Cognitive Science Lunchtime Talk - Blake Laham & Xiaofang Yang

Feb 3, 2022, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
Virtual Event Only
Event Description


Blake Laham Early-life adversity and avoidance behavior in females: protective effects of the estrous cycle

Early-life adversity (ELA) predisposes individuals to develop neuropsychiatric conditions, which are more commonly diagnosed in women than in men. Efforts to model this sex difference in rodents have produced mixed results, with some studies paradoxically showing stronger phenotypes in males than females. Changes in reproductive hormone levels have been shown to increase the likelihood of anxiety disorders in women, leading us to examine the effects of ELA on adult female mice across the estrous cycle. We found that during diestrus, when the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is relatively high, ELA females exhibit increased avoidance behavior and altered activity levels in various contexts. Using in vivo electrophysiology, hormone manipulations, and histology, we provide evidence that cyclical variations in female reproductive hormone levels ameliorate the influence of ELA on avoidance behavior.


Xiaofang Yang Auditory Attention Modulates Behavioral Temporal Expectation 

Previous behavioral and electrophysiological studies have revealed that spatial attention samples the visual environment in theta-rhythmic cycles, leading to alternating periods of enhanced and diminished perceptual sensitivity. Whether this attentional control mechanism operates similarly in sampling auditory temporal structures, particularly whether it is influenced by external stimulus-driven rhythms still remains an open question. We designed a behavioral experiment to entrain the auditory system with sound sequences in a fixed rhythm within each trial, establishing a predictable temporal structure, but varied across trials to examine distinct entraining rhythms. Subjects were presented with two streams of sound sequences superimposed on each other constantly competing for auditory attention while performing a target detection task. Our behavioral results suggest that auditory attention enhanced behavioral performance on target detection and that performance reached the highest level with a 4 Hz entraining theta rhythm.