More evidence for domain-general processing in higher-level cortex. Federenko et al tested human subjects with seven tasks with different cognitive demands. FMRI revealed overlapping activation zones in the frontal and parietal cortex. This is consistent with neurophysiological studies showing that many neurons in these areas are multifunctional. Rigotti et al recently demonstrated that these multifunctional “mixed selectivity” neurons provide the computational power needed for high-level cognition.
For further reading:
Rigotti, M., Barak, O., Warden, M.R., Wang, X., Daw, N.D., Miller, E.K., & Fusi, S. “The importance of mixed selectivity in complex cognitive tasks”. Nature, 497, 585-590, 2013 doi:10.1038/nature12160. View PDF
Miller, E.K. and Fusi, S. (2013) Limber neurons for a nimble mind. Neuron. 78:211-213. View PDF
About the Author
The Miller Lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of the high-level cognitive functions that underlie complex goal-directed behavior. ekmillerlab.mit.edu