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Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Sep 2;8:680. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00680. eCollection 2014.

An information theory account of cognitive control.

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Department of Psychology, Queens College, The City University of New York Flushing, NY, USA ; Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY, USA.


Our ability to efficiently process information and generate appropriate responses depends on the processes collectively called cognitive control. Despite a considerable focus in the literature on the cognitive control of information processing, neural mechanisms underlying control are still unclear, and have not been characterized by considering the quantity of information to be processed. A novel and comprehensive account of cognitive control is proposed using concepts from information theory, which is concerned with communication system analysis and the quantification of information. This account treats the brain as an information-processing entity where cognitive control and its underlying brain networks play a pivotal role in dealing with conditions of uncertainty. This hypothesis and theory article justifies the validity and properties of such an account and relates experimental findings to the frontoparietal network under the framework of information theory.


cognitive control; entropy; frontoparietal network; information theory; uncertainty

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