Garza, John P., Catherine L. Reed, and Ralph J. Roberts, Jr. “Attention Orienting Near the Hand Following Performed and Imagined Actions.” Experimental Brain Research, vol. 236, issue 10, 2018, pp. 2603-2610.
Abstract: Recent studies have documented that the hand's ability to perform actions affects the visual processing and attention for objects near the hand, suggesting that actions may have specific effects on visual orienting. However, most research on the relation between spatial attention and action focuses on actions as responses to visual attention manipulations. The current study examines visual attention immediately following an executed or imagined action. A modified spatial cuing paradigm tested whether a brief, lateralized hand-pinch performed by a visually hidden hand near the target location, facilitated or inhibited subsequent visual target detection. Conditions in which hand-pinches were fully executed (action) were compared to ones with no hand-pinch (inaction) in Experiment 1 and imagined pinches (imagine) in Experiment 2. Results from Experiment 1 indicated that performed hand pinches facilitated rather than inhibited subsequent detection responses to targets appearing near the pinch, but target detection was not affected by inaction. In Experiment 2, both action and imagined action conditions cued attention and facilitated responses, but along differing time courses. These results highlight the ongoing nature of visual attention and demonstrate how it is deployed to locations even following actions.
Green, Danielle J.*, Alison Harris, Aleena Young*, and Catherine L. Reed. “Embodied Valuation: Directional Action is Associated with Item Values.” The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 71, issue 8, 2018, pp. 1734-1747.
Abstract: We have a lifetime of experience interacting with objects we value. Although many economic theories represent valuation as a purely cognitive process independent of the sensorimotor system, embodied cognitive theory suggests that our memories for items’ value should be linked to actions we use to obtain them. Here, we investigated whether the value of real items was associated with specific directional movements toward or away from the body. Participants priced a set of food items to determine their values; they then used directional actions to classify each item as high- or low-value. To determine if value is linked to specific action mappings, movements were referenced either with respect to the object (push toward high-value items; pull away from low-value items) or the self (pull high-value items toward self; push low-value items away). Participants who were assigned (Experiment 1) or chose (Experiment 2) to use an object-referenced action mapping were faster than those using a self-referenced mapping. A control experiment (Experiment 3) using left/right movements found no such difference when action mappings were not toward/away from the body. These results indicate that directional actions toward items are associated with the representation of their value, suggesting an embodied component to economic choice.
Moody, Eric J., Catherine L. Reed, Tara Van Bommel*, Betsy App*, and Daniel N. McIntosh. “Emotional Mimicry Beyond the Face: Rapid Face and Body Responses to Facial Expressions.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 9, no. 7, 2018, pp. 844-852.
Abstract: Emotional mimicry - quick and spontaneous matching of another's expressions - is a well-documented phenomenon that is associated with numerous social outcomes. Although the mechanisms underlying mimicry are not fully understood, there is growing awareness that it is more than a one-to-one motor matching of others' expressions and may be the result of neural simulation. If true, it is possible that mimicry could extend to other parts of the body, even in the absence of visual information from that body part. Indeed, we found that passively viewing anger and fear expressions, without accompanying information from the body, voice or other channels, produced both facial mimicry and corresponding responses in arm muscles that make a fist or a defensive posture. This suggests that observers simulated observed expressions and that activity may have spilled over to other areas to create a body response.
Morrisey, Marcus Neil, Catherine L. Reed, Daniel N. McIntosh, and M.D. Rutherford. “Brief Report: Attentional Cueing to Images of Social Interactions is Automatic for Neurotypical Individuals But Not Those with ASC.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, vol. 48, issue 9, 2018, pp. 3233-3243.
Abstract: Human actions induce attentional orienting toward the target of the action. We examined the influence of action cueing in social (man throwing toward a human) and non-social (man throwing toward a tree) contexts in observers with and without autism spectrum condition (ASC). Results suggested that a social interaction enhanced the cueing effect for neurotypical participants. Participants with ASC did not benefit from non-predictive cues and were slower in social contexts, although they benefitted from reliably predictive cues. Social orienting appears to be automatic in the context of an implied social interaction for neurotypical observers, but not those with ASC. Neurotypical participants’ behavior may be driven by automatic processing, while participants with ASC use an alternative, effortful strategy.
Reed, Catherine L., Cindy M. Bukach, Matthew Garber, and Daniel N. McIntosh. “It’s Not All About the Face: Variability Reveals Asymmetric Obligatory Processing of Faces and Bodies in Whole-Body Contexts.” Perception, vol. 47, issue 6, 2018, pp. 626-646.
