Chapter

Cognitive models in learning and reward processing

Christian Büchel

in Neuroimaging of Human Memory

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199217298
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191696077 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217298.003.0005
Cognitive models in learning and reward processing

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This chapter discusses how cognitive models relate to imaging neuroscience or more directly, if and how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can assist in testing hypothesis about cognitive models. It begins by discussing the concept of cognitive theories and specifies at what level fMRI might be valuable in this context. Two examples are presented in which (a) fMRI data from a learning experiment is analyzed in the context of a cognitive model, which helped with the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and (b) an example in which fMRI data was analyzed in the context of a model, but was able to refute or refine thinking about how that model is implemented in the brain. The latter example is especially important since the field has been faced with the criticism that strong predictions have often biased the interpretation of the data towards an existing theory.

Keywords: cognitive models; imaging neuroscience; functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI; brain

Chapter.  5200 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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