Think fast: Speed of thought and perception limited by unified neocortical gateway

By | August 30, 2011

Think fast Speed of thought and perception limited by unified neocortical gateway

… researchers at Vanderbilt University used time-resolved functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – where both the topography and temporal sequence of cortical activation across brain regions is examined – to identify a unified attentional bottleneck – a network of regions that apparently limits the speeds at which perceptual encoding and decision-making can occur. …

The research, conducted by a team of researchers led by Michael N. Tombu at Vanderbilt University’s Marois Lab, found that the inferior frontal junction, superior medial frontal cortex, and bilateral insula are directly involved in capacity limited processing. …

This has implications for theory and also leads very naturally to future work that will better define exactly how the brain deals with the problem of limited resources in a world of unlimited possibilities. In the longer term, this may have implications for how computers are designed to deal with exactly the same problem. As we speak, IBM is already developing chips that behave more like neurons in the brain, capable of learning through processes akin to synaptic connections, to develop what the company calls cognitive computing. If we can establish how the brain deals with problems of limited capacity, these principles may also be applied to cognitive computing as well.â€

Regarding potential medical applications, Tombu notes that numerous disorders relate to attentional deficiencies. “Our research speaks directly to the neural mechanisms responsible for the deployment of attention in a range of situations including encoding and response selection. Isolating such a network may help focus research on the potential neural correlates of these disorders.†…

via Think fast: Speed of thought and perception limited by unified neocortical gateway.

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