Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (J COGNITIVE NEUROSCI )

Publisher: Cognitive Neuroscience Institute (Norwich, Vt.)

Description

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience provides a scholarly forum for research involving the interaction of brain and behavior. It is the only journal devoted exclusively to the rapidly expanding field of cognitive neuroscience, which focuses on how brain processes generate cognitive processes. The journal promotes understanding and communication among the mind sciences. Contributions reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the field, including developments in neuroscience, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, computer science, and philosophy. All papers are integrative across disciplines, addressing both descriptions of function and underlying brain events.

Impact factor 4.69

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    Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
    5.72
  • Cited half-life
    7.20
  • Immediacy index
    0.86
  • Eigenfactor
    0.04
  • Article influence
    2.36
  • Website
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience website
  • Other titles
    Journal of cognitive neuroscience (Online), Journal of cognitive neuroscience
  • ISSN
    0898-929X
  • OCLC
    38911348
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although previous neuroimaging research has identified overlapping correlates of subjective value across different reward types in the ventromedial pFC (vmPFC), it is not clear whether this "common currency" evaluative signal extends to the aesthetic domain. To examine this issue, we scanned human participants with fMRI while they made attractiveness judgments of faces and places-two stimulus categories that are associated with different underlying rewards, have very different visual properties, and are rarely compared with each other. We found overlapping signals for face and place attractiveness in the vmPFC, consistent with the idea that this region codes a signal for value that applies across disparate reward types and across both economic and aesthetic judgments. However, we also identified a subregion of vmPFC within which activity patterns for face and place attractiveness were distinguishable, suggesting that some category-specific attractiveness information is retained in this region. Finally, we observed two separate functional regions in lateral OFC: one region that exhibited a category-unique response to face attractiveness and another region that responded strongly to faces but was insensitive to their value. Our results suggest that vmPFC supports a common mechanism for reward evaluation while also retaining a degree of category-specific information, whereas lateral OFC may be involved in basic reward processing that is specific to only some stimulus categories.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive psychologists posit several specific cognitive abilities that are measured with sets of cognitive tasks. Tasks that purportedly tap a specific underlying cognitive ability are strongly correlated with one another, whereas performances on tasks that tap different cognitive abilities are less strongly correlated. For these reasons, latent variables are often considered optimal for describing individual differences in cognitive abilities. Although latent variables cannot be directly observed, all cognitive tasks representing a specific latent ability should have a common neural underpinning. Here, we show that cognitive tasks representing one ability (i.e., either perceptual speed or fluid reasoning) had a neural activation pattern distinct from that of tasks in the other ability. One hundred six participants between the ages of 20 and 77 years were imaged in an fMRI scanner while performing six cognitive tasks, three representing each cognitive ability. Consistent with prior research, behavioral performance on these six tasks clustered into the two abilities based on their patterns of individual differences and tasks postulated to represent one ability showed higher similarity across individuals than tasks postulated to represent a different ability. This finding was extended in the current report to the spatial resemblance of the task-related activation patterns: The topographic similarity of the mean activation maps for tasks postulated to reflect the same reference ability was higher than for tasks postulated to reflect a different reference ability. Furthermore, for any task pairing, behavioral and topographic similarities of underlying activation patterns are strongly linked. These findings suggest that differences in the strengths of correlations between various cognitive tasks may be because of the degree of overlap in the neural structures that are active when the tasks are being performed. Thus, the latent variable postulated to account for correlations at a behavioral level may reflect topographic similarities in the neural activation across different brain regions.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: When the distance between a visual target and nearby flankers falls below a critical distance, target discrimination declines precipitously. This is called "crowding." Many researchers have proposed that selective attention plays a role in crowding. However, although some research has examined the effects of directing attention toward versus away from the targets, no previous research has assessed how attentional allocation varies as a function of target-flanker distance in crowding. Here, we used ERPs to assess the operation of attention during crowding, focusing on the attention-related N2pc component. We used a typical crowding task in which participants were asked to report the category (vowel/consonant) of a lateralized target letter flanked by distractor letters at different distances. We tested the hypothesis that attention fails when the target-flanker distance becomes too small for attention to operate effectively. