Impact of Neuromodulation on Cognitive and Affective Brain Functions in Humans


Arvo building, auditorium F114, address: Lääkärinkatu 1


Doctoral defence of MSc Lihua Sun

Lihua SunImpact of Neuromodulation on Cognitive and Affective Brain Functions in Humans

The field of science of the dissertation is behavioral neurology.

The opponent is Professor Jari Karhu ( University of Eastern Finland). Docent Kaisa M. Hartikainen acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is English.

Impact of Neuromodulation on Cognitive and Affective Brain Functions in Humans

Neuromodulation techniques have been proposed to restore disrupted neural circuits and are used to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. The techniques used in the current thesis include deep brain stimulation (DBS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and non-invasive extraocular photomodulation. Many neuromodulation approaches affect cognitive and limbic circuitries, and thus their influence extend to affective and cognitive brain functions. In the study, we used behavioral testing and EEG recording, combined with periodic administration of neuromodulation, to study the immediate effects of neuromodulation on human cognition and emotion. Using these techniques, we found that DBS increased attentional allocation to threat, reflected in behavioral and brain responses. VNS improved working memory performance and increased early visual brain potentials suggesting enhanced visual attention. The ear-canal-delivered extraocular light diminished the modulatory effects of threat-related distractors on brain physiology. Taken together, neuromodulation techniques influenced cognitive and affective brain functions, which should be considered in clinical settings. In addition to their use in medical treatment, these techniques provide unique opportunities to study brain networks underlying human cognition and emotion. For example, DBS treatment allowed us to find the important role of the anterior thalamic nuclei in emotion-attention interaction in humans.


The dissertation is published in the series Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2191, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2016. ISBN  978-952-03-0181-1, ISSN 1455-1616. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1690, Tampere University Press 2016. ISBN 978-952-03-0182-8, ISSN 1456-954X.

Additional information

Lihua Sun, Puh. +358 44099 6663,