Developing Intelligence

Archives for June, 2008

Attention training through meditation can reduce the duration of the “attentional blink” – in which detection of a first rare target causes people to be unaware of a second target presented soon after the first – according to research by Slagter et al from PLoSBiology.

As discussed earlier this week, meditation may be an alternative form of brain training – or “brain untraining” – that shows transfer to tasks requiring cognitive control. There have been a few updates to this fascinating line of research, not least of which is a fascinating paper by Amishi Jha and colleagues from the University…

In a fascinating review of the cognitive neuroscience of attention, authors Raz and Buhle note that most research on attention focuses on defining situations in which it is no longer required to perform a task – in other words, the automatization of thought and behavior. Yet relatively few studies focus on whether thought and behavior…

Kevin at IQ’s Corner has blogged about a new paper in PNAS showing that “working memory” training can improve measures of fluid intelligence – a capacity long thought to be relatively insensitive to experience, and intricately tied to the most complex human cognitions like reasoning, planning, and abstraction in novel contexts. Jaeggi et al., posit…

In a recent issue of Science, Dahlin et al report the results of an executive function training paradigm focused on the process of mental updating. “Updating” is thought to be one of the core executive functions (as determined through confirmatory factor analysis), is thought to rely on the striatum (as determined through computational neural network…

Children can be notoriously constrained to the present, but a fascinating article in JEP:HPP by Vallesi & Shallice shows exactly how strong that constraint can be: in a study with 4-11 year-olds, they show that only children older than about 5 years will take advantage of additional time provided for them to prepare for a…

Could something be perceived if there is no sensory system which is dedicated to it? For everyone except parapsychologists, the obvious answer is no – but this raises questions about the ability to perceive short temporal intervals, for which there appears to be no dedicated sensory system. In their newly in-press TICS article, Ivry and…

Working memory – the ability to hold information “in mind” in the face of environmental interference – has traditionally been associated with the prefrontal cortices (PFC), based primarily on data from monkeys. High resolution functional imaging (such as fMRI) have revealed that PFC is just one part of a larger working memory network, notably including…

A variety of new cognitive neuroscience shows how our ability to ignore distractions – to “perceptually filter”, in a sense – is based on a ventral attentional network, is related to working memory, and may be involved in putative inhibitory tasks.