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  • 1.
    Abrahamsson, Sebastian
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neuroplasticity induced by exercise2017Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    As opposed to earlier beliefs, the brain is altering itself throughout an individual’s life. The process of functional or structural alterations is referred to as plasticity, and can be induced by several factors such as experience or physical exercise. In this thesis, the research area of experience-dependent plasticity, with focus on exercise-induced plasticity is examined critically. Evidence from a vast array of studies are reviewed and compared in order to find whether physical exercise can induce neural plasticity in the human brain, how it may be beneficial, and what some of the plausible mediators of exercise-induced plasticity are. The findings demonstrated in this thesis suggest that although there are knowledge gaps and limitations in the literature, physical exercise can indeed result in exhibited plasticity as well as being beneficial for the human brain in several ways.

  • 2.
    Agelii, Anna
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    TREATING HORROR WITH ECSTASY: Neurobiological Rationale for Treating Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder with 3,4- methylenedioxymethylamphetamine2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling condition that afflicts 1-10% of the general population, with twice as high lifetime prevalence for women than men. Treatments exist, but none have proven reliable and consistent efficacy. A large minority of patients remain treatment-resistant despite undergoing several different types of treatment over extended periods of time. Recently completed studies in the U.S. and in Switzerland have demonstrated the potential of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. One of the major problems of treating PTSD is the patients’ fear state and inability to form a therapeutic alliance. Both these issues can be facilitated through administration of MDMA; the psychological effects - such as heightened empathy, increased openness and diminished anxiety – seem well-suited for therapeutic purposes. The rationale behind treating PTSD with MDMA has been indicated in neuroimaging studies; MDMA affects some of the neural structures altered in patients with PTSD, most notably the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Using the Schedule 1 substance MDMA for this purpose is however controversial; animal studies have indicated that MDMA is neurotoxic, although no adverse effects on humans related to incidental use of MDMA in a controlled setting have been found. In conclusion, the data support that MDMA may be an efficient tool for treating PTSD, as well as safe and effective to use in a clinical context.

  • 3.
    Alvarez Svahn, Rodrigo
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The hippocampal dependence of long-term declarative memory2015Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Investigations into the neural correlates of memory have found the hippocampus to be a crucial structure for long-term declarative memories, but the exact nature of this contribution remains under debate. This paper covers three theories concerned with how the hippocampus is involved in long-term memory, namely the Standard Consolidation Model, the Multiple-Trace Theory, and the Distributed Reinstatement Theory. According to the Standard Consolidation Model, long-term declarative memories (both episodic and semantic) are dependent on the hippocampus for a limited time during which the memories undergo a process of consolidation, after which they become dependent on the neocortex. In contrast, the Multiple-Trace Theory argues that detailed and context-specific episodic (but not semantic) memories remain dependent on the hippocampus indefinitely. While both the aforementioned theories posit that memories are initially dependent on the hippocampus, the Distributed Reinstatement Theory does not. Advocates of this theory propose that several memory systems compete for the encoding of a memory, and that the hippocampus usually is the dominant system. However, it is also suggested that the other (unspecified) memory systems can overcome the hippocampal dominance through extensive and distributed learning sessions. In this paper, findings from both human and rodent studies focusing on the hippocampus are reviewed and used to evaluate the claims made by each theory on a systems level.

  • 4.
    Andersson, Pernilla
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Sleep and Its Effects on Synaptic Strength2015Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 5.
    Andersson Szabo, Sofia
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    A Biological And Psychological Profile of Eudaimonia as High Psychological Well-Being2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Aristotle (4th century B.C.E/1925) described eudaimonia as “the good life”, and is today commonly understood as eudaimonic well-being (EWB) within research. Despite the long history, the definitions and operationalizations of EWB are diverse and no coherent description or explanation for the biology of EWB exist. Hence, the present thesis reviews current neuroscientific- and additional biological research on EWB. This review reveals EWB to be most frequently operationalized as psychological well-being (PWB) (Ryff, 2014), and is here used as basis for an attempt to explain the biological and psychological profiles of EWB as high PWB. High PWB was characterized by brain activity linked to the reward circuitry, dorsolateral and left prefrontal cortex (PFC) and grey matter (GM) volume in areas of the brainstem and insular cortex. High PWB was also positively related to lower levels of several harmful biomarkers. The proposed psychological profile of high PWB included the psychological functions goal directed behaviour and emotional control. It is hoped that the proposed profiles will serve as inspiration for further exploration of the biology and psychology of human well-being (WB).

  • 6.
    Aronsson, Emelie
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Kan tacksamhet främja moraliskt beteende?2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Denna uppsats har undersökt om tacksamhet kan påverka vårt moraliska beteende, genom att se över studier som gjorts inom psykologi och kognitiv neurovetenskap. Tidigare forskning har fokuserat mestadels på hur det kognitiva resonerandet påverkar ens moral. På senare tid har forskningen allt mer betonat specifika emotioners avgörande roll för om man agerar efter moraliska normer eller inte. Dessa emotioner benämns som moraliska emotioner. En av dessa moraliska emotioner är tacksamhet. Tacksamhet har i studier visats fungera som en moralisk barometer, stärka välgörares fortsatta moraliska beteende samt fungera som ett moraliskt motiv. Den neurala grunden för tacksamhet är ännu relativt outforskad. Emotioners generella påverkan på moraliskt beteende samt positiva emotioners tendenser till agerande (eng: action tendencies) kan dock ses som ett steg till ökad förståelse om hur tacksamheten påverkar vårt moraliska beteende.

  • 7.
    Arvidsson, Andrea
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Meditation, attention and the brain: function, structure and attentional performance2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Meditation has been practiced around the world for thousands of years and has during the past decade become increasingly popular in the Western world. Meditation can be seen as a form of mental exercise and refers to a family of complex emotional and attentional regulatory practices that involves different attentional, cognitive monitoring and awareness processes. Clinical research on meditation has demonstrated that meditation seem to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Recent interest in how meditation affect the human brain and body have lead to an increase in research regarding the neural correlates of meditation, structural changes induced by meditation, and the potential attentional and emotional benefits mediated by meditation. This thesis investigates expert related changes in neural activity, brain structure, and attentional performance induced by focused attention meditation (FAM) and open monitoring meditation (OMM). The research on meditation and the brain is still in its infancy but despite this, there seem to be some converging evidence of meditation’s impact on the human brain and mind. The results from the included studies in this thesis indicates that expert meditators show greater activation in some meditation related brain areas, as well as less activation in other areas when compared to novice meditators. The results also suggest that long-term meditation practice induce some structural changes in the brain and that meditation seem to enhance the practitioners’ attentional control. 

  • 8.
    Asplund Fromholz, Marcus
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Idrottsprestationers påverkan av anspänning, oro och stress och förslag till prestationshöjande tekniker2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Anspänning, oro och stress är tre begrepp som har studerats länge, vilket har gett upphov till flertalet modeller, teorier och domäner där dessa begrepp har studerats och fortfarande studeras. I denna uppsats så kommer dessa tre begrepp bland annat att redogöras för var för sig med koppling till mätmetoder, idrott och kognitiv neurovetenskap. Syftet med uppsatsen är att beskriva hur idrottsprestationer kan påverkas av anspänning, oro och stress för att utifrån det kunna redogöra för evidensbaserade metoder som kan appliceras för att främja en idrottsprestation. Först kommer anspänning att redogöras för, anspänning följs sedan av oro som i sin tur följs av stress som sista begrepp. Avslutningsvis så behandlas även problematik och möjligheter för dessa begrepp inom forskningsfältet och dess tillämpningsområden.

