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Mental Practice - Clinical and Experimental Research in Imagery and Action Observation

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198399 Year: Pages: 208 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-839-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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There is now strong evidence demonstrating that the brain simulates action and other functions. Such action simulation can be evoked through conscious mental rehearsal of movement or imagery, but also through passive action observation watching movements in others. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that mental rehearsal of movement, or mental practice, can produce improvements normally attributed to practising actual movements. It is currently assumed that such improvements are due to neural activation associated with action simulation. However the neuroscience of mental practice efficacy is still poorly understood. The aim of this research topic is to clarify the underlying mechanisms of mental practice, bringing evidence from cognitive neuroscience, experimental neuropsychology, sport and movement science, and clinical neurology. It also attempts to address confusion regarding the concepts of imagery and observation, which has hampered the progression of mental practice research both scientifically and applied. As well as reviews, theoretical, and position articles, this research topic includes original neuroimaging, experimental, and patient research addressing, among others, the following issues. Neuroimaging studies provide strong evidence for action simulation, but the link to behavioural change and functional outcome is weak. What is the evidence that mental practice efficacy is driven by neuroplasticity processes evoked by action simulation? This research topic includes contributions on neural correlates and behaviour with regards to imagery and action observation. Much of the mental practice efficacy evidence comes from longstanding research within sport science. However, what does mental practice entail in these contexts, and to what extent is it compatible with the cognitive neuroscience perspective of action simulation? This research topic will include contributions that consider both evidence and concepts with regards to imagery and action observation, in an attempt to build an interdisciplinary consensus on the nature and application of mental practice. Mental practice is perceived as a promising motor rehabilitation technique, but critically there is lack of clarity or consensus on what mental practice treatment should entail. It is also not clear what are the most appropriate outcomes to measure imagery ability and cognitive or behavioural change following mental practice. A further important issue that needs consideration as part of this research topic is dosage, as it is currently unclear how much mental practice is appropriate and whether this depends on patient variables such as age, cognitive functioning, motor function, or pathophysiology.

Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: Recent Advances in Infant Speech Perception and Language Acquisition Research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194155 Year: Pages: 118 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-415-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is a novel and increasingly popular optical imaging technique that has revolutionarized brain research in the youngest developmental populations. After nearly a decade of technological development, NIRS has become a reliable, easy-to-use and efficient tool to explore the linguistic and cognitive abilities of neonates and young infants, opening new vistas for the investigation of language acquisition and cognitive development. This Research Topic covers the latest advances in these areas brought about by NIRS imaging. The main focus is to highlight innovative and foundational studies that go beyond methodological issues and advance our theoretical understanding of infant and child development. Contributions from the pioneers of this method are selected, illustrating how NIRS has allowed developmental researchers to ask theoretically relevant questions that more traditional methods couldn't address. These works further our understanding of language and cognitive development and bring us closer to bridging the gap between brain, mind and behavior at the very beginning of life.

Perspective Taking: Building a neurocognitive framework for integrating the "social" and the "spatial"

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194179 Year: Pages: 252 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-417-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Background: Interacting with other people involves spatial awareness of one’s own body and the other’s body and viewpoint. In the past, social cognition has focused largely on belief reasoning, which is abstracted away from spatial and bodily representations, while there is a strong tradition of work on spatial and object representation which does not consider social interactions. These two domains have flourished independently. A small but growing body of research examines how awareness of space and body relates to the ability to interpret and interact with others. This also builds on the growing awareness that many cognitive processes are embodied, which could be of relevance for the integration of the social and spatial domains: Online mental transformations of spatial representations have been shown to rely on simulated body movements and various aspects of social interaction have been related to the simulation of a conspecific’s behaviour within the observer’s bodily repertoire. Both dimensions of embodied transformations or mappings seem to serve the purpose of establishing alignment between the observer and a target. In spatial cognition research the target is spatially defined as a particular viewpoint or frame of reference (FOR), yet, in social interaction research another viewpoint is occupied by another’s mind, which crucially requires perspective taking in the sense of considering what another person experiences from a different viewpoint. Perspective taking has been studied in different ways within developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience over the last few decades, yet, integrative approaches for channelling all information into a unified account of perspective taking and viewpoint transformations have not been presented so far. Aims: This Research Topic aims to bring together the social and the spatial, and to highlight findings and methods which can unify research across areas. In particular, the topic aims to advance our current theories and set the stage for future developments of the field by clarifying and linking theoretical concepts across disciplines. Scope: The focus of this Research Topic is on the SPATIAL and the SOCIAL, and we anticipate that all submissions will touch on both aspects and will explicitly attempt to bridge conceptual gaps. Social questions could include questions of how people judge another person’s viewpoint or spatial capacities, or how they imagine themselves from different points of view. Spatial questions could include consideration of different physical configurations of the body and the arrangement of different viewpoints, including mental rotation of objects or viewpoints that have social relevance. Questions could also relate to how individual differences (in personality, sex, development, culture, species etc.) influence or determine social and spatial perspective judgements. Many different methods can be used to explore perspective taking, including mental chronometry, behavioural tasks, EEG/MEG and fMRI, child development, neuropsychological patients, virtual reality and more. Bringing together results and approaches from these different domains is a key aim of this Research Topic. We welcome submissions of experimental papers, reviews and theory papers which cover these topics.

