Research Topic

Mathematical, Computational and Empirical Approaches to Exploring Neuronal Mechanisms Underlying Cognitive Functions

About this Research Topic

Despite lines of inquiry about the brain going back over a millenia, we still do not know enough about the mechanisms underlying even the most fundamental cognitive functions such as learning, memory, or our capacity to acquire languages. Investigating those mechanisms requires combining experimental results with mathematical, computational or empirical models. More specifically, it calls for a tractable model using preliminary data, comparing its results with those of the experiments, and systematically improving the model by incorporating more inputs as experimental analyses are conducted. This approach to neuroscience has paid off thus far, however it needs to be further supported and consolidated.

Such an approach must be interdisciplinary and involve specialists in computer science, mathematics, physics, linguistics and even philosophy. This would allow us to think problems from a neuroscientific and cognitive psychological point of view, and also to appreciate the importance of modeling in order to drive an additional collaborative effort. There is so much more to explore in regards to some of the very basic issues related to learning, memory and memory retrieval. For instance, still very little is known about how we acquire language and how the brain processes multiple languages, or how dissimilarities between patterns are processed and form representations in the brain. These questions need to be addressed extensively along with their implications on high-level functions such as metacognition, language and music. Further, we need to explore philosophical discussions relating cell-level studies with the observable behavior. The aim of this Research Topic is to collate articles that address mechanisms of a variety of brain functions from various different angles - mathematical, computational, psychological, linguistic, and experimental (including brain activation imaging) - and to ask probing philosophical questions.

Currently, works in the above domain are few and far between. To this end the proposed Research Topic will serve an important purpose and underline the need for such research compilations. We welcome Orginal Research articles, as well as some review articles that address the following topics:

• Mathematical/computational modeling of empirical data of neural processing of learning and memory in the nervous system;
• Mathematical/computational modeling of higher-level functions, such as language acquisition, multilinguism and music processing;
• Developing measures of dissimilarities in patterns, computationally addressing how their representations are processed in the brain and to link them with the brain activation measurements (fMRI, EEG, MEG);
• Consideration of the mathematical, neuronal, and philosophical issues of linking neuronal mechanisms to behaviour.


Keywords: Neural Networks, Cognitive Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Multilingualism, Mathematical Models, Memory


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Despite lines of inquiry about the brain going back over a millenia, we still do not know enough about the mechanisms underlying even the most fundamental cognitive functions such as learning, memory, or our capacity to acquire languages. Investigating those mechanisms requires combining experimental results with mathematical, computational or empirical models. More specifically, it calls for a tractable model using preliminary data, comparing its results with those of the experiments, and systematically improving the model by incorporating more inputs as experimental analyses are conducted. This approach to neuroscience has paid off thus far, however it needs to be further supported and consolidated.

Such an approach must be interdisciplinary and involve specialists in computer science, mathematics, physics, linguistics and even philosophy. This would allow us to think problems from a neuroscientific and cognitive psychological point of view, and also to appreciate the importance of modeling in order to drive an additional collaborative effort. There is so much more to explore in regards to some of the very basic issues related to learning, memory and memory retrieval. For instance, still very little is known about how we acquire language and how the brain processes multiple languages, or how dissimilarities between patterns are processed and form representations in the brain. These questions need to be addressed extensively along with their implications on high-level functions such as metacognition, language and music. Further, we need to explore philosophical discussions relating cell-level studies with the observable behavior. The aim of this Research Topic is to collate articles that address mechanisms of a variety of brain functions from various different angles - mathematical, computational, psychological, linguistic, and experimental (including brain activation imaging) - and to ask probing philosophical questions.

Currently, works in the above domain are few and far between. To this end the proposed Research Topic will serve an important purpose and underline the need for such research compilations. We welcome Orginal Research articles, as well as some review articles that address the following topics:

• Mathematical/computational modeling of empirical data of neural processing of learning and memory in the nervous system;
• Mathematical/computational modeling of higher-level functions, such as language acquisition, multilinguism and music processing;
• Developing measures of dissimilarities in patterns, computationally addressing how their representations are processed in the brain and to link them with the brain activation measurements (fMRI, EEG, MEG);
• Consideration of the mathematical, neuronal, and philosophical issues of linking neuronal mechanisms to behaviour.


Keywords: Neural Networks, Cognitive Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Multilingualism, Mathematical Models, Memory


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

26 December 2020 Abstract
25 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

26 December 2020 Abstract
25 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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