dijkhuizen, Rick M

    2015-08-01

    Hemispherectomy is often followed by remarkable recovery of cognitive and motor functions. This reflects plastic capacities of the remaining hemisphere, involving large-scale structural and functional adaptations. Better understanding of these adaptations may (1) provide new insights in the neuronal configuration and rewiring that underlies sensorimotor outcome restoration, and (2) guide development of rehabilitation strategies to enhance recovery after hemispheric lesioning. We assessed brain structure and function in a hemispherectomy model. With MRI we mapped changes in white matter structural integrity and gray matter functional connectivity in eight hemispherectomized rats, compared with 12 controls. Behavioral testing involved sensorimotor performance scoring. Diffusion tensor imaging and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging were acquired 7 and 49 days post surgery. Hemispherectomy caused significant sensorimotor deficits that largely recovered within 2 weeks. During the recovery period, fractional anisotropy was maintained and white matter volume and axial diffusivity increased in the contralateral cerebral peduncle, suggestive of preserved or improved white matter integrity despite overall reduced white matter volume. This was accompanied by functional adaptations in the contralateral sensorimotor network. The observed white matter modifications and reorganization of functional network regions may provide handles for rehabilitation strategies improving functional recovery following large lesions.

  4. The posterior parietal cortex as integrative hub for whisker sensorimotor information

    Mohan, Hemanth; de Haan, Roel; Mansvelder, Huibert D; de Kock, Christiaan P J

    2018-01-01

    Our daily life consists of a continuous interplay between incoming sensory information and outgoing motor plans. Particularly during goal-directed behavior and active exploration of the sensory environment, brain circuits are merging sensory and motor signals. This is referred to as sensorimotor

  5. Temperate grassland songbird species accumulate incrementally along a gradient of primary productivity.

    William L Harrower

    Full Text Available Global analyses of bird communities along elevation gradients suggest that bird diversity on arid mountains is primarily limited by water availability, not temperature or altitude. However, the mechanism by which water availability, and subsequently primary productivity, increases bird diversity is still unclear. Here we evaluate two possible mechanisms from species-energy theory. The more individuals hypothesis proposes that a higher availability of resources increases the total number of individuals that can be supported, and therefore the greater number of species that will be sampled. By contrast, the more specialization hypothesis proposes that increasing resource availability will permit specialists to exploit otherwise rare resources, thus increasing total diversity. We used 5 years of surveys of grassland songbird communities along an elevational gradient in British Columbia, Canada, to distinguish between these hypotheses. Vegetation changed markedly in composition along the gradient and contrary to the expectations of the more specialization hypothesis, bird community composition was remarkably constant. However, both total abundance and species richness of birds increased with increasing water availability to plants. When we used rarefaction to correct species richness for differences in total abundance, much of the increase in bird diversity was lost, consistent with the expectations of the more individuals hypothesis. Furthermore, high species richness was associated with reductions in territory size of common bird species, rather than the fine-scale spatial partitioning of the landscape. This suggests that bird diversity increases when greater resource availability allows higher densities rather than greater habitat specialization. These results help explain a pervasive global pattern in bird diversity on arid mountains, and suggest that in such landscapes conservation of grassland birds is strongly linked to climate and hydrology.

  6. Distinct neurogenomic states in basal ganglia subregions relate differently to singing behavior in songbirds.

    Austin T Hilliard

    Full Text Available Both avian and mammalian basal ganglia are involved in voluntary motor control. In birds, such movements include hopping, perching and flying. Two organizational features that distinguish the songbird basal ganglia are that striatal and pallidal neurons are intermingled, and that neurons dedicated to vocal-motor function are clustered together in a dense cell group known as area X that sits within the surrounding striato-pallidum. This specification allowed us to perform molecular profiling of two striato-pallidal subregions, comparing transcriptional patterns in tissue dedicated to vocal-motor function (area X to those in tissue that contains similar cell types but supports non-vocal behaviors: the striato-pallidum ventral to area X (VSP, our focus here. Since any behavior is likely underpinned by the coordinated actions of many molecules, we constructed gene co-expression networks from microarray data to study large-scale transcriptional patterns in both subregions. Our goal was to investigate any relationship between VSP network structure and singing and identify gene co-expression groups, or modules, found in the VSP but not area X. We observed mild, but surprising, relationships between VSP modules and song spectral features, and found a group of four VSP modules that were highly specific to the region. These modules were unrelated to singing, but were composed of genes involved in many of the same biological processes as those we previously observed in area X-specific singing-related modules. The VSP-specific modules were also enriched for processes disrupted in Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases. Our results suggest that the activation/inhibition of a single pathway is not sufficient to functionally specify area X versus the VSP and support the notion that molecular processes are not in and of themselves specialized for behavior. Instead, unique interactions between molecular pathways create functional specificity in particular brain

  7. Songbird response to increased willow (Salix spp.) growth in Yellowstone's northern range.

    Baril, Lisa M; Hansen, Andrew J; Renkin, Roy; Lawrence, Rick

    2011-09-01

    After nearly a century of height suppression, willows (Salix spp.) in the northern range of Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A., are increasing in height growth as a possible consequence of wolf (Canis lupus) restoration, climate change, or other factors. Regardless of the drivers, the recent release of this rare but important habitat type could have significant implications for associated songbirds that are exhibiting declines in the region. Our objective was to evaluate bird response to releasing willows by comparing willow structure and bird community composition across three willow growth conditions: height suppressed, recently released, and previously tall (i.e., tall prior to the height increase of released willows). Released and previously tall willows exhibited high and similar vertical structure, but released willows were significantly lower in horizontal structure. Suppressed willows were significantly shorter and lower in horizontal cover than released or previously tall willows. Bird richness increased along a gradient from lowest in suppressed to highest in previously tall willows, but abundance and diversity were similar between released and previously tall willows, despite lower horizontal cover in the released condition. Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) and Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) were found in all three growth conditions; however, Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus), Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodii) were present in released and previously tall willows only. Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) was found in previously tall willows only, appearing to specialize on tall, dense willows. The results of our a priori habitat models indicated that foliage height diversity was the primary driver of bird richness, abundance, and diversity. These results indicate that vertical structure was a more important driver of bird community variables than horizontal

  8. Artificial light at night affects sleep behaviour differently in two closely related songbird species.

    Sun, Jiachen; Raap, Thomas; Pinxten, Rianne; Eens, Marcel

    2017-12-01

    Artificial light at night (ALAN) or light pollution is an increasing and worldwide problem. There is growing concern that because of the disruption of natural light cycles, ALAN may pose serious risks for wildlife. While ALAN has been shown to affect many aspects of animal behaviour and physiology, few studies have experimentally studied whether individuals of different species in the wild respond differently to ALAN. Here, we investigated the effect of ALAN on sleep behaviour in two closely related songbird species inhabiting the same study area and roosting/breeding in similar nest boxes. We experimentally exposed free-living great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) to artificial light inside their nest boxes and observed changes in their sleep behaviour compared to the previous night when the nest boxes were dark. In line with previous studies, sleep behaviour of both species did not differ under dark conditions. ALAN disrupted sleep in both great and blue tits. However, compared to blue tits, great tits showed more pronounced effects and more aspects of sleep were affected. Light exposed great tits entered the nest boxes and fell asleep later, woke up and exited the nest boxes earlier, and the total sleep amount and sleep percentage were reduced. By contrast, these changes in sleep behaviour were not found in light exposed blue tits. Our field experiment, using exactly the same light manipulation in both species, provides direct evidence that two closely related species respond differently to ALAN, while their sleep behaviour under dark conditions was similar. Our research suggests that findings for one species cannot necessarily be generalised to other species, even closely-related species. Furthermore, species-specific effects could have implications for community dynamics. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Memory-dependent adjustment of vocal response latencies in a territorial songbird.

    Geberzahn, Nicole; Hultsch, Henrike; Todt, Dietmar

    2013-06-01

    Vocal interactions in songbirds can be used as a model system to investigate the interplay of intrinsic singing programmes (e.g. influences from vocal memories) and external variables (e.g. social factors). When characterizing vocal interactions between territorial rivals two aspects are important: (1) the timing of songs in relation to the conspecific's singing and (2) the use of a song pattern that matches the rival's song. Responses in both domains can be used to address a territorial rival. This study is the first to investigate the relation of the timing of vocal responses to (1) the vocal memory of a responding subject and (2) the selection of the song pattern that the subject uses as a response. To this end, we conducted interactive playback experiments with adult nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) that had been hand-reared and tutored in the laboratory. We analysed the subjects' vocal response latencies towards broadcast playback stimuli that they either had in their own vocal repertoire (songs shared with playback) or that they had not heard before (unknown songs). Likewise, we compared vocal response latencies between responses that matched the stimulus song and those that did not. Our findings showed that the latency of singing in response to the playback was shorter for shared versus unknown song stimuli when subjects overlapped the playback stimuli with their own song. Moreover birds tended to overlap faster when vocally matching the stimulus song rather than when replying with a non-matching song type. We conclude that memory of song patterns influenced response latencies and discuss possible mechanisms. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. An evaluation and comparison of conservation guidelines for an at-risk migratory songbird

    Darin J. McNeil

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available For at-risk wildlife species, it is important to consider conservation within the process of adaptive management. Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera are Neotropical migratory songbirds that are experiencing long-term population declines due in part to the loss of early-successional nesting habitat. Recently-developed Golden-winged Warbler habitat management guidelines are being implemented by USDA: Natural Resource Conservation Service (2014 and its partners through the Working Lands For Wildlife (WLFW program. During 2012–2014, we studied the nesting ecology of Golden-winged Warblers in managed habitats of the eastern US that conformed to WLFW conservation practices. We evaluated five NRCS “management scenarios” with respect to nesting success and attainment of recommended nest site vegetation conditions outlined in the Golden-winged Warbler breeding habitat guidelines. Using estimates of territory density, pairing rate, nest survival, and clutch size, we also estimated fledgling productivity (number of fledglings/ha for each management scenario. In general, Golden-winged Warbler nest survival declined as each breeding season advanced, but nest survival was similar across management scenarios. Within each management scenario, vegetation variables had little influence on nest survival. Still, percent Rubus cover and density of >2 m tall shrubs were relevant in some management scenarios. All five management scenarios rarely attained recommended levels of nest site vegetation conditions for Golden-winged, yet nest survival was high. Fledgling productivity estimates for each management scenario ranged from 2.1 to 8.6 fledglings/10 hectares. Our results indicate that targeted habitat management for Golden-winged Warblers using a variety of management techniques on private lands has the capability to yield high nest survival and fledgling productivity, and thus have the potential to contribute to the species recovery.

  11. A GIS Approach to Prioritizing Habitat for Restoration Using Neotropical Migrant Songbird Criteria

    Holzmueller, Eric J.; Gaskins, Michael D.; Mangun, Jean C.

    2011-07-01

    Restoration efforts to increase wildlife habitat quality in agricultural landscapes have limited funding and are typically done on a first come, first serve basis. In order to increase the efficiency of these restoration efforts, a prioritized ranking system is needed to obtain the greatest increase in habitat quality possible for the fewest amount of hectares restored. This project examines the use of a GIS based multi-criteria approach to prioritize lands for reforestation along the Kaskaskia River in Illinois. Loss of forested area and corresponding increase in forest fragmentation has decreased songbird habitat quality across the Midwestern United States. We prioritized areas for reforestation based on nine landscape metrics: available agricultural land, forest cover gaps, edge density, proximity to river, 200 m corridor area, total forest core area, fringe core area, distance to primary core value, and primary core area. The multi-criteria analysis revealed that high priority areas for reforestation were most likely to be close to the riparian corridor and existing large blocks of forest. Analysis of simulated reforestation (0, 0.5, 1.0, 5.0 10.0, 25.0, and 50.0% of highest priority parcels reforested) revealed different responses for multiple landscape metrics used to quantify forest fragmentation following reforestation, but indicated that the study area would get the greatest rate of return on reforestation efforts by reforesting 10.0% of the highest priority areas. This project demonstrates how GIS and a multi-criteria analysis approach can be used to increase the efficiency of restoration projects. This approach should be considered by land managers when attempting to identify the location and quantity of area for restoration within a landscape.

  12. Contextual Modulation of Mirror and Countermirror Sensorimotor Associations

    Cook, Richard; Dickinson, Anthony; Heyes, Cecilia

    2012-01-01

    Automatic imitation--the unintended copying of observed actions--is thought to be a behavioral product of the mirror neuron system (MNS). Evidence that the MNS develops through associative learning comes from previous research showing that automatic imitation is attenuated by countermirror training, in which the observation of one action is paired…

  13. Effect of sensorimotor training on balance in elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis

    Amal F. Ahmed

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Osteoarthritis (OA is a chronic disabling disease that generates many impairments of functional health status. Impairments of balance are recognized in patients with knee OA. This study investigated the short term effect of sensorimotor training on balance in elderly patients with knee OA, and whether these changes were associated with impairment of functional performance. In addition the possible independent predictors of impaired balance were determined. Forty female patients with knee OA were divided into two equal groups. The control group received a traditional exercise programme and the study group received sensorimotor training in addition to traditional exercises. Blind assessment was conducted at the beginning of the study and after 6 weeks of training to measure balance [in the form of overall stability index (OSI, medial/lateral stability index (MLSI, anterior/posterior stability index (APSI], perceived pain, proprioception acuity, knee extensor muscle torque, and functional disability. For the sensorimotor group, statistically significant improvements were recorded in all measured parameters, while the traditional exercise group recorded significant improvement only on measures of perceived pain, proprioception acuity, muscle torque, and functional disability, and non-significant changes on all balance measurements. Furthermore, the sensorimotor group produced significantly better improvement than the traditional group. The main predictor of balance was proprioception. The classic traditional exercise programme used in the management of knee OA is not enough for improving balance. Addition of sensorimotor training to the rehabilitation programme of these patients could produce more positive effects on balance and functional activity levels. The association between balance, proprioception and functional activity should be considered when treating knee OA.

  14. Non-concomitant cortical structural and functional alterations in sensorimotor areas following incomplete spinal cord injury

    Yu Pan

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Brain plasticity, including anatomical changes and functional reorganization, is the physiological basis of functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI. The correlation between brain anatomical changes and functional reorganization after SCI is unclear. This study aimed to explore whether alterations of cortical structure and network function are concomitant in sensorimotor areas after incomplete SCI. Eighteen patients with incomplete SCI (mean age 40.94 ± 14.10 years old; male:female, 7:11 and 18 healthy subjects (37.33 ± 11.79 years old; male:female, 7:11 were studied by resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Gray matter volume (GMV and functional connectivity were used to evaluate cortical structure and network function, respectively. There was no significant alteration of GMV in sensorimotor areas in patients with incomplete SCI compared with healthy subjects. Intra-hemispheric functional connectivity between left primary somatosensory cortex (BA1 and left primary motor cortex (BA4, and left BA1 and left somatosensory association cortex (BA5 was decreased, as well as inter-hemispheric functional connectivity between left BA1 and right BA4, left BA1 and right BA5, and left BA4 and right BA5 in patients with SCI. Functional connectivity between both BA4 areas was also decreased. The decreased functional connectivity between the left BA1 and the right BA4 positively correlated with American Spinal Injury Association sensory score in SCI patients. The results indicate that alterations of cortical anatomical structure and network functional connectivity in sensorimotor areas were non-concomitant in patients with incomplete SCI, indicating the network functional changes in sensorimotor areas may not be dependent on anatomic structure. The strength of functional connectivity within sensorimotor areas could serve as a potential imaging biomarker for assessment and prediction of sensory function in patients with incomplete SCI

  15. Hand-in-hand advances in biomedical engineering and sensorimotor restoration.

    Pisotta, Iolanda; Perruchoud, David; Ionta, Silvio

    2015-05-15

    Living in a multisensory world entails the continuous sensory processing of environmental information in order to enact appropriate motor routines. The interaction between our body and our brain is the crucial factor for achieving such sensorimotor integration ability. Several clinical conditions dramatically affect the constant body-brain exchange, but the latest developments in biomedical engineering provide promising solutions for overcoming this communication breakdown. The ultimate technological developments succeeded in transforming neuronal electrical activity into computational input for robotic devices, giving birth to the era of the so-called brain-machine interfaces. Combining rehabilitation robotics and experimental neuroscience the rise of brain-machine interfaces into clinical protocols provided the technological solution for bypassing the neural disconnection and restore sensorimotor function. Based on these advances, the recovery of sensorimotor functionality is progressively becoming a concrete reality. However, despite the success of several recent techniques, some open issues still need to be addressed. Typical interventions for sensorimotor deficits include pharmaceutical treatments and manual/robotic assistance in passive movements. These procedures achieve symptoms relief but their applicability to more severe disconnection pathologies is limited (e.g. spinal cord injury or amputation). Here we review how state-of-the-art solutions in biomedical engineering are continuously increasing expectances in sensorimotor rehabilitation, as well as the current challenges especially with regards to the translation of the signals from brain-machine interfaces into sensory feedback and the incorporation of brain-machine interfaces into daily activities. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Evidence of impaired brain activity balance after passive sensorimotor stimulation in multiple sclerosis.

    Nikolaos Petsas

    Full Text Available OBJECTIVES: Examination of sensorimotor activation alone in multiple sclerosis (MS patients may not yield a comprehensive view of cerebral response to task stimulation. Additional information may be obtained by examining the negative BOLD response (deactivation. Aim of this work was to characterize activation and deactivation patterns during passive hand movements in MS patients. METHODS: 13 relapsing remitting-MS patients (RRMS, 18 secondary progressive-MS patients (SPMS and 15 healthy controls (HC underwent an fMRI study during passive right-hand movements. Activation and deactivation contrasts in the three groups were entered into ANOVA, age and gender corrected. Post-hoc analysis was performed with one-sample and two-sample t-tests. For each patient we obtained lesion volume (LV from both T1- and T2-weighted images. RESULTS: Activations showed a progressive extension to the ipsilateral brain hemisphere according to the group and the clinical form (HCsensorimotor areas was reduced in both patient groups with respect to HC. Deactivation of posterior cortical areas belonging to the default mode network (DMN, was increased in RRMS, but not in SPMS, with respect to HC. The amount of activation in the contralateral sensorimotor cortex was significantly correlated with that of deactivation in the DMN in HC and RRMS, but not in SPMS. Both increased activation and decreased deactivation patterns correlated with LV. CONCLUSION: In RRMS patients, increased cortical activation was associated with increased deactivation of the posterior cortex suggesting a greater resting-state activity in the DMN, probably aimed at facilitating sensorimotor circuit engagement during task performance. In SPMS the coupling between increased sensorimotor activation/increased DMN deactivation was not observed suggesting disorganization between anticorrelated functional networks as a consequence of a higher

  17. Simple analytical model reveals the functional role of embodied sensorimotor interaction in hexapod gaits

    Aoi, Shinya; Nachstedt, Timo; Manoonpong, Poramate; Wörgötter, Florentin; Matsuno, Fumitoshi

    2018-01-01

    Insects have various gaits with specific characteristics and can change their gaits smoothly in accordance with their speed. These gaits emerge from the embodied sensorimotor interactions that occur between the insect’s neural control and body dynamic systems through sensory feedback. Sensory feedback plays a critical role in coordinated movements such as locomotion, particularly in stick insects. While many previously developed insect models can generate different insect gaits, the functional role of embodied sensorimotor interactions in the interlimb coordination of insects remains unclear because of their complexity. In this study, we propose a simple physical model that is amenable to mathematical analysis to explain the functional role of these interactions clearly. We focus on a foot contact sensory feedback called phase resetting, which regulates leg retraction timing based on touchdown information. First, we used a hexapod robot to determine whether the distributed decoupled oscillators used for legs with the sensory feedback generate insect-like gaits through embodied sensorimotor interactions. The robot generated two different gaits and one had similar characteristics to insect gaits. Next, we proposed the simple model as a minimal model that allowed us to analyze and explain the gait mechanism through the embodied sensorimotor interactions. The simple model consists of a rigid body with massless springs acting as legs, where the legs are controlled using oscillator phases with phase resetting, and the governed equations are reduced such that they can be explained using only the oscillator phases with some approximations. This simplicity leads to analytical solutions for the hexapod gaits via perturbation analysis, despite the complexity of the embodied sensorimotor interactions. This is the first study to provide an analytical model for insect gaits under these interaction conditions. Our results clarified how this specific foot contact sensory

  18. The Songbird Neurogenomics (SoNG Initiative: Community-based tools and strategies for study of brain gene function and evolution

    Lewin Harris A

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Songbirds hold great promise for biomedical, environmental and evolutionary research. A complete draft sequence of the zebra finch genome is imminent, yet a need remains for application of genomic resources within a research community traditionally focused on ethology and neurobiological methods. In response, we developed a core set of genomic tools and a novel collaborative strategy to probe gene expression in diverse songbird species and natural contexts. Results We end-sequenced cDNAs from zebra finch brain and incorporated additional sequences from community sources into a database of 86,784 high quality reads. These assembled into 31,658 non-redundant contigs and singletons, which we annotated via BLAST search of chicken and human databases. The results are publicly available in the ESTIMA:Songbird database. We produced a spotted cDNA microarray with 20,160 addresses representing 17,214 non-redundant products of an estimated 11,500–15,000 genes, validating it by analysis of immediate-early gene (zenk gene activation following song exposure and by demonstrating effective cross hybridization to genomic DNAs of other songbird species in the Passerida Parvorder. Our assembly was also used in the design of the "Lund-zfa" Affymetrix array representing ~22,000 non-redundant sequences. When the two arrays were hybridized to cDNAs from the same set of male and female zebra finch brain samples, both arrays detected a common set of regulated transcripts with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.895. To stimulate use of these resources by the songbird research community and to maintain consistent technical standards, we devised a "Community Collaboration" mechanism whereby individual birdsong researchers develop experiments and provide tissues, but a single individual in the community is responsible for all RNA extractions, labelling and microarray hybridizations. Conclusion Immediately, these results set the foundation for a

  19. Early life events carry over to influence pre-migratory condition in a free-living songbird.

    Greg W Mitchell

    Full Text Available Conditions experienced during development can have long-term consequences for individual success. In migratory songbirds, the proximate mechanisms linking early life events and survival are not well understood because tracking individuals across stages of the annual cycle can be extremely challenging. In this paper, we first use a 13 year dataset to demonstrate a positive relationship between 1(st year survival and nestling mass in migratory Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis. We also use a brood manipulation experiment to show that nestlings from smaller broods have higher mass in the nest relative to individuals from larger broods. Having established these relationships, we then use three years of field data involving multiple captures of individuals throughout the pre-migratory period and a multi-level path model to examine the hypothesis that conditions during development limit survival during migration by affecting an individual's ability to accumulate sufficient lean tissue and fat mass prior to migration. We found a positive relationship between fat mass during the pre-migratory period (Sept-Oct and nestling mass and a negative indirect relationship between pre-migratory fat mass and fledging date. Our results provide the first evidence that conditions during development limit survival during migration through their effect on fat stores. These results are particularly important given recent evidence showing that body condition of songbirds at fledging is affected by climate change and anthropogenic changes to landscape structure.

