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Trends Cogn Sci. 2014 Apr;18(4):203-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Mar 2.

Characterizing the dynamics of mental representations: the temporal generalization method.

Author information

1
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U992, F-91191 Gif/Yvette, France; NeuroSpin Center, Institute of BioImaging Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, F-91191 Gif/Yvette, France; Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière Research Center, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U975 Paris, France. Electronic address: jeanremi.king@gmail.com.
2
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U992, F-91191 Gif/Yvette, France; NeuroSpin Center, Institute of BioImaging Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, F-91191 Gif/Yvette, France; Université Paris 11, Orsay, France; Collège de France, F-75005 Paris, France. Electronic address: stanislas.dehaene@cea.fr.

Abstract

Parsing a cognitive task into a sequence of operations is a central problem in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that a major advance is now possible owing to the application of pattern classifiers to time-resolved recordings of brain activity [electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), or intracranial recordings]. By testing at which moment a specific mental content becomes decodable in brain activity, we can characterize the time course of cognitive codes. Most importantly, the manner in which the trained classifiers generalize across time, and from one experimental condition to another, sheds light on the temporal organization of information-processing stages. A repertoire of canonical dynamical patterns is observed across various experiments and brain regions. This method thus provides a novel way to understand how mental representations are manipulated and transformed.

KEYWORDS:

EEG; MEG; decoding; multivariate pattern analyses; parallel processing; serial processing; temporal generalization

PMID:
24593982
PMCID:
PMC5635958
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2014.01.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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