  • 9.
    Backström, Linus
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Establishing a biopsychosocial model for conspiracy theory ideation2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This paper aims to provide the grounds for a biopsychosocial understanding of the underpinnings of conspiracy theorist ideation by studying research articles from different scientific disciplines. Cross-disciplinary concurring results are presented and discussed, as well as some examples of how conspiracy theories have been used during the 20th century. Also discussed is how this is used in political discourse in the populist climate of today, with the rise of radical right-wing movements, the justification of “alternative facts” from higher governmental ranks, and religious fundamentalism, making it a societal issue of possible big magnitude. Neurological similarities was found between religiousness and proneness to conspiracy theory ideation, and the articles concerning neural correlates therefore stem from research on religious individuals due to the lack of neuro-biopsychological research on actual conspiracy theorists. Since conspiracy theory ideation has shown the ability to cause negative consequences it is also advised that governmental agencies and society as a whole revise its stance on populism and the spread of flawed information, in order to maintain an open society. Also presented are a few ideas on how to begin countering the rise of populism.

  • 10.
    Berg, Lars-Erik
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Neurovetenskaplig psykiatri2018In: Psykoterapi, ISSN 2001-5836, no 2, p. 47-49Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Bergström, Natalie
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The neural correlates of cognitive reappraisal stress resilience2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Resilience refers to the fact that some individuals cope well with stressful experiences. Many factors contribute to this sort of resilience, such as the early environment, the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTPLR), the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis, the sympathetic-adrenal medullary (SAM) axis, and emotion regulation techniques. The aim of this thesis is to investigate which factors contribute to resilience, with a particular focus on the emotion regulation technique of cognitive reappraisal. The results show that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala each play a crucial role when it comes to stress regulation. Studies have found that the PFC inhibits the amygdala response, but that the PFC is vulnerable to exposure to chronic stress. As a result, the PFC might fail to inhibit the amygdala response. Individuals who use cognitive reappraisal techniques – which has been associated particularly with frontal and parietal brain activity – seem to be less prone to this sort of problem, and, as a result, more resilient to stress.

  • 12.
    Bjurberg, Helena
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Academic achievement and personality traits: an empirical and neurobiological investigation2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The present thesis explores how personality traits are connected to academic achievement. First, a theoretical discussion on the neurobiological basis of different personality traits is presented, where variance in brain- activity, volume and chemistry describes possible differences in personality. Traits previously linked to academic achievement is also described in terms of neurobiology. This is followed by an empirical investigation of the connection between personality traits and academic achievement. Previous research suggest the Big Five (Costa & McCrae, 1992a) personality traits of conscientiousness, order and self-discipline to be positively associated with academic achievement. Also, similar suggestions have been put forward concerning the Values in Action (VIA-IS; Peterson & Seligman, 2004) character strengths of love of learning, self-regulation and persistence and academic achievement. 90 students in a medium sized Swedish senior high school completed the two personality inventories and their grades were collected. Positive correlations were found for the personality traits conscientiousness, order, and self-discipline and for the character strengths persistence, love of learning, perspective and open-mindedness. The results partly supported the hypotheses as well as extended the knowledge about what factors contribute to academic achievement. Discussion of the results and suggestions for further research concludes the thesis.

    Keywords: personality trait, character strength, neurobiology, academic achievement, BFI, VIA-IS

  • 13.
    Boldeanu, Silvia
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Merging brain-computer interfaces and virtual reality: A neuroscientific exploration2018Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) blend methods and concepts researched by cognitive neuroscience, electrophysiology, computer science and engineering, resulting in systems of bi-directional information exchange directly between brain and computer. BCIs contribute to medical applications that restore communication and mobility for disabled patients and provide new forms of sending information to devices for enhancement and entertainment. Virtual reality (VR) introduces humans into a computer-generated world, tackling immersion and involvement. VR technology extends the classical multimedia experience, as the user is able to move within the environment, interact with other virtual participants, and manipulate objects, in order to generate the feeling of presence. This essay presents the possibilities of merging BCI with VR and the challenges to be tackled in the future. Current attempts to combine BCI and VR technology have shown that VR is a useful tool to test the functioning of BCIs, with safe, controlled and realistic experiments; there are better outcomes for VR and BCI combinations used for medical purposes compared to solely BCI training; and, enhancement systems for healthy users seem promising with VR-BCIs designed for home users. Future trends include brain-to-brain communication, sharing of several users’ brain signals within the virtual environment, and better and more efficient interfaces.

  • 14.
    Boman, Kajsa
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Heart rate variability: A possible measure of subjective wellbeing?2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Wellbeing and subjective wellbeing (SWB) has become some the most important goals of our time, both individually and societally. Thus, there is a need for reliable ways to measure SWB, as concerns regarding many current measures have been raised. Due to the interwoven nature of physiology and psychology, heart rate variability (HRV) has the potential to assess psychological processes in a physiological manner. HRV is an attractive measure since it is inexpensive, easy and non-invasive. Hence, the aim is to, from a cognitive neuroscientific standpoint, investigate whether HRV could serve as an objective measure to assess SWB. Most studies demonstrate associations between HRV and SWB, in particular between high frequency (HF)-HRV and positive affect (PA). However, the one study fully matching the theoretical framework only showed an inverse correlation between HRV and negative affect (NA). Plausibly implying that HRV does not serve as a reliable measure of SWB, but may be able to indicate inverse associations with NA, and possibly index certain aspect of SWB such as deactivated PA. The study of the relationship between HRV and SWB is still in its infancy and results are inconsistent. The lack of common standards regarding measurements, implementation details, and variable values, make results difficult to compare and generalize. Further standardizations and research are much needed before accurate conclusions can be drawn.

  • 15.
    Boström, Kristina
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The key to understanding PTSD: Contrasting post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth2018Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Traumatic incidences happen all around the globe. Some of the people who experience trauma

    develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while some do not. Even more interesting is

    that some also experience growth afterwards (post-traumatic growth; PTG). The purpose of

    this paper is to look at neural aspects of why some people develop PTSD and others PTG after

    a traumatic event. To fulfill the aim, both PTSD and PTG will be reviewed to create an image

    of the existing research in behavioral and neurological terms. In addition to looking at the

    constructs separately, a chapter will also look at studies where both PTSD and PTG are

    acknowledged collaterally in participants. When looking deeper into the theories of PTSD

    divisions occur, and more research is needed to establish the most prominent explanation of

    PTSD. PTG on the other hand has only been studied for a short period of time but yields

    important insights into trauma-related outcomes. These fields need to be submerged and new

    multidisciplinary definitions are needed for future research. The key to PTSD is suggested to

    emerge within the new field.

