Cortex and Mind: Unifying Cognition by Joaquin M. Fuster

By Joaquin M. Fuster

This e-book provides a special synthesis of the present neuroscience of cognition by means of one of many world's gurus within the box. The tenet to this synthesis is the guiding principle that everything of our wisdom is encoded via kin, and therefore via connections, in neuronal networks of our cerebral cortex. Cognitive networks boost via event on a base of commonly dispersed modular cellphone assemblies representing hassle-free sensations and pursuits. As they improve cognitive networks manage themselves hierarchically by means of order of complexity or abstraction in their content material. simply because networks intersect profusely, sharing commong nodes, a neuronal meeting anyplace within the cortex could be a part of many networks, and accordingly many goods of information. All cognitive features encompass neural transactions inside and among cognitive networks. After reviewing the neurobiology and structure of cortical networks (also named cognits), the writer undertakes a scientific research of cortical dynamics in all the significant cognitive functions--perception, reminiscence, cognizance, language, and intelligence. during this examine, he uses a wide physique of proof from quite a few methodologies, within the mind of the human in addition to the nonhuman primate. the end result of his interdisciplinary pastime is the emergence of a structural and dynamic order within the cerebral cortex that, although nonetheless sketchy and fragmentary, mirrors with awesome constancy the order within the human brain.

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Extra resources for Cortex and Mind: Unifying Cognition

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The issue has been examined in the prefrontal cortex of developing monkeys by means of axon-tracing techniques (Goldman-Rakic, 1981). Early in fetal life, corticocortical fibers from the contralateral hemisphere have been observed to reach their prefrontal destination through the corpus callosum. At first, however, their distribution is coarse. Later in embryogenesis that distribution becomes topographically refined, in part by reduction of redundant axons and in part, it is believed, under the influence or guidance of preexisting structures, Neurobiology of Cortical Networks 35 such as thalamocortical fibers.

It has been suggested that the process may essentially consist in the duplication of areas by genetic mutation (Allman and Kaas, 1971; Fukuchi-Shimogori and Grove, 2001; Rakic, 2001). The concept appears plausible; for one thing, it is in accord with ontogenetic trends, especially in myelination. What appears untenable is the notion that, in primitive mammals, areas of undifferentiated cortex, which would correspond to what is now commonly understood by the term association cortex, somehow gave rise to the specialized sensory and motor areas.

Everybody agrees that the neocortical representations of our internal and external environments, of our internal milieu and the world around us, are built by modulation of contacts between neurons. Not everybody, however, accepts the synapse as the only form of functional contact between neurons—probably it is not. 11. Diagram of a pyramidal neuron of the hippocampus and the various observable types of synaptic terminals on it. From Hamlyn (1962), modified. cepted. That idea, first proposed by Tanzi (1893) and Cajal (1894), has now taken solid hold, and the evidence for it is impressive, especially in invertebrates and in the mammalian hippocampus.

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