AFC Lab Talk Series

We host a virtual talk series on Thursdays at 1600 CET. Our aim: to support early-career researchers and underrepresented groups by providing a platform for their work and increasing networking opportunities.

If you'd like to give a talk, drop us a message and we'll get it organised.

For details on how to access the talks and view the event schedule, see the World Wide Neuro site.

17 June 2021
Getting to know you: emerging neural representations during face familiarization
Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
The successful recognition of familiar persons is critical for social interactions. Despite extensive research on the neural representations of familiar faces, we know little about how such representations unfold as someone becomes familiar. In three EEG experiments, we elucidated how representations of face familiarity and identity emerge from different qualities of familiarization: brief perceptual exposure (Experiment 1), extensive media familiarization (Experiment 2) and real-life personal familiarization (Experiment 3). Time-resolved representational similarity analysis revealed that familiarization quality has a profound impact on representations of face familiarity: they were strongly visible after personal familiarization, weaker after media familiarization, and absent after perceptual familiarization. Across all experiments, we found no enhancement of face identity representation, suggesting that familiarity and identity representations emerge independently during face familiarization. Our results emphasize the importance of extensive, real-life familiarization for the emergence of robust face familiarity representations, constraining models of face perception and recognition memory.
24 June 2021
Investigating visual recognition and the temporal lobes using electrophysiology and fast periodic visual stimulation
University of Louvain
The ventral visual pathway extends from the occipital to the anterior temporal regions, and is specialized in giving meaning to objects and people that are perceived through vision. Numerous studies in functional magnetic resonance imaging have focused on the cerebral basis of visual recognition. However, this technique is susceptible to magnetic artefacts in ventral anterior temporal regions and it has led to an underestimation of the role of these regions within the ventral visual stream, especially with respect to face recognition and semantic representations. Moreover, there is an increasing need for implicit methods assessing these functions as explicit tasks lack specificity. In this talk, I will present three studies using fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) in combination with scalp and/or intracerebral EEG to overcome these limitations and provide high SNR in temporal regions. I will show that, beyond face recognition, FPVS can be extended to investigate semantic representations using a face-name association paradigm and a semantic categorisation paradigm with written words. These results shed new light on the role of temporal regions and demonstrate the high potential of the FPVS approach as a powerful electrophysiological tool to assess various cognitive functions in neurotypical and clinical populations.
01 July 2021
Impact evaluation for COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions: what is (un)knowable?
Stanford University
COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) policies have been one of the most important and contentious decisions of our time. Beyond even the "normal" inherent difficulties in impact evaluation with observational data, COVID-19 NPI policy evaluation is complicated by additional challenges related to infectious disease dynamics and lags, lack of direct observation of key outcomes, and a multiplicity of interventions occurring on an accelerated time scale. Randomized controlled trials also suffer from what is feasible and ethical to randomize as well as the sheer scale, scope, time, and resources required for an NPI trial to be informative (or at least not misinformative). In this talk, Dr. Haber will discuss the challenges in generating useful evidence for COVID-19 NPIs, the landscape of the literature, and highlight key controversies in several high profile studies over the course of the pandemic. Chasing after unknowables poses major problems for the metascience/replicability movement, institutional research science, and decision makers. If the only choices for informing an important topic are "weak study design" vs "do nothing," when is "do nothing" the best choice?
08 July 2021
The neural signature of the other-race categorization advantage (ORCA) in extrafoveal vision
Sasha Lasrado
University of Fribourg
Humans categorize other-race (OR) faces better and faster than same-race (SR) faces, a behavioral effect known as the other-race categorization advantage (ORCA). The ORCA has been studied using foveal paradigms, yet has resulted in contrasted findings on its time course. In this talk, I present my Master’s thesis on the neural signature of the ORCA in extrafoveal vision using an extrafoveal saccadic-choice paradigm. As data collection is ongoing, I will present preliminary evidence (N = 10) suggesting that the ORCA may occur earlier than previously found, with a distinct influence on early face-related ERP components.
12 July 2021
Redressing imbalances in the kind of research that gets done and who gets credit for it
University of Sydney
If we want good work to get done, we should credit those who do it. In science, researchers are credited predominantly via authorship on publications. But many contributions to modern research are not recognized with authorship, due in part to the high bar imposed by the authorship criteria of many journals. “Contributorship” is a more inclusive framework for indicating who did what in the work described by a paper, and many scientific journals have recently implemented versions of it. I will consider the motivation for and specifics of this change, describe the tenzing tool we created to facilitate it, and how we might want to support and shape the shift toward contributorship.
22 July 2021
Spatio-temporal large-scale organization of the trimodal connectome derived from concurrent EEG-fMRI and diffusion MRI
University of Geneva
While time-averaged dynamics of brain functional connectivity are known to reflect the underlying structural connections, the exact relationship between large-scale function and structure remains an unsolved issue in network neuroscience. Large-scale networks are traditionally observed by correlation of fMRI timecourses, and connectivity of source-reconstructed electrophysiological measures are less prominent. Accessing the brain by using multimodal recordings combining EEG, fMRI and diffusion MRI (dMRI) can help to refine the understanding of the spatio-temporal organization of both static and dynamic brain connectivity.  In this talk I will discuss our prior findings that whole-brain connectivity derived from source-reconstructed resting-state (rs) EEG is both linked to the rs-fMRI and dMRI connectome. The EEG connectome provides complimentary information to link function to structure as compared to an fMRI-only perspective. I will present an approach extending the multimodal data integration of concurrent rs-EEG-fMRI to the temporal domain by combining dynamic functional connectivity of both modalities to better understand the neural basis of functional connectivity dynamics. The close relationship between time-varying changes in EEG and fMRI whole-brain connectivity patterns provide evidence for spontaneous reconfigurations of the brain’s functional processing architecture. Finally, I will talk about data quality of connectivity derived from concurrent EEG-fMRI recordings and how the presented multimodal framework could be applied to better understand focal epilepsy.  In summary this talk will give an overview of how to integrate large-scale EEG networks with MRI-derived brain structure and function. In conclusion EEG-based connectivity measures not only are closely linked to MRI-based measures of brain structure and function over different time-scales, but also provides complimentary information on the function of underlying brain organization. 
29 July 2021
Age-related dedifferentiation across representational levels and their relation to memory performance
Ruhr-University Bochum
Episodic memory performance decreases with advancing age. According to theoretical models, such memory decline might be a consequence of age-related reductions in the ability to form distinct neural representations of our past. In this talk, I want to present our new age-comparative fMRI study investigating age-related neural dedifferentiation across different representational levels. By combining univariate analyses and searchlight pattern similarity analyses, we found that older adults show reduced category selective processing in higher visual areas, less specific item representations in occipital regions and less stable item representations. Dedifferentiation on all these representational levels was related to memory performance, with item specificity being the strongest contributor. Overall, our results emphasize that age-related dedifferentiation can be observed across the entire cortical hierarchy which may selectively impair memory performance depending on the memory task.
19 August 2021
Enhanced perception and cognition in deaf sign language users: EEG and behavioral evidence
Gallaudet University
In this talk, Dr. Quandt will share results from behavioral and cognitive neuroscience studies from the past few years of her work in the Action & Brain Lab, an EEG lab at Gallaudet University, the world's premiere university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. These results will center upon the question of how extensive knowledge of signed language changes, and in some cases enhances, people's perception and cognition. Evidence for this effect comes from studies of human biological motion using point light displays, self-report, and studies of action perception. Dr. Quandt will also discuss some of the lab's efforts in designing and testing a virtual reality environment in which users can learn American Sign Language from signing avatars (virtual humans).