Congratulations to our collegue Agnieszka Dębska!

Dr Agnieszka Dębska from the Laboratory of Language Neurobiology was selected for the Kosciuszko Foundation Exchange Program to the United States. The 5-month research project will be held at the University of Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, under the supervision of Prof. James Booth. The project concerns the neural basis of the relation between structures responsible for orthographic and phonological processing in a longitudinal experimental design. Prof. Booth (h index = 51) and his colleagues at the Brain Development Lab in Department of Psychology and Human Development have vast research experience in understanding the neural basis of reading development. In the last decade they laid foundation for research on the neural basis of orthographic and spoken language processes. The project will broaden our understanding of the neurobiology of reading acquisition, an important academic and social skill.

Can I have your attention please: The impact of smartphone-related distractions on sustained attention in light and heavy smartphone users

Smartphones have become ubiquitous in the modern world. However, it remains vague whether and how a relation with mobile devices affects our cognitive functioning. Hence, in this study we investigated the impact of smartphone-related auditory distractions and smartphone usage on sustained attention. 31 participants were asked to perform a Continuous Performance Task in 3 separate conditions: one with a smartphone-related distractor, one with a neutral auditory distractor, and finally one without any distracting sounds. In addition to behavioral measures, electrophysiological methods were utilized in order to test in-depth effects on attentional and distractor processing. In order to examine whether smartphone usage has an effect on our attentional processing and to obtain objective usage characteristics a tracking mobile application was installed on participant’s smartphones. The results indicated that both (smartphone related and neutral) distractors had no impact on task performance. However, the participants exhibited a stronger orienting reaction towards a smartphone related distractor. Moreover, increased social media app usage appeared to change attentional target processing and prolonged the indexing of the distracting stimuli. These findings show preliminary evidence that smartphone usage might negatively influence our ability to keep attention focused on one task, as well as our capability to filter out and process smartphone-related auditory distractions. The matter of smartphone-related cognitive alterations is quite contemporary and uncharted. Because of the hasty development of technology and the fact that we are becoming more and more dependent on it, further research is necessary to help us better understand those relations and their implications.

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Looking for assistants!

We are currently looking for people who would like to work on upcoming neuroimaging and behavioral projects. If are interested please get to know the offer and apply!

Trait impulsivity associated with altered resting-state functional connectivity within the somatomotor network Nov. 18, 2020, 2:30 p.m. - Aleksandra Herman, PhD - LOBI

Knowledge of brain mechanisms underlying self-regulation can provide valuable insights into how people regulate their thoughts, behaviours, and emotional states, and what happens when such regulation fails. Self-regulation is supported by coordinated interactions of brain systems. Hence, behavioural dysregulation, and its expression as impulsivity, can be usefully characterised using functional connectivity methodologies applied to resting brain networks. I am going to present the results from the study testing whether individual differences in trait impulsivity are reflected in the functional architecture within and between resting-state brain networks. Thirty healthy individuals completed a self-report measure of trait impulsivity and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. We identified across participants ten networks of regions (resting-state networks) with temporally correlated time courses. We then explored how individual expression of these spatial networks covaried with trait impulsivity. Across participants, we observed that greater self-reported impulsivity was associated with decreased connectivity of the right lateral occipital cortex with the somatomotor network. No supratheshold differences were observed in between-network connectivity. Our findings implicate the somatomotor network, and its interaction with sensory cortices, in the control of (self-reported) impulsivity. The observed 'decoupling' may compromise effective integration of early perceptual information (from visual and somatosensory cortices) with behavioural control programmes, potentially resulting in negative consequences.