  20. How important are hemoparasites to migratory songbirds? Evaluating physiological measures and infection status in three neotropical migrants during stopover.

    Cornelius, E A; Davis, A K; Altizer, S A

    2014-01-01

    Long-distance migrations are energetically expensive for many animals, including migratory songbirds. During these demanding journeys, birds likely face limitations in allocating resources to different physiological functions, including lipid reserves needed to fuel the migration and costly immune defense against pathogens. We sampled three species of long-distance migratory songbirds during their fall migration through coastal Georgia and quantified their body condition, subcutaneous fat reserves, and infection status with blood parasites (Hemoproteus and Plasmodium). We also quantified cellular immunity, on the basis of total and differential white blood cell counts, and estimated individual stress levels, using the heterophil∶lymphocyte (H∶L) ratio. We tested whether birds infected with blood parasites had decreased fat measures, poorer body condition, or increased stress levels (as reflected by H∶L ratios). We also examined relationships between immune cell profiles and the following variables: body condition, subcutaneous fat, infection status, age, and species. Infected birds did not show greater H∶L ratios, poorer body condition, or lower fat measures, but in one species infected individuals showed significantly elevated leukocyte counts. Although we found little evidence for negative relationships between immune cell counts and body condition or fat measures, as might reflect underlying trade-offs in resource allocation, our results concerning hemoparasites are consistent with past work and suggest that chronic hemoparasite infections might have minimal effects on the outcome of long-distance migratory flight.

  1. Multimodal assessment of sensorimotor shoulder function in patients with untreated anterior shoulder instability and asymptomatic handball players.

    Mornieux, Guillaume; Hirschmüller, Anja; Gollhofer, Albert; Südkamp, Norbert P; Maier, Dirk

    2018-04-01

    Functional evaluation of sensorimotor function of the shoulder joint is important for guidance of sports-specific training, prevention and rehabilitation of shoulder instability. Such assessment should be multimodal and comprise all qualities of sensorimotor shoulder function. This study evaluates feasibility of such multimodal assessment of glenohumeral sensorimotor function in patients with shoulder instability and handball players. Nine patients with untreated anterior instability of their dominant shoulder and 15 asymptomatic recreational handball players performed proprioceptive joint position sense and dynamic stabilization evaluations on an isokinetic device, as well as a functional throwing performance task. Outcome measures were analysed individually and equally weighted in a Shoulder-Specific Sensorimotor Index (S-SMI). Finally, isokinetic strength evaluations were conducted. We observed comparable sensorimotor functions of unstable dominant shoulders compared to healthy, contralateral shoulders (e.g. P=0.59 for S-SMI). Handball players demonstrated superior sensorimotor function of their dominant shoulders exhibiting a significantly higher throwing performance and S-SMI (P0.22). The present study proves feasibility of multimodal assessment of shoulder sensorimotor function in overhead athletes and patients with symptomatic anterior shoulder instability. Untreated shoulder instability led to a loss of dominance-related sensorimotor superiority indicating functional internal rotation deficiency. Dominant shoulders of handball players showed a superior overall sensorimotor function but weakness of dominant internal rotation constituting a risk factor for occurrence of posterior superior impingement syndrome. The S-SMI could serve as a diagnostic tool for guidance of sports-specific training, prevention and rehabilitation of shoulder instability.

  2. Plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex induced by Music-supported therapy in stroke patients: a TMS study.

    Grau-Sánchez, Jennifer; Amengual, Julià L; Rojo, Nuria; Veciana de Las Heras, Misericordia; Montero, Jordi; Rubio, Francisco; Altenmüller, Eckart; Münte, Thomas F; Rodríguez-Fornells, Antoni

    2013-01-01

    Playing a musical instrument demands the engagement of different neural systems. Recent studies about the musician's brain and musical training highlight that this activity requires the close interaction between motor and somatosensory systems. Moreover, neuroplastic changes have been reported in motor-related areas after short and long-term musical training. Because of its capacity to promote neuroplastic changes, music has been used in the context of stroke neurorehabilitation. The majority of patients suffering from a stroke have motor impairments, preventing them to live independently. Thus, there is an increasing demand for effective restorative interventions for neurological deficits. Music-supported Therapy (MST) has been recently developed to restore motor deficits. We report data of a selected sample of stroke patients who have been enrolled in a MST program (1 month intense music learning). Prior to and after the therapy, patients were evaluated with different behavioral motor tests. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was applied to evaluate changes in the sensorimotor representations underlying the motor gains observed. Several parameters of excitability of the motor cortex were assessed as well as the cortical somatotopic representation of a muscle in the affected hand. Our results revealed that participants obtained significant motor improvements in the paretic hand and those changes were accompanied by changes in the excitability of the motor cortex. Thus, MST leads to neuroplastic changes in the motor cortex of stroke patients which may explain its efficacy.

  3. Plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex induced by Music-supported therapy in stroke patients: A TMS study

    Jennifer eGrau-Sánchez

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Playing a musical instrument demands the engagement of different neural systems. Recent studies about the musician’s brain and musical training highlight that this activity requires the close interaction between motor and somatosensory systems. Moreover, neuroplastic changes have been reported in motor-related areas after short and long-term musical training. Because of its capacity to promote neuroplastic changes, music has been used in the context of stroke neurorehabilitation. The majority of patients suffering from a stroke have motor impairments, preventing them to live independently. Thus, there is an increasing demand for effective restorative interventions for neurological deficits. Music-supported Therapy (MST has been recently developed to restore motor deficits. We report data of a selected sample of stroke patients who have been enrolled in a MST program (1 month intense music learning. Prior to and after the therapy, patients were evaluated with different behavioral motor tests. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS was applied to evaluate changes in the sensorimotor representations underlying the motor gains observed. Several parameters of excitability of the motor cortex were assessed as well as the cortical somatotopic representation of a muscle in the affected hand. Our results revealed that participants obtained significant motor improvements in the paretic hand and those changes were accompanied by changes in the excitability of the motor cortex. Thus, MST leads to neuroplastic changes in the motor cortex of stroke patients which may explain its efficacy.

  4. Associative (not Hebbian) learning and the mirror neuron system.

    Cooper, Richard P; Cook, Richard; Dickinson, Anthony; Heyes, Cecilia M

    2013-04-12

    The associative sequence learning (ASL) hypothesis suggests that sensorimotor experience plays an inductive role in the development of the mirror neuron system, and that it can play this crucial role because its effects are mediated by learning that is sensitive to both contingency and contiguity. The Hebbian hypothesis proposes that sensorimotor experience plays a facilitative role, and that its effects are mediated by learning that is sensitive only to contiguity. We tested the associative and Hebbian accounts by computational modelling of automatic imitation data indicating that MNS responsivity is reduced more by contingent and signalled than by non-contingent sensorimotor training (Cook et al. [7]). Supporting the associative account, we found that the reduction in automatic imitation could be reproduced by an existing interactive activation model of imitative compatibility when augmented with Rescorla-Wagner learning, but not with Hebbian or quasi-Hebbian learning. The work argues for an associative, but against a Hebbian, account of the effect of sensorimotor training on automatic imitation. We argue, by extension, that associative learning is potentially sufficient for MNS development. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Grassland songbirds in a dynamic management landscape: Behavioral responses and management strategies

    Perlut, N.G.; Strong, A.M.; Donovan, T.M.; Buckley, N.J.

    2006-01-01

    In recent decades, earlier and more frequent harvests of agricultural grasslands have been implicated as a major cause of population declines in grassland songbirds. From 2002 to 2005, in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York, USA, we studied the reproductive success of Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) and Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) on four grassland treatments: (1) early-hayed fields cut before 11 June and again in early- to mid-July; (2) middle-hayed fields cut once between 21 June and 10 July; (3) late-hayed fields cut after 1 August; and (4) rotationally grazed pastures. Both the number of fledglings per female per year and nest success (logistic-exposure method) varied among treatments and between species. Although birds initiated nests earlier on early-hayed fields compared to others, haying caused 99% of active Savannah Sparrow and 100% of active Bobolink nests to fail. Both the initial cutting date and time between cuttings influenced renesting behavior. After haying, Savannah Sparrows generally remained on early-hayed fields and immediately renested (clutch completion 15.6 ?? 1.28 days post-haying; all values are reported as mean ?? SE), while Bobolinks abandoned the fields for at least two weeks (mean clutch completion 33 ?? 0.82 days post-haying). While female Savannah Sparrows fledged more offspring per year (1.28 ?? 0.16) than female Bobolinks (0.05 ?? 0.05), reproductive success on early-hayed fields was low. The number of fledglings per female per year was greater on middle-hayed fields (Savannah Sparrows, 3.47 ?? 0.42; Bobolinks, 2.22 ?? 0.26), and late-hayed fields (Savannah Sparrows, 3.29 ?? 0.30; Bobolinks, 2.79 ?? 0.18). Reproductive success was moderate on rotationally grazed pastures, where female Savannah Sparrows and female Bobolinks produced 2.32 ?? 0.25 and 1.79 ?? 0.33 fledgling per year, respectively. We simultaneously conducted cutting surveys throughout the Champlain Valley and found that 3-8% of hayfield

  6. Forest Policy Scenario Analysis: Sensitivity of Songbird Community to Changes in Forest Cover Amount and Configuration

    Robert S. Rempel

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Changes in mature forest cover amount, composition, and configuration can be of significant consequence to wildlife populations. The response of wildlife to forest patterns is of concern to forest managers because it lies at the heart of such competing approaches to forest planning as aggregated vs. dispersed harvest block layouts. In this study, we developed a species assessment framework to evaluate the outcomes of forest management scenarios on biodiversity conservation objectives. Scenarios were assessed in the context of a broad range of forest structures and patterns that would be expected to occur under natural disturbance and succession processes. Spatial habitat models were used to predict the effects of varying degrees of mature forest cover amount, composition, and configuration on habitat occupancy for a set of 13 focal songbird species. We used a spatially explicit harvest scheduling program to model forest management options and simulate future forest conditions resulting from alternative forest management scenarios, and used a process-based fire-simulation model to simulate future forest conditions resulting from natural wildfire disturbance. Spatial pattern signatures were derived for both habitat occupancy and forest conditions, and these were placed in the context of the simulated range of natural variation. Strategic policy analyses were set in the context of current Ontario forest management policies. This included use of sequential time-restricted harvest blocks (created for Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus conservation and delayed harvest areas (created for American marten (Martes americana atrata conservation. This approach increased the realism of the analysis, but reduced the generality of interpretations. We found that forest management options that create linear strips of old forest deviate the most from simulated natural patterns, and had the greatest negative effects on habitat occupancy, whereas policy options

  7. Temporal Dynamics of Sensorimotor Networks in Effort-Based Cost-Benefit Valuation: Early Emergence and Late Net Value Integration.

    Harris, Alison; Lim, Seung-Lark

    2016-07-06

    Although physical effort can impose significant costs on decision-making, when and how effort cost information is incorporated into choice remains contested, reflecting a larger debate over the role of sensorimotor networks in specifying behavior. Serial information processing models, in which motor circuits simply implement the output of cognitive systems, hypothesize that effort cost factors into decisions relatively late, via integration with stimulus values into net (combined) value signals in dorsomedial frontal cortex (dmFC). In contrast, ethology-inspired approaches suggest a more active role for the dorsal sensorimotor stream, with effort cost signals emerging rapidly after stimulus onset. Here we investigated the time course of effort cost integration using event-related potentials in hungry human subjects while they made decisions about expending physical effort for appetitive foods. Consistent with the ethological perspective, we found that effort cost was represented from as early as 100-250 ms after stimulus onset, localized to dorsal sensorimotor regions including middle cingulate, somatosensory, and motor/premotor cortices. However, examining the same data time-locked to motor output revealed net value signals combining stimulus value and effort cost approximately -400 ms before response, originating from sensorimotor areas including dmFC, precuneus, and posterior parietal cortex. Granger causal connectivity analysis of the motor effector signal in the time leading to response showed interactions between these sensorimotor regions and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a structure associated with adjusting behavior-response mappings. These results suggest that rapid activation of sensorimotor regions interacts with cognitive valuation systems, producing a net value signal reflecting both physical effort and reward contingencies. Although physical effort imposes a cost on choice, when and how effort cost influences neural correlates of decision

  8. Closing the sensorimotor loop: haptic feedback facilitates decoding of motor imagery

    Gomez-Rodriguez, M.; Peters, J.; Hill, J.; Schölkopf, B.; Gharabaghi, A.; Grosse-Wentrup, M.

    2011-06-01

    The combination of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) with robot-assisted physical therapy constitutes a promising approach to neurorehabilitation of patients with severe hemiparetic syndromes caused by cerebrovascular brain damage (e.g. stroke) and other neurological conditions. In such a scenario, a key aspect is how to reestablish the disrupted sensorimotor feedback loop. However, to date it is an open question how artificially closing the sensorimotor feedback loop influences the decoding performance of a BCI. In this paper, we answer this issue by studying six healthy subjects and two stroke patients. We present empirical evidence that haptic feedback, provided by a seven degrees of freedom robotic arm, facilitates online decoding of arm movement intention. The results support the feasibility of future rehabilitative treatments based on the combination of robot-assisted physical therapy with BCIs.

  9. Relationships Between Vestibular Measures as Potential Predictors for Spaceflight Sensorimotor Adaptation

    Clark, T. K.; Peters, B.; Gadd, N. E.; De Dios, Y. E.; Wood, S.; Bloomberg, J. J.; Mulavara, A. P.

    2016-01-01

    Introduction: During space exploration missions astronauts are exposed to a series of novel sensorimotor environments, requiring sensorimotor adaptation. Until adaptation is complete, sensorimotor decrements occur, affecting critical tasks such as piloted landing or docking. Of particularly interest are locomotion tasks such as emergency vehicle egress or extra-vehicular activity. While nearly all astronauts eventually adapt sufficiently, it appears there are substantial individual differences in how quickly and effectively this adaptation occurs. These individual differences in capacity for sensorimotor adaptation are poorly understood. Broadly, we aim to identify measures that may serve as pre-flight predictors of and individual's adaptation capacity to spaceflight-induced sensorimotor changes. As a first step, since spaceflight is thought to involve a reinterpretation of graviceptor cues (e.g. otolith cues from the vestibular system) we investigate the relationships between various measures of vestibular function in humans. Methods: In a set of 15 ground-based control subjects, we quantified individual differences in vestibular function using three measures: 1) ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP), 2) computerized dynamic posturography and 3) vestibular perceptual thresholds. oVEMP responses are elicited using a mechanical stimuli approach. Computerized dynamic posturography was used to quantify Sensory Organization Tests (SOTs), including SOT5M which involved performing pitching head movements while balancing on a sway-reference support surface with eyes closed. We implemented a vestibular perceptual threshold task using the tilt capabilities of the Tilt-Translation Sled (TTS) at JSC. On each trial, the subject was passively roll-tilted left ear down or right ear down in the dark and verbally provided a forced-choice response regarding which direction they felt tilted. The motion profile was a single-cycle sinusoid of angular acceleration with a

  10. The effect of balance training on cervical sensorimotor function and neck pain.

    Beinert, Konstantin; Taube, Wolfgang

    2013-01-01

    The authors' aim was to evaluate the effect of balance training on cervical joint position sense in people with subclinical neck pain. Thirty-four participants were randomly assigned to balance training or to stay active. Sensorimotor function was determined before and after 5 weeks of training by assessing the ability to reproduce the neutral head position and a predefined rotated head position. After balance training, the intervention group showed improved joint repositioning accuracy and decreased pain whereas no effects were observed in the control group. A weak correlation was identified between reduced neck pain intensity and improved joint repositioning. The present data demonstrate that balance training can effectively improve cervical sensorimotor function and decrease neck pain intensity.

  11. Mirror Neurons from Associative Learning

    Catmur, Caroline; Press, Clare; Heyes, Cecilia

    2016-01-01

    Mirror neurons fire both when executing actions and observing others perform similar actions. Their sensorimotor matching properties have generally been considered a genetic adaptation for social cognition; however, in the present chapter we argue that the evidence in favor of this account is not compelling. Instead we present evidence supporting an alternative account: that mirror neurons’ matching properties arise from associative learning during individual development. Notably, this proces...

  12. Correlation between subacute sensorimotor deficits and brain water content after surgical brain injury in rats

    McBride, Devin W.; Wang, Yuechun; Sherchan, Prativa; Tang, Jiping; Zhang, John H.

    2015-01-01

    Brain edema is a major contributor to poor outcome and reduced quality of life after surgical brain injury (SBI). Although SBI pathophysiology is well-known, the correlation between cerebral edema and neurological deficits has not been thoroughly examined in the rat model of SBI. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the correlation between brain edema and deficits in standard sensorimotor neurobehavior tests for rats subjected to SBI. Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected ...

  13. Sensorimotor synchronization with tempo-changing auditory sequences: Modeling temporal adaptation and anticipation.

    van der Steen, M C Marieke; Jacoby, Nori; Fairhurst, Merle T; Keller, Peter E

    2015-11-11

    The current study investigated the human ability to synchronize movements with event sequences containing continuous tempo changes. This capacity is evident, for example, in ensemble musicians who maintain precise interpersonal coordination while modulating the performance tempo for expressive purposes. Here we tested an ADaptation and Anticipation Model (ADAM) that was developed to account for such behavior by combining error correction processes (adaptation) with a predictive temporal extrapolation process (anticipation). While previous computational models of synchronization incorporate error correction, they do not account for prediction during tempo-changing behavior. The fit between behavioral data and computer simulations based on four versions of ADAM was assessed. These versions included a model with adaptation only, one in which adaptation and anticipation act in combination (error correction is applied on the basis of predicted tempo changes), and two models in which adaptation and anticipation were linked in a joint module that corrects for predicted discrepancies between the outcomes of adaptive and anticipatory processes. The behavioral experiment required participants to tap their finger in time with three auditory pacing sequences containing tempo changes that differed in the rate of change and the number of turning points. Behavioral results indicated that sensorimotor synchronization accuracy and precision, while generally high, decreased with increases in the rate of tempo change and number of turning points. Simulations and model-based parameter estimates showed that adaptation mechanisms alone could not fully explain the observed precision of sensorimotor synchronization. Including anticipation in the model increased the precision of simulated sensorimotor synchronization and improved the fit of model to behavioral data, especially when adaptation and anticipation mechanisms were linked via a joint module based on the notion of joint internal

  14. Diminished modulation of preparatory sensorimotor mu rhythm predicts attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder severity.

    Ter Huurne, N; Lozano-Soldevilla, D; Onnink, M; Kan, C; Buitelaar, J; Jensen, O

    2017-08-01

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by problems in regulating attention and in suppressing disruptive motor activity, i.e. hyperactivity and impulsivity. We recently found evidence that aberrant distribution of posterior α band oscillations (8-12 Hz) is associated with attentional problems in ADHD. The sensorimotor cortex also produces strong 8-12 Hz band oscillations, namely the μ rhythm, and is thought to have a similar inhibitory function. Here, we now investigate whether problems in distributing α band oscillations in ADHD generalize to the μ rhythm in the sensorimotor domain. In a group of adult ADHD (n = 17) and healthy control subjects (n = 18; aged 21-40 years) oscillatory brain activity was recorded using magnetoencephalography during a visuo-spatial attention task. Subjects had to anticipate a target with unpredictable timing and respond by pressing a button. Preparing a motor response, the ADHD group failed to increase hemispheric μ lateralization with relatively higher μ power in sensorimotor regions not engaged in the task, as the controls did (F 1,33 = 8.70, p = 0.006). Moreover, the ADHD group pre-response μ lateralization not only correlated positively with accuracy (r s = 0.64, p = 0.0052) and negatively with intra-individual reaction time variability (r s = -0.52, p = 0.033), but it also correlated negatively with the score on an ADHD rating scale (r s = -0.53, p = 0.028). We suggest that ADHD is associated with an inability to sufficiently inhibit task-irrelevant sensorimotor areas by means of modulating μ oscillatory activity. This could explain disruptive motor activity in ADHD. These results provide further evidence that impaired modulation of α band oscillations is involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD.

  15. A Phenomenological Account of Sensorimotor Difficulties in Autism: Intentionality, Movement, and Proprioception.

    Grohmann, Till D A

    2017-01-01

    During the last decades, the focus in autism research has been progressively extended. Today it offers a large amount of material on sensorimotor disturbances as well as perceptive-cognitive preferences of people with autism. However, there are more and more critical voices against an intellectualist perspective in the cognitive sciences. The "enactive approach" as well as a new "movement perspective" to autism challenge the view of autism as a mere "cognitive" disturbance. They criticize the conception of a cognizing subject which is only interested in the world in as much as she/he can extract knowledge and organize it rationally. The present paper discusses fundamental insights from this critical sensorimotor perspective to autism from a phenomenological standpoint. Several important papers have already proven the fruitful combination of phenomenology with sensorimotor-focused research in the field of autism. However, these writings generally concentrate on problems of embodied intersubjectivity as an alternative approach to leading "theory of mind" paradigms. The present article reflects on the role and dimension of sensorimotor problems in themselves and not primarily in the intersubjective encounter. The notion of body intentionality will turn out to be a central heuristic device in order to understand the subject's relationship to the world within a holistic framework, in which the person's way to move, feel, and perceive are manners of understanding his/her own world. Empirical findings on difficulties in proactive and anticipatory control of movement as well as research outcome on proprioception and kinesthetic feedback will provide suitable material for discussing the transformation of body intentionality in autism. Phenomenology will provide the theoretical foundation in order to understand atypical movement patterns as alternative ways for producing alternative meanings. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  16. Loss of laterality in chronic cocaine users: an fMRI investigation of sensorimotor control

    Hanlon, Colleen A.; Wesley, Michael J.; Roth, Alicia J.; Miller, Mack D.; Porrino, Linda J.

