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Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Peggy Seriès
A recent article shows that the brain automatically estimates the probabilities of possible future actions before it has even received all the information necessary to decide what to do next.
June 11, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Michael C Frank
Is there a 'critical period' for language? Using a viral online grammar test, Hartshorne, Tenenbaum, and Pinker (2018) collected a new massive dataset on the relationship between age and language learning. Their data highlight both the importance - and the challenges - of creating quantitative theories linking 'big data' to cognitive models.
June 11, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Amar Sarkar, Siobhán Harty, Soili M Lehto, Andrew H Moeller, Timothy G Dinan, Robin I M Dunbar, John F Cryan, Philip W J Burnet
Psychology and microbiology make unlikely friends, but the past decade has witnessed striking bidirectional associations between intrinsic gut microbes and the brain, relationships with largely untested psychological implications. Although microbe-brain relationships are receiving a great deal of attention in biomedicine and neuroscience, psychologists have yet to join this journey. Here, we illustrate microbial associations with emotion, cognition, and social behavior. However, despite considerable enthusiasm and potential, technical and conceptual limitations including low statistical power and lack of mechanistic descriptions prevent a nuanced understanding of microbiome-brain-behavior relationships...
June 8, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Angela Gutchess, Elizabeth A Kensinger
The literatures on episodic memory for self-referential and emotional information have proceeded relatively independently, and most studies examining the effects of age on these memory processes have been interpreted within domain-specific frameworks. However, there is increasing evidence for shared mechanisms that contribute to episodic memory benefits in these two domains. We review this evidence and propose a model that incorporates overlapping as well as domain-specific contributions to episodic memory encoding of self-referential and emotional material...
June 6, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Juliet Y Davidow, Catherine Insel, Leah H Somerville
Adolescents are challenged to orchestrate goal-directed actions in increasingly independent and consequential ways. In doing so, it is advantageous to use information about value to select which goals to pursue and how much effort to devote to them. Here, we examine age-related changes in how individuals use value signals to orchestrate goal-directed behavior. Drawing on emerging literature on value-guided cognitive control and reinforcement learning, we demonstrate how value and task difficulty modulate the execution of goal-directed action in complex ways across development from childhood to adulthood...
June 4, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Takeo Watanabe, Yuka Sasaki, Kazuhisa Shibata, Mitsuo Kawato
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 1, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Steve W C Chang, Olga Dal Monte
Learning from others powerfully shapes our lives, yet the circuit-specific mechanisms underlying social learning in the brain remain unclear. A recent study in mice provides evidence that direct neuronal projections from the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) play a critical role in observational fear learning.
May 28, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Daniela J Palombo, Signy Sheldon, Brian Levine
Although humans have a remarkable capacity to recall a wealth of detail from the past, there are marked interindividual differences in the quantity and quality of our mnemonic experiences. Such differences in autobiographical memory may appear self-evident, yet there has been little research on this topic. In this review, we synthesize an emerging body of research regarding individual differences in autobiographical memory. We focus on two syndromes that fall at the extremes of the 'remembering' dimension: highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) and severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM)...
May 25, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Amy Kalia Singh, Flip Phillips, Lotfi B Merabet, Pawan Sinha
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that the brain can reorganize dramatically following sensory loss. Although the existence of such neuroplastic crossmodal changes is not in doubt, the functional significance of these changes remains unclear. The dominant belief is that reorganization is compensatory. However, results thus far do not unequivocally indicate that sensory deprivation results in markedly enhanced abilities in other senses. Here, we consider alternative reasons besides sensory compensation that might drive the brain to reorganize after sensory loss...
May 19, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Biyu J He
While neuroscientific research on perceptual awareness has traditionally focused on the spatial and temporal localizations of neural activity underlying conscious processing, recent development suggests that the dynamic characteristics of spatiotemporally distributed neural activity contain important clues about the neural computational mechanisms underlying conscious processing. Here, we summarize recent progress.
