Combining Simple Recurrent Networks and Eye-Movements to study Language Processing

Modern technologies allow eye movements to be used as a tool for studying language processing during tasks such as natural reading. Saccadic eye movements during reading turn out to be highly sensitive to a number of linguistic variables. A number of computational models of eye movement control have been developed to explain how these variables … Read more

Measuring Innate Functional Brain Connectivity

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a method for safely measuring brain activity, has been around for about 15 years. Within the last 10 of those years a revolutionary, if mysterious, method has been developing using the technology. This method, resting state functional connectivity (rs-fcMRI), has recently gained popularity for its putative ability to measure how … Read more

The Will to be Free, Part II

Several months ago I posted The Will to be Free, Part I. In that post I explained that memory is the key to free will. However, this insight isn’t quite satisfactory. We need three additional things to complete the picture: the ability to choose based on predictions, internal desires, and self-awareness. (A quick disclaimer: These … Read more

The Cognitive Control Network

I recently published my first primary-author research study (Cole & Schneider, 2007). The study used functional MRI to discover a network of brain regions responsible for conscious will (i.e., cognitive control). It also revealed the network’s specialized parts, which each uniquely contribute to creating the emergent property of conscious will. I believe this research contributes … Read more

The role of reward and cognitive control in decision making

Here’s an exchange of emails between PL and MC on a recently published paper (Balleine et al., 2007). Email 1 (from PL): Have a look at this introductory paragraph from a recent (Aug 2007) J Neurosci article by Balleine, Delgado and Hikosaka. What do they mean by “cognition” here? The Role of the Dorsal Striatum … Read more

Grand Challenges of Neuroscience: Day 4

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back with the last three installments of “Grand Challenges in Neuroscience”. Topic 4: Time Cognitive Science programs typically require students to take courses in Linguistics (as well as in the philiosphy of language).  Besides the obvious application of studying how the mind creates and uses language, an important … Read more

History’s Top Brain Computation Insights: Hippocampus binds features

Hippocampus is involved in feature binding for novel stimuli (McClelland, McNaughton, & O'Reilly – 1995, Knight – 1996, Hasselmo – 2001, Ranganath & D'Esposito – 2001) It was demonstrated by McClelland et al.that, based on its role in episodic memory encoding, hippocampus can learn fast arbitrary association. This was in contrast to neocortex, which they … Read more

Grand Challenges of Neuroscience: Day 3

Topic 3: Spatial Knowledge Animal studies have shown that the hippocampus contains special cells called “place cells”.  These place cells are interesting because their activity seems to indicate not what the animal sees, but rather where the animal is in space as it runs around in a box or in a maze. (See the four … Read more

Grand Challenges of Neuroscience: Day 2

Topic 2: Conflict and Cooperation Generally, cognitive neuroscience aims to explain how mental processes such as believing, knowing, and inferring arise in the brain and affect behavior.  Two behaviors that have important effects on the survival of humans are cooperation and conflict. According to the NSF committee convened last year, conflict and cooperation is an … Read more

Grand Challenges of Neuroscience: Day 1

Following up on MC's posts about the significant insights in the history of neuroscience, I'll now take Neurevolution for a short jaunt into neuroscience's potential future. In light of recent advances in technologies and methodologies applicable to neuroscience research, the National Science Foundation last summer released a document on the "Grand Challenges of Neuroscience".  These … Read more