    2010-01-01

    Movement disturbances are often overlooked consequences of chronic cocaine abuse. The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate sensorimotor performance in chronic cocaine users and characterize changes in brain activity among movement-related regions of interest (ROIs) in these users. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from fourteen chronic cocaine users and fifteen age and gender matched controls. All participants performed a sequential finger-tapping ta...

  17. Burning feet in polycythemia vera – peripheral sensorimotor axonal neuropathy with erythromelalgia

    Wollina U

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Uwe Wollina Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Academic Teaching Hospital Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Dresden, Germany Abstract: Polycythemia vera is a rare myeloproliferative disease. Cutaneous symptoms are uncommon. We report about a 72-year-old female patient with JAK2V617F-positive polycythemia who developed peripheral sensorimotor axonal neuropathy and erythromelalgia. Possible causes and treatment are discussed. Keywords: bone marrow diseases, myeloproliferative diseases, JAK2 mutations, burning sensations, peripheral neuropathy

  18. Coupling internal cerebellar models enhances online adaptation and supports offline consolidation in sensorimotor tasks

    Passot , Jean-Baptiste; Luque , Niceto R.; Arleo , Angelo

    2013-01-01

    International audience; The cerebellum is thought to mediate sensorimotor adaptation through the acquisition of internal models of the body-environment interaction. These representations can be of two types, identified as forward and inverse models. The first predicts the sensory consequences of actions, while the second provides the correct commands to achieve desired state transitions. In this paper, we propose a composite architecture consisting of multiple cerebellar internal models to ac...

  19. Catching-up: Children with developmental coordination disorder compared to healthy children before and after sensorimotor therapy.

    Mats Niklasson

    Full Text Available The aims of the present study were to (a compare healthy children in terms of sensorimotor maturity to untreated children diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder (DCD and (b compare healthy children to diagnosed children following completed treatment with sensorimotor therapy. Participants were 298 children, 196 boys and 102 girls, distributed into a Norm group of healthy children (n = 99 and a group of children diagnosed with DCD (n = 199 with a total mean age of 8.77 years (SD = 2.88. Participants in both groups were assessed on instruments aimed to detect sensorimotor deviations. The children in the DCD group completed, during on average 36 months, sensorimotor therapy which comprised stereotypical fetal- and infant movements, vestibular stimulation, tactile stimulation, auditory stimulation, complementary play exercises, gross motor milestones, and sports-related gross motor skills. At the final visit a full assessment was once more performed. Results showed that the Norm group performed better on all sensorimotor tests as compared to the untreated children from the DCD group, with the exception of an audiometric test where both groups performed at the same level. Girls performed better on tests assessing proprioceptive and balance abilities. Results also showed, after controls for natural maturing effects, that the children from the DCD group after sensorimotor therapy did catch up with the healthy children. The concept of "catching-up" is used within developmental medicine but has not earlier been documented with regard to children and youth in connection with DCD.

  20. Thalamo-Sensorimotor Functional Connectivity Correlates with World Ranking of Olympic, Elite, and High Performance Athletes

    Zirui Huang

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Brain plasticity studies have shown functional reorganization in participants with outstanding motor expertise. Little is known about neural plasticity associated with exceptionally long motor training or of its predictive value for motor performance excellence. The present study utilised resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI in a unique sample of world-class athletes: Olympic, elite, and internationally ranked swimmers (n=30. Their world ranking ranged from 1st to 250th: each had prepared for participation in the Olympic Games. Combining rs-fMRI graph-theoretical and seed-based functional connectivity analyses, it was discovered that the thalamus has its strongest connections with the sensorimotor network in elite swimmers with the highest world rankings (career best rank: 1–35. Strikingly, thalamo-sensorimotor functional connections were highly correlated with the swimmers’ motor performance excellence, that is, accounting for 41% of the individual variance in best world ranking. Our findings shed light on neural correlates of long-term athletic performance involving thalamo-sensorimotor functional circuits.

  1. Cognitive demand of human sensorimotor performance during an extended space mission: a dual-task study.

    Bock, Otmar; Weigelt, Cornelia; Bloomberg, Jacob J

    2010-09-01

    Two previous single-case studies found that the dual-task costs of manual tracking plus memory search increased during a space mission, and concluded that sensorimotor deficits during spaceflight may be related to cognitive overload. Since dual-task costs were insensitive to the difficulty of memory search, the authors argued that the overload may reflect stress-related problems of multitasking, rather than a scarcity of specific cognitive resources. Here we expand the available database and compare different types of concurrent task. Three subjects were repeatedly tested before, during, and after an extended mission on the International Space Station (ISS). They performed an unstable tracking task and four reaction-time tasks, both separately and concurrently. Inflight data could only be obtained during later parts of the mission. The tracking error increased from pre- to in flight by a factor of about 2, both under single- and dual-task conditions. The dual-task costs with a reaction-time task requiring rhythm production was 2.4 times higher than with a reaction-time task requiring visuo-spatial transformations, and 8 times higher than with a regular choice reaction-time task. Long-term sensorimotor deficits during spaceflight may reflect not only stress, but also a scarcity of resources related to complex motor programming; possibly those resources are tied up by sensorimotor adaptation to the space environment.

  2. Correlation between subacute sensorimotor deficits and brain edema in two mouse models of intracerebral hemorrhage.

    Krafft, Paul R; McBride, Devin W; Lekic, Tim; Rolland, William B; Mansell, Charles E; Ma, Qingyi; Tang, Jiping; Zhang, John H

    2014-05-01

    Formation of brain edema after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is highly associated with its poor outcome. However, the relationship between cerebral edema and behavioral deficits has not been thoroughly examined in the preclinical setting. Hence, this study aimed to evaluate the ability of common sensorimotor tests to predict the extent of brain edema in two mouse models of ICH. One hundred male CD-1 mice were subjected to sham surgery or ICH induction via intrastriatal injection of either autologous blood (30 μL) or bacterial collagenase (0.0375U or 0.075U). At 24 and 72 h after surgery, animals underwent a battery of behavioral tests, including the modified Garcia neuroscore (Neuroscore), corner turn test (CTT), forelimb placing test (FPT), wire hang task (WHT) and beam walking (BW). Brain edema was evaluated via the wet weight/dry weight method. Intrastriatal injection of autologous blood or bacterial collagenase resulted in a significant increase in brain water content and associated sensorimotor deficits (p<0.05). A significant correlation between brain edema and sensorimotor deficits was observed for all behavioral tests except for WHT and BW. Based on these findings, we recommend implementing the Neuroscore, CTT and/or FPT in preclinical studies of unilateral ICH in mice. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. The Thalamocortical Projection Systems in Primate: An Anatomical Support for Multisensory and Sensorimotor Interplay

    Cappe, Céline; Morel, Anne; Barone, Pascal

    2009-01-01

    Multisensory and sensorimotor integrations are usually considered to occur in superior colliculus and cerebral cortex, but few studies proposed the thalamus as being involved in these integrative processes. We investigated whether the organization of the thalamocortical (TC) systems for different modalities partly overlap, representing an anatomical support for multisensory and sensorimotor interplay in thalamus. In 2 macaque monkeys, 6 neuroanatomical tracers were injected in the rostral and caudal auditory cortex, posterior parietal cortex (PE/PEa in area 5), and dorsal and ventral premotor cortical areas (PMd, PMv), demonstrating the existence of overlapping territories of thalamic projections to areas of different modalities (sensory and motor). TC projections, distinct from the ones arising from specific unimodal sensory nuclei, were observed from motor thalamus to PE/PEa or auditory cortex and from sensory thalamus to PMd/PMv. The central lateral nucleus and the mediodorsal nucleus project to all injected areas, but the most significant overlap across modalities was found in the medial pulvinar nucleus. The present results demonstrate the presence of thalamic territories integrating different sensory modalities with motor attributes. Based on the divergent/convergent pattern of TC and corticothalamic projections, 4 distinct mechanisms of multisensory and sensorimotor interplay are proposed. PMID:19150924

  4. Cortical mechanisms underlying sensorimotor enhancement promoted by walking with haptic inputs in a virtual environment.

    Sangani, Samir; Lamontagne, Anouk; Fung, Joyce

    2015-01-01

    Sensorimotor integration is a complex process in the central nervous system that produces task-specific motor output based on selective and rapid integration of sensory information from multiple sources. This chapter reviews briefly the role of haptic cues in postural control during tandem stance and locomotion, focusing on sensorimotor enhancement of locomotion post stroke. The use of mixed-reality systems incorporating both haptic cues and virtual reality technology in gait rehabilitation post stroke is discussed. Over the last decade, researchers and clinicians have shown evidence of cerebral reorganization that underlies functional recovery after stroke based on results from neuroimaging techniques such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. These imaging modalities are however limited in their capacity to measure cortical changes during extensive body motions in upright stance. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) on the other hand provides a unique opportunity to measure cortical activity associated with postural control during locomotion. Evidence of cortical changes associated with sensorimotor enhancement induced by haptic touch during locomotion is revealed through fNIRS in a pilot study involving healthy individuals and a case study involving a chronic stroke patient. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Adaptive Changes in Sensorimotor Coordination and Motion Sickness Following Repeated Exposures to Virtual Environments

    Harm, D. L.; Taylor, L. C.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2007-01-01

    Virtual environments offer unique training opportunities, particularly for training astronauts and preadapting them to the novel sensory conditions of microgravity. Two unresolved human factors issues in virtual reality (VR) systems are: 1) potential "cybersickness", and 2) maladaptive sensorimotor performance following exposure to VR systems. Interestingly, these aftereffects are often quite similar to adaptive sensorimotor responses observed in astronauts during and/or following space flight. Initial interpretation of novel sensory information may be inappropriate and result in perceptual errors. Active exploratory behavior in a new environment, with resulting feedback and the formation of new associations between sensory inputs and response outputs, promotes appropriate perception and motor control in the new environment. Thus, people adapt to consistent, sustained alterations of sensory input such as those produced by microgravity, unilateral labyrinthectomy and experimentally produced stimulus rearrangements. The purpose of this research was to compare disturbances in sensorimotor coordination produced by dome and head-mounted virtual environment displays and to examine the effects of exposure duration, and repeated exposures to VR systems. The first study examined disturbances in balance control, and the second study examined disturbances in eye-head-hand (EHH) and eye-head coordination.

  6. Risk-sensitivity and the mean-variance trade-off: decision making in sensorimotor control.

    Nagengast, Arne J; Braun, Daniel A; Wolpert, Daniel M

    2011-08-07

    Numerous psychophysical studies suggest that the sensorimotor system chooses actions that optimize the average cost associated with a movement. Recently, however, violations of this hypothesis have been reported in line with economic theories of decision-making that not only consider the mean payoff, but are also sensitive to risk, that is the variability of the payoff. Here, we examine the hypothesis that risk-sensitivity in sensorimotor control arises as a mean-variance trade-off in movement costs. We designed a motor task in which participants could choose between a sure motor action that resulted in a fixed amount of effort and a risky motor action that resulted in a variable amount of effort that could be either lower or higher than the fixed effort. By changing the mean effort of the risky action while experimentally fixing its variance, we determined indifference points at which participants chose equiprobably between the sure, fixed amount of effort option and the risky, variable effort option. Depending on whether participants accepted a variable effort with a mean that was higher, lower or equal to the fixed effort, they could be classified as risk-seeking, risk-averse or risk-neutral. Most subjects were risk-sensitive in our task consistent with a mean-variance trade-off in effort, thereby, underlining the importance of risk-sensitivity in computational models of sensorimotor control.

  7. Frontal plane hip and ankle sensorimotor function, not age, predicts unipedal stance time

    Allet, Lara; Kim, Hogene; Ashton-Miller, James; De Mott, Trina; Richardson, James K.

    2011-01-01

    Introduction Changes occur in muscles and nerves with aging. This study aimed to explore the relationship between unipedal stance time (UST) and frontal plane hip and ankle sensorimotor function in subjects with diabetic neuropathy. Methods UST, quantitative measures of frontal plane ankle proprioceptive thresholds, and ankle and hip motor function were tested in forty-one persons with a spectrum of lower limb sensorimotor function, ranging from healthy to moderately severe diabetic neuropathy. Results Frontal plane hip and ankle sensorimotor function demonstrated significant relationships with UST. Multivariate analysis identified only composite hip strength, composite ankle proprioceptive threshold, and age to be significant predictors of UST (R2=0.73); they explained 46%, 24% and 3% of the variance, respectively. Discussion/Conclusions Frontal plane hip strength was the single best predictor of UST and appeared to compensate for less precise ankle proprioceptive thresholds. This finding is clinically relevant given the possibility of strengthening the hip, even in patients with significant PN. . PMID:22431092

  8. Motor-related signals in the auditory system for listening and learning.

    Schneider, David M; Mooney, Richard

    2015-08-01

    In the auditory system, corollary discharge signals are theorized to facilitate normal hearing and the learning of acoustic behaviors, including speech and music. Despite clear evidence of corollary discharge signals in the auditory cortex and their presumed importance for hearing and auditory-guided motor learning, the circuitry and function of corollary discharge signals in the auditory cortex are not well described. In this review, we focus on recent developments in the mouse and songbird that provide insights into the circuitry that transmits corollary discharge signals to the auditory system and the function of these signals in the context of hearing and vocal learning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Does a rival’s song elicit territorial defense in a tropical songbird, the Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata?

    Navjeevan Dadwal

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The purpose of bird song and the way in which it is delivered has been argued to be adapted mainly for territorial defense. We performed a field experiment with the combination of playbacks and a model to test how much song actually relates to increased territorial defense in the territorial tropical songbird, the Pied Bush Chat, during breeding season (Feb–May, 2015 at Haridwar, Himalayan Foothills, India. As expected, the results of the experiment indicated that song was the major cue used by territory holders to cope with rival intrusions. The song rate was particularly escalated during simulated territorial interactions when the model was presented with a playback song of conspecifics. Behaviors such as restlessness (perch change, the height of perch, and distance from the model appeared to be of relatively lesser importance. To our knowledge, no avian species from the Indian subcontinent has been studied to provide evidence that song can escalate aggressive response by a territory owner.

  10. Proximate effects of temperature versus evolved intrinsic constraints for embryonic development times among temperate and tropical songbirds

    Ton, Riccardo; Martin, Thomas E.

    2017-01-01

    The relative importance of intrinsic constraints imposed by evolved physiological trade-offs versus the proximate effects of temperature for interspecific variation in embryonic development time remains unclear. Understanding this distinction is important because slow development due to evolved trade-offs can yield phenotypic benefits, whereas slow development from low temperature can yield costs. We experimentally increased embryonic temperature in free-living tropical and north temperate songbird species to test these alternatives. Warmer temperatures consistently shortened development time without costs to embryo mass or metabolism. However, proximate effects of temperature played an increasingly stronger role than intrinsic constraints for development time among species with colder natural incubation temperatures. Long development times of tropical birds have been thought to primarily reflect evolved physiological trade-offs that facilitate their greater longevity. In contrast, our results indicate a much stronger role of temperature in embryonic development time than currently thought.

  11. Grounded understanding of abstract concepts: The case of STEM learning.

    Hayes, Justin C; Kraemer, David J M

    2017-01-01

    Characterizing the neural implementation of abstract conceptual representations has long been a contentious topic in cognitive science. At the heart of the debate is whether the "sensorimotor" machinery of the brain plays a central role in representing concepts, or whether the involvement of these perceptual and motor regions is merely peripheral or epiphenomenal. The domain of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning provides an important proving ground for sensorimotor (or grounded) theories of cognition, as concepts in science and engineering courses are often taught through laboratory-based and other hands-on methodologies. In this review of the literature, we examine evidence suggesting that sensorimotor processes strengthen learning associated with the abstract concepts central to STEM pedagogy. After considering how contemporary theories have defined abstraction in the context of semantic knowledge, we propose our own explanation for how body-centered information, as computed in sensorimotor brain regions and visuomotor association cortex, can form a useful foundation upon which to build an understanding of abstract scientific concepts, such as mechanical force. Drawing from theories in cognitive neuroscience, we then explore models elucidating the neural mechanisms involved in grounding intangible concepts, including Hebbian learning, predictive coding, and neuronal recycling. Empirical data on STEM learning through hands-on instruction are considered in light of these neural models. We conclude the review by proposing three distinct ways in which the field of cognitive neuroscience can contribute to STEM learning by bolstering our understanding of how the brain instantiates abstract concepts in an embodied fashion.

  12. Neurovestibular and sensorimotor studies in space and Earth benefits.

    Clément, Gilles; Reschke, Millard; Wood, Scott

    2005-08-01

    This review summarizes what has been learned from studies of human neurovestibular system in weightless conditions, including balance and locomotion, gaze control, vestibular-autonomic function and spatial orientation, and gives some examples of the potential Earth benefits of this research. Results show that when astronauts and cosmonauts return from space flight both the peripheral and central neural processes are physiologically and functionally altered. There are clear distinctions between the virtually immediate adaptive compensations to weightlessness and those that require longer periods of time to adapt. However, little is known to date about the adaptation of sensory-motor functions to long-duration space missions in weightlessness and to the transitions between various reduced gravitational levels, such as on the Moon and Mars. Results from neurovestibular research in space have substantially enhanced our understanding of the mechanisms and characteristics of postural, gaze, and spatial orientation deficits, analogous to clinical cases of labyrinthine-defective function. Also, space neurosciences research has participated in the development and application of significant new technologies, such as video recording and processing of three-dimensional eye movements and posture, hardware for the unencumbered measurement of head and body movement, and procedures for investigating otolith function on Earth. In particular, devices such as centrifugation or off-vertical axis rotation could enhance clinical neurological testing because it provides linear acceleration which specifically stimulates the otolith organs in a frequency range close to natural head and body movement.

  13. Experimental evidence for the interplay of exogenous and endogenous factors on the movement ecology of a migrating songbird.

    Emily B Cohen

    Full Text Available Movement patterns during songbird migration remain poorly understood despite their expected fitness consequences in terms of survival, energetic condition and timing of migration that will carry over to subsequent phases of the annual cycle. We took an experimental approach to test hypotheses regarding the influence of habitat, energetic condition, time of season and sex on the hour-by-hour, local movement decisions of a songbird during spring stopover. To simulate arrival of nocturnal migrants at unfamiliar stopover sites, we translocated and continuously tracked migratory red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus throughout spring stopover with and without energetic reserves that were released in two replicates of three forested habitat types. Migrants moved the most upon release, during which time they selected habitat characterized by greater food abundance and higher foraging attack rates. Presumably under pressure to replenish fuel stores necessary to continue migration in a timely fashion, migrants released in poorer energetic condition moved faster and further than migrants in better condition and the same pattern was true for migrants released late in spring relative to those released earlier. However, a migrant's energetic condition had less influence on their behavior when they were in poor quality habitat. Movement did not differ between sexes. Our study illustrates the importance of quickly finding suitable habitat at each stopover site, especially for energetically constrained migrants later in the season. If an initial period prior to foraging were necessary at each stop along a migrant's journey, non-foraging periods would cumulatively result in a significant energetic and time cost to migration. However, we suggest behavior during stopover is not solely a function of underlying resource distributions but is a complex response to a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors.

  14. Experimental evidence for the interplay of exogenous and endogenous factors on the movement ecology of a migrating songbird.

    Cohen, Emily B; Moore, Frank R; Fischer, Richard A

    2012-01-01

    Movement patterns during songbird migration remain poorly understood despite their expected fitness consequences in terms of survival, energetic condition and timing of migration that will carry over to subsequent phases of the annual cycle. We took an experimental approach to test hypotheses regarding the influence of habitat, energetic condition, time of season and sex on the hour-by-hour, local movement decisions of a songbird during spring stopover. To simulate arrival of nocturnal migrants at unfamiliar stopover sites, we translocated and continuously tracked migratory red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) throughout spring stopover with and without energetic reserves that were released in two replicates of three forested habitat types. Migrants moved the most upon release, during which time they selected habitat characterized by greater food abundance and higher foraging attack rates. Presumably under pressure to replenish fuel stores necessary to continue migration in a timely fashion, migrants released in poorer energetic condition moved faster and further than migrants in better condition and the same pattern was true for migrants released late in spring relative to those released earlier. However, a migrant's energetic condition had less influence on their behavior when they were in poor quality habitat. Movement did not differ between sexes. Our study illustrates the importance of quickly finding suitable habitat at each stopover site, especially for energetically constrained migrants later in the season. If an initial period prior to foraging were necessary at each stop along a migrant's journey, non-foraging periods would cumulatively result in a significant energetic and time cost to migration. However, we suggest behavior during stopover is not solely a function of underlying resource distributions but is a complex response to a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors.

  15. Robotic assessment of the influence of age on upper-limb sensorimotor function

    LLinares A

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Ana LLinares, Francisco Javier Badesa, Ricardo Morales, Nicolas Garcia-Aracil, JM Sabater, Eduardo Fernandez Biomedical Neuroengineering, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Elche, Spain Purpose: This paper examines the influence of age on several attributes of sensorimotor performance while performing a reaching task. Our hypothesis, based on previous studies, is that aged persons will show differences in one or more of the attributes of sensorimotor performance. Patients and methods: Fifty-one subjects (aged 20–80 years with no known neuromotor disorders of the upper limbs participated in the study. Subjects were asked to grasp the end-effector of a pneumatic robotic device with two degrees of freedom in order to reach peripheral targets (1.0 cm radius, "quickly and accurately", from a centrally located target (1.0 cm radius. Subjects began each trial by holding the hand within the central target for 2000 milliseconds. Afterwards, a peripheral target was illuminated. Then participants were given 3000 milliseconds to complete the movement. When a target was reached, the participant had to return to the central target in order to start a new trial. A total of 64 trials were completed and each peripheral target was illuminated in a random block design. Results: Subjects were divided into three groups according to age: group 1 (age 20–40 years, group 2 (age 41–60 years, and group 3 (age 61–80 years. The Kruskal–Wallis test showed significant differences (P < 0.05 between groups, except for the variables postural speed in the dominant arm, and postural speed and initial deviation in the non-dominant arm (P > 0.05. These results suggest that age introduces significant differences in upper-limb motor function. Conclusion: Our findings show that there are objective differences in sensorimotor function due to age, and that these differences are greater for the dominant arm. Therefore for the assessment of upper-limb function, we should

  16. Grasp Learning by Means of Developing Sensorimotor Schemas and Generic World Knowledge

    Krüger, Norbert; Popovic, Mila; Bodenhagen, Leon

    2011-01-01

    We present a cognitive system in which grasping competences are coded by means of a formalisation of sensory motor schemas in terms of so called ‘object action complexes’ (OACs). OACs define the knowledge of the system via the effects and precondition of certain behavioural patterns, and also code...

