Special Issue "Mapping Mind-Brain Development: From Evidence to a Common Mind-Brain Theory"

A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andreas Demetriou
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Nicosia, 1700 Nicosia, Cyprus
Interests: cognitive development; intelligence; mind-brain relations; mind-education relations; mind-personality relations
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. George Spanoudis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
Interests: developmental language disorders; language development; cognitive development; intelligence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The brain is a biophysical system collecting physical messages from the environment with the self as the reference system. It uses this information to construct a representation of the environment to guide the actions of its bearer within that environment. Therefore, the brain is the underlying biological mechanism of the mind, because the mind emerges, in all expressions, from the structure and functioning of the brain. In development, the brain changes drastically. Brain volume increases, but these changes in volume may be temporary as acquisitions are pruned and connections within and between brain areas are systematically rewired. Communication within and between brain areas takes place in several codes expressed in the oscillations of different rhythms.   

However, there are many unanswered questions about mind-brain relations. For example, there is no cognitive function whose corresponding brain structures and networks are fully known, even when the brain initiators or centres of mental activity are known. Moreover, we still do not know what is truly general and what is truly specific in both the brain and the mind. Specifically, how much of each general mental function, such as speed, control, or representational capacity, is associated with general brain qualities (i.e., sheer total brain or cortical volume, overall physical state of neurons and neurotransmitters, connectivity, etc.) and how much is accounted for by the fact that particular brain systems (such as the attention or the control networks) are always engaged in cognitive processing We also still do not know how each of the various networks carries out its own work (e.g., in terms of rhythms), how the networks interact with each other (e.g., by direct structural connections or by functional coordination), and how they are integrated into a final solution behaviorally and subjectively. We know very little about how the various types of change in the brain (e.g., myelination, electrical activity, volume, dispersion, activity of neurotransmitters, connectivity, etc.) interact with cognitive developmental changes. For example, why does mental speed increase with age? Why does working memory increase? Why does reasoning becomes more inclusive? A grand neuro-cognitive developmental theory of intelligence that integrates the brain with functional and subjective maps of mental functions into a common landscape can not be developed until we have satisfactory answers to these questions.

This Special Issue aims to contribute to answering these questions. Papers in the Special Issue will present research focusing on the relations between the organization of and changes to the human mind and related brain aspects from birth to adulthood. Contributors will be asked to answer one or more of the following questions:

  1. Is the architecture of mind suggested by psychological research reflected in the organization and functioning of the brain? Do changes in cognitive architecture correspond to changes in brain organization? Papers dealing with this question will present research related to the interactions between important cognitive processes, such as executive control and flexibility, working memory, and reasoning at both the psychological and the brain level.
  2. What are the neuronal processes implementing mental processes and mechanisms such as abstraction and inference? Do cognitive changes in various important parameters of cognition, such as mental flexibility, abstraction, and metarepresentation have a specifiable analogue in changes in brain parameters, such as networks and oscillatory co-ordinations? Papers dealing with this question will present research showing how connectivity and oscillatory activity in the brain relate to the abstraction underlying conceptual change, the interpretation of information, and logical construction.
  3. What is the functional unit of the brain and how does it correspond to the functional units of the mind, such as reasoning? Do functional units in the brain change with development? How does this change, if present, relate to changes in the functional units of the developing mind?
  4. Is reverse engineering of cognitive development possible? That is, can we produce well specified cognitive developmental changes, such as changes in specific abstraction or reasoning patterns, by experimentally induced changes in the brain structures and processes supposedly involved (such as changes in neuronal networking and communication)?

Prof. Dr. Andreas Demetriou
Prof. Dr. George Spanoudis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
Disentangling the Effects of Processing Speed on the Association between Age Differences and Fluid Intelligence
J. Intell. 2020, 8(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8010001 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3884
Abstract
Several studies have demonstrated that individual differences in processing speed fully mediate the association between age and intelligence, whereas the association between processing speed and intelligence cannot be explained by age differences. Because measures of processing speed reflect a plethora of cognitive and [...] Read more.
Several studies have demonstrated that individual differences in processing speed fully mediate the association between age and intelligence, whereas the association between processing speed and intelligence cannot be explained by age differences. Because measures of processing speed reflect a plethora of cognitive and motivational processes, it cannot be determined which specific processes give rise to this mediation effect. This makes it hard to decide whether these processes should be conceived of as a cause or an indicator of cognitive aging. In the present study, we addressed this question by using a neurocognitive psychometrics approach to decompose the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Reanalyzing data from two previously published datasets containing 223 participants between 18 and 61 years, we investigated whether individual differences in diffusion model parameters and in ERP latencies associated with higher-order attentional processing explained the association between age differences and fluid intelligence. We demonstrate that individual differences in the speed of non-decisional processes such as encoding, response preparation, and response execution, and individual differences in latencies of ERP components associated with higher-order cognitive processes explained the negative association between age differences and fluid intelligence. Because both parameters jointly accounted for the association between age differences and fluid intelligence, age-related differences in both parameters may reflect age-related differences in anterior brain regions associated with response planning that are prone to be affected by age-related changes. Conversely, age differences did not account for the association between processing speed and fluid intelligence. Our results suggest that the relationship between age differences and fluid intelligence is multifactorially determined. Full article
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Review

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Review
Mapping Mind-Brain Development: Towards a Comprehensive Theory
J. Intell. 2020, 8(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8020019 - 26 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3756
Abstract
The relations between the developing mind and developing brain are explored. We outline a theory of intellectual development postulating that the mind comprises four systems of processes (domain-specific, attention and working memory, reasoning, and cognizance) developing in four cycles (episodic, realistic, rule-based, and [...] Read more.
The relations between the developing mind and developing brain are explored. We outline a theory of intellectual development postulating that the mind comprises four systems of processes (domain-specific, attention and working memory, reasoning, and cognizance) developing in four cycles (episodic, realistic, rule-based, and principle-based representations, emerging at birth, 2, 6, and 11 years, respectively), with two phases in each. Changes in reasoning relate to processing efficiency in the first phase and working memory in the second phase. Awareness of mental processes is recycled with the changes in each cycle and drives their integration into the representational unit of the next cycle. Brain research shows that each type of processes is served by specialized brain networks. Domain-specific processes are rooted in sensory cortices; working memory processes are mainly rooted in hippocampal, parietal, and prefrontal cortices; abstraction and alignment processes are rooted in parietal, frontal, and prefrontal and medial cortices. Information entering these networks is available to awareness processes. Brain networks change along the four cycles, in precision, connectivity, and brain rhythms. Principles of mind-brain interaction are discussed. Full article
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