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Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations In response to a request from the U.S. Army Research Institute (ARI), the National Research Council (NRC) formed a committee to undertake a preliminary study of the development of the ma- jor new technologies in cognitive psychophysiology. The task of the committee, to be accomplished within one year, was to examine four technologies: (1) event-related brain potentials (ERPs), (2) the magnetoencephalogram (MEG), (3) the brain-imaging techniques of positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance image (MRI), and (4) the approach based on studying patients with brain lesions or damage. For each technology, the committee identified critical problems that must be resolved if further progress is to be made; estimated the likelihood that such progress will be made; and discussed opportunities for basic and applied research. The com- m~ttee also discussed the implementation of an enlarged discipline called cognitive neuroscience that combines psychophysiology, cogni- tive psychology, and computer modeling. The technologies examined by the committee hold considerable promise for furthering our understanding of the brain and cognition. Electrical, metabolic, and structural definition of specific cognitive states is increasing at a rapid rate. Clearly, the technologies discussed in this report wall play a major role in the further development of theories of the neural mechanisms of human cognition. Any major agency involved in personnel training would be well advised to par- ticipate in research programs that either contribute to or keep them abreast of advances in this field. 1
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2 BRAIN AND COGNITION: SOME NEW TECHNOLOGIES Available evidence suggests that it may be possible to develop measures of brain activity during cognition, already studied under laboratory conditions, to be used as indices in personnel selection and training in the military context. However, to extend the use of these measures (both those already studied in detail and those in the pipeline) to practical applications, we0-designed normative and validation studies in the field will be required. The cost of such implementations wall have to be weighed against the anticipated benefits in specific situations. Rather than being used for selection and training, in the near future it is more likely that the brain technologies will serve as important tools in the development of cognitive theory and in discovering the specific skills to be assessed. The committee's recommendations highlight several areas for attention: . The committee recommends that a research program be de- veloped to examine applications of event-related potentials to prow lems in field environments. This technology is the one most ready for practical use. Particularly promising possibilities exist in the monitoring of the direction of attention, in the measurement of men- tal workload, and in monitoring performance in missions of long duration. . The committee recommencis simultaneous and complemen- tary use of the technologies. This would permit investigators to benefit from the different advantages of, for example, PET and MRI or ERP and MEG. Such complementarily may lead to stronger con- clusions about relationships between physiological and cognitive pro- cesses than are currently available. . The committee recommends that data be obtained on the range of variability in functional and structural maps across and within individuals. A functional and structural map refers to the distribution of brain activity in the three spatial dimensions as a function of time. Such a map would best be based on the comple- mentary data provided by PET, MRI, and electrical and magnetic recordings and should be used for testing computational models of human cognition, as defined in this report. In addition, further re- search is needed to increase understanding of the dynamic patterns of activity in cortical neuronal processing as they relate to human behavior. The committee recommends consideration of postdoctoral training programs to encourage interdisciplinary research in cognitive neuroscience.
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 3 . In view of the high cost and complex operations of some of the imaging technologies, the committee recommends that consideration be given to the development, in these areas, of national facilities that will support the research of both local and remote investigators. . The committee concludes that the tune is ripe for a hybrid psychophysiological-cognitive science approach to the study of brain functions and behavior and recommends an enlarged study of the interrelationship between cognitive science and neuroscience.
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