Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging

at Carnegie Mellon University


Cognitive Brain Imaging 85-429, 85-729

Instructor: Marcel Just (, BH327-H)

spatial thinkingThis seminar examines how the brain executes higher level cognitive processes, such as problem-solving, language comprehension, and visual thinking. The topic will be addressed by examining what recent brain imaging studies can tell us about these various kinds of thinking. This new scientific approach has the potential to provide important information about how the brain thinks, indicating not only what parts perform what function, but also how the activities of different parts of the brain are organized to perform some thinking task, and how various neurological diseases (e.g. aphasia, Alzheimer's) affect brain activity. A variety of different types of thinking will be examined, including short-term working memory storage and computation, problem-solving, language comprehension, and visual thinking. Several different technologies for measuring brain activity (e.g. PET and functional MRI) will be considered, attempting to relate brain physiology to cognitive functioning. The course will examine brain imaging in normal subjects and in people with various kinds of brain damage.

A major innovation in the course is the use of a computer cluster (BH 332P) and a lab session to visualize and process brain imaging results.