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that N2pc amplitude was maximal at intermediate target-flanker distances and decreased substantially when crowding became severe. In addition, we examined the sustained posterior contralateral negativity (SPCN), which reflects the amount of information being maintained in working memory. Unlike the N2pc component, the SPCN increased in amplitude at small target-flanker distances, suggesting that observers stored information about the target and flankers in working memory when attention failed to select the target. Together, the N2pc and SPCN results suggest that attention and working memory play distinctive roles in crowding: Attention operates to minimize interference from the flankers at intermediate target-flanker distances, whereas working memory may be recruited when attention fails to select the target at small target-flanker distances.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It is solidly established that top-down (goal-driven) and bottom-up (stimulus-driven) attention mechanisms depend on distributed cortical networks, including prefrontal and frontoparietal regions. Instead, it is less clear whether the BG also contribute to one or the other of these mechanisms, or to both. The current study was principally undertaken to clarify this issue. Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder primarily affecting the BG, has proven to be an effective model for investigating the contribution of the BG to different brain functions; therefore, we set out to investigate deficits of top-down and bottom-up attention in a selected cohort of PD patients. With this objective in mind, we compared the performance on three computerized tasks of two groups of 12 parkinsonian patients (assessed without any treatment), one otherwise pharmacologically treated and the other also surgically treated, with that of a group of controls. The main behavioral tool for our study was an attentional capture task, which enabled us to tap the competition between top-down and bottom-up mechanisms of visual attention. This task was suitably combined with a choice RT and a simple RT task to isolate any specific deficit of attention from deficits in motor response selection and initiation. In the two groups of patients, we found an equivalent increase of attentional capture but also comparable delays in target selection in the absence of any salient distractor (reflecting impaired top-down mechanisms) and movement initiation compared with controls. In contrast, motor response selection processes appeared to be prolonged only in the operated patients. Our results confirm that the BG are involved in both motor and cognitive domains. Specifically, damage to the BG, as it occurs in PD, leads to a distinct deficit of top-down control of visual attention, and this can account, albeit indirectly, for the enhancement of attentional capture, reflecting weakened ability of top-down mechanisms to antagonize bottom-up control.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Examining the function of individual human hippocampal subfields remains challenging because of their small sizes and convoluted structures. Previous human fMRI studies at 3 T have successfully detected differences in activation between hippocampal cornu ammonis (CA) field CA1, combined CA2, CA3, and dentate gyrus (DG) region (CA23DG), and the subiculum during associative memory tasks. In this study, we investigated hippocampal subfield activity in healthy participants using an associative memory paradigm during high-resolution fMRI scanning at 7 T. We were able to localize fMRI activity to anterior CA2 and CA3 during learning and to the posterior CA2 field, the CA1, and the posterior subiculum during retrieval of novel associations. These results provide insight into more specific human hippocampal subfield functions underlying learning and memory and a unique opportunity for future investigations of hippocampal subregion function in healthy individuals as well as those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to proactively control motor responses, particularly to overcome overlearned or automatic actions, is an essential prerequisite for adaptive, goal-oriented behavior. The substantia nigra (SN), an element of the BG, has figured prominently in current models of response selection. However, because of its small size and proximity to functionally distinct subcortical structures, it has been challenging to test the SN's involvement in response selection using conventional in vivo functional neuroimaging approaches. We developed a new fMRI localization method for directly distinguishing, on echo-planar images, the SN BOLD signal from that of neighboring structures, including the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Using this method, we tested the hypothesis that the SN supports the proactive control of response selection. We acquired high-resolution EPI volumes at 3 T from 16 healthy participants while they completed the Preparing to Overcome Prepotency task of proactive control. There was significantly elevated delay period signal selectively during high- compared with low-control trials in the SN. The STN did not show delay period activity in either condition. SN delay period signal was significantly inversely associated with task performance RTs across participants. These results suggest that our method offers a novel means for measuring SN BOLD responses, provides unique evidence of SN involvement in cognitive control in humans, and suggests a novel mechanism for proactive response selection.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The anterior intraparietal area (AIP) of macaques contains neurons that signal the depth structure of disparity-defined 3-D shapes. Previous studies have suggested that AIP's depth information is used for sensorimotor transformations related to the efficient grasping of 3-D objects. We trained monkeys to categorize disparity-defined 3-D shapes and examined whether neuronal activity in AIP may also underlie pure perceptual categorization behavior. We first show that neurons with a similar 3-D shape preference cluster in AIP. We then demonstrate that the monkeys' 3-D shape discrimination performance depends on the position in depth of the stimulus and that this performance difference is reflected in the activity of AIP neurons. We further reveal correlations between the neuronal activity in AIP and the subject's subsequent choices and RTs during 3-D shape categorization. Our findings propose AIP as an important processing stage for 3-D shape perception.