  • 16.
    Carlsson, Veronica
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Emotional attention: A cognitive neuroscience perspective2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Attention is a cognitive mechanism that guides our perception in order to prioritize the limited resources to the most relevant information while ignoring distracting information. Attention can be voluntarily deployed to stimuli during tasks or goals, or the features of the stimulus can capture our attention either by being salient or being emotionally induced. Emotions affect multiple different cognitive processes such as attention because emotional stimuli can be relevant for defending or sustain life. This relationship between attention and emotion indicates that there should be interactive but distinct networks between these cognitive mechanisms as well as a modulative effect on perceptional and attentional systems. Emotions were in general demonstrating a facilitation affect on attentional and saccadic processes as well as broadening or narrowing the scope of attention. The reason behind emotions impact on attention was proposed to be for eliciting a change in the application of resources in order to solve the limited capacity problem and possibly to protect and sustain life. Inconsistent findings as well as limitations for emotional attention studies are discussed.

  • 17.
    Chamorro, Emilia
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Theories of Nightmares in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology2015Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Dreaming is a complex, multimodal and sequentially organized model of the waking world (Metzinger, 2003). Nightmares are a category of dreams involving threatening scenarios, anxiety and other negative emotions (Hartmann, 1998; Nielsen & Levin, 2007). Dreams and nightmares are explored in this present thesis in the light of psychology and modern cognitive neuroscience as to their nature, function and neural correlates. The three main dream theories and their leading investigations are reviewed to evaluate their evidence and overall explanatory power to account for the function of dreams and nightmares. Random Activation Theories (RATs) claim dreams are biological epiphenomena and by-products of sleep underlying mechanisms (Crick & Mitchison, 1983; Flanagan, 1995, 2000a, 2000b, Hobson & McCarley, 1997). Mood regulation theories consider that the psychological function of dreams is to regulate mood and help with the adaptation of individuals to their current environment such as solving daily concerns and recovery after trauma exposure (Hartmann, 1996; Levin, 1998; Stickgold, 2008; Kramer, 1991a, 1991b, 2014). Threat Simulation Theories of dreams present the evolutionary function for dreaming as a simulating off-line model of the world used to rehearse threatening events encountered in the human ancestral environment (Revonsuo, 2000a). With the threat-simulation system, threats were likely to be recognized and avoidance skills developed to guarantee reproductive success. TST consider nightmares to reflect the threat-simulation system fully activated (Revonsuo, 2000a). Supported by a robust body of evidence TST is concluded to be the most plausible theory at the moment to account as a theoretical explanation of dreams and nightmares

  • 18.
    Dalile, Boushra
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Is the High Probability of Type II Error an Issue in Error Awareness ERP Studies?2016Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    When researchers began addressing the electrophysiology of conscious error awareness more than a decade ago, the role of the error-related negativity (ERN), alongside the subsequently occurring error positivity (Pe), was an obvious locus of attention given the fact that they are taken as indices of cortical error processing. In contrast to the clear-cut findings that link the amplitude of the Pe to error awareness, the association between the ERN amplitude and error awareness is vastly unclear, with a range of studies reporting significant differences in the ERN amplitude with respect to error awareness, while others observing no modulation of the ERN amplitude. One problem in the studies obtaining null findings is the fact that conclusions are drawn based on small sample sizes, increasing the probability of type II error, especially given the fact that the ERN elicited using various error awareness paradigms tends to be small. The aim of the present study was to therefore address the issue of type II error in order to draw more certain conclusions about the modulation of the ERN amplitude by conscious error awareness. Forty participants performed a manual response inhibition task optimised to examine error awareness. While the early and late Pe amplitudes showed the expected sensitivity to error awareness, the ERN results depicted a more complex picture. The ERN amplitude for unaware errors appeared more negative than that of aware errors, both numerically and on the grand average ERP. The unexpected findings were explained in terms of (a) latency issues in the present data, (b) characteristics of the manual response inhibition task used and the possibility that it elicits variation in neurocognitive processing, and (c), in relation to possible contamination by the contingent negative variation (CNV), an ERP component elicited during response preparation. Suggestions for future research on how to address the issues raised in the present paper are also discussed.

  • 19.
    Eidering, Joel
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    INCREASED MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE FROM FOCUSING ON TASK INSTEAD OF SELF: INDUCED BY TRIAL-TO-TRIAL FEEDBACK: An fmri study2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Feedback is argued to be an impactful variable in learning. The impact however, depends on what kind of feedback- and in what way the feedback is provided. The way intelligence, in terms of subjective experience of ability, is perceived has been observed to affect motivation and performance in individuals. This is hypothesized to be associated with whether individuals’ identifies their personal self with performance or not. Individuals who see intelligence as changeable through effort generally adopt learning goals which are associated with increased motivation and performance. Individuals who see intelligence as unchangeable and as a permanent trait of the self, generally adopt performance goals which instead are associated with decreases in motivation and performance. In this fMRI study, 20 participants were given trial-to-trial feedback when performing a typical conflict paradigm. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of feedback to alter participants’ attention towards themselves (being smart) or their task actions (choosing correct). It was found that task feedback (‘you chose correct’) increased participants’ motivation to continue with the task. Those who were given task feedback also improved their accuracy. Task feedback was associated with enhanced brain activation in brain regions associated with rule-switching. However, self-feedback was associated with self-monitoring regions. Findings support the a priori hypothesis that self-focus is associated with reduced motivation and less accuracy improvement. Task-focus seems to be superior in learning and in performing cognitive tasks.  

  • 20.
    Eklund, Rasmus
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    RECURRENT PROCESSING AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Recurrent processing is the corticocortical activity that appears after the feedforward sweep of information processing in the brain. According to Victor Lamme, this process is directly connected to visual awareness. Our consciousness can be divided into phenomenal and reflective consciousness. The underlying process of phenomenal consciousness is suggested to be localized recurrent processing. Widespread recurrent processing to motor and frontal regions correlates with reflective consciousness. Recent electroencephalographic studies have shown visual awareness negativity correlating with localized recurrent processing in both a temporal and spatial aspect. If we accept that localized recurrent processing is consciousness, we get the controversial implications that we can be conscious of something without being able to introspect.

  • 21.
    Fasthén, Patrick
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    The Mereological Self: A Multisensory Description of Self-Plasticity2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    What am “I”? To what does the word “I” refer? The Self is a concept that feels intuitively obvious to us, but is nevertheless elusive to describe. Against a backdrop of theoretical speculation, this essay presents a basic exposition of the Self with the aid of recent advances in cognitive neuroscience to address one of its most confounding problems: How does the brain sustain the Self – our sense of bodily identity? What informs the question then is dealt with by providing a frame of reference based on the philosophical theory of mereology to contain the analysis (i.e., the relationship of parts to wholes, and of parts to parts within a whole). In relation to the question “What makes us experience what we are?” the Self is put in a context of a multisensory description – a context in which the center very much fails to hold. Enacting such self-plasticity comes at the cost of explicit boundaries, and is in need of a theoretical and methodological framework – not instead, but of folk-psychological criteria – in determining the nature behind why and how we have the intuition of being a Self.

