Background: I studied psychology prior to going into cognitive neuroscience for my PhD. While I know my own area in depth, I lack the kind of broad overview that people who have done their Masters in cognitive neuroscience tend to have. I was recently asked to give a general talk on cognitive neuroscience, in a country where it pretty much doesn't exist yet as a field. The talk is for highly talented high school kids who are at a summer school for scientific research in psychology. We have all afternoon for this.
My idea was to first talk about neuroimaging techniques: what do the machines look like, what do they measure, what kind of conclusions can we draw using them. I then wanted to go on to some examples where neuroscience was used to draw conclusions about cognitive functions, such that the conclusions couldn't have been drawn using just behavioural experiments.
For example, for memory, I thought I could talk about HM and how we learned about the distinction between short-term and long-term memory when his hippocampi were removed. For language, I could talk about the effect of cloze probability on the N400 evoked potential. For consciousness, I could talk about the role of feedback connections and how selectively knocking out early areas with TMS before the feedback signal comes back can abolish conscious perception. I'm still not sure what examples to use for:
- Motor control
- Executive functions
- Clinical applications
- Perception of space or time
- Social behaviour
I would love to hear your thoughts on the most classical Cognitive Neuroscience findings you can think of. What would your list look like? It can be anything really, as long as it's not just behavioural. Rats, monkeys and zebrafish are also welcome to the list :)