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Jun 6, 2023

Children with autism spectrum disorder show atypical electroencephalographic response to processing contextual incongruencies

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The ERP literature has also reported findings on the P600 in the context of language processing. This ERP component is commonly observed in the 500–900 ms time window, with a parietal topography57. The P600 component was initially thought to reflect manipulation of syntactic information57, but has since been associated with conflict monitoring58,59,60. The P600 response can be found in a wide range of syntactic violations such as phrase structure violation61, semantic violations in extended discourse contexts62, subject-verb number agreement63, pronoun case47, verb inflection64 and subjacency65. The P600 response has been consistently associated with capturing differences between syntactically congruent relative to incongruent syntactic structures (e.g.,27,66,67. It has been debated, however, whether the P600 responses seen in these cases are specialized for syntax processing or instead linked to a more general domain process such as attention, context updating or learning27,47,68,69. Fitz and Chang 70 proposed a model presenting P600 as the prediction error at the sequencing layer of a neural network. Their studies have shown that the recorded ERP components could be the result of learning processes, that helps in the adaptation process to new inputs.

These studies have also suggested that P600 reflects an integration process in the comprehension of the visual world. Sitnikova et al.71 presented movie clips of real-world activities with two types of endings: congruent and incongruent with the context. Their results showed that the violations of the expected event elicited the P600 component, which led them to conclude that the comprehension of the visual real-world required the mediation of two mechanisms reflected by N400 and P600. Differences in language processing in ASD individuals are also reflected in the P600 amplitude and latency. When exploring linguistic violations, the group with ASD presented longer reaction times72 and broader distributed P600 effects73. P600 variations were associated with higher attentional cost and compensatory strategies. However, studies assigning the P600 response exclusively to incongruency in individuals with ASD remain scarce.

Due to the mixed results commonly found in studies of ASD, it is important to identify the paradigms capable of identifying differences in the neural responses to contextual language processing. In our study, we aim to investigate brain processing in children with ASD related to difficulties in the interpretation of language in context. To achieve this, we studied the detection of context incongruencies. We applied a task that demanded integrating visual and auditory information to assess whether a sentence contradicts the context (incongruent condition) or matches the context (congruent condition). The incongruent condition included two different categories: i) incongruent trials with sentences that are grammatically correct, and ii) incongruent trials with sentences that are grammatically incorrect presenting semantic mistakes. We used a 2 × 2 design with images (context) accompanied by an oral description (language) that could be either congruent or incongruent with the image. We examined the ERP waves amplitudes for N400 and P600 components and studied the differences across children with ASD and typically developing controls. We assessed group differences and differences between the two conditions within the groups. We hypothesized that individuals in the typically developing group would detect the incongruencies and, in response, present significantly higher N400 and P600 amplitudes on the incongruent conditions compared to the congruent conditions. We also expected the ASD group to have difficulties detecting the incongruencies between the context and the description. When investigating group differences, we expected to find significant differences in the amplitudes of the N400 and P600 ERPs on the incongruent conditions, with larger ERP amplitudes in the non-autistic group.

Jun 6, 2023

Reading on a smartphone affects sigh generation, brain activity, and comprehension

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, mobile phones, neuroscience

This study provides a new perspective on the relationship between the visual environment and cognitive performance, based on the results of path analysis (Supplementary Fig. 5). Regarding reading on a paper medium, moderate cognitive load may generate sighs (or deep breaths) and appears to restore respiratory variability and control of prefrontal brain activity. In contrast, reading on smartphones may require sustained task attention34, and acute cognitive load may inhibit the generation of sighs, causing overactivity in the prefrontal cortex. Sighing has been found to be associated with various cognitive functions13,27,28, and may reset respiratory variability36,37. This reset may also be associated with improved executive functions14.

The current study has several limitations. First, our experiment did not entail any measurement of subjective cognitive load. Based on the differences in the number of sighs and brain activity between reading on smartphones and paper media, it is highly likely that there might have been a difference in cognitive load as well. In future, it is necessary to assess cognitive load indices and examine the relationship between breathing and brain activity. Second, we did not control the movements when turning pages or pointing movements to maintain the focus of attention on the text. These bodily movements may have had some influence on the present index. In the future, such physical limitations should be taken into consideration.

The results of this study suggest that reduced reading comprehension on smartphone devices may be caused by reduced sighing and overactivity of the prefrontal cortex, although the effect on electronic devices other than smartphones has yet to be confirmed. Recent reports indicate that the use of smartphones and other electronic devices has been increasing due to pandemic-related lockdowns, and there are indications that this is negatively influencing sleep and physical activity38,39. The relationships among visual environment, respiration/brain activities, and cognitive performance detected in this study may indicate one of the negative effects of electronic device use on the human body. If the negative effects of smartphones are true, it may be beneficial to take deep breaths while reading since sighs, whether voluntary or involuntary, regulate disordered breathing36.

Jun 6, 2023

Schooling substantially improves intelligence, but neither lessens nor widens the impacts of socioeconomics and genetics

Posted by in category: genetics

Schooling, socioeconomic status (SES), and genetics all impact intelligence. However, it is unclear to what extent their contributions are unique and if they interact. Here we used a multi-trait polygenic score for cognition (cogPGS) with a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity design to isolate how months of schooling relate to intelligence in 6,567 children (aged 9–11). We found large, independent effects of schooling (β ~ 0.15), cogPGS (β ~ 0.10), and SES (β ~ 0.20) on working memory, crystallized (cIQ), and fluid intelligence (fIQ). Notably, two years of schooling had a larger effect on intelligence than the lifetime consequences, since birth, of SES or cogPGS-based inequalities. However, schooling showed no interaction with cogPGS or SES for the three intelligence domains tested.

