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An information theory account of cognitive control.

Fan J - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: Despite a considerable focus in the literature on the cognitive control of information processing, neural mechanisms underlying control are still unclear, and have not been characterized by considering the quantity of information to be processed.A novel and comprehensive account of cognitive control is proposed using concepts from information theory, which is concerned with communication system analysis and the quantification of information.This hypothesis and theory article justifies the validity and properties of such an account and relates experimental findings to the frontoparietal network under the framework of information theory.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Queens College, The City University of New York Flushing, NY, USA ; Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY, USA.

ABSTRACT
Our ability to efficiently process information and generate appropriate responses depends on the processes collectively called cognitive control. Despite a considerable focus in the literature on the cognitive control of information processing, neural mechanisms underlying control are still unclear, and have not been characterized by considering the quantity of information to be processed. A novel and comprehensive account of cognitive control is proposed using concepts from information theory, which is concerned with communication system analysis and the quantification of information. This account treats the brain as an information-processing entity where cognitive control and its underlying brain networks play a pivotal role in dealing with conditions of uncertainty. This hypothesis and theory article justifies the validity and properties of such an account and relates experimental findings to the frontoparietal network under the framework of information theory.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Brain activation as a function of information uncertainty. (A) Activation (in red) and deactivation (in blue) as a function of uncertainty (in bits). (B) Plot of beta value as a function of uncertainty. (C) Hemodynamic response as a function of uncertainty. TR = 2.5 s.
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Figure 4: Brain activation as a function of information uncertainty. (A) Activation (in red) and deactivation (in blue) as a function of uncertainty (in bits). (B) Plot of beta value as a function of uncertainty. (C) Hemodynamic response as a function of uncertainty. TR = 2.5 s.

Mentions: Functionality refers to the increase in activity of brain regions corresponding to an increase in uncertainty. Early information theory studies demonstrated a linear relationship between RT and information entropy (Hick, 1952; Hyman, 1953), indicating higher cognitive load with higher entropy. Therefore, the activity and connectivity of the frontoparietal network in the cognitive control of uncertainty processing should have a positive monotonic relationship with uncertainty, which is reflected by computational load, determined by both the amount of input information and the algorithms of the mental operations involved. In a recent study, the neural activity of the frontoparietal network was examined as a linear function of information uncertainty (Fan et al., 2014). A positive association between activity in those brain regions and uncertainty as measured by the MFT was demonstrated (Figure 4), supporting the functionality of the frontoparietal network in cognitive control. In contrast, regions of the default mode network were deactivated as a function of uncertainty. Although these regions may play an important role in cognitive control, they do not exhibit the property of functionality and thus do not process uncertainty as the frontoparietal network does.


An information theory account of cognitive control.

Fan J - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Brain activation as a function of information uncertainty. (A) Activation (in red) and deactivation (in blue) as a function of uncertainty (in bits). (B) Plot of beta value as a function of uncertainty. (C) Hemodynamic response as a function of uncertainty. TR = 2.5 s.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4151034&req=5

Figure 4: Brain activation as a function of information uncertainty. (A) Activation (in red) and deactivation (in blue) as a function of uncertainty (in bits). (B) Plot of beta value as a function of uncertainty. (C) Hemodynamic response as a function of uncertainty. TR = 2.5 s.
Mentions: Functionality refers to the increase in activity of brain regions corresponding to an increase in uncertainty. Early information theory studies demonstrated a linear relationship between RT and information entropy (Hick, 1952; Hyman, 1953), indicating higher cognitive load with higher entropy. Therefore, the activity and connectivity of the frontoparietal network in the cognitive control of uncertainty processing should have a positive monotonic relationship with uncertainty, which is reflected by computational load, determined by both the amount of input information and the algorithms of the mental operations involved. In a recent study, the neural activity of the frontoparietal network was examined as a linear function of information uncertainty (Fan et al., 2014). A positive association between activity in those brain regions and uncertainty as measured by the MFT was demonstrated (Figure 4), supporting the functionality of the frontoparietal network in cognitive control. In contrast, regions of the default mode network were deactivated as a function of uncertainty. Although these regions may play an important role in cognitive control, they do not exhibit the property of functionality and thus do not process uncertainty as the frontoparietal network does.

Bottom Line: Despite a considerable focus in the literature on the cognitive control of information processing, neural mechanisms underlying control are still unclear, and have not been characterized by considering the quantity of information to be processed.A novel and comprehensive account of cognitive control is proposed using concepts from information theory, which is concerned with communication system analysis and the quantification of information.This hypothesis and theory article justifies the validity and properties of such an account and relates experimental findings to the frontoparietal network under the framework of information theory.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Queens College, The City University of New York Flushing, NY, USA ; Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY, USA.

ABSTRACT
Our ability to efficiently process information and generate appropriate responses depends on the processes collectively called cognitive control. Despite a considerable focus in the literature on the cognitive control of information processing, neural mechanisms underlying control are still unclear, and have not been characterized by considering the quantity of information to be processed. A novel and comprehensive account of cognitive control is proposed using concepts from information theory, which is concerned with communication system analysis and the quantification of information. This account treats the brain as an information-processing entity where cognitive control and its underlying brain networks play a pivotal role in dealing with conditions of uncertainty. This hypothesis and theory article justifies the validity and properties of such an account and relates experimental findings to the frontoparietal network under the framework of information theory.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus