The annual Quinn Memorial Lecture brings together the UBC Psychology community and friends for an evening of dialogue and a chance to learn first-hand about some of the most innovative psychology research from renowned experts. The lecture is made possible by a generous gift to our department from prominent alumnus, Dr. Michael J. Quinn (1927-2004). Learn more.
On November 2, 2017, we were thrilled to present Dr. Robert T. Knight, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. In an engaging and often hilarious talk, Dr. Knight shared his insights into human cognition from direct brain recording.
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Insights into Human Cognition from Direct Brain Recording
The last decade has witnessed an explosion of research employing recording of electrical activity directly from the human brain. This method provides a powerful window into the neural basis of behavior and has been applied to a host of human behaviors. The first key finding was that the human brain generates robust neural activity up to 250 Hz (high frequency band; HFB) with exquisite spatial (millimeter) and temporal (millisecond) resolution. The second important observation was that this HFB activity is modulated by slower cortical oscillations with different tasks eliciting unique spatial-temporal activity patterns. This interaction between high and low frequency oscillations provides an infrastructure for sub-second establishment of neural networks in the service of behavior. I will first discuss how intracranial recording has provided novel insights into the neural basis of attention, language, memory and decision making with these results often challenging prior dogma in the field. I will then review our efforts using HFB activity to decode imagined speech in an effort to develop a brain computer interface for treatment of disabling language deficits.
Dr. Knight studies the contribution of prefrontal cortex to human behavior. His research interests include attention and memory; neuropsychology and physiology; and cognitive neuroscience. His laboratory uses electrophysiological, fMRI and behavioral techniques to study controls and neurological patients with frontal lobe damage in an effort to understand the neural mechanisms subserving cognitive processing in humans. The laboratory also records the electrocorticogram directly from the cortical surface in neurosurgical patients with implanted electrodes to study the electrophysiology of network activity supporting goal-directed behavior in humans. The laboratory uses this information to develop brain machine interfaces for motor and language prosthetic devices. More.