Developing Intelligence

Chris Chatham

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…

In the early days of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers were eager to point out that the hemodynamic response measured by fMRI may correspond rather directly to neural firing. Recently, a number of researchers have attempted to remind the larger neuroimaging community that the hemodynamic response reflects metabolic/energetic demands, and this might very well…

When I started this blog back in ’06, new hypotheses were appearing on a possible functional architecture of the lateral prefrontal cortex – a recently-evolved brain area implicated in high-level cognitive functions like planning, analogical reasoning, and cognitive control. Since then, these hypotheses have been refined, and the results replicated numerous times. Today, it’s essentially…

A fascinating paper from Gradinaru et al describes a genetically engineered mouse model of Parkinson’s disease that expresses a photoreceptor in the neurons of a particular part of the brain – the subthalamic nucleus (STN). This area is widely thought to be the central target of the immensely therapeutic technique for Parkinson’s known as deep…

A number of very smart people (and smart communities) seem like they might be under the impression that the “voodoo correlations” scandal in the neuroimaging community is somehow related to recent work by Bennett et al, who used fMRI to show task-related neural activity in a dead fish. These two things have almost nothing to…

Something’s afoot when a massively parallel and distributed system shows a bottleneck in performance. We’ve known that numerous bottlenecks plague cognition since the 1940′s, but only with recent advances in neuroimaging have we been able to say whether these bottlenecks reflect the intrusion of executive operations (for managing goals and organizing cognitive processing) or a…