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Friday, March 4, 2016 - 12:00pm

IRCS Conference Room

Robert Knight
Department of Psychology
UC Berkeley

Frontal Cortex and Human Behavior: Insights from Direct Brain Recording

How do humans respond to ever-changing environmental demands? We employ direct intracranial cortical recording (electrocorticography; ECoG) to address how prefrontal cortex enables goal-directed behavior. High frequency neural activity (high gamma, HG; 7-200 Hz) indexing cortical excitability and connectivity metrics assess network oscillatory dynamics in multiple aspects of human cognition. In contrast to classic notions of language organization, ECoG data has shown that Broca’s area is not involved in speech articulation but rather serves as a premotor region. ECoG recording has delineated how hierarchical cognitive control is implemented in a rostral-caudal pattern in prefrontal cortex. We have also observed that HG activity centered in lateral prefrontal cortex links perception and action across tasks and sensory modalities predicting reaction times with near perfect accuracy. In sum, intracranial recording has defined the spatio-temporal dynamics of prefrontal regions in domain general cognitive control.