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Concept: Modulation


The increasing prevalence of social media means that we often encounter written language characterized by both stylistic variation and outright errors. How does the personality of the reader modulate reactions to non-standard text? Experimental participants read ‘email responses’ to an ad for a housemate that either contained no errors or had been altered to include either typos (e.g., teh) or homophonous grammar errors (grammos, e.g., to/too, it’s/its). Participants completed a 10-item evaluation scale for each message, which measured their impressions of the writer. In addition participants completed a Big Five personality assessment and answered demographic and language attitude questions. Both typos and grammos had a negative impact on the evaluation scale. This negative impact was not modulated by age, education, electronic communication frequency, or pleasure reading time. In contrast, personality traits did modulate assessments, and did so in distinct ways for grammos and typos.

Concepts: Evaluation, Personality psychology, Assessment, Educational psychology, Writing, Modulation, Communication, Big Five personality traits


BACKGROUND: Language comprehension requires decoding of complex, rapidly changing speech streams. Detecting changes of frequency modulation (FM) within speech is hypothesized as essential for accurate phoneme detection, and thus, for spoken word comprehension. Despite past demonstration of FM auditory evoked response (FMAER) utility in language disorder investigations, it is seldom utilized clinically. This report’s purpose is to facilitate clinical use by explaining analytic pitfalls, demonstrating sites of cortical origin, and illustrating potential utility. RESULTS: FMAERs collected from children with language disorders, including Developmental Dysphasia, Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and also normal controls - utilizing multi-channel reference-free recordings assisted by discrete source analysis - provided demonstratrions of cortical origin and examples of clinical utility. Recordings from inpatient epileptics with indwelling cortical electrodes provided, direct assessment of FMAER origin. The FMAER is shown to normally arise from bilateral posterior superior temporal gyri and immediate temporal lobe surround. Childhood language disorders associated with prominent receptive deficits demonstrate absent left or bilateral FMAER temporal lobe responses. When receptive language is spared, the FMAER may remain present bilaterally. Analyses based upon mastoid or ear reference electrodes are shown to result in erroneous conclusions. Serial FMAER studies may dynamically track status of underlying language processing in LKS. FMAERs in ASD with language impairment may be normal or abnormal. Cortical FMAERs can locate language cortex when conventional cortical stimulation does not. CONCLUSION: The FMAER measures the processing by the superior temporal gyri and adjacent cortex of rapid frequency modulation within an auditory stream. Clinical disorders associated with receptive deficits are shown to demonstrate absent left or bilateral responses. Serial FMAERs may be useful for tracking language change in LKS. Cortical FMAERs may augment invasive cortical language testing in epilepsy surgical patients. The FMAER may be normal in ASD and other language disorders when pathology spares the superior temporal gyrus and surround but presumably involves other brain regions. Ear/mastoid reference electrodes should be avoided and multichannel, reference free recordings utilized. Source analysis may assist in better understanding of complex FMAER findings.

Concepts: Cerebral cortex, Temporal lobe, Cerebrum, Superior temporal gyrus, Wernicke's area, Autism, Modulation, Frequency modulation


Amplitude modulation can serve as a cue for segregating streams of sounds from different sources. Here we evaluate stream segregation in humans using ABA- sequences of sinusoidally amplitude modulated (SAM) tones. A and B represent SAM tones with the same carrier frequency (1000, 4000 Hz) and modulation depth (30, 100%). The modulation frequency of the A signals (f(modA)) was 30, 100 or 300 Hz, respectively. The modulation frequency of the B signals was up to four octaves higher (Δf(mod)). Three different ABA- tone patterns varying in tone duration and stimulus onset asynchrony were presented to evaluate the effect of forward suppression. Subjects indicated their 1- or 2-stream percept on a touch screen at the end of each ABA- sequence (presentation time 5 or 15 s). Tone pattern, f(modA), Δf(mod), carrier frequency, modulation depth and presentation time significantly affected the percentage of a 2-stream percept. The human psychophysical results are compared to responses of avian forebrain neurons evoked by different ABA- SAM tone conditions [1] that were broadly overlapping those of the present study. The neurons also showed significant effects of tone pattern and Δf(mod) that were comparable to effects observed in the present psychophysical study. Depending on the carrier frequency, modulation frequency, modulation depth and the width of the auditory filters, SAM tones may provide mainly temporal cues (sidebands fall within the range of the filter), spectral cues (sidebands fall outside the range of the filter) or possibly both. A computational model based on excitation pattern differences was used to predict the 50% threshold of 2-stream responses. In conditions for which the model predicts a considerably larger 50% threshold of 2-stream responses (i.e., larger Δf(mod) at threshold) than was observed, it is unlikely that spectral cues can provide an explanation of stream segregation by SAM.

