Project

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Functional brain networks: dynamics of directed information transfer in visual processes

Applicant Plomp Gijs
Number 131731
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Département des neurosciences fondamentales Faculté de Médecine Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.01.2011 - 31.10.2014
Approved amount 534'574.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Psychology

Keywords (4)

Electroencephalography (EEG); fMRI; Visual processing; Information transer

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Visual processing in the brain is traditionally thought of as a hierarchical, feed-forward process in which the analysis of simple features in primary visual areas is followed by that of more complex ones in higher-level areas. Even the processing of a simple visual image recruits a network of primary- and higher-level areas and gives rise to intricate interactions between them. Recent research suggests, for example, that higher-level visual areas exert influence over primary areas ones in the hierarchy. Several important questions remain unanswered about how visual areas work together, and about the direction of information flow between them. What brain areas exercise top-down influence, and at what latencies after the image onset? What are the most influential areas in the network of visual areas, and how does this change with time after image onset? Several higher-level areas show increased activity for highly specific tasks, like for example motion processing. Do these specialized areas only collect and process motion information, or do they actively influence other areas so as to stabilize the perceived image?

To answer these questions, I will take a network approach that determines for each area what information it receives from others, and how this evolves in time. I will study the information flow in large-scale cerebral networks by combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electrical source imaging based on high density EEG (ESI). From the source activity I will estimate the information flow between brain areas using multivariate Granger causality measures. This will distinguish the areas that predominantly drive activity in others from those that predominantly receive information, with a high temporal resolution.

By showing how information is routed, this work is expected to provide a new view on the brain dynamics underlying visual perception. This will shed light on fundamental aspects of visual perception, like the relative contribution of top-down and bottom-up information flow and the nature of functional specialization in higher-level areas. The outcome of this project will open the door to a similar understanding of higher-level cognitive functioning and, eventually, of abnormal information flow in pathological states.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Altered directed functional connectivity in temporal lobe epilepsy in the absence of interictal spikes: A high density EEG study
Coito Ana, Genetti Melanie, Pittau Francesca, Iannotti Giannina R., Thomschewski Aljoscha, Höller Yvonne, Trinka Eugen, Wiest Roland, Seeck Margitta, Michel Christoph M., Plomp Gijs, Vulliemoz Serge (2016), Altered directed functional connectivity in temporal lobe epilepsy in the absence of interictal spikes: A high density EEG study, in Epilepsia, 57(3), 402-411.
Early recurrence and ongoing parietal driving during elementary visual processing
Plomp Gijs, Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Astolfi Laura, Michel Christoph M. (2015), Early recurrence and ongoing parietal driving during elementary visual processing, in Sci. Rep., 5, 18733-18733.
Spectrally weighted Granger-causal modeling: Motivation and applications to data from animal models and epileptic patients
Plomp Gijs, Astolfi Laura, Coito Ana, Michel Christoph M. (2015), Spectrally weighted Granger-causal modeling: Motivation and applications to data from animal models and epileptic patients, in Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, Institute of Electrical {&} Electronics Engineers ({IEEE}), ?.
Dynamic connectivity among cortical layers in local and large-scale sensory processing.
Plomp Gijs, Quairiaux Charles, Kiss Jozsef Z, Astolfi Laura, Michel Christoph M (2014), Dynamic connectivity among cortical layers in local and large-scale sensory processing., in The European journal of neuroscience, 40, 3215-3223.
The physiological plausibility of time-varying Granger-causal modeling: Normalization and weighting by spectral power
Plomp Gijs, Quairiaux Charles, Michel Christoph M., Astolfi Laura (2014), The physiological plausibility of time-varying Granger-causal modeling: Normalization and weighting by spectral power, in NEUROIMAGE, 97, 206-216.
Dynamic directed interictal connectivity in left and right temporal lobe epilepsy
Coito Ana, Plomp Gijs, Genetti Mélanie, Abela Eugenio, Wiest Roland, Seeck Margitta, Michel Christoph, Vulliemoz Serge, Dynamic directed interictal connectivity in left and right temporal lobe epilepsy, in Epilepsia.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University Hospital of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Rome, La Sapienza Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Organization for Human Brain Mapping annual meeting Poster Dynamic directed connectivity of visual evoked potentials in the source space 08.06.2014 Hamburg, Germany Plomp Gijs;
International Conference on Basic and Clinical Multimodal Imaging Talk given at a conference Evaluating the physiological plausibility of time-varying connectivity methods using large-scale evoked potentials in an animal model 06.09.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Plomp Gijs;
European Conference on Visual Perception Poster Dynamics of directed information transfer in visual processes 25.08.2013 Bremen, Germany Plomp Gijs;
SSN 2013 Poster Laminar mechanisms of dynamic local and large-scale cortical integration 02.02.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Plomp Gijs;
Neuroscience 2012 Poster Dynamics of directed information transfer in large-scale cortical networks: laminar specificity and inter-hemispheric transfer 13.10.2012 New Orleans, USA, United States of America Plomp Gijs;
What does human intracerebral recording tell us about emotions? Talk given at a conference Dynamics of directed information transfer in intracortical recording 19.09.2012 Geneva, Switzerland Plomp Gijs;
Complex Systems and Brain Networks Poster Dynamics of directed information transfer in large-scale cortical networks 13.09.2012 Delmenhorst, Germany Plomp Gijs;
SSN 2012 Poster Dynamics of directed information transfer in large-scale cortical networks 03.02.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Plomp Gijs;
Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting Talk given at a conference Dynamics of directed information transfer in large-scale cortical networks 08.01.2012 Champery, Switzerland Plomp Gijs;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Benchmarking Granger-causality analysis in a model brain PLOS Neuroscience Community International 2014

