It's about time

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The purpose of this review/opinion paper is to argue that human cognitive neuroscience has focused too little attention on how the brain may use time and time-based coding schemes to represent, process, and transfer information within and across brain regions. Instead, the majority of cognitive neuroscience studies rest on the assumption of functional localization. Although the functional localization approach has brought us a long way toward a basic characterization of brain functional organization, there are methodological and theoretical limitations of this approach. Further advances in our understanding of neurocognitive function may come from examining how the brain performs computations and forms transient functional neural networks using the rich multi-dimensional information available in time. This approach rests on the assumption that information is coded precisely in time but distributed in space; therefore, measures of rapid neuroelectrophysiological dynamics may provide insights into brain function that cannot be revealed using localization-based approaches and assumptions. Space is not an irrelevant dimension for brain organization; rather, a more complete understanding of how brain dynamics lead to behavior dynamics must incorporate how the brain uses time-based coding and processing schemes. © 2011 Cohen.

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Cohen, M. X. (2011). It’s about time. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Frontiers Media S. A.

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