  17. Effects of Increasing Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Current Intensity on Cortical Sensorimotor Network Activation: A Time Domain fNIRS Study.

    Makii Muthalib

    Full Text Available Neuroimaging studies have shown neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES-evoked movements activate regions of the cortical sensorimotor network, including the primary sensorimotor cortex (SMC, premotor cortex (PMC, supplementary motor area (SMA, and secondary somatosensory area (S2, as well as regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC known to be involved in pain processing. The aim of this study, on nine healthy subjects, was to compare the cortical network activation profile and pain ratings during NMES of the right forearm wrist extensor muscles at increasing current intensities up to and slightly over the individual maximal tolerated intensity (MTI, and with reference to voluntary (VOL wrist extension movements. By exploiting the capability of the multi-channel time domain functional near-infrared spectroscopy technique to relate depth information to the photon time-of-flight, the cortical and superficial oxygenated (O2Hb and deoxygenated (HHb hemoglobin concentrations were estimated. The O2Hb and HHb maps obtained using the General Linear Model (NIRS-SPM analysis method, showed that the VOL and NMES-evoked movements significantly increased activation (i.e., increase in O2Hb and corresponding decrease in HHb in the cortical layer of the contralateral sensorimotor network (SMC, PMC/SMA, and S2. However, the level and area of contralateral sensorimotor network (including PFC activation was significantly greater for NMES than VOL. Furthermore, there was greater bilateral sensorimotor network activation with the high NMES current intensities which corresponded with increased pain ratings. In conclusion, our findings suggest that greater bilateral sensorimotor network activation profile with high NMES current intensities could be in part attributable to increased attentional/pain processing and to increased bilateral sensorimotor integration in these cortical regions.

  18. Effects of Increasing Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Current Intensity on Cortical Sensorimotor Network Activation: A Time Domain fNIRS Study.

    Muthalib, Makii; Re, Rebecca; Zucchelli, Lucia; Perrey, Stephane; Contini, Davide; Caffini, Matteo; Spinelli, Lorenzo; Kerr, Graham; Quaresima, Valentina; Ferrari, Marco; Torricelli, Alessandro

    2015-01-01

    Neuroimaging studies have shown neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)-evoked movements activate regions of the cortical sensorimotor network, including the primary sensorimotor cortex (SMC), premotor cortex (PMC), supplementary motor area (SMA), and secondary somatosensory area (S2), as well as regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) known to be involved in pain processing. The aim of this study, on nine healthy subjects, was to compare the cortical network activation profile and pain ratings during NMES of the right forearm wrist extensor muscles at increasing current intensities up to and slightly over the individual maximal tolerated intensity (MTI), and with reference to voluntary (VOL) wrist extension movements. By exploiting the capability of the multi-channel time domain functional near-infrared spectroscopy technique to relate depth information to the photon time-of-flight, the cortical and superficial oxygenated (O2Hb) and deoxygenated (HHb) hemoglobin concentrations were estimated. The O2Hb and HHb maps obtained using the General Linear Model (NIRS-SPM) analysis method, showed that the VOL and NMES-evoked movements significantly increased activation (i.e., increase in O2Hb and corresponding decrease in HHb) in the cortical layer of the contralateral sensorimotor network (SMC, PMC/SMA, and S2). However, the level and area of contralateral sensorimotor network (including PFC) activation was significantly greater for NMES than VOL. Furthermore, there was greater bilateral sensorimotor network activation with the high NMES current intensities which corresponded with increased pain ratings. In conclusion, our findings suggest that greater bilateral sensorimotor network activation profile with high NMES current intensities could be in part attributable to increased attentional/pain processing and to increased bilateral sensorimotor integration in these cortical regions.

  19. Unimodal Learning Enhances Crossmodal Learning in Robotic Audio-Visual Tracking

    Shaikh, Danish; Bodenhagen, Leon; Manoonpong, Poramate

    2017-01-01

    Crossmodal sensory integration is a fundamental feature of the brain that aids in forming an coherent and unified representation of observed events in the world. Spatiotemporally correlated sensory stimuli brought about by rich sensorimotor experiences drive the development of crossmodal integrat...... a non-holonomic robotic agent towards a moving audio-visual target. Simulation results demonstrate that unimodal learning enhances crossmodal learning and improves both the overall accuracy and precision of multisensory orientation response....

  20. Unimodal Learning Enhances Crossmodal Learning in Robotic Audio-Visual Tracking

    Shaikh, Danish; Bodenhagen, Leon; Manoonpong, Poramate

    2018-01-01

    Crossmodal sensory integration is a fundamental feature of the brain that aids in forming an coherent and unified representation of observed events in the world. Spatiotemporally correlated sensory stimuli brought about by rich sensorimotor experiences drive the development of crossmodal integrat...... a non-holonomic robotic agent towards a moving audio-visual target. Simulation results demonstrate that unimodal learning enhances crossmodal learning and improves both the overall accuracy and precision of multisensory orientation response....

  1. Learning

    Mohsen Laabidi

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Nowadays learning technologies transformed educational systems with impressive progress of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT. Furthermore, when these technologies are available, affordable and accessible, they represent more than a transformation for people with disabilities. They represent real opportunities with access to an inclusive education and help to overcome the obstacles they met in classical educational systems. In this paper, we will cover basic concepts of e-accessibility, universal design and assistive technologies, with a special focus on accessible e-learning systems. Then, we will present recent research works conducted in our research Laboratory LaTICE toward the development of an accessible online learning environment for persons with disabilities from the design and specification step to the implementation. We will present, in particular, the accessible version “MoodleAcc+” of the well known e-learning platform Moodle as well as new elaborated generic models and a range of tools for authoring and evaluating accessible educational content.

  2. Learning about goals : development of action perception and action control

    Verschoor, Stephan Alexander

    2014-01-01

    By using innovative paradigms, the present thesis provides convincing evidence that action-effect learning, and sensorimotor processes in general play a crucial role in the development of action- perception and production in infancy. This finding was further generalized to sequential action.

  3. Making sense of movement in embodied design for mathematics learning

    Abrahamson, Dor; Bakker, A.

    2016-01-01

    Embodiment perspectives from the cognitive sciences offer a rethinking of the role of sensorimotor activity in human learning, knowing, and reasoning. Educational researchers have been evaluating whether and how these perspectives might inform the theory and practice of STEM instruction. Some of

  4. Genetic Mapping in Mice Reveals the Involvement of Pcdh9 in Long-Term Social and Object Recognition and Sensorimotor Development.

    Bruining, Hilgo; Matsui, Asuka; Oguro-Ando, Asami; Kahn, René S; Van't Spijker, Heleen M; Akkermans, Guus; Stiedl, Oliver; van Engeland, Herman; Koopmans, Bastijn; van Lith, Hein A; Oppelaar, Hugo; Tieland, Liselotte; Nonkes, Lourens J; Yagi, Takeshi; Kaneko, Ryosuke; Burbach, J Peter H; Yamamoto, Nobuhiko; Kas, Martien J

    2015-10-01

    Quantitative genetic analysis of basic mouse behaviors is a powerful tool to identify novel genetic phenotypes contributing to neurobehavioral disorders. Here, we analyzed genetic contributions to single-trial, long-term social and nonsocial recognition and subsequently studied the functional impact of an identified candidate gene on behavioral development. Genetic mapping of single-trial social recognition was performed in chromosome substitution strains, a sophisticated tool for detecting quantitative trait loci (QTL) of complex traits. Follow-up occurred by generating and testing knockout (KO) mice of a selected QTL candidate gene. Functional characterization of these mice was performed through behavioral and neurological assessments across developmental stages and analyses of gene expression and brain morphology. Chromosome substitution strain 14 mapping studies revealed an overlapping QTL related to long-term social and object recognition harboring Pcdh9, a cell-adhesion gene previously associated with autism spectrum disorder. Specific long-term social and object recognition deficits were confirmed in homozygous (KO) Pcdh9-deficient mice, while heterozygous mice only showed long-term social recognition impairment. The recognition deficits in KO mice were not associated with alterations in perception, multi-trial discrimination learning, sociability, behavioral flexibility, or fear memory. Rather, KO mice showed additional impairments in sensorimotor development reflected by early touch-evoked biting, rotarod performance, and sensory gating deficits. This profile emerged with structural changes in deep layers of sensory cortices, where Pcdh9 is selectively expressed. This behavior-to-gene study implicates Pcdh9 in cognitive functions required for long-term social and nonsocial recognition. This role is supported by the involvement of Pcdh9 in sensory cortex development and sensorimotor phenotypes. Copyright © 2015 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published

  5. Initial Sensorimotor and Cardiovascular Data Acquired from Soyuz Landings: Establishing a Functional Performance Recovery Time Constant

    Reschke, M. F.; Kozlovskaya, I. B.; Kofman, I. S.; Tomilovskaya, E. S.; Cerisano, J. M.; Bloomberg, J. J.; Stenger, M. B.; Platts, S. H.; Rukavishnikov, I. V.; Fomina, E. V.; hide

    2015-01-01

    INTRODUCTION Testing of crew responses following long-duration flights has not been previously possible until a minimum of more than 24 hours after landing. As a result, it has not been possible to determine the trend of the early recovery process, nor has it been possible to accurately assess the full impact of the decrements associated with long-duration flight. To overcome these limitations, both the Russian and U.S. programs have implemented joint testing at the Soyuz landing site. This International Space Station research effort has been identified as the functional Field Test, and represents data collect on NASA, Russian, European Space Agency, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency crews. RESEARCH The primary goal of this research is to determine functional abilities associated with long-duration space flight crews beginning as soon after landing as possible on the day of landing (typically within 1 to 1.5 hours). This goal has both sensorimotor and cardiovascular elements. To date, a total of 15 subjects have participated in a 'pilot' version of the full 'field test'. The full version of the 'field test' will assess functional sensorimotor measurements included hand/eye coordination, standing from a seated position (sit-to-stand), walking normally without falling, measurement of dynamic visual acuity, discriminating different forces generated with the hands (both strength and ability to judge just noticeable differences of force), standing from a prone position, coordinated walking involving tandem heel-to-toe placement (tested with eyes both closed and open), walking normally while avoiding obstacles of differing heights, and determining postural ataxia while standing (measurement of quiet stance). Sensorimotor performance has been obtained using video records, and data from body worn inertial sensors. The cardiovascular portion of the investigation has measured blood pressure and heart rate during a timed stand test in conjunction with postural ataxia

  6. The Situated HKB Model: how sensorimotor spatial coupling can alter oscillatory brain dynamics

    Miguel eAguilera

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available Despite the increase both of dynamic and embodied/situated approaches in cognitive science, there is still little research on how coordination dynamics under a closed sensorimotor loop might induce qualitatively different patterns of neural oscillations compared to those found in isolated systems. We take as a departure point the HKB model, a generic model for dynamic coordination between two oscillatory components, which has proven useful for a vast range of applications in cognitive science and whose dynamical properties are well understood. In order to explore the properties of this model under closed sensorimotor conditions we present what we call the situated HKB model: a robotic model that performs a gradient climbing task and whose "brain" is modelled by the HKB equation. We solve the differential equations that define the agent-environment coupling for increasing values of the agent's sensitivity (sensor gain, finding different behavioural strategies. These results are compared with two different models: a decoupled HKB with no sensory input and a passively-coupled HKB that is also decoupled but receives a structured input generated by a situated agent. We can precisely quantify and qualitatively describe how the properties of the system, when studied in coupled conditions, radically change in a manner that cannot be deduced from the decoupled HKB models alone. We also present the notion of neurodynamic signature as the dynamic pattern that correlates with a specific behaviour and we show how only a situated agent can display this signature compared to an agent that simply receives the exact same sensory input.To our knowledge, this is the first analytical solution of the HKB equation in a sensorimotor loop and qualitative and quantitative analytic comparison of spatially coupled vs. decoupled oscillatory controllers. Finally, we discuss the limitations and possible generalization of our model to contemporary neuroscience and philosophy

  7. Sensorimotor and executive function slowing in anesthesiology residents after overnight shifts.

    Williams, George W; Shankar, Bairavi; Klier, Eliana M; Chuang, Alice Z; El Marjiya-Villarreal, Salma; Nwokolo, Omonele O; Sharma, Aanchal; Sereno, Anne B

    2017-08-01

    Medical residents working overnight call shifts experience sleep deprivation and circadian clock disruption. This leads to deficits in sensorimotor function and increases in workplace accidents. Using quick tablet-based tasks, we investigate whether measureable executive function differences exist following a single overnight call versus routine shift, and whether factors like stress, rest and caffeine affect these measures. A prospective, observational, longitudinal, comparison study was conducted. An academic tertiary hospital's main operating room suite staffed by attending anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents, anesthesiologist assistants and nurse anesthetists. Subjects were 30 anesthesiology residents working daytime shifts and 30 peers working overnight call shifts from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Before and after their respective work shifts, residents completed the Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS) and the ProPoint and AntiPoint tablet-based tasks. These latter tasks are designed to measure sensorimotor and executive functions, respectively. The SSS is a self-reported measure of sleepiness. Response times (RTs) are measured in the pointing tasks. Call residents exhibited increased RTs across their shifts (post-pre) on both ProPoint (p=0.002) and AntiPoint (pRoutine residents. Increased stress was associated with decreases in AntiPoint RT for Routine (p=0.007), but with greater increases in sleepiness for Call residents (proutine daytime shift residents, (2) sensorimotor slowing is greater in overnight Call residents who drink caffeine habitually, and (3) increased stress during a shift reduces (improves) cognitive RTs during routine daytime but not overnight call shifts. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Cortical sensorimotor alterations classify clinical phenotype and putative genotype of spasmodic dysphonia

    Battistella, Giovanni; Fuertinger, Stefan; Fleysher, Lazar; Ozelius, Laurie J.; Simonyan, Kristina

    2017-01-01

    Background Spasmodic dysphonia (SD), or laryngeal dystonia, is a task-specific isolated focal dystonia of unknown causes and pathophysiology. Although functional and structural abnormalities have been described in this disorder, the influence of its different clinical phenotypes and genotypes remains scant, making it difficult to explain SD pathophysiology and to identify potential biomarkers. Methods We used a combination of independent component analysis and linear discriminant analysis of resting-state functional MRI data to investigate brain organization in different SD phenotypes (abductor vs. adductor type) and putative genotypes (familial vs. sporadic cases) and to characterize neural markers for genotype/phenotype categorization. Results We found abnormal functional connectivity within sensorimotor and frontoparietal networks in SD patients compared to healthy individuals as well as phenotype- and genotype-distinct alterations of these networks, involving primary somatosensory, premotor and parietal cortices. The linear discriminant analysis achieved 71% accuracy classifying SD and healthy individuals using connectivity measures in the left inferior parietal and sensorimotor cortex. When categorizing between different forms of SD, the combination of measures from left inferior parietal, premotor and right sensorimotor cortices achieved 81% discriminatory power between familial and sporadic SD cases, whereas the combination of measures from the right superior parietal, primary somatosensory and premotor cortices led to 71% accuracy in the classification of adductor and abductor SD forms. Conclusions Our findings present the first effort to identify and categorize isolated focal dystonia based on its brain functional connectivity profile, which may have a potential impact on the future development of biomarkers for this rare disorder. PMID:27346568

  9. The situated HKB model: how sensorimotor spatial coupling can alter oscillatory brain dynamics

    Aguilera, Miguel; Bedia, Manuel G.; Santos, Bruno A.; Barandiaran, Xabier E.

    2013-01-01

    Despite the increase of both dynamic and embodied/situated approaches in cognitive science, there is still little research on how coordination dynamics under a closed sensorimotor loop might induce qualitatively different patterns of neural oscillations compared to those found in isolated systems. We take as a departure point the Haken-Kelso-Bunz (HKB) model, a generic model for dynamic coordination between two oscillatory components, which has proven useful for a vast range of applications in cognitive science and whose dynamical properties are well understood. In order to explore the properties of this model under closed sensorimotor conditions we present what we call the situated HKB model: a robotic model that performs a gradient climbing task and whose “brain” is modeled by the HKB equation. We solve the differential equations that define the agent-environment coupling for increasing values of the agent's sensitivity (sensor gain), finding different behavioral strategies. These results are compared with two different models: a decoupled HKB with no sensory input and a passively-coupled HKB that is also decoupled but receives a structured input generated by a situated agent. We can precisely quantify and qualitatively describe how the properties of the system, when studied in coupled conditions, radically change in a manner that cannot be deduced from the decoupled HKB models alone. We also present the notion of neurodynamic signature as the dynamic pattern that correlates with a specific behavior and we show how only a situated agent can display this signature compared to an agent that simply receives the exact same sensory input. To our knowledge, this is the first analytical solution of the HKB equation in a sensorimotor loop and qualitative and quantitative analytic comparison of spatially coupled vs. decoupled oscillatory controllers. Finally, we discuss the limitations and possible generalization of our model to contemporary neuroscience and

  10. Sensorimotor difficulties are associated with the severity of autism spectrum conditions.

    Penelope Hannant

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Present diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum conditions (ASC include social communication and interaction difficulties, repetitive behaviour and movement, and atypical sensory responsivity. Few studies have explored the influence of motor coordination and sensory responsivity on severity of ASC symptoms. In the current study, we explore whether sensory responsivity and motor coordination differences can account for the severity of autistic behaviours in children with ASC. 36 children took part: 18 (13 male, 5 female with ASC (ages 7-16: mean age 9.93 years and 18 (7 male, 11 female typically developing (TD children (ages 6-12; mean age 9.16 years. Both groups completed a battery of assessments that included motor coordination, sensory responsivity, receptive language, non-verbal reasoning and social communication measures Children with ASC also completed the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised.. Results showed that children with ASC scored significantly lower on receptive language, coordination and sensory responsivity and a sensorimotor subscale, Modulation of Activity (MoA compared to the TD group. In the ASC group, MoA significantly predicted ASC severity across all ASC measures; receptive language and sensory responsivity significantly predicted parental reported autism measures; and coordination significantly predicted examiner observed reported scores. Additionally, specific associations were found between the somatosensory perceptive modalities and ASC severity. The results show that sensorimotor skills are associated with severity of ASC symptoms; furthering the need to research sensorimotor integration in ASC and also implying that diagnosis of ASC should also include the assessment of both coordination deficit and atypical sensory responsivity.

  11. The influence of sensorimotor experience on the aesthetic evaluation of dance across the life span.

    Kirsch, Louise P; Cross, Emily S

    2018-01-01

    Understanding how action perception, embodiment, and emotion interact is essential for advancing knowledge about how we perceive and interact with each other in a social world. One tool that has proved particularly useful in the past decade for exploring the relationship between perception, action, and affect is dance. Dance is, in its essence, a rich and multisensory art form that can be used to help answer not only basic questions about social cognition but also questions concerning how aging shapes the relationship between action perception, and the role played by affect, emotion, and aesthetics in social perception. In the present study, we used a 1-week physical and visual dance training paradigm to instill varying degrees of sensorimotor experience among non-dancers from three distinct age groups (early adolescents, young adults, and older adults). Our aim was to begin to build an understanding of how aging influences the relationship between action embodiment and affective (or aesthetic) value, at both brain and behavioral levels. On balance, our results point toward a similar positive effect of sensorimotor training on aesthetic evaluations across the life span on a behavioral level, but to rather different neural substrates supporting implicit aesthetic judgment of dance movements at different life stages. Taken together, the present study contributes valuable first insights into the relationship between sensorimotor experience and affective evaluations across ages, and underscores the utility of dance as a stimulus and training intervention for addressing key questions relevant to human neuroscience as well as the arts and humanities. © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Cortical sensorimotor alterations classify clinical phenotype and putative genotype of spasmodic dysphonia.

    Battistella, G; Fuertinger, S; Fleysher, L; Ozelius, L J; Simonyan, K

    2016-10-01

    Spasmodic dysphonia (SD), or laryngeal dystonia, is a task-specific isolated focal dystonia of unknown causes and pathophysiology. Although functional and structural abnormalities have been described in this disorder, the influence of its different clinical phenotypes and genotypes remains scant, making it difficult to explain SD pathophysiology and to identify potential biomarkers. We used a combination of independent component analysis and linear discriminant analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data to investigate brain organization in different SD phenotypes (abductor versus adductor type) and putative genotypes (familial versus sporadic cases) and to characterize neural markers for genotype/phenotype categorization. We found abnormal functional connectivity within sensorimotor and frontoparietal networks in patients with SD compared with healthy individuals as well as phenotype- and genotype-distinct alterations of these networks, involving primary somatosensory, premotor and parietal cortices. The linear discriminant analysis achieved 71% accuracy classifying SD and healthy individuals using connectivity measures in the left inferior parietal and sensorimotor cortices. When categorizing between different forms of SD, the combination of measures from the left inferior parietal, premotor and right sensorimotor cortices achieved 81% discriminatory power between familial and sporadic SD cases, whereas the combination of measures from the right superior parietal, primary somatosensory and premotor cortices led to 71% accuracy in the classification of adductor and abductor SD forms. Our findings present the first effort to identify and categorize isolated focal dystonia based on its brain functional connectivity profile, which may have a potential impact on the future development of biomarkers for this rare disorder. © 2016 EAN.