Awards

Title Year
Volkert Henn best poster award, SSN 2013 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157420 Dynamic Networks of Perception, Cognition and Action 01.04.2015 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

Visual processing is traditionally thought of as a hierarchical, feed-forward process in which the analysis of simple features in primary visual areas is followed by that of more complex ones in higher-level areas. Much recent research suggests, however, that visual processing involves top-down influences from higher-level visual areas onto lower ones in the hierarchy, as well as extensive parallel processing. Even the processing of a simple visual image recruits a network of low- and high-level areas, and gives rise to intricate interactions between them. Several important questions remain unanswered about how visual areas work together and about the direction of information flow between them. What brain areas exercise top-down influence, and at what latencies after the image onset? What are the most influential areas in the functional network, and how does this change with time? Several higher-level areas show increased activity for highly specific tasks, like for example motion processing. Do these areas only collect and process motion information, or do they actively influence other areas so as to stabilize the perceived image?To better understand the interactions between brain areas, a network approach is required that determines for each area what information it receives from others, and how this evolves in time. I will study the information flow in large-scale cerebral networks by combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electrical source imaging based on high density EEG (ESI). From the source activity I will estimate the information flow between brain areas using multivariate Granger causality measures. This will distinguish the areas that predominantly drive activity in others from those that predominantly receive information, with a high temporal resolution.The project will focus on visual processing in healthy subjects but the methodology will also be systematically validated in animal models and in recordings from epileptic patients with implanted electrodes. Animal models display more simple cortical dynamics than humans and allow for more direct recordings of them. Patients with intracranial electrodes allow to test the validity of the information transfer methods in circumscribed brain areas.The functional network approach will provide a new view on the brain dynamics underlying visual perception by showing how information is routed. This will shed light on fundamental aspects of visual perception, like the relative contribution of top-down and bottom-up information flow and the nature of functional specialization in higher-level areas. The outcome of this project will open the door to a similar understanding of higher-level cognitive functioning and, eventually, of abnormal information flow in pathological states.
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