Jun 6, 2023

The 18th SDG proposal was announced at COPUOS 66th session, in Wien, the 5 June 2023

Posted by in category: space

In an historical session, Karlton Johnson (NSS) gave this speech on behalf of NSS, SRI and 30 space advocacy organizations. National Space Society Statement to UN COPUOS 2023, General Exchange of Views (Given by Karlton Johnson on Monday, 5 June 2023, AM under Item 4: GEVs) Distinguished Chairman and Delegates of COPUOS, My name isContinue reading →

Jun 6, 2023

There are 2 types of confidence. Here’s the one that Jeff Bezos has—and why people judge you on it the most

Posted by in category: neuroscience

According to psychologists, there are two types of confidence: Epistemic and social. Brain researcher and author Julia Galef breaks down both, and explains why some of the most successful and likable people, like Jeff Bezos, have more social confidence.

Jun 6, 2023

Redefining Fluid Dynamics: Ancient Invention Sparks Modern Breakthrough

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, law, transportation

A group of scientists has discovered new laws governing the flow of fluids by conducting experiments on an ancient technology: the drinking straw. This newfound understanding has the potential to enhance fluid management in medical and engineering contexts.

“We found that sipping through a straw defies all the previously known laws for the resistance or friction of flow through a pipe or tube,” explains Leif Ristroph, an associate professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and an author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. “This motivated us to search for a new law that could work for any type of fluid moving at any rate through a pipe of any size.”

The movement of liquids and gases through conduits such as pipes, tubes, and ducts is a common phenomenon in both natural and industrial contexts, including in scenarios like the circulation of blood or the transportation of oil through pipelines.

Jun 6, 2023

ARDD 2023: It’s time to make longevity biotechnology credible

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The largest conference on aging in the biopharmaceutical industry is set to take place 28 August – 1 September 2023 on-site in Copenhagen and online.

Longevity. Technology: The United Nations report that the proportion of people aged over 65 now outnumber children younger than 5. This substantial surge in the elderly populace presents a formidable healthcare challenge for societies across the globe, and it is evident that comprehensive and transformative approaches aimed at mitigating age-related illnesses and vulnerabilities will play a pivotal role in addressing the health and socioeconomic obstacles associated with an aging society. Once again this year, ARDD – now in its tenth year – is set to feature some of the most foremost experts in longevity, who will impart their latest insights on the process of aging and how we target the aging process to maximise lifespan and healthspan.

At ARDD, leaders in the aging and longevity field will describe the latest progress in the molecular, cellular and organismal basis of aging and the search for interventions, making it one of the must-attend events in the longevity space.

Jun 6, 2023

Sony announces venture into quantum computing via UK firm Quantum Motion

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, quantum physics

The Japanese electronics giant Sony has announced its first steps into quantum computing by joining other investment groups in a £42m venture in the UK quantum computing firm Quantum Motion. The move by the investment arm of Sony aims to boost the company’s expertise in silicon quantum chip development as well as to assist in a potential quantum computer roll-out onto the Japanese market.

Quantum Motion was founded in 2017 by scientists from University College London and the University of Oxford. It already raised a total of £20m via “seed investment” in 2017 and a “series A” investment in 2020. Quantum Motion uses qubits based on standard silicon chip technology and can therefore exploit the same manufacturing processes that mass-produces chips such as those found in smartphones.

A full-scale quantum computer, when built, is likely to require a million logical qubits to perform quantum-based calculations, with each logical qubit needing thousands of physical qubits to allow for robust error checking. Such demands will, however, require a huge amount of associated hardware if they are to be achieved. Quantum Motion claims that its technology could tackle this problem because it develops scalable arrays of qubits based on CMOS silicon technology to achieve high-density qubits.

Jun 6, 2023

Tagrisso achieved unprecedented survival in early-stage EGFR-mutated lung cancer, with 88% of patients alive at five years in ADAURA Phase III trial

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Positive results from the ADAURA Phase III trial showed AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso (osimertinib) demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS), compared to placebo in the adjuvant treatment of patients with early-stage (IB, II and IIIA) epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFRm) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after complete tumour resection with curative intent.

These results will be presented today in an oral presentation during the Plenary Session at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (abstract #LBA3) and have been simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Tagrisso reduced the risk of death by 51% compared to placebo in both the primary analysis population (Stages II-IIIA) (21% data maturity, OS hazard ratio

of 0.49; 95.03% confidence interval [CI] 0.33−0.73; p=0.0004), and in the overall trial population (Stages IB-IIIA) (18% data maturity, OS HR of 0.49; 95.03% CI 0.34−0.70; p0.0001).

Jun 6, 2023

Introducing Apple Vision Pro: Apple’s first spatial computer

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, space, wearables

“Apple today unveiled Apple Vision Pro, a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world, while allowing users to stay present and connected to others. Vision Pro creates an infinite canvas for apps that scales beyond the boundaries of a traditional display and introduces a fully three-dimensional user interface controlled by the most natural and intuitive inputs possible — a user’s eyes, hands, and voice.”

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today unveiled Apple Vision Pro, a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world, while allowing users to stay present and connected to others. Vision Pro creates an infinite canvas for apps that scales beyond the boundaries of a traditional display and introduces a fully three-dimensional user interface controlled by the most natural and intuitive inputs possible — a user’s eyes, hands, and voice. Featuring visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system, Vision Pro lets users interact with digital content in a way that feels like it is physically present in their space. The breakthrough design of Vision Pro features an ultra-high-resolution display system that packs 23 million pixels across two displays, and custom Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design to ensure every experience feels like it’s taking place in front of the user’s eyes in real time.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers.”

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