  13. Sensorimotor control of balance: a Tai Chi solution for balance disorders in older subjects.

    Tsang, William W N; Hui-Chan, Christina W Y

    2008-01-01

    In addition to environmental factors, deteriorating sensorimotor control of balance will predispose older adults to falls. Understanding the aging effects on sensorimotor control of balance performance is important for designing fall prevention programs for older adults. How repeated practice of Tai Chi can improve limb joint proprioception, integration of neural signals in the central nervous system for balance control, and motor output at the level of knee muscles is discussed in this chapter. Our previous studies showed that elderly Tai Chi practitioners performed significantly better than elderly nonpractitioners in (1) knee joint proprioception, (2) reduced or conflicting sensory situations that demand more visual or vestibular contributions, (3) standing balance control after vestibular stimulation without visual input, (4) voluntary weight shifting in different directions within the base of support, (5) single-leg stance during perturbations of the support surface, and (6) knee extensor and flexor muscle strength. In a prospective study, we further showed that 4 weeks of daily Tai Chi practice but not general education produced significant improvement in balance performance. The requirements of Tai Chi for accurate joint positioning and weight transfer involving smooth coordination of neck, trunk, upper and lower limb movements, make it particularly useful for improving the sensorimotor control of balance in the elderly. Because Tai Chi can be practiced any time and anywhere, and is well accepted by older people in both the East and now the West, it is especially suited to be a key component of a low-costing community-based fall prevention program alongside with education about environmental factors.

  14. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy to probe sensorimotor region activation during electrical stimulation-evoked movement.

    Muthalib, Makii; Ferrari, Marco; Quaresima, Valentina; Kerr, Graham; Perrey, Stephane

    2017-11-07

    This study used non-invasive functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging to monitor bilateral sensorimotor region activation during unilateral voluntary (VOL) and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)-evoked movements. In eight healthy male volunteers, fNIRS was used to measure relative changes in oxyhaemoglobin (O 2 Hb) and deoxyhaemoglobin (HHb) concentrations from a cortical sensorimotor region of interest in the left (LH) and right (RH) hemispheres during NMES-evoked and VOL wrist extension movements of the right arm. NMES-evoked movements induced significantly greater activation (increase in O 2 Hb and concomitant decrease in HHb) in the contralateral LH than in the ipsilateral RH (O 2 Hb: 0·44 ± 0·16 μM and 0·25 ± 0·22 μM, P = 0·017; HHb: -0·19 ± 0·10 μM and -0·12 ± 0·09 μM, P = 0·036, respectively) as did VOL movements (0·51 ± 0·24 μΜ and 0·34 ± 0·21 μM, P = 0·031; HHb: -0·18 ± 0·07 μΜ and -0·12 ± 0·04 μΜ, P = 0·05, respectively). There was no significant difference between conditions for O 2 Hb (P = 0·144) and HHb (P = 0·958). fNIRS neuroimaging enables quantification of bilateral sensorimotor regional activation profiles during voluntary and NMES-evoked wrist extension movements. © 2017 Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Development of Vestibular Stochastic Resonance as a Sensorimotor Countermeasure: Improving Otolith Ocular and Motor Task Responses

    Mulavara, Ajitkumar; Fiedler, Matthew; DeDios,Yiri E.; Galvan, Raquel; Bloomberg, Jacob; Wood, Scott

    2011-01-01

    Astronauts experience disturbances in sensorimotor function after spaceflight during the initial introduction to a gravitational environment, especially after long-duration missions. Stochastic resonance (SR) is a mechanism by which noise can assist and enhance the response of neural systems to relevant, imperceptible sensory signals. We have previously shown that imperceptible electrical stimulation of the vestibular system enhances balance performance while standing on an unstable surface. The goal of our present study is to develop a countermeasure based on vestibular SR that could improve central interpretation of vestibular input and improve motor task responses to mitigate associated risks.

  16. Plasticity of locomotor sensorimotor interactions after peripheral and/or spinal lesions

    Rossignol, Serge; Barrière, Grégory; Frigon, Alain

    2008-01-01

    The present paper reviews aspects of locomotor sensorimotor interactions by focussing on work performed in spinal cats. We provide a brief overview of spinal locomotion and describe the effects of various types of sensory deprivations (e.g. rhizotomies, and lesions of muscle and cutaneous nerves......) to highlight the spinal neuroplasticity necessary for adapting to sensory loss. Recent work on plastic interactions between reflex pathways that could be responsible for such plasticity, in particular changes in proprioceptive and cutaneous pathways that occur during locomotor training of spinal cats...

  17. Deontological Dilemma Response Tendencies and Sensorimotor Representations of Harm to Others

    Leonardo Christov-Moore

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The dual process model of moral decision-making suggests that decisions to reject causing harm on moral dilemmas (where causing harm saves lives reflect concern for others. Recently, some theorists have suggested such decisions actually reflect self-focused concern about causing harm, rather than witnessing others suffering. We examined brain activity while participants witnessed needles pierce another person’s hand, versus similar non-painful stimuli. More than a month later, participants completed moral dilemmas where causing harm either did or did not maximize outcomes. We employed process dissociation to independently assess harm-rejection (deontological and outcome-maximization (utilitarian response tendencies. Activity in the posterior inferior frontal cortex (pIFC while participants witnessed others in pain predicted deontological, but not utilitarian, response tendencies. Previous brain stimulation studies have shown that the pIFC seems crucial for sensorimotor representations of observed harm. Hence, these findings suggest that deontological response tendencies reflect genuine other-oriented concern grounded in sensorimotor representations of harm.

  18. Deontological Dilemma Response Tendencies and Sensorimotor Representations of Harm to Others.

    Christov-Moore, Leonardo; Conway, Paul; Iacoboni, Marco

    2017-01-01

    The dual process model of moral decision-making suggests that decisions to reject causing harm on moral dilemmas (where causing harm saves lives) reflect concern for others. Recently, some theorists have suggested such decisions actually reflect self-focused concern about causing harm, rather than witnessing others suffering. We examined brain activity while participants witnessed needles pierce another person's hand, versus similar non-painful stimuli. More than a month later, participants completed moral dilemmas where causing harm either did or did not maximize outcomes. We employed process dissociation to independently assess harm-rejection (deontological) and outcome-maximization (utilitarian) response tendencies. Activity in the posterior inferior frontal cortex (pIFC) while participants witnessed others in pain predicted deontological, but not utilitarian, response tendencies. Previous brain stimulation studies have shown that the pIFC seems crucial for sensorimotor representations of observed harm. Hence, these findings suggest that deontological response tendencies reflect genuine other-oriented concern grounded in sensorimotor representations of harm.

  19. Assessment of sensorimotor cortical representation asymmetries and motor skills in violin players.

    Schwenkreis, Peter; El Tom, Susan; Ragert, Patrick; Pleger, Burkhard; Tegenthoff, Martin; Dinse, Hubert R

    2007-12-01

    As a model for use-dependent plasticity, the brains of professional musicians have been extensively studied to examine structural and functional adaptation to unique requirements of skilled performance. Here we provide a combination of data on motor performance and hand representation in the primary motor and somatosensory cortex of professional violin players, with the aim of assessing possible behavioural consequences of sensorimotor cortical asymmetries. We studied 15 healthy right-handed professional violin players and 35 healthy nonmusician controls. Motor and somatosensory cortex asymmetry was assessed by recording the motor output map after transcranial magnetic stimulation from a small hand muscle, and by dipole source localization of somatosensory evoked potentials after electrical stimulation of the median and ulnar nerves. Motor performance was examined using a series of standardized motor tasks covering different aspects of hand function. Violin players showed a significant right-larger-than-left asymmetry of the motor and somatosensory cortex, whereas nonmusician controls showed no significant interhemispheric difference. The amount of asymmetry in the motor and somatosensory cortices of musicians was significantly correlated. At the behavioural level, motor performance did not significantly differ between musicians and nonmusicians. The results support a use-dependent enlargement of the left hand representation in the sensorimotor cortex of violin players. However, these cortical asymmetries were not paralleled by accompanying altered asymmetries at a behavioural level, suggesting that the reorganisation might be task-specific and does not lead to improved motor abilities in general.

  20. Impulsivity in Parkinson’s Disease Is Associated With Alterations in Affective and Sensorimotor Striatal Networks

    Marit F. L. Ruitenberg

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available A subset of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD experiences problems with impulse control, characterized by a loss of voluntary control over impulses, drives, or temptations regarding excessive hedonic behavior. The present study aimed to better understand the neural basis of such impulse control disorders (ICDs in PD. We collected resting-state functional connectivity and structural MRI data from 21 PD patients with ICDs and 30 patients without such disorders. To assess impulsivity, all patients completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and performed an information-gathering task. MRI results demonstrated substantial differences in neural characteristics between PD patients with and without ICDs. Results showed that impulsivity was linked to alterations in affective basal ganglia circuitries. Specifically, reduced frontal–striatal connectivity and GPe volume were associated with more impulsivity. We suggest that these changes affect decision making and result in a preference for risky or inappropriate actions. Results further showed that impulsivity was linked to alterations in sensorimotor striatal networks. Enhanced connectivity within this network and larger putamen volume were associated with more impulsivity. We propose that these changes affect sensorimotor processing such that patients have a greater propensity to act. Our findings suggest that the two mechanisms jointly contribute to impulsive behaviors in PD.

  1. Enhanced inter-subject brain computer interface with associative sensorimotor oscillations.

    Saha, Simanto; Ahmed, Khawza I; Mostafa, Raqibul; Khandoker, Ahsan H; Hadjileontiadis, Leontios

    2017-02-01

    Electroencephalography (EEG) captures electrophysiological signatures of cortical events from the scalp with high-dimensional electrode montages. Usually, excessive sources produce outliers and potentially affect the actual event related sources. Besides, EEG manifests inherent inter-subject variability of the brain dynamics, at the resting state and/or under the performance of task(s), caused probably due to the instantaneous fluctuation of psychophysiological states. A wavelet coherence (WC) analysis for optimally selecting associative inter-subject channels is proposed here and is being used to boost performances of motor imagery (MI)-based inter-subject brain computer interface (BCI). The underlying hypothesis is that optimally associative inter-subject channels can reduce the effects of outliers and, thus, eliminate dissimilar cortical patterns. The proposed approach has been tested on the dataset IVa from BCI competition III, including EEG data acquired from five healthy subjects who were given visual cues to perform 280 trials of MI for the right hand and right foot. Experimental results have shown increased classification accuracy (81.79%) using the WC-based selected 16 channels compared to the one (56.79%) achieved using all the available 118 channels. The associative channels lie mostly around the sensorimotor regions of the brain, reinforced by the previous literature, describing spatial brain dynamics during sensorimotor oscillations. Apparently, the proposed approach paves the way for optimised EEG channel selection that could boost further the efficiency and real-time performance of BCI systems.

  2. The animal sensorimotor organization: a challenge for the environmental complexity thesis.

    Keijzer, Fred; Arnellos, Argyris

    2017-01-01

    Godfrey-Smith's environmental complexity thesis (ECT) is most often applied to multicellular animals and the complexity of their macroscopic environments to explain how cognition evolved. We think that the ECT may be less suited to explain the origins of the animal bodily organization, including this organization's potentiality for dealing with complex macroscopic environments. We argue that acquiring the fundamental sensorimotor features of the animal body may be better explained as a consequence of dealing with internal bodily-rather than environmental complexity. To press and elucidate this option, we develop the notion of an animal sensorimotor organization (ASMO) that derives from an internal coordination account for the evolution of early nervous systems. The ASMO notion is a reply to the question how a collection of single cells can become integrated such that the resulting multicellular organization becomes sensitive to and can manipulate macroscopic features of both the animal body and its environment. In this account, epithelial contractile tissues play the central role in the organization behind complex animal bodies. In this paper, we relate the ASMO concept to recent work on epithelia, which provides empirical evidence that supports central assumptions behind the ASMO notion. Second, we discuss to what extent the notion applies to basic animal architectures, exemplified by sponges and jellyfish. We conclude that the features exhibited by the ASMO are plausibly explained by internal constraints acting on and within this multicellular organization, providing a challenge for the role the ECT plays in this context.

  3. Neural correlates of sensorimotor gating: A metabolic positron emission tomography study in awake rats

    Cathrin eRohleder

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Impaired sensorimotor gating occurs in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and can be measured using the prepulse inhibition (PPI paradigm of the acoustic startle response. This assay is frequently used to validate animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders and to explore the therapeutic potential of new drugs. The underlying neural network of PPI has been extensively studied with invasive methods and genetic modifications. However, its relevance for healthy untreated animals and the functional interplay between startle- and PPI-related areas during a PPI session is so far unknown. Therefore, we studied awake rats in a PPI paradigm, startle control and background noise control, combined with behavioral [18F]fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET. Subtractive analyses between conditions were used to identify brain regions involved in startle and PPI processing in well-hearing Black hooded rats. For correlative analysis with regard to the amount of PPI we also included hearing-impaired Lister hooded rats that startled more often, because their hearing threshold was just below the lowest prepulses. Metabolic imaging showed that the brain areas proposed for startle and PPI mediation are active during PPI paradigms in healthy untreated rats. More importantly, we show for the first time that the whole PPI modulation network is active during passive PPI sessions, where no selective attention to prepulse or startle stimulus is required. We conclude that this reflects ongoing monitoring of stimulus significance and constant adjustment of sensorimotor gating.

  4. Neck muscle vibration can improve sensorimotor function in patients with neck pain.

    Beinert, Konstantin; Keller, Martin; Taube, Wolfgang

    2015-03-01

    People with neck pain display a diminished joint position sense and disturbed postural control, which is thought to be a result of impaired somatosensory afferent activity and/or integration. Afferent processing can be artificially manipulated by vibration and was shown to reduce motor performance in healthy subjects. However, the effect of vibration on sensorimotor function in neck pain patients is scarcely investigated. To assess the effect of neck muscle vibration on joint position sense and postural control in neck pain subjects and healthy controls. Case control study. Thirteen neck pain patients and 10 healthy controls participated in the present study. Cervical joint position sense and dynamic and static postural stability. Short-term, targeted neck muscle vibration with 100 Hz was applied after baseline measurement. Vibration had opposite effects in patients and healthy subjects. Patients showed improved joint position sense (pneck pain. Thus, vibration may be used to counteract sensorimotor impairment of the cervical spine. Potential underlying mechanisms are discussed. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  5. Drawing and writing: An ALE meta-analysis of sensorimotor activations.

    Yuan, Ye; Brown, Steven

    2015-08-01

    Drawing and writing are the two major means of creating what are referred to as "images", namely visual patterns on flat surfaces. They share many sensorimotor processes related to visual guidance of hand movement, resulting in the formation of visual shapes associated with pictures and words. However, while the human capacity to draw is tens of thousands of years old, the capacity for writing is only a few thousand years old, and widespread literacy is quite recent. In order to compare the neural activations for drawing and writing, we conducted two activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses for these two bodies of neuroimaging literature. The results showed strong overlap in the activation profiles, especially in motor areas (motor cortex, frontal eye fields, supplementary motor area, cerebellum, putamen) and several parts of the posterior parietal cortex. A distinction was found in the left posterior parietal cortex, with drawing showing a preference for a ventral region and writing a dorsal region. These results demonstrate that drawing and writing employ the same basic sensorimotor networks but that some differences exist in parietal areas involved in spatial processing. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Reducing Stereotype Threat With Embodied Triggers: A Case of Sensorimotor-Mental Congruence.

    Chalabaev, Aïna; Radel, Rémi; Masicampo, E J; Dru, Vincent

    2016-08-01

    In four experiments, we tested whether embodied triggers may reduce stereotype threat. We predicted that left-side sensorimotor inductions would increase cognitive performance under stereotype threat, because such inductions are linked to avoidance motivation among right-handers. This sensorimotor-mental congruence hypothesis rests on regulatory fit research showing that stereotype threat may be reduced by avoidance-oriented interventions, and motor congruence research showing positive effects when two parameters of a motor action activate the same motivational system (avoidance or approach). Results indicated that under stereotype threat, cognitive performance was higher when participants contracted their left hand (Study 1) or when the stimuli were presented on the left side of the visual field (Studies 2-4), as compared with right-hand contraction or right-side visual stimulation. These results were observed on math (Studies 1, 2, and 4) and Stroop (Study 3) performance. An indirect effect of congruence on math performance through subjective fluency was also observed. © 2016 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

  7. Utilizing Virtual Reality to Understand Athletic Performance and Underlying Sensorimotor Processing

    Toshitaka Kimura

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available In behavioral sports sciences, knowledge of athletic performance and underlying sensorimotor processing remains limited, because most data is obtained in the laboratory. In laboratory experiments we can strictly control the measurement conditions, but the action we can target may be limited and differ from actual sporting action. Thus, the obtained data is potentially unrealistic. We propose using virtual reality (VR technology to compensate for the lack of actual reality. We have developed a head mounted display (HMD-based VR system for application to baseball batting where the user can experience hitting a pitch in a virtual baseball stadium. The batter and the bat movements are measured using nine-axis inertial sensors attached to various parts of the body and bat, and they are represented by a virtual avatar in real time. The pitched balls are depicted by computer graphics based on previously recorded ball trajectories and are thrown in time with the motion of a pitcher avatar based on simultaneously recorded motion capture data. The ball bounces depending on its interaction with the bat. In a preliminary measurement where the VR system was combined with measurement equipment we found some differences between the behavioral and physiological data (i.e., the body movements and respiration of experts and beginners and between the types of pitches during virtual batting. This VR system with a sufficiently real visual experience will provide novel findings as regards athletic performance that were formerly hard to obtain and allow us to elucidate their sensorimotor processing in detail.

  8. Loss of laterality in chronic cocaine users: an fMRI investigation of sensorimotor control.

    Hanlon, Colleen A; Wesley, Michael J; Roth, Alicia J; Miller, Mack D; Porrino, Linda J

    2010-01-30

    Movement disturbances are often overlooked consequences of chronic cocaine abuse. The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate sensorimotor performance in chronic cocaine users and characterize changes in brain activity among movement-related regions of interest (ROIs) in these users. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 14 chronic cocaine users and 15 age- and gender-matched controls. All participants performed a sequential finger-tapping task with their dominant, right hand interleaved with blocks of rest. For each participant, percent signal change from rest was calculated for seven movement-related ROIs in both the left and right hemisphere. Cocaine users had significantly longer reaction times and higher error rates than controls. Whereas the controls used a left-sided network of motor-related brain areas to perform the task, cocaine users activated a less lateralized pattern of brain activity. Users had significantly more activity in the ipsilateral (right) motor and premotor cortical areas, anterior cingulate cortex and the putamen than controls. These data demonstrate that, in addition to the cognitive and affective consequences of chronic cocaine abuse, there are also pronounced alterations in sensorimotor control in these individuals, which are associated with functional alterations throughout movement-related neural networks.

  9. Assessment of a Newly Developed, Active Pneumatic-Driven, Sensorimotor Test and Training Device

    Wolfram Haslinger

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available The sensorimotor system (SMS plays an important role in sports and in every day movement. Several tools for assessment and training have been designed. Many of them are directed to specific populations, and have major shortcomings due to the training effect or safety. The aim of the present study was to design and assess a dynamic sensorimotor test and training device that can be adjusted for all levels of performance. The novel pneumatic-driven mechatronic device can guide the trainee, allow independent movements or disrupt the individual with unpredicted perturbations while standing on a platform. The test-reliability was evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC. Subjects were required to balance their center of pressure (COP in a target circle (TITC. The time in TITC and the COP error (COPe were recorded for analysis. The results of 22 males and 14 females (23.7 ± 2.6 years showed good to excellent test–retest reliability. The newly designed Active Balance System (ABS was then compared with the Biodex Balance System SD® (BBS. The results of 15 females, 14 males (23.4 ± 1.6 years showed modest correlation in static and acceptable correlation in dynamic conditions, suggesting that ABS could be a reliable and comparable tool for dynamic balance assessments.

  10. Role of IGF-1 in cortical plasticity and functional deficit induced by sensorimotor restriction.

    Mysoet, Julien; Dupont, Erwan; Bastide, Bruno; Canu, Marie-Hélène

    2015-09-01

    In the adult rat, sensorimotor restriction by hindlimb unloading (HU) is known to induce impairments in motor behavior as well as a disorganization of somatosensory cortex (shrinkage of the cortical representation of the hindpaw, enlargement of the cutaneous receptive fields, decreased cutaneous sensibility threshold). Recently, our team has demonstrated that IGF-1 level was decreased in the somatosensory cortex of rats submitted to a 14-day period of HU. To determine whether IGF-1 is involved in these plastic mechanisms, a chronic cortical infusion of this substance was performed by means of osmotic minipump. When administered in control rats, IGF-1 affects the size of receptive fields and the cutaneous threshold, but has no effect on the somatotopic map. In addition, when injected during the whole HU period, IGF-1 is interestingly implied in cortical changes due to hypoactivity: the shrinkage of somatotopic representation of hindlimb is prevented, whereas the enlargement of receptive fields is reduced. IGF-1 has no effect on the increase in neuronal response to peripheral stimulation. We also explored the functional consequences of IGF-1 level restoration on tactile sensory discrimination. In HU rats, the percentage of paw withdrawal after a light tactile stimulation was decreased, whereas it was similar to control level in HU-IGF-1 rats. Taken together, the data clearly indicate that IGF-1 plays a key-role in cortical plastic mechanisms and in behavioral alterations induced by a decrease in sensorimotor activity. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Sensorimotor modulation of mood and depression: In search of an optimal mode of stimulation

    RESIT eCANBEYLI

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Depression involves a dysfunction in an affective fronto-limbic circuitry including the prefrontal cortices, several limbic structures including the cingulate cortex, the amygdala and the hippocampus as well as the basal ganglia. A major emphasis of research on the etiology and treatment of mood disorders has been to assess the impact of centrally generated (top-down processes impacting the affective fronto-limbic circuitry. The present review shows that peripheral (bottom-up unipolar stimulation via the visual and the auditory modalities as well as by physical exercise modulates mood and depressive symptoms in humans and animals and activates the same central affective neurocircuitry involved in depression. It is proposed that the amygdala serves as a gateway by articulating the mood regulatory sensorimotor stimulation with the central affective circuitry by emotionally labeling and mediating the storage of such emotional events in long-term memory. Since both amelioration and aggravation of mood is shown to be possible by unipolar stimulation, the review suggests that a psychophysical assessment of mood modulation by multi-modal stimulation may uncover mood ameliorative synergisms and serve as adjunctive treatment for depression. Thus, the integrative review not only emphasizes the relevance of investigating the optimal levels of mood regulatory sensorimotor stimulation, but also provides a conceptual springboard for related future research.

