Brain Mechanisms of Cognitive Skills

Consciousness and Cognition 6 (2-3):267-290 (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This article examines the anatomy and circuitry of skills that, like reading, calculating, recognizing, or remembering, are common abilities of humans. While the anatomical areas active are unique to each skill there are features common to all tasks. For example, all skills produce activation of a small number of widely separated neural areas that appear necessary to perform the task. These neural areas relate to internal codes that may not be observed by any external behavior nor be reportable by the performer. There is considerable plasticity to the performance of skills. Task components can be given priority through attention, which serves to increase activation of the relevant brain areas. Attention can also cause reactivation of sensory areas driven by input, but usually only after a delay. The threshold for activation for any area may be temporarily reduced by prior activation . Skill components requiring attention tend to cause interference resulting in the dual tasks effects and unified focus of attention described in many cognitive studies. Practice may change the size or number of brain areas involved and alter the pathways used by the skill. By combining cognitive and anatomical analyses, a more general picture of the nature of skill emerges



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,931

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Viewing cognitive mechanisms in the context of biology.Linda Hermer-Vazquez - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):689-690.
Where are all the genes?Jeffrey C. Schank - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):527-528.
Emotions and reward – but no arousal?Holger Ursin - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):217-218.
Mechanisms and functional brain areas.Gregory Johnson - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (2):255-271.
Let the brain explain the mind: The case of attention.Maria Ruz - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):495-505.
The Evolution of Cognitive Control.Dietrich Stout - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):614-630.
State-dependent modulation of cognitive function.R. W. Greene - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (6):945-946.


Added to PP

44 (#370,999)

6 months
10 (#308,281)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?