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      Phasic and repetitive self-touch differ in hemodynamic response in the prefrontal cortex–An fNIRS study


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          Each individual touches the own body several 100 times a day. While some researchers propose a self-regulatory function of self-touch, others report that self-touching increases nervousness. This controversy appears to be caused by the fact that researchers did not define the kind of self-touch they examined and actually, referred to different types of self-touch. Thus, kinematically defining different types of self-touch, such as phasic (discrete), repetitive, and irregular, and exploring the neural correlates of the different types will provide insight into the neuropsychological function of self-touching behavior.


          To this aim, we assessed hemodynamic responses in prefrontal brain areas using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and behavioral responses with NEUROGES®. Fifty-two participants were recorded during three specific kinematically types of self-touch ( phasic, irregular, repetitive) that were to be performed on command. The recently developed toolbox Satori was used for the visualization of neuronal processes.


          Behaviorally, the participants did not perform irregular self-touch reliably. Neurally, the comparison of phasic, irregular and repetitive self-touch revealed different activation patterns. Repetitive self-touch is associated with stronger hemodynamic responses in the left Orbitofrontal Cortex and the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex than phasic self-touch.


          These brain areas have been reported to be associated with self-regulatory processes. Furthermore, irregular self-touch appears to be primarily generated by implicit neural control. Thus, by distinguishing kinematically different types of self-touch, our findings shed light on the controverse discussion on the neuropsychological function of self-touch.

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          Most cited references82

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          Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain.

          We review evidence for partially segregated networks of brain areas that carry out different attentional functions. One system, which includes parts of the intraparietal cortex and superior frontal cortex, is involved in preparing and applying goal-directed (top-down) selection for stimuli and responses. This system is also modulated by the detection of stimuli. The other system, which includes the temporoparietal cortex and inferior frontal cortex, and is largely lateralized to the right hemisphere, is not involved in top-down selection. Instead, this system is specialized for the detection of behaviourally relevant stimuli, particularly when they are salient or unexpected. This ventral frontoparietal network works as a 'circuit breaker' for the dorsal system, directing attention to salient events. Both attentional systems interact during normal vision, and both are disrupted in unilateral spatial neglect.
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            An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function.

            The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals. Its neural basis, however, has remained a mystery. Here, we propose that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them. They provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task. We review neurophysiological, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and computational studies that support this theory and discuss its implications as well as further issues to be addressed
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              Is Open Access

              PsychoPy2: Experiments in behavior made easy

              PsychoPy is an application for the creation of experiments in behavioral science (psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, etc.) with precise spatial control and timing of stimuli. It now provides a choice of interface; users can write scripts in Python if they choose, while those who prefer to construct experiments graphically can use the new Builder interface. Here we describe the features that have been added over the last 10 years of its development. The most notable addition has been that Builder interface, allowing users to create studies with minimal or no programming, while also allowing the insertion of Python code for maximal flexibility. We also present some of the other new features, including further stimulus options, asynchronous time-stamped hardware polling, and better support for open science and reproducibility. Tens of thousands of users now launch PsychoPy every month, and more than 90 people have contributed to the code. We discuss the current state of the project, as well as plans for the future.

                Author and article information

                URI : http://loop.frontiersin.org/people/2387449/overviewRole: Role: Role: Role: Role:
                URI : http://loop.frontiersin.org/people/43893/overviewRole: Role: Role:
                Role: Role: Role:
                Role: Role: Role:
                Front Neurogenom
                Front Neurogenom
                Front. Neuroergon.
                Frontiers in Neuroergonomics
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                29 November 2023
                : 4
                : 1266439
                [1] 1Department of Neurology, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychiatry, Institute of Health Promotion and Clinical Movement Science, German Sport University (GSU) Cologne , Cologne, Germany
                [2] 2Department of Motor Behavior in Sports, Institute of Health Promotion and Clinical Movement Science, German Sport University (GSU) Cologne , Cologne, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jack Adam Noah, Yale University, United States

                Reviewed by: Xian Zhang, Yale University, United States; Lei Wang, Drexel University, United States

                *Correspondence: Sabrina von Au s.vonau@ 123456dshs-koeln.de
                Copyright © 2023 von Au, Helmich, Kieffer and Lausberg.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 24 July 2023
                : 24 October 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 84, Pages: 12, Words: 8074
                The author(s) declare no financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                Physical Neuroergonomics

                self-touch,prefrontal activity,left orbitofrontal cortex,left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,functional near-infrared spectroscopy


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