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How emotions interact with cognition in patients with sexual preference disorders Oct. 21, 2020, 2:30 p.m. - Jan Szczypinski, Msc - LOBI/WUM

The pedophilic disorder is characterized by a sexual preference for children and leads to child sexual abuse (CSA) in half of the patients. Studies showed that pedophiles with a history of CSA (CSA+) are inferior, in inhibitory control, to those without (CSA-). Inhibitory control may be influenced by negative affectivity, which was shown to be a state factor facilitating sexual abuse. Nevertheless, it is not known if distress influence CSA+ and CSA- equally. We recruited three groups of participants: healthy controls (HC) CSA+ and CSA- who performed an emotional Go-NoGo block task. The task was design specifically to correspond to a situation in which an individual is opposed by a negative life event. In each trial, participants were presented with photographs, either of neutral or negative valence, which did not require reaction. After the photographs, a circle (Go stimuli) or a square (NoGo stimuli) was presented. We found that HC and CSA- had slower reaction time in negative compared to neutral condition (regardless of the block type), while CSA+ did not. Consequently, HC and CSA- showed increased activation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in negative compared to the neutral condition, what was not observed in CSA+. DLPFC is crucial for cognitive control, however, the activity of this region is modulated by emotional valence. Reduced engagement of dlPFC in CSA+ in negative condition (irrespectively of the task instructions), suggest that negative emotions in CSA+ disrupt also other aspects of cognitive control, rather than inhibition specifically.

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Invitation for a public defence of Magdalena Łuniewska-Etenkowska

On behalf of the Scientific Council of the Nencki Institute we would like to kindly invite you for a public defence of Mrs Magdalena Łuniewska-Etenkowska PhD thesis "Phonological deficit and (lack of) visual attention deficit in developmental dyslexia", under the supervision of dr hab. Katarzyna Jednoróg, professor of the Nencki Institute.
The thesis has been reviewed by dr hab. Aneta Borkowska, professor from the Institute of Psychology at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, dr hab. Aneta Brzezicka, professor from the SWPS University in Warsaw, dr hab. Małgorzata Lipowska, professor from the University of Gdańsk.
Defense will be held online on 19 November 2020 at 2 pm.
Zoom Nencki is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Zaproszenie na obronę dr Magdaleny Łuniewskiej-Etenkowskiej
Time: Nov 19, 2020 02:00 PM Warsaw

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PhD Dsc Habil Katarzyna Jednoróg with grant OPUS!

OPUS is a National Science Centre funding opportunity intended for a wide range of applicants. Under the call, research projects may be carried out over a period of 12, 24, 36 or 48 months. Researchers can apply for funding of research projects carried out in bilateral or multilateral cooperation as well as initiatives involving large-scale international research infrastructure to be used by the Polish research teams.
More info about the project: Weryfikacja hipotezy szumu neuronalnego w dysleksji.
Full list of awarded candidates in 2020 can be found here: National Science Centre

PhD Agnieszka Dębska with grant SONATA!

SONATA is a grant funded by National Science Centre for research projects addressed at researchers with a PhD degree conferred within 2 to 7 years before the proposal submission year. The applicants may apply for funding of research projects to be carried out over a period of 12, 24 or 36 months.
More info about the project: Mózgowe i poznawcze podłoże deficytu ortograficznego
Full list of awarded candidates in 2020 can be found here: National Science Centre

PhD Student Gabriela Dzięgiel-Fivet with grant PRELUDIUM!

PRELUDIUM is a funding opportunity intended for pre-doctoral researchers about to embark on their scientific career. It's funded by National Science Centre of Poland.
More info about the project: Lateralizacja czytania w systemie Braille'a oraz przetwarzania mowy u osób niewidomych - wpływ połączeń anatomicznych.
Full list of awarded candidates in 2020 can be found here: National Science Centre

PhD Student Katarzyna Chyl awarded with prestigious START scholarship!

The programme START is directed to young researchers, at the outset of their career, who have already achieved some success in their field. The stipends serve as recognition of the scientific attainments so far by these young scholars and as an incentive for further growth by enabling them to devote themselves fully to their research.
For details, click here: Fundacja Nauki Polskiej START scholarship
Full list of researchers awarded in 2020 edition available here: START 2020
Katarzyna received also additional prize: Stypendium im. Barbary Skargi! It's a scholarship worth 36,000 PLN for the winner of the START programme whose research proves boldest in breaking down barriers between academic disciplines.

PhD Agnieszka Dębska gives a speech on baby lab meeting!

Title: "The Neurobiology of Reading Diffculties"
Date: 21.04.2020
More info: baby lab