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Cognitive Neuroscience: Definitions, Themes, and Approaches#01

Cognitive Neuroscience: Definitions, Themes, and Approaches#01


Cognitive neuroscience seeks to build on its parent fields by developing new models of cognitive functions that integrate ideas from both neuroscience and cognitive science.

Michael S. Gazzaniga,Geoffrey Davies,Richard B. Ivry,George R. Mangun
WW Norton & Co 2008-09-05
¥ 6,713



a Latin term that means “the faculty of knowing”

set of processes(cognitive functions) that allow humans and animals      1. to perceive external stimuli   2. to extract key information and hold it in memory   3. to generate thoughts and actions that help reach desired goals

 the subjective sense of self
(近年ではCognitive NeuroscienceでもMindの方面にも手を伸ばしている)
Cognition, Cognitive functions
to describe the specific sorts of information processing studied by cognitive neuroscientists

Natural philosophy and early psychology

The phenomenology of cognition

  • philosophical -> psychopysical (19th)
  • intorospection, reasoning -> behavioral observation, experimental manipulation


なぜCognitive Scienceが科学たり得るか。主観(subjective)ではなく客観(objective)


Psychology came to be dominated by a new emphasis on highly controlled experiments that matched objective external stimuli to measurable behavior


How changes in stimulus presentation could shape How individuals adapt their behavior to the demants of the environment(Subsequent behavior)

Behaviorists extended or applied basic processes of learing from non-human animals to human


  • education
  • treatment of addiction
  • criminal rehabilitation

and grounded Psychology firmly in an objective experimental approach


The focus of behaviorists on learning from rewards let them to ignore other cognitive functions

Psychological concepts could be discussed only in terms of the experimental manipulations that evoked them

Ignoring complex mental states made experiments more tractable But needlessly reduced the scope of psychology by excluding the study of cognitive functions other than learning

Cognitive science

  • in the mid-twentieth century

A confluence of factors revived the legitimacy of psychological research on cognitive functions

One factor: The advent of computational science

Information theory gave new insights into perception, memory, and motor performance

George Miller


Information theory

Computers provided a new model for mental processes

The metaphor of “mind as computer” became a staple in psychology

Explore more complex aspects of mental life

behaviorism was too simple. Open the Blackbox(Cognitive function)!

Stimulus -> Black box -> Response
Stimulus -> Cognitive functions -> Response

Cognitivism (psychology) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Noam Chomsky

Cognitive Science unifies research on mental process regardless of

  • the specific topic
  • experimental approach
  • method
  • discipline

intersted in 

  • characterizing the phenomena and behavior associated with specific cognitive functions 
  • creating cognitive models that describe the underlying psychological processes

Cognitive model

  • make some sense of complex cognitive phenomena
  • provide insights into the common outcomes
  • facilitate generalizations about experimental results
  • Cognitive models nealy equal Psychological constructs
  • 内部モデル
  • brain mappingをしようと思っているわけではない(それを通して人間の認知過程を理解するところに重点を置いている)
  • Neuro biology との関連
  • 認知過程がprimilyで、あとからbrainとintegrateする試み


Nervous systems

 how the nervous systems of humans and other animals are organized and function

Cerebral cortex


Phrenology made an important contribution to modern neuroscience: it introduced the idea that different parts of the brain contribute to different sorts of information processing.

phrenology -> localization of function

The identification of neurons

The neuron
 a cell body
 an axon
 multiple dendrites

Cognitive Neuroscience: The Neurobiological Approach to Cognition

Cognitive neuroscience

The Intersection of cognitive science and neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience combines all the difficulties of measuring brain function with all the problems of trying to accurately assess cognition and behavior as well as the complexities of trying to link them together.

Cognitive neuroscience’s goal is distinguished from

  • chemistry
  • physics
  • molecular biology   – whose boundaries are better defined

Misconception about Cognitive neuroscience research

Misconception: cognitive neuroscience simply maps the brain regions -> Neural correlate

Neural correlate - Neural correlate – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Neural correlates of consciousness – Scholarpedia - Neural correlates of consciousness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   – 意識に相関した脳活動 – Wikipedia - pooneilの脳科学論文コメント: Neural correlate - What is a Neural Correlate of Consciousness? (前半) – y_yossarianの日記 - What is a Neural Correlate of Consciousness? (後半) – y_yossarianの日記

Nonetheless, understanding the neural correlates of a function plays an important role.   The ambitions of cognitive neuroscience go beyond creating maps of brain function.

ブレインマップを作るのが目的ではなく、認知過程(cognitive process)がどのように機能しているかに重きを置いている(といってもマッピングが重要じゃないというわけではない)

Cognitive research combines information about brain structure and function to create neurobiologically grounded models of cognition

Indivisual differences


Cognitive neuroscience seeks to create biologically grounded models of cognitive function

Methods: Convergence and Complementarity

Using multiple methods provides two critical advantages:

  1. Convergence(収斂性or統合)
  2. Complementarity(相補性)   – 相補性 – Wikipedia


the approach of combining results from multiple experimental paradigms to illuminate a single theoretical concept


Convergence made it possible to demonstrate the existence of internal mental states that could not be measured directly.