  12. Perceptual expertise: can sensorimotor experience change holistic processing and left-side bias?

    Tso, Ricky Van-yip; Au, Terry Kit-fong; Hsiao, Janet Hui-wen

    2014-09-01

    Holistic processing and left-side bias are both behavioral markers of expert face recognition. By contrast, expert recognition of characters in Chinese orthography involves left-side bias but reduced holistic processing, although faces and Chinese characters share many visual properties. Here, we examined whether this reduction in holistic processing of Chinese characters can be better explained by writing experience than by reading experience. Compared with Chinese nonreaders, Chinese readers who had limited writing experience showed increased holistic processing, whereas Chinese readers who could write characters fluently showed reduced holistic processing. This result suggests that writing and sensorimotor experience can modulate holistic-processing effects and that the reduced holistic processing observed in expert Chinese readers may depend mostly on writing experience. However, both expert writers and writers with limited experience showed similarly stronger left-side bias than novices did in processing mirror-symmetric Chinese characters; left-side bias may therefore be a robust expertise marker for object recognition that is uninfluenced by sensorimotor experience. © The Author(s) 2014.

  13. Long-range memory and non-Markov statistical effects in human sensorimotor coordination

    M. Yulmetyev, Renat; Emelyanova, Natalya; Hänggi, Peter; Gafarov, Fail; Prokhorov, Alexander

    2002-12-01

    In this paper, the non-Markov statistical processes and long-range memory effects in human sensorimotor coordination are investigated. The theoretical basis of this study is the statistical theory of non-stationary discrete non-Markov processes in complex systems (Phys. Rev. E 62, 6178 (2000)). The human sensorimotor coordination was experimentally studied by means of standard dynamical tapping test on the group of 32 young peoples with tap numbers up to 400. This test was carried out separately for the right and the left hand according to the degree of domination of each brain hemisphere. The numerical analysis of the experimental results was made with the help of power spectra of the initial time correlation function, the memory functions of low orders and the first three points of the statistical spectrum of non-Markovity parameter. Our observations demonstrate, that with the regard to results of the standard dynamic tapping-test it is possible to divide all examinees into five different dynamic types. We have introduced the conflict coefficient to estimate quantitatively the order-disorder effects underlying life systems. The last one reflects the existence of disbalance between the nervous and the motor human coordination. The suggested classification of the neurophysiological activity represents the dynamic generalization of the well-known neuropsychological types and provides the new approach in a modern neuropsychology.

  14. Sensorimotor polyneuropathy

    ... neuropathy , including chemotherapy Guillain-Barré syndrome Hereditary neuropathy HIV/AIDS Low thyroid Parkinson disease Vitamin deficiency ( vitamins B12 , B1 , and E) Zika virus infection Symptoms Symptoms may include any of the following: Decreased ...

  15. Parallel, but Dissociable, Processing in Discrete Corticostriatal Inputs Encodes Skill Learning.

    Kupferschmidt, David A; Juczewski, Konrad; Cui, Guohong; Johnson, Kari A; Lovinger, David M

    2017-10-11

    Changes in cortical and striatal function underlie the transition from novel actions to refined motor skills. How discrete, anatomically defined corticostriatal projections function in vivo to encode skill learning remains unclear. Using novel fiber photometry approaches to assess real-time activity of associative inputs from medial prefrontal cortex to dorsomedial striatum and sensorimotor inputs from motor cortex to dorsolateral striatum, we show that associative and sensorimotor inputs co-engage early in action learning and disengage in a dissociable manner as actions are refined. Disengagement of associative, but not sensorimotor, inputs predicts individual differences in subsequent skill learning. Divergent somatic and presynaptic engagement in both projections during early action learning suggests potential learning-related in vivo modulation of presynaptic corticostriatal function. These findings reveal parallel processing within associative and sensorimotor circuits that challenges and refines existing views of corticostriatal function and expose neuronal projection- and compartment-specific activity dynamics that encode and predict action learning. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  16. Using Tests Designed to Measure Individual Sensorimotor Subsystem Perfomance to Predict Locomotor Adaptability

    Peters, B. T.; Caldwell, E. E.; Batson, C. D.; Guined, J. R.; DeDios, Y. E.; Stepanyan, V.; Gadd, N. E.; Szecsy, D. L.; Mulavara, A. P.; Seidler, R. D.; hide

    2014-01-01

    Astronauts experience sensorimotor disturbances during the initial exposure to microgravity and during the readapation phase following a return to a gravitational environment. These alterations may lead to disruption in the ability to perform mission critical functions during and after these gravitational transitions. Astronauts show significant inter-subject variation in adaptive capability following gravitational transitions. The way each individual's brain synthesizes the available visual, vestibular and somatosensory information is likely the basis for much of the variation. Identifying the presence of biases in each person's use of information available from these sensorimotor subsystems and relating it to their ability to adapt to a novel locomotor task will allow us to customize a training program designed to enhance sensorimotor adaptability. Eight tests are being used to measure sensorimotor subsystem performance. Three of these use measures of body sway to characterize balance during varying sensorimotor challenges. The effect of vision is assessed by repeating conditions with eyes open and eyes closed. Standing on foam, or on a support surface that pitches to maintain a constant ankle angle provide somatosensory challenges. Information from the vestibular system is isolated when vision is removed and the support surface is compromised, and it is challenged when the tasks are done while the head is in motion. The integration and dominance of visual information is assessed in three additional tests. The Rod & Frame Test measures the degree to which a subject's perception of the visual vertical is affected by the orientation of a tilted frame in the periphery. Locomotor visual dependence is determined by assessing how much an oscillating virtual visual world affects a treadmill-walking subject. In the third of the visual manipulation tests, subjects walk an obstacle course while wearing up-down reversing prisms. The two remaining tests include direct

  17. The impact of increased food availability on reproduction in a long-distance migratory songbird: implications for environmental change?

    Adam M Seward

    Full Text Available Many populations of migratory songbirds are declining or shifting in distribution. This is likely due to environmental changes that alter factors such as food availability that may have an impact on survival and/or breeding success. We tested the impact of experimentally supplemented food on the breeding success over three years of northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe, a species in decline over much of Europe. The number of offspring fledged over the season was higher for food-supplemented birds than for control birds. The mechanisms for this effect were that food supplementation advanced breeding date, which, together with increased resources, allowed further breeding attempts. While food supplementation did not increase the clutch size, hatching success or number of chicks fledged per breeding attempt, it did increase chick size in one year of the study. The increased breeding success was greater for males than females; males could attempt to rear simultaneous broods with multiple females as well as attempting second broods, whereas females could only increase their breeding effort via second broods. Multiple brooding is rare in the study population, but this study demonstrates the potential for changes in food availability to affect wheatear breeding productivity, primarily via phenotypic flexibility in the number of breeding attempts. Our results have implications for our understanding of how wheatears may respond to natural changes in food availability due to climate changes or changes in habitat management.

  18. The impact of increased food availability on reproduction in a long-distance migratory songbird: implications for environmental change?

    Seward, Adam M; Beale, Colin M; Gilbert, Lucy; Jones, T Hefin; Thomas, Robert J

    2014-01-01

    Many populations of migratory songbirds are declining or shifting in distribution. This is likely due to environmental changes that alter factors such as food availability that may have an impact on survival and/or breeding success. We tested the impact of experimentally supplemented food on the breeding success over three years of northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), a species in decline over much of Europe. The number of offspring fledged over the season was higher for food-supplemented birds than for control birds. The mechanisms for this effect were that food supplementation advanced breeding date, which, together with increased resources, allowed further breeding attempts. While food supplementation did not increase the clutch size, hatching success or number of chicks fledged per breeding attempt, it did increase chick size in one year of the study. The increased breeding success was greater for males than females; males could attempt to rear simultaneous broods with multiple females as well as attempting second broods, whereas females could only increase their breeding effort via second broods. Multiple brooding is rare in the study population, but this study demonstrates the potential for changes in food availability to affect wheatear breeding productivity, primarily via phenotypic flexibility in the number of breeding attempts. Our results have implications for our understanding of how wheatears may respond to natural changes in food availability due to climate changes or changes in habitat management.

  19. Sensorimotor cortex as a critical component of an 'extended' mirror neuron system: Does it solve the development, correspondence, and control problems in mirroring?

    Pineda Jaime A

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract A core assumption of how humans understand and infer the intentions and beliefs of others is the existence of a functional self-other distinction. At least two neural systems have been proposed to manage such a critical distinction. One system, part of the classic motor system, is specialized for the preparation and execution of motor actions that are self realized and voluntary, while the other appears primarily involved in capturing and understanding the actions of non-self or others. The latter system, of which the mirror neuron system is part, is the canonical action 'resonance' system in the brain that has evolved to share many of the same circuits involved in motor control. Mirroring or 'shared circuit systems' are assumed to be involved in resonating, imitating, and/or simulating the actions of others. A number of researchers have proposed that shared representations of motor actions may form a foundational cornerstone for higher order social processes, such as motor learning, action understanding, imitation, perspective taking, understanding facial emotions, and empathy. However, mirroring systems that evolve from the classic motor system present at least three problems: a development, a correspondence, and a control problem. Developmentally, the question is how does a mirroring system arise? How do humans acquire the ability to simulate through mapping observed onto executed actions? Are mirror neurons innate and therefore genetically programmed? To what extent is learning necessary? In terms of the correspondence problem, the question is how does the observer agent know what the observed agent's resonance activation pattern is? How does the matching of motor activation patterns occur? Finally, in terms of the control problem, the issue is how to efficiently control a mirroring system when it is turned on automatically through observation? Or, as others have stated the problem more succinctly: "Why don't we imitate all the time

  20. Sensorimotor cortex as a critical component of an 'extended' mirror neuron system: Does it solve the development, correspondence, and control problems in mirroring?

    Pineda, Jaime A

    2008-01-01

    A core assumption of how humans understand and infer the intentions and beliefs of others is the existence of a functional self-other distinction. At least two neural systems have been proposed to manage such a critical distinction. One system, part of the classic motor system, is specialized for the preparation and execution of motor actions that are self realized and voluntary, while the other appears primarily involved in capturing and understanding the actions of non-self or others. The latter system, of which the mirror neuron system is part, is the canonical action 'resonance' system in the brain that has evolved to share many of the same circuits involved in motor control. Mirroring or 'shared circuit systems' are assumed to be involved in resonating, imitating, and/or simulating the actions of others. A number of researchers have proposed that shared representations of motor actions may form a foundational cornerstone for higher order social processes, such as motor learning, action understanding, imitation, perspective taking, understanding facial emotions, and empathy. However, mirroring systems that evolve from the classic motor system present at least three problems: a development, a correspondence, and a control problem. Developmentally, the question is how does a mirroring system arise? How do humans acquire the ability to simulate through mapping observed onto executed actions? Are mirror neurons innate and therefore genetically programmed? To what extent is learning necessary? In terms of the correspondence problem, the question is how does the observer agent know what the observed agent's resonance activation pattern is? How does the matching of motor activation patterns occur? Finally, in terms of the control problem, the issue is how to efficiently control a mirroring system when it is turned on automatically through observation? Or, as others have stated the problem more succinctly: "Why don't we imitate all the time?" In this review, we argue

  1. The Effects of Vibration and Muscle Fatigue on Trunk Sensorimotor Control in Low Back Pain Patients.

    Jean-Alexandre Boucher

    Full Text Available Changes in sensorimotor function and increased trunk muscle fatigability have been identified in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP. This study assessed the control of trunk force production in conditions with and without local erector spinae muscle vibration and evaluated the influence of muscle fatigue on trunk sensorimotor control.Twenty non-specific cLBP patients and 20 healthy participants were asked to perform submaximal isometric trunk extension torque with and without local vibration stimulation, before and after a trunk extensor muscle fatigue protocol. Constant error (CE, variable error (VE as well as absolute error (AE in peak torque were computed and compared across conditions. Trunk extensor muscle activation during isometric contractions and during the fatigue protocol was measured using surface electromyography (sEMG.Force reproduction accuracy of the trunk was significantly lower in the patient group (CE = 9.81 ± 2.23 Nm; AE = 18.16 ± 3.97 Nm than in healthy participants (CE = 4.44 ± 1.68 Nm; AE = 12.23 ± 2.44 Nm. Local erector spinae vibration induced a significant reduction in CE (4.33 ± 2.14 Nm and AE (13.71 ± 3.45 Nm mean scores in the patient group. Healthy participants conversely showed a significant increase in CE (8.17 ± 2.10 Nm and AE (16.29 ± 2.82 Nm mean scores under vibration conditions. The fatigue protocol induced erector spinae muscle fatigue as illustrated by a significant decrease in sEMG median time-frequency slopes. Following the fatigue protocol, patients with cLBP showed significant decrease in sEMG root mean square activity at L4-5 level and responded in similar manner with and without vibration stimulation in regard to CE mean scores.Patients with cLBP have a less accurate force reproduction sense than healthy participants. Local muscle vibration led to significant trunk neuromuscular control improvements in the cLBP patients before and after a muscle fatigue protocol. Muscle vibration

  2. The Effects of Vibration and Muscle Fatigue on Trunk Sensorimotor Control in Low Back Pain Patients

    Abboud, Jacques; Nougarou, François; Normand, Martin C.

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Changes in sensorimotor function and increased trunk muscle fatigability have been identified in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP). This study assessed the control of trunk force production in conditions with and without local erector spinae muscle vibration and evaluated the influence of muscle fatigue on trunk sensorimotor control. Methods Twenty non-specific cLBP patients and 20 healthy participants were asked to perform submaximal isometric trunk extension torque with and without local vibration stimulation, before and after a trunk extensor muscle fatigue protocol. Constant error (CE), variable error (VE) as well as absolute error (AE) in peak torque were computed and compared across conditions. Trunk extensor muscle activation during isometric contractions and during the fatigue protocol was measured using surface electromyography (sEMG). Results Force reproduction accuracy of the trunk was significantly lower in the patient group (CE = 9.81 ± 2.23 Nm; AE = 18.16 ± 3.97 Nm) than in healthy participants (CE = 4.44 ± 1.68 Nm; AE = 12.23 ± 2.44 Nm). Local erector spinae vibration induced a significant reduction in CE (4.33 ± 2.14 Nm) and AE (13.71 ± 3.45 Nm) mean scores in the patient group. Healthy participants conversely showed a significant increase in CE (8.17 ± 2.10 Nm) and AE (16.29 ± 2.82 Nm) mean scores under vibration conditions. The fatigue protocol induced erector spinae muscle fatigue as illustrated by a significant decrease in sEMG median time-frequency slopes. Following the fatigue protocol, patients with cLBP showed significant decrease in sEMG root mean square activity at L4-5 level and responded in similar manner with and without vibration stimulation in regard to CE mean scores. Conclusions Patients with cLBP have a less accurate force reproduction sense than healthy participants. Local muscle vibration led to significant trunk neuromuscular control improvements in the cLBP patients before and after a muscle

  3. The Role of Motor Processes in Three-Dimensional Mental Rotation: Shaping Cognitive Processing via Sensorimotor Experience

    Moreau, David

    2012-01-01

    An extensive body of literature has explored the involvement of motor processes in mental rotation, yet underlying individual differences are less documented and remain to be fully understood. We propose that sensorimotor experience shapes spatial abilities such as assessed in mental rotation tasks. Elite wrestlers' and non-athletes' mental…

  4. EFFECT OF PROPRIOCEPTIVE NEUROMUSCULAR FACILITATION (PNF IN IMPROVING SENSORIMOTOR FUNCTION IN PATIENTS WITH DIABETIC NEUROPATHY AFFECTING LOWER LIMBS

    Kamaljeet Singh

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Background: Diabetic Mellitus is a group of metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycaemia resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. Distal Sensorimotor Polyneuropathy is the most common complication of diabetes which mainly affects the lower limbs. Most of the studies aimed at individually increasing muscle strength or sensation but not on overall performance enhancements of the diabetic lower limbs. The evidence supporting the effectiveness of PNF in diabetic neuropathic patients is scarce. Methods: 30 patients, with age between 50 to 70 years, diagnosed with Diabetic Sensorimotor Polyneuropathy (DSP were selected from the department of Medicine and department of Neurosurgery Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital. Patients were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the intervention using Diabetic Neuropathy Examination scores. Patients received 3 sets of exercises one hour/day with 3 days/week for 3 months. Each set of exercises consists of 5 repetitions of PNF patterns (alternate day and techniques. Results: D1 & D2 patterns of PNF are effective in improving both motor and sensory functions of diabetic patients with neuropathic symptoms. Improvement in muscle strength, reflex and sensations occurred to a greater extent after the treatment of three months in these subjects. This study shows that PNF patterns were effective at enhancing sensorimotor problems of lower limbs. Conclusion: This study concluded that PNF is found to be effective in improving sensorimotor functions of diabetic neuropathic patients affecting lower limbs.

  5. Implications of a neural network model of early sensori-motor development for the field of developmental neurology

    van Heijst, JJ; Touwen, BCL; Vos, JE

    This paper reports on a neural network model for early sensori-motor development and on the possible implications of this research for our understanding and, eventually, treatment of motor disorders like cerebral palsy. We recapitulate the results we published in detail in a series of papers [1-4].

  6. No Neuromuscular Side-Effects of Scopolamine in Sensorimotor Control and Force-Generating Capacity Among Parabolic Fliers

    Ritzmann, Ramona; Freyler, Kathrin; Krause, Anne; Gollhofer, Albert

    2016-10-01

    Scopolamine is used to counteract motion sickness in parabolic flight (PF) experiments. Although the drug's anticholinergic properties effectively impede vomiting, recent studies document other sensory side-effects in the central nervous system that may considerably influence sensorimotor performance. This study aimed to quantify such effects in order to determine if they are of methodological and operational significance for sensorimotor control. Ten subjects of a PF campaign received a weight-sex-based dose of a subcutaneous scopolamine injection. Sensorimotor performance was recorded before medication, 20min, 2h and 4h after injection in four space-relevant paradigms: balance control in one-leg stance with eyes open (protocol 1) and closed as well as force-generating capacity in countermovement jumps and hops (protocol 2). Postural sway, forces and joint angles were recorded. Neuromuscular control was assessed by electromyography and peripheral nerve stimulation; H-reflexes and M-waves were used to monitor spinal excitability of the Ia afferent reflex circuitry and maximal motor output. (1) H-reflex amplitudes, latencies and functional reflexes remained unchanged after scopolamine injection. (2) M-waves, neuromuscular activation intensities and antagonistic muscle coordination did not change with scopolamine administration. (3) Balance performance and force-generating capacity were not impeded by scopolamine. We found no evidence for changes in sensorimotor control in response to scopolamine injection. Sensory processing of daily relevant reflexes, spinal excitability, maximal motor output and performance parameters were not sensitive to the medication. We conclude that scopolamine administration can be used to counteract motion sickness in PF without methodological and operational concerns or interference regarding sensorimotor skills associated with neuromuscular control.

  7. How the impact of median neuropathy on sensorimotor control capability of hands for diabetes: an achievable assessment from functional perspectives.

    Haw-Yen Chiu

    Full Text Available To comprehend the sensorimotor control ability in diabetic hands, this study investigated the sensation, motor function and precision pinch performances derived from a pinch-holding-up activity (PHUA test of the hands of diabetic patients and healthy subjects. The precision, sensitivity and specificity of the PHUA test in the measurements of diabetic patients were also analyzed. We hypothesized that the diabetic hands would have impacts on the sensorimotor functions of the hand performances under functionally quantitative measurements. One hundred and fifty-nine patients with clinically defined diabetes mellitus (DM and 95 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were included. Semmes-Weinstein monofilament (SWM, static and moving two-point discrimination (S2PD and M2PD, maximal pinch strength and precision pinch performance tests were conducted to evaluate the sensation, motor and sensorimotor status of the recruited hands. The results showed that there were significant differences (all p<0.05 in SWM, S2PD, M2PD and maximum pinch strength between the DM and control groups. A higher force ratio in the DM patients than in the controls (p<0.001 revealed a poor ability of pinch force adjustment in the DM patients. The percentage of maximal pinch strength was also significantly different (p<0.001 between the DM and control groups. The sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve were 0.85, 0.51, and 0.724, respectively, for the PHUA test. Statistically significant degradations in sensory and motor functions and sensorimotor control ability were observed in the hands of the diabetic patients. The PHUA test could be feasibly used as a clinical tool to determine the sensorimotor function of the hands of diabetic patients from a functional perspective.

  8. Sensorimotor posture control in the blind: superior ankle proprioceptive acuity does not compensate for vision loss.

    Ozdemir, Recep A; Pourmoghaddam, Amir; Paloski, William H

    2013-09-01

    To better understand sensorimotor posture control differences between blind and sighted individuals, we examined the role of ankle joint proprioception and ankle muscle strength on postural control in healthy blind (n=13, 25-58 years) and age- and sex-matched sighted (n=15, 20-65 years) volunteers. We measured ankle joint proprioceptive acuity and isokinetic muscle strength in plantarflexion and dorsiflexion using an isokinetic dynamometer. We also assessed postural control performance during quiet bipedal stance with and without sudden postural perturbations, and during quiet unipedal stance. We found that while our blind subjects exhibited significantly better proprioceptive acuity than our sighted subjects their postural control performance was significantly poorer than that of the sighted group with eyes open, and no different from that of the sighted group with eyes closed suggesting that their superior proprioceptive acuity does not translate to improved balance control. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Sensorimotor simulations underlie conceptual representations: modality-specific effects of prior activation.

    Pecher, Diane; Zeelenberg, René; Barsalou, Lawrence W

    2004-02-01

    According to the perceptual symbols theory (Barsalou, 1999), sensorimotor simulations underlie the representation of concepts. Simulations are componential in the sense that they vary with the context in which the concept is presented. In the present study, we investigated whether representations are affected by recent experiences with a concept. Concept names (e.g., APPLE) were presented twice in a property verification task with a different property on each occasion. The two properties were either from the same perceptual modality (e.g., green, shiny) or from different modalities (e.g., tart, shiny). All stimuli were words. There was a lag of several intervening trials between the first and second presentation. Verification times and error rates for the second presentation of the concept were higher if the properties were from different modalities than if they were from the same modality.

