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Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Joseph E LeDoux
When subjective state words are used to describe behaviors, or brain circuits that control them nonconsciously, the behaviors and circuits take on properties of the subjective state. Research on fear illustrates the problems that can result. Subjective state words should be limited to the description of inner experiences, and avoided when referring to circuits underlying nonsubjectively controlled behaviors.
March 15, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Katharine N Thakkar, Vaibhav A Diwadkar, Martin Rolfs
Psychosis - an impaired contact with reality - is a hallmark of schizophrenia. Many psychotic symptoms are associated with disruptions in agency - the sense that 'I' cause my actions. A failure to predict sensory consequences of one's own actions may underlie agency disturbances. Such predictions rely on corollary discharge (CD) signals, 'copies' of movement commands sent to sensory regions prior to action execution. Here, we make a case that the oculomotor system is a promising model for understanding CD in psychosis, building on advances in our understanding of the behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of CD associated with eye movements...
March 11, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Ellen Leibenluft
Irritability, defined as an increased propensity to exhibit increased anger relative to one's peers, is a common clinical problem in youth. Irritability can be conceptualized as aberrant responses to frustration (where frustration is the emotional response to blocked goal attainment) and/or aberrant 'approach' responses to threat. Irritable youth show hyper-reactivity to threat mediated by dysfunction in amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insula, striatum, and association cortex...
March 5, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Danielle S Bassett, Marcelo G Mattar
Humans adapt their behavior to their external environment in a process often facilitated by learning. Efforts to describe learning empirically can be complemented by quantitative theories that map changes in neurophysiology to changes in behavior. In this review we highlight recent advances in network science that offer a sets of tools and a general perspective that may be particularly useful in understanding types of learning that are supported by distributed neural circuits. We describe recent applications of these tools to neuroimaging data that provide unique insights into adaptive neural processes, the attainment of knowledge, and the acquisition of new skills, forming a network neuroscience of human learning...
March 2, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Rose M Scott, Renée Baillargeon
Intense controversy surrounds the question of when children first understand that others can hold false beliefs. Results from traditional tasks suggest that false-belief understanding does not emerge until about 4 years of age and constitutes a major developmental milestone in social cognition. By contrast, results from nontraditional tasks, which have steadily accumulated over the past 10 years, suggest that false-belief understanding is already present in infants (under age 2 years) and toddlers (age 2-3 years) and thus forms an integral part of social cognition from early in life...
March 1, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
M D Rosenberg, E S Finn, D Scheinost, R T Constable, M M Chun
Recent work shows that models based on functional connectivity in large-scale brain networks can predict individuals' attentional abilities. While being some of the first generalizable neuromarkers of cognitive function, these models also inform our basic understanding of attention, providing empirical evidence that: (i) attention is a network property of brain computation; (ii) the functional architecture that underlies attention can be measured while people are not engaged in any explicit task; and (iii) this architecture supports a general attentional ability that is common to several laboratory-based tasks and is impaired in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)...
February 23, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Michael C Corballis
From ancient times, religion and philosophy have regarded language as a faculty bestowed uniquely and suddenly on our own species, primarily as a mode of thought with communication as a byproduct. This view persists among some scientists and linguists and is counter to the theory of evolution, which implies that the evolution of complex structures is incremental. I argue here that language derives from mental processes with gradual evolutionary trajectories, including the generative capacities to travel mentally in time and space and into the minds of others...
February 14, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Sébastien Tremblay, K M Sharika, Michael L Platt
The capacity and motivation to be social is a key component of the human adaptive behavioral repertoire. Recent research has identified social behaviors remarkably similar to our own in other animals, including empathy, consolation, cooperation, and strategic deception. Moreover, neurobiological studies in humans, nonhuman primates, and rodents have identified shared brain structures (the so-called 'social brain') apparently specialized to mediate such functions. Neuromodulators may regulate social interactions by 'tuning' the social brain, with important implications for treating social impairments...
February 14, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Tamar R Makin, Sliman J Bensmaia
Textbooks teach us that the removal of sensory input to sensory cortex, for example, following arm amputation, results in massive reorganisation in the adult brain. In this opinion article, we critically examine evidence for functional reorganisation of sensory cortical representations, focusing on the sequelae of arm amputation on somatosensory topographies. Based on literature from human and non-human primates, we conclude that the cortical representation of the limb remains remarkably stable despite the loss of its main peripheral input...
