Analysis of neural interactions explains the activation of occipital cortex by an auditory stimulus.
Analysis of neural interactions explains the activation of occipital cortex by an auditory stimulus. J. Neurophysiol. 80: 2790-2796, 1998. Large-scale neural interactions were characterized in human subjects as they learned that an auditory stimulus signaled a visual event. Once learned, activation of left dorsal occipital cortex (increased regional cerebral blood flow) was observed when the auditory stimulus was presented alone. Partial least-squares analysis of the interregional correlations (functional connectivity) between the occipital area and the rest of the brain identified a pattern of covariation with four dominant brain areas that could have mediated this activation: prefrontal cortex (near Brodmann area 10, A10), premotor cortex (A6), superior temporal cortex (A41/42), and contralateral occipital cortex (A18). Interactions among these regions and the occipital area were quantified with structural equation modeling to identify the strongest sources of the effect on left occipital activity (effective connectivity). Learning-related changes in feedback effects from A10 and A41/42 appeared to account for this change in occipital activity. Influences from these areas on the occipital area were initially suppressive, or negative, becoming facilitory, or positive, as the association between the auditory and visual stimuli was acquired. Evaluating the total effects within the functional models showed positive influences throughout the network, suggesting enhanced interactions may have primed the system for the now-expected visual discrimination. By characterizing both changes in activity and the interactions underlying sensory associative learning, we demonstrated how parts of the nervous system operate as a cohesive network in learning about and responding to the environment.
McIntosh, AR; Cabeza, RE; Lobaugh, NJ
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