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Sep 24, 2022

Neurophysiological correlates of automatic integration of voice and gender information during grammatical processing

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, sex

Other ERP studies have reported diverse neurophysiological responses to inconsistencies between the message meaning and the speaker’s representation, typically manifest as a modulation of the N400 and/or P600 components15,16,17. Different patterns of ERP results reported in these studies are likely related to the nature of the mismatch manipulations used. For instance, whereas the P600 component is typically associated with a reanalysis/repair of syntactic incongruences and grammatical violations18, in experiments modulating the speaker’s voice it can also be elicited by the violations of the stereotypical noun roles in the absence of grammatical incongruencies as such (e.g., “face powder” or “fight club”, produced by male and female voices, respectively16) as well as the general assumptions based on the pronoun processing during sentence comprehension19. In contrast, the semantically-related N400 effect has been typically found for the semantic-pragmatic incongruences (e.g., “I am going to the night club” by child’s voice17).

Interestingly, these ERP effects offer support to two models of pragmatic language comprehension—the standard, two-step model and the one-step model. The two-step model claims that listeners compute meaning first, in isolation, and that the communicative context is considered at the second stage (speaker’s information, in particular16,20), as reflected in the late P600 responses. More recent findings showed, however, that this pragmatic (extralinguistic) integration is likely happening in a single-step manner already during semantic processing, as reflected in the N400 effect17,21. Nevertheless, other studies also reported the overlap of both processing stages, showing an N400 effect elicited by expectation error and a late P600 effect for overall reanalysis of this expectation22.

Understanding how gender information is integrated by the listeners is particularly important when one considers the differences in how different languages signal grammatical gender. In some languages, such as in English, Finnish or Mandarin, overt grammatical gender marking is almost completely absent. Many other languages, such as Slavic languages, explicitly mark grammatical gender in nouns, verbs, and adjectives, often in a complicated interdependent manner. Russian is one of such languages, offering an optimal testbed for investigating linguistic and extralinguistic gender integration. As far as we know, there is only one study addressing this question in a Slavic language: using Slovak, Hanulíková Carreiras23 found that, during an active-listening task, the integration of speaker-related information and morphosyntactic information occurred rather late during complex sentence processing. Additionally, a conflict between the speaker’s and the word’s genders (e.g., “I– \(stole_{MASC}\) plums” in female voice) was reflected in the modulation of the N400 component. Given that N400/LAN modulations have been consistently found for morphosyntactic violations, in particular for number, person, and gender agreement, as well as in phrase structure violations (e.g.,24, see also for review25), this result may suggest that extralinguistic information is directly integrated during online (morpho)syntactic processing (such as speaker’s sex converted into subject’s gender in (morpho)syntactic processing). However, N400 is also known to be related to conscious top-down controlled integration of linguistic information24,26. Indeed, in the study described above, the participant’s overt attention to the stimuli was required, and the effect generally appeared rather late in the comprehension processes. Thus, the question of whether such findings reflect the involvement of genuine online parsing mechanisms or secondary post-comprehension processes (such as repair and reanalysis24,27) still remains unsolved. Importantly, syntactic parsing has been shown to commence much earlier and to take place in a largely automatic fashion, as demonstrated in studies focused on early left-anterior negativity (ELAN) or syntactic MMN. In particular, ELAN modulation around 200 ms or earlier has been reported during outright violations of the obligatory structure, reflecting an automatic early analysis of the syntactic structure like phrase structure errors28,29,30,31, and it is considered to reflect the brain’s response to the word category violations.

Sep 24, 2022

Marvin Minsky — Why is Consciousness so Mysterious?

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, particle physics

How can the mindless microscopic particles that compose our brains ‘experience’ the setting sun, the Mozart Requiem, and romantic love?

For all of our video interviews please visit us at www.closertotruth.com

Sep 23, 2022

Miami clinic kicks off first national study of LSD, once a ‘public enemy,’ to treat anxiety

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, neuroscience

The gurus of the psychedelic era of American pop culture extolled the experience of the “acid trip.” But the U.S. government and much of the public remained leery of LSD, with President Nixon declaring it and assorted other drugs “public enemy No. 1.” Now, half a century after Nixon launched the War on Drugs, a Miami-area private research clinic has kicked off a federally approved clinical trial to test LSD as a possible treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

Sep 23, 2022

Friend or Foe? How Mice Decide to Make Love or War

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, sex

Summary: The neural circuitry that connects olfactory information about another mouse’s sex to decision-making in the brain determines the behavioral outcome as to whether aggression or affection is expressed.