May 12, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Rachel L Kendal, Neeltje J Boogert, Luke Rendell, Kevin N Laland, Mike Webster, Patricia L Jones
While social learning is widespread, indiscriminate copying of others is rarely beneficial. Theory suggests that individuals should be selective in what, when, and whom they copy, by following 'social learning strategies' (SLSs). The SLS concept has stimulated extensive experimental work, integrated theory, and empirical findings, and created impetus to the social learning and cultural evolution fields. However, the SLS concept needs updating to accommodate recent findings that individuals switch between strategies flexibly, that multiple strategies are deployed simultaneously, and that there is no one-to-one correspondence between psychological heuristics deployed and resulting population-level patterns...
May 11, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Paul E Stillman, Xi Shen, Melissa J Ferguson
Mouse-tracking - measuring computer-mouse movements made by participants while they choose between response options - is an emerging tool that offers an accessible, data-rich, and real-time window into how people categorize and make decisions. In the present article we review recent research in social cognition that uses mouse-tracking to test models and advance theory. In particular, mouse-tracking allows examination of nuanced predictions about both the nature of conflict (e.g., its antecedents and consequences) as well as how this conflict is resolved (e...
May 3, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Pieter R Roelfsema, Damiaan Denys, P Christiaan Klink
Recent advances in neuroscience and technology have made it possible to record from large assemblies of neurons and to decode their activity to extract information. At the same time, available methods to stimulate the brain and influence ongoing processing are also rapidly expanding. These developments pave the way for advanced neurotechnological applications that directly read from, and write to, the human brain. While such technologies are still primarily used in restricted therapeutic contexts, this may change in the future once their performance has improved and they become more widely applicable...
May 2, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Christina Starmans, Paul Bloom
What makes someone the same person over time? There is a growing body of research exploring how people ordinarily think about personal identity. We argue here that many of the experiments in this domain fail to properly distinguish similarity from personal identity, and therefore certain conclusions regarding commonsense intuitions about identity are not supported.
May 1, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Iva K Brunec, Morris Moscovitch, Morgan D Barense
Efficient navigation from one place to another is facilitated by the ability to use spatial boundaries to segment routes into their component parts. Similarly, memory for individual episodes relies on the ability to use shifts in spatiotemporal contexts to segment the ongoing stream of experience. The segmentation of experiences in spatial and episodic domains may therefore share neural underpinnings, manifesting in similar behavioral phenomena and cognitive biases. Here, we review evidence for such shared mechanisms, focusing on the key role of boundaries in spatial and episodic memory...
April 26, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Penelope A Lewis, Günther Knoblich, Gina Poe
Creative thought relies on the reorganisation of existing knowledge. Sleep is known to be important for creative thinking, but there is a debate about which sleep stage is most relevant, and why. We address this issue by proposing that rapid eye movement sleep, or 'REM', and non-REM sleep facilitate creativity in different ways. Memory replay mechanisms in non-REM can abstract rules from corpuses of learned information, while replay in REM may promote novel associations. We propose that the iterative interleaving of REM and non-REM across a night boosts the formation of complex knowledge frameworks, and allows these frameworks to be restructured, thus facilitating creative thought...
June 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Paul Seli, Michael J Kane, Jonathan Smallwood, Daniel L Schacter, David Maillet, Jonathan W Schooler, Daniel Smilek
As empirical research on mind-wandering accelerates, we draw attention to an emerging trend in how mind-wandering is conceptualized. Previously articulated definitions of mind-wandering differ from each other in important ways, yet they also maintain overlapping characteristics. This conceptual structure suggests that mind-wandering is best considered from a family-resemblances perspective, which entails treating it as a graded, heterogeneous construct and clearly measuring and describing the specific aspect(s) of mind-wandering that researchers are investigating...
June 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Andrew W Young, A Mike Burton
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Bruno Rossion
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Mathias Osvath, Can Kabadayi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
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