Project

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Neural pathways of emotional attention investigated with intracranial and single-neuron recordings in humans

Applicant Domínguez Borràs Judith
Number 148112
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Département de Neurosciences Cliniques Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.03.2014 - 30.04.2018
Approved amount 542'706.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Psychology

Keywords (5)

Intracranial EEG (iEEG); Human single-unit recordings; Emotion; Amygdala; Functional anatomy

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les stimuli émotionnels fournissent des informations essentielles à la survie de l'être humain. Pour traiter ces informations efficacement, notre cerveau est plus performant en réponse à des stimulations émotionnelles qu’à celles non-émotionnelles. Cependant, les mécanismes cérébraux qui rendent cela possible sont encore incertains. L'amygdale est un noyau qui pourrait être décisif dans ce processus, mais ses interactions avec les autres régions du cerveau et le rôle des différentes sous-divisions qui la composent restent encore à déterminer. Nous étudierons cet aspect grâce à l’utilisation combinée de deux techniques d’enregistrement des réponses neuronales permettant un niveau de précision unique sur l'humain.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Les techniques de neuro-imagerie modernes ont permis des avancées considérables dans la compréhension des processus affectives chez l'humain, mais cette approche est limitée et certaines informations restent inaccessibles. Nous explorerons les fonctions de l'amygdale et des autres régions du cerveau chez des patients préopératoires épileptiques au cours de deux expériences. Les patients répondront à des stimuli émotionnels ou non-émotionnels, visuels ou auditifs, et consciemment ou inconsciemment perçus. Simultanément, l'activité électrique des neurones individuels composant l’amygdale sera directement enregistrée, une procédure rare chez l’??humain et de haute précision.

 

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Les résultats de ce projet peuvent fournir une connaissance précieuse sur le fonctionnement de l’amygdale et notamment sur son rôle dans les processus affectives, et pourront également rendre possible la comparaison des modèles humains et animaux. D’autre part, cela pourra aider à comprendre certains troubles psychiatriques associés à un dysfonctionnement de l'amygdale, comme la dépression et l’anxiété.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 30.01.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Temporal dynamics of amygdala response to emotion- and action-relevance
Guex Raphael, Méndez-Bértolo Constantino, Moratti Stephan, Strange Bryan A., Spinelli Laurent, Murray Ryan J., Sander David, Seeck Margitta, Vuilleumier Patrik, Domínguez-Borràs Judith (2020), Temporal dynamics of amygdala response to emotion- and action-relevance, in Scientific Reports, 10(1), 11138-11138.
Impaired emotional biases in visual attention after bilateral amygdala lesion
Domínguez-Borràs J., Moyne M., Saj A., Guex R., Vuilleumier P. (2020), Impaired emotional biases in visual attention after bilateral amygdala lesion, in Neuropsychologia, 137, 107292-107292.
Human amygdala response to unisensory and multisensory emotion input: No evidence for superadditivity from intracranial recordings
Domínguez-Borràs Judith, Guex Raphaël, Méndez-Bértolo Constantino, Legendre Guillaume, Spinelli Laurent, Moratti Stephan, Frühholz Sascha, Mégevand Pierre, Arnal Luc, Strange Bryan, Seeck Margitta, Vuilleumier Patrik (2019), Human amygdala response to unisensory and multisensory emotion input: No evidence for superadditivity from intracranial recordings, in Neuropsychologia, 131, 9-24.
Neurophysiological evidence for early modulation of amygdala activity by emotional reappraisal
Guex Raphael, Hofstetter Christoph, Domínguez-Borràs Judith, Méndez-Bértolo Constantino, Sterpenich Virginie, Spinelli Laurent, Seeck Margitta, Vuilleumier Patrik (2019), Neurophysiological evidence for early modulation of amygdala activity by emotional reappraisal, in Biological Psychology, 145, 211-223.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Neuroscience of Emotion and Affective Dynamics Lab, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Laboratory for the study of Emotion Elicitation and Expression Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Sleep and Cognition laboratory, Department of Neuroscience, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
The Laboratory for Clinical Neuroscience, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
The emotional brain 2015, 2016, 2017 (4.5 hours in total) Talk 26.11.2015 University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain Domínguez Borràs Judith;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Affective Neuroscience teaches us that emotion stands out Blog of the University of Barcelona International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) “Shivers down the brain”. In D. Sander (Ed.). Emotions. Benteli Publishing, Zürich Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Awards

Title Year
Awarded with accreditation for a tenure position at the University. Catalan University Quality Agency, Spain. 2017

Abstract

Abundant research supports the idea that emotional stimuli are prioritized by the neural processing systems, eliciting stronger and faster attention capture than non-emotional stimuli. This effect, on one hand, is often paralleled by stronger neural responses in early sensory areas, relative to the processing of neutral information and, on the other hand, takes place both at conscious and at preconscious (without explicit awareness) levels. Thus, despite the fact that unattended stimuli often escape awareness, emotional stimuli still undergo residual processing, an effect that often results into facilitation of stimulus-consciousness. However, the neural pathways subserving these emotional biases are still poorly understood. The amygdala, a nuclear complex located in the medial temporal lobe, may play a critical role in this modulatory effect by sending projections onto the sensory pathways, but still controversy exists regarding the latency and functional interplay of this region within the emotional processing networks. In this sense, little is known about the functional role of the amygdala subregions in these neural mechanisms, an issue that has often been overlooked in human research due to technical limitations. Finally, most of the research on emotional attention in humans concerns the visual modality, but the growing amount of literature addressing emotional attention clearly demands a common model for vision and audition. The proposed project aims at investigating the functional and temporal dynamics of conscious and preconscious emotional processing, as well as to understand how emotion boosts stimulus-awareness, both in the visual and the auditory modalities. By means of two main experiments, we aim at examining the role of different amygdala subregions during preattentive and attentive emotional processing, while exploring the functional connectivity among them and with other brain regions. To achieve these goals, we propose to apply the unique and innovative approach of combining intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) and single unit recordings in human patients prior to surgery for epilepsy, a challenging technique that only a few laboratories in the world are able to successfully apply at the moment. I believe our project at the EEG and Epilepsy Unit in the University Hospital in Geneva will potentially offer crucial insights in the interdisciplinary field of Affective Neuroscience.
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