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: During active scene perception, our eyes move from one location to another via saccadic eye movements, with the eyes fixating objects and scene elements for varying amounts of time. Much of the variability in fixation duration is accounted for by attentional, perceptual, and cognitive processes associated with scene analysis and comprehension. For this reason, current theories of active scene viewing attempt to account for the influence of attention and cognition on fixation duration. Yet almost nothing is known about the neurocognitive systems associated with variation in fixation duration during scene viewing. We addressed this topic using fixation-related fMRI, which involves coregistering high-resolution eye tracking and MR scanning to conduct event-related fMRI analysis based on characteristics of eye movements. We observed that activation in visual and prefrontal executive control areas was positively correlated with fixation duration, whereas activation in ventral areas associated with scene encoding and medial superior frontal and paracentral regions associated with changing action plans was negatively correlated with fixation duration. The results suggest that fixation duration in scene viewing is controlled by cognitive processes associated with real-time scene analysis interacting with motor planning, consistent with current computational models of active vision for scene perception.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Sound waves emitted by two or more simultaneous sources reach the ear as one complex waveform. Auditory scene analysis involves parsing a complex waveform into separate perceptual representations of the sound sources (Bregman, A. S. Auditory scene analysis: The perceptual organization of sounds. London: MIT Press, 1990). Harmonicity provides an important cue for auditory scene analysis. Normally, harmonics at integer multiples of a fundamental frequency are perceived as one sound with a pitch corresponding to the fundamental frequency. However, when one harmonic in such a complex, pitch-evoking sound is sufficiently mistuned, that harmonic emerges from the complex tone and is perceived as a separate auditory object. Previous work has shown that the percept of two objects is indexed in both children and adults by the object-related negativity component of the ERP derived from EEG recordings (Alain et al., 2001). Here we examine the emergence of object-related responses to an 8% harmonic mistuning in infants between 2 and 12 months of age. Two-month-old infants showed no significant object-related response. However, in 4- to 12-month-old infants, a significant frontally positive component was present, and by 8-12 months, a significant frontocentral object-related negativity was present, similar to that seen in older children and adults. This is in accordance with previous research demonstrating that infants younger than 4 months of age do not integrate harmonic information to perceive pitch when the fundamental is missing (He, C., Hotson, L., & Trainor, L. J. Maturation of cortical mismatch mismatch responses to occasional pitch change in early infancy: Effects of presentation rate and magnitude of change. Neuropsychologia, 47, 2009, 218-229). The results indicate that the ability to use harmonic information to segregate simultaneous sounds emerges at the cortical level between 2 and 4 months of age.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is well established that stress can disrupt complex cognitive functions, relatively little is known about how it influences visual processing, especially in terms of visual selective attention. In the current study, we used highly aversive images, taken from the International Affective Picture System, to induce acute, low-intensity stress while participants performed a visual discrimination task. Consistent with prior research, we found that anticipation of aversive stimuli increased overall amplitude of the N170, suggesting an increase in early sensory gain. More importantly, we found that stress disrupted visual selective attention. While in no-stress blocks, the amplitude of the face-sensitive N170 was higher when participants attended to faces rather than scenes in face-scene overlay images; this effect was absent under stress. This was because of an increase in N170 amplitude in the scene-attend condition under stress. We interpret these findings as suggesting that even low-intensity acute stress can impair participants' ability to filter out task-irrelevant information. We discuss our findings in relation to how even brief exposure to low-intensity stress may adversely impact both healthy and clinical populations.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence implicates ventral parieto-premotor cortices in representing the goal of grasping independent of the movements or effectors involved [Umilta, M. A., Escola, L., Intskirveli, I., Grammont, F., Rochat, M., Caruana, F., et al. When pliers become fingers in the monkey motor system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 105, 2209-2213, 2008; Tunik, E., Frey, S. H., & Grafton, S. T. Virtual lesions of the anterior intraparietal area disrupt goal-dependent on-line adjustments of grasp. