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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Working
Memory$
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Naoyuki Osaka, Robert H. Logie, and Mark D'Esposito

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570394.001.0001

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Relational processing is fundamental to the central executive and is limited to four variables

Relational processing is fundamental to the central executive and is limited to four variables

Chapter:
(p.261) 16 Relational processing is fundamental to the central executive and is limited to four variables
Source:
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Working Memory
Author(s):

Graeme S. Halford

Steven Phillips

William H. Wilson

Julie McCredden

Andrews Glenda

Damian Birney

Rosemary Baker

John D. Bain

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570394.003.0016

This chapter describes a consistent view of executive control. It offers evidence that a major function of an executive is to support relational processing involved in planning, reasoning and comprehension. Humans are generally limited to relating four variables in a cognitive representation, though a minority of adults can relate five variables. There is also mounting neurocortical evidence for frontal-parietal activity in representing and processing relations and this activity seems to be related to relational complexity. Meanwhile, the representational rank metric integrates all levels of cognitive complexity into seven levels from subsymbolic (Rank 0) to the highest levels of symbolic representation (Rank 7).

Keywords:   executive control, relational processing, reasoning, relational complexity, cognitive complexity

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