Describing mental processes we use many psychological concepts, such as mind, consciousness, working memory, attention, thinking, creativity. Can we understand these concepts in terms of the mechanics of brain processes? Different levels of description of neural processes are needed to address different types of questions, but for understanding psychological concepts models of neural dynamics are the most important. Unfortunately there is little overlap between neuroimaging and computational cognitive neurodynamics communities. Papers analyzing neuroimaging experiments frequently belong to the "modern phrenology" types, discussing only activations of selected brain areas correlated with behavioral tasks, instead of referring to cognitive architectures and theoretical models based on neurodynamics.
A step towards better explanations of neuroimaging results is based on network science that helps to analyze the whole-brain functional network dynamics. I will analyze our recent n-back experiments using hub detection and the Network-Based Statistics, showing how functional brain network dynamics changes during increasing cognitive demands on working memory, how it relates to errors made, refer to the Global Neuronal Workspace (NBS) methods. If a tasks is simple brain networks effortlessly process information in a highly segregated way, but more complex tasks require engagement of multiple distributed networks, functional integration of many brain areas creating new hubs using long-range connections. The whole network modularity decreases and in specific brain network areas local hubs vanish and some regions join global hubs. This functional reorganization can be viewed as a higher-order dynamics. First there is connectome, anatomical organization of brain connection. Second, there are functional dynamical states that process information in the active subnetworks. Third, there are processes that respond to the changing cognitive load reorganizing functional networks. Such view leads to many questions that should lead to deeper understanding of brain processes.
Perspectives on controlling brain processes using direct stimulation with magnetic fields, electric currents, or ultrasounds will also be presented.
1. Finc K, Bonna K, Lewandowska M, Wolak T, Nikadon J, Dreszer J, Duch W, Kühn S. Whole-brain functional network modularity and efficiency changes related to cognitive effort. Human Brain Mapping (in revision)
2. Gravier A, Quek H.C, Duch W, Abdul Wahab, Gravier-Rymaszewska J. Neural network modelling of the influence of channelopathies on reflex visual attention. Computational Neurodynamics 10(1), 49-72, 2016.
3. Duch W, Dobosz K, Visualization for Understanding of Neurodynamical Systems. Cognitive Neurodynamics 5(2), 145-160, 2011.
4. Dobosz K, Duch W, Understanding Neurodynamical Systems via Fuzzy Symbolic Dynamics. Neural Networks 23, 487-496, 2010.
Wlodzislaw Duch heads the Neurocognitive Laboratory in the Center of Modern Interdisciplinary Technologies, and the Department of Informatics, both at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland. In 2014-15 he has served as a deputy minister for science and higher education in Poland, and in 2011-14 as the Vice-President for Research and ICT Infrastructure at his University. Before that he has worked as the Nanyang Visiting Professor (2010-12) in the School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where he also worked as a visiting professor in 2003-07. MSc (1977) in theoretical physics, Ph.D. in quantum chemistry (1980), postdoc at Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles (1980-82), D.Sc. in applied math (1987); worked at the University of Florida; Max-Planck-Institute, Munich, Germany, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Meiji and Rikkyo University in Japan, and several other institutions. He is/was on the editorial board of IEEE TNN, CPC, NIP-LR, Journal of Mind and Behavior, and 14 other journals; was co-founder & scientific editor of the “Polish Cognitive Science” journal; for two terms has served as the President of the European Neural Networks Society executive committee (2006-2008-2011), is an active member of IEEE CIS Technical committee; International Neural Network Society Board of Governors elected him to their most prestigious College of Fellows. Expert of the European Union science programs (FP4 to Horizon 2020), member of the high-level expert group of European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT). Has published over 320 peer-reviewed scientific papers and over 200 popular articles on diverse subjects, has written or co-authored 5 books and co-edited 21 books, his DuchSoft company has made GhostMiner software package marketed by Fujitsu company.
Wlodek Duch is well known for development of computational intelligence (CI) methods that facilitate understanding of data, general CI theory based on similarity evaluation and composition of transformations, meta-learning schemes that automatically discover the best model for a given data. He is working on development of neurocognitive informatics, focusing on algorithms inspired by cognitive functions, information flow in the brain, learning and neuroplasticity, understanding of attention, integrating genetic, molecular, neural and behavioral levels to understand attention deficit disorders in autism and other diseases, infant learning and toys that facilitate mental development, creativity, intuition, insight and mental imagery, geometrical theories that allow for visualization of mental events in relation to the underlying neurodynamics. He has also written several papers in the philosophy of mind, and was one of the founders of cognitive sciences in Poland. Since 2014 he is heading a unique NeuroCognitive Laboratory, that involves experts in hardware and software, signal processing, physics, cognitive science, psychology and philosophy. His Lab works with infants, preschool children, students and older people, using neuroimaging techniques, behavioral experiments and computational modelling.
With a wide background in many branches of science and understanding of different cultures he bridges many scientific communities. To find a lot of information about his activity including his full CV just type "W. Duch" in Google.