Concepts: Modulation, Sound, Frequency modulation, Amplitude modulation, Carrier wave, Baseband, Single-sideband modulation, Quadrature amplitude modulation


To enable high-speed underwater wireless optical communication (UWOC) in tap-water and seawater environments over long distances, a 450-nm blue GaN laser diode (LD) directly modulated by pre-leveled 16-quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) data was employed to implement its maximal transmission capacity of up to 10 Gbps. The proposed UWOC in tap water provided a maximal allowable communication bit rate increase from 5.2 to 12.4 Gbps with the corresponding underwater transmission distance significantly reduced from 10.2 to 1.7 m, exhibiting a bit rate/distance decaying slope of -0.847 Gbps/m. When conducting the same type of UWOC in seawater, light scattering induced by impurities attenuated the blue laser power, thereby degrading the transmission with a slightly higher decay ratio of 0.941 Gbps/m. The blue LD based UWOC enables a 16-QAM OFDM bit rate of up to 7.2 Gbps for transmission in seawater more than 6.8 m.

Concepts: Optical fiber, Modulation, Data transmission, Amplitude modulation, Quadrature amplitude modulation, Frequency-division multiplexing, Phase-shift keying, Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing


Tendinopathy can be resistant to treatment and often recurs, implying that current treatment approaches are suboptimal. Rehabilitation programmes that have been successful in terms of pain reduction and return to sport outcomes usually include strength training. Muscle activation can induce analgesia, improving self-efficacy associated with reducing one’s own pain. Furthermore, strength training is beneficial for tendon matrix structure, muscle properties and limb biomechanics. However, current tendon rehabilitation may not adequately address the corticospinal control of the muscle, which may result in altered control of muscle recruitment and the consequent tendon load, and this may contribute to recalcitrance or symptom recurrence. Outcomes of interest include the effect of strength training on tendon pain, corticospinal excitability and short interval cortical inhibition. The aims of this concept paper are to: (1) review what is known about changes to the primary motor cortex and motor control in tendinopathy, (2) identify the parameters shown to induce neuroplasticity in strength training and (3) align these principles with tendon rehabilitation loading protocols to introduce a combination approach termed as tendon neuroplastic training. Strength training is a powerful modulator of the central nervous system. In particular, corticospinal inputs are essential for motor unit recruitment and activation; however, specific strength training parameters are important for neuroplasticity. Strength training that is externally paced and akin to a skilled movement task has been shown to not only reduce tendon pain, but modulate excitatory and inhibitory control of the muscle and therefore, potentially tendon load. An improved understanding of the methods that maximise the opportunity for neuroplasticity may be an important progression in how we prescribe exercise-based rehabilitation in tendinopathy for pain modulation and potentially restoration of the corticospinal control of the muscle-tendon complex.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Neuroscience, Neurology, Motor control, Modulation, Primary motor cortex, Somatic motor system


Cognitive functions such as working memory (WM) are emergent properties of large-scale network interactions. Synchronisation of oscillatory activity might contribute to WM by enabling the coordination of long-range processes. However, causal evidence for the way oscillatory activity shapes network dynamics and behavior in humans is limited. Here we applied transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to exogenously modulate oscillatory activity in a right frontoparietal network that supports WM. Externally induced synchronization improved performance when cognitive demands were high. Simultaneously collected fMRI data reveals tACS effects dependent on the relative phase of the stimulation and the internal cognitive processing state. Specifically, synchronous tACS during the verbal WM task increased parietal activity, which correlated with behavioral performance. Furthermore, functional connectivity results indicate that the relative phase of frontoparietal stimulation influences information flow within the WM network. Overall, our findings demonstrate a link between behavioral performance in a demanding WM task and large-scale brain synchronization.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Emergence, Perception, Modulation, Behaviorism