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 505-511, 2005]. Modern technologies that enable arbitrary causal relationships between hand movements and tool actions provide a strong test of this hypothesis. We capitalized on this unique opportunity by recording activity with fMRI during tasks in which healthy adults performed goal-directed reach and grasp actions manually or by depressing buttons to initiate these same behaviors in a remotely located robotic arm (arbitrary causal relationship). As shown previously [Binkofski, F., Dohle, C., Posse, S., Stephan, K. M., Hefter, H., Seitz, R. J., et al. Human anterior intraparietal area subserves prehension: A combined lesion and functional MRI activation study. Neurology, 50, 1253-1259, 1998], we detected greater activity in the vicinity of the anterior intraparietal sulcus (aIPS) during manual grasp versus reach. In contrast to prior studies involving tools controlled by nonarbitrarily related hand movements [Gallivan, J. P., McLean, D. A., Valyear, K. F., & Culham, J. C. Decoding the neural mechanisms of human tool use. Elife, 2, e00425, 2013; Jacobs, S., Danielmeier, C., & Frey, S. H. Human anterior intraparietal and ventral premotor cortices support representations of grasping with the hand or a novel tool. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 2594-2608, 2010], however, responses within the aIPS and premotor cortex exhibited no evidence of selectivity for grasp when participants employed the robot. Instead, these regions showed comparable increases in activity during both the reach and grasp conditions. Despite equivalent sensorimotor demands, the right cerebellar hemisphere displayed greater activity when participants initiated the robot's actions versus when they pressed a button known to be nonfunctional and watched the very same actions undertaken autonomously. This supports the hypothesis that the cerebellum predicts the forthcoming sensory consequences of volitional actions [Blakemore, S. J., Frith, C. D., & Wolpert, D. M. The cerebellum is involved in predicting the sensory consequences of action. NeuroReport, 12, 1879-1884, 2001]. We conclude that grasp-selective responses in the human aIPS and premotor cortex depend on the existence of nonarbitrary causal relationships between hand movements and end-effector actions.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A great deal of prior research has examined the relation between estimates of working memory and cognitive abilities. Yet, the neural mechanisms that account for these relations are still not very well understood. The current study explored whether individual differences in working memory delay activity would be a significant predictor of cognitive abilities. A large number of participants performed multiple measures of capacity, attention control, long-term memory, working memory span, and fluid intelligence, and latent variable analyses were used to examine the data. During two working memory change detection tasks, we acquired EEG data and examined the contralateral delay activity. The results demonstrated that the contralateral delay activity was significantly related to cognitive abilities, and importantly these relations were because of individual differences in both capacity and attention control. These results suggest that individual differences in working memory delay activity predict individual differences in a broad range of cognitive abilities, and this is because of both differences in the number of items that can be maintained and the ability to control access to working memory.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Via mental simulation, imagined events faithfully reproduce the neural and behavioral activities that accompany their actual occurrence. However, little is known about how fundamental characteristics of mental imagery-notably perspectives of self-shape neurocognitive processes. To address this issue, we used fMRI to explore the impact that vantage point exerts on the neural and behavioral correlates of imaginary sensory experiences (i.e., pain). Participants imagined painful scenarios from three distinct visual perspectives: first-person self (1PS), third-person self (3PS), and third-person other (3PO). Corroborating increased ratings of pain and embodiment, 1PS (cf. 3PS) simulations elicited greater activity in the right anterior insula, a brain area that supports interoceptive and emotional awareness. Additionally, 1PS simulations evoked greater activity in brain areas associated with visual imagery and the sense of body ownership. Interestingly, no differences were observed between 3PS and 3PO imagery. Taken together, these findings reveal the neural and behavioral correlates of visual perspective during mental simulation.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Neurochemical systems are well studied in animal learning; however, ethical issues limit methodologies to explore these systems in humans. Pupillometry provides a glimpse into the brain's neurochemical systems, where pupil dynamics in monkeys have been linked with locus coeruleus activity, which releases norepinephrine (NE) throughout the brain. Here, we use pupil dynamics as a surrogate measure of neurochemical activity to explore the hypothesis that NE is involved in modulating memory encoding. We examine this using a task-irrelevant learning paradigm in which learning is boosted for stimuli temporally paired with task targets. We show that participants better recognize images that are paired with task targets than distractors and, in correspondence, that pupil size changes more for target-paired than distractor-paired images. To further investigate the hypothesis that NE nonspecifically guides learning for stimuli that are present with its release, a second procedure was used that employed an unexpected sound to activate the LC-NE system and induce pupil-size changes; results indicated a corresponding increase in memorization of images paired with the unexpected sounds. Together, these results suggest a relationship between the LC-NE system, pupil-size changes, and human memory encoding.