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Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Victoria L Spring, C Daryl Cameron, Mina Cikara
A debate has emerged across disciplines about why people engage in costly helping. Empathy is one mechanism. We highlight a second, more controversial motivator: moral outrage. Integrating findings from moral psychology and intergroup literatures, we suggest outrage is a critical force for collective action and highlight directions for future research.
October 16, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Rory J Bufacchi, Gian Domenico Iannetti
Predominant conceptual frameworks often describe peripersonal space (PPS) as a single, distance-based, in-or-out zone within which stimuli elicit enhanced neural and behavioural responses. Here we argue that this intuitive framework is contradicted by neurophysiological and behavioural data. First, PPS-related measures are not binary, but graded with proximity. Second, they are strongly influenced by factors other than proximity, such as walking, tool use, stimulus valence, and social cues. Third, many different PPS-related responses exist, and each can be used to describe a different space...
October 15, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Ta-Chu Kao, Guillaume Hennequin
Classical work has viewed primary motor cortex (M1) as a controller of muscle and body dynamics. A recent brain-computer interface (BCI) experiment suggests a new, complementary perspective: M1 is itself a dynamical system under active control of other circuits.
October 13, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Tom J Barry, Connie P Y Chiu, Filip Raes, Jorge Ricarte, Hakwan Lau
There has been a recent growth in investigations into the neural mechanisms underlying the problems recalling specific autobiographical events that are a core feature of emotional disorders. In this review we provide the first synthesis of this literature, taking into account brain as well as cognitive mechanisms. We suggest that these problems are driven by idiosyncratic activation in areas of the brain associated with assigning salience and self-relevance to emotional memories. Other areas associated with inhibiting distraction and constructing vivid memory representations are also important...
October 3, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Joni D Wallis
An intrinsic difficulty in studying cognitive processes is that they are unobservable states that exist in between observable responses to the sensory environment. Cognitive states must be inferred from indirect behavioral measures. Neuroscience potentially provides the tools necessary to measure cognitive processes directly, but it is challenged on two fronts. First, neuroscientific measures often lack the spatiotemporal resolution to identify the neural computations that underlie a cognitive process. Second, the activity of a single neuron, which is the fundamental building block of neural computation, is too noisy to provide accurate measurements of a cognitive process...
September 29, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Molly J Crockett, Patricia L Lockwood
Longstanding psychological theories posit a link between empathy and altruism. A new study of anonymous kidney donors finds these 'extraordinary altruists' show an increased overlap in neural responses to pain for self and others. These findings, alongside other recent studies of altruism, shed new light on the nature of selflessness.
September 28, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Rogier B Mars, Richard E Passingham, Saad Jbabdi
Fifteen years ago, Passingham and colleagues proposed that brain areas can be described in terms of their unique pattern of input and output connections with the rest of the brain, and that these connections are a crucial determinant of their function. We explore how the advent of neuroimaging of connectivity has allowed us to test and extend this proposal. We show that describing the brain in terms of an abstract connectivity space, as opposed to physical locations of areas, provides a natural and powerful framework for thinking about brain function and its variation across the brains of individuals, populations, and species...
September 18, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Esther Kuehn, Martin I Sereno
In cognitive neuroscience, brain-behaviour relationships are usually mapped onto a 2D cortical sheet. Cortical layers are a critical but often ignored third dimension of human cortical function. Improved resolution has put us on the threshold of beginning to image human cognition in three dimensions.
September 17, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Giulio Pergola, Lola Danet, Anne-Lise Pitel, Giovanni A Carlesimo, Shailendra Segobin, Jérémie Pariente, Boris Suchan, Anna S Mitchell, Emmanuel J Barbeau
The function of the human mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MD) has so far eluded a clear definition in terms of specific cognitive processes and tasks. Although it was at first proposed to play a role in long-term memory, a set of recent studies in animals and humans has revealed a more complex, and broader, role in several cognitive functions. The MD seems to play a multifaceted role in higher cognitive functions together with the prefrontal cortex and other cortical and subcortical brain areas. Specifically, we propose that the MD is involved in the regulation of cortical networks especially when the maintenance and temporal extension of persistent activity patterns in the frontal lobe areas are required...
