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The three anterior thalamic nuclei and the nucleus reuniens are essential for spatial navigation, yet their exact role in this function remains elusive. Specifically, it remains to be answered whether the thalamus acts a simple relay of spatial and executive signals or whether it critically operates on its inputs to convey processed signals to its cortical targets. The anterior thalamus and nucleus reuniens are at the center stage of anatomical networks that share one common aspect: their association with the hippocampus. Here, I review the large body of literature, starting from the classic Papez circuits, which describe how these thalamic nuclei are interconnected with subcortical, medial cortex, and parahippocampal regions, as well as their neuromodulatory inputs. I then provide an overview of the spatial and other electrophysiological correlates of anterior thalamic and reuniens neurons and of how their firing and oscillatory properties depend on ongoing behavior. Finally, I discuss the clinical and experimental evidence pointing to the role of the thalamus in navigation and, specifically, how spatial and executive signals are processed in thalamocortical loops. I conclude by discussing how the same thalamic circuits may be at play in the processing of episodic memories during sleep.
The goal of the theory is characterized as presenting, in computationally tractable terms, a comprehensive account of the cognitive underpinnings of the human emotion system and of the cognitions in terms of which different emotion types can be distinguished. The theory proposes three broad groups of emotions, determined by the three major perspectives people can take on what’s going on around them. These three foci are seen as giving rise to reactions to events (things that happen), reactions to the actions of agents (things that agents do), and reactions to objects (things in general). A minimal definition of emotion is proposed, and the different kinds of evidence adduced to support claims about emotions are discussed. Emphasis is placed on the fact that emotion words are not isomorphic with distinct emotion types, so that although theorizing about emotions often depends on using linguistic labels, a general theory of human emotions should attempt to be culturally neutral and should minimize its dependence on emotion words.
Ample evidence suggests exercise is beneficial for hippocampal function. Furthermore, a single session of aerobic exercise provides immediate benefits to mnemonic discrimination performance, a highly hippocampal-specific memory process, in healthy younger adults. However, it is unknown if a single session of aerobic exercise alters mnemonic discrimination in older adults, who generally exhibit greater hippocampal deterioration and deficits in mnemonic discrimination performance.
We conducted a within subject acute exercise study in 30 cognitively healthy and physically active older adults who underwent baseline testing and then completed two experimental visits in which they performed a mnemonic discrimination task before and after either 30 min of cycling exercise or 30 min of seated rest. Linear mixed-effects analyses were conducted in which condition order and age were controlled, time (pre vs. post) and condition (exercise vs. rest) were modeled as fixed effects, and subject as a random effect.
No significant time by condition interaction effect was found for object recognition (p = .254, η2=.01), while a significant reduction in interference was found for mnemonic discrimination performance following the exercise condition (p = .012, η2=.07). A post-intervention only analysis indicated that there was no difference between condition for object recognition (p = .186, η2=.06), but that participants had better mnemonic discrimination performance (p < .001, η2=.22) following the exercise.
Our results suggest a single session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise may reduce interference and elicit better mnemonic discrimination performance in healthy older adults, suggesting benefits for hippocampal-specific memory function.
A transgenerational, epigenetic effect of anesthesia, particularly fluorinated agents, has been examined in rat models, but translation to humans is unclear. This study examined associations of maternal lifetime exposure to anesthesia and pregnancy exposure to fluorinated anesthetics with child cognitive and educational outcomes. Women in the US Collaborative Perinatal Project (1959–1963) reported lifetime history of surgeries, and the obstetric record captured pregnancy exposure to anesthetics. Children were followed to age 7 for global cognitive ability and educational outcomes (n=47,977). Logistic and linear regressions were adjusted for maternal and child birth years, race and ethnicity, smoking, education, parity, study site. Many outcomes were not associated with exposure to maternal surgery that occurred at various life stages. However, maternal surgery in early childhood was associated both with being in a special school or not in school (adj OR=1.42; 95% CI 1.02, 1.98) and with slightly better cognitive ability across childhood (e.g., WISC IQ (adj β=0.59; CI 0.13, 1.04) (especially among boys)). Maternal surgery in puberty was associated with slightly lower IQ (adj β = –0.42; CI –0.79, –0.05) and poorer spelling at age 7. Children’s prenatal exposure to fluorinated anesthetics was associated with slightly better spelling ability (adj β = 1.20; CI 0.02, 2.38) but lower performance IQ at age 7 (only among boys, adj β = –1.97; CI –3.88, –0.06). This study shows inconsistent evidence of effects of maternal exposure to surgery or prenatal exposure to fluorinated agents on child developmental and educational outcomes Residual confounding by indication and socioeconomic status may explain observed associations.
