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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.
    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.

  • 8.
    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.

  • 9.
    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)
  • 10.
    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.

  • 11.
    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

  • 12.
    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.

  • 13.
    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.

  • 14.
    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

  • 15.
    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.

  • 16.
    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.  

  • 17.
    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.

  • 18.
    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.

  • 19.
    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.

  • 20.
    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.

  • 21.
    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.

  • 22.
    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.

  • 23.
    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.

  • 24.
    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.

  • 25.
    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.

  • 26.
    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.

  • 27.
    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.

  • 28.
    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.

  • 29.
    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.

  • 30.
    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.

  • 31.
    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.

  • 32.
    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. 

  • 33.
    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.

  • 34.
    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.

  • 35.
    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.

  • 36.
    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.

  • 37.
    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.

  • 38.
    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.

  • 39.
    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.

  • 40.
    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.

  • 41.
    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.

  • 42.
    Lindberg, Markus
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neural correlates of lucid dreaming and comparisons with phenomenological aspects2014Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Research on the neural correlates of lucid dreaming has recently gained more underlying data. By exploring seven studies that investigated the neural basis of lucid dreaming, this essay sought to examine which neural correlates are associated with lucid dreaming and how proposed neural correlates relate to phenomenological aspects. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was judged as the region most associated with lucid dreaming, in support of a DLPFC hypothesis. Support for reactivation of DLPFC in lucid dreaming consisted of data from electroencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and transcranial direct current stimulation. Phenomenological aspects associated with this region involved meta-awareness, working-memory, decision-making, and conscious perception. Other regions of interest were parietal areas, frontal areas, and precuneus. Data was not always compatible, implying need for further research. The possibility of further research was judged as promising, based on a recent study inducing lucid dreaming in a significant percent of its test subjects.

  • 43.
    Lindhe, Hanna
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The Emotional Brain and Sleep: A review of the relationship between sleep and emotional brain functioning2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Why do we need to sleep? Not only is getting enough sleep important for our overall health and well-being, it is perhaps of utmost importance for normal brain functioning. Scientific findings derived from studying sleep deprivation suggests that sleep also plays an important role in our emotional functioning, which has led researchers to propose a causal and intimate relationship between sleep and emotional brain functioning. Without sleep it seems as our emotional processing become impaired in various ways. Along with advances in cognitive neuroscience, it is now possible to characterize mechanisms underlying emotional brain processes. In pursuit of the possible functions of sleep, researchers have also proposed that rapid eye movement sleep, might support a process of affective brain homeostasis and recalibration that optimally prepares the organism for next-day social and emotional functioning. This thesis reviews current behavioral and neurophysiological evidence focused on the relationship between sleep and emotional brain functioning, and the role of rapid eye movement sleep in emotional processing.

  • 44.
    Ljungström, Andreas
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Moral Intuition Versus Moral Reasoning In the Brain2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Humans express complex moral behaviour, from altruism to antisocial acts. The investigationof the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying our moral minds is of profoundimportance for understanding these behaviours. By reviewing recent findings in cognitive andmoral neuroscience, along with other relevant areas of research, the current study aims to: (1)Investigate the neural correlates of moral intuition and moral reasoning, and see how thesetwo systems relate to moral judgement and moral behaviour. (2) Examine how the moralintuitive system and the moral reasoning system relate to one another. Neuroscientificevidence suggests that these two systems are supported by different areas in the brain. Whiletheir relationship is argued to be both sequential, integrative and competitive, evidenceindicates that the moral reasoning system primarily functions as a post hoc rationalization ofour intuitive-driven judgements and behaviours. While our moral intuitive system motivateskin altruism, both moral intuition and moral reasoning serve to uphold reciprocal altruism.

  • 45.
    Lymperopoulou, Ioana Anca
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    A cognitive neuroscience perspective of emotions2015Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Emotions have a remarkable capacity to mobilize an individual and shape a person’s behavior in order to ultimately lead to a higher wellbeing. The importance of emotions is further emphasized by pathological cases of people who suffer from an inability to normally regulate their emotional life, such as people who suffer from major depression disorder (MDD), eating disorders, or borderline personality disorder. Given the central role emotions play in our lives, it is very easy to understand the great interest cognitive neuroscientists have in this research field. Emotions have been approached in the last decades from different angles and as such, distinct theories arose. The goal of this study is to give a comprehensive overview of the emotion theories that exist, with a focus on three of the fastest developing cognitive theories of emotions: Frijda’s action-readiness, Russell’s core affect and the communicative theory. Additionally, the neural correlates of emotions will be discussed, focusing on the role of amygdala in the negative emotion of fear. Neuroimaging studies that reveal a correlation between the amygdala and emotions, fear in particular, will be described. Given that the ability of self-regulation is crucial for the achievements of our aims and goals, fMRI studies designed to investigate neural the underpinnings of emotion regulation will be presented. The process of cognitive reappraisal will be used to point towards the brain regions that act as down-regulators for the activity of amygdala while processing negatively valenced stimuli.

