John Duncan has been awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science for his innovative, multidisciplinary research into the relationships between psychology, behaviour and intelligence, and neural processes.
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.
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