Events / MindCORE Seminar: Theresa Desrochers

MindCORE Seminar: Theresa Desrochers

December 9, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

111 Levin Building

We will also stream this seminar via Zoom.


Theresa Desrochers
Carney Institute for Brain Science
Brown University


Cognitive Sequences: Parallel Cross-Species Dynamics in Frontal Neocortex


Sequential tasks are an integral component of the daily lives of humans and other species. These sequences are multifaceted such that they can contain a set of abstract tasks (e.g., when making a meal: cut vegetables, heat the pan) that are independent from the precise motor actions needed to carry them out, and can also include a series of the precise muscle contractions needed to produce a motor sequence (e.g., picking a fruit off a tree). Presumably, processes control at the abstract level and keep track or monitor progress throughout sequences. Despite this presumption, the vast majority of studies that have studied sequences have focused on motor actions (e.g., a series of joystick movements, eye movements, or finger taps) while neglecting the control and sequential monitoring processes that occur simultaneously. We have made progress in understanding the neural bases of nonmotor sequential tasks across human and nonhuman primates. Using fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in humans and awake fMRI in nonhuman primates, we show that the lateral prefrontal cortex represents sequential information across sequence types and species. Further, these representations share a common dynamic, increasing activity across individual sequences (“ramping”). New studies are focusing on investigating these dynamics during using fMRI-guided electrophysiological recordings. Together these studies provide a unique view of complex cognitive processes across species, step towards understanding functional homology, and provide insight into sequential processes during health and disorder.


Pizza will be served. Please bring your own beverage!