Optical fibre underpins the global communications infrastructure and has experienced an astonishing evolution over the past four decades, with current commercial systems transmitting data rates in excess of 10 Tb/s over a single fibre core. The continuation of this dramatic growth in throughput has become constrained due to a power dependent nonlinear distortion arising from a phenomenon known as the Kerr effect. The mitigation of fibre nonlinearities is an area of intense research. However, even in the absence of nonlinear distortion, the practical limit on the transmission throughput of a single fibre core is dominated by the finite signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) afforded by current state-of-the-art coherent optical transceivers. Therefore, the key to maximising the number of information bits that can be reliably transmitted over a fibre channel hinges on the simultaneous optimisation of the modulation format and code rate, based on the SNR achieved at the receiver. In this work, we use an information theoretic approach based on the mutual information and the generalised mutual information to characterise a state-of-the-art dual polarisation m-ary quadrature amplitude modulation transceiver and subsequently apply this methodology to a 15-carrier super-channel to achieve the highest throughput (1.125 Tb/s) ever recorded using a single coherent receiver.

Concepts: Optical fiber, Modulation, Polarization, Information theory, Radio, Amplitude modulation, Transmitter, Quadrature amplitude modulation


Habit formation is a behavioral adaptation that automates routine actions. Habitual behavior correlates with broad reconfigurations of dorsolateral striatal (DLS) circuit properties that increase gain and shift pathway timing. The mechanism(s) for these circuit adaptations are unknown and could be responsible for habitual behavior. Here we find that a single class of interneuron, fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs), modulates all of these habit-predictive properties. Consistent with a role in habits, FSIs are more excitable in habitual mice compared to goal-directed and acute chemogenetic inhibition of FSIs in DLS prevents the expression of habitual lever pressing. In vivo recordings further reveal a previously unappreciated selective modulation of SPNs based on their firing patterns; FSIs inhibit most SPNs but paradoxically promote the activity of a subset displaying high fractions of gamma-frequency spiking. These results establish a microcircuit mechanism for habits and provide a new example of how interneurons mediate experience-dependent behavior.

Concepts: Natural selection, Inhibitor, Modulation, Behavior, Human behavior, Adaptation


Acoustic holographic rendering in complete analogy with optical holography are useful for various applications, ranging from multi-focal lensing, multiplexed sensing and synthesizing three-dimensional complex sound fields. Conventional approaches rely on a large number of active transducers and phase shifting circuits. In this paper we show that by using passive metamaterials as subwavelength pixels, holographic rendering can be achieved without cumbersome circuitry and with only a single transducer, thus significantly reducing system complexity. Such metamaterial-based holograms can serve as versatile platforms for various advanced acoustic wave manipulation and signal modulation, leading to new possibilities in acoustic sensing, energy deposition and medical diagnostic imaging.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Physics, Coherence, Wave, Phase, Modulation, Holography


Holography has extremely extensive applications in conventional optical instruments spanning optical microscopy and imaging, three-dimensional displays and metrology. To integrate holography with modern low-dimensional electronic devices, holograms need to be thinned to a nanometric scale. However, to keep a pronounced phase shift modulation, the thickness of holograms has been generally limited to the optical wavelength scale, which hinders their integration with ultrathin electronic devices. Here, we break this limit and achieve 60 nm holograms using a topological insulator material. We discover that nanometric topological insulator thin films act as an intrinsic optical resonant cavity due to the unequal refractive indices in their metallic surfaces and bulk. The resonant cavity leads to enhancement of phase shifts and thus the holographic imaging. Our work paves a way towards integrating holography with flat electronic devices for optical imaging, data storage and information security.

Concepts: Diffraction, Refraction, Refractive index, Coherence, Integral, Wave, Modulation, Interferometric microscopy