  10. Centre-surround organization of fast sensorimotor integration in human motor hand area

    Dubbioso, Raffaele; Raffin, Estelle; Karabanov, Anke

    2017-01-01

    Using the short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) paradigm, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor hand area (M1HAND) can probe how sensory input from limbs modulates corticomotor output in humans. Here we applied a novel TMS mapping approach to chart the spatial representat......Using the short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) paradigm, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor hand area (M1HAND) can probe how sensory input from limbs modulates corticomotor output in humans. Here we applied a novel TMS mapping approach to chart the spatial...... in M1HAND. Like homotopic SAI, heterotopic SAF was somatotopically expressed in M1HAND. Together, the results provide first-time evidence that fast sensorimotor integration involves centre-inhibition and surround-facilitation in human M1HAND....

  11. Cognitive development in kittens (Felis catus): an observational study of object permanence and sensorimotor intelligence.

    Dumas, C; Doré, F Y

    1991-12-01

    Spontaneous behavior of kittens (Felis catus) was filmed from birth until the end of Month 5 and coded according to Piagetian criteria of sensorimotor intelligence (SI) and object permanence (OP). Data revealed that Stages 2, 3, and 4 of SI were reached at Days 10, 26, and 45, respectively, whereas Stages 2, 3, and 4 of OP were reached at Days 31, 37, and 41, respectively. Spontaneous search behavior was exhibited both in searching for an object that disappeared and in hiding while moving toward a target object. From Day 45 on, search behavior was integrated into a playful social interaction in the form of hide-and-seek. Hence, kittens' spontaneous activity provided them with contexts in which OP was necessary for activity. Lastly, it is proposed that the mobility of both social and physical objects triggered circular activity in this species.

  12. Brain-computer interface signal processing at the Wadsworth Center: mu and sensorimotor beta rhythms.

    McFarland, Dennis J; Krusienski, Dean J; Wolpaw, Jonathan R

    2006-01-01

    The Wadsworth brain-computer interface (BCI), based on mu and beta sensorimotor rhythms, uses one- and two-dimensional cursor movement tasks and relies on user training. This is a real-time closed-loop system. Signal processing consists of channel selection, spatial filtering, and spectral analysis. Feature translation uses a regression approach and normalization. Adaptation occurs at several points in this process on the basis of different criteria and methods. It can use either feedforward (e.g., estimating the signal mean for normalization) or feedback control (e.g., estimating feature weights for the prediction equation). We view this process as the interaction between a dynamic user and a dynamic system that coadapt over time. Understanding the dynamics of this interaction and optimizing its performance represent a major challenge for BCI research.

  13. Virtual reality applications in assessing the effect of anxiety on sensorimotor integration in human postural control.

    Widdowson, Christopher; Ganhotra, Jatin; Faizal, Mohammed; Wilko, Marissa; Parikh, Saurin; Adhami, Zainulabidin; Hernandez, Manuel E

    2016-08-01

    Falls are a leading cause of injury and mortality among adults over the age of 65 years. Given the strong relation between fear of falling and fall risk, identification of the mechanisms that underlie anxiety-related changes in postural control may pave the way to the development of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing fall risk in older adults. First, we review potential mechanisms underlying anxiety-mediated changes in postural control in older adults with and without neurological conditions. We then present a system that allows for the simultaneous recording of neural, physiological, and behavioral data in an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment while implementing sensory and mechanical perturbations to evaluate alterations in sensorimotor integration under conditions with high postural threat. We also discuss applications of VR in minimizing falls in older adults and potential future studies.

  14. Short-term kinesthetic training for sensorimotor rhythms: effects in experts and amateurs.

    Zapała, Dariusz; Zabielska-Mendyk, Emilia; Cudo, Andrzej; Krzysztofiak, Agnieszka; Augustynowicz, Paweł; Francuz, Piotr

    2015-01-01

    The authors' aim was to examine whether short-term kinesthetic training affects the level of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) in different frequency band: alpha (8-12 Hz), lower beta (12.5-16 Hz) and beta (16.5-20 Hz) during the execution of a motor imagery task of closing and opening the right and the left hand by experts (jugglers, practicing similar exercises on an everyday basis) and amateurs (individuals not practicing any sports). It was found that the performance of short kinesthetic training increases the power of alpha rhythm when executing imagery tasks only in the group of amateurs. Therefore, kinesthetic training may be successfully used as a method increasing the vividness of motor imagery, for example, in tasks involving the control of brain-computer interfaces based on SMR.

  15. Technology-aided assessment of sensori-motor function in early infancy

    Alessandro G Allievi

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available There is a pressing need for new techniques capable of providing accurate information about sensori-motor function during the first 2 years of childhood. Here we review current clinical methods and challenges for assessing motor function in early infancy, and discuss the potential benefits of applying technology-assisted methods. We also describe how the use of these tools with neuroimaging, and in particular functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, can shed new light on the intra-cerebral processes underlying neurodevelopmental impairment. This knowledge is of particular relevance in the early infant brain which has an increased capacity for compensatory neural plasticity. Such tools could bring a wealth of knowledge about the underlying pathophysiological processes of diseases such as cerebral palsy; act as biomarkers to monitor the effects of possible therapeutic interventions; and provide clinicians with much needed early diagnostic information.

  16. Virtual Reality as a Medium for Sensorimotor Adaptation Training and Spaceflight Countermeasures

    Madansingh, S.; Bloomberg, J. J.

    2014-01-01

    Astronauts experience a profound sensorimotor adaptation during transition to and from the microgravity environment of space. With the upcoming shift to extra-long duration missions (upwards of 1 year) aboard the International Space Station, the immediate risks to astronauts during these transitory periods become more important than ever to understand and prepare for. Recent advances in virtual reality technology enable everyday adoption of these tools for entertainment and use in training. Embedding an individual in a virtual environment (VE) allows the ability to change the perception of visual flow, elicit automatic motor behavior and produce sensorimotor adaptation, not unlike those required during long duration microgravity exposure. The overall goal of this study is to determine the feasibility of present head mounted display technology (HMD) to produce reliable visual flow information and the expected adaptation associated with virtual environment manipulation to be used in future sensorimotor adaptability countermeasures. To further understand the influence of visual flow on gait adaptation during treadmill walking, a series of discordant visual flow manipulations in a virtual environment are proposed. Six healthy participants (3 male and 3 female) will observe visual flow information via HMD (Oculus Rift DK2) while walking on an instrumented treadmill at their preferred walking speed. Participants will be immersed in a series of VE's resembling infinite hallways with different visual characteristics: an office hallway, a hallway with pillars and the hallway of a fictional spacecraft. Participants will perform three trials of 10 min. each, which include walking on the treadmill while receiving congruent or incongruent visual information via the HMD. In the first trial, participants will experience congruent visual information (baseline) where the hallway is perceived to move at the same rate as their walking speed. The final two trials will be randomized

  17. Safety and efficacy of ranirestat in patients with mild-to-moderate diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy.

    Polydefkis, Michael; Arezzo, Joseph; Nash, Marshall; Bril, Vera; Shaibani, Aziz; Gordon, Robert J; Bradshaw, Kate L; Junor, Roderick W J

    2015-12-01

    We examined the efficacy and safety of ranirestat in patients with diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN). Patients (18-75 years) with stable type 1/2 diabetes mellitus and DSPN were eligible for this global, double-blind, phase II/III study (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00927914). Patients (n = 800) were randomized 1 : 1 : 1 to placebo, ranirestat 40 mg/day or 80 mg/day (265 : 264 : 271). Change in peroneal motor nerve conduction velocity (PMNCV) from baseline to 24 months was the primary endpoint with a goal improvement vs. placebo ≥1.2 m/s. Other endpoints included symptoms, quality-of-life, and safety. Six hundred thirty-three patients completed the study. The PMNCV difference from placebo was significant at 6, 12, and 18 months in both ranirestat groups, but diabetes. © 2015 Peripheral Nerve Society.

  18. State-dependent sensorimotor processing: gaze and posture stability during simulated flight in birds.

    McArthur, Kimberly L; Dickman, J David

    2011-04-01

    Vestibular responses play an important role in maintaining gaze and posture stability during rotational motion. Previous studies suggest that these responses are state dependent, their expression varying with the environmental and locomotor conditions of the animal. In this study, we simulated an ethologically relevant state in the laboratory to study state-dependent vestibular responses in birds. We used frontal airflow to simulate gliding flight and measured pigeons' eye, head, and tail responses to rotational motion in darkness, under both head-fixed and head-free conditions. We show that both eye and head response gains are significantly higher during flight, thus enhancing gaze and head-in-space stability. We also characterize state-specific tail responses to pitch and roll rotation that would help to maintain body-in-space orientation during flight. These results demonstrate that vestibular sensorimotor processing is not fixed but depends instead on the animal's behavioral state.

  19. Specific adaptations of neuromuscular control and knee joint stiffness following sensorimotor training.

    Gruber, M; Bruhn, S; Gollhofer, A

    2006-08-01

    The aim of this study was to examine how fixations of the ankle joint during sensorimotor training (SMT) influence adaptations in mechanical stiffness and neuromuscular control of the knee joint. Sixty-three healthy subjects were randomly assigned to three training groups that differed in their degree of ankle joint fixation, which was either barefooted, with an ankle brace or with a ski boot. Mechanical knee joint stiffness and reflex control of m. vastus medialis, m. vastus lateralis, m. biceps femoris, and m. semitendinosus were tested during force controlled anterior tibial displacements. This force was applied as both a fast and a slow stimulus. After the training period the group that trained barefooted showed an increase in mechanical stiffness of the knee joint from 79 +/- 21 (Mean +/- SD) N/mm to 110 +/- 38 N/mm (p boots was able to improve knee joint stiffness from 67 +/- 26 N/mm to 96 +/- 47 N/mm (p knee joint injuries.

  20. Electroencephalographic Correlates of Sensorimotor Integration and Embodiment during the Appreciation of Virtual Architectural Environments.

    Vecchiato, Giovanni; Tieri, Gaetano; Jelic, Andrea; De Matteis, Federico; Maglione, Anton G; Babiloni, Fabio

    2015-01-01

    Nowadays there is the hope that neuroscientific findings will contribute to the improvement of building design in order to create environments which satisfy man's demands. This can be achieved through the understanding of neurophysiological correlates of architectural perception. To this aim, the electroencephalographic (EEG) signals of 12 healthy subjects were recorded during the perception of three immersive virtual reality environments (VEs). Afterwards, participants were asked to describe their experience in terms of Familiarity, Novelty, Comfort, Pleasantness, Arousal, and Presence using a rating scale from 1 to 9. These perceptual dimensions are hypothesized to influence the pattern of cerebral spectral activity, while Presence is used to assess the realism of the virtual stimulation. Hence, the collected scores were used to analyze the Power Spectral Density (PSD) of the EEG for each behavioral dimension in the theta, alpha and mu bands by means of time-frequency analysis and topographic statistical maps. Analysis of Presence resulted in the activation of the frontal-midline theta, indicating the involvement of sensorimotor integration mechanisms when subjects expressed to feel more present in the VEs. Similar patterns also characterized the experience of familiar and comfortable VEs. In addition, pleasant VEs increased the theta power across visuomotor circuits and activated the alpha band in areas devoted to visuospatial exploration and processing of categorical spatial relations. Finally, the de-synchronization of the mu rhythm described the perception of pleasant and comfortable VEs, showing the involvement of left motor areas and embodied mechanisms for environment appreciation. Overall, these results show the possibility to measure EEG correlates of architectural perception involving the cerebral circuits of sensorimotor integration, spatial navigation, and embodiment. These observations can help testing architectural hypotheses in order to design

  1. Modulation of sensorimotor circuits during retrieval of negative Autobiographical Memories: Exploring the impact of personality dimensions.

    Mineo, Ludovico; Concerto, Carmen; Patel, Dhaval; Mayorga, Tyrone; Chusid, Eileen; Infortuna, Carmenrita; Aguglia, Eugenio; Sarraf, Yasmin; Battaglia, Fortunato

    2018-02-01

    Autobiographical Memory (AM) retrieval refers to recollection of experienced past events. Previous Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) studies have shown that presentation of emotional negative stimuli affects human motor cortex excitability resulting in larger motor evoked potentials (MEPs). Up to date no TMS studies have been carried out in order to investigate the effect of personal memories with negative emotional value on corticospinal excitability. In this study we hypothesized that negative AM retrieval will modulate corticomotor excitability and sensorimotor integration as determined by TMS neurophysiological parameters. Furthermore, we investigated whether TMS responses during retrieval of negative AM are associated with specific personality traits. Twelve healthy subjects were asked to recall either a negative or a neutral AM across two different days in a randomized order. During this memory retrieval, the following TMS parameters were recorded: MEPs; Short- interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and Intracortical facilitation (ICF); Short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) and Long- latency afferent inhibition (LAI). Personality traits were assessed by using the Big Five scale. Statistical analysis was performed using factorial ANOVAs and multiple linear regression models. When compared to retrieval of neutral AM, recollection of negative AM induced a larger increase in MEP amplitude, an increase in ICF, and a decrease in SAI. The neuroticism personality trait was a significant predictor of the MEP amplitude increase during retrieval of negative AM. Altogether these results indicate that cortical excitability and sensorimotor integration are selectively modulated by the valence of AM. These results provide the first TMS evidence that the modulatory effect of the AM retrieval is associated with specific personality traits. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Inferring Characteristics of Sensorimotor Behavior by Quantifying Dynamics of Animal Locomotion

    Leung, KaWai

    Locomotion is one of the most well-studied topics in animal behavioral studies. Many fundamental and clinical research make use of the locomotion of an animal model to explore various aspects in sensorimotor behavior. In the past, most of these studies focused on population average of a specific trait due to limitation of data collection and processing power. With recent advance in computer vision and statistical modeling techniques, it is now possible to track and analyze large amounts of behavioral data. In this thesis, I present two projects that aim to infer the characteristics of sensorimotor behavior by quantifying the dynamics of locomotion of nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, shedding light on statistical dependence between sensing and behavior. In the first project, I investigate the possibility of inferring noxious sensory information from the behavior of Caenorhabditis elegans. I develop a statistical model to infer the heat stimulus level perceived by individual animals from their stereotyped escape responses after stimulation by an IR laser. The model allows quantification of analgesic-like effects of chemical agents or genetic mutations in the worm. At the same time, the method is able to differentiate perturbations of locomotion behavior that are beyond affecting the sensory system. With this model I propose experimental designs that allows statistically significant identification of analgesic-like effects. In the second project, I investigate the relationship of energy budget and stability of locomotion in determining the walking speed distribution of Drosophila melanogaster during aging. The locomotion stability at different age groups is estimated from video recordings using Floquet theory. I calculate the power consumption of different locomotion speed using a biomechanics model. In conclusion, the power consumption, not stability, predicts the locomotion speed distribution at different ages.

  3. Beam walking can detect differences in walking balance proficiency across a range of sensorimotor abilities.

    Sawers, Andrew; Ting, Lena H

    2015-02-01

    The ability to quantify differences in walking balance proficiency is critical to curbing the rising health and financial costs of falls. Current laboratory-based approaches typically focus on successful recovery of balance while clinical instruments often pose little difficulty for all but the most impaired patients. Rarely do they test motor behaviors of sufficient difficulty to evoke failures in balance control limiting their ability to quantify balance proficiency. Our objective was to test whether a simple beam-walking task could quantify differences in walking balance proficiency across a range of sensorimotor abilities. Ten experts, ten novices, and five individuals with transtibial limb loss performed six walking trials across three different width beams. Walking balance proficiency was quantified as the ratio of distance walked to total possible distance. Balance proficiency was not significantly different between cohorts on the wide-beam, but clear differences between cohorts on the mid and narrow-beams were identified. Experts walked a greater distance than novices on the mid-beam (average of 3.63±0.04m verus 2.70±0.21m out of 3.66m; p=0.009), and novices walked further than amputees (1.52±0.20m; p=0.03). Amputees were unable to walk on the narrow-beam, while experts walked further (3.07±0.14m) than novices (1.55±0.26m; p=0.0005). A simple beam-walking task and an easily collected measure of distance traveled detected differences in walking balance proficiency across sensorimotor abilities. This approach provides a means to safely study and evaluate successes and failures in walking balance in the clinic or lab. It may prove useful in identifying mechanisms underlying falls versus fall recoveries. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Temporal dynamics of sensorimotor integration in speech perception and production: Independent component analysis of EEG data

    David eJenson

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Activity in premotor and sensorimotor cortices is found in speech production and some perception tasks. Yet, how sensorimotor integration supports these functions is unclear due to a lack of data examining the timing of activity from these regions. Beta (~20Hz and alpha (~10Hz spectral power within the EEG µ rhythm are considered indices of motor and somatosensory activity, respectively. In the current study, perception conditions required discrimination (same/different of syllables pairs (/ba/ and /da/ in quiet and noisy conditions. Production conditions required covert and overt syllable productions and overt word production. Independent component analysis was performed on EEG data obtained during these conditions to 1 identify clusters of µ components common to all conditions and 2 examine real-time event-related spectral perturbations (ERSP within alpha and beta bands. 17 and 15 out of 20 participants produced left and right µ-components, respectively, localized to precentral gyri. Discrimination conditions were characterized by significant (pFDR<.05 early alpha event-related synchronization (ERS prior to and during stimulus presentation and later alpha event-related desynchronization (ERD following stimulus offset. Beta ERD began early and gained strength across time. Differences were found between quiet and noisy discrimination conditions. Both overt syllable and word productions yielded similar alpha/beta ERD that began prior to production and was strongest during muscle activity. Findings during covert production were weaker than during overt production. One explanation for these findings is that µ-beta ERD indexes early predictive coding (e.g., internal modeling and/or overt and covert attentional / motor processes. µ-alpha ERS may index inhibitory input to the premotor cortex from sensory regions prior to and during discrimination, while µ-alpha ERD may index re-afferent sensory feedback during speech rehearsal and production.

  5. Meis1: effects on motor phenotypes and the sensorimotor system in mice

    Aaro V. Salminen

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available MEIS1 encodes a developmental transcription factor and has been linked to restless legs syndrome (RLS in genome-wide association studies. RLS is a movement disorder leading to severe sleep reduction and has a substantial impact on the quality of life of patients. In genome-wide association studies, MEIS1 has consistently been the gene with the highest effect size and functional studies suggest a disease-relevant downregulation. Therefore, haploinsufficiency of Meis1 could be the system with the most potential for modeling RLS in animals. We used heterozygous Meis1-knockout mice to study the effects of Meis1 haploinsufficiency on mouse behavioral and neurological phenotypes, and to relate the findings to human RLS. We exposed the Meis1-deficient mice to assays of motor, sensorimotor and cognitive ability, and assessed the effect of a dopaminergic receptor 2/3 agonist commonly used in the treatment of RLS. The mutant mice showed a pattern of circadian hyperactivity, which is compatible with human RLS. Moreover, we discovered a replicable prepulse inhibition (PPI deficit in the Meis1-deficient animals. In addition, these mice were hyposensitive to the PPI-reducing effect of the dopaminergic receptor agonist, highlighting a role of Meis1 in the dopaminergic system. Other reported phenotypes include enhanced social recognition at an older age that was not related to alterations in adult olfactory bulb neurogenesis previously shown to be implicated in this behavior. In conclusion, the Meis1-deficient mice fulfill some of the hallmarks of an RLS animal model, and revealed the role of Meis1 in sensorimotor gating and in the dopaminergic systems modulating it.

  6. Human sensorimotor communication: a theory of signaling in online social interactions.

    Pezzulo, Giovanni; Donnarumma, Francesco; Dindo, Haris

    2013-01-01

    Although the importance of communication is recognized in several disciplines, it is rarely studied in the context of online social interactions and joint actions. During online joint actions, language and gesture are often insufficient and humans typically use non-verbal, sensorimotor forms of communication to send coordination signals. For example, when playing volleyball, an athlete can exaggerate her movements to signal her intentions to her teammates (say, a pass to the right) or to feint an adversary. Similarly, a person who is transporting a table together with a co-actor can push the table in a certain direction to signal where and when he intends to place it. Other examples of "signaling" are over-articulating in noisy environments and over-emphasizing vowels in child-directed speech. In all these examples, humans intentionally modify their action kinematics to make their goals easier to disambiguate. At the moment no formal theory exists of these forms of sensorimotor communication and signaling. We present one such theory that describes signaling as a combination of a pragmatic and a communicative action, and explains how it simplifies coordination in online social interactions. We cast signaling within a "joint action optimization" framework in which co-actors optimize the success of their interaction and joint goals rather than only their part of the joint action. The decision of whether and how much to signal requires solving a trade-off between the costs of modifying one's behavior and the benefits in terms of interaction success. Signaling is thus an intentional strategy that supports social interactions; it acts in concert with automatic mechanisms of resonance, prediction, and imitation, especially when the context makes actions and intentions ambiguous and difficult to read. Our theory suggests that communication dynamics should be studied within theories of coordination and interaction rather than only in terms of the maximization of information

  7. Intranasal mesenchymal stem cell treatment for neonatal brain damage: long-term cognitive and sensorimotor improvement.

    Vanessa Donega

    Full Text Available Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC administration via the intranasal route could become an effective therapy to treat neonatal hypoxic-ischemic (HI brain damage. We analyzed long-term effects of intranasal MSC treatment on lesion size, sensorimotor and cognitive behavior, and determined the therapeutic window and dose response relationships. Furthermore, the appearance of MSCs at the lesion site in relation to the therapeutic window was examined. Nine-day-old mice were subjected to unilateral carotid artery occlusion and hypoxia. MSCs were administered intranasally at 3, 10 or 17 days after hypoxia-ischemia (HI. Motor, cognitive and histological outcome was investigated. PKH-26 labeled cells were used to localize MSCs in the brain. We identified 0.5 × 10(6 MSCs as the minimal effective dose with a therapeutic window of at least 10 days but less than 17 days post-HI. A single dose was sufficient for a marked beneficial effect. MSCs reach the lesion site within 24 h when given 3 or 10 days after injury. However, no MSCs were detected in the lesion when administered 17 days following HI. We also show for the first time that intranasal MSC treatment after HI improves cognitive function. Improvement of sensorimotor function and histological outcome was maintained until at least 9 weeks post-HI. The capacity of MSCs to reach the lesion site within 24 h after intranasal administration at 10 days but not at 17 days post-HI indicates a therapeutic window of at least 10 days. Our data strongly indicate that intranasal MSC treatment may become a promising non-invasive therapeutic tool to effectively reduce neonatal encephalopathy.

