Heineken Prize Lecture by John Duncan 'A core brain system in assembly of cognitive episodes'

25 September 2012 from 15:00 to 15:00 hrs
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Abstract of the lecture

In human fMRI studies, a common or multiple-demand (MD) pattern of frontal and parietal activity is associated with diverse cognitive demands, and with standard tests of fluid intelligence. In complex behaviour, goals are achieved by assembling a series of sub-tasks, creating structured mental programs. Based on behavioural, neuropsychological, fMRI and single unit data, I suggest that MD cortex plays a key role in this process. The proposal is illustrated with a series of physiological studies in human and monkey brain, showing the activity of MD cortex in sequential creation of cognitive or attentional episodes. By these means, I suggest, the MD system provides a critical neurophysiological basis for intelligent thought and action.