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.