September 17, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Anil K Seth, Manos Tsakiris
Modern psychology has long focused on the body as the basis of the self. Recently, predictive processing accounts of interoception (perception of the body 'from within') have become influential in accounting for experiences of body ownership and emotion. Here, we describe embodied selfhood in terms of 'instrumental interoceptive inference' that emphasises allostatic regulation and physiological integrity. We apply this approach to the distinctive phenomenology of embodied selfhood, accounting for its non-object-like character and subjective stability over time...
September 14, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Roberto Cabeza, Matthew L Stanley, Morris Moscovitch
Most cognitive neuroscience theories have focused on the functions of individual brain regions, but cognitive abilities depend also on functional interactions among multiple regions. Many recent studies on these interactions have examined large-scale, resting-state networks, but these networks are difficult to link to theories about specific cognitive processes. Cognitive theories are easier to link to the mini-networks we call process specific alliances (PSAs). A PSA is a small team of brain regions that rapidly assemble to mediate a cognitive process in response to task demands but quickly disassemble when the process is no longer needed...
September 14, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Maddalena Marini, Mahzarin R Banaji, Alvaro Pascual-Leone
Given that globalization has brought different sociocultural groups together on an unprecedented scale, understanding the neurobiology underlying intergroup social behavior has never been more urgent. Social and cognitive scientists are increasingly using noninvasive brain-stimulation techniques (NBS) to explore the neural mechanisms underlying implicit attitudes and stereotyping. NBS methods, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), can interfere with ongoing brain activity in targeted brain areas and distributed networks, and thus offer unique insights into the mechanisms underlying how we perceive, understand, and make decisions about others...
September 1, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Kalina Christoff, Caitlin Mills, Jessica R Andrews-Hanna, Zachary C Irving, Evan Thompson, Kieran C R Fox, Julia W Y Kam
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 18, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Kelsey Lucca, Jessica A Sommerville
Persistence is central to outcomes across a range of domains: the harder you try, the further you get. Yet relatively little is known about the developmental origins of persistence. Here, we highlight key reasons for a surge of interest in persistence in infancy and early childhood.
August 16, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Haakon G Engen, Michael C Anderson
Memories play a ubiquitous role in our emotional lives, both causing vivid emotional experiences in their own right and imbuing perception of the external world with emotional significance. Controlling the emotional impact of memories therefore poses a major emotion-regulation challenge, suggesting that there might be a hitherto unexplored link between the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying memory control (MC) and emotion regulation. We present here a theoretical account of how the mechanisms of MC constitute core component processes of cognitive emotion regulation (CER), and how this observation may help to understand its basic mechanisms and their disruption in psychiatric disorders...
August 16, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Ken Solt
General anesthesia provides an invaluable experimental tool to probe the essential neural circuits that underlie consciousness. A new study reports that cholinergic stimulation of the prefrontal cortex restores wake-like behaviors in anesthetized rodents, suggesting that cholinergic inputs to the prefrontal cortex play a fundamental role in modulating consciousness.
August 10, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Asael Y Sklar, Leon Y Deouell, Ran R Hassin
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 10, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Elisabetta Versace, Antone Martinho-Truswell, Alex Kacelnik, Giorgio Vallortigara
A major goal for the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) is to build machines that are able to reason and cope with novel tasks, environments, and situations in a manner that approaches the abilities of animals. Evidence from precocial species suggests that driving learning through suitable priors can help to successfully face this challenge.
August 7, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Paul Seli, Michael J Kane, Thomas Metzinger, Jonathan Smallwood, Daniel L Schacter, David Maillet, Jonathan W Schooler, Daniel Smilek
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 1, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Caitlin Mills, Kalina Christoff
Boredom has recently piqued cognitive neuroscientific interest, but remains a challenge to scientific investigation in this field. We propose that to advance this research, we should (i) seek greater consistency of operationalization and measurement across studies and participants; and (ii) appreciate the temporal instability of boredom and its ensuing dynamics.
July 27, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
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