Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cognitive neuroscience of music perception: Special journal issue

The journal of Music Perception just published a special issue devoted to music and neurological disorders. Many facets of musical abilities and performance obviously relate to issues involved in temporal processing and the IQ Brain Clock (click here and here for prior music related posts at the IQ Brain Clock blog and my sister blog, IQ's Corner).

I simply don't have the time to read all the articles in this issue. I've provided a link to the Table of Contents and the editors introductory comments. If anyone would like to read one of the articles (I'd provide a copy via private email) in exchange for making a brief guest blog post, contact the blogmaster at: thetimedoc@earthlink.net

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rhythm, mental timing and IQ: Another study

Tic tock....the IQ Brain Clock.

Yet another report of a link between the brain clock and intelligence. Science Daily reports on a study by Swedish researchers linking rhythmic accuracy and intelligence. This appears to be very consistent with the major focus of the IQ Brain Clock blog and, in particular, research linking the concept of an internal brain clock (that regulates temporal processing), which in turn may be a major contributor to temporal g (general intelligence). I'm going to try secure a copy of the original research article to review for additional comments.

Stay tunned.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Executive functions and intellectual performance

I just read an excellent overview of the literature re: the construct of executive functions (EF). The article (by Ardila) is "in press" in Brain and Cognition (an excellent journal). Although I was not personally interested in the later portion of the articles discussion of the evolutionary basis of executive functions, I found everything prior to that section excellent.

The article provides a nice synthesis of the status of the theoretical and empirical research re: the construct of EF. What continues to excite me is the strong link between the prefrontal cortex (the dorsolateral prefrontal lobes in particular) and EF. My reading of the literature, which I've summarized in two of my PPT slide shows (in particular, see "Brain Clock IM 2007 Keynote" under the On-line PPT Slide section of the right side of this blogs home page), suggests a strong link between temporal processing/mental time-keeping (the IQ Brain Clock) and the dorsolateral prefrtonal cortex. This article is consistent with this finding.

The article also serves to remind those of us who are primarily focused on intelligence/cognitive constructs that EF is involved in two broad human behavior systems. One deals more with cognitive functions and the other more motivational/emotional/affective behaviors. I often tend to forget about the later....and I shouldn't, given that these other functions are related to the self-regulatory learning strategies conative domain I have described in a Model of Achievement Competence and Motivation (MACMM).

Article abstract
  • In this paper it is proposed that the prefrontal lobe participates in two closely related but different executive function abilities: (1) ‘‘metacognitive executive functions”: problem solving, planning, concept formation, strategy development and implementation, controlling attention, working memory, and the like; that is, executive functions as they are usually understood in contemporary neuroscience; and (2) ‘‘emotional/ motivational executive functions”: coordinating cognition and emotion/motivation (that is, fulfilling biological needs according to some existing conditions). The first one depends on the dorsolateral prefrontal areas, whereas the second one is associated with orbitofrontal and medial frontal areas. Current tests of executive functions basically tap the first ability (metacognitive). Solving everyday problems (functional application of executive functions), however, mostly requires the second ability (emotional/ motivational); therefore, these tests have limited ecological validity. Contrary to the traditional points of view, recent evidence suggests that the human prefrontal lobe is similar to other primates and hominids. Other primates and hominids may possess the second (emotional executive functions) prefrontal ability,-but not the first (metacognitive executive functions) one. It is argued that metacognitive executive functionsare significantly dependent on culture and cultural instruments. They probably are the result of the development and evolution of some ‘‘conceptualization instruments”; language (and written language as an extension of oral language) may represent the most important one. The second executive function ability (emotional/motivational) probably is the result of a biological evolution shared by other primates.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Brain Blog Carnival Encephalon # 43 is now available

Thanks to the Brain Blogger for the FYI re: the 43rd edition of the brain blog carnival Encephalon.

Time does not equal money

Another off-task post only tangentially related to the narrow focus of this blog. Again, an article from Science Daily regarding how time is perceived as a resource, particularly when compared to money. Turns out time is not perceived the same as the almighty dollar.

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Animals "stuck in time"

This is a bit off the mark regarding the focus of this blog, but it might make for interesting cocktail chat. Science Daily reports the results of a study with rats that suggest that, contrary to human time perception, they have little idea of the past or the future.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Scientific American Mind IQ Brain Clock article

Another popular press article addressing the importance of the brain and the perception/temporal processing of time...this time in the Feb/March 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind.

The cover of the issue teases the reader with the title "The time machine inside your head." The actual title of the article is "An odd sense of timing" by Pascal Wallisch (currently located as a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU/CNS).

In general, given the page-length constraints of these popular press type of articles, this is a well-written article. As is the case with most articles that attempt to cut a wide swath in the coverage of a wide and deep field of research and theorization, it has a number of strengths and limitations. The author correctly points out the fact that many questions still remain unanswered regarding the neuro-cognitive mechanisms involved in human temporal processing.

The regular reader of the IQ Brain Clock understands that human time perception covers a broad array of timing behaviors that have been ordered on the order of 10-12 scales of magnitude (click here for prior post). Although not made explicit to the reader, the authors discussion of the precision of timing involved in the brains coordination of motor control/timing is referencing the mental timing system operating at the second and millsecond levels. A quick transition (in the article) is then made to the top end of the end of human timing systems, namely the circadian system that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Potentially lost in this transition is the important understanding that human beings have a wide range of behaviors that are governed by multiple systems of timing, each operating on a different range of time.

On the positive side, the author does touch on some of the key brain areas involved in the processing of time at the second and millisecond levels (the key focus of this blog), temporal processing important to intellectual performance (see prior posts regarding temporal g). Correct mention is made of the importance of the the basal ganglia, striatum, cerebullum, and frontal lobes (the prefrontal cortex/lobes should have received more mention..but I'm probably being a bit picky). The author makes use of two common metaphors used to explain the IQ brain clock, namely, the synchrony involved in the performance of a symphony orchestra (see "Brain Clock IM 2007 Keynote" PPT slides, located on the right side of the home blog page, for the use of this analogy in some of my attempts to explain mental timing) and the "beat of a metronome" to represent the "salvo of nerve cell impulses in the brain" that are "counted" by the brain to represent time.

A significant portion of the article, and probably the material of most popular interest, is the coverage of the subjective perception of time. That is, why, under different circumstances, does time seem to "fly" while in other circumstances time seems to "stand still." Readers who want more information should check check out a prior post re: temporal awareness.

Bottom line - I'm pleased to see the increased recognition of the internal brain clock in more mainstream media. Understanding human temporal processing, IMHO, has the potential to help us better understand a range of important intellectual behaviors and, more importantly, has the potential to produce neuro-cognitive based IQ Brain Clock "fine tunning" interventions that may improve intellectual and academic performance.

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