Friday, 16 March 2012
Neural Reuse in the Functional Organization of the Brain
Michael Anderson, Department of Psychology
Franklin & Marshall College
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: 20 years after the birth of neuroimaging, we have the exciting opportunity to review the accumulated evidence, and revisit some fundamental assumptions about the functional organization of the brain. The current talk will focus on the issue of selectivity, and present evidence suggesting that local neural circuits are in fact used to support multiple tasks across diverse task categories–but that they cooperate with different neural partners in each category.
Overall, the imaging data suggest a story about the evolution and development of the brain whereby new function emerges via the reuse and reconfiguration of existing neural machinery, leaving existing uses largely intact. In addition to reviewing the evidence from neuroimaging, I will discuss in some detail one specific instance of apparent reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in finger awareness, number representation, and other diverse functions.
Specific implications for numerical cognition, and general implications for anatomical and functional modularity will be considered.