Send to

Choose Destination
Perspect Psychol Sci. 2010 Nov;5(6):753-61. doi: 10.1177/1745691610388777.

Mapping Mental Function to Brain Structure: How Can Cognitive Neuroimaging Succeed?

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin


The goal of cognitive neuroscience is to identify the mapping between brain function and mental processing. In this article, I examine the strategies that have been used to identify such mappings and argue that they may be fundamentally unable to identify selective structure-function mappings. To understand the functional anatomy of mental processes, it will be necessary for researchers to move from the brain-mapping strategies that the field has employed toward a search for selective associations. This will require a greater focus on the structure of cognitive processes, which can be achieved through the development of formal ontologies that describe the structure of mental processes. In this article, I outline the Cognitive Atlas Project, which is developing such ontologies, and show how this knowledge could be used in conjunction with data-mining approaches to more directly relate mental processes and brain function.


machine learning; neuroimaging; ontology; prediction

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center