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Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Daniel N Barry, Eleanor A Maguire
The hippocampus is known to be recruited during the recall of experiences from our distant past, despite evidence that memory traces in this region vanish over time. Extant theories of systems-level consolidation have yet to accommodate both phenomena. We propose that the hippocampus reconstructs remote memories in the absence of the original trace. It accomplishes this by assembling consolidated neocortical elements into spatially coherent scenes that form the basis of unfolding memory events. This reconstruction is likely facilitated by input from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex...
December 5, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Robert X D Hawkins, Noah D Goodman, Robert L Goldstone
The utility of our actions frequently depends upon the beliefs and behavior of other agents. Thankfully, through experience, we learn norms and conventions that provide stable expectations for navigating our social world. Here, we review several distinct influences on their content and distribution. At the level of individuals locally interacting in dyads, success depends on rapidly adapting pre-existing norms to the local context. Hence, norms are shaped by complex cognitive processes involved in learning and social reasoning...
December 3, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Jeremy Ginges
There is a moral logic to reasoning about political violence. People will often fight not for individual or collective material gain, but because of their commitment to abstract moral and sacred ideas. Moreover, decisions to support or oppose war are descriptively deontological and are relatively insensitive to material costs or benefits.
November 26, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Margaret S Livingstone, Michael J Arcaro, Peter F Schade
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 24, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Marcello Maniglia, Aaron R Seitz
Reward-based learning is known to induce cortical plasticity in primary sensory areas. A new study by Goltstein, Meijer, and Pennartz [1] (eLife2018;7:e37683), adopting a dual-scale approach (single-unit and population level), shows how associative learning in mice tunes cortical processing, but unlike other primary sensory cortices it does not modify the retinotopic map.
November 23, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Benedict C Jones, Amanda C Hahn, Lisa M DeBruine
The dual mating strategy hypothesis proposes that women's preferences for uncommitted sexual relationships with men displaying putative fitness cues increase during the high-fertility phase of the menstrual cycle. Results consistent with this hypothesis are widely cited as evidence that sexual selection has shaped human mating psychology. However, the methods used in most of these studies have recently been extensively criticized. Here we discuss (i) new empirical studies that address these methodological problems and largely report null results and (ii) an alternative model of hormonal regulation of women's mating psychology that can better accommodate these new data...
November 23, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Stefan Koelsch, Peter Vuust, Karl Friston
We suggest that music perception is an active act of listening, providing an irresistible epistemic offering. When listening to music we constantly generate plausible hypotheses about what could happen next, while actively attending to music resolves the ensuing uncertainty. Within the predictive coding framework, we present a novel formulation of precision filtering and attentional selection, which explains why some lower-level auditory, and even higher-level music-syntactic processes elicited by irregular events are relatively exempt from top-down predictive processes...
November 21, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Giovanni Sala, Fernand Gobet
Due to potential theoretical and societal implications, cognitive training has been one of the most influential topics in psychology and neuroscience. The assumption behind cognitive training is that one's general cognitive ability can be enhanced by practicing cognitive tasks or intellectually demanding activities. The hundreds of studies published so far have provided mixed findings and systematic reviews have reached inconsistent conclusions. To resolve these discrepancies, we carried out several meta-analytic reviews...
November 21, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
David M Amodio
For 40 years, research on impression formation and attitudes has relied on dual-process theories that represent knowledge in a single associative network. Although such models explain priming effects and some implicit responses, they are generally silent on other forms of learning and on the interface of social cognition with perception and action. Meanwhile, advances in cognitive neuroscience reveal multiple, interacting forms of learning and memory (e.g., semantic associative memory, Pavlovian conditioning, and instrumental learning), with detailed models of their operations, neural bases, and connections with perceptual and behavioral systems...
November 19, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Alex Fornito, Aurina Arnatkevičiūtė, Ben D Fulcher
The recent construction of brain-wide gene expression atlases, which measure the transcriptional activity of thousands of genes in multiple anatomical locations, has made it possible to connect spatial variations in gene expression to distributed properties of connectome structure and function. These analyses have revealed that spatial patterning of gene expression and neuronal connectivity are closely linked, following broad spatial gradients that track regional variations in microcircuitry, inter-regional connectivity, and functional specialisation...
November 16, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Leonhard Schilbach
Observing others is a pervasive way of learning about the social world, but little is known about the neural correlates of observing more than one individual. A recent neuroimaging study demonstrates that activity in the human motor system tracks multiple actions and that anterior cingulate cortex is involved to monitor motor conflict.
November 12, 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Daniel Yon, Floris P de Lange, Clare Press
Bayesian theories of perception have traditionally cast the brain as an idealised scientist, refining predictions about the outside world based on evidence sampled by the senses. However, recent predictive coding models include predictions that are resistant to change, and these stubborn predictions can be usefully incorporated into cognitive models.
November 11, 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
Jennifer Stiso, Danielle S Bassett
Recent progress towards understanding circuit function has capitalized on tools from network science to parsimoniously describe the spatiotemporal architecture of neural systems. Such tools often address systems topology divorced from its physical instantiation. Nevertheless, for embedded systems such as the brain, physical laws directly constrain the processes of network growth, development, and function. We review here the rules imposed by the space and volume of the brain on the development of neuronal networks, and show that these rules give rise to a specific set of complex topologies...
December 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, Liina Pylkkänen
Traditional research in bilingualism has consistently found that switching languages is effortful, placing demands on neural systems of cognitive control. This finding runs counter to most bilinguals' intuitive experience. We review a body of recent work showing that, in fact, when bilinguals switch languages voluntarily, both the behavioral cost of switching and the associated recruitment of cognitive control areas are greatly reduced or completely eliminated. This suggests that switching languages is not inherently effortful, but rather, particular communicative demands may make it costly...
December 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Ralph-Axel Müller, Inna Fishman
Impairments in social communication (SC) predominate among the core diagnostic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Neuroimaging has revealed numerous findings of atypical activity and connectivity of 'social brain' networks, yet no consensus view on crucial developmental causes of SC deficits has emerged. Aside from methodological challenges, the deeper problem concerns the clinical label of ASD. While genetic studies have not comprehensively explained the causes of nonsyndromic ASDs, they highlight that the clinical label encompasses many etiologically different disorders...
December 2018: 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.
December 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...
December 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.
December 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...
December 2018: Trends in Cognitive Sciences
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