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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

September 2008, Vol. 20, No. 9, Pages 1624-1636
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2008.20108)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Using Brain Imaging to Extract the Structure of Complex Events at the Rational Time Band
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A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was performed in which participants performed a complex series of mental calculations that spanned about 2 min. An Adaptive Control of Thought—Rational (ACT-R) model [Anderson, J. R. How can the human mind occur in the physical universe? New York: Oxford University Press, 2007] was developed that successfully fit the distribution of latencies. This model generated predictions for the fMRI signal in six brain regions that have been associated with modules in the ACT-R theory. The model's predictions were confirmed for a fusiform region that reflects the visual module, for a prefrontal region that reflects the retrieval module, and for an anterior cingulate region that reflects the goal module. In addition, the only significant deviations to the motor region that reflects the manual module were anticipatory hand movements. In contrast, the predictions were relatively poor for a parietal region that reflects an imaginal module and for a caudate region that reflects the procedural module. Possible explanations of these poor fits are discussed. In addition, exploratory analyses were performed to find regions that might correspond to the predictions of the modules.