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How cognition affects perception: Brain activity modelling to unravel top-down dynamics

  • Martin Desseilles (a1) (a2) (a3) and Christophe Phillips (a1)


In this commentary on Firestone & Scholl's (F&S's) article, we argue that researchers should use brain-activity modelling to investigate top-down mechanisms. Using functional brain imaging and a specific cognitive paradigm, modelling the BOLD signal provided new insight into the dynamic causalities involved in the influence of cognitions on perceptions.



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Desseilles, M., Balteau, E., Sterpenich, V., Dang-Vu, T. T., Darsaud, A., Vandewalle, G., Albouy, G., Salmon, E., Peters, F., Schmidt, C., Schabus, M., Gais, S., Degueldre, C., Phillips, C., Luxen, A., Ansseau, M., Maquet, P. & Schwartz, S. (2009) Abnormal neural filtering of irrelevant visual information in depression. Journal of Neuroscience 29(5):1395–403.
Desseilles, M., Schwartz, S., Dang-Vu, T. T., Sterpenich, V., Ansseau, M., Maquet, P. & Phillips, C. (2011) Depression alters “top-down” visual attention: A dynamic causal modeling comparison between depressed and healthy subjects. NeuroImage 54(2):1662–68.
Friston, K. J., Ashburner, J., Kiebel, S. J., Nichols, T. E. & Penny, W. D., eds. (2007) Statistical parametric mapping: The analysis of functional brain images. Academic Press.
Friston, K. J. & Buchel, C. (2000) Attentional modulation of effective connectivity from V2 to V5/MT in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97(13):7591–96.
Friston, K. J., Harrison, L. & Penny, W. (2003) Dynamic causal modelling. NeuroImage 19(4):1273–302.
Gitelman, D. R., Penny, W. D., Ashburner, J. & Friston, K. J. (2003) Modeling regional and psychophysiologic interactions in fMRI: The importance of hemodynamic deconvolution. NeuroImage 19(1):200207.
Penny, W. D., Stephan, K. E., Daunizeau, J., Rosa, M. J., Friston, K. J., Schofield, T. M. & Leff, A. P. (2010) Comparing families of dynamic causal models. PLoS Computational Biology 6(3):e1000709.
Schwartz, S., Vuilleumier, P., Hutton, C., Maravita, A., Dolan, R. J. & Driver, J. (2005) Attentional load and sensory competition in human vision: Modulation of fMRI responses by load at fixation during task-irrelevant stimulation in the peripheral visual field. Cerebral Cortex 15:770–86.

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How cognition affects perception: Brain activity modelling to unravel top-down dynamics

  • Martin Desseilles (a1) (a2) (a3) and Christophe Phillips (a1)


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