February 14, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Romy Lorenz, Adam Hampshire, Robert Leech
Cognitive neuroscientists are often interested in broad research questions, yet use overly narrow experimental designs by considering only a small subset of possible experimental conditions. This limits the generalizability and reproducibility of many research findings. Here, we propose an alternative approach that resolves these problems by taking advantage of recent developments in real-time data analysis and machine learning. Neuroadaptive Bayesian optimization is a powerful strategy to efficiently explore more experimental conditions than is currently possible with standard methodology...
February 13, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Matthew A J Apps, Jérôme Sallet
The ACC, and neighbouring areas, are among the most controversial and investigated brain areas in cognitive neuroscience. Despite the wealth of studies, there has been a significant absence of studies recording from the gyrus of the ACC (ACCg). In their recent study Hill and colleagues provide a rare examination of the properties of the ACCg. We highlight the emerging role of this region in signalling the key computations that drive social learning processes.
February 4, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Paul B Badcock, Christopher G Davey, Sarah Whittle, Nicholas B Allen, Karl J Friston
Major depression is a debilitating condition characterised by diverse neurocognitive and behavioural deficits. Nevertheless, our species-typical capacity for depressed mood implies that it serves an adaptive function. Here we apply an interdisciplinary theory of brain function to explain depressed mood and its clinical manifestations. Combining insights from the free-energy principle (FEP) with evolutionary theorising in psychology, we argue that depression reflects an adaptive response to perceived threats of aversive social outcomes (e...
February 1, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Eveline A Crone, Nikolaus Steinbeis
Since the discovery that patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) show similar deficits in cognitive control as young children, the PFC model of cognitive control development has been a popular description of how cognitive control emerges over time. In this review, we show that not only do many studies support this model, but also that more specific models of PFC development can be formulated, according to the functional roles of subregions and by taking into account the distinctions within ventral-dorsal and lateral-medial PFC...
January 31, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Juha Silvanto
According to conventional views, holding information in working memory (WM) involves elevated and persistent neuronal firing. This has been challenged by models in which WM maintenance is implemented by activity-silent synaptic mechanisms. A new study suggests that both have a role, consistent with cognitive models positing several states of WM. However, do these states reflect the operation of attention or awareness?
January 31, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Hans Alves, Alex Koch, Christian Unkelbach
Humans process positive information and negative information differently. These valence asymmetries in processing are often summarized under the observation that 'bad is stronger than good', meaning that negative information has stronger psychological impact (e.g., in feedback, learning, or social interactions). This stronger impact is usually attributed to people's affective or motivational reactions to evaluative information. We present an alternative interpretation of valence asymmetries based on the observation that positive information is more similar than negative information...
January 4, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Scott R Cole, Bradley Voytek
Oscillations are a prevalent feature of brain recordings. They are believed to play key roles in neural communication and computation. Current analysis methods for studying neural oscillations often implicitly assume that the oscillations are sinusoidal. While these approaches have proven fruitful, we show here that there are numerous instances in which neural oscillations are nonsinusoidal. We highlight approaches to characterize nonsinusoidal features and account for them in traditional spectral analysis...
January 4, 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Annett Schirmer, Ralph Adolphs
Historically, research on emotion perception has focused on facial expressions, and findings from this modality have come to dominate our thinking about other modalities. Here we examine emotion perception through a wider lens by comparing facial with vocal and tactile processing. We review stimulus characteristics and ensuing behavioral and brain responses and show that audition and touch do not simply duplicate visual mechanisms. Each modality provides a distinct input channel and engages partly nonoverlapping neuroanatomical systems with different processing specializations (e...
March 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Given the tremendous complexity of brain organisation, here I propose a strategy that dynamically links stages of brain organisation from genes to consciousness, at four privileged structural levels: genes; transcription factors (TFs)-gene networks; synaptic epigenesis; and long-range connectivity. These structures are viewed as nested and reciprocally inter-regulated, with a hierarchical organisation that proceeds on different timescales during the course of evolution and development. Interlevel bridging mechanisms include intrinsic variation-selection mechanisms, which offer a community of bottom-up and top-down models linking genes to consciousness in a stepwise manner...
March 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Linda K Kaye, Stephanie A Malone, Helen J Wall
We live in a digital society that provides a range of opportunities for virtual interaction. Consequently, emojis have become popular for clarifying online communication. This presents an exciting opportunity for psychologists, as these prolific online behaviours can be used to help reveal something unique about contemporary human behaviour.
February 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Rebecca F Schwarzlose
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2017: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
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