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The Temporal Dynamics of Cognitive Processing

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198887 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-888-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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From our ability to attend to many stimuli occurring in rapid succession to the transformation of memories during a night of sleep, cognition occurs over widely varying time scales spanning milliseconds to days and beyond. Cognitive processing is often influenced by several behavioral variables as well as nonlinear interactions between multiple neural systems. This frequently produces unpredictable patterns of behavior and makes understanding the underlying temporal factors influencing cognition a fruitful area of hypothesis development and scientific inquiry. Across two reviews, a perspective, and twelve original research articles covering the domains of learning, memory, attention, cognitive control, and social decision making this research topic sheds new light on the temporal dynamics of cognitive processing.

Habits: Plasticity, learning and freedom

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196739 Year: Pages: 148 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-673-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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In present times, certain fields of science are becoming aware of the necessity to go beyond a restrictive specialization, and establish an open dialogue with other disciplines. Such is the case of the approach that neuroscience and philosophy are performing in the last decade. However, this increasing interest in a multidisciplinary perspective should not be understood, in our opinion, as a new phenomenon, but rather as a return to a classical standpoint: a proper understanding of human features –organic, cognitive, volitional, motor or behavioral, for example– requires a context that includes the global dimension of the human being. We believe that grand neuroscientific conclusions about the mind should take into account what philosophical reflection has said about it; likewise, philosophers should consider the organic constitution of the brain to draw inferences about the mind. Thus, both neuroscience and philosophy would benefit from each other’s achievements through a fruitful dialogue. One of the main problems a multidisciplinary group encounters is terminology: the same term has a different scope in various fields, sometimes even contradictory. Such is the case of habits: from a neuroscientific perspective, a habit is a mere automation of an action. It is, therefore, linked to rigidity and limitation. However, from a classical philosophical account, a habit is an enabling capacity acquired through practice, which facilitates, improves and reinforces the performance of certain kind of actions. From neuroscience, habit acquisition restricts a subject’s action to the learnt habit; from philosophy, habit acquisition allows the subject to set a distance from the simple motor performance to cognitively enrich the action. For example, playing piano is a technical habit; considering the neuroscientific account, a pianist would just play those sequences of keystrokes that had been repeatedly practiced in the past. However, according to the philosophical perspective, it would allow the pianist to improvise and, moreover, go beyond the movements of their hands to concentrate in other features of musical interpretation. In other words, a holistic view of habits focuses on the subject’s disposition when facing both known and novel situations. We believe neuroscience could contribute to achieve a deeper understanding of the neural bases of habits, whose complexity could be deciphered by a philosophical reflection. Thus, we propose this Research Topic to increase our understanding on habits from a wide point of view. This collection of new experimental research, empirical and theoretical reviews, general commentaries and opinion articles covers the following subjects: habit learning; implicit memory; computational and complex dynamical accounts of habit formation; practical, cognitive, perceptual and motor habits; early learning; intentionality; consciousness in habits performance; neurological and psychiatric disorders related to habits, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, stereotypies or addiction; habits as enabling or limiting capacities for the agent.

Executive Functions in Psychiatric Disorders

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453061 Year: Pages: 142 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-306-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology --- Medicine (General) --- Psychiatry
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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Executive Functions comprise a range of neuropsychological processes related to intentional behavior and cognitive control. There are several theoretical models defining and explaining the concept of Executive Functions. Most of these models consider that the term Executive Functions encompasses cognitive process as working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control and other complex functions as planning, problem-solving and abstract reasoning. Other models argue that motivational and emotional functions, such as affective decision-making, reside under the concept of Executive Function. Much evidence supports how complex cognitive functions are related to the physiological activity of brain networks, including the frontal cortex and its connections with subcortical structures. Several psychiatric disorders related to impairment in these brain networks (eg., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and drug addiction) leading to deficits in Executive Functions. These cognitive deficits affect patients’ everyday functioning, worsening the clinical course of the disease. For example, deficits in Executive Functions are related to suicide behavior in bipolar disorder patients. Furthermore, these deficits also relate to obesity, a lack of adherence to treatment and an underperformance in the workplace and educational settings. The understanding of the role of deficits in Executive Functions, including its neurobiological basis, developmental trajectories, and relationship with clinical outcomes, is fundamental to improve clinical management of psychiatric patients. This research topic includes 13 articles with interdisciplinary contributions related to the understanding of the deficits in Executive Functions and its relationship with clinical manifestations in psychiatric disorders.

Is Conflict Adaptation an Illusion?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194957 Year: Pages: 164 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-495-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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Conflict adaptation theory is one of the most popular theories in cognitive psychology. The theory argues that participants strategically modulate attention away from distracting stimulus features in response to conflict. Although results with proportion congruent, sequential congruency, and similar paradigms seem consistent with the conflict adaptation view, some researchers have expressed scepticism. The paradigms used in the study of conflict adaptation require the manipulation of stimulus frequencies, sequential dependencies, time-on-task regularities, and various other task regularities that introduce the potential for learning of conflict-unrelated information. This results in the unintentional confounding of measures of conflict adaptation with simpler learning and memory biases. There are also alternative accounts which propose that attentional adaptation does occur, but via different mechanisms, such as valence, expectancy, or effort. A significant (and often heated) debate remains surrounding the question of whether conflict adaptation exists independent of these alternative mechanisms of action. The aim of this Research Topic is to provide a forum for current directions in this area, considering perspectives from all sides of the debate.