There are surprisingly few experimental studies directly comparing the cognition of primate species representing distinct phylogenetic groupings, specialized foraging ecologies, or unique social structures. Although researchers have focused on the role of foraging and social ecology in predicting cognition, they have examined social and foraging strategies in a nuanced fashion that would permit an understanding of how specific aspects of a species’ natural environment might sculpt the evolution of specific forms of cognition. In the absence of such studies, and a clear consensus as to whether cognition should best be viewed as domain-general or domain-specific suites of abilities, it is challenging to draw conclusions as to (1) cognitive differences between primate families or (2) selection pressures responsible for shaping differences. We conclude, based on paltry but accumulating evidence, that there is little utility in postulating separate physical and social domains. In addition, we see little evidence that group-living species are cognitively advantaged compared to primates that exhibit other social structures. Lastly, we advocate for greater attention to reproductive and parental strategies and individual differences in ontogenetic experiences that may color species-level comparisons.
The seminal work on mirror self-recognition, theory of mind, and ape-language abilities beginning in the 1960s has stimulated a recent, significant body research on the cognitive abilities of animals. Because of their greater genetic, morphological, and neuroanatomical similarities with humans, research on cognition in nonhuman primates has held a particular fascination from scientific and public perspective. In this chapter, we present a summary of recent studies by our research group on the general intelligence of chimpanzees. We further present data on (1) the contribution of genetic and non-genetic factors in explaining individual variation in cognitive performance in the chimpanzees and (2) phenotypic, genetic, and environmental associations found between chimpanzee cognition and neuroanatomical organization. We end by discussing limitations in the study of cognition and emphasize the need to include individual as well as grouped data in the reporting of results. We also offer some suggestions for future research that would provide new insight into the evolution of human unique cognitive abilities.
When George John Romanes published his book Animal Intelligence in 1882, marking for many the beginning of the study of comparative cognition, he devoted chapter 17 to the mental life of “Monkeys, Apes, and Baboons.” His subsequent experiments on the mental powers of zoo chimpanzees would be published in Science (Romanes, 1889) and Nature (Romanes, 1890). Around the turn of the last century, Edward Thorndike of Columbia University and A. J. Kinnaman of Clark University conducted laboratory studies on the intelligence of capuchin and rhesus monkeys, respectively. Thus, from psychology’s earliest days as an experimental science, nonhuman primate cognition was a focus of interest and investigation. Many of the best-known and most influential psychologists in history – names like Watson, Yerkes, Köhler, Harlow, Lashley, Hebb, Premack, Rumbaugh, and countless others – made significant contributions to our understanding of learning and cognition through studies of monkeys and apes. Although the history of cognitive research with nonhuman primates is too long and too rich to be reviewed exhaustively in one chapter, the present introduction will highlight significant research themes and important milestones across the history of primate cognition research. The goal of this review is to show how contemporary comparative cognition research is intricately connected to its history, and how our understanding of primate cognition shows cumulative progress across the last 140 years of inquiry.
This chapter presents an idealized path towards theory development (for all kinds of theories), called the “demarcation-explanation” cycle. The cycle comprised four stages: (a) the provisional demarcation of the explanandum in a working definition, (b) the proposal of different types of explanations, (c) the validation of explanations in empirical research, (d) and the proposal of a scientific definition flowing from these explanations. The chapter also takes a closer look at (a) different types of definitions (working vs. scientific, intensional vs. extensional/diviso) and ways to evaluate the adequacy of scientific definitions, (b) different types of explanations (constitutive, causal, mechanistic, teleological) and levels of analysis, and (c) ingredients of mechanistic explanations such as representations, operations, operating conditions (related to automaticity), and related notions of dual-process/system models, rationality, and cognition.