  • 46.
    Löfstrand, Emelie
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Empathy for Pain: And its Neural Correlates2016Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The phenomenon of empathy has been fascinating laymen and scholars for centuries and has recently been an important subject for cognitive neuroscientific study. Empathy refers to the ability to understand and share others’ emotions and a characteristic of this ability is the capacity to empathize with others in pain. This review intends to examine and read up on the current state of the field of the neural and behavioral mechanisms associated with empathy for pain. The neural underpinnings of the first-hand experience of pain have been shown to be activated in a person observing the suffering individual, and this similarity in brain activity has been referred to as shared networks. This phenomenon plays an important role in the study of empathy. However, different factors have been shown to influence empathy for pain, such as age, gender, affective link between observer and sufferer, as well as phylogenetic similarity. This thesis discusses these differences, as well as atypical aspects affecting the empathic ability such as synaesthesia for pain, psychopathy and Asperger’s disease. Further, empathy for pain can be modulated by the individual observing someone in pain. For example, caregivers often down-regulate their empathic response to patients in pain, possibly in order to focus on their treatment and assistance. Also, paying attention to harmful stimuli heightens the perception of pain; therefore, the painful experience can be less remarkable when focusing on something else. The effect of empathy from others directed to oneself when suffering is discussed, as well as the consistency and limitations of presented research.

  • 47.
    Moonens, Sofie
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    Mirror Neurons: The human mirror neuron system2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This literature review explores human mirror neurons from several angles. First it retells mirror neuron history, from the initial discovery in the macaque monkey research through to the experiments determining if there is a human brain homologue. Then the merits of two opposing evolutionary views – mirror neurons as an adaptation or an association, here referring to an adaptation’s byproduct – are discussed. Lastly the autistic mirror neuron dysfunction hypothesis – stating that a faulty mirror neuron system is at the basis of autistic behavioral patterns – is examined for its validity but ultimately found lacking and in need of further development. 

  • 48.
    Määttä, Jessica
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    Embodied Cognition and Deception: The Influence of Emotional Congruence in Detecting Lies2012Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The influence of facial mimicry and emotional congruence on emotional information processing has previously only been studied in isolation. In the current study their influence on the ability to detect deception will be investigated. In order to recognize the emotional states of others one mimics their emotional facial expression, and being in a congruent emotional state as a person or an emotional message enables faster processing of emotional information. Can emotional congruence between the receiver’s emotional state and a message told affect participants’ ability to detect deception when judging whether a person at a video recording is telling the truth or not? How does emotional congruence affect participants’ speed and confidence when making these judgments? The results showed that participants reported higher confidence but slower response times when making an accurate judgment in the congruent scenario, when compared to the incongruent scenario, but did not perform better than what could be expected by chance in detecting deception. Consequently, emotional congruence had an impact, not on participants’ performance in detecting deception, but only on their meta-cognitive evaluations of their judgments, but confidence rating did not seem to be an indicator of accuracy. In future research the design can be used in order to investigate other potential aspects, such as emotional empathy and other types of emotional congruence, and their influence on the ability to detect deception.

  • 49.
    Niemi, Markus
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    Neuroscientific perspective on the bidirectional relationship between life satisfaction and health: Are people happier because they are healthy, or are they healthier because they are happy?2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Bentham’s 1832 Greatest Happiness Principle states that the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people should be the goal of public policy. When people are asked what they wish for in life, health and happiness are consistently mentioned. This thesis examines the relationship between health and happiness. However, as happiness is difficult to consistently operationalize across different studies and scientific disciplines, life satisfaction is used as a proxy for happiness. This thesis studies the relationship between health and life satisfaction with a particular focus on the directionality of the relationship and the tentative processes indicated to be involved with this process. This study is accomplished through a literary review of the scientific literature related to life satisfaction, its neural correlates and their relationship with physical health. This study is modelled on the top-down, bottom-up and bidirectional debate within the larger Subjective Well-Being (SWB) literature. The results indicate that the correlation between life satisfaction and health appears to be robust, but the exact directionality and causality is unclear and difficult to establish with a literary review, with only predictive ability of life satisfaction on later physical health or vice versa established. Furthermore, the results appear to indicate that the central process linking this relationship is resilience - the ability to adaptively respond to stressors. Enhancing resiliency through psychological interventions may be a method to promote happiness and health in individuals as well as in society as a whole.

  • 50.
    Nilsson, Hanna
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
    The Neural Mechanisms of Reward and Addiction: A Review of the Role of Dopamine in Cocaine Addiction2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Cocaine is known for its severe addictive properties and still, there is no effective treatment for cocaine addiction. Cocaine is a powerful chemical substance. It enters the brain rapidly and cause abnormal high levels of dopamine. Dopamine is found to be the neural correlate for reward. Addictive drugs such as cocaine are reported to be rewarding and initially generate many dimensions of positive effects. However, repeated cocaine use are associated with both structural and functional abnormalities in several brain regions, especially in areas responsible for voluntary control. Loss of control gives way to compulsive consumption and craving for more cocaine stimulation. These neuronal changes and negative symptoms tend to occur gradually, while the tolerance increases. The addicted individual has to enhance the dose in order to obtain the desired effect, which is; becoming physically dependent of a substance. Also, dysregulation of reward circuitries causes decreased sensitivity to natural rewards leading to increased interest in cocaine-related reward stimulation. The abstinence usually last for long time, even years, after self-administration, which makes addicts highly sensitive to relapse. Up to date, effective therapeutic interventions and pharmacological treatments are limited. Neurostimulation techniques such as DBS have shown positive results in regulation of dopaminergic excitability. Though, more research in the complexity of dopamine and mesolimbic areas is well needed, in order to better understand the neural basis of cocaine addiction and be able to offer evidence-based treatments. This thesis will provide an overview of the neuronal impact of cocaine on the dopaminergic reward circuitries in the brain.

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