Principles of parietal-frontal cortical organization
[S.l.] : [S.n.]
Number of pages
xvii, 185 p.
Radboud University, 11 december 2020
Promotor : Medendorp, W.P. Co-promotor : Mars, R.B.
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
How is the human brain different from that of the other animals? To answer such a question, we need to not only find effective ways to compare brains of various species, but also to find a way to link those changes in the brain to animal behavior. While brains can be studied at different levels of detail - from neurons to families of connections between regions, in this thesis we focus on the later. Particularly about connectivity between the frontal and the parietal regions of the brain. We first demonstrate the usefulness of a data-driven clustering algorithm to study brain organization in the well-understood macaque brain. Then, we focus on one of the regions that has expanded in the human brain as compared to a macaque brain (the inferior parietal cortex) and show that the differences arise from changes in the pattern of connectivity with the rest of the brain. Lastly, we show that the function of one of the regions in the front of the human brain (caudal prefrontal cortex) is indeed in line with what we expect based on how this region has evolved across species. We confirm that it is involved in shifting attention in both visual and auditory modalities by testing people using a brain scanner. Overall, we have shown that data-driven approaches are useful in studying brain organization across species, and that evolutionary approaches in identifying functions of brain regions can be valuable.
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