Source: CalTech.

Dog owners whose pets meet during a walk are familiar with the immediate sniffing investigation that typically ensues. Initially, the owners cannot tell whether their dogs will wind up fighting, playing, or trying to mount each other. Something is clearly happening in the dog’s brain to make it decide how to behave toward the other dog—but what is going on?

Sep 23, 2022

The Relationship Between Particular Brain Circuits and Different Aspects of Mental Well-Being

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: Understanding how changes in the brain relate to changes in well-being is key to developing new targets for the treatment of mental health disorders.

Source: University of Oxford.

Associate Professor Miriam Klein-Flügge and colleagues looked at brain connectivity and mental health data from nearly 500 people. In particular, they looked at the connectivity of the amygdala—a brain region well known for its importance in emotion and reward processing.

Sep 23, 2022

How are inflammation, aging and diet related? The systemic regulatory network described for the first time

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Mild, persistent inflammation in tissue is considered one of the biological hallmarks of the aging process in humans—and at the same time is a risk factor for diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer. Prof. Francesco Neri and Dr. Mahdi Rasa of the Leibniz Institute on Aging—Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena have succeeded for the first time in describing at the molecular level the regulatory network that drives the general, multiple-organ inflammatory response. Moreover, they were able to show that dietary restriction can influence this regulatory circuit, thereby inhibiting inflammation.

Inflammation is an immune response of the body that is, in itself, useful: our uses it to fight pathogens or to remove damaged cells from tissue. Once the immune cells have done their work, the inflammation subsides: the infection is over, the wound is healed. Unlike such acute inflammations, age-related is not local. The ramps up its activity overall, resulting in chronic low-grade inflammation. This aging-related inflammation is also known as inflammaging.

Sep 23, 2022

Molecular Changes in the Brain in the Aftermath of a Traumatic Event May Help Explain Long-Term Susceptibility or Resilience

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Summary: In mice genetically more susceptible to PTSD following a stressful event, researchers found an increased expression of cortisol receptors on neurons in the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus. Those increased receptors enabled an elevated expression of the HCN1 protein and TRIP8b, reducing neural excitability.

Source: medical college of georgia at augusta university.

Social avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD, and scientists working to better understand why have laboratory evidence that while stress hormone levels consistently increase in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, there can be polar opposite consequences in parts of the brain down the line.

Sep 22, 2022

Nightmares in Middle Age Linked to Increased Dementia Risk

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Most of us consider nightmares pretty harmless, but apparently, they can be a bad sign. According to research at the University of Birmingham, people who experience frequent bad dreams in middle age are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia later in life.

New research suggests nightmares may become common several years or even decades before the characteristic memory and thinking problems of dementia set in. The study will be published today (September 21, 2022) in The Lancet.

Founded in 1,823 by Thomas Wakley, The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world’s oldest, most prestigious, and best known general medical journals. The journal publishes original research articles, review articles (“seminars” and “reviews”), editorials, book reviews, correspondence, as well as news features and case reports. The Lancet has editorial offices in London, New York, and Beijing.

Sep 22, 2022

Scientists who discovered cause of narcolepsy win Breakthrough Prize

Posted by in categories: innovation, neuroscience

Emmanuel Mignot and Masashi Yanagisawa won the 2023 Breakthrough Prize in life sciences for their discovery of the molecular mechanisms in the brain that cause the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

Sep 22, 2022

Pigs With Gene Defect Provide New Perspectives for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Summary: New research in cloned pigs with a mutation of the SORL1 sheds light on Alzheimer’s development. The findings could pave the way for new treatments for the neurodegenerative disorder.

Source: Aarhus University.

For decades, researchers from all over the world have been working hard to understand Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a collaboration between the Department of Biomedicine and the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University has resulted in a flock of minipigs that could lead to a major step forward in the research and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

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