Cognitive Neuroscience

Developing Intelligence

Category archives for Cognitive Neuroscience

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…

Children assigned to chew sugar-free gum purportedly score 3% higher on standardized tests of math skills (as widely reported in the press). But is this just one of the 5% of all possible untrue hypotheses statistically guaranteed to have some significant result in its favor (in fact, it’s worse than that)? Is the effect due…

The UCLA Neuroimaging Summer Education Program starts today at 8:30 am Pacific. Standard Time – and is going to be streaming live at this address (video embedded below). The schedule is quite impressive, including talks from Rick Buxton, Mark Cohen, Russ Poldrack, Vince Calhoun, and Jose Hanson among others. Topics include everything from causal modeling…

How many times did Pavlov ring the bell before his dogs’ meals until the dogs began to salivate? Surely, the number of experiences must make a difference, as anyone who’s trained a dog would attest. As described in a brilliant article by C.R. Gallistel (in Psych. Review; preprint here), this has been thought so self-evident…

Don’t think of a white bear. Doesn’t work so well, does it? Yet under some circumstances, people appear to be able to do precisely this: as described last week, young adults are thought (by some) to actually suppress the neural activity related to to-be-ignored stimuli, and even delay the peak of this neural activity, relative…