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.

22 Jul 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. 
05 Aug 2021
Characterising the brain representations behind variations in real-world visual behaviour
Université de Montréal
Not all individuals are equally competent at recognizing the faces they interact with. Revealing how the brains of different individuals support variations in this ability is a crucial step to develop an understanding of real-world human visual behaviour. In this talk, I will present findings from a large high-density EEG dataset (>100k trials of participants processing various stimulus categories) and computational approaches which aimed to characterise the brain representations behind real-world proficiency of “super-recognizers”—individuals at the top of face recognition ability spectrum. Using decoding analysis of time-resolved EEG patterns, we predicted with high precision the trial-by-trial activity of super-recognizers participants, and showed that evidence for face recognition ability variations is disseminated along early, intermediate and late brain processing steps. Computational modeling of the underlying brain activity uncovered two representational signatures supporting higher face recognition ability—i) mid-level visual & ii) semantic computations. Both components were dissociable in brain processing-time (the first around the N170, the last around the P600) and levels of computations (the first emerging from mid-level layers of visual Convolutional Neural Networks, the last from a semantic model characterising sentence descriptions of images). I will conclude by presenting ongoing analyses from a well-known case of acquired prosopagnosia (PS) using similar computational modeling of high-density EEG activity.
12 Aug 2021
Exploring perceptual similarity and its relation to image-based spaces: an effect of familiarity
University of Stirling
One challenge in exploring the internal representation of faces is the lack of controlled stimuli transformations. Researchers are often limited to verbalizable transformations in the creation of a dataset. An alternative approach to verbalization for interpretability is finding image-based measures that allow us to quantify image transformations. In this study, we explore whether PCA could be used to create controlled transformations to a face by testing the effect of these transformations on human perceptual similarity and on computational differences in Gabor, Pixel and DNN spaces. We found that perceptual similarity and the three image-based spaces are linearly related, almost perfectly in the case of the DNN, with a correlation of 0.94. This provides a controlled way to alter the appearance of a face. In experiment 2, the effect of familiarity on the perception of multidimensional transformations was explored. Our findings show that there is a positive relationship between the number of components transformed and both the perceptual similarity and the same three image-based spaces used in experiment 1. Furthermore, we found that familiar faces are rated more similar overall than unfamiliar faces. That is, a change to a familiar face is perceived as making less difference than the exact same change to an unfamiliar face. The ability to quantify, and thus control, these transformations is a powerful tool in exploring the factors that mediate a change in perceived identity. Link to the pre-print:
19 Aug 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).
07 Oct 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.