PhD, Sorbonne University, Cognitive Neuroscience (2017)
The posteromedial cortex (PMC) is known to be a core node of the default mode network. Given its anatomical location and blood supply pattern, the effects of targeted disruption of this part of the brain are largely unknown. Here, we report a rare case of a patient (S19_137) with confirmed seizures originating within the PMC. Intracranial recordings confirmed the onset of seizures in the right dorsal posterior cingulate cortex, adjacent to the marginal sulcus, likely corresponding to Brodmann area 31. Upon the onset of seizures, the patient reported a reproducible sense of self-dissociation-a condition he described as a distorted awareness of the position of his body in space and feeling as if he had temporarily become an outside observer to his own thoughts, his "me" having become a separate entity that was listening to different parts of his brain speak to each other. Importantly, 50-Hz electrical stimulation of the seizure zone and a homotopical region within the contralateral PMC induced a subjectively similar state, reproducibly. We supplement our clinical findings with the definition of the patient's network anatomy at sites of interest using cortico-cortical-evoked potentials, experimental and resting-state electrophysiological connectivity, and individual-level functional imaging. This rare case of patient S19_137 highlights the potential causal importance of the PMC for integrating self-referential information and provides clues for future mechanistic studies of self-dissociation in neuropsychiatric populations.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2100522118
View details for PubMedID 34272280
Despite increased awareness of the lack of gender equity in academia and a growing number of initiatives to address issues of diversity, change is slow, and inequalities remain. A major source of inequity is gender bias, which has a substantial negative impact on the careers, work-life balance, and mental health of underrepresented groups in science. Here, we argue that gender bias is not a single problem but manifests as a collection of distinct issues that impact researchers' lives. We disentangle these facets and propose concrete solutions that can be adopted by individuals, academic institutions, and society.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.06.002
View details for PubMedID 34237278
A central goal in cognitive science is to parse the series of processing stages underlying a cognitive task. A powerful yet simple behavioral method that can resolve this problem is finger trajectory tracking: by continuously tracking the finger position and speed as a participant chooses a response, and by analyzing which stimulus features affect the trajectory at each time point during the trial, we can estimate the absolute timing and order of each processing stage, and detect transient effects, changes of mind, serial versus parallel processing, and real-time fluctuations in subjective confidence. We suggest that trajectory tracking, which provides considerably more information than mere response times, may provide a comprehensive understanding of the fast temporal dynamics of cognitive operations.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tics.2019.10.002
View details for PubMedID 31679752
View details for Web of Science ID 000468288300646
Elementary arithmetic requires a complex interplay between several brain regions. The classical view, arising from fMRI, is that the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and the superior parietal lobe (SPL) are the main hubs for arithmetic calculations. However, recent studies using intracranial electroencephalography have discovered a specific site, within the posterior inferior temporal cortex (pITG), that activates during visual perception of numerals, with widespread adjacent responses when numerals are used in calculation. Here, we reexamined the contribution of the IPS, SPL, and pITG to arithmetic by recording intracranial electroencephalography signals while participants solved addition problems. Behavioral results showed a classical problem size effect: RTs increased with the size of the operands. We then examined how high-frequency broadband (HFB) activity is modulated by problem size. As expected from previous fMRI findings, we showed that the total HFB activity in IPS and SPL sites increased with problem size. More surprisingly, pITG sites showed an initial burst of HFB activity that decreased as the operands got larger, yet with a constant integral over the whole trial, thus making these signals invisible to slow fMRI. Although parietal sites appear to have a more sustained function in arithmetic computations, the pITG may have a role of early identification of the problem difficulty, beyond merely digit recognition. Our results ask for a reevaluation of the current models of numerical cognition and reveal that the ventral temporal cortex contains regions specifically engaged in mathematical processing.
View details for PubMedID 30063177
Mental calculation is thought to be tightly related to visuospatial abilities. One of the strongest evidence for this link is the widely replicated operational momentum (OM) effect: the tendency to overestimate the result of additions and to underestimate the result of subtractions. Although the OM effect has been found in both infants and adults, no study has directly investigated its developmental trajectory until now. However, to fully understand the cognitive mechanisms lying at the core of the OM effect it is important to investigate its developmental dynamics. In the present study, we investigated the development of the OM effect in a group of 162 children from 8 to 12 years old. Participants had to select among five response alternatives the correct result of approximate addition and subtraction problems. Response alternatives were simultaneously presented on the screen at different locations. While no effect was observed for the youngest age group, children aged 9 and older showed a clear OM effect. Interestingly, the OM effect monotonically increased with age. The increase of the OM effect was accompanied by an increase in overall accuracy. That is, while younger children made more and non-systematic errors, older children made less but systematic errors. This monotonous increase of the OM effect with age is not predicted by the compression account (i.e., linear calculation performed on a compressed code). The attentional shift account, however, provides a possible explanation of these results based on the functional relationship between visuospatial attention and mental calculation and on the influence of formal schooling. We propose that the acquisition of arithmetical skills could reinforce the systematic reliance on the spatial mental number line and attentional mechanisms that control the displacement along this metric. Our results provide a step in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying approximate calculation and an important empirical constraint for current accounts on the origin of the OM effect.
View details for PubMedID 30065673
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6056750
Neuroimaging has undergone enormous progress during the last two and a half decades. The combination of neuroscientific methods and educational practice has become a focus of interdisciplinary research in order to answer more applied questions. In this realm, conditions that hamper learning success and have deleterious effects in the population - such as learning disorders (LD) - could especially profit from neuroimaging findings. At the moment, however, there is an ongoing debate about how far neuroscientific research can go to inform the practical work in educational settings. Here, we put forward a theoretical translational framework as a method of conducting neuroimaging and bridging it to education, with a main focus on dyscalculia and dyslexia. Our work seeks to represent a theoretical but mainly empirical guide on the benefits of neuroimaging, which can help people working with different aspects of LD, who need to act collaboratively to reach the full potential of neuroimaging. We provide possible ideas regarding how neuroimaging can inform LD at different levels within our multidirectional framework, i.e., mechanisms, diagnosis/prognosis, training/intervention, and community/education. In addition, we discuss methodological, conceptual, and structural limitations that need to be addressed by future research.
View details for PubMedID 30022931
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6039789
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