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Dynamic and Plasticity of Spatial Perception and Attention Neural Processes (DynPspanp)
Date du début: 1 nov. 2012, Date de fin: 1 oct. 2017 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Spatial attention is vital for interacting with the surrounding environment. Recent studies in cognitive neuroscience suggest that the fronto-parietal regions may exert a top-down attentional influence on early sensory processing areas. However the dynamics and the role of these cortical interactions remain poorly understood. Furthermore, spatial perception was shown to be modulated by subtle knowledge about our previous, on-going and up-coming action. The current project aims to provide direct evidence for the causal influences of the fronto-parietal cortex on primary and secondary visual areas (such as visual areas V1-V4) and to show their role in action-based modulation of spatial perception. Notably, it will address whether and how these top-down neural processes may contribute to flexibly modulate space perception e.g., by biasing sensory processing toward specific locations in space. To specifically test for causality, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) will be combined with concurrent Electroencephalography (EEG) in order to modify neural activity through stimulation over a precise region of the fronto-parietal cortex while recording with high temporal resolution the different stages of the cortical response to TMS over the whole cortex, in particular in the posterior occipital (visual) areas. The outgoing phase of the project aims to establish the cortical reactivity and functional connectivity of the fronto-parietal network, and to show its role in action-induced perceptive plasticity. During the return phase, the applicant will exploit her abilities on EEG/TMS co-registration to study the neural functional plasticity of the above described network induced by subtle features of our previous sensori-motor experience. EEG/TMS co-registration will be achieved before and after a short task performed in a Virtual Reality set-up, in which the spatial properties (direction and localization) and coherence of the sensorimotor activity will be manipulated.