A review by the ManyPrimates project confirmed long-standing beliefs about the field of primate cognition. Namely, research is driven by a handful of species, often from the same study site, and inferences are limited by small sample sizes. However, the review did not address another common practice in primate cognition: sampling only adults. Whereas adult data have been useful for comparisons to human literature for understanding cognitive abilities on an evolutionary timescale, these studies do not allow investigators to ask questions about the developmental processes underlying primate cognition. The purpose of this secondary systematic review was to provide a state of the field on developmental primate cognition by answering the following questions about recent publications using the ManyPrimates dataset: (1) how often investigators sampled infants and/or juveniles separately from adults; (2) when infants and/or juveniles were included with adults, how often was age analyzed statistically; (3) how often were studies longitudinal; (4) what topics have been studied; and (5) what techniques have been used. Results revealed that the typical recent primate cognition study did not incorporate development. Practical challenges that may preclude investigators from pursuing developmental research questions in primate cognition are discussed with recommendations to guide future research.
What is the purpose of studies of primate cognition, and how should one best study primate cognition? This book answers those questions, and it highlights some of the most recent and compelling evidence regarding the cognitive abilities of primate species. This book describes the goals of studying primate cognition (historically, and in the present), and how such studies teach us about the minds of our closest living relatives, as well as about our own minds. Primate cognitive studies illustrate important aspects of the origins of human cognition, and they provide a measure of connectedness between humans and other primates. Topics range across nearly all those typically seen in a book of human cognition: perception, representation, categorization, memory, decision-making, communication and language, numerical cognition, metacognition, and theory of mind, among others. This book also describes the varied setting in which primates can be studied, and the range of experimental and observational approaches that are typically used. Some authors address questions about the ethics of working with nonhuman primates, as well as the concerns that have emerged about replication and reproducibility of results that are reported in primate cognitive research.
There is significant heterogeneity in cognitive function in patients with bipolar I disorder (BDI); however, there is a dearth of research into biological mechanisms that might underlie cognitive heterogeneity, especially at disease onset. To this end, this study investigated the association between accelerated or delayed age-related brain structural changes and cognition in early-stage BDI.
First episode patients with BDI (n = 80) underwent cognitive assessment to yield demographically normed composite global and domain-specific scores in verbal memory, non-verbal memory, working memory, processing speed, attention, and executive functioning. Structural magnetic resonance imaging data were also collected from all participants and subjected to machine learning to compute the brain-predicted age difference (brainPAD), calculated by subtracting chronological age from age predicted by neuroimaging data (positive brainPAD values indicating age-related acceleration in brain structural changes and negative values indicating delay). Patients were divided into tertiles based on brainPAD values, and cognitive performance compared amongst tertiles with ANCOVA.
Patients in the lowest (delayed) tertile of brainPAD values (brainPAD range −17.9 to −6.5 years) had significantly lower global cognitive scores (p = 0.025) compared to patients in the age-congruent tertile (brainPAD range −5.3 to 2.4 yrs), and significantly lower verbal memory scores (p = 0.001) compared to the age-congruent and accelerated (brainPAD range 2.8 to 16.1 yrs) tertiles.
These results provide evidence linking cognitive dysfunction in the early stage of BDI to apparent delay in typical age-related brain changes. Further studies are required to assess how age-related brain changes and cognitive functioning evolve over time.
Working memory (WM) is our limited-capacity storage and processing (memory) system that permeates essential facets of our cognitive life such as arithmetic calculation, logical thinking, decision-making, prospective planning, language comprehension, and production. Since the very inception of WM in the early 1960s (Miller et al., 1960), its role in language acquisition and processing has been extensively investigated both empirically and theoretically by researchers from diverse fields of psychology and linguistics, accumulating an increasingly huge body of literature (e.g., see Baddeley, 2003; Gathercole & Baddeley, 1993 for reviews of early studies). Notwithstanding, the field still lacks a comprehensive and updated profile of conceptualizing and implementing working memory in the broad domains of native and second language acquisition, processing, impairments, and training. In this chapter, we introduce a comprehensive handbook in which key areas of inquiry and practice in working memory and language are at the forefront and theoretical ingenuity and empirical robustness are integrated throughout.
