A failure to perceive color (the world appears in grayscale), not to be confused with color blindness (e.g. in which red and green cannot be discriminated).
A sudden change (depolarization and repolarization) in the electrical properties of the neuron membrane in an axon
An increase in physiological processing in one condition relative to some other condition(s).
Additive factors method
A general method for dividing reaction times into different stages devised by Sternberg.
Stroke omissions and additions in writing that may be due to poor use of visual and kinesthetic feedback.
Structural properties of objects imply certain usages.
Halting, “telegraphic” speech production that is devoid of function words (e.g. of, at, the, and), bound morphemes (e.g. –ing, –s) and often verbs.
A failure to perceive visual motion
A map of space coding the locations of objects and places relative to each other
Letters that are specified for shape (e.g. case, print versus script
Different spoken/acoustic renditions of the same phoneme.
Not tied to one or more perceptual systems
Part of the limbic system; implicated in detecting fearful stimuli
Over-elastic region of artery that is prone to rupture
Memory for events that have occurred after brain damage
A failure to understand the meaning of objects due to a deficit at the level of object perception.
Apraxia for speech:
Difficulties in shaping the vocal tract.
A short-term memory store for verbal material that is refreshed by subvocal articulation.
Silently mouthing words while performing some other task (typically a memory task).
Autism with no significant delay in early language and cognitive development
A failure to understand the meaning of objects due to a deficit at the level of semantic memory.
Reaction times are faster to a stimulus if that stimulus is preceded by a stimulus of similar meaning (this is also known as semantic priming).
The process by which certain information is selected for further processing and other information is discarded
An inability to report the constituent letters of words that can be read (together with intact reading of isolated letters).
Auditory stream segregation:
The division of a complex auditory signal into different sources or auditory objects.
The presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication and a markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests
An inability to localize body parts on oneself, on pictures or on others
Regions of subcortical gray matter involved in aspects of motor control and skill learning; they consist of structures such as the caudate nucleus, putamen and globus pallidus.
A membrane within the cochlea containing tiny hair cells linked to neural receptors
A field concerned with studying the inheritance of behavior and cognition
Cognitive neuroscience in non-human animals.
The ability to detect whether a stimulus is animate or not from movement cues alone
The point at which the optic nerve leaves the eye. There are no rods and cones present there
symptom in which the patient reports not being able to consciously see stimuli in a particular region but can nevertheless perform visual discriminations (e.g. long, short) accurately.
Blood oxygen-level-dependent contrast; the signal measured in fMRI that relates to the concentration of deoxyhemoglobin in the blood.
a type of aphasia traditionally associated with damage to Broca’s area and linked to symptoms such as agrammatism and articulatory deficits.
Regions of cortex defined by the relative distribution of cell types across cortical layers (cytoarchitecture).
A variant of the visual search paradigm in which the patient must search for targets in an array, normally striking them through as they are found
People report that their acquaintances (spouse, family, friends and so on) have been replaced by “body doubles”.
Continuous changes in input are mapped on to discrete percepts
The notion that the brain represents different categories in different ways (and/or different regions).
Disruption of reading arising after computation of a visual word form (e.g. in accessing meaning, or translating to speech).
Structure attached to the hindbrain; important for dexterity and smooth execution of movement.
Participants fail to notice the appearance/disappearance of objects between two alternating images.
The production of one phoneme is influenced by the preceding and proceeding phonemes.
Part of the inner ear that converts liquid-borne sound into neural impulses.
A variety of higher mental processes such as thinking, perceiving, imagining, speaking, acting and planning.
type of experimental design in functional imaging in which activity in a control task is subtracted from activity in an experimental task.
In lexical access, a large number of spoken words are initially considered as candidates but words get eliminated as more evidence accumulates.
The color of a surface is perceived as constant even when illuminated in different lighting conditions.
In vision, cells that respond to light in a particular orientation but do not respond to single points of light.
Conditioned taste aversion:
A highly durable avoidance of food that has previously been associated with sickness.
A memory that is false and sometimes self-contradictory without an intention to lie
The process by which moment-to-moment changes in brain activity are translated into permanent structural changes in the brain.
The act of remembering construed in terms of making inferences about the past, based on what is currently known and accessible.
The mechanism that selects one particular schema to be enacted from a host of competing schemas.
The process of putting each item in a collection in one-to-one correspondence with a number or some other internal/external tally
Critical period: A time window in which appropriate environmental input is essential for learning to take place.
Integrating information across sensory modalities
situation in which outward behavior deliberately contradicts inner knowledge and beliefs.
