Picture credit:
Wellcome Images
Bill Sanderson 1997

British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience

Welcome to the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience

We cordially invite you to attend
 
The 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience,
September 10th-11th
at the University of Essex.

Please click here for the Conference webpage


The Centre for Brain Science, Department of Psychology, University of Essex

 








 
 
We are delighted to announce that the 2015 BACN Founders' Lecture will be given by
Professor Mike Posner (University of Oregon & Sackler Institute)

Connecting brain networks to cellular and molecular events: A new phase of cognitive neuroscience

I was present at the start of brain imaging within cognitive psychology. Using positron emission tomography we were able to show activation of brain areas during processing of single words, and suggested ties between mental operations as defined by cognitive tasks and brain areas (1).  Subsequent work using fMRI has revealed many networks involved in cognitive task including attention (2).
 
It has been possible to show the time course of activation of many of the areas involved in cognition (3). We have also been able use differences among attention network in neuromodulators to explore the relation between individual differences in the efficiency of attention networks and genes (4). During development the networks involved in cognitive control change and both genes and parenting are involved in influencing these changes (5). We have found that genes such as those   that control the efficiency of methylation can influence the learning of attention tasks in children and the performance of these tasks in adults (6).
 
Recently methods have been used to train attention networks. Both training specific networks and training brain states by meditation can alter the efficiency of white matter connections (7). We are examining how mental activity such as meditation can produce such changes (8). Preliminary data in mice suggest that frontal oscillations produced by meditation activate oligodendrocytes and change the efficiency of brain networks. These studies have the potential of developing critical links between glia, neurons and brain networks of cognition.
   
We hope these developments, together with genetic studies will lead to increased communication between molecular and cognitive studies of the human brain allowing a new phase of cooperative research in cognitive neuroscience
 
(1) Posner, M.I., Petersen, S.E., Fox. P.T. & Raichle, M.E. (1988). Localization of cognitive functions in the human brain.  Science, 240: 1627-1631.
(2) Petersen, S.E. & Posner, M.I. (2012). The attention system of the human brain: 20 years after. Annual Review of Neuroscience 35, 71-89
(3) Abdullaev, Y.G. & Posner, M.I.  (1998). Event-related brain potential imaging of semantic encoding during processing single words.  Neuroimage, 7: 1-13.
(4) Posner, M.I., Rothbart, M.K. & Sheese, B.E. (2007) Attention genes, Developmental Science 10, 24-29.
(5) Posner, M.I. Rothbart, M.K. Sheese, B.E. & Voelker, P (2014) Developing Attention: Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms.  Advances in Neuroscience, Article 405094
(6) Voelker, P,  Sheese, B,E., Rothbart, M.K. & Posner, M.I. (in process) Epigenetic   influences on practice induced change during cognitive tasks.
(7) Tang, Y-Y & Posner, M.I. (2014) Training brain networks and states. Trends in Cognitive Science, 18, 7, 345-350
(8) Posner, M.I., Tang, Y-Y & Lynch, G. (2014) Mechanisms of white matter change induced by meditation training, Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1220