Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging: Linking Cognitive and Cerebral Aging

By Roberto Cabeza; Lars Nyberg et al. | Go to book overview

15
Neurocomputational Perspectives
Linking Neuromodulation,
Processing Noise, Representational
Distinctiveness, and Cognitive Aging

Shu Chen Li

It is because something of exterior objects penetrates in us that we see forms and that we think.

—Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus

Men judge things according to the organization of their brain.

—Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics I

So thou through windows of thine age shalt see.

—William Shakespeare, Sonnet III

The foregoing series of quotations together capture the view that neurocognitive representations of mental experiences are dynamically coconstructed by the brain and its world through continual contextual and experiential tunings that occur throughout life, including old age. Couched within this conception, this chapter addresses neurocomputational approaches that examine the relation between cognitive aging deficits and aging-related attenuation of neuromodulation affecting neural activity representation and information transfer within and between cortical regions.

Following a brief overview on how to conceptualize “representation” in the context of cognitive neuroscience of aging or life span development (Baltes, Staudinger, & Lindenberger, 1999), the bulk of this chapter is devoted to a selective, rather than comprehensive, review of recent computational approaches to neuromodulation and their applications in cognitive aging research. A cross-level integrative theoretical link is highlighted: Deficient neuromodulation leads to noisy neural information pro-

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