Memories that can be consciously accessed.
Real words are read better than non-words and semantic errors are made in reading
An inability to repeat non-words and the producion of semantic errors in word repetition
Degrees of freedom problem:
There are potentially an infinite number of motor solutions for acting on an object.
discrete brain lesion can disrupt the functioning of distant brain regions that are structurally intact.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI
Uses MRI to measure white matter connectivity between brain regions.
An attempt to solve the inverse problem in ERP research that involves assuming how many dipoles (regions of electrical activity) contribute to the signal recorded at the scalp.
It is harder to decide which of two numbers is larger when the distance between them is small (e.g. 8–9 relative to 2–9).
The idea that a cognitive process (or brain region) is dedicated solely to one particular type of information (e.g. colors, faces, words).
Two single dissociations that have a complementary profile of abilities.
If there is a decrement in performance associated with doing two things at once, it suggests that these two tasks share cognitive processes.
Wrinkles around the eyes associated with a sincere smile
Impaired muscular contractions of the articulatory apparatus
Difficulties in understanding numbers; calculation difficulties.
Difficulties in spelling and writing.
theory of attention in which information is selected according to perceptual attributes.
The extent to which a task relates to everyday situations outside of the laboratory
A map of space coded relative to the position of the body.
States/processes that prepare the organism for certain behaviors, particularly those with survival value.
The ability to appreciate others’ points of view and share their experiences
In philosophy, the view that the newborn mind is a blank slate.
Encoding specificity hypothesis
Events are easier to remember when the context at retrieval is similar to the context at encoding.
Related to properties of the task
: Attention is guided by the goals of the perceiver
: Memory of specific events in one’s own life
An electrical potential (“error potential”) that can be detected at the scalp when an error is made.
Control processes that enable an individual to optimize performance in situations requiring the operation and coordination of several more basic cognitive processes.
Related to properties of the stimulus.
Attention that is externally guided by a stimulus
When presented with two stimuli at the same time (one in each hemispace), then the stimulus on the opposite side of the lesion is not consciously perceived
Face recognition units (FRUs):
Stored knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of familiar faces.
A belief that differs from one’s own belief and that differs from the true state of the world.
A memory that is either partly or wholly inaccurate but is accepted as a real memory by the person doing the remembering.
Context-free memory in which the recognized item just feels familiar
The process of segmenting a visual display into objects versus background surfaces.
The process by which a young animal comes to recognize the parent.
An inability to identify individual fingers by touch.
The substitution of one word for another that is sometimes thought to reflect the hidden intentions of the speaker.
Failure in tasks of routine activity that involve setting up and maintaining different subgoals, but with no basic deficits in object recognition or gesturing the use of isolated objects (also called action disorganization syndrome).
Frontal eye fields:
Responsible for voluntary movement of the eyes.
Measures temporary changes in brain physiology associated with cognitive processing; the most common methods of PET and fMRI are based on a hemodynamic measure.
The way in which different regions communicate with each other.
Different regions of the brain are specialized for different functions.
A sentence in which the early part biases a syntactic interpretation that turns out to be incorrect.
Gene X–environment interactions
Susceptibility to a trait depends on a particular combination of a gene and environment.
Genetic influences in people’s exposure to different environments.
A hypothetical neuron that just responds to one particular stimulus (e.g. the sight of one’s grandmother).
Letters that are specified in terms of stroke order, size and direction.
An abstract description that specifies letter identity
a short-term memory component that maintains a string of abstract letter identities while output processes (for writing, typing, etc.) are engaged
Matter consisting primarily of neuronal cell bodies.
In neuropsychology, the performance of different patients is combined to yield a group average.
In infant studies, old or familiar objects receive less attention.
Illusory percepts not shared by others (e.g. hearing voices).
Head-related transfer function (HRTF
An internal model of how sounds get distorted by the unique shape of one’s own ears and head.
Cortical blindness restricted to one half of the visual field (associated with damage to the primary visual cortex in one hemisphere).
Damage to one side of the primary motor cortex results in a failure to voluntarily move the other side of the body.
Hemodynamic response function (HRF):
Changes in the BOLD signal over time
The proportion of variance in a trait, in a given population, that can be accounted for by genetic differences amongst individuals.
A genetic disorder affecting the basal ganglia and associated with excessive movement.
In vision, cells that respond to particular orientations and particular lengths.
Consists of a variety of nuclei that are specialized for different functions that are primarily concerned with the body and its regulation
An inability to produce appropriate gestures given an object, word or command
A situation in which visual features of two different objects are incorrectly perceived as being associated with a single object.
The ability to reproduce the behavior of another through observation.
a failure to consciously see something because attention is directed away from it.
A reduction/suppression of the activity of a brain region (or a cognitive process), triggered by activity in another region/process
Inhibition of return
a slowing of reaction time associated with going back to a previously attended location.
A behavior that is a product of natural selection
A behavior that is a product of natural selection.
A region of cortex buried beneath the temporal lobes; involved in body perception and contains the primary gustatory cortex; responds to disgust.
A failure to integrate parts into wholes in visual perception.
Later stages of processing can begin before earlier stages are complete.
The self-perception of bodily changes produces emotional experience (e.g. one is sad because one cries).
In monkeys after bilateral amygdala and temporal lesions, an unusual tameness and emotional blunting; a tendency to examine objects with the mouth; and dietary changes.
Amnesia arising from long-term alcoholism.
a theory of attention in which all incoming information is processed up to the level of meaning (semantics) before being selected for further processing.
A modality-independent word-level entry that specifies the syntactic components of the word.
Information that is processed semantically is more likely to be remembered than information that is processed perceptually.
The phonological code that drives articulation.
The process of matching a perceptual description of a word on to a stored memory description of that word.
a two-way forced choice judgment about whether a letter string (or phoneme string) is a word or not.
In speech production, the selection of a word based on the meaning that one wishes to convey.
A region of subcortex involved in relating the organism to its present and past environment; limbic structures include the amygdala, hippocampus, cingulate cortex and mamillary bodies.
task involving judging the central point of a line
Written languages based on the one-word–one-symbol principle.
Long-term potentiation (LTP
An increase in the long-term responsiveness of a postsynaptic neuron in response to stimulation of a presynaptic neuron.
A speech error that consists of a word with a similar phonological form to the intended word.
An auditory percept derived from a fusion of mismatching heard speech and seen speech.
Part of the hindbrain; it regulates vital functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate and the wake–sleep cycle.
The study of the time course of information processing in the human nervous system.
The problem of how a physical substance (the brain) can give rise to our feelings, thoughts and emotions (our mind
A neuron that responds to goal-directed actions performed by oneself or by others.
Neural resources that disregard the distinction between self and other.
Mismatch negativity (MMN
An ERP component that occurs when an auditory stimulus deviates from previously presented auditory stimuli.
Missing fundamental phenomenon
If the fundamental frequency of a complex sound is removed, then the pitch is not perceived to change (the brain reinstates it).
The process of relating information currently held in mind back to the task requirements.
: Situations in which a particular emotion occurs frequently or continuously.
Stored routines that specify certain motor parameters of an action (e.g. the relative timing of strokes).
Multi-cell recordings (or multi-unit recordings):
The electrical activity (in terms of action potentials per second) of many individually recorded neurons.
Carrying out several tasks in succession; requires both task switching and maintaining future goals while current goals are being dealt with.
In philosophy, the view that at least some forms of knowledge are innate.
an ignored object suddenly becomes the attended object, then participants are slower at processing it.
Reading errors that affect one side of a word
A failure to attend to stimuli on the opposite side of space to the lesion.
Neural network models
Computational models in which information processing occurs using many interconnected nodes.
The embryo’s precursor to the central nervous system, consisting of a set of cells arranged in a hollow cylinder.
Stem cells for neurons
process of interaction between environment and multiple brain-based constraints that leads to the mature cognitive system emerging out of transformations of earlier ones.
The use of brain-based methods/theories in order to account for economic decision making.
The basic units of neural network models that are activated in response to activity in other parts of the network.
Memories that cannot be consciously accessed (e.g. procedural memory).
An understanding that objects remain the same, irrespective of differences in viewing condition.
Object orientation agnosia
An inability to extract the orientation of an object despite adequate object recognition.
a swelling of the brain following injury.
A system of written language with an irregular (or semi-regular) correspondence between phonemes and graphemes.
symptom arising from damage to the occipito-parietal junction.
An impaired ability to perform the coordinated movements that are required for speech.
A limbic-based circuit that was once thought to constitute a largely undifferentiated “emotional” brain.
Different information is processed at the same time (i.e. in parallel).
a disease associated with the basal ganglia and characterized by a lack of self-initiated movement.
The process of assigning a syntactic structure to words.
the elaboration and interpretation of a sensory stimulus based on, for example, knowledge of how objects are structured.
Disruption of reading arising up to the level of computation of a visual word form.
Repeating an action that has already been performed and is no longer relevant.
