IMPRS CoNI Summer School 2024

Preliminary Programme

Timezone: BST

Monday, 9 September 2024

08:15–08:55

Registration

09:30–13:00

Session I: Interaction and Communication
Chair: Antonia Hamilton

09:30–10:15

Gabriella Vigliocco
Department of Psychology, University College London, UK

10:15–11:00

Giorgia Silani
Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria

Human behavior is motivated not only by primary rewards (such as food), but also by rewards of social nature (such as approval). In the last decade, a fundamental challenge has been to understand the different aspects involved in reward processing. While animal research has clearly established "wanting" and "liking" as two components differing on the neurobiological and neurochemical level, corresponding research in humans is less conclusive. The present talk addresses this gap of knowledge by testing: a) whether "wanting" and "liking" can be dissociated in humans on the behavioral and neurochemical level for non-social and social rewards; and b) whether such components are differently impaired in conditions such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). By employing a novel behavioral paradigm in combination with pharmacological manipulations (i.e. dopamine and opioid antagonists), we first aimed at differentially modulating wanting and liking. Subsequently, the same paradigm combined with fMRI was used to investigate reward processing in individuals with ASD compared to neurotypical controls. The overall findings are discussed in light of the current theories of reward processing and social motivation in particular.

11:00–11:30

Coffee Break

11:30–12:15

Julie Grèzes

INSERM U960 & Institut de Sciences Cognitives, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

The ability to swiftly and accurately respond to others' non-verbal signals, such as their emotional expressions, constitutes one of the building blocks for social adaptation. It is debated whether rapid action tendencies to socio-emotional signals solely depend upon stimulus-evoked pre-decisional motor bias or can also engage goal-directed processes, based on the predicted consequence of each available action. Here, we tackle the contribution of goal-directed processes to emotional behaviours during free-choice tasks. In a first step, by using drift-diffusion models of choice and electroencephalography to investigate the impact of task-irrelevant threat-signalling individuals on spontaneous approach-avoidance decisions, we revealed that avoidance tendencies depend upon a rapid value-based competition between existing action plans. In a second step, we took advantage of VR to manipulate the predictability of expected action-outcome in an ecologically-valid socio-emotional context. Our behavioral, computational and physiological results revealed an influence of action-outcome unpredictability over spontaneous avoidance choices. Overall, our results convincingly support the underestimated influence of implicit goal-directed mechanisms in approach-avoidance responses to socio-emotional signals.


12:15–13:00

TBA

TBA

13:00–14:30

Lunch Break

14:30–15:15

Expert Session I

14:30–16:00

Experimental Design Workshop Intro and Group Formation

16:00–16:30

Coffee Break

16:30–18:00

Experimental Design Workshop

18:30

Speakers' Dinner/Pub Evening (doctoral researchers)

  

Tuesday, 10 September 2024

09:30–13:00

Session II: New Challenges in Cognitive NeuroImaging

Chair: Patrick Haggard

09:30–10:15

Birte U. Forstmann

Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Today only seven percent of the subcortical structures listed by the Federative Community on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT, 1998) are depicted in available standard MRI-atlases (Forstmann et al., 2017). As a consequence, the remaining 423 subcortical structures cannot be studied using automated analysis protocols available for MRI and therefore require trained anatomists for the study of subcortical brain areas: The human subcortex is notoriously difficult to visualize and analyze with functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this talk, I will first present technical advances that allow charting terra incognita; the human subcortex. Next, I will give a concrete example of how joint modeling of brain and behavior can be used to test the functional role of cortico-basal ganglia loops in decision making. Finally, I will discuss the emerging possibilities of novel human neuroanatomical approaches and directions for the incorporation of these data within the field of model-based cognitive neuroscience.
10:15–11:00

Martina Callaghan

Functional Imaging Laboratory, University College London, UK

To date, the neuronal instantiation of natural cognition and behaviour has eluded detailed scrutiny. In large part this is because of our inability to precisely measure neuronal processing from the whole brain while people behave naturally in everyday settings. Studying neuronal activity in real-world settings requires experimental paradigms that enable adults and children to move and participate in dynamic, multisensory environments, as well as the methods to analyse the rich data that result. To overcome these barriers, we are establishing a Discovery Research Platform for Naturalistic Neuroimaging. In this talk I will present proof-of-principle studies demonstrating the potential of wearable MEG technology, which utilises novel optically-pumped magnetometer (OPM) sensors, to transform our ability to study neuronal processes during movement. This approach delivers excellent temporal resolution, coupled with very good spatial resolution, even during substantial head movement. It can also detect signals from deep brain structures such as the hippocampus and cerebellum. I will illustrate how virtual reality can further improve our capacity to study individuals going about their everyday lives by merging realism with experimental control. Finally, I will discuss recent advances in hierarchical dynamic generative models that can be applied to diverse behavioural and neuroimaging data, and highlight their impact for future research.

