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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (2019) 31 (12): 1796–1826.
Published: 01 December 2019
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During the last two decades, our inner sense of time has been repeatedly studied with the help of neuroimaging techniques. These investigations have suggested the specific involvement of different brain areas in temporal processing. At least two distinct neural systems are likely to play a role in measuring time: One is mainly constituted of subcortical structures and is supposed to be more related to the estimation of time intervals below the 1-sec range (subsecond timing tasks), and the other is mainly constituted of cortical areas and is supposed to be more related to the estimation of time intervals above the 1-sec range (suprasecond timing tasks). Tasks can then be performed in motor or nonmotor (perceptual) conditions, thus providing four different categories of time processing. Our meta-analytical investigation partly confirms the findings of previous meta-analytical works. Both sub- and suprasecond tasks recruit cortical and subcortical areas, but subcortical areas are more intensely activated in subsecond tasks than in suprasecond tasks, which instead receive more contributions from cortical activations. All the conditions, however, show strong activations in the SMA, whose rostral and caudal parts have an important role not only in the discrimination of different time intervals but also in relation to the nature of the task conditions. This area, along with the striatum (especially the putamen) and the claustrum, is supposed to be an essential node in the different networks engaged when the brain creates our sense of time.
Functional Connectivity and Coactivation of the Nucleus Accumbens: A Combined Functional Connectivity and Structure-Based Meta-analysis
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (2011) 23 (10): 2864–2877.
Published: 01 October 2011
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This article investigates the functional connectivity patterns of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) in 18 healthy participants using a resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) protocol. Also, a meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) was used to characterize patterns of functional coactivations involving NAcc: The results of a structure-based meta-analyses of 57 fMRI and PET studies were submitted to activation likelihood estimation analysis to estimate consistent activation patterns across the different imaging studies. The results of the combined rsFC and MACM analyses show that spontaneous activity in NAcc predicts activity in regions implicated in reward circuitries, including orbitomedial prefrontal cortex, globus pallidus, thalamus, midbrain, amygdala, and insula. This confirms the key role of NAcc in the mesocorticolimbic system, which integrates inputs from limbic and cortical regions. We also detected activity in brain regions having few or no direct anatomical connections with NAcc, such as sensorimotor cortex, cerebellum, medial and posterior parietal cortex, and medial/inferior temporal cortex, supporting the view that not all functional connections can be explained by anatomical connections but can also result from connections mediated by third areas. Our rsFC findings are in line with the results of the structure-based meta-analysis: MACM maps are superimposable with NAcc rsFC results, and the reward paradigm class is the one that most frequently generates activation in NAcc. Our results overlap considerably with recently proposed schemata of the main neuron systems in the limbic forebrain and in the anterior part of the limbic midbrain in rodents and nonhuman primates.
Includes: Supplementary data
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (2010) 22 (5): 888–902.
Published: 01 May 2010
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Following destruction or deafferentation of primary visual cortex (area V1, striate cortex), clinical blindness ensues, but residual visual functions may, nevertheless, persist without perceptual consciousness (a condition termed blindsight ). The study of patients with such lesions thus offers a unique opportunity to investigate what visual capacities are mediated by the extrastriate pathways that bypass V1. Here we provide evidence for a crucial role of the collicular–extrastriate pathway in nonconscious visuomotor integration by showing that, in the absence of V1, the superior colliculus (SC) is essential to translate visual signals that cannot be consciously perceived into motor outputs. We found that a gray stimulus presented in the blind field of a patient with unilateral V1 loss, although not consciously seen, can influence his behavioral and pupillary responses to consciously perceived stimuli in the intact field (implicit bilateral summation). Notably, this effect was accompanied by selective activations in the SC and in occipito-temporal extrastriate areas. However, when instead of gray stimuli we presented purple stimuli, which predominantly draw on S-cones and are thus invisible to the SC, any evidence of implicit visuomotor integration disappeared and activations in the SC dropped significantly. The present findings show that the SC acts as an interface between sensory and motor processing in the human brain, thereby providing a contribution to visually guided behavior that may remain functionally and anatomically segregated from the geniculo-striate pathway and entirely outside conscious visual experience.