Neurocognitive networks: Findings, models, and theory

by Meehan et al

Through its early history, cognitive neuroscience largely followed a modular paradigm wherein high-level cognitive functions were mapped onto locally segregated brain regions. However, recent evidence drives a continuing shift away from modular theories of cognitive brain function, and toward theories which hold that cognition arises from the integrated activity of large-scale, distributed networks of brain regions. A growing consensus favors the fundamental concept of this new paradigm: the large-scale cognitive brain network, or neurocognitive network. This consensus was the motivation for Neurocognitive Networks 2010 (NCN 2010), a conference sponsored by the Cognitive Neuroscience Program of the National Science Foundation, organized by Drs. Steven Bressler and Craig Richter of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and held at FAU in Boca Raton, FL on January 29–30, 2010. NCN 2010 gathered together some of today’s leading investigators of neurocognitive networks. This paper serves to review their presentations as they relate to the paradigm of neurocognitive networks, as well as to compile the emergent themes, questions, and possible future research directions that arose from the conference.

► We review current concepts and methods driving research on neurocognitive networks. ► Cross-disciplinary approaches offer new insights into the neural basis of cognition. ► Advances in understanding come from studies relating resting and task-related networks. ► Dynamic network interactions emerge under constraint of biobehavioral context. ► Network dynamics on multiple time scales is being investigated in models and theory.