The key assumption here is that researchers can identify direct relationships between behavioral deficits and specific areas of the brain that were damaged. On the other side of the debate was the view from cognitive neuroscience, p. Because every method has its limitations, the more methods researchers could bring to bear, the more likely they are to have a correct picture of how behavior is related to neural functioning. In the case of patient populations, for example, in some cases the deficits in behavior might not simply reflect the normal functions of the damaged regions; rather, they could reflect reorganization of function after brain damage or diffuse damage to multiple regions that affects multiple separate functions.
If so, then observing patterns of dissociations and associations of abilities following brain damage would not necessarily allow researchers to delineate the structure of cognitive processing. Other methods would be required such as neuroimaging to complement studies of brain-damaged patients. The field quickly adopted the second perspective, drawing on multiple methods when constructing and testing theories of cognitive processing. Researchers realized that they could use multiple methods together in complementary ways: They could use functional imaging methods to describe the network of processes active in the healthy brain when engaged in a particular behavior; they could use lesion methods or TMS to assess the causal relationships between activity in specific brain areas and particular forms of information processing which in turn give rise to particular types of behavior ; they could use electrophysiological methods to study the temporal dynamics of cortical systems as they interactively relate to the behavior of interest.
And so on. The cognitive neuroscience approach adopted the idea that no single technique provides all the answers. That said, there is no denying that some techniques have proved more powerful and generative than others during the past 35 years.
In particular, it is difficult to overstate the impact of functional imaging of the healthy intact human brain, first ushered in by positron emission tomography studies in the late s Petersen et al. The advent of functional imaging is in many ways the single most important contributor to the rise of cognitive neuroscience. We must, however, offer a cautionary note: Functional imaging is by no means the be-all and end-all of cognitive neuroscience techniques. Like any other method, it has its own strengths and weaknesses which have been described in detail elsewhere, e.
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Researchers trained in cognitive neuroscience understand many, if not all, of these limitations, but unfortunately, many outside the field do not. This can cause two problems. The second, less appreciated problem, is that when nonspecialists read about studies of such overly simplistic hypotheses, they may assume that all cognitive neuroscientists traffic in this kind of experimentation and theorizing. As the chapters in these volumes make clear, most cognitive neuroscientists appreciate the strengths and limits of the various techniques they use, and understand that functional imaging is simply one of a number of techniques that allow neuroscience data to constrain theories of psychological processes.
In the next section, we turn to exactly this point. One implication of using multiple methods to study phenomena at multiple levels of analysis is that we have numerous types of data. These data provide converging evidence for, and constrain the nature of, theories of human cognition, emotion, and behavior.
That is, the data must fit together, painting different facets of the same picture this is what we mean by convergence.
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And even though each type of data alone does not dictate a particular interpretation, each type helps to narrow the range of possible interpretations this is what we mean by constraining the nature of theories. Researchers in cognitive neuroscience acknowledge that data always can be interpreted in various ways, but they also rely on the fact that data limit the range of viable interpretations—and the more types of data, the more strongly they will narrow down the range of possible theories. We note that the principled use of constraining and converging evidence does not privilege evidence couched at any one level of analysis.
Brain data are not more important, more real, or more p. Rather, both kinds of data constrain the range of possible theories of psychological processes, and as such, both are valuable.
In addition, both behavioral and brain data can spark changes in theories of psychological processes. This claim stands in contrast to claims made by those who have argued that brain data can never change, or in any way constrain, a psychological theory. According to this view, brain data are ambiguous without a psychological theory to interpret them Kihlstrom, Such arguments fail to appreciate the fact that the goal of cognitive neuroscience is to construct theories couched at all three levels of analysis.
Moreover, behavioral and brain data often are dependent variables collected in the same experiments.
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This is not arbitrary; we have ample evidence that behavior and brain function are intimately related: When the brain is damaged in a particular location, specific behaviors are disrupted—and when a person engages in specific behaviors, specific brain areas are activated. Dependent measures are always what science uses to constrain theorizing, and thus it follows that both behavioral and brain data must constrain our theories of the intervening psychological processes. This point is so important that we want to illustrate it with a two examples.
The first begins with classic studies of the amnesic patient known for decades only by his initials, H. Corkin, We now know that his name was Henry. In the s, Henry suffered from severe epilepsy that could not be treated with medication, which arose because of abnormal neural tissue in his temporal lobes.
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When Henry awoke after his operation, the epilepsy was gone, but so was his ability to form new memories of events he experienced. Henry was stuck in the eternal present, forevermore awakening each day with his sense of time frozen at the age at which he had the operation. The time horizon for his experience was about two minutes, or the amount of time information could be retained in short-term memory before it required transfer to a longer-term episodic memory store.
To say that the behavioral sequelae of H. Many psychologists and neuroscientists spent the better part of the next 20 to 30 years reconfiguring their theories of memory in order to accommodate these and subsequent findings. This understanding of H. This debate was between, on the one hand, behavioral and psychological theorists who argued that we have a single memory system which has multiple processes and, on the other hand, neuroscience-inspired theorists who argued that we have multiple memory systems each of which instantiates a particular kind of process or processes.