  • 22.
    Fasthén, Patrick
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The Virtual Self: Sensory-Motor Plasticity of Virtual Body-Ownership2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The distinction between the sense of body-ownership and the sense of agency has attracted considerable empirical and theoretical interest lately. However, the respective contributions of multisensory and sensorimotor integration to these two varieties of body experience are still the subject of ongoing research. In this study, I examine the various methodological problems encountered in the empirical study of body-ownership and agency with the use of novel immersive virtual environment technology to investigate the interplay between sensory and motor information. More specifically, the focus is on testing the relative contributions and possible interactions of visual-tactile and visual-motor contingencies implemented under the same experimental protocol. The effect of this is supported by physiological measurements obtained from skin conductance responses and heart rate. The findings outline a relatively simple method for identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions for the experience of body-ownership and agency, as studied with immersive virtual environment technology.

  • 23.
    Feilhauer, Diana
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Measuring Emotions in Dreams: Methodological Challenges2015Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Although emotions are a natural component of dream experiences, a lack of consensus prevails in research literature concerning the specific characteristics of emotional dream experiences. The aim of this study was to investigate if and to what extent this lack of convergence among studies stems from whether dream emotions are self- or externally rated - forty-four healthy participants (16 males and 28 females; mean age = 26.93, range = 19 - 40) kept a home dream diary for three consecutive weeks, and daily rated their emotional experiences in dreams with the Swedish modified Differential Emotions Scale (smDES; Fredrickson, 2013). Two external judges rated emotions in the same 552 home dream reports using the same scale. Results obtained with the two methods differed in that the self-ratings, compared to external ratings, revealed: (a) more emotional dreams; (b) more positive than negative emotions per dream (with the ratio being relatively balanced); (c) a relatively more balanced proportion of positive and negative emotions, while the external ratings revealed more negative than positive emotions per dream. The results suggest that this is mostly due to the underrepresentation of positive emotions with external ratings. Thus, the results continue to question the extent of convergence between self- and external ratings when investigating emotional dream contents, and bring to attention the importance of methodological aspects when investigating dream emotions.

  • 24.
    Frändén, Philip
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neural Correlates of Heart Rate Variability: Threat and Safety Perception2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The connection between the heart and the brain was coined 150 years ago by Claude Bernard and has since then been an interesting topic of research. Scientists have for many years searched for biomarkers of stress and health to map the current status of the organism. Heart rate variability (HRV) has been presented as an emerging objective and promising marker to achieve just this. HRV refers to the beat-to-beat variations in heart rate (HR) and is thought to be a useful signal in understanding and providing valuable information of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). HRV has also been proposed as a marker of stress and health by sharing neural correlates and functions with several executive functions. This thesis identified several regions, including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, in which significant associations across several studies were found between threat and safety perception, emotional regulation and HRV. This suggest that HRV may function as an index of the brain mechanism and structures that guide and govern adaptive functions and thus, provide researchers with valuable information regarding the stress and health of an organism. Two major theoretical frameworks, which articulate and explain the role of HRV as an indicator of individuals ability to adapt to environmental changes and cope under stress is presented. HRV can also be used in practice in several ways and a growing and promising field of application is HRV biofeedback.

  • 25.
    Gerafi, Joel
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    A Unified Perspective of Unilateral Spatial Neglect2012Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this review is to provide a unified perspective of unilateral spatial neglect (USN). USN is a neurological disorder frequently observed following damage or diseases to the brain. It is particularly associated with strokes to specific anatomical structures within the right hemisphere. Patients with USN fail to respond to or orient towards stimuli located in the hemispace contralateral to the lesion. They also show peculiar behavioral manifestations. There are several distinct subtypes of USN which can affect sensory or motor modalities, spatial representations, the range of space, or pure imagery. This disorder can appear in any sensory modality but the majority of studies have investigated the visual aspect of USN in these subtypes. Theoretical proposals are supported by empirical evidence deriving from neuroimaging which distinguish between these subtypes of USN. Thus, the heterogeneity of the disorder is evident and clinical assessment methods face great difficulties while prevalence rates vary. The neural pathways of spatial attention distinguish between the ventral and dorsal visual streams, both with distinct functional roles and anatomical bases. Prism adaptation (PA) is a common rehabilitation technique among many others and has shown positive effects on USN while having some limitations. A general discussion and concluding remarks are presented in the final section followed by future research suggestions.

  • 26.
    Gerafi, Joel
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    Anosognosia for Hemiplegia: Theoretical, Clinical, and Neural Aspects2011Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Anosognosia for hemiplegia (AHP) is relatively common among patients who suffer from a stroke. It is characterized as a denial of bodily paralysis and the complexity of studying it is evident. Anosognosia is a neuropsychological deficit of self-awareness and most frequently associated with both cortical and subcortical lesions distributed within the right hemisphere, resulting in a left hemiplegia. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of AHP by presenting theoretical, clinical, and neural aspects. Different diagnostic procedures have attempted to clinically evaluate patients with AHP. The timing of assessment and the characteristic differences between these procedures are crucial factors to consider. Various theories regarding the underlying mechanisms of AHP are also discussed in this review, suggesting the cause of AHP from different perspectives. In order to confirm or disconfirm these theories, several studies are presented concerning the neural aspects, such as the frequency, related disorders, and anatomical correlates of AHP.

  • 27.
    Gerafi, Joel
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden / Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden / The Skaraborg Institute for Research and Development, Skövde, Sweden.
    Samuelsson, H.
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden / Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Viken, J. I.
    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden / Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Blomgren, C.
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Claesson, L.
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Kallio, Sakari
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Jern, C.
    Institute of Biomedicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Blomstrand, C.
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Jood, K.
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden / Department of Neurology, The Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Neglect and aphasia in the acute phase as predictors of functional outcome 7 years after ischemic stroke2017In: European Journal of Neurology, ISSN 1351-5101, E-ISSN 1468-1331, Vol. 24, no 11, p. 1407-1415Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and purpose: Visuospatial inattention (VSI) and languageimpairment (LI) are often present early after stroke and associations with an unfavorable short-term functional outcome have been reported. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a screening of VSI and LI as indicators of cortical symptoms early after stroke could predict long-term functional outcomes. Methods: A consecutive cohort of 375 patients with ischemic stroke was assessed for the occurrence of VSI at a median of 7 days after admission (interquartile range, 1–5 days) using the Star Cancellation Test and for LI (within the first 7 days) with the language item in the Scandinavian StrokeScale. Seven years later, functional outcomes were assessed by the modified Rankin scale and Frenchay Activities Index in 235 survivors without recurrent stroke. Relationships between baseline predictors and functional outcome at 7 years were analyzed with bivariate correlations and multiple categorical regressions with optimal scaling. Results: The regression model significantly explained variance in the modified Rankin scale (R2= 0.435, P < 0.001) and identified VSI (P=0.001) and neurological deficits (P < 0.001; Scandinavian Stroke Scale score without the language item) as the significant independent predictors. The model for FrenchayActivities Index was also significant (R2= 0.269, P < 0.001) with VSI(P = 0.035) and neurological deficits (P < 0.001) as significant independent predictors. Conclusions: Visuospatial inattention at acute stroke has an independent impact on long-term functional outcomes. Early recognition may enable targeted rehabilitative interventions.

