Cognitive neuroscience has focused mainly on localizing regions and networks that are engaged by punctate processes such as perception, attention and memory. Such a static perspective misses the fact that these cognitive processes are intimately intertwined over time for normal mental operations. We propose a more deliberate approach using multiscale analyses of empirical neuroimaging data and large-scale brain simulations with TheVirtualBrain (TVB) to better characterize the flow between cognitive processes and the functional brain architectures that support these flows.
The difficulty with relating the brain network dynamics to cognition is that most behavioural measures of cognition are single points, such as reaction time or accuracy of responses. While more sophisticated behavioural analyses can enrich the interpretation of the cognitive state, it is not possible to relate the time-resolved flow of the cognitive processes to the simultaneous flow of neural processes. We will evaluate the use of moment-by-moment measures to construct behavioural flows and relate these to flows that are similarly derived from neurophysiology. Simply stated, we will construct behavioural Structured Flows on Manifolds (SFM) that will relate to the corresponding brain SFM.
The tight link between brain and behaviour using dynamical systems theory will bring greater precision for relating the neural network dynamics across scales to behavioural output. The analytic platform that we will evolve through this work will be open to all researchers with the capacity to expand as data become available. The knowledge emerging from the work using TheVirtualBrain could lead to transformative breakthroughs in understanding dynamic functions of the human brain.
Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI)