Preparatory activity in occipital cortex in early blind humans predicts auditory perceptual performance

Alexander Stevens, Mathew Snodgrass, Daniel Schwartz, Kurt Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Early onset blindness leads to a dramatic alteration in the way the world is perceived, a change that is detectable in the organization of the brain. Several studies have confirmed that blindness leads to functional alterations in occipital cortices that normally serve visual functions. These reorganized brain regions respond to a variety of tasks and stimuli, but their specific functions are unclear. In sighted individuals, several studies have reported preparatory activity in retinotopic areas, which enhances perceptual sensitivity. "Baseline shifts," changes in activity associated with a cue predicting an upcoming event, provides a marker for attentional modulation. Here we demonstrate that, in early blind subjects, medial occipital areas produced significant blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to a cue signaling an auditory discrimination trial but not to a cue indicating a no-trial period. Furthermore, the amplitude of the BOLD response in the anterior calcarine sulcus of early blind subjects correlated with their discrimination performance on the auditory backward masking task. Preparatory BOLD responses also were present in auditory cortices, although they were more robust in blind than sighted control subjects. The pattern of response in visual areas is similar to preparatory effects observed during visual selective attention in sighted subjects and consistent with the hypothesis that the mechanisms implicated in visual attention continue to modulate occipital cortex in the early blind. A possible source of this top-down modulation may be the frontoparietal circuits that retain their connectivity with the reorganized occipital cortex and as a result influence processing of nonvisual stimuli in the blind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10734-10741
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume27
Issue number40
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2007

Fingerprint

Occipital Lobe
Cues
Blindness
Auditory Cortex
Brain
Discrimination (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Auditory cortex
  • Auditory perception
  • Blindness
  • fMRI
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Preparatory activity in occipital cortex in early blind humans predicts auditory perceptual performance. / Stevens, Alexander; Snodgrass, Mathew; Schwartz, Daniel; Weaver, Kurt.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 27, No. 40, 03.10.2007, p. 10734-10741.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stevens, Alexander ; Snodgrass, Mathew ; Schwartz, Daniel ; Weaver, Kurt. / Preparatory activity in occipital cortex in early blind humans predicts auditory perceptual performance. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2007 ; Vol. 27, No. 40. pp. 10734-10741.
@article{08ce28340bec451684f66748668903cb,
title = "Preparatory activity in occipital cortex in early blind humans predicts auditory perceptual performance",
abstract = "Early onset blindness leads to a dramatic alteration in the way the world is perceived, a change that is detectable in the organization of the brain. Several studies have confirmed that blindness leads to functional alterations in occipital cortices that normally serve visual functions. These reorganized brain regions respond to a variety of tasks and stimuli, but their specific functions are unclear. In sighted individuals, several studies have reported preparatory activity in retinotopic areas, which enhances perceptual sensitivity. {"}Baseline shifts,{"} changes in activity associated with a cue predicting an upcoming event, provides a marker for attentional modulation. Here we demonstrate that, in early blind subjects, medial occipital areas produced significant blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to a cue signaling an auditory discrimination trial but not to a cue indicating a no-trial period. Furthermore, the amplitude of the BOLD response in the anterior calcarine sulcus of early blind subjects correlated with their discrimination performance on the auditory backward masking task. Preparatory BOLD responses also were present in auditory cortices, although they were more robust in blind than sighted control subjects. The pattern of response in visual areas is similar to preparatory effects observed during visual selective attention in sighted subjects and consistent with the hypothesis that the mechanisms implicated in visual attention continue to modulate occipital cortex in the early blind. A possible source of this top-down modulation may be the frontoparietal circuits that retain their connectivity with the reorganized occipital cortex and as a result influence processing of nonvisual stimuli in the blind.",
keywords = "Attention, Auditory cortex, Auditory perception, Blindness, fMRI, Visual cortex",
author = "Alexander Stevens and Mathew Snodgrass and Daniel Schwartz and Kurt Weaver",
year = "2007",
month = "10",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1669-07.2007",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "27",
pages = "10734--10741",
journal = "Journal of Neuroscience",
issn = "0270-6474",
publisher = "Society for Neuroscience",
number = "40",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Preparatory activity in occipital cortex in early blind humans predicts auditory perceptual performance

AU - Stevens, Alexander

AU - Snodgrass, Mathew

AU - Schwartz, Daniel

AU - Weaver, Kurt

PY - 2007/10/3

Y1 - 2007/10/3

N2 - Early onset blindness leads to a dramatic alteration in the way the world is perceived, a change that is detectable in the organization of the brain. Several studies have confirmed that blindness leads to functional alterations in occipital cortices that normally serve visual functions. These reorganized brain regions respond to a variety of tasks and stimuli, but their specific functions are unclear. In sighted individuals, several studies have reported preparatory activity in retinotopic areas, which enhances perceptual sensitivity. "Baseline shifts," changes in activity associated with a cue predicting an upcoming event, provides a marker for attentional modulation. Here we demonstrate that, in early blind subjects, medial occipital areas produced significant blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to a cue signaling an auditory discrimination trial but not to a cue indicating a no-trial period. Furthermore, the amplitude of the BOLD response in the anterior calcarine sulcus of early blind subjects correlated with their discrimination performance on the auditory backward masking task. Preparatory BOLD responses also were present in auditory cortices, although they were more robust in blind than sighted control subjects. The pattern of response in visual areas is similar to preparatory effects observed during visual selective attention in sighted subjects and consistent with the hypothesis that the mechanisms implicated in visual attention continue to modulate occipital cortex in the early blind. A possible source of this top-down modulation may be the frontoparietal circuits that retain their connectivity with the reorganized occipital cortex and as a result influence processing of nonvisual stimuli in the blind.

AB - Early onset blindness leads to a dramatic alteration in the way the world is perceived, a change that is detectable in the organization of the brain. Several studies have confirmed that blindness leads to functional alterations in occipital cortices that normally serve visual functions. These reorganized brain regions respond to a variety of tasks and stimuli, but their specific functions are unclear. In sighted individuals, several studies have reported preparatory activity in retinotopic areas, which enhances perceptual sensitivity. "Baseline shifts," changes in activity associated with a cue predicting an upcoming event, provides a marker for attentional modulation. Here we demonstrate that, in early blind subjects, medial occipital areas produced significant blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to a cue signaling an auditory discrimination trial but not to a cue indicating a no-trial period. Furthermore, the amplitude of the BOLD response in the anterior calcarine sulcus of early blind subjects correlated with their discrimination performance on the auditory backward masking task. Preparatory BOLD responses also were present in auditory cortices, although they were more robust in blind than sighted control subjects. The pattern of response in visual areas is similar to preparatory effects observed during visual selective attention in sighted subjects and consistent with the hypothesis that the mechanisms implicated in visual attention continue to modulate occipital cortex in the early blind. A possible source of this top-down modulation may be the frontoparietal circuits that retain their connectivity with the reorganized occipital cortex and as a result influence processing of nonvisual stimuli in the blind.

KW - Attention

KW - Auditory cortex

KW - Auditory perception

KW - Blindness

KW - fMRI

KW - Visual cortex

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=35148829461&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=35148829461&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1669-07.2007

DO - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1669-07.2007

M3 - Article

C2 - 17913907

AN - SCOPUS:35148829461

VL - 27

SP - 10734

EP - 10741

JO - Journal of Neuroscience

JF - Journal of Neuroscience

SN - 0270-6474

IS - 40

ER -