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Rev Neurol. 2003 Nov 16-30;37(10):962-6.

[Cognition and neural networks, a new perspective based on functional neuroimaging].

[Article in Spanish]

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Centro de Magnetoencefalografía Dr Pérez-Modrego, Madrid, España.



We went through a critical review of the current status of neuroimaging studies of cognition. Thus, we argue why the use of a neuronal network perspective could led us to a better understanding of cognition than a localizationism perspective.


The question about how cognitive functions are organized in the brain, comes from the very early lesions studies. Electrocortical stimulation and the intracorotid amytal procedure collaborate together with lesions studies to increase the knowledge about the organization of cognitive functions in the brain. Functional neuroimaging could help to this issue answering the following questions: where, when and how the activity is produced in the brain. Many of the functional neuroimaging studies have addressed the question of where the activity is located, but very few has been concentrated into describe the spatio temporal profiles of brain activity, and then how the neural networks which support cognition are organized. Taking into account just one of this perspectives (where or when) we could achieve a reductionism view of the problem.


Executive function, memory or language are more distributed than located in just one area, even the different subprocesses that are included in each of this functions are supported by a network rather than a particular area. We analyze the current available functional neuroimaging techniques under this view and its possibilities to describe the neural networks which support cognition.

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