Event Abstract

The frontal lobe in cognition: we need a new paradigm

  • 1 University of California Los Angeles, United States

It is increasingly obvious that the prevailing cognitive models of the frontal lobe are outliving their usefulness. The allocation of separate frontal modules to distinct cognitive functions is no longer tenable, because no "double dissociation"-by structure and cognitive function--has been unambiguously demonstrated in the frontal lobe. Instead, data from many sources are obliging us to adopt network models that uphold a relational, connectionist, and probabilistic (Bayesian) code in the structure and dynamics of the frontal lobe. Any such model must take into account the evolutionary origin, pre-adaptive nature, and interdependence of all its functions. The cognit model offers a plausible empirical approach congruent with those assumptions. This model is based on two largely neglected Jacksonian principles: (1) The same frontal areas that represent an action are in charge of its coordination; (2) The executive representations in frontal cortex are hierarchically organized, with motor cortex at the bottom and prefrontal cortex at the top. The cognit is a unit of knowledge or memory. It consists in a distributed network of cortical neurons synaptically associated by experience. The experience of the species formed, in the coures of evolution, the low-level networks of motor cortex (phyletic memory), whereas that of the individual forms, in the course of life, the executive cognits of premotor and prefrontal cortex. These represent complex and abstract actions, some with a future perspective. Frontal cognits are widely distributed and interact with perceptual cognits of posterior cortex in the perception/action cycle, the cybernetic flow of information processing that governs the adaptation of the organism to its environment. The executive functions of the frontal lobe, all with a future perspective (planning, working memory, decision-making, etc.) emerge from those interactions in the temporal organization of behavior, language, and reasoning, which is the overarching function of the lateral prefrontal cortex.

Keywords: Attention, cognit, Cognition, Memory, Prefrontal Cortex

Conference: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI), Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 25 Sep - 29 Sep, 2011.

Presentation Type: Keynote Lecture

Topic: Keynote Lectures

Citation: Fuster J (2011). The frontal lobe in cognition: we need a new paradigm. Conference Abstract: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI). doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2011.207.00001

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Received: 02 Nov 2011; Published Online: 08 Nov 2011.

* Correspondence: Dr. Joaquin Fuster, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States, joaquinf@ucla.edu

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