As the end of the year draws in, PLOS ONE Staff Editors put together a list of some their favourite papers from 2019. Behavioral and Social Sciences, Neuroscience, Mental Health In an archaeological investigation, Ehud
Launched in 2010, the Neuromapping and Therapeutics Collection is a unique collaboration between PLOS ONE and the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics. The Neuromapping and Therapeutics Collection provides a forum for interdisciplinary research aimed at translation of knowledge across a number of fields such as neurosurgery, neurology, psychiatry, radiology, neuroscience, neuroengineering, and healthcare and policy issues that affect the treatment delivery and usage of related devices, drugs, and technologies. The Collection is open to submissions on these topics from any researcher—so far, 24 research papers have been published as part of this Collection.
We spoke to Dr. Allyson Rosen, one of the members of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics who helps coordinate the Neuromapping and Therapeutics Collection, to discuss the latest news and research in this area, and the new submissions to the collection they’re hoping to see in the next few months:
What’s exciting in Neuromapping and Therapeutics at the moment?
It is exciting to see how creative scientists and clinicians are at solving important clinical problems by combining diverse techniques in innovative ways. We see our collection as a home for cross-disciplinary work that might not “fit” in traditional journals. For example, we have published MR methods to enable effective brain infusions and work that exploits computer-aided design for cranial reconstructions. There are invasive and non-inva
What are the implications of President Obama’s commitment to Human Brain Mapping research?sive techniques for stimulating selective brain regions and creating focal lesions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial Doppler technology, and X-ray microplanar beam technology. There are also innovative analysis techniques that exploit powerful computational methods that were previously unavailable.
Given the high-profile nature of the Brain Mapping Initiative and the state of the US economy, we have advocated that there be some clinical implications to the announcement. We believe that this approach will ensure continued public support at a time of great need and uncertainty.
Are there any specific research areas where you’d like to see more submissions to the Collection?
We are proud of the work we’ve received and deeply impressed with the broad array of papers submitted so far. This is a testament to the creativity of our contributors, and we welcome their diversity. We particularly welcome work presented at the international meeting of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics that occurs in the spring of each year.
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Our society is committed to being inclusive and welcoming any profession that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of patients with brain disorders. An open access journal enables easier promotion of work we feel is important and encourages sharing among diverse disciplines. Often, truly cutting-edge work is so far ahead of its time that there is not yet an appreciation for its importance. Often, clinical problems are seen as practical but not necessarily novel. We appreciate the mission of PLOS ONE as upholding strong scientific integrity and not as triaging work based on arbitrary decisions regarding importance.
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A dish clatters to the floor, and you spin around to view the damage. A friend calls out from beyond your line of sight, and you turn toward the sound. We’re instinctively aware that looking at the source of a sound makes it easier to understand—except when your eyes trick your brain into hearing things.
In a phenomenon known as the McGurk illusion, the syllables you hear sound different if you simultaneously watch a person’s mouth moving in the shape of another syllable. Being aware of this audio-visual trick doesn’t stop your brain from falling for it over and over again, though watching subtitled movies can help a little.
Recently published PLOS ONE research shows that the illusion is caused by visual signals reaching the auditory cortex in the brain faster than the sounds processed by your ears. Researchers analyzed brain signals in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound, when volunteers were given a combination of videos and sounds to watch and hear.
The sound clips were of the syllables “ba,” “ga,” “va,” and “tha,” but physical mouth movements in the concurrent video weren’t always the same. In some tests, movements in the video matched the spoken sound perfectly, but in others, the sounds were either completely mismatched, like watching a poorly dubbed movie, or just slightly mismatched. Listeners had no trouble identifying the sound they heard in the extreme case of an absolute mismatch, such as a video of “ba” paired with the sound of “tha”, and they did just as well when sound and video lined up perfectly. However, when the mismatch was less obvious, such as “ba” with “va,” participants “heard” what they saw (va), and not what was played for them (ba).
When sounds and videos were perfectly matched or mismatched, participants’ brain activity corresponded to the auditory signals. But, when the mismatch wasn’t as obvious, activity in the auditory cortex increased in response to what participants saw, rather than what they heard. More simply, their brains ‘heard’ what they saw, not the sound that was played.
Understanding why the McGurk illusion occurs in the brain isn’t likely to change how we experience the effect (no really, try it for yourself), but the results take us a step closer to learning how we really hear voices in our heads.
Citation: Smith E, Duede S, Hanrahan S, Davis T, House P, et al. (2013) Seeing Is Believing: Neural Representations of Visual Stimuli in Human Auditory Cortex Correlate with Illusory Auditory Perceptions. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73148. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073148
Image: Dog looking at and listening to a phonograph, from Wikimedia Commons