  8. An evaluation of sensorimotor integration during locomotion toward a target in Parkinson's disease.

    Almeida, Q J; Frank, J S; Roy, E A; Jenkins, M E; Spaulding, S; Patla, A E; Jog, M S

    2005-01-01

    Recent research suggests that basal ganglia dysfunction may result in problems integrating concurrent vision and proprioception during movement. We evaluated dopaminergic system involvement in this sensorimotor process during locomotion within a large sample of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients while "On" and "Off" their dopaminergic medications (n=25), in conditions that selectively manipulated the availability of proprioception, vision or both. The present experiment focused on two main objectives: i) to examine the relative influence of visual and proprioceptive inputs on locomotion and target accuracy in patients with PD; and ii) to examine the influence of dopamine replacement therapy on sensorimotor integration while moving toward the target. All participants walked at a self-selected pace on a GAITRite carpet in two baseline conditions (light and dark), as well as four experimental darkness conditions: a) to a remembered target (i.e. proprioception only), b) to a remembered target with light on chest for body position awareness (proprioception plus), c) with vision of a lit target, also with light on chest (vision and proprioception), d) pushed in wheelchair to remembered target (no proprioception or vision). Final position was measured by 2-D radial error, and revealed a group by condition interaction, suggesting that PD patients "Off" their medications move to targets with less accuracy, but approach the accuracy of healthy participants when in the "On" state. Both PD and healthy improved their accuracy with availability of concurrent vision and proprioception (condition c). Interestingly, our results demonstrate that PD "Off" performed the task with greater difficulty than when "On" medication, but only when proprioception was the sole source of feedback. Since PD, whether medicated or unmedicated were even more affected when proprioception was removed (wheelchair), a memory-related explanation can be ruled out. Our results suggest that the basal ganglia

  9. Prenatal exposure to fenugreek impairs sensorimotor development and the operation of spinal cord networks in mice.

    Loubna Khalki

    Full Text Available Fenugreek is a medicinal plant whose seeds are widely used in traditional medicine, mainly for its laxative, galactagogue and antidiabetic effects. However, consumption of fenugreek seeds during pregnancy has been associated with a range of congenital malformations, including hydrocephalus, anencephaly and spina bifida in humans. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of prenatal treatment of fenugreek seeds on the development of sensorimotor functions from birth to young adults. Pregnant mice were treated by gavage with 1 g/kg/day of lyophilized fenugreek seeds aqueous extract (FSAE or distilled water during the gestational period. Behavioral tests revealed in prenatally treated mice a significant delay in righting, cliff avoidance, negative geotaxis responses and the swimming development. In addition, extracellular recording of motor output in spinal cord isolated from neonatal mice showed that the frequency of spontaneous activity and fictive locomotion was reduced in FSAE-exposed mice. On the other hand, the cross-correlation coefficient in control mice was significantly more negative than in treated animals indicating that alternating patterns are deteriorated in FSAE-treated animals. At advanced age, prenatally treated mice displayed altered locomotor coordination in the rotarod test and also changes in static and dynamic parameters assessed by the CatWalk automated gait analysis system. We conclude that FSAE impairs sensorimotor and coordination functions not only in neonates but also in adult mice. Moreover, spinal neuronal networks are less excitable in prenatally FSAE-exposed mice suggesting that modifications within the central nervous system are responsible, at least in part, for the motor impairments.

  10. Sensorimotor synchronization with different metrical levels of point-light dance movements

    Yi-Huang eSu

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Rhythm perception and synchronization have been extensively investigated in the auditory domain, as they underlie means of human communication such as music and speech. Although recent studies suggest comparable mechanisms for synchronizing with periodically moving visual objects, the extent to which it applies to ecologically relevant information, such as the rhythm of complex biological motion, remains unknown. The present study addressed this issue by linking rhythm of music and dance in the framework of action-perception coupling. As a previous study showed that observers perceived multiple metrical periodicities in dance movements that embodied this structure, the present study examined whether sensorimotor synchronization (SMS to dance movements resembles what is known of auditory SMS. Participants watched a point-light figure performing two basic steps of Swing dance cyclically, in which the trunk bounced at every beat and the limbs moved at every second beat, forming two metrical periodicities. Participants tapped synchronously to the bounce of the trunk with or without the limbs moving in the stimuli (Experiment 1, or tapped synchronously to the leg movements with or without the trunk bouncing simultaneously (Experiment 2. Results showed that, while synchronization with the bounce (lower-level pulse was not influenced by the presence or absence of limb movements (metrical accent, synchronization with the legs (beat was improved by the presence of the bounce (metrical subdivision across different movement types. The latter finding parallels the subdivision benefit often demonstrated in auditory tasks, suggesting common sensorimotor mechanisms for visual rhythms in dance and auditory rhythms in music.

  11. Cognitive-behavioral therapy induces sensorimotor and specific electrocortical changes in chronic tic and Tourette's disorder.

    Morand-Beaulieu, Simon; O'Connor, Kieron P; Sauvé, Geneviève; Blanchet, Pierre J; Lavoie, Marc E

    2015-12-01

    Tic disorders, such as the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and persistent tic disorder, are neurodevelopmental movement disorders involving impaired motor control. Hence, patients show repetitive unwanted muscular contractions in one or more parts of the body. A cognitive-behavioral therapy, with a particular emphasis on the psychophysiology of tic expression and sensorimotor activation, can reduce the frequency and intensity of tics. However, its impact on motor activation and inhibition is not fully understood. To study the effects of a cognitive-behavioral therapy on electrocortical activation, we recorded the event-related potentials (ERP) and lateralized readiness potentials (LRP), before and after treatment, of 20 patients with tic disorders and 20 healthy control participants (matched on age, sex and intelligence), during a stimulus-response compatibility inhibition task. The cognitive-behavioral therapy included informational, awareness training, relaxation, muscle discrimination, cognitive restructuration and relapse prevention strategies. Our results revealed that prior to treatment; tic patients had delayed stimulus-locked LRP onset latency, larger response-locked LRP peak amplitude, and a frontal overactivation during stimulus inhibition processing. Both stimulus-locked LRP onset latency and response-locked LRP peak amplitude normalized after the cognitive behavioral therapy completion. However, the frontal overactivation related to inhibition remained unchanged following therapy. Our results showed that P300 and reaction times are sensitive to stimulus-response compatibility, but are not related to tic symptoms. Secondly, overactivity of the frontal LPC and impulsivity in TD patients were not affected by treatment. Finally, CBT had normalizing effects on the activation of the pre-motor and motor cortex in TD patients. These results imply specific modifications of motor processes following therapy, while inhibition processes remained unchanged. Given

  12. Human sensorimotor communication: a theory of signaling in online social interactions.

    Giovanni Pezzulo

    Full Text Available Although the importance of communication is recognized in several disciplines, it is rarely studied in the context of online social interactions and joint actions. During online joint actions, language and gesture are often insufficient and humans typically use non-verbal, sensorimotor forms of communication to send coordination signals. For example, when playing volleyball, an athlete can exaggerate her movements to signal her intentions to her teammates (say, a pass to the right or to feint an adversary. Similarly, a person who is transporting a table together with a co-actor can push the table in a certain direction to signal where and when he intends to place it. Other examples of "signaling" are over-articulating in noisy environments and over-emphasizing vowels in child-directed speech. In all these examples, humans intentionally modify their action kinematics to make their goals easier to disambiguate. At the moment no formal theory exists of these forms of sensorimotor communication and signaling. We present one such theory that describes signaling as a combination of a pragmatic and a communicative action, and explains how it simplifies coordination in online social interactions. We cast signaling within a "joint action optimization" framework in which co-actors optimize the success of their interaction and joint goals rather than only their part of the joint action. The decision of whether and how much to signal requires solving a trade-off between the costs of modifying one's behavior and the benefits in terms of interaction success. Signaling is thus an intentional strategy that supports social interactions; it acts in concert with automatic mechanisms of resonance, prediction, and imitation, especially when the context makes actions and intentions ambiguous and difficult to read. Our theory suggests that communication dynamics should be studied within theories of coordination and interaction rather than only in terms of the

  13. Sensorimotor Control of the Shoulder in Professional Volleyball Players with Isolated Infraspinatus Muscle Atrophy.

    Contemori, Samuele; Biscarini, Andrea; Botti, Fabio Massimo; Busti, Daniele; Panichi, Roberto; Pettorossi, Vito Enrico

    2017-06-12

    Isolated infraspinatus muscle atrophy (IIMA) only affects the hitting shoulder of overhead-activity athletes, and is caused by suprascapular nerve neuropathy. No study has assessed the static and dynamic stability of the shoulder in overhead professional athletes with IIMA to reveal possible shoulder sensorimotor alterations. To assess the shoulder static stability, dynamic stability, and strength in professional volleyball players with IIMA and in healthy control players. Cross-sectional study. Research laboratory. Twenty-four male professional volleyball players (12 players with diagnosed IIMA and 12 healthy players) recruited from local volleyball teams. Static stability was evaluated with two independent force platforms and dynamic stability was assessed with the "Upper Quarter Y Balance Test". The static stability assessment was conducted in different support (single hand and both hand) and vision (open and closed eyes) conditions. Data from each test were analyzed with ANOVA and paired t-test models, to highlight statistical differences within and between groups. In addition to reduced abduction and external rotation strength, athletes with IIMA consistently demonstrated significant less static (P < 0.001) and dynamic stability (P < 0,001), compared with the contralateral shoulder and with healthy athletes. Closed eyes condition significantly enhanced the static stability deficit of the shoulder with IIMA (P = 0.039 and P = 0.034 for both hand and single hand support, respectively), but had no effect in healthy contralateral and healthy players' shoulders. This study highlights an impairment of the sensorimotor control system of the shoulder with IIMA, which likely results from both proprioceptive and strength deficits. This condition could yield subtle alteration in the functional use of the shoulder and predispose it to acute or overuse injuries. The results of this study may help athletic trainers and physical/physiotherapists to prevent shoulder injuries

  14. Sensorimotor and Cognitive Predictors of Impaired Gait Adaptability in Older People.

    Caetano, Maria Joana D; Menant, Jasmine C; Schoene, Daniel; Pelicioni, Paulo H S; Sturnieks, Daina L; Lord, Stephen R

    2017-09-01

    The ability to adapt gait when negotiating unexpected hazards is crucial to maintain stability and avoid falling. This study investigated whether impaired gait adaptability in a task including obstacle and stepping targets is associated with cognitive and sensorimotor capacities in older adults. Fifty healthy older adults (74±7 years) were instructed to either (a) avoid an obstacle at usual step distance or (b) step onto a target at either a short or long step distance projected on a walkway two heel strikes ahead and then continue walking. Participants also completed cognitive and sensorimotor function assessments. Stroop test and reaction time performance significantly discriminated between participants who did and did not make stepping errors, and poorer Trail-Making test performance predicted shorter penultimate step length in the obstacle avoidance condition. Slower reaction time predicted poorer stepping accuracy; increased postural sway, weaker quadriceps strength, and poorer Stroop and Trail-Making test performances predicted increased number of steps taken to approach the target/obstacle and shorter step length; and increased postural sway and higher concern about falling predicted slower step velocity. Superior executive function, fast processing speed, and good muscle strength and balance were all associated with successful gait adaptability. Processing speed appears particularly important for precise foot placements; cognitive capacity for step length adjustments; and early and/or additional cognitive processing involving the inhibition of a stepping pattern for obstacle avoidance. This information may facilitate fall risk assessments and fall prevention strategies. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  15. Electrocorticographic activity over sensorimotor cortex and motor function in awake behaving rats.

    Boulay, Chadwick B; Chen, Xiang Yang; Wolpaw, Jonathan R

    2015-04-01

    Sensorimotor cortex exerts both short-term and long-term control over the spinal reflex pathways that serve motor behaviors. Better understanding of this control could offer new possibilities for restoring function after central nervous system trauma or disease. We examined the impact of ongoing sensorimotor cortex (SMC) activity on the largely monosynaptic pathway of the H-reflex, the electrical analog of the spinal stretch reflex. In 41 awake adult rats, we measured soleus electromyographic (EMG) activity, the soleus H-reflex, and electrocorticographic activity over the contralateral SMC while rats were producing steady-state soleus EMG activity. Principal component analysis of electrocorticographic frequency spectra before H-reflex elicitation consistently revealed three frequency bands: μβ (5-30 Hz), low γ (γ1; 40-85 Hz), and high γ (γ2; 100-200 Hz). Ongoing (i.e., background) soleus EMG amplitude correlated negatively with μβ power and positively with γ1 power. In contrast, H-reflex size correlated positively with μβ power and negatively with γ1 power, but only when background soleus EMG amplitude was included in the linear model. These results support the hypothesis that increased SMC activation (indicated by decrease in μβ power and/or increase in γ1 power) simultaneously potentiates the H-reflex by exciting spinal motoneurons and suppresses it by decreasing the efficacy of the afferent input. They may help guide the development of new rehabilitation methods and of brain-computer interfaces that use SMC activity as a substitute for lost or impaired motor outputs. Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.

  16. Sensorimotor Synchronization with Different Metrical Levels of Point-Light Dance Movements

    Su, Yi-Huang

    2016-01-01

    Rhythm perception and synchronization have been extensively investigated in the auditory domain, as they underlie means of human communication such as music and speech. Although recent studies suggest comparable mechanisms for synchronizing with periodically moving visual objects, the extent to which it applies to ecologically relevant information, such as the rhythm of complex biological motion, remains unknown. The present study addressed this issue by linking rhythm of music and dance in the framework of action-perception coupling. As a previous study showed that observers perceived multiple metrical periodicities in dance movements that embodied this structure, the present study examined whether sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) to dance movements resembles what is known of auditory SMS. Participants watched a point-light figure performing two basic steps of Swing dance cyclically, in which the trunk bounced at every beat and the limbs moved at every second beat, forming two metrical periodicities. Participants tapped synchronously to the bounce of the trunk with or without the limbs moving in the stimuli (Experiment 1), or tapped synchronously to the leg movements with or without the trunk bouncing simultaneously (Experiment 2). Results showed that, while synchronization with the bounce (lower-level pulse) was not influenced by the presence or absence of limb movements (metrical accent), synchronization with the legs (beat) was improved by the presence of the bounce (metrical subdivision) across different movement types. The latter finding parallels the “subdivision benefit” often demonstrated in auditory tasks, suggesting common sensorimotor mechanisms for visual rhythms in dance and auditory rhythms in music. PMID:27199709

  17. Motor Skills Training Improves Sensorimotor Dysfunction and Increases Microtubule-Associated Protein 2 mRNA Expression in Rats with Intracerebral Hemorrhage.

    Tamakoshi, Keigo; Kawanaka, Kentaro; Onishi, Hideaki; Takamatsu, Yasuyuki; Ishida, Kazuto

    2016-08-01

    In this study, we examined the effects of motor skills training on the sensorimotor function and the expression of genes associated with synaptic plasticity after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in rats. Male Wistar rats were subjected to ICH or sham operation. ICH was caused by the injection of collagenase into the left striatum. Rats were randomly assigned to no training, acrobatic training, and sham groups. The acrobatic group performed 5 types of acrobatic tasks from 4 to 28 days after surgery. The forelimb sensorimotor function was evaluated over time using forepaw grasping, forelimb placing, and postural instability tests. At 14 and 29 days after the lesion, we analyzed the mRNA expression levels of microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and growth-associated protein 43 in the bilateral sensorimotor cortex (forelimb area) by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Motor skills training in ICH rats improved the sensorimotor dysfunction significantly from the early phase. The mRNA expression level of MAP2 was upregulated in the ipsilesional sensorimotor cortex by motor skills training at 29 days after the lesion. Our results suggest that sensorimotor functional recovery following motor skills training after ICH is promoted by dendritic growth in the ipsilesional sensorimotor cortex. Copyright © 2016 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Clinical application of computerized evaluation and re-education biofeedback prototype for sensorimotor control of the hand in stroke patients.

    Hsu, Hsiu-Yun; Lin, Cheng-Feng; Su, Fong-Chin; Kuo, Huan-Ting; Chiu, Haw-Yen; Kuo, Li-Chieh

    2012-05-09

    Hemianaesthesia patients usually exhibit awkward and inefficient finger movements of the affected hands. Conventionally, most interventions emphasize the improvement of motor deficits, but rarely address sensory capability and sensorimotor control following stroke. Thus it is critical for stroke patients with sensory problems to incorporate appropriate strategies for dealing with sensory impairment, into traditional hand function rehabilitation programs. In this study, we used a custom-designed computerized evaluation and re-education biofeedback (CERB) prototype to analyze hand grasp performances, and monitor the training effects on hand coordination for stroke patients with sensory disturbance and without motor deficiency. The CERB prototype was constructed to detect momentary pinch force modulation for 14 sub-acute and chronic stroke patients with sensory deficiency and 14 healthy controls. The other ten chronic stroke patients (ranges of stroke period: 6-60 months) were recruited to investigate the effects of 4-weeks computerized biofeedback treatments on the hand control ability. The biofeedback procedures provide visual and auditory cues to the participants when the interactive force of hand-to-object exceeded the target latitude in a pinch-up-holding task to trigger optimal motor strategy. Follow-up measurements were conducted one month after training. The hand sensibility, grip forces and results of hand functional tests were recorded and analyzed. The affected hands of the 14 predominant sensory stroke patients exhibited statistically significant elevation in the magnitude of peak pinch force (p = 0.033) in pinching and lifting-up tasks, and poor results for hand function tests (p = 0.005) than sound hands did. In addition, the sound hands of patients were less efficient in force modulation (p = 0.009) than the hands of healthy subjects were. Training with the biofeedback system produced significant improvements in grip force modulation (p = 0.020) and

  19. Clinical application of computerized evaluation and re-education biofeedback prototype for sensorimotor control of the hand in stroke patients

    Hsu Hsiu-Yun

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Hemianaesthesia patients usually exhibit awkward and inefficient finger movements of the affected hands. Conventionally, most interventions emphasize the improvement of motor deficits, but rarely address sensory capability and sensorimotor control following stroke. Thus it is critical for stroke patients with sensory problems to incorporate appropriate strategies for dealing with sensory impairment, into traditional hand function rehabilitation programs. In this study, we used a custom-designed computerized evaluation and re-education biofeedback (CERB prototype to analyze hand grasp performances, and monitor the training effects on hand coordination for stroke patients with sensory disturbance and without motor deficiency. Methods The CERB prototype was constructed to detect momentary pinch force modulation for 14 sub-acute and chronic stroke patients with sensory deficiency and 14 healthy controls. The other ten chronic stroke patients (ranges of stroke period: 6–60 months were recruited to investigate the effects of 4-weeks computerized biofeedback treatments on the hand control ability. The biofeedback procedures provide visual and auditory cues to the participants when the interactive force of hand-to-object exceeded the target latitude in a pinch-up-holding task to trigger optimal motor strategy. Follow-up measurements were conducted one month after training. The hand sensibility, grip forces and results of hand functional tests were recorded and analyzed. Results The affected hands of the 14 predominant sensory stroke patients exhibited statistically significant elevation in the magnitude of peak pinch force (p = 0.033 in pinching and lifting-up tasks, and poor results for hand function tests (p = 0.005 than sound hands did. In addition, the sound hands of patients were less efficient in force modulation (p = 0.009 than the hands of healthy subjects were. Training with the biofeedback system produced

  20. A hypothesis on improving foreign accents by optimizing variability in vocal learning brain circuits.

    Simmonds, Anna J

    2015-01-01

    Rapid vocal motor learning is observed when acquiring a language in early childhood, or learning to speak another language later in life. Accurate pronunciation is one of the hardest things for late learners to master and they are almost always left with a non-native accent. Here, I propose a novel hypothesis that this accent could be improved by optimizing variability in vocal learning brain circuits during learning. Much of the neurobiology of human vocal motor learning has been inferred from studies on songbirds. Jarvis (2004) proposed the hypothesis that as in songbirds there are two pathways in humans: one for learning speech (the striatal vocal learning pathway), and one for production of previously learnt speech (the motor pathway). Learning new motor sequences necessary for accurate non-native pronunciation is challenging and I argue that in late learners of a foreign language the vocal learning pathway becomes inactive prematurely. The motor pathway is engaged once again and learners maintain their original native motor patterns for producing speech, resulting in speaking with a foreign accent. Further, I argue that variability in neural activity within vocal motor circuitry generates vocal variability that supports accurate non-native pronunciation. Recent theoretical and experimental work on motor learning suggests that variability in the motor movement is necessary for the development of expertise. I propose that there is little trial-by-trial variability when using the motor pathway. When using the vocal learning pathway variability gradually increases, reflecting an exploratory phase in which learners try out different ways of pronouncing words, before decreasing and stabilizing once the "best" performance has been identified. The hypothesis proposed here could be tested using behavioral interventions that optimize variability and engage the vocal learning pathway for longer, with the prediction that this would allow learners to develop new motor

  1. Developmental song learning as a model to understand neural mechanisms that limit and promote the ability to learn.

    London, Sarah E

    2017-11-20

    Songbirds famously learn their vocalizations. Some species can learn continuously, others seasonally, and still others just once. The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) learns to sing during a single developmental "Critical Period," a restricted phase during which a specific experience has profound and permanent effects on brain function and behavioral patterns. The zebra finch can therefore provide fundamental insight into features that promote and limit the ability to acquire complex learned behaviors. For example, what properties permit the brain to come "on-line" for learning? How does experience become encoded to prevent future learning? What features define the brain in receptive compared to closed learning states? This piece will focus on epigenomic, genomic, and molecular levels of analysis that operate on the timescales of development and complex behavioral learning. Existing data will be discussed as they relate to Critical Period learning, and strategies for future studies to more directly address these questions will be considered. Birdsong learning is a powerful model for advancing knowledge of the biological intersections of maturation and experience. Lessons from its study not only have implications for understanding developmental song learning, but also broader questions of learning potential and the enduring effects of early life experience on neural systems and behavior. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  2. Evaluating the ro