The initial observation of H. Cognitive processing relies on multiple types of memory, and each uses a distinct set of representations and processes. This was a clear victory for the cognitive neuroscience approach over purely behavioral approaches. On one hand, some psychologists and philosophers argued that the pictorial characteristics of visual mental images that are evident to experience are epiphenomenal, like heat produced by a light bulb when someone is reading—something that could be experienced but played no role in accomplishing the function.
On the other hand, cognitive neuroscientists argued that visual mental images are analogous to visual percepts in that they use space in a representation to specify space in the world.
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This debate went back and forth for many years without resolution, and at one point a mathematical proof was offered that behavioral data alone could never resolve it Anderson, A key p. That is, these areas use space on the cortex to represent space in the world. In the early s, researchers showed that visualizing objects typically activates these areas, and increasing the size of a visual mental image activates portions of this cortex that register increasingly larger sizes in perception.
Moreover, in the late s researchers showed that temporarily impairing these areas using TMS hampers imagery and perception to the same degree. Hence, these brain-based findings provided clear evidence that visual mental images are, indeed, analogous to visual percepts in that both represent space in the world by using space in a representation. We have written as if both debates—about memory systems and mental imagery representation—are now definitely closed. But this is a simplification; not everyone is convinced of one or another view.
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Our crucial point is that the advent of neuroscientific data has shifted the terms of the debate. When only behavioral data were available, in both cases the two alternative positions seemed equally plausible—but after the relevant neuroscientific data were introduced, the burden of proof shifted dramatically to one side—and a clear consensus emerged in the field e. In the years since these debates, evidence from cognitive neuroscience has constrained theories of a wide range of phenomena. Many such examples are chronicled in this Handbook.
Cognitive neuroscience in the new millennium is a broad and diverse field, defined by a multileveled integrative approach.
The first volume surveys classic areas of interest in cognitive neuroscience: perception, attention, memory, and language. Twenty years ago when Kevin Ochsner was a graduate student and Stephen Kosslyn was one of his professors, research on these topics formed the backbone of cognitive neuroscience research.
And this is still true today, for two reasons. First, when cognitive neuroscience took off, these were the areas of research within psychology that had the most highly developed behavioral, psychological, and neuropsychological i. And in the case of research on perception, attention, and memory, these were topics for which fairly detailed models of the underlying neural circuitry already had been developed on the basis of rodent and nonhuman primate studies.
As such, these areas were poised to benefit from the use of brain-based techniques in humans. Second, research on the representations and processes used in perception, attention, memory, and language in many ways forms a foundation for studying other kinds of complex behaviors, which are the focus of the second volume. This is true both in terms of the findings themselves and in terms of the evidence such findings provided that the cognitive neuroscience approach could be successful. With this in mind, each of the four sections in Volume 1 includes a selection of chapters that cover core processes and the ways in which they develop across the lifespan and may break down in special populations.
The first section, on perception, includes chapters on the abilities to represent and recognize objects and spatial relations. In addition, this section contains chapters on the use of top-down processes in visual perception and on the ways in which such processes enable us to construct and use mental images.
We also include chapters on perceptual abilities that have seen tremendous research growth in the past 5 to 10 years, such as on the study of olfaction, audition, and music perception. Finally, there is a chapter on disorders of perception. The second section, on attention, includes chapters on the abilities to attend to auditory and spatial information as well as on the relationships between attention, action, and visual motor control.
These are followed by chapters on the development of attention and its breakdown in various disorders. The third section, on memory, includes chapters on the abilities to maintain information in working memory as well as semantic memory, episodic memory, and the consolidation process that governs the transfer of information from working to semantic and episodic memory. There is also a chapter on the ability to acquire skills, which depends on different systems than those used in other forms of memory, as well as chapters on changes in memory function with older age and the ways in which memorial processes break down in various disorders.
Finally, the fourth section, on language, includes chapters on abilities such as speech perception and production, the distinction between linguistic p. As noted earlier, in many ways the success of these relatively newer research directions builds on the successes of research in the classic domains. Indeed, our knowledge of the systems implicated in perception, attention, memory, and language literally—and in this Handbook —provided the foundation for the work described in Volume 2.
The first section, on emotion, begins with processes involved in interactions between emotion, perception, and attention, as well as the generation and regulation of emotion. This is followed by chapters that provide models for understanding broadly how emotion affects cognition as well as the contribution that bodily sensation and control make to affective and other processes.
This section concludes with chapters on genetic and developmental approaches to emotion. The second section, on self and social cognition, begins with a chapter on the processes that give rise to the fundamental ability to know and understand oneself. This section concludes with a chapter on the development of social cognitive abilities. The third section, on higher cognitive functions, surveys abilities that largely depend on processes in the frontal lobes of the brain, which interact with the kinds of core perceptual, attentional, and memorial processes described in Volume 1.
Here, we include chapters on conflict monitoring and cognitive control, the hierarchical control of action, thinking, decision making, categorization, expectancies, numerical cognition, and neuromodulatory influences on higher cognitive abilities.