Abstract: Researchers have sought to understand the specialized processing of faces and bodies in isolation, but recently they have considered how face and body information interact within the context of the whole body. Although studies suggest that face and body information can be integrated, it remains an open question whether this integration is obligatory and whether contributions of face and body information are symmetrical. In a selective attention task with whole-body stimuli, we focused attention on either the face or body and tested whether variation in the irrelevant part could be ignored. We manipulated orientation to determine the extent to which inversion disrupted obligatory face and body processing. Obligatory processing was evidenced as performance changes in discrimination that depended on stimulus orientation when the irrelevant region varied. For upright but not inverted face discrimination, participants could not ignore body posture variation, even when it was not diagnostic to the task. However, participants could ignore face variation for upright body posture discrimination but not for inverted posture discrimination. The extent to which face and body information necessarily influence each other in whole-body contexts appears to depend on both domain-general attentional and face- or body-specific holistic processing mechanisms.
Reed, Catherine L., John P. Garza, and Daivik B. Vyas*. “Feeling But Not Seeing the Hand: Occluded Hand Position Reduces the Hand Proximity Effect in ERPs.” Consciousness and Cognition, vol. 64, 2018, pp. 154-163.
Abstract: The hand proximity effect (nearby hands influence visual processing) reflects the integration of vision and proprioception for upcoming action; it is reduced when hand position is occluded. In an ERP study, we investigate whether hand proximity, without vision of the hand, accentuates the processing of stimuli requiring actions (targets) early (N1) and later (P3) in processing. In a go/no-go paradigm, participants viewed stimuli between two panels with hands placed near or far from stimuli. Occlusion of the hand eliminated near-hand target vs. non-target differentiation of the N1; amplification of near-hand target amplitudes emerged at the P3. Visual hand location appears necessary to draw visual attention to intended-action objects to integrate body and visual information early in processing. The integration of visual stimulus information and hand position from proprioception appears later in processing, indicating greater reliance on cognitive systems for discriminating the task-relevance of a stimulus.
Reed, Catherine L. and Mounia Ziat. “Haptic Perception: From the Skin to the Brain.” Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, 2018, pp. 1-12.
Abstract: Our sense of touch connects us physically with the external world. Haptic perception, or somesthesis, refers to our ability to apprehend information through touch. Not only do objects in the world touch us but also we explore our environment actively with our hands, fingers, and bodies. We use the motor capabilities of our hands to extract important characteristics necessary for identifying and using objects. Thus, the haptic system is designed for processing the material properties of objects and surfaces via the mediation of cutaneous and kinesthetic afferent subsystems. The passive aspect of haptic perception is often called tactile perception, and it refers to sensations gleaned from being touched by items in the outside world. Mechanoreceptors and thermoreceptors in the skin (e.g., cutaneous inputs) contribute largely to this tactile aspect of haptic perception. However, haptic perception also includes active touch and the sensations that result from the stimulation of receptors in muscles, tendons, and joints (e.g., proprioceptive and kinesthetic inputs). Our understanding of the neural bases of haptic perception from the skin to the brain is based on the study of perceptual and neurophysiological responses in animals and humans.
Siqi-Liu, Audrey*, Alison M. Harris, Anthony P. Atkinson, and Catherine L. Reed. “Dissociable Processing of Emotional and Neutral Body Movements Revealed by μ-Alpha and Beta Rhythms.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 13, issue 12, 2018, pp. 1269-1279.
Abstract: Both when actions are executed and observed, electroencephalography (EEG) has shown reduced alpha-band (8–12 Hz) oscillations over sensorimotor cortex. This ‘μ-alpha’ suppression is thought to reflect mental simulation of action, which has been argued to support internal representation of others’ emotional states. Despite the proposed role of simulation in emotion perception, little is known about the effect of emotional content on μ-suppression. We recorded high-density EEG while participants viewed point-light displays of emotional vs neutral body movements in ‘coherent’ biologically plausible and ‘scrambled’ configurations. Although coherent relative to scrambled stimuli elicited μ-alpha suppression, the comparison of emotional and neutral movement, controlling for basic visual input, revealed suppression effects in both alpha and beta bands. Whereas alpha-band activity reflected reduced power for emotional stimuli in central and occipital sensors, beta power at frontocentral sites was driven by enhancement for neutral relative to emotional actions. A median-split by autism-spectrum quotient score revealed weaker μ-alpha suppression and beta enhancement in participants with autistic tendencies, suggesting that sensorimotor simulation may be differentially engaged depending on social capabilities. Consistent with theories of embodied emotion, these data support a link between simulation and social perception while more firmly connecting emotional processing to the activity of sensorimotor systems.