The Cognitive Thalamus

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195411 Year: Pages: 125 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-541-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Cognitive processing is commonly conceptualized as being restricted to the cerebral cortex. Accordingly, electrophysiology, neuroimaging and lesion studies involving human and animal subjects have almost exclusively focused on defining roles for cerebral cortical areas in cognition. Roles for the thalamus in cognition have been largely ignored despite the fact that the extensive connectivity between the thalamus and cerebral cortex gives rise to a closely coupled thalamo-cortical system. However, in recent years, growing interest in the thalamus as much more than a passive sensory structure, as well as methodological advances such as high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging of the thalamus and improved electrode targeting to subregions of thalamic nuclei using electrical stimulation and diffusion tensor imaging, have fostered research into thalamic contributions to cognition.Evidence suggests that behavioral context modulates processing in primary sensory, or first-order, thalamic nuclei (for example, the lateral geniculate and ventral posterior nuclei), allowing attentional filtering of incoming sensory information at an early stage of brain processing. Behavioral context appears to more strongly influence higher-order thalamic nuclei (for example, the pulvinar and mediodorsal nucleus), which receive major input from the cortex rather than the sensory periphery. Such higher-order thalamic nuclei have been shown to regulate information transmission in frontal and higher-order sensory cortex according to cognitive demands. This Research Topic aims to bring together neuroscientists who study different parts of the thalamus, particularly thalamic nuclei other than the primary sensory relays, and highlight the thalamic contributions to attention, memory, reward processing, decision-making, and language. By doing so, an emphasis is also placed on neural mechanisms common to many, if not all, of these cognitive operations, such as thalamo-cortical interactions and modulatory influences from sources in the brainstem and basal ganglia. The overall view that emerges is that the thalamus is a vital node in brain networks supporting cognition.

Physical Activity, Self-Regulation, and Executive Control Across the Lifespan

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197484 Year: Pages: 130 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-748-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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There is overwhelming evidence linking increased physical activity with positive changes in cognitive functioning and brain health. Much of what we know about these interrelationships comes from aerobic exercise training studies with older adults and children. This literature has paved the way for the neuroscientific investigation of mechanisms responsible for exercise-induced cognitive and brain health enhancement, a list that ranges from molecular changes to systemic changes in executive control and neural connectivity. A new perspective has also emerged that aims to understand executive control processes that may underlie the regulation of health behavior. In accordance with this view, physical activity falls under the umbrella of health behaviors that require a substantial amount of executive control. Executive control is a limited resource, and the aging process depletes this resource. People who regularly exercise are said to have higher “self-regulatory control”—planning, goal-shielding and impulse control—than irregular exercisers. The successful maintenance of physical activity participation in lieu of daily cognitive stressors likely reflects an adaptive resistance to control failures. Indeed, a handful of studies have shown the relationship between greater executive control and subsequently higher levels of physical activity. However, little is known about the neural correlates of physical activity adherence or sedentary behavior, with the view that neurocognitive factors have an antecedent and reciprocal influence on these behaviors. No research has focused on the brain networks responsible for the self-regulation of physical activity, which likely overlaps with structures and functions playing critical roles in the regulation of other health behaviors. Interdisciplinary investigations are needed to explain the extent to which physical activity self-regulation and self-regulatory failure is dependent upon, or under the influence of executive control processes and brain networks. Understanding the degree to which self-regulatory resources may be enhanced, restored, and trained will have enormous implications for basic science and applied fields. It is also of great import to understand whether or not physical activity self-regulation is a domain-specific behavior associated with specific brain networks, or to determine the extent to which regulatory network-sharing occurs. The aim of this Frontiers Research Topic is to curate contributions from researchers in social and cognitive neurosciences and related fields, whose work involves the study of physical activity behavior, self-regulation and executive control. For this Research Topic, we, therefore, solicit reviews, original research articles, and opinion papers, which draw theoretical or empirical connections related to sustained physical activity behavior, self-regulatory strategies, cognitive performance, and brain structure and function. While focusing on work in the neurosciences, this Research Topic also welcomes contributions in the form of behavioral studies, psychophysiological investigations, and methodological innovations. This Frontiers Research Topic will carve out new directions for the fields of exercise, cognitive, and social neurosciences. We hope you will consider submitting your work.

The Multi-Dimensional Contributions of Prefrontal Circuits to Emotion Regulation during Adulthood and Critical Stages of Development

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ISBN: 9783039217021 / 9783039217038 Year: Pages: 188 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03921-703-8 Language: eng
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-09 11:49:16
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The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a pivotal role in regulating our emotions. The importance of ventromedial regions in emotion regulation, including the ventral sector of the medial PFC, the medial sector of the orbital cortex and subgenual cingulate cortex, have been recognized for a long time. However, it is increasingly apparent that lateral and dorsal regions of the PFC, as well as neighbouring dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, also play a role. Defining the underlying psychological mechanisms by which these functionally distinct regions modulate emotions and the nature and extent of their interactions is a critical step towards better stratification of the symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. It is also important to extend our understanding of these prefrontal circuits in development. Specifically, it is important to determine whether they exhibit differential sensitivity to perturbations by known risk factors such as stress and inflammation at distinct developmental epochs. This Special Issue brings together the most recent research in humans and other animals that addresses these important issues, and in doing so, highlights the value of the translational approach.

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