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Velichkovsky, Boris M.

Academic rank:  professor, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Degree:  doctor in Psychology

Neurocognitive Sciences and Intellectual Systems, NIC “Kurchatov Institute”, Moscow, Russia Applied Cognitive Research, Technische Universitaet, Dresden, Germany

Publications by Velichkovsky, Boris M.

Dolina I.A., Efimova O.I..., Velichkovsky B.M. (2017). Exploring terra incognita of cognitive science: Lateralization of gene expression at the frontal pole of the human brain. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (3), 231-247

Background. Rostral prefrontal cortex, or frontopolar cortex (FPC), also known as Brodmann area 10 (BA10), is the most anterior part of the human brain. It is one of the largest cytoarchitectonic areas of the human brain that has significantly increased its volume during evolution. Anatomically the le (BA10L) and right (BA10R) parts of FPC show slight asymmetries and they may have distinctive cognitive functions. Objective. In the present study, we investigated differential expression of the transcriptome in the le and right parts of BA10.

Design. Postmortem samples of human brain tissue from fourteen donors (male/ female without history of psychiatric and neurological diseases, mean age 39.79±3.23 years old, mean postmortem interval 12.10±1.76 h) were obtained using the resources of three institutions: the Partner Institute of Computational Biology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and NIH Neuro-BioBank.

Results. By using a standard RNA-sequencing followed by bioinformatic analysis, we identified 61 genes with differential expression in the le and right FPC. In general, gene expression was increased in BA10R relative to BA10L: 40 vs. 21 genes, respectively. According to gene ontology analysis, the majority of up-regulated genes in BA10R be- longed to the protein-coding category, whereas protein-coding and non-coding genes were equally up-expressed in BA10L. Most of the up-regulated genes in BA10R were involved in brain plasticity and activity-dependent mechanisms also known for their role in the hippocampus. 24 out of 30 mental disorder-related genes in the dataset were disrupted in schizophrenia. No such a wide association with other mental disorders was found.

Conclusion. Discovered differences point at possible causes of hemispheric asymmetries in the human frontal lobes and at the molecular base of higher-order cognitive processes in health and disease.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0316
Pages:  231-247
ThemesCognitive psychology
Keywords:  neuropsychology, frontopolar cortex, human cerebral asymmetry, yakovlevian torque, RNA transcriptome, sequencing, schizophrenia, attention

Available Online: 09.30.2017

Sedov A. S., Popov V.A., Filyushkina V.I., Semenova U.N., Orlov V.A., Velichkovsky B. M., Ushakov V. L.(2017). Cognitive aspects of human motor activity: Contribution of right hemisphere... Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (3), 206-217

Background. Concepts of movement and action are not completely synonymous, but what distinguishes one from the other? Movement may be defined as stimulus- driven motor acts, while action implies realization of a specific motor goal, essential for cognitively driven behavior. Although recent clinical and neuroimaging studies have revealed some areas of the brain that mediate cognitive aspects of human motor behavior, the identification of the basic neural circuit underlying the interaction between cognitive and motor functions remains a challenge for neurophysiology and psychology.

Objective. In the current study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate elementary cognitive aspects of human motor behavior.

Design. Twenty healthy right-handed volunteers were asked to perform stimulus-driven and goal-directed movements by clenching the right hand into a fist (7 times). The cognitive component lay in anticipation of simple stimuli signals. In order to disentangle the purely motor component of stimulus-driven movements, we used the event-related (ER) paradigm. FMRI was performed on a 3 Tesla Siemens Magnetom Verio MR-scanner with 32-channel head coil.

Results. We have shown differences in the localization of brain activity depending on the involvement of cognitive functions. These differences testify to the role of the cerebellum and the right hemisphere in motor cognition. In particular, our results suggest that right associative cortical areas, together with the right posterolateral cerebellum (Crus I and lobule VI) and basal ganglia, de ne cognitive control of motor activity, promoting a shift from a stimulus-driven to a goal-directed mode.

Conclusion. These results, along with recent data from research on cerebro-cerebellar circuitry, redefine the scope of tasks for exploring the contribution of the cerebellum to diverse aspects of human motor behavior and cognition.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0314
Pages:  206-217
ThemesCognitive psychology
Keywords:  action, movement, fMRI, lateralization, motor behavior, voluntary movement, cognition, cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia

Available Online: 09.30.2017

Shishkin S. L., Zhao D. G., Isachenko A. V., Velichkovsky B. M.(2017). Gaze-and-brain-controlled interfaces for human-computer and human-robot interaction. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (3), 120-137.

Background. Human-machine interaction technology has greatly evolved during the last decades, but manual and speech modalities remain single output channels with their typical constraints imposed by the motor system’s information transfer limits. Will brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and gaze-based control be able to convey human commands or even intentions to machines in the near future? We provide an overview of basic approaches in this new area of applied cognitive research.

Objective. We test the hypothesis that the use of communication paradigms and a combination of eye tracking with unobtrusive forms of registering brain activity can improve human-machine interaction.

Methods and Results. Three groups of ongoing experiments at the Kurchatov Institute are reported. First, we discuss the communicative nature of human-robot interaction, and approaches to building a more e cient technology. Specifically, “communicative” patterns of interaction can be based on joint attention paradigms from developmental psychology, including a mutual “eye-to-eye” exchange of looks between human and robot. Further, we provide an example of “eye mouse” superiority over the computer mouse, here in emulating the task of selecting a moving robot from a swarm. Finally, we demonstrate a passive, noninvasive BCI that uses EEG correlates of expectation. This may become an important lter to separate intentional gaze dwells from non-intentional ones.

