Navigating a Strange World: The Neuroimaging Study of Brain-Environment Interactions



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The field of neuroscience seeks to understand the nervous system, its components, and its mechanisms. One particularly challenging aspect of this is investigating the cortical mechanisms that support perception, cognition, and behavior. The subject-specific nature of responses and the need to construct contextually-flexible actions complicate even simple behaviors. Further, observing the cortical activity as an individual coordinates a response can pose a prohibitive challenge due to the inherent risks of direct, invasive signal acquisition. The advent of noninvasive neuroimaging approaches as sought to resolve this problem, with electroencephalography (EEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) emerging as the predominant methods thanks to their respective advantages in temporal and spatial resolution. Unimodal and multimodal source localization techniques that combine these methods have been further developed to capitalize on these respective advantages. Applying these techniques, we have investigated the cortical processes of audition and motor actuation, revealing electrophysiological dynamics that support effective stimulus response. Further developments in the field of multimodal integration, developed and presented here in the form of a novel multimodal integration technique known as the Dynamic Brain Transition Network approach, have improved resilience to the problems of volume conduction and depth bias. The heightened spatiotemporal detection of this method have then formed a basis for investigating complex emotional perception and regulation, supporting advanced analysis of inter-regional cortical communication. The present dissertation seeks out outline new discoveries of how the brain interacts with external stimuli and the new technological developments that enable this search.



EEG, fMRI, Neuroimaging, Source Localization, Multimodal, Motor, Auditory, Event Related Potential, Emotion.


Portions of this document appear in: Potter, Thomas, Sheng Li, Thinh Nguyen, Trac Nguyen, Nuri Ince, and Yingchun Zhang. "Characterization of volume-based changes in cortical auditory evoked potentials and prepulse inhibition." Scientific reports 7, no. 1 (2017): 1-9.