Some Questions About Neurocognitive Networks Steven Bressler

Some Questions About
Steven Bressler
Center for Complex Systems & Brain Sciences
What is a Network?
• A network is a physical system that has
graph-like properties.
• A graph is “an abstract representation of a
set of objects where some of the objects
are connected by links”.
The objects are called “nodes” or
The links are called “edges”.
What is a Brain Network?
• A brain network is a large-scale system in
the brain consisting of distributed
neuronal populations (nodes)
interconnected by axonal pathways
Anatomical Structure
Intrinsic Connectivity
Dynamic Interdependency
Does The Brain Need Networks?
• Serial processing, as found in the PNS, is
too rigid.
• Networks allow flexible interaction by
• Networks allow interactions among nodes in
flexible combinations.
What is a Neurocognitive
A neurocognitive network is a brain network
that is organized to perform a cognitive
Does Cognition Need Brain
• Brain networks allow integration of activity
from different domains.
• A brain network node may process the
same inputs within different contexts
provided by the network.
• Different “core” brain networks may be
responsible for specific cognitive functions.
How Can We Understand
Neurocognitive Networks?
• Function
– Exploration of their spatial organization and
conditions of cognitive involvement
• Dynamics
– Exploration of their temporal organization and
principles of coordination
• Modeling
– Exploration of their spatio-temporal properties in
computer simulations
• Theory
– Formulation of principles governing their
involvement in cognitive function