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SFB 1436 "Neuronal Resources of Cognition"; Project B6 "Mobilisation of neural resources for temporal attention"
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) ;
The external environment is rich with multiple sources of sensory stimulation, and our ability to adapt
to our surroundings requires the efficient use of neural resources to process this dynamic input. Attendingto particular moments in time is a key cognitive capacity instrumental in all animals’ survival.
This requires associations between sensory systems and top-down executive control. How our senses
give us information about the environment changes as we age, often becoming compromised, and
resulting in drastic lifestyle changes, including problems with communicating and learning; ultimately
leading to isolation and further cognitive decline. While previous designs to prolong cognitive functioningacross the lifespan often rely on unisensory training programs, in the ‘real’ world, events often stimulate more than one sensory modality simultaneously and, therefore, may enhance the efficacy ofresource utilisation. The hidden potential underlying multisensory information processing within theseneurocognitive circuits during temporal attention, as well as the changes in these capacities acrossageing, remain unclear. Our project focuses on a key component that is instrumental in cognitive performanceand memory formation, the utilisation of temporal information in multisensory contexts; further, we will determine the potential to enhance these cognitive processes through interventionssuch as external feedback and multisensory training. We evaluate the potential for elevating cognitiveefficiency by manipulating expectations about the timing of sensorially cued events (WP1), testing thetransfer of information across modalities (WP2), and combining sensory categories (WP3) to ultimatelystabilise memory engrams. Across all three aims, we will relate behavioural readouts directly with neuronalactivity on the meso-scale and macro-scale level using functional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI) in both humans and mice as well as micro-scale single-cell resolution two-photon (2P) Ca2+imaging and immediate early gene (IEG) expression in mice.

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