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Title: Mechanisms of Neural Synchrony: Developing a Novel Behavioral Paradigm Featuring Cross-Modal Attention
Authors: Duncan, Kristen M.
Advisors: Buschman, Timothy J.
Department: Molecular Biology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Cognitive control encompasses a range of cognitive processes required for selecting behaviors critical to attaining a particular goal. Attention is a subset of cognitive control, and acts to select for what the brain’s limited processing capacity is used. It has been suggested that the synchronization of oscillations within and between areas is the mechanism underlying attentional processes; however, a causal link between the two has yet to be found. As synchronous patterns are disrupted in many neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases, we are motivated to understand the mechanisms underlying synchronous activity. The ultimate goal of this research is to examine the possibility of a causal link between attention and gamma-band oscillations; therefore, it is first necessary to develop a paradigm that tests a mouse’s ability to attend. In this case, we are using cross-modal attention, requiring the animal to attend into and out of the somatosensory and auditory modalities. To do this, we trained two cohorts of mice on two behavioral tasks: the first, with the goal of teaching subjects to attend into the auditory modality using a sound stimulus, and the second, with the goal of attending to into the vibrissae modality using a whisker stimulus. As only one subject from the first cohort learned to attend to the sound stimulus, and four subjects learned to attend to the whisker stimulus, we have identified several ways to improve upon future paradigms.
Extent: 82 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Molecular Biology, 1954-2016

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