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Abstract: Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control
Abstract: This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function
Abstract: This paper defends cognitive neuroscience’s project of developing mechanistic explan- ations of cognitive processes through decomposition and localization against objections raised by William Uttal in The New Phrenology. The key issue between Uttal and researchers pursuing cognitive neuroscience is that Uttal bets against the possibility of decomposing mental operations into component elementary operations which are localized in distinct brain regions. The paper argues that it is through advancing and revising what are likely to be overly simplistic and incorrect decompositions that the goals of cognitive neuroscience are likely to be achieved
Abstract: Evolutionary psychologists claim that the mind contains “hundreds or thousands” of “genetically speciﬁed” modules, which are evolutionary adaptations for their cognitive functions. We argue that, while the adult human mind/brain typically contains a degree of modularization, its “modules” are neither genetically speciﬁed nor evolutionary adaptations. Rather, they result from the brain’s developmental plasticity, which allows environmental task demands a large role in shaping the brain’s information-processing structures. The brain’s developmental plasticity is our fundamental psychological adaptation, and the “modules” that result from it are adaptive responses to local conditions, not past evolutionary environments. If different individuals share common environ- ments, however, they may develop similar “modules,” and this process can mimic the development of genetically speciﬁed modules in the evolutionary psychologist’s sense
Abstract: Cognitive neuroscientists use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure properties of a participant’s brain during a cognitive task. These imaging results are transformed into compelling pictures of brain activity using statistical models. I will argue that, for a broad class of experiments, neuroimaging experts have a tendency to over‐interpret the functional significance of their data. This over‐interpretation appears to follow from contentious theoretical assumptions about the mind‐brain connection, and from a propensity to conflate the anatomical location of a statistically‐significant correlation with knowledge of the mechanistic functioning at that location
Abstract: Over the past decade, many ﬁndings in cognitive about the contents of consciousness: we will not address neuroscience have resulted in the view that selective what might be called the ‘enabling factors’ for conscious- attention, working memory and cognitive control ness (e.g. appropriate neuromodulation from the brain- stem, etc.). involve competition between widely distributed rep-
Abstract: Over the past few years numerous proposals have appeared that attempt to characterize consciousness in terms of what could be called its computational correlates: Principles of information processing with which to characterize the differences between conscious and unconscious processing. Proposed computational correlates include architectural specialization (such as the involvement of specific regions of the brain in conscious processing), properties of representations (such as their stability in time or their strength), and properties of specific processes (such as resonance, synchrony, interactivity, or information integration). In exactly the same way as one can engage in a search for the neural correlates of consciousness, one can thus search for the computational correlates of consciousness. The most direct way of doing is to contrast models of conscious versus unconscious information processing. In this paper, I review these developments and illustrate how computational modeling of specific cognitive processes can be useful in exploring and in formulating putative computational principles through which to capture the differences between conscious and unconscious cognition. What can be gained from such approaches to the problem of consciousness is an understanding of the function it plays in information processing and of the mechanisms that subtend it. Here, I suggest that the central function of consciousness is to make it possible for cognitive agents to exert ?exible, adaptive control over behavior. From this perspective, consciousness is best characterized as involving (1) a graded continuum de?ned over quality of representation, such that availability to consciousness and to cognitive control correlates with properties of representation, and (2) the implication of systems of meta-representations
Abstract: The dual-track theory of moral reasoning has received considerable attention due to the neuroimaging work of Greene et al. Greene et al. claimed that certain kinds of moral dilemmas activated brain regions specific to emotional responses, while others activated areas specific to cognition. This appears to indicate a dissociation between different types of moral reasoning. I re-evaluate these claims of specificity in light of subsequent empirical work. I argue that none of the cortical areas identified by Greene et al. are functionally specific: each is active in a wide variety of both cognitive and emotional tasks. I further argue that distinct activation across conditions is not strong evidence for dissociation. This undermines support for the dual-track hypothesis. I further argue that moral decision-making appears to activate a common network that underlies self-projection : the ability to imagine oneself from a variety of viewpoints in a variety of situations. I argue that the utilization of self-projection indicates a continuity between moral decision-making and other kinds of complex social deliberation. This may have normative consequences, but teasing them out will require careful attention to both empirical and philosophical concerns
Abstract: The connectionist vehicle theory of phenomenal experience in the target article identifies consciousness with the brain’s explicit representation of information in the form of stable patterns of neural activity. Commentators raise concerns about both the conceptual and empirical adequacy of this proposal. On the former front they worry about our reliance on vehicles, on representation, on stable patterns of activity, and on our identity claim. On the latter front their concerns range from the general plausibility of a vehicle theory to our specific attempts to deal with the dissociation studies. We address these concerns, and then finish by considering whether the vehicle theory we have defended has a coherent story to tell about the active, unified subject to whom conscious experiences belong
Abstract: When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space for vehicle theories of consciousness in cognitive science, they are relatively rare. This is because of the influence exerted, on the one hand, by a large body of research which purports to show that the explicit representation of information in the brain and conscious experience are _dissociable_, and on the other, by the _classical_ computational theory of mind – the theory that takes human cognition to be a species of symbol manipulation. But two recent developments in cognitive science combine to suggest that a reappraisal of this situation is in order. First, a number of theorists have recently been highly critical of the experimental methodologies employed in the dissociation studies – so critical, in fact, it’s no longer reasonable to assume that the dissociability of conscious experience and explicit representation has been adequately demonstrated. Second, classicism, as a theory of human cognition, is no longer as dominant in cognitive science as it once was. It now has a lively competitor in the form of _connectionism; _and connectionism, unlike classicism, does have the computational resources to support a robust vehicle theory of consciousness. In this paper we develop and defend this connectionist vehicle theory of consciousness. It takes the form of the following simple empirical hypothesis: _phenomenal experience consists in the explicit_ _representation of information in neurally realized PDP networks_..
Abstract: William James presaged, and Alan Allport voiced criticisms of cause
theories of executive attention for involving a homunculus who directs
attention. I review discussions of this problem, and argue that existing
philosophical denials of the problem depend on equivocations between
different senses of “Cartesian error”. Another sort of denial tries to get
around the problem by offering empirical evidence that such an executive
attention director exists in prefrontal cortex. I argue that the evidence does
not warrant the conclusion that an executive director can be localized in
prefrontal cortex unless dubious assumptions are made, and that
computational models purporting to support these assumptions either beg the
question, or fail to model executive attention in terms of cause theories.