External Grant: Reed, Catherine L. (PI). National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Proposal: Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM-Related Fields Using Electrophysiology (PURSUE),” Whole Grant Supplement, 2018, $17,270.
Abstract: We request supplemental funding for two, 2-day faculty learning community workshops to achieve our grant's stated goals of 1) facilitating a functional faculty learning community, 2) revising introductory materials, and 3) completing modules for a semester long course. Dedicated 2-day meetings with 3 PIs and 6 participating faculty are necessary to overcome roadblocks we discovered in arranging the planned annual workshops funded in our initial grant proposal about using cognitive electrophysiology for undergraduate STEM teaching and learning. These workshops are essential to our goals because our project asks participating faculty to share their ideas and materials, as well as their experiences and challenges in teaching electrophysiology to undergraduates. We also ask faculty to critique our materials. These activities require a level of trust and comfort. In-person meetings are critical for establishing that trust and for the dynamic exchange of ideas. We anticipate that these meetings will result in enhanced quality of input from our participating faculty, as evidenced by the successful year-1 workshop. Intellectual Merit: The proposed workshops help us meet the goals of our grant in terms of proposed outcomes and an established faculty learning community. Extended two-day meetings provide the time to evaluate, integrate, and revise the course materials with the participating faculty and to collaboratively build a framework for the full year cognitive electrophysiology course. Completing a collaborative framework for the full course will increase the flexibility and usability of our course materials so that they can be implemented in diverse contexts. Further, in-person meetings are essential to establish a PUI faculty learning community for cognitive electrophysiology. The requested supplement to host two 2-day workshops with participating faculty will significantly enhance the success of the project goals and provides additional opportunities to enrich pedagogical approaches to teaching STEM-related content at the three PI institutions and the 6 institutions of participating faculty. Activities focusing on evidence-based pedagogical principles, reflections on course design, and discussions of assessment approaches should enhance teaching skills for participating faculty that can generalize to other courses as well. Broader Impacts: These two 2-day workshops will broaden the scope of our initial proposal by allowing the faculty at a diverse selection of participating institutions, and ultimately their undergraduate students, to experience STEM teaching and learning through developing proficiency with cognitive electrophysiology. In addition, hosting the workshop at UR will allow the UR undergraduate students funded by the NSF grant to attend some of the workshop meetings and more fully participate in the course development. This opportunity will enhance their educational experience by exposing them to a cooperative model of curriculum development and a deeper understanding of the ERP method, leading to better training of the next generation of STEM educators and researchers.
External Grant: Reed, Catherine L. (PI). National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Proposal: Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM-Related Fields Using Electrophysiology (PURSUE), Sabbatical Grant Supplement, 2018, $37,372.
Abstract: Intellectual Merit. This project investigates how student learning communities (SLCs) outside the classroom can contribute to undergraduate STEM course design. Few studies have formally analyzed how collaborations among undergraduates with faculty guidance affect the application of best practices to course materials and student career aspirations. Proposal. Building on an existing course development project with established faculty learning communities and SLCs, we will conduct novel analyses of SLC input to course product creation, revision, and assessment. Specifically, data collection is designed to address three aims: 1) To assess unique undergraduate student contributions to the design of materials for a freely downloadable cognitive electrophysiology course: How might contributions from FLCs and SLCs affect specific aspects of course development (e.g., the cycle of feedback and revision)? Do SLCs help target examples and levels of discussion appropriate for undergraduates, increasing the depth of learning and engagement of students exposed to these materials? 2) To assess student benefits from involvement in small and larger SLCs: How does this collaborative FLC+SLC approach help student members of the SLC develop their own knowledge and professional aspirations? 3) To assess whether students taking classes value student input in course creation: Do SLC contributions influence subsequent perceptions and engagement of undergraduates using those materials? Using a mixed model analysis approach, we will analyze quantitative data from Likert-rating questions as well as qualitative, categorical data from free responses and semi-structured interviews. Broader Impact. Project outcomes may provide practical suggestions for course design that is firmly grounded in best teaching practices, explore whether undergraduate participation in SLCs provides students pedagogical and professional advantages including additional and enriched opportunities for women and underrepresented students, and determine if larger, structured investigation of SLCs would be warranted for educators more broadly.