  • 28.
    Guimaraes Svensson, Marieide
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    When a Native Becomes Foreign in his/her Own Homeland: A Review of the Foreign Accent Syndrome: A Review of the Foreign Accent Syndrome2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    FAS is a speech disorder characterized by changes to the normal speech patterns of the native language. This speech impairment is usually due to stroke or brain injury. Segmental, suprasegmental and prosodic features are altered. FAS speakers’ speech is perceived as foreign rather than disordered. It may be because the speech remains highly accurate and the impairments are generally within the permissible boundaries of the phonological and phonetic variants of the language. In terms of perceptual impression, FAS patients’ speech is placed between speakers with a really foreign accent and the native speaker. Some researchers propose that the impression of foreignness in FAS speakers’ accent may be caused by the listeners misinterpretation of speech markers. Lesions leading to FAS are still not completely understood; some hypothesize that the lesion is small or even down to the size of a single gyrus. New evidence suggests that FAS may be a disorder of the articulate velocity and position maps. The syndrome can be life changing to those affected. Patients report that they are no longer able to recognize themselves speaking a new accent. A whole new persona is born when the accent emerges. This paper presents a review of the syndrome’s features, including its neuropsychological/neuroanatomic aspects, its relationship with AoS and dysarthria, and the syndrome’s psychological implications.

  • 29.
    Gusevac, Stela
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Emotion Regulation: Functional neuroimaging studies of cognitive reappraisal2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The importance of investigating Emotion Regulation (ER) may be self-evident, given that emotions have a substantial impact on our daily lives. ER encompasses set of processes that people go through in order to cultivate their feelings that arise at the moment and produce some response. Brain-imaging studies of ER have broadly focused on examining cognitive strategies, such as reappraisal, in order to understand underlying variables that contribute to the development of this particular process of emotions. The main focus in this paper was to summarize some of the observation done by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) on neural processes underlying cognitive reappraisal. Furthermore, the paper will discuss some of these experiments that have been made through the last 15 years in the field where indications have been somewhat confusing when it comes to certain aspects of presented data, especially in comparison with other studies. Finally, a brief overview and some of the significant contributions, such as a process model of ER, to the field of ER have been presented and discussed. Cognitive reappraisal has been shown to effectively down-regulate subjective emotional experience. Even though many studies have been performed in measuring brain-activity when engaging in cognitive reappraisal, a unified and accepted agreement has yet not been found. In broader terms, brain-responses when engaging in cognitive reappraisal seem to operate in a particular manner where different parts of prefrontal and parietal cortex execute control over subcortical regions, such as amygdala.

  • 30.
    Hedin, Adam
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Memory distortion and source amnesia: A review of why our memories can be badly mistaken2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Our memory is prone to distortions which in everyday life can lead to mistaken memories. This thesis investigates memory distortion. In addition, one might recall (e.g. an event) correctly but misremember the source of the event (e.g. place or time of the event); this particular type of memory distortion is called source amnesia. Here, an overview of cognitive theories of memory distortion as well as the neuroscience behind memory distortion is provided. In addition, the particular memory distortion of source amnesia where one is unable to acquire when or where a fact was learned is further investigated. Results indicate that an overlap of qualities related to the information being learned causes information to be linked to wrong sources, thus creating distorted memories. Misinformation is also indicated to produce impairment in memory. In memory distortions, memory impairments are representative in various areas of the brain, including the hippocampus and the amygdala in the medial temporal lobes as well as in the frontal cortex and in the visual cortex. These key areas are also closely related to brain aging in Alzheimer´s disease and in schizophrenia, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in drug and alcohol abuse. Individuals inflicted with these disease symptoms seem to be more prone to source amnesia compared to controls. The limitations and future directions of what we can study regarding memory distortion and source amnesia are also presented in this thesis.

  • 31.
    Hurme, Mikko
    et al.
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland / Turku Brain and Mind Centre, University of Turku, Finland.
    Koivisto, Mika
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland / Turku Brain and Mind Centre, University of Turku, Finland.
    Revonsuo, Antti
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland / Turku Brain and Mind Centre, University of Turku, Finland.
    Railo, Henry
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland / Turku Brain and Mind Centre, University of Turku, Finland.
    Early processing in primary visual cortex is necessary for conscious and unconscious vision while late processing is necessary only for conscious vision in neurologically healthy humans2017In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 150, p. 230-238Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The neural mechanisms underlying conscious and unconscious visual processes remain controversial. Blindsight patients may process visual stimuli unconsciously despite their VI lesion, promoting anatomical models, which suggest that pathways bypassing the VI support unconscious vision. On the other hand, physiological models argue that the major geniculostriate pathway via VI is involved in both unconscious and conscious vision, but in different time windows and in different types of neural activity. According to physiological models, feedforward activity via VI to higher areas mediates unconscious processes whereas feedback loops of recurrent activity from higher areas back to VI support conscious vision. With transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) it is possible to study the causal role of a brain region during specific time points in neurologically healthy participants. In the present study, we measured unconscious processing with redundant target effect, a phenomenon where participants respond faster to two stimuli than one even when one of the stimuli is not consciously perceived. We tested the physiological feedforward-feedback model of vision by suppressing conscious vision by interfering selectively either with early or later VI activity with TMS. Our results show that early VI activity (60 ms) is necessary for both unconscious and conscious vision. During later processing stages (90 ms), VI contributes selectively to conscious vision. These findings support the feedforward-feedback-model of consciousness.

  • 32.
    Jaconelli, Victoria
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Grupper och Grupprestationer ur ett Neurovetenskapligt Perspektiv2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [sv]

    Grupper och grupprestationer har studerats länge utifrån olika perspektiv och discipliner, vilket har gett upphov till ett flertal teorier och förklaringsmodeller som innefattar olika tillvägagångssätt för hur grupper kan studeras. I denna uppsats förklaras begreppen grupper, grupprocesser och grupprestationer utifrån olika perspektiv och discipliner innan ett neurovetenskapligt perspektiv på grupper och grupprestationer antas. Detta för att redogöra för hur kognitiv neurovetenskap och neurovetenskapliga mätmetoder som electroencephalography (EEG) och functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) kan förhålla sig till forskning på grupper, grupprocesser och grupprestationer. Syftet med uppsatsen är att beskriva hur grupper kan studeras utifrån ett neurovetenskapligt perspektiv samt hur kognitiv neurovetenskap kan komplettera studier på grupper och grupprestationer. Först presenteras en förklaring på vad grupper, grupprocesser och grupprestationer är, inklusive en redogörelse för relevanta begrepp som ledarskap, gruppsammanhållning och gruppkognition. Detta följs sedan av hur grupper och grupprestationer kan studeras ytterligare med ett neurovetenskapligt perspektiv, för att avslutas med problematik och möjligheter för kognitiv neurovetenskap inom forskningsfältet.

  • 33.
    Jensen, Magnus J. C.
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The antecedents of free will: The importance of concept heterogeneity inresearch interpretation and discussion2018Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Scientific research on free will was started by Libet et al. (1982). They detected that thereadiness potential (RP) proceeded urges with up to 350ms. One interpretation of the RP wasthat it represented motor planning. The research progress of antecedent brain activity inrelation to conscious urges is investigated by looking at contemporary studies. How differentassumptions and definitions of the free will concept influences interpretation of these studiesis also discussed. The evidence is in favor that the RP is not representing motor planning.Antecedent activity has been detected with numerous technologies, most notably fMRIclassifiers which have been used to predict decisions in advance. Scrutiny of these resultsreveals that the experimental setups are dependent on time-locking trials which may construethe results. It is shown that predictions based on probabilistic antecedents can be interpretedin numerous ways. The review shows that free will positions differ from each other onseveral factors, such as whether free will is either-or or exists on a spectrum. Some notablepositions are not dependent on antecedent activity at all. The notion of control is one of thepivotal factors deciding if a subject experience free will, not if they are the causer per se.Future discussion will be improved by systematizing the differences between the free willpositions and communicating them clearly. Convergent evidence points at the explanatorymodel of free will being a cognitive feeling – A feeling which reports ownership over actionsbut does not cause them.

