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Virtual fMRI brown bag: March 19, 2021

Please join us for a talk given by Lauren DiNicola, a graduate student in Randy Buckner's lab at Harvard University.

Examining the organization and functions of parallel association networks within individuals

Abstract: Re-experiencing past events, inferring others' thoughts, and communicating through language are hallmarks of human cognition. And all of these abilities have been linked to regions of association cortex that exhibit both disproportionate evolutionary expansion and prolonged postnatal development. How are networks that support our complex cognitive abilities organized within these expanded association zones? Precision mapping within individuals has allowed for recent insights into network details. In this talk, I will discuss evidence that multiple, interwoven networks, each featuring spatially distributed but separable regions, occupy association cortex. I will present recent evidence that three such association networks differentially support functions from language, social and episodic domains (Braga et al. 2020; DiNicola et al. 2020 J Neurophysiology). Rather than converging, these networks appear to feature distributed regions that are side-by-side and functionally dissociable. These observations raise the possibility that multiple networks might share common origins, which I will discuss in relation to working hypotheses for how network specialization might emerge.