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Cognition. 2015 Feb;135:14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.009. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

How cognitive theory guides neuroscience.

Author information

1
Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown Institute for Brain Science, United States. Electronic address: Michael_Frank@Brown.edu.
2
Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown Institute for Brain Science, United States. Electronic address: David_Badre@Brown.edu.

Abstract

The field of cognitive science studies latent, unobservable cognitive processes that generate observable behaviors. Similarly, cognitive neuroscience attempts to link latent cognitive processes with the neural mechanisms that generate them. Although neural processes are partially observable (with imaging and electrophysiology), it would be a mistake to 'skip' the cognitive level and pursue a purely neuroscientific enterprise to studying behavior. In fact, virtually all of the major advances in understanding the neural basis of behavior over the last century have relied fundamentally on principles of cognition for guiding the appropriate measurements, manipulations, tasks, and interpretations. We provide several examples from the domains of episodic memory, working memory and cognitive control, and decision making in which cognitive theorizing and prior experimentation has been essential in guiding neuroscientific investigations and discoveries.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive control; Computational models; Decision making; Memory; Neuroscience

PMID:
25496988
PMCID:
PMC4601572
DOI:
10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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