Brian F. O'Donnell, Dean F. Salisbury, Margaret A. Niznikiewicz, Colleen A. Brenner, and Jenifer L. Vohs
Schizophrenia is a disabling psychotic illness that has been associated with alterations in synaptic connectivity and neurotransmission. Since event-related potential (ERP) components are typically generated by the summation of postsynaptic potentials produced by neural populations, these measures are well suited to assess such pathophysiological alterations. This chapter reviews the utility of ERP components in the investigation of the cognitive and neural mechanisms affected by schizophrenia. It focuses on five components: mismatch negativity (MMN), P50 measures of sensory gating, N100 and P300 in the oddball discrimination paradigms, and the N400 component elicited during language processing. These components test key cognitive systems affected by schizophrenia: sensory memory (MMN), sensory processing and inhibition (P50, N1), selective attention and working memory (P300), and semantic processing (N400). These components are discussed with respect to the following issues: (1) cognitive and neural systems indexed by the component, (2) abnormalities in schizophrenia, (3) sensitivity and specificity to schizophrenia, (4) clinical correlates, and (5) relationship to genetic variation. ERP components are well validated biomarkers for schizophrenia which have significant promise in the characterization of genomic and epigenomic factors, pharmacological response in humans and animal models, and the developmental and cognitive expression of the illness.
Michael A. Arbib
The chapter presents the hypothesis that early Homo sapiens were language-ready in the sense that they had brains that could have supported language had it already been developed, but were not yet language-using. Informed by data from comparative neuroprimatology, the approach sees protolanguage emerging from complex recognition and imitation of manual skills via biocultural evolution, while cultural evolution alone supported the emergence of language from protolanguage. This approach supports the view that the Homo sapiens language-ready brain had the more general property of being construction-ready, and that this made possible the emergence of drawing and painting through later cultural evolution.
William J. Davies
This article provides an overview of what shapes the acoustic signals that arrive at the ear. There are three physical processes which are capable of generating audible sound: a vibrating surface, a turbulent fluid, and a rapid pressure change. It is structured as an account of the journey of a sound wave, from first generation, then propagation outdoors, followed by transmission into a building and indoor reverberation to its final reception, perception, and assessment. It throws light on how the signals that arrive at the ear are generated; how environment influences these signals; and how sound is perceived, controlled, and assessed in the environment. It gives information on basic principles, common measurements and current modelling techniques. Finally, it suggests that the external environment is complex and the acoustic signals arriving the ear reflect this complexity by carrying information about their production, their interaction with the environment, and their transmission through it.
This article introduces a number of critical features of the afferent synapse with particular reference to mammalian hearing. The auditory synapse is the first relay point for the input of sound into the nervous system and the properties of this synapse determine how well a signal from the hair cells is relayed up the auditory brainstem. This information is re-encoded as a pattern in the auditory nerve for subsequent analysis by the brain. The design of the afferent synapse ensures that the information content is not degraded. The article describes the structure and physiology of the afferent synapse and explains the presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms. Furthermore, it reveals the paired presynaptic and postsynaptic responses. In addition, it also describes the concept of synaptic adaptation and the genetics of the synapse. It also states that it is sometimes necessary to extrapolate from non-mammalian systems.
Robert D. Frisina
This article examines age-related changes in the central auditory system from anatomical and neurochemical vantage points, and then the functional consequences of these structural changes are presented in the context of human perception and the underlying physiology of animal model systems. Neural processing in the central auditory system is dependent on the magnitude and timing of excitatory and inhibitory inputs to auditory neurons. Recent evidence suggests that there may be aging changes in other neurotransmitters at the level of the inferior colliculus. The molecular, anatomical, and neurochemical changes occurring with age in the auditory system have functional consequences for central auditory sound processing. Many of these are due to reduced cochlear outputs with age, and others appear to be somewhat independent of these peripheral changes, in line with neurodegenerative deficits of the aging brain. The article reveals that plasticity in the central auditory system often occurs well into old age, which is interesting from the perspectives of both basic neuroscience and future clinical interventions.
This chapter reviews event-related potential (ERP) studies in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Such studies have been conducted from two different points of view: using ERPs to learn something about the disease and using the disease to learn something about ERPs. This review focuses on the former aspect: the utility of ERPs in the clinic. Thus, ERP research in neurodegenerative diseases will be discussed from the perspective of the insights gained from ERPs (1) for diagnosis, (2) for delineating and understanding the consequences of the disease for cognition, and (3) for determining the prognosis about the course of the disease.
Keith J. Holyoak
Analogy is an inductive mechanism based on structured comparisons of mental representations. It is an important special case of role-based relational reasoning, in which inferences are generated on the basis of patterns of relational roles. Analogical reasoning is a complex process involving retrieval of structured knowledge from long-term memory, representing and manipulating role-filler bindings in working memory, identifying elements that play corresponding roles, generating new inferences, and learning abstract schemas. For empirical analogies, analogical inference is guided by causal knowledge about how the source analog operates. Simpler types of relation-based transfer can be produced by relational priming. Human analogical reasoning is heavily dependent on working memory and other executive functions supported by the prefrontal cortex, with the frontopolar subregion being selectively activated when multiple relations must be integrated to solve a problem.