Person identity nodes (PINs
An abstract description of people that links together perceptual knowledge (e.g. faces) with semantic knowledge.
A pathological fear of certain stimuli that is out of proportion to the actual threat posed.
Ability to read real words better than non-words.
A store of the abstract speech sounds that make up known words.
The claim that accessing the spoken forms of words is an obligatory component of understanding visually presented words.
Neurons that respond when an animal is in a particular location in allocentric space (normally found in the hippocampus).
Place value system
a system of writing numbers in which the quantity is determined by its place in the written string.
part of auditory cortex (posterior to primary auditory cortex) that integrates auditory information with non-auditory information, for example to enable sounds to be separated in space.
The brain’s ability to change as a result of experience.
Part of the hindbrain; a key link between the cerebellum and the cerebrum.
The ability to detect an object amongst distractor objects in situations in which the number of distractors presented is unimportant
The lateral area is important for linking action with objects in the environment; the medial area is known as the supplementary motor area and deals with well-learned actions and action sequences.
The theory that common phobias are biologically determined from evolutionary pressures.
Primary auditory cortex
The main cortical area to receive auditory-based thalamic input.
Primary visual cortex (or V1
The first stage of visual processing in the cortex; the region retains the spatial relationships found on the retina and combines simple visual features into more complex ones.
Primary motor cortex
Responsible for execution of voluntary movements of the body.
Memory for skills such as riding a bike.
Proper name anomia
Severe difficulties in retrieving proper names.
knowledge of the position of the limbs in space.
Impairments of face processing that do not reflect difficulties in early visual analysis (also used to refer to an inability to recognize previously familiar faces).
Remembering to do things in the future (e.g. to deliver something or take medication).
In a non-lesioned brain there is over-attention to the left side of space.
Loss of contact with reality.
A difficulty in reading words in which reading time increases proportionately to the length of the word.
Pure insertion (also pure deletion
The assumption that adding a different component to a task does not change the operation of other components.
Pure word deafness
Type of auditory agnosia in which patients are able to identify environmental sounds and music but not speech.
Cortical blindness restricted to a quarter of the visual field.
Radial glial cells
Support cells that guide neurons from the neural tube to final destination.
The informational content of a neuron may be related to the number of action potentials per second.
The time taken between the onset of a stimulus/event and the production of a behavioral response (e.g. a button press).
Participants must produce previously seen stimuli without a full prompt being given (compare recognition memory).
The region of space that elicits a response from a given neuron.
A memory test in which participants must decide whether a stimulus was shown on a particular occasion.
Context-dependent memory that involves remembering specific information from the study episode.
The belief that mind-based concepts will eventually be replaced by neuroscientific concepts.
a representational system for coding space (e.g. near versus far space; imaginal versus external space).
A stimulus that increases or decreases a particular pattern of behavior.
A stimulus seen previously will be identified faster on a subsequent occasion.
Properties of the world that are manifested in cognitive systems (mental representation) and neural systems (neural representation).
A situation in which a prepotent incorrect response needs to be overcome to perform a task successfully (as in Stroop color naming).
The internal surface of the eyes containing photoreceptors that convert light to neural signals.
A map of space coded relative to the position of eye gaze.
Retrieval of a memory causes active inhibition of similar competing memories.
Memory for events that occurred before brain damage.
The ability to stop responding to a previously rewarded stimulus that is no longer rewarded.
The observation that memories from early in life tend to be preserved in amnesia.
A movement of the eyes
An organized set of stored information (e.g. of familiar action routines).
A severe disturbance of thought and affect characterized by a loss of contact with reality.
A small region of cortical blindness.
Self-ordered pointing task
A task in which participants must point to a new object on each trial and thus maintain a working memory for previously selected items.
A progressive loss of information from semantic memory.
Conceptually-based knowledge about the world, including knowledge of people, places, the meaning of objects and words.
the effects of a stimulus on the sensory organs.
A time window in which appropriate environmental input is particularly important (but not necessarily essential) for learning to take place.
Semantic categories differ in the extent to which functional versus sensory information is represented.
Linking together of perceptual knowledge of objects in space and knowledge of the position of one’s body to enable objects to be acted on.
Memory for information currently held “in mind”; it has limited capacity.
: In vision, cells that respond to light in a particular orientation.
The theory that perceiving the actions and emotional expressions of others uses the same neural and cognitive resources that are used for producing actions and emotional expressions in oneself.
Inability to perceive more than one object at a time.
Single case studies
In cognitive neuropsychology, the data from different patients are not combined.