Conclusion. The current noninvasive BCIs are not well suited for human-robot interaction, and their performance, when they are employed by healthy users, is critically dependent on the impact of the gaze on selection of spatial locations. The new approaches discussed show a high potential for creating alternative output pathways for the human brain. When support from passive BCIs becomes mature, the hybrid technology of the eye-brain-computer (EBCI) interface will have a chance to enable natural, fluent, and the effortless interaction with machines in various fields of application.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0308
Pages:  120-137
ThemesCognitive psychology
Keywords:  attention, eye-to-eye contact, eye movements, brain-computer interface (BCI), eye-brain-computer interface (EBCI), electroencephalography (EEG), expectancy wave (E-wave), human-robot interaction, brain output pathways

Available Online: 09.30.2017

Verkhlyutov V.M., Ushakov V.L., Sokolov P.A., Velichkovsky B.M. (2014) Large-scale network analysis of imagination reveals extended but limited top-down components in human visual cognition. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 7(4), 4-19.

We investigated whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation in a group of 21 healthy adult subjects during perception, imagination and remembering of two dynamic visual scenarios. Activation of the posterior parts of the cortex prevailed when watching videos. The cognitive tasks of imagination and remembering were accompanied by a predominant activity in the anterior parts of the cortex. An independent component analysis identified seven large-scale cortical networks with relatively invariant spatial distributions across all experimental conditions. The time course of their activation over experimental sessions was task-dependent. These detected networks can be interpreted as a recombination of resting state networks. Both central and peripheral networks were identified within the primary visual cortex. The central network around the caudal pole of BA17 and centers of other visual areas was activated only by direct visual stimulation, while the peripheral network responded to the presentation of visual information as well as to the cognitive tasks of imagination and remembering. The latter result explains the particular susceptibility of peripheral and twilight vision to cognitive top-down influences that often result in false-alarm detections.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2014.0401
Pages:  4-19
ThemesPsychophysiology / Cognitive psychology
Keywords:  perception, imagination, remembering, fMRI, large-scale cortical networks, resting states, mirror neuron system, real-world visual stimuli

Available Online: 12.30.2014

Kozlovskiy S.A., Vartanov A.V., Nikonova E.Y., Pyasik M.M., Velichkovsky B.M. (2012). The Cingulate Cortex and Human Memory Processes. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 5, 231-243

This study presents data from a magnetic-resonance morphometric (MRMM) analysis of the main regions of the cingulate cortex (in both hemispheres) and their role in memory processes in a group of healthy, females of older age. The results demonstrate a statistically reliable correlation between overall performance and the type of errors in different neuropsychological memory tests and the relative size of these regions. The discovered pattern of correlations can be explained by hypothesizing the reciprocal functional influence of the two major areas of the cingulate cortex – its anterior and posterior dorsal parts – on performance in neuropsychological memory tests.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2012.0014
Pages:  231-243
ThemesPsychophysiology
Keywords:  cingulate cortex, cingulate gyrus, magnetic-resonance morphometric analysis, human neuropsychology, memory.

Available Online: 12.01.2012

Velichkovsky B. M., Krotkova O. A., Sharaev M. G., Ushakov V. L. (2017). In search of the “I”: Neuropsychology of lateralized thinking meets Dynamic Causal Modeling. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (3), 7-27.

Background. Ideas about relationships between “I”, egocentric spatial orientation and the sense of bodily “Self ” date back to work by classics of philosophy and psychology. Cognitive neuroscience has provided knowledge about brain areas involved in self-ref­erential processing, such as the rostral prefrontal, temporal and parietal cortices, often active as part of the default mode network (DMN).

Objective and Method. Little is known about the contribution of inferior parietal areas to self-referential processing. Therefore, we collected observations of everyday be­havior, social communication and problem solving in patients with brain lesions local­ized either in the left inferior parietal cortex (LIPC group, n = 45) or the right inferior parietal cortex (RIPC group, n = 58).

Results. A key characteristic of the LIPC group was an overestimation of task com­plexity. This led to a prolonged phase of redundant and disruptive contemplations pre­ceding task solution. In the RIPC group, we observed disorders in reflective control and voluntary regulation of behavior. Abilities for experiencing emotions, understanding mental states, and social communication were to a great extent lost. Results are inter­preted within a multilevel framework of cognitive-affective organization (velichkovsky, 2002). In particular, we highlight the role of right-hemisphere mechanisms in self-refer­ential cognition, emotional and corporeal awareness. This is consistent with recent data on a profound asymmetry in connectivity of left and right hippocampi within the DMN (Ushakov et al., 2016)

Conclusion. It seems that the center of egocentric spatial representation plays a spe­cial role in accessing self-related data. Normally, the right hippocampus provides a holis­tic representation of surrounding and, thus, an easy-to-find gateway into much of what we used to call “subjective experience”. This heuristics becomes misleading in the case of right-sided brain lesions.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0301
Pages:  7-27
ThemesCognitive psychology
Keywords:  thinking, emotions, lateralization, hippocampal formation, neuropsychology, dynamic causal modeling (DCM), egocentric spatial orientation, Self-referential cognition, levels of cognitive organization

Velichkovsky B. M. (2017). Cognitive science: The art and its implications. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (3), 2-7.

Contemporary cognitive science is the latest version of the century-long quest for a better understanding of the human mind and brain. Various disciplines have brought together empirical methods and theoretical models from their fields of study to further this effort. Many of the authors of this special issue are not psychologists by training, and they do their professional work in fields as varied as mathematical physics, neuroimaging, molecular biology, and the pragmatics of communication. Nevertheless, their contributions to the journal’s topic, and, ito the future of psychology as a science, are preeminent.


DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0300
Pages:  2-6
ThemesCognitive psychology
Keywords:  cognitive science, cognitive psychology