  • 34.
    Johansson, Ruben
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The Science of Deception and fMRI Lie-Detection2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 5 credits / 7,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Deception has long been of interest to humans, but only recently has the neuroscience of deception started. Similarly, lie-detection, as an applied aspect of the study of deception, has long been studied but only with the advent of imaging techniques and the development of the neuroscience of deception has it become possible to develop techniques based on scanningour brains. Currently, both areas suffer from methodological and philosophical problems. As an applied science fMRI lie-detection has greater issues to deal with, specifically legal and ethical issues. Despite interesting results, implicating frontal regions as the neural correlates of deception, the neuroscience of deception need better designs and more study to be able to draw any general inferences. By its nature fMRI lie-detection suffers greatly from this, and additional problems concerning privacy and legality make it seem too early to implement it incourt or anywhere, as stated by many scientists. On the other hand the technology already exists and is likely to be used.

  • 35.
    Jones, Madeleine
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Empathy for pain and its modulating factors2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The present thesis deals with the concept of empathy for pain, its neurobiological underpinnings and modulations of the phenomenon. Empathy for pain is understood as the empathic response that occurs when recognising another in pain and entails at least the affective processes of actually felt pain in oneself. Cortical areas of importance for empathy for pain are the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex. Moreover, the phenomenon is correlated with high levels of empathy, as established by behavioural self-reports. Further, empathy for pain has been shown to be highly susceptible to modulatory factors giving rise to changes in the empathic response. Perceived fairness, perspective taking, intent and out-groups are all factors that can evoke change in the subsequent empathy for pain responses in humans. These modulatory factors provide insight into in- and out-group mechanisms. Cognitive strategies can regulate a diminished empathy for pain response, although further research is needed on how to cultivate and strengthen our ability to have empathy for another’s pain.

  • 36.
    Kajonius, Petri
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Cloninger, Kevin
    Garcia, Danilo
    Blekinge County Council / University of Gothenburg.
    The Future of Person-Centered Care: Advancement in Theory, Measurement, and Practice2019In: Personality and Brain Disorders: Associations and Interventions / [ed] Danilo Garcia, Trevor Archer, Richard M. Kostrzewa, New York: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2019, 1Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Person-centered care sciences are experiencing rapid progress. Personalization in care services is becoming the norm, and implementation from scientific knowledge is increasingly acknowledged and mandated. Advances in personality and brain disorder research are crucial in assisting the future development of personalized care.  

    Aim: We will attempt to present glimpses into the future of personalized care with support from frontline science, measurement, and practice, updating with input from personality genetics and measurement theory.

    Outline: We present three broad developments: 1) Scientific advancements in understanding how personality and genetics are central in predicting mental health and disorders, with the potential to increase predictive diagnosis and treatment validity 2) Measurement advancements with help of trait dimensions and latent structures, with the potential to increase reliability in assessing personalized care needs and functioning 3) Practical advancements in implementing a personalized approach in care services, with the potential to increase effectiveness and satisfaction with patients. We review this glimpse into the future by referencing key findings in personality and assessment meta-analyses, Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS), and trait measurements in psychiatric disorders.

    Conclusion: Personalizing care services will benefit practitioners and patients. We suggest and recommend that personalized care diagnosis and treatment is the way forward, and that the future will be potentially revolutionized by incorporating the presented advancements in personality research and brain sciences.

  • 37.
    Kallio, Sakari
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turku, Finland / Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Koivisto, Mika
    Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turku, Finland / Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Kaakinen, Johanna K.
    Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Synaesthesia-type associations and perceptual changes induced by hypnotic suggestion2017In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, article id 17310Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Are synaesthetic experiences congenital and so hard-wired, or can a functional analogue be created? We induced an equivalent of form-colour synaesthesia using hypnotic suggestions in which symbols in an array (circles, crosses, squares) were suggested always to have a certain colour. In a Stroop type-naming task, three of the four highly hypnotizable participants showed a strong synaesthesia-type association between symbol and colour. This was verified both by their subjective reports and objective eye-movement behaviour. Two resembled a projector-and one an associator-type synaesthete. Participant interviews revealed that subjective experiences differed somewhat from typical (congenital) synaesthesia. Control participants who mimicked the task using cognitive strategies showed a very different response pattern. Overall, the results show that the targeted, preconsciously triggered associations and perceptual changes seen in association with congenital synaesthesia can rapidly be induced by hypnosis. They suggest that each participant's subjective experience of the task should be carefully evaluated, especially when studying hypnotic hallucinations. Studying such experiences can increase understanding of perception, automaticity, and awareness and open unique opportunities in cognitive neuroscience and consciousness research.

  • 38.
    Kallionpää, R. E.
    et al.
    Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Turku Brain and Mind Center, University of Turku, Turku, Finland / Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
    Scheinin, A.
    Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland / Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital,Turku, Finland.
    Kallionpää, R. A.
    Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Sandman, N.
    Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Turku Brain and Mind Center, Universityof Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Kallioinen, M.
    Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
    Laitio, R.
    Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital,Turku, Finland.
    Laitio, T.
    Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital,Turku, Finland.
    Kaskinoro, K.
    Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital,Turku, Finland.
    Kuusela, T.
    Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Revonsuo, Antti
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Turku Brain and Mind Center, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Scheinin, H.
    Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland / Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital,Turku, Finland / Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology,Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Valli, Katja
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Turku Brain and Mind Center, University of Turku, Turku, Finland / Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
    Spoken words are processed during dexmedetomidine-induced unresponsiveness2018In: British Journal of Anaesthesia, ISSN 0007-0912, E-ISSN 1471-6771, Vol. 121, no 1, p. 270-280Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Studying the effects of anaesthetic drugs on the processing of semantic stimuli could yield insights into how brain functions change in the transition from wakefulness to unresponsiveness. Here, we explored the N400 event-related potential during dexmedetomidine- and propofol-induced unresponsiveness. Methods: Forty-seven healthy subjects were randomised to receive either dexmedetomidine (n = 23) or propofol (n = 24) in this open-label parallel-group study. Loss of responsiveness was achieved by stepwise increments of pseudo-steady-state plasma concentrations, and presumed loss of consciousness was induced using 1.5 times the concentration required for loss of responsiveness. Pre-recorded spoken sentences ending either with an expected (congruous) or an unexpected (incongruous) word were presented during unresponsiveness. The resulting electroencephalogram data were analysed for the presence of the N400 component, and for the N400 effect defined as the difference between the N400 components elicited by congruous and incongruous stimuli, in the time window 300-600 ms post-stimulus. Recognition of the presented stimuli was tested after recovery of responsiveness. Results: The N400 effect was not observed during dexmedetomidine- or propofol-induced unresponsiveness. The N400 component, however, persisted during dexmedetomidine administration. The N400 component elicited by congruous stimuli during unresponsiveness in the dexmedetomidine group resembled the large component evoked by incongruous stimuli at the awake baseline. After recovery, no recognition of the stimuli heard during unresponsiveness occurred. Conclusions: Dexmedetomidine and propofol disrupt the discrimination of congruous and incongruous spoken sentences, and recognition memory at loss of responsiveness. However, the processing of words is partially preserved during dexmedetomidine-induced unresponsiveness.

