Attention and cognitive control refer to brain processes that guide behavior in accordance of our plans, goals, and changing environmental demands. In our everyday life, we constantly need a capacity to allocate attentional resources for resolving conflicts between competing sensory inputs and, whenever necessary, to flexibly shift attention to an alternative source of information. This research program uses an advanced combination of brain imaging methods to investigate how neurons in different areas of the human brain work together to enable conflict monitoring, resource allocation, and attention shifting during auditory information processing. To construct a physiologically plausible model of these functions, we will investigate interactions between neuron groups from distant brain areas by analyzing collective synchronous activation patterns referred to as neuronal oscillations. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies have produced valuable information about spatial vs. temporal vs. spectral aspects of brain activations during tasks requiring attention and cognitive control. However, in most previous studies, these different methods have been used separately, which has resulted in compromises between spatial and temporal/spectral resolution. Therefore, we will utilize our spatiotemporal brain imaging technique that combines spectrally and temporally precise MEG/EEG, spatially accurate fMRI, and high-resolution anatomical MRI information to measure brain activity during auditory task performance. We will apply the resulting data to identify a network of brain regions contributing to attention and cognitive control, which is expected to encompass prefrontal, medial frontal, and posterior parietal areas as well as sensory and motor cortices. In addition to providing unique information on the relative timing of activations, our approach allows us to determine oscillatory time-frequency representations (TFR) and phase-locking values (PLV) between the regional activations in the cortical "source space", which is a considerable advancement in comparison to previous methods. Our specific goal is to determine how different brain areas work together to resolve conflicts across competing auditory inputs (Aim 1) and to flexibly shift between sources of information (Aim 2). Our spectral spatiotemporal brain imaging approach will allow us to characterize how the spatially distributed prefrontal and parietal areas cooperate via oscillatory interactions to enable attention and cognitive control. This research could help achieve a system-level understanding of attention and cognitive control in the auditory domain, and also reveal new insights on the role of neuronal oscillations in human cognition.

Public Health Relevance

We will use advanced brain imaging methods to investigate how neurons in different brain areas work together to enable attention and cognitive control during auditory information processing. Our results may also support investigation of disorders with abnormal cognitive control functions.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01MH083744-04
Application #
8387033
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-L (02))
Program Officer
Rossi, Andrew
Project Start
2010-01-06
Project End
2014-11-30
Budget Start
2012-12-01
Budget End
2014-11-30
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$463,467
Indirect Cost
$201,621
Name
Massachusetts General Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
073130411
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02199
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Ahveninen, Jyrki; Huang, Samantha; Ahlfors, Seppo P et al. (2016) Interacting parallel pathways associate sounds with visual identity in auditory cortices. Neuroimage 124:858-68
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Chang, Wei-Tang; Jääskeläinen, Iiro P; Belliveau, John W et al. (2015) Combined MEG and EEG show reliable patterns of electromagnetic brain activity during natural viewing. Neuroimage 114:49-56
Huang, Samantha; Rossi, Stephanie; Hämäläinen, Matti et al. (2014) Auditory conflict resolution correlates with medial-lateral frontal theta/alpha phase synchrony. PLoS One 9:e110989
Rossi, Stephanie; Huang, Samantha; Furtak, Sharon C et al. (2014) Functional connectivity of dorsal and ventral frontoparietal seed regions during auditory orienting. Brain Res 1583:159-68
Jääskeläinen, Iiro P; Ahveninen, Jyrki (2014) Auditory-cortex short-term plasticity induced by selective attention. Neural Plast 2014:216731
Ahveninen, Jyrki; Kopco, Norbert; Jaaskelainen, Iiro P (2014) Psychophysics and neuronal bases of sound localization in humans. Hear Res 307:86-97
Huang, Samantha; Chang, Wei-Tang; Belliveau, John W et al. (2014) Lateralized parietotemporal oscillatory phase synchronization during auditory selective attention. Neuroimage 86:461-9
Nummenmaa, Aapo; McNab, Jennifer A; Savadjiev, Peter et al. (2014) Targeting of white matter tracts with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Brain Stimul 7:80-4

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