Science posts

See science posts on page 68 below.

    • 1988
    • Marcel Adam Just et al
    • Mental models of mechanical systems: Individual differences in qualitative and quantitative reasoning
    • People who understand mechanical systems can infer the principles of operation of an unfamiliar device from their knowledge of the device's components and their mechanical interactions. Individuals vary considerably in their ability to make this type of inference. This paper describes studies of performance in psychometric tests of mechanical ability. Based on subjects' retrospective protocols and response patterns, it was possible to identify rules of mechanical reasoning that accounted for the performance of subjects of different levels of mechanical ability. The rules are explicitly stated in a simulation model which demonstrates the sufficiency of the rules by producing the kinds of responses observed in the subjects. Three abilities are proposed as the sources of individual differences in performance: (1) ability to correctly identify which attributes of a system are relevant to its mechanical function, (2) ability to use rules consistently, and (3) ability to quantitatively com..
    • 2010
    • Andrew D. Engell et al
    • Differential activation of frontoparietal attention networks by social and symbolic spatial cues
    • Perception of both gaze-direction and symbolic directional cues (e.g. arrows) orient an observer’s attention toward the indicated location. It is unclear, however, whether these similar behavioral effects are examples of the same attentional phenomenon and, therefore, subserved by the same neural substrate. It has been proposed that gaze, given its evolutionary significance, constitutes a ‘special’ category of spatial cue. As such, it is predicted that the neural systems supporting spatial reorienting will be different for gaze than for non-biological symbols. We tested this prediction using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the brain’s response during target localization in which laterally presented targets were preceded by uninformative gaze or arrow cues. Reaction times were faster during valid than invalid trials for both arrow and gaze cues. However, differential patterns of activity were evoked in the brain. Trials including invalid rather than valid arrow cues r..
    • arrow, eyes, fMRI, gaze
    • 2012
    • Mark A. Thornton
    • Working memory for social information: Chunking or domain-specific buffer?
    • Humans possess unique social abilities that set us apart from other species. These abilities may be partially supported by a large capacity for maintaining and manipulating social information. Efficient social working memory might arise from two different sources: chunking of social information or a domain-specific buffer. We test these hypotheses with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) by manipulating sociality and working memory load in an n-back paradigm. We observe (i) an effect of load in the frontoparietal control network, (ii) an effect of sociality in regions associated with social cognition and face processing, and (iii) an interaction within the frontoparietal network such that social load has a smaller effect than nonsocial load. These results support the hypothesis that working memory is more efficient for social information than for nonsocial information, and suggest that chunking, rather than a domain-specific buffer, is the mechanism of this greater efficiency.
    • 2010
    • Radek Ptak, Armin Schnider
    • The Dorsal Attention Network Mediates Orienting toward Behaviorally Relevant Stimuli in Spatial Neglect
    • Experimental neurophysiology and functional neuroimaging have identified a dorsal attention network that encodes neural signals related to the behavioral significance of a stimulus. The core anatomical areas of this network are the frontal eye fields and the posterior parietal cortex, which are interconnected by the superior longitudinal fasciculus. Here, we show that damage or disconnection of this network predicts the extent to which task-relevant stimuli capture attention of human stroke patients with spatial neglect. Healthy volunteers, right-hemisphere-damaged control participants, and patients with left neglect reacted to peripheral targets defined by their color, which were preceded by a brief distracter stimulus. The position of the distracter and its relevance for the current trial were independently varied. In neglect patients with damage including the frontal eye fields and the superior longitudinal fasciculus, ipsilesional distracters impaired orienting into contralesiona..
    • 2005
    • Marco Tettamanti
    • Listening to Action-related Sentences Activates Fronto-parietal Motor Circuits
    • Observing actions made by others activates the cortical circuits responsible for the planning and execution of those same actions. This observation–execution matching system (mirror-neuron system) is thought to play an important role in the understanding of actions made by others. In an fMRI experiment, we tested whether this system also becomes active during the processing of action-related sentences. Participants listened to sentences describing actions performed with the mouth, the hand, or the leg. Abstract sentences of comparable syntactic structure were used as control stimuli. The results showed that listening to action-related sentences activates a left fronto-parieto-temporal network that includes the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area), those sectors of the premotor cortex where the actions described are motorically coded, as well as the inferior parietal lobule, the intraparietal sulcus, and the posterior middle temporal gyrus. These data p..
