Cortex and Mind: Unifying Cognition by Joaquin M. Fuster

By Joaquin M. Fuster

This ebook offers a distinct synthesis of the present neuroscience of cognition via one of many world's specialists within the box. The tenet to this synthesis is the guiding principle that the whole lot of our wisdom is encoded by way of family members, and therefore by way of connections, in neuronal networks of our cerebral cortex. Cognitive networks strengthen by way of event on a base of commonly dispersed modular mobilephone assemblies representing hassle-free sensations and hobbies. As they increase cognitive networks set up themselves hierarchically via order of complexity or abstraction in their content material. simply because networks intersect profusely, sharing commong nodes, a neuronal meeting wherever within the cortex should be a part of many networks, and consequently many goods of information. All cognitive services encompass neural transactions inside of 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, realization, language, and intelligence. during this learn, he uses a wide physique of proof from various methodologies, within the mind of the human in addition to the nonhuman primate. the 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 extraordinary constancy the order within the human brain.

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Separate analyses and mechanisms do not, however, imply separate neuroanatomical substrates. It shoula be apparent in the ensuing chapters that any cognit or cortical network can serve several cognitive functions. 2 Nenroliology of Cortical Networks Z n this chapter I outline the present state of knowledge on the development of cortical networks, the postulated substrate of all cognitive functions. Separate sections are devoted to the ontogeny and phylogeny of the cortex, although the two are inextricably related.

Diagrams of phylogenetic development of the cerebral cortex. A: Parasaggital sections of the brain in five classes of vertebrates; P, pallium, a generic evolutionary term for all cortex, paleocortex and neocortex. From Creutzfeldt (1993), after Edinger modified. B: Coronal sections of Necturus, a primitive amphibian, the box tortoise (Cistudo), the Virginia opossum (Didelphis), and the human. From Herrick (1956), modified. , 1988). Others propose that the neocortex derives from a structure deeper in the telencephalon, the dorsal ventricular ridge (Karten, 1969; Butler, 1994), though this has been disputed (Aboitiz, 1999).

Along the shafts of dendrites existing at birth, synaptic spines increase in number until some time between the third and twelfth months of postnatal life, when they reach their maximum (Purpura, 1975; Michel and Garey, 1984; Huttenlocher, 1990); then they undergo a gradual decrease into adult life. The significance and implications of the exuberant growth and attrition of neocortical elements are poorly understood. Undoubtedly these processes are to a large extent genetically determined, but there are indications that at certain times in postnatal life they are subject to a number of endogenous and exogenous factors that also contribute to their final outcome in the adult.

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