Application of Nonlinear Analysis to the Study of Complex Systems in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199969 Year: Pages: 271 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-996-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Although nonlinear dynamics have been mastered by physicists and mathematicians for a long time (as most physical systems are inherently nonlinear in nature), the recent successful application of nonlinear methods to modeling and predicting several evolutionary, ecological, physiological, and biochemical processes has generated great interest and enthusiasm among researchers in computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Additionally, in the last years it has been demonstrated that nonlinear analysis can be successfully used to model not only basic cellular and molecular data but also complex cognitive processes and behavioral interactions. The theoretical features of nonlinear systems (such unstable periodic orbits, period-doubling bifurcations and phase space dynamics) have already been successfully applied by several research groups to analyze the behavior of a variety of neuronal and cognitive processes. Additionally the concept of strange attractors has lead to a new understanding of information processing which considers higher cognitive functions (such as language, attention, memory and decision making) as complex systems emerging from the dynamic interaction between parallel streams of information flowing between highly interconnected neuronal clusters organized in a widely distributed circuit and modulated by key central nodes. Furthermore, the paradigm of self-organization derived from the nonlinear dynamics theory has offered an interesting account of the phenomenon of emergence of new complex cognitive structures from random and non-deterministic patterns, similarly to what has been previously observed in nonlinear studies of fluid dynamics. Finally, the challenges of coupling massive amount of data related to brain function generated from new research fields in experimental neuroscience (such as magnetoencephalography, optogenetics and single-cell intra-operative recordings of neuronal activity) have generated the necessity of new research strategies which incorporate complex pattern analysis as an important feature of their algorithms. Up to now nonlinear dynamics has already been successfully employed to model both basic single and multiple neurons activity (such as single-cell firing patterns, neural networks synchronization, autonomic activity, electroencephalographic measurements, and noise modulation in the cerebellum), as well as higher cognitive functions and complex psychiatric disorders. Similarly, previous experimental studies have suggested that several cognitive functions can be successfully modeled with basis on the transient activity of large-scale brain networks in the presence of noise. Such studies have demonstrated that it is possible to represent typical decision-making paradigms of neuroeconomics by dynamic models governed by ordinary differential equations with a finite number of possibilities at the decision points and basic heuristic rules which incorporate variable degrees of uncertainty. This e-book has include frontline research in computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology involving applications of nonlinear analysis, especially regarding the representation and modeling of complex neural and cognitive systems. Several experts teams around the world have provided frontline theoretical and experimental contributions (as well as reviews, perspectives and commentaries) in the fields of nonlinear modeling of cognitive systems, chaotic dynamics in computational neuroscience, fractal analysis of biological brain data, nonlinear dynamics in neural networks research, nonlinear and fuzzy logics in complex neural systems, nonlinear analysis of psychiatric disorders and dynamic modeling of sensorimotor coordination.

Society, Organizations and the Brain: building towards a unified cognitive neuroscience perspective

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195800 Year: Pages: 205 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-580-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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This e-book brings together scholars in both the neurosciences and organizational sciences who have adopted various approaches to study the cognitive mechanisms mediating the social behavior that we see within organizations. Such an approach has been termed by ourselves, and others, as ‘organisational cognitive neuroscience’. In recent years there has been a veritable increase in studies that have explored the cognitive mechanisms driving such behaviors, and much progress has been made in understanding the neural underpinnings of processes such as financial exchange, risk awareness and even leadership. However, while these studies are informative and add to our understanding of human cognition they fall short of providing evidence-based recommendations for practice. Specifically, we address the broader issue of how the neuroscientific study of such core social behaviors can be used to improve the very way that we work. To address these gaps in our understanding the chapters in this book serve as a platform that allows scholars in both the neurosciences and the organizational sciences to highlight the work that spans across these two fields. The consolidation of these two fields also serves to highlight the utility of a singular organizational cognitive neuroscience. This is a fundamentally important outcome of the book as the application of neuroscience to address economically relevant behaviors has seen a variety of fields evolve in their own right, such as neuromarketing, neuroeconomics and so forth. The use of neuro-scientific technologies,in particular fMRI, has indeed led to a bewildering (and somewhat suffocating) proliferation of new approaches, however, the speed of such developments demands that we must proceed carefully with such ventures or risk some fundamental mistakes. The book that you now hold will consolidates these new neuroscience based approaches and in doing so highlight the importance of this approach in helping us to understand human social behavior in general. Taken together the chapters provide a framework for scholars within the neurosciences who wish to explore the further the opportunities that the study of organisational behavior may provide.

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