  • 39.
    Karlsson, Louise
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Stress: From a biological, social, and psychological perspective2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Over the years stress has been a term lacking one clear and specific definition. In general, the term stress has been used mostly as an explanation of a response or reaction to a stressor. A stressor can be of both physiological and behavioral character. The experience of stress can occur both due to a real or a perceived stressor. In this literature review, the concept of stress is viewed with insights from biological, psychological, and social perspectives. The stress response is described biologically with the central nervous system (CNS), the brain, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Social and psychological stress are concepts related to how stress is perceived by the mind and due to social surroundings which is described in relation to social support, self-efficacy, the locus of control and cognitive appraisal. Dealing with stress can be done through coping which refers to the individual capacity to handle a stressor and has generally been divided into two categories, active/passive coping and problem-focused/emotion-focused coping. Depending on the individual resources to cope with a stressor and the ability to decrease the stress response when needed, the long-term effects of stress can therefore vary between individuals. It has been found that positive coping (known as reducing stress) can increase the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) volume and decrease anxiety and depression. The prefrontal cortex (PFC), the hippocampus, and the amygdala are closely linked to the ACC and affect emotions, learning, and memory related to the stress response.

  • 40.
    Kastrati, Granit
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    Event-related potential correlates of visual consciousness: a review of theories and empirical studies2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Two influential theories of consciousness disagree about if consciousness initially arises along the occipitotemporal cortex to later engage frontoparietal regions and attentional mechanisms, or if it necessarily requires the latter. Consequently, different predictions are made about the temporal emergence of consciousness. The event-related potential (ERP) technique can be used to resolve the issue. It can temporally track neural activity of consciously perceived stimuli relative to stimuli bypassing consciousness. This essay describes the two theories and reviews ERP studies on visual consciousness and its relationship to attention. Three ERP correlates of consciousness have been proposed. The question is if they should be interpreted as supporting the one or the other theory. Most plausibly, visual consciousness arises along occipitotemporal regions and later incorporates frontal areas engaging higher cognitive functions. Importantly it seems that consciousness cannot arise without spatial attention/parietal regions. 

  • 41.
    Koberg, Lena
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The menopausal brain: Effects of estrogen depletion on cognition2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Menopause is a major reproductive-related event in a woman’s life, occurring naturally at around the age of fifty years. Accompanying menopause is a drastic decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen receptors are present throughout the human brain: e.g., in regions such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, both involved in cognition. Given that about half of the world’s population is female, it is important to examine if and how cognition is affected by the menopausal estrogen depletion, both at the level of public health, and at the individual level. Studies within the field show diverse results due to a wide range of methodology among studies. Behavioral studies foremost point towards a potential estrogenic effect on verbal short- and long-term memory. Structural and functional neuroimaging, together with animal studies, mainly show structural and functional alterations in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex that may be related to changes in estrogen levels. Taken together, this thesis reviews estrogenic effects on different cognitive functions, as well as structural and functional changes in the brain in relation to the menopausal estrogen depletion.

  • 42.
    Koivisto, Mika
    et al.
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Grassini, Simone
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Hurme, Mikko
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Salminen-Vaparanta, Niina
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Railo, Henry
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Vorobyev, Victor
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Tallus, Jussi
    Department of Radiology, Turku University Hospital, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Paavilainen, Teemu
    Department of Radiology, Turku University Hospital, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    Revonsuo, Antti
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Turun yliopisto, Finland.
    TMS-EEG reveals hemispheric asymmetries in top-down influences of posterior intraparietal cortex on behavior and visual event-related potentials2017In: Neuropsychologia, ISSN 0028-3932, E-ISSN 1873-3514, Vol. 107, p. 94-101Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Clinical data and behavioral studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) suggest right-hemisphere dominance for top-down modulation of visual processing in humans. We used concurrent TMS-EEG to directly test for hemispheric differences in causal influences of the right and left intraparietal cortex on visual event-related potentials (ERPs). We stimulated the left and right posterior part of intraparietal sulcus (IPS1) while the participants were viewing and rating the visibility of bilaterally presented Gabor patches. Subjective visibility ratings showed that TMS of right IPS shifted the visibility toward the right hemifield, while TMS of left IPS did not have any behavioral effect. TMS of right IPS, but not left one, reduced the amplitude of posterior N1 potential, 180–220 ms after stimulus-onset. The attenuation of N1 occurred bilaterally over the posterior areas of both hemispheres. Consistent with previous TMS-fMRI studies, this finding suggests that the right IPS has top-down control on the neural processing in visual cortex. As N1 most probably reflects reactivation of early visual areas, the current findings support the view that the posterior parietal cortex in the right hemisphere amplifies recurrent interactions in ventral visual areas during the time-window that is critical for conscious perception.

  • 43.
    Koivisto, Mika
    et al.
    University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Grassini, Simone
    University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Salminen-Vaparanta, Niina
    University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Revonsuo, Antti
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
    Different Electrophysiological Correlates of Visual Awareness for Detection and Identification2017In: Journal of cognitive neuroscience, ISSN 0898-929X, E-ISSN 1530-8898, Vol. 29, no 9, p. 1621-1631Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Detecting the presence of an object is a different process than identifying the object as a particular object. This difference has not been taken into account in designing experiments on the neural correlates of consciousness. We compared the electrophysiological correlates of conscious detection and identification directly by measuring ERPs while participants performed either a task only requiring the conscious detection of the stimulus or a higher-level task requiring its conscious identification. Behavioral results showed that, even if the stimulus was consciously detected, it was not necessarily identified. A posterior electrophysiological signature 200-300 msec after stimulus onset was sensitive for conscious detection but not for conscious identification, which correlated with a later widespread activity. Thus, we found behavioral and neural evidence for elementary visual experiences, which are not yet enriched with higher-level knowledge. The search for the mechanisms of consciousness should focus on the early elementary phenomenal experiences to avoid the confounding effects of higher-level processes.

  • 44.
    Koivisto, Mika
    et al.
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland.
    Harjuniemi, Inari
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland.
    Railo, Henry
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland.
    Salminen-Vaparanta, Niina
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland.
    Revonsuo, Antti
    Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland.
    Transcranial magnetic stimulation of early visual cortex suppresses conscious representations in a dichotomous manner without gradually decreasing their precision2017In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 158, p. 308-318Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of early visual cortex can suppresses visual perception at early stages of processing. The suppression can be measured both with objective forced-choice tasks and with subjective ratings of visual awareness, but there is lack of objective evidence on how and whether the TMS influences the quality of representations. Does TMS decrease the precision of representations in graded manner, or does it lead to dichotomous, "all-or-nothing" suppression. We resolved this question by using a continuous measure of the perceptual error: the observers had to perceive the orientation of a target (Landort-C) and to adjust the orientation of a probe to match that of the target. Mixture modeling was applied to estimate the probability of guess trials and the standard deviation of the non-guess trials. TMS delivered 60-150 ms after stimulus-onset influenced only the guessing rate, whereas the standard deviation (i.e., precision) was not affected. This suggests that TMS suppressed representations dichotomously without affecting their precision. The guessing probability correlated with subjective visibility ratings, suggesting that it measured visual awareness. In a control experiment, manipulation of the stimulus contrast affected the standard deviation of the errors, indicating that contrast has a gradual influence on the precision of representations. The findings suggest that TMS of early visual cortex suppresses perception in dichotomous manner by decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio by increasing the noise level, whereas reduction of the signal level (i.e., contrast) decreases the precision of representations.