This chapter focuses on resources, strategies, and interventions when working with older adults with low health literacy. Integrating practical ways of engaging this population can enhance and improve older adults’ health status, and enhance the interaction and relationships with health-care providers. As patients are asked to take a more active role in the management of their health, enabling participation and better communication, the patients’ involvement can have a dramatic effect in improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction. Health professionals can encourage clear health communication to promote the overall health and well-being of older adults.
Engaging and working with older adults with low health literacy is critical to improving health outcomes. For those with low health literacy, it's important to ensure health messages, both verbal and written, are communicated clearly so that patients can understand what they need to do, in order to achieve better health and make informed decisions about their care. Older adults may be more hesitant to ask questions of their health providers, or lack the skills to find, evaluate, and utilize health information online. Other factors, such as physical, cognitive, and social age-related changes, can also impact older adults’ ability to understand and process health information.
To conceptualize the communicative role of working memory (WM), the Ease-of-Language Understanding (ELU) model was proposed (e.g., Rönnberg, 2003; Rönnberg et al., 2008, 2013, 2019, 2020). The model states that ease of language understanding is determined by the speed and accuracy with which the signal is matched to existing multimodal language representations. When matching is fast and complete, language understanding is effortless; this process may be facilitated by predictions based on the contents of WM. However, when the contents of the language signal mismatches with existing representations, WM is triggered to access knowledge in semantic long-term memory (SLTM) and personal experience from episodic long-term memory (ELTM) – promoting inference-making and postdictions in WM. The interplay between WM and LTM is fundamental to language understanding; its efficiency becomes apparent in adverse conditions and its breakdown may explain cognitive decline and dementia. Empirical support, limitations, and future studies will be discussed.
Persons at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR) are characterised by specific neurocognitive deficits. However, the course of neurocognitive performance during the prodromal period and over the onset of psychosis remains unclear. The aim of this meta-analysis was to synthesise results from follow-up studies of CHR individuals to examine longitudinal changes in neurocognitive performance. Three electronic databases were systematically searched to identify articles published up to 31 December 2021. Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria. Study effect sizes (Hedges' g) were calculated and pooled for each neurocognitive task using random-effects meta-analyses. We examined whether changes in performance between baseline and follow-up assessments differed between: (1) CHR and healthy control (HC) individuals, and (2) CHR who did (CHR-T) and did not transition to psychosis (CHR-NT). Meta-analyses found that HC individuals had greater improvements in performance over time compared to CHR for letter fluency (g = −0.32, p = 0.029) and digit span (g = −0.30, p = 0.011) tasks. Second, there were differences in longitudinal performance of CHR-T and CHR-NT in trail making test A (TMT-A) (g = 0.24, p = 0.014) and symbol coding (g = −0.51, p = 0.011). Whilst CHR-NT improved in performance on both tasks, CHR-T improved to a lesser extent in TMT-A and had worsened performance in symbol coding over time. Together, neurocognitive performance generally improved in all groups at follow-up. Yet, evidence suggested that improvements were less pronounced for an overall CHR group, and specifically for CHR-T, in processing speed tasks which may be a relevant domain for interventions aimed to enhance neurocognition in CHR populations.
Bringing together cutting-edge research, this Handbook is the first comprehensive text to examine the pivotal role of working memory in first and second language acquisition, processing, impairments, and training. Authored by a stellar cast of distinguished scholars from around the world, the Handbook provides authoritative insights on work from diverse, multi-disciplinary perspectives, and introduces key models of working memory in relation to language. Following an introductory chapter by working memory pioneer Alan Baddeley, the collection is organized into thematic sections that discuss working memory in relation to: Theoretical models and measures; Linguistic theories and frameworks; First language processing; Bilingual acquisition and processing; and Language disorders, interventions, and instruction. The Handbook is sure to interest and benefit researchers, clinicians, speech therapists, and advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in linguistics, psychology, education, speech therapy, cognitive science, and neuroscience, or anyone seeking to learn more about language, cognition and the human mind.
