How Adaptive Control Emerges from Multiple Interacting Brain Systems

O'Reilly, R. C.

Everyone seems to agree that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a critical role in executive control. But often it is treated as somewhat of a homunculus -- a "little person" in the head that mysteriously manifests the very same intelligence that we seek to understand in the first place. In ongoing work, my colleagues and I have been attempting to deconstruct this homunculus, by understanding how adaptive cognitive control emerges from the interactions of multiple specialized brain systems, including the basal ganglia and associated subcortical affective systems, the parietal cortex, and the hippocampus, all interacting with different subregions of the vast PFC system. We use biologically-based computational models to understand how these systems interact in complex ways to produce adaptive overall behavior. This talk will present an overview of the current state of our models, and some exciting new directions of current research.