11:00–11:30

Coffee Break

11:30–12:15

Moataz Assem

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, UK

Three decades of brain imaging consistently link the organization of thoughts and behaviour to circumscribed regions within the association cortices, commonly known as domain-general or multiple-demand (MD) regions. However, the imprecision of classical fMRI has impeded our understanding of how MD regions interact with distributed brain circuits. To address this challenge, we turned to the high-resolution multimodal MRI acquisition and analysis approaches of the Human Connectome Project (HCP). I will explain the advances in HCP approaches, demonstrating that they are nearly three times more effective than traditional fMRI methods. Next, I will discuss how this new level of precision suggests a novel framework for cognitive control. Unlike the broad differentiations commonly seen in lesion studies and functional imaging investigations, this framework shows that partially-specialized circuits work together with neighbouring MD areas to generate distinct cognitive functions.

12:15–13:00

John-Dylan Haynes

Berlin Center for Advanced Neuroimaging, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

13:00–15:00

Lunch Break and Experimental Design Small Group Work

15:00–16:15

Lab Tours/Workshops

16:15–16:45

Coffee Break

16:45–17:45

Poster Session I

17:45–18:45

Poster Session II

  

Wednesday, 11 September 2024

09:30–13:00

Session III: Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health

Chair: Oliver Robinson

09:30–10:15

Liam Browne

Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, Division of Medicine, University College London, UK

Survival across animal species depends on the ability to generate appropriate responses to imminent threats. The adaptive control of these responses becomes crucial following injur, signalled by the presence of pain. While hypersensitivity to pain acts as a protective mechanism for an injured site, reducing the risk of further damage, the broader impact of tonic pain on behavioural strategies is less clear. It is yet to be determined whether such pain influences a wider range of behavioural choices in response to environmental challenges. Here, we describe interactions between tonic pain, the pursuit of safety, and sensitivity to threats. We investigate the neural basis of these adaptive processes through precise chemogenetic and optogenetic manipulations in the mouse cortex. Our findings suggest that cortex plays key roles in linking pain and sensory processing with adaptive behaviours critical for survival.

10:15–11:00

Toby Wise

Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK

Our ability to learn about and respond to uncertainty enables us to successfully navigate a complex and uncertain world. However, aberrant responding to uncertainty is a characteristic of many mental health problems, most notable anxiety disorders. I will cover work using computational modelling to uncover the processes used by the human brain to learn about uncertainty, focusing on Bayesian modelling, and outline how these processes may play a role in the development of common mental health problems. These results highlight the benefits of taking a computational modelling approach to break down complex processes into their component parts, and the importance of uncertainty estimation as a transdiagnostic mechanism across a spectrum of mental health problems.

11:00–11:30

Coffee Break

11:30–12:15

Jacinta O’Shea

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK

12:15–13:00

Rafal Rygula

Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland

Psychiatric disorders, including alcohol addiction, are among the most common yet still poorly treated human conditions. Developing new treatments requires a better understanding of the etiology of symptoms and the evaluation of novel therapeutic targets in preclinical studies. Recent advancements in our understanding of reinforcement-based cognitive biases (RBCBs) that contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders offer new opportunities for both clinical and preclinical research. During my talk, I will first briefly describe various aspects of reinforcement sensitivity in the development, maintenance, and recurrence of psychiatric disorders. Following this, I will discuss studies investigating RBCBs, their behavioral and pharmacological correlates, and possible interactions between RBCBs and the trajectories of mental dysfunction development. Finally, I will explain how recent translational studies using state-of-the-art animal models can enhance our understanding of the role of reinforcement sensitivity and RBCBs in vulnerability to psychiatric conditions.

13:00–14:30

Lunch Break

14:30–15:15

Expert Session II

15:15–16:00

Expert Session III

16:00–16:30

Coffee Break

16:30–17:15

Project Talks and Poster Prizes

17:15–17:30

Final Remarks

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