Single-cell recordings (or single-unit recordings
Measure the responsiveness of a neuron to a given stimulus (in terms of action potentials per second).
a situation in which a patient is impaired on a particular task (task A) but relatively spared on another task (task B).
It is easier to state which number is larger when the numbers are small (e.g. 2 and 4) relative to large (e.g. 7 and 9) even when the distance between them is the same.
Skin conductance response (SCR
Changes in electrical conductivity on a person’s skin, triggered by certain stimuli (e.g. emotional or familiar stimuli).
Redistributing brain activity from neighboring voxels to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio.
The emotional response of another person may lead to avoidance or interaction with a previously neutral stimulus.
Irresponsible and unreliable behavior that is not personally advantageous; an inability to form lasting commitments or relationships; egocentric thinking; and a marked degree of impulsivity.
Links between previous situations stored throughout the cortex and the “feeling” of those situations stored in regions of the brain dedicated to emotion and the representation of the body.
A cluster of perceptual processes that relate to the skin and body, and include touch, pain, thermal sensation and limb position.
The process by which retrieved memories are attributed to their original context.
In fMRI, a short break in scanning to enable sounds to be presented in relative silence.
The accuracy with which one can measure where an event (e.g. a physiological change) is occurring.
A surgical procedure in which fibers of the corpus callosum are severed.
A speech error in which initial consonants are swapped between words.
The mapping of individual differences in brain anatomy onto a standard template.
Disruption in the blood supply to the brain; also called cerebrovascular accidents (CVA).
Response interference from naming the ink color of a written color name (e.g. the word BLUE is printed in red ink and participants are asked to say the ink color, i.e. “red”).
A memory representation of the three-dimensional structure of objects.
Measures of the spatial configuration of different types of tissue in the brain (principally CT and MRI).
The process of enumerating a small number of objects at a glance.
Supplementary motor area (SMA
Deals with well-learned actions, particularly action sequences that do not place strong demands on monitoring the environment.
Ability to read non-words and regularly spelled words better than irregularly spelled words.
Retaining focus on the task requirements over a period of time
The small gap between neurons in which neurotransmitters are released, permitting signalling between neurons.
A cluster of different symptoms that are believed to be related in some meaningful way.
The order and structure of the words within a sentence.
Discarding a previous schema and establishing a new one.
One task is performed worse than another because the task is performed sub-optimally (but not because some aspect of the task is compromised).
If two tasks share the same neural/cognitive resource but one task uses it more, then damage to this resource will affect one task more than the other.
The synchrony of firing may be used by a population of neurons to code the same stimulus or event.
the accuracy with which one can measure when an event (e.g. a physiological change) occurs.
A major subcortical relay center; for instance, it is a processing station between all sensory organs (except smell) and the cortex.
Theory of mind
The ability to represent the mental states of others (e.g. their beliefs, desires, intentions).
a state in which a person knows, conceptually, the word that he or she wishes to say but is unable to retrieve the corresponding spoken form.
Tone-deafness (or congenital amusia
a developmental difficulty in perceiving pitch relationships.
Orderly mapping between sound frequency and position on cortex.
The influence of later stages on the processing of earlier ones (e.g. memory influences on perception).
A neuropsychiatric disorder with an onset in childhood characterized by the presence of motor and/or vocal tics.
The means by which one symbol is translated into another of a different type.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Non-invasive stimulation of the brain caused by a rapidly changing electrical current in a coil held over the scalp.
Lesions affect one or more components within the pre-existing cognitive system but do not result in a completely new cognitive system being created.
A system of written language with a regular correspondence between phonemes and graphemes.
The point at which the acoustic input unambiguously corresponds to only one known word.
Impulsively acting on irrelevant objects in the environment.
aregion of extrastriate cortex associated with color perception.
V5 (or MT):
A region of extrastriate cortex associated with motion perception.
A tendency to mis-localize heard sounds onto a seen source of potential sounds.
A store of the structure of known written words.
A task of detecting the presence or absence of a specified target object in an array of other distracting objects.
A volume-based unit (cf. pixels, which are 2D); in imaging research the brain is divided into many thousands of these.
A type of aphasia traditionally associated with damage to Wernicke’s area and associated with fluent but nonsensical speech, and poor comprehension.
Tissue of the nervous system consisting primarily of axons and support cells.
Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
A test of executive functions involving rule induction and rule use.
Word superiority effect
It is easier to detect the presence of a single letter presented briefly if the letter is presented in the context of a word.
A system for the temporary storage and manipulation of information.