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Category: Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Sensory Cortex Is Nonessential in Working Memory Storage

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 192-193 Abstract “Despite the initial supporting evidence and the popularity of the sensory account of visual working memory (VWM) storage, the overwhelming negative evidence presented in my review [1] and a related review [2] show that sensory regions are unlikely to play an essential role in VWM storage. In commentaries, Gayet et al. [3] and Scimeca et al. [4] put forth new arguments in defense of the sensory account of VWM storage. However, the evidence and arguments presented do not provide support for this account or address the negative evidence.” Written by:… Read More

Reaffirming the Sensory Recruitment Account of Working Memory

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 190-192 Abstract “The sensory recruitment theory of working memory (WM) proposes that the same cortical regions that contribute to online perceptual processing of a stimulus are recruited to maintain that information in WM [1,2]. In a recent review, Xu reevaluates and rejects sensory accounts of visual WM storage [3]. We clarify here several principles of sensory recruitment theory and describe how the evidence explored in the review – for instance, the role of top-down signals in sustaining sensory cortex representations – actually supports sensory accounts of WM storage.” Written by:… Read More

The Myth of Optimality in Clinical Neuroscience

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 241-257 Abstract “Implicit in modern dimensional theories of psychiatric illness is the assumption that population variability and illness vulnerability are interchangeable constructs. Mounting evidence suggests that healthy variation is ubiquitous in natural populations, and must be interpreted in terms of cost–benefit tradeoffs. Psychiatric illnesses arise through a web of interactions linking brain function, behavior, and a lifetime of experiences. Research on illness etiology will only progress through the collection of comprehensive phenomic-level datasets. Large-scale collaborative efforts have begun to generate broad phenotypic batteries that encompass environmental and contextual factors, brain… Read More

The Partisan Brain: An Identity-Based Model of Political Belief

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 213-224 Abstract Over 2 billion people use social media every day, and many use it to read and discuss politics. Social media also facilitate the spread of fake news and hyper-partisan content. Online discussions of politicized topics, including political events and issues (e.g., same-sex marriage, climate change, gun control), resemble an echo chamber. That is, posts on these topics are shared primarily by people with similar ideological preferences. Political polarization is most likely when users employ moral/emotional language. This may reflect ideological differences between people on the left versus right… Read More

Seeing Other Minds in 3D

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 193-195 Abstract “To be kind or compassionate, or cruel or condescending, a social agent must understand what others are likely to want, feel, and choose. In this issue Tamir and Thornton [1] offer a powerful and parsimonious account of human social knowledge (how we represent the internal states of one another) and social prediction (how we anticipate dynamics in those internal states).” Written by: Rebecca Saxe For Full Text:

Anxiety and Threat-Related Attention: Cognitive-Motivational Framework and Treatment

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 225-240 Abstract “Research in experimental psychopathology and cognitive theories of anxiety highlight threat-related attention biases (ABs) and underpin the development of a computer-delivered treatment for anxiety disorders: attention-bias modification (ABM) training. Variable effects of ABM training on anxiety and ABs generate conflicting research recommendations, novel ABM training procedures, and theoretical controversy. This article summarises an updated cognitive-motivational framework, integrating proposals from cognitive models of anxiety and attention, as well as evidence of ABs. Interactions between motivational salience-driven and goal-directed influences on multiple cognitive processes (e.g., stimulus evaluation, inhibition, switching, orienting)… Read More

A Dynamic Structure of Social Trait Space

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 197-200 Abstract “Facial appearance evokes robust impressions of other people’s personality traits. Recent research suggests that the trait space arising from face-based impressions shifts due to context and social cognitive factors. We suggest a novel framework in which multiple bottom-up and top-down processes mutually determine a dynamic rather than fixed trait space.” Written by: Ryan M. Stolier, Eric Hehman, Jonathan B. Freeman For full text:

Modeling the Predictive Social Mind

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 201-212 Abstract “We propose a multilayered framework consisting of two hidden layers – traits and states –and one observable layer – actions. This framework address two key challenges in social cognition: organizing social knowledge efficiently, and using it for social prediction. fMRI, combined with advanced analytic techniques such as representational similarity analysis and encoding models, offers a way to reveal the dimensional structure organizing each layer of social cognition. Three dimensions – rationality, social impact, and valence – organize the layer of mental states, while three dimensions – power, sociality,… Read More

How Primate Brains Vary and Evolve

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 195-197 Abstract “Studies of brain evolution tend to focus on differences across species rather than on variation within species. A new study measures and compares intraspecific variation in macaque and human brain anatomy to explore the effect that short-term diversity has on long-term evolution.” Written by: Aida Gómez-Robles For full text:

Beyond Functional Connectivity: Investigating Networks of Multivariate Representations

Published in: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 3, 258 – 269 Abstract “A family of novel methods study the interactions between brain regions taking advantage of the information encoded in multivariate patterns of responses. Some of these methods additionally capture nonlinear interactions, offering insights into how representations are transformed from brain region to brain region. These advances enable researchers to ask questions not only about whether, but also about how multiple brain regions interact.