The National Institutes of Health Toolbox-Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) is a tablet-based cognitive assessment intended for individuals with neurological diseases of all ages. NIHTB-CB practice effects (PEs), however, need clarification if this measure is used to track longitudinal change. We explored the test–retest PEs on NIHTB-CB performance at 3 months in young healthy adults (n = 22). We examined corrected T-scores normalized for demographic factors and calculated PEs using Cohen’s d. There were significant PEs for all NIHTB-CB composite scores and on 4/7 subtests. This work suggests the need to further assess NIHTB-CB PEs as this may affect the interpretation of study results incorporating this battery.
Kraus’s book is both deep and wide-ranging. My comments focus on her account of Kant on self-awareness – both a priori and empirical apperception. Basic to her account is what she calls the hylomorphism of mental faculties in Kant. Kraus distinguishes her ‘reflexive’ account of apperception from both ‘logical’ and ‘psychological’ accounts. An inevitable question is: Does Kant think we have an empirical cognition of the self? Kraus seems to want to say yes, but I question this answer. Cognition requires both intuition and conception. My claim is that it requires intuition in both space and time, but inner empirical self-awareness is apparently in time only. Kant’s Refutation of Idealism in B, as developed later in the Kiesewetter essays, makes awareness of our body essential to time determination.
To identify cognitive phenotypes in late-life depression (LLD) and describe relationships with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.
Observational cohort study
Baseline data from participants recruited via clinical referrals and community advertisements who enrolled in two separate studies.
Non-demented adults with LLD (n = 120; mean age = 66.73 ± 5.35 years) and non-depressed elders (n = 56; mean age = 67.95 ± 6.34 years).
All completed a neuropsychological battery, and individual cognitive test scores were standardized across the entire sample without correcting for demographics. Five empirically derived cognitive domain composites were created, and cluster analytic approaches (hierarchical, k-means) were independently conducted to classify cognitive patterns in the depressed cohort only. Baseline sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were then compared across groups.
A three-cluster solution best reflected the data, including “High Normal” (n = 47), “Reduced Normal” (n = 35), and “Low Executive Function” (n = 37) groups. The “High Normal” group was younger, more educated, predominantly Caucasian, and had fewer vascular risk factors and higher Mini-Mental Status Examination compared to “Low Executive Function” group. No differences were observed on other sociodemographic or clinical characteristics. Exploration of the “High Normal” group found two subgroups that only differed in attention/working memory performance and length of the current depressive episode.
Three cognitive phenotypes in LLD were identified that slightly differed in sociodemographic and disease-specific variables, but not in the quality of specific symptoms reported. Future work on these cognitive phenotypes will examine relationships to treatment response, vulnerability to cognitive decline, and neuroimaging markers to help disentangle the heterogeneity seen in this patient population
Clinical intervention in early stages of psychotic disorders is crucial for the prevention of severe symptomatology trajectories and poor outcomes. Genetic variability is studied as a promising modulator of prognosis, thus novel approaches considering the polygenic nature of these complex phenotypes are required to unravel the mechanisms underlying the early progression of the disorder.
The sample comprised of 233 first-episode psychosis (FEP) subjects with clinical and cognitive data assessed periodically for a 2-year period and 150 matched controls. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, education attainment and cognitive performance were used to assess the genetic risk of FEP and to characterize their association with premorbid, baseline and progression of clinical and cognitive status.
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and cognitive performance PRSs were associated with an increased risk of FEP [false discovery rate (FDR) ⩽ 0.027]. In FEP patients, increased cognitive PRSs were found for FEP patients with more cognitive reserve (FDR ⩽ 0.037). PRSs reflecting a genetic liability for improved cognition were associated with a better course of symptoms, functionality and working memory (FDR ⩽ 0.039). Moreover, the PRS of depression was associated with a worse trajectory of the executive function and the general cognitive status (FDR ⩽ 0.001).
Our study provides novel evidence of the polygenic bases of psychosis and its clinical manifestation in its first stage. The consistent effect of cognitive PRSs on the early clinical progression suggests that the mechanisms underlying the psychotic episode and its severity could be partially independent.