Developing Intelligence

Archives for July, 2010

“What we’re seeking is not just one algorithm or one cool new trick – we’re seeking a platform technology. In other words, we’re not seeking the entirety of a collection of point solutions, what we’re seeking is a platform technology on which we can build a wide variety of solutions.” Dharmendra Modha, manager of cognitive…

Decisions can be hard: the conflict you face in any decision can be increased if option A is not that much better than option B, or if option A is newly worse than option B. And then there are are just bad decisions, maybe hard only in retrospect. As illustrated by a 2009 J Neurosci…

Recent work has leveraged increasingly sophisticated computational models of neural processing as a way of predicting the BOLD response on a trial-by-trial basis. The core idea behind much of this work is that reinforcement learning is a good model for the way the brain learns about its environment; the specific idea is that expectations are…

Swarming Quadrocopters? Nanomagnetic remote control of animal behavior. Blogs are data-mined for personality research. Vote for method of the year! (My vote is for induced pluripotency) If you think that the less competent you are, the more competent you think you are, then you are incompetent.Confusion on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Time on task effects in…

How can we enhance perception, learning, memory, and cognitive control? Any answer to this question will require a better understanding of the way they are best enhanced: through cognitive change in early development. But we can’t stop there. We also want to know more about the neural substrates that enable and reflect these cognitive transformations…

A nice 2010 Human Brain Mapping paper by Church, Petersen & Schlaggar covers a number of interpretational issues confronting modern neuroimaging. Their particular application is pediatric neuroimaging (I will also use developmental examples), but the general issues apply to nearly all fMRI studies. So here are some important things to keep in mind whenever you…

A 2010 FINS paper from Cohen et al. demonstrates that multivariate patterns in neural recruitment during response inhibition across the brain are significantly predictive of response inhibition ability and age of the scanned subject, and shows that other factors (such as response variability and reaction times) cannot be similarly predicted from the same data.

What if we got the organization of prefrontal cortex all wrong – maybe even backwards? That seems to be a conclusion one might draw from a 2010 Neuroimage paper by Yoshida, Funakoshi, & Ishii. But that would be the wrong conclusion: thanks to an ingenious mistake, Yoshida et al have apparently managed to “reverse” the…

Hierarchical views of prefrontal organization posit that some information processing principle, and not just task difficulty, determines which areas of prefrontal cortex will be recruited in a given task. Virtually all information processing accounts of the prefrontal hierarchy are agreed on this point, though they differ in whether the operative principle is thought to be…

How does the brain deal with the need to pursue multiple goals simultaneously, particularly if they are associated with different reward values? One idea, perhaps far-fetched, is that the brain might divvy up responsibility for tracking these goals & rewards: for example, the left hemisphere might respond to a primary goal, and the right hemisphere…