J. David Smith, Michael J. Beran, and Justin J. Couchman
Metacognition refers to the monitoring and control of basic cognitive processes. The presumption is that some minds have a cognitive executive that oversees and regulates thinking and problem solving to evaluate progress and optimize prospects. Comparative psychologists are currently exploring whether nonhuman animals share humans’ capacity for metacognition. Researchers have tested various species in perceptual, memory, and foraging metacognition paradigms. There is a growing consensus that some species may possess a basic metacognitive capacity, though theoretical debate continues. This chapter summarizes the current state of the empirical literature on animal metacognition, discussing the research’s progress to date, remaining empirical challenges and theoretical issues, and the research’s implications for broader issues of reflective mind and cognitive self-regulation in animals and humans.
Ulrike Griebel and D. Kimbrough Oller
Human languages are symbolic. If we accept a broadly gradualist account of evolution, forerunners of the symbolism found in human languages should be observable in our closest relatives. After intensive training by humans, animals as different as great apes, dogs, sea lions, parrots, and dolphins have been shown to be able to learn, and in some cases to use, linguistic symbols with both humans and conspecifics. However, there is an absence of convincing and widely accepted evidence for symbolism in the use by non-human animals of natural communication systems in the wild. In addressing this apparent paradox, we provide definitions of fundamental differences between human symbolism and non-human communication systems and discuss foundational capacities for symbolism in non-humans. We argue that animal signals sometimes thought to resemble symbols are more likely (as proposed by Darwin) emotional expressions. We offer arguments about the evolutionary pressures that may have led to increasingly complex communication in the hominin line.
Bert De Smedt and Roland H. Grabner
In this chapter, we explore three types of applications of neuroscience to mathematics education: neurounderstanding, neuroprediction, and neurointervention. Neurounderstanding refers to the idea that neuroscience is generating knowledge on how people acquire mathematical skills and how this learning is reflected at the biological level. Such knowledge might yield a better understanding of the typical and atypical development of school-taught mathematical competencies. Neuroprediction deals with the potential of neuroimaging data to predict future mathematical skill acquisition and response to educational interventions. In neurointervention, we discuss how brain imaging data have been used to ground interventions targeted at mathematics learning and how education shapes the neural circuitry that underlies school-taught mathematics. We additionally elaborate on recently developed neurophysiological interventions that have been shown to affect mathematical learning. While these applications offer exciting opportunities for mathematics education, some potential caveats should be considered, which are discussed at the end of this chapter.
Niche construction theory is a relatively new approach in the biological and socio-cultural sciences that seeks to integrate an ecological dimension into the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection. Language itself can be considered as a biocultural niche and evolutionary artifact. An analysis of the cognitive and semiotic status of artifacts, based upon a distinction between the fundamental semiotic relations of “counting as” and “standing for,” reveals that language as a social and semiotic system is not only grounded in embodied engagements with the material and social-interactional world, but also grounds a sub-class of artifacts of particular significance in the cultural history of human cognition. Symbolic cognitive artifacts inherit their representational function from language. They materially and semiotically mediate human cognition, and are not merely informational repositories, but co-agentively constitutive of culturally and historically emergent cognitive domains. Examples of this constitutive role of symbolic cognitive artifacts are drawn from the author’s research with his colleagues on cultural and linguistic conceptualizations of time, and their cultural variability. The implications of conceptualizing cognition as the co-agentive intermeshing of intersubjective and interobjective processes, lead to a distinction between the notion of “extended embodiment” as labeled here and other “extended mind” approaches.
Arthropods are a much-studied group of animals. They include insects, spiders, and hard-shelled invertebrates such as crabs. This chapter reviews four broad topics on the navigational behavior of arthropods. The first is path integration, the ability to keep track of the straight-line distance and direction from one’s starting point. The second is route behavior, in which landmarks figure in various ways. The third is the use of landmarks, both to chart an initial course and to pinpoint a target. The fourth is map-like navigational behavior. The chapter presents an overview including some classic work and current trends and issues.
This chapter reviews studies documenting that nonhuman animals, such as pigeons and monkeys, are capable of learning artificial categories created based on assumptions concerning the structure of natural categories. Competencies of categorization may have evolved to cope with continuities and discontinuities existing in the external world. If so, the cognitive systems of diverse animal species, including humans, should be tied to and constrained by the basic structure of the real world that they have experienced during their evolution. Objects do not occur randomly in the world but are well organized in terms of family resemblances. Family resemblance is information at the category level. For example, AB and CD in the AB-BC-CD category cannot be bound together without BC. However, for organisms to learn a category, it is essential to have not only the family resemblance of the category as a whole, but also information at the exemplar and feature levels. Prototype effects are understood as part of the general processes through which structures of categories are learned.