    • 2011
    • Meghan L. Meyer
    • Evidence for social working memory from a parametric functional MRI study
    • Keeping track of various amounts of social cognitive information, including people's mental states, traits, and relationships, is fundamental to navigating social interactions. However, to date, no research has examined which brain regions support variable amounts of social information processing (“social load”). We developed a social working memory paradigm to examine the brain networks sensitive to social load. Two networks showed linear increases in activation as a function of increasing social load: the medial frontoparietal regions implicated in social cognition and the lateral frontoparietal system implicated in nonsocial forms of working memory. Of these networks, only load-dependent medial frontoparietal activity was associated with individual differences in social cognitive ability (trait perspective-taking). Although past studies of nonsocial load have uniformly found medial frontoparietal activity decreases with increasing task demands, the current study demons..
    • Meghan L. Meyer, Robert P. Spunt, Elliot T. Berkman, Shelley E. Taylor, Matthew D. Lieberman
    • mentalizing, default-mode network, neuroimaging, cognitive load
    • 2013
    • Jonathan St. B. T. Evans
    • Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition
    • Dual-process and dual-system theories in both cognitive and social psychology have been subjected to a number of recently published criticisms. However, they have been attacked as a category, incorrectly assuming there is a generic version that applies to all. We identify and respond to 5 main lines of argument made by such critics. We agree that some of these arguments have force against some of the theories in the literature but believe them to be overstated. We argue that the dual-processing distinction is supported by much recent evidence in cognitive science. Our preferred theoretical approach is one in which rapid autonomous processes (Type 1) are assumed to yield default responses unless intervened on by distinctive higher order reasoning processes (Type 2). What defines the difference is that Type 2 processing supports hypothetical thinking and load heavily on working memory.
    • Jonathan St. B. T. Evans, Keith E. Stanovich
    • dual processes, dual systems, rationality, individual differences, working memory
    • 2002
    • James V. Haxby
    • Human neural systems for face recognition and social communication
    • Face perception is mediated by a distributed neural system in humans that consists of multiple, bilateral regions. The functional organization of this system embodies a distinction between the representation of invariant aspects of faces, which is the basis for recognizing individuals, and the representation of changeable aspects, such as eye gaze, expression, and lip movement, which underlies the perception of information that facilitates social communication. The system also has a hierarchical organization. A core system, consisting of occipitotemporal regions in extrastriate visual cortex, mediates the visual analysis of faces. An extended system consists of regions from neural systems for other cognitive functions that can act in concert with the core system to extract meaning from faces. Of regions in the extended system for face perception, the amygdala plays a central role in processing the social relevance of information gleaned from faces, particularly when that information ..
    • James V. Haxby, Elizabeth A. Hoffmana, M.Ida Gobbinia
    • Face perception, functional brain imaging, spatial attention, emotion, facial expression, semantic knowledge
    • 2010
    • Ashley C. Chen
    • ‘Do I like this person?’ A network analysis of midline cortex during a social preference task
    • Human communication and survival depend on effective social information processing. Abundant behavioral evidence has shown that humans efficiently judge preferences for other individuals, a critical task in social interaction, yet the neural mechanism of this basic social evaluation, remains less than clear. Using a socio-emotional preference task and connectivity analyses (psycho-physiological interaction) of fMRI data, we first demonstrated that cortical midline structures (medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices) and the task-positive network typically implicated in carrying out goal-directed tasks (pre-supplementary motor area, dorsal anterior cingulate and bilateral frontoparietal cortices) were both recruited when subjects made a preference judgment, relative to gender identification, to human faces. Connectivity analyses further showed network interactions among these cortical midline structures, and with the task-positive network, both of which vary as a function o..
    • Ashley C. Chena, Robert C. Welshb, Israel Liberzonb, Stephan F. Taylor
    • fMRI BOLD, Cortical midline structures, Social cognition, Functional connectivity, Psycho-physiological interaction
    • 2005
    • Jason P. Mitchell
    • The Link between Social Cognition and Self-referential Thought in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex
    • The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in seemingly disparate cognitive functions, such as understanding the minds of other people and processing information about the self. This functional overlap would be expected if humans use their own experiences to infer the mental states of others, a basic postulate of simulation theory. Neural activity was measured while participants attended to either the mental or physical aspects of a series of other people. To permit a test of simulation theory's prediction that inferences based on self-reflection should only be made for similar others, targets were subsequently rated for their degree of similarity to self. Parametric analyses revealed a region of the ventral mPFC—previously implicated in self-referencing tasks—in which activity correlated with perceived self/other similarity, but only for mentalizing trials. These results suggest that self-reflection may be used to infer the mental states of others when they are sufficie..
    • Jason P. Mitchell, Mahzarin R. Banaji, C. Neil Macrae