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STIM™ A Library of Sensory, Cognitive, and Neuropsychologocal Tasks


Powerful, Flexible and Easy to Use

Increasingly apparent in neurophysiology and other forms of functional imaging (i.e. PET, SPECT, MEG and fMRI), is that the sensitivity of the system is often limited by your stimulus activation procedurs. Neuroscan's products continue to evolve with your requirements and recognizing that recording responses is only half the story, we introduce STIM-a comprehensive library of sensory, cognitive and neuropsych tasks.
STIM was developed as a tool to provide modern, well-defined tasks and paradigms which may be presented in a stand alone package for testing or in conjunction with neurophysiological acquisition systems, such as our Scan 4 EEG/EP workstation, by providing synchronized trigger pulses. STIM is an integrated ssytem that performs standard sensory stimulation procedures (AEP and VEP) to complex neurocognitive protocols. STIM can also trigger external devices such as somatosensory or photoic stimulators.
Under development for the past five years (1995), STIM is in use at numerous university and medical research laboratories as well as prominent clinical locations.
Like all our packages, STIM software is designed to be extremely flexible and easy to use. STIM is divided into six categories. The first five offer motor, perceptual, attentional, memory and coginitive tasks and paradigms. The sixth section is our utilities module, a complete tool box for the neurophysiologist. In utilities is a digital sound editor program (SOUND), a graphics editor program (DRAW) and a generalized task editor (GENTASK) for the construction of auditory (from simple tones to complex speech) and visual stimulus sequences and response contingencies.
Neuroscan offers STIM to meet your specific needs. We provide a complete system of the latest computer hardware, a D/A board and box for auditory output and the STIM software, or if your lab already has extensive computer hardware, we offer just the software and the D/A board/box.
Our approach of working with the existing equipment in your lab provides a low cost approach to upgrading your capabilities. STIM can be used with your existing acquisition system or seamlessly interfaced to our SCAN System.


STIM SOFTWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Utilities
Digitl Sound Editor: a program for recording, editing, and presenting digital sound segments. SOUND has programmable attenuation in .75 dB steps, a dynamic range from 0 to 130 dB, 16 bit CD quality digital sampling (see Audio System, Options next page), customizable digital filtering, spectral analysis, noise masking, mono or stereo processing, and a variety of windowing options. Sounds can be synthesized (i.e. pure tone, noise, click) or digitally sampled from a microphone or line input. Precise triggering is also provided for external devices such as SCAN EP/ERP system. Commonly used to present click stimuli for ABR or BAER recording and to create sound files used in other STIM modules.

Graphics Editor: a draw and paint program that allows you to create and edit visual stimuli for use in other STIM visual tasks (i.e. GENTASK, NAMING, VISCPT, SPR, and TRACK). DRAW includes special features such as visual noise masking and precise image degradation. Additional images can be scanned and edited within DRAW.

Generalized Task Editor: an interface for creating and presenting almost any type of visual, auditory, or combined task and recording behavioral responses. Here are just a few of the features GENTASK provides that make designing complex tasks simple: calibration to ensure precise timing of stimulus presentation and EP/ERP acquisition system triggering; 256 color PCX image support; 16 bit sound support (see Audio System, Options next page); present pictures and sounds in the same task, even simultaneously; display pictures for as little as one screen refresh; flip between pictures with virtually no delay; plus many more too numerous to name. Has been used for a variety of experiments including auditory N400, MMN, CNV, picture memory, and many more.


Motor Tasks
Tap: a motor performance task modeled after the finger tapping test commonly employed in neuropsychological assessment.

Track: a visual tracking task useful in measuring visual-motor tracking ability. Precise triggering is provided for neurophysiological recording systems such as SCAN.


Perceptual Tasks
Contrast: a unique interface for performing contrast reversal stimulation with evoked potential recording systems such as SCAN. CONTRAST features a simultaneous fixation task to ensure foveation, repositioning of pattern relative to fixation, vertical/horizontal bars, selective masking, task suspension during inattentive periods, and user definable keys for rapid assessment of visual acuity.

Naming: a flexible interface for presenting visual stimuli and recording verbal responses. NAME allows you to configure tasks with almost any visual stimuli (including text and pictures), digitally record verbal responses, and score responses for both accuracy and latency. Precise triggering is also provided for neurophysiological recording systems such as SCAN.

Stroop: a version of the Stroop neuropsychological test modified for evoked potential recordings.


Attentional Tasks
Cued: a visual cued attention switching task. CUED provides central “arrow” and peripheral “highlighted box” cues and is commonly used as an index of ability to release and reorient visual attention. Triggering is provided for external devices such as SCAN ER/ERP system.

Concpt: a “go/no-go” visual continuous performance task in which the subject’s response to the target should be contingent upon the appearance of a cue stimulus. CONCPT also provides triggering for evoked potential recording systems.

Viscpt: a visual continuous performance task widely used in the assessment of sustained attention. VISCPT provides precise triggering for evoked potential recording systems such as SCAN and is an appropriate interface for visual P300 and related experiments.

Audcpt: an auditory continuous performance task. AUDCPT provides an interface similar to VISCPT, wherein you assign probabilities to up to 10 different auditory events. Provides precise triggering for evoked potential recordings and is perfect for P300 and MMN experiments.


Memory Tasks
Spatial Memory: a battery designed to assess static and sequential visual spatial memory.

Vlt: a flexible interface for presenting a variety of verbal learning, verbal memory, and other language paradigms. VLT provides precise triggering for ERP systems and is well suited to N400 and other language-related ERPs.

Spr: a visual memory task that can be used in a variety of experiments in which serial position effects are of interest. SPR can be used with provided “normed” pictures or your own. SPR provides precise triggering for ERP systems and is well suited to Sternberg memory scanning experiments.


Cognitive Tasks
Card Sorting: similar to the card sorting test used in neuropsychological batteries, CARDSORT is widely used in behavioral and imaging research studies on concept formation.

Categories: CATEGORY is similar to the widely used neuropsychological test, and is useful as an activation task in imaging studies or as a behavioral measure of problem solving ability.


The STIM Audio System and Response Interface
Each STIM system is provided with precision hardware for recording sounds from a microphone or line input with 16 bit A/D conversion, playing back mono or stereo sounds at SPL calibrated levels (HL also possible), recording manual responses with push buttons or optional finger-lift LED photocells, recording verbal responses with millisecond accuracy, and measuring reaction time with an independent clock in case stimulus and response occur simultaneously. Other features of the STIM AUDIO SYSTEM include anti-aliasing filters, audiometric quality insert earphones, independent left and right channel gain levels, and more.

For delivering the stimuli inside an MRI scanner for your fMRI experiments, see STIM in the fMRI

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