Martha Escobar and Ralph R. Miller
This chapter reviews the successes and failures of associative theory as an account of causal learning, the most prominent alternative approaches, and a possible reconciliation of these seemingly incompatible perspectives. It argues that causal learning can be constructively viewed as a special instance of associative learning, with constraints that mirror the constraints of some other types of associative learning (e.g., taste aversion). But the question of whether the observed parallels reflect analogy or homology has not yet been settled. Researchers should continue looking for analogies and common principles that would lead to organizing the principles of causal learning as well as other associative phenomena.
Cesare Parise and Charles Spence
For more than a century now, researchers have acknowledged the existence of seemingly arbitrary crossmodal congruency effects between dimensions of sensory stimuli in the general (i.e., non-synesthetic) population. Such phenomena, known by a variety of terms including 'crossmodal correspondences', involve individual stimulus properties, rely on a crossmodal mapping of unisensory features, and appear to be shared by the majority of individuals. In other words, members of the general population share underlying preferences for specific pairings across the senses (e.g., preferring certain shapes to accompany certain sounds). Crossmodal correspondences between complementary sensory cues have often been referred to as synesthetic correspondences but, we would argue, differ from full-blown synesthetic experiences in a number of important ways, including the fact that there are no idiosyncratic concurrent sensations. Recent psychophysical evidence suggests that such crossmodal correspondences can modulate multisensory integration by helping to resolve the crossmodal binding problem. Here, we propose a model to account for the effects of crossmodal correspondences between complementary auditory and visual cues and critically review their relation to full-blown synesthesia.
Charles Spence and Valerio Santangelo
This article focuses on the phenomenon of auditory attention. It briefly reviews the key empirical findings to have emerged from studies of auditory selective attention over the last fifty years or so. It also highlights recent evidence demonstrating the connection between selective attention and working memory. Following this, it reviews a number of the models and theories (both cognitive and neuroscientific) that have been put forward in order to explain how selective attention operates in audition. Finally, it throws light on the fact that the research reviewed in this article suggests that the awareness of the various stimuli in more complex auditory environments is far sparser than the everyday intuitions would lead one to believe. Indeed, the latest research on the phenomenon of auditory change deafness unequivocally shows that in the absence of attention, people simply have no conscious awareness of the majority of the auditory stimuli around them.
Lorna F. Halliday and David R. Moore
Language and learning disorders are defined as any delay or deviance in an individual's normal language and cognitive development, which cannot be explained by a lack of opportunity to learn, having the potential of negative impact upon the educational and psychosocial outcomes of that individual. This article takes a developmental perspective, exploring the contribution of auditory function to cognitive and linguistic maturation, and focusing on how impaired hearing and listening can lead to disorders of language and learning. It concerns the effects of hearing disorders, some of which may be quite subtle, on language and cognitive development. It presents a balanced view of the evidence, and argues for an approach based on ‘risk factors’ rather than simplistic causal links. Finally, it throws light on the fact that the links between auditory function and development of higher-level abilities are still poorly understood, and present a considerable challenge to researchers.
Karen Mattock, Sygal Amitay, and David R. Moore
Auditory system function is constantly changing in response to internal and external forces; genetic, disease, and experience. This article addresses the changing nature of auditory abilities. It begins by providing an overview of the most significant, older findings, the primary focus of the presentation is on the recent findings of the last decade. It describes how the developing auditory system learns how to make sense of the complex waveforms arriving at the ears, from the fetal stage, to infancy, and through childhood. It also considers auditory learning; how the auditory brain changes and adapts to experience throughout life. Finally, it states that auditory learning tasks have great utility clinically. A challenging problem is to develop suitable infant test methods that incorporate auditory learning techniques to be used. A rich and challenging field of interest will be exploring the properties and mechanisms of listening and learning by people at all stages of development, and their interplay with cognitive abilities.
Benjamin J. Dyson
This article provides a detailed account of auditory organization: How the auditory system separates out the sounds from different sources, and groups together the sounds from the same source into a coherent auditory stream. This vital stage in hearing, a prerequisite of sound identification, can be regarded as one of the most complex processing tasks accomplished by the auditory brain. In addition to providing an overview of auditory segregation and integration, this study also reaches for cognitive and neuroimaging data as a way of providing further insight into the mechanisms involved in auditory perceptual organization. It considers one particular case study of perceptual organization that is both contemporary and contentious: the relationship between auditory what and where information in the brain. Oral communication is perhaps the most important use of hearing for humans, which allows them to convey their thoughts and emotions with comparative ease.
Charles Spence and Salvador Soto-Faraco
What is heard is determined by much more than the sounds entering the ears, and the real-world perception needs to be understood as a multisensory experience. This article describes how auditory information combines and interacts with that from vision. It highlights some of the key studies demonstrating how auditory processing in humans can be modified by the presentation of visual stimuli. It focuses on interactions between audition and vision both for reasons of space and also because, as it happens, the majority of the research published to date has tended to focus on cross-modal interactions in human information processing between these two senses. Finally, it reviews several sources of evidence showing that the presentation of visual stimuli can have a variety of qualitatively different effects on a person's auditory perception.