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A central concern in the study of learning and decision-making is the identification of neural signals associated with the values of choice alternatives. An important factor in understanding the neural correlates of value is the representation of the object itself, separate from the act of choosing. Is it the case that the representation of an object within visual areas will change if it is associated with a particular value? We used fMRI adaptation to measure the neural similarity of a set of novel objects before and after participants learned to associate monetary values with the objects. We used a range of both positive and negative values to allow us to distinguish effects of behavioral salience (i.e., large vs. small values) from effects of valence (i.e., positive vs. negative values). During the scanning session, participants made a perceptual judgment unrelated to value. Crucially, the similarity of the visual features of any pair of objects did not predict the similarity of their value, so we could distinguish adaptation effects because of each dimension of similarity. Within early visual areas, we found that value similarity modulated the neural response to the objects after training. These results show that an abstract dimension, in this case, monetary value, modulates neural response to an object in visual areas of the brain even when attention is diverted.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It is not clear how the engagement of motor mnemonic processes is expressed in online brain activity. We scanned participants, using fMRI, during the paced performance of a finger-to-thumb opposition sequence (FOS), intensively trained a day earlier (T-FOS), and a similarly constructed, but novel, untrained FOS (U-FOS). Both movement sequences were performed in pairs of blocks separated by a brief rest interval (30 sec). We have recently shown that in the primary motor cortex (M1) motor memory was not expressed in the average signal intensity but rather in the across-block signal modulations, that is, when comparing the first to the second performance block across the brief rest interval. Here, using an M1 seed, we show that for the T-FOS, the M1-striatum functional connectivity decreased across blocks; however, for the U-FOS, connectivity within the M1 and between M1 and striatum increased. In addition, in M1, the pattern of within-block signal change, but not signal variability per se, reliably differentiated the two sequences. Only for the U-FOS and only within the first blocks in each pair, the signal significantly decreased. No such modulation was found within the second corresponding blocks following the brief rest interval in either FOS. We propose that a network including M1 and striatum underlies online motor working memory. This network may promote a transient integrated representation of a new movement sequence and readily retrieves a previously established movement sequence representation. Averaging over single events or blocks may not capture the dynamics of motor representations that occur over multiple timescales.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Functional imaging studies in human and nonhuman primates have demonstrated regions in the brain that show category selectivity for faces or (headless) bodies. Recent fMRI-guided single unit studies of the macaque face category-selective regions have increased our understanding of the response properties of single neurons in these face patches. However, much less is known about the response properties of neurons in the fMRI-defined body category-selective regions ("body patches"). Recently, we reported that the majority of single neurons in one fMRI-defined body patch, the mid-STS body patch, responded greater to bodies compared with other objects. Here we assessed the tolerance of these neurons' responses and stimulus preference for shape-preserving image transformations. After mapping the receptive field of the single neurons, we found that their stimulus preference showed a high degree of tolerance for changes in the position and size of the stimulus. However, their response strongly depended on the in-plane orientation of a body. The selectivity of most neurons was, to a large degree, preserved when silhouettes were presented instead of the original textured and shaded images, suggesting that mainly shape-based features are driving these neurons. In a human psychophysical study, we showed that the information present in silhouettes is largely sufficient for body versus nonbody categorization. These data suggest that mid-STS body patch neurons respond predominantly to oriented shape features that are prevalent in images of bodies. Their responses can inform position- and retinal size-invariant body categorization and discrimination based on shape.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Does the presence of irrelevant neuroscience information make explanations of psychological phenomena more appealing? Do fMRI pictures further increase that allure? To help answer these questions, 385 college students in four experiments read brief descriptions of psychological phenomena, each one accompanied by an explanation of varying quality (good vs. circular) and followed by superfluous information of various types. Ancillary measures assessed participants' analytical thinking, beliefs on dualism and free will, and admiration for different sciences. In Experiment 1, superfluous neuroscience information increased the judged quality of the argument for both good and bad explanations, whereas accompanying fMRI pictures had no impact above and beyond the neuroscience text, suggesting a bias that is conceptual rather than pictorial. Superfluous neuroscience information was more alluring than social science information (Experiment 2) and more alluring than information from prestigious "hard sciences" (Experiments 3 and 4). Analytical thinking did not protect against the neuroscience bias, nor did a belief in dualism or free will. We conclude that the "allure of neuroscience" bias is conceptual, specific to neuroscience, and not easily accounted for by the prestige of the discipline. It may stem from the lay belief that the brain is the best explanans for mental phenomena.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2014;