  • 45.
    Kralj, Andrea
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The neurobiology underlying personality traits and conflict behavior: Examining the similarities in brain regions between agreeableness, aggression and dominating conflict style2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Conflicts are part of our everyday life and the field of psychology describes how specific personality traits relate to specific conflict styles. However, the question remaining is why these relations exist? Recently, personality neuroscience has begun pinning down the neurobiology of personality traits, providing a deeper understanding of the human behavior. The present thesis utilizes the Five Factor Model (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1990) of personality to investigate the neurobiology underlying the inverse relation between the specific personality trait of Agreeableness and dominating conflict style (a conflict management style characterized by aggressiveness, authoritarianism and/or need for dominance). Agreeableness overlaps both empathy and aggression which can work as each other’s opposites in explaining conflict behaviors. The goal of the thesis was to investigate whether the inverse relation between Agreeableness and dominating conflict style can be explained by brain regions. Brain regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex and regions involving anterior cingulate appear to be the most prominent neurobiology describing the relation. Serotonin is the neural substance involved in most cortical and subcortical brain structures and it also regulates the suppression of aggression, making it an important substance both within Agreeableness and the preference for dominating conflict style. The thesis will sum up with a discussion including some limitations within the research and further aspects such the consequences of the findings will be discussed.

  • 46.
    Kuzbiel, Dawid
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neural correlates of focused attention and open monitoring meditation2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Meditation, used initially as a vehicle for self-discovery and attainment of enlightenment, is today a tool for well-being among the general public and has even found its way into the clinical milieu. Meditation is challenging term to define and the variety of meditation practices, all with their own aims, pose a problem in terms of scientific understanding. A better sense of how these practices compare will help both general public and neuroscientists. Here, two of the fundamental practices originating from Buddhist tradition, focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation are compared. FA meditation activates mainly right medial/lateral PFC, parts of the limbic system and ACC. These regions help with sustaining attention and monitoring goal-conflicting distractors. FA deactivates parts of the default mode network (DMN), responsible for non-task specific processes and mind wandering. OM meditation reduces pain by top-down regulation of the limbic system. OM engages left fronto-parietal and insular regions, which help with conscious access of thoughts and emotions. OM seems to affect parts of the DMN. The thalamus is involved in both practices, where it helps to relay sensory signals in accordance with the different aims of each practice. This thesis hopes to contribute to a better understanding of how two main categories of meditation compare concerning their neural correlates.

  • 47.
    Kärrström, Katja
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neural correlates of mindfulness related to stress: How mindfulness promotes wellbeing2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Mindfulness practice is used to treat mental and physical symptoms. The problem is that research on the long-term effects and the neural changes involved, correlated with well-being, are inconsistent. The purpose of this review is to create a deeper understanding of mindfulness and its neural correlates related to stress. In mindfulness, one can use focused attention meditation (FA), involving anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), parietal areas, thalamus, visual cortex, intraparietal sulcus, and amygdala. In open monitoring meditation (OM), ACC, PFC, insula, somatosensory cortex, limbic areas and amygdala are involved. In exposure to a high amount of stress, the grey matter volume decreases in the hippocampus, PFC, and amygdala. Research has also shown that 19 000 hours of mindfulness practice increases activation in areas involved in FA and OM. This increased activation might also enhance the subject’s ability to control emotions. After 44 000 hours of meditation, areas involved in FA showed less activation which might imply that more hours of mindfulness practice involve less cognitive activity and a calmer state of mind. Regardless of hours spent on meditating, a decreased activation in the amygdala and ACC occurs, which correlates with less response towards negative stimuli. The neural changes involved in mindfulness practice was related to less experienced stress and enhanced psychological well-being. For future research, an investigation of the interaction between attentional networks and stress would be of relevance.

  • 48.
    Labbé, Daniel
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    Measures of Working Memory, Motivation, and Time Perception2012Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Recent studies have indicated a further need to investigate the role of motivation in workingmemory (WM) training and that time perception affects motivation. We addressed whethersubjectively perceived time on task in reference to objective time on task could serve as animplicit measure of motivation, while controlling for individual differences in timeperception. Here, the relationship between different measures of time perception, WM, andmotivation was explored in healthy children. Fifty children in three natural groups (ages: 6-7,8-9, 10-11) at a Swedish school participated. WM scores changed with age as expected.However, the absence of correlations between WM performance and intrinsic motivationwere inconsistent with previous findings, presumably due to the low statistical sensitivity.Nevertheless, time perception accuracy (r=0.318, p=0.043) and state motivation (r=0.434,p=0.005) correlated with performance on task interference, but not WM. With somereservations due to low sensitivity, time perception accuracy appears to be linked tocoordinative capacity required for shifting attention, but to a lesser degree sequential working memory capacity.

  • 49.
    Labbé, Daniel
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    The Feeling of Anxiety: Phenomenology and neural correlates2008Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The feeling of anxiety, a conscious experience, is associated with uneasiness, painfulness, or disturbing suspense. The current paper presents the phenomenology of anxiety disorders based on diagnostic criteria and reviews neuroimaging studies on anxiety including dissociation studies. Activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, insula, temporal poles and amygdala suggest neural correlates of anxiety. The relevance of the neural correlates, how the feeling of anxiety differs from fear and worry, and the construct validity of anxiety are addressed. Anxiety and pain correlate with activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which warrants further studies on the painfulness–anxiety relationship.

  • 50.
    Landron, Teddy
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Electroencephalographic frontal alpha asymmetry and biological markers of the immune system: A correlation study2018Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The immune system has been suggested as crucial in brain and psychological functioning. More precisely, immune markers reflecting immune system activity are important for psychological and mental health, as evident by their role in the physiopathology of depression and in the impairment of executive functions. Frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA), an electroencephalographic marker of brain function, has also been linked to such psychopathology and is thought to reflect psychological processes underlying approach- versus withdrawal-related motivation and higher-order inhibitory control. Only a few studies have linked FAA to immune markers but notably found a negative association between IL-6, a pleiotropic pro-inflammatory cytokine, and FAA. The aim of the present work is thus to study the relationship between various immune markers (including pro-inflammatory cytokines and IL-6) and FAA. 35 healthy young male participants underwent a resting EEG recording and blood sampling from which immune markers were measured. The results did not suggest an association between IL-6 and FAA. No other immune markers were either suggested to be associated to FAA. The complexity of the immune system (e.g., effect of cytokines) is underlined and may explain the results. Despite such results, the implication of true negative correlations between FAA and circulating immune markers, as suggested in previous studies, is discussed in the light of the theoretical models of FAA.

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