How To See A Memory.
Cognitive neuroscience theories deal with information processing that is represented in different brain structures, how is this information transformed over time, and how is it used to guide behaviour? While a subject performs a cognitive task, we can obtain estimates of local blood flow via functional MRI, a powerful tool, which can identify from tens of thousands of distinct neuroanatomical locations (voxels, or volumetric pixels), within a matter of seconds. A key challenge for cognitive neuroscience is determining how mental representations map onto patterns of neural activity. Recently, researchers have started to address this question by applying sophisticated pattern-classification algorithms to distributed (multi-voxel) patterns of functional MRI data, with the goal of decoding the information that is represented in the subject’s brain at a particular point in time. This multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) approach has led to several impressive feats of mind reading. More importantly, MVPA methods constitute a useful new tool for advancing our understanding of neural information processing.
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