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Environmental influences on neural systems of relational complexity

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dc.contributor.author Kalbfleisch, M. Layne
dc.contributor.author deBettencourt, Megan T.
dc.contributor.author Kopperman, Rebecca
dc.contributor.author Banasiak, Meredith
dc.contributor.author Roberts, Joshua M.
dc.contributor.author Halavi, Maryam
dc.date.accessioned 2015-10-29T16:02:53Z
dc.date.available 2015-10-29T16:02:53Z
dc.date.issued 2013-09-26
dc.identifier.citation Kalbfleisch ML, deBettencourt MT, Kopperman R, Banasiak M, Roberts JM and Halavi M (2013) Environmental influences on neural systems of relational complexity. Front. Psychol. 4:631. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00631 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/9998
dc.description.abstract Constructivist learning theory contends that we construct knowledge by experience and that environmental context influences learning. To explore this principle, we examined the cognitive process relational complexity (RC), defined as the number of visual dimensions considered during problem solving on a matrix reasoning task and a well-documented measure of mature reasoning capacity. We sought to determine how the visual environment influences RC by examining the influence of color and visual contrast on RC in a neuroimaging task. To specify the contributions of sensory demand and relational integration to reasoning, our participants performed a non-verbal matrix task comprised of color, no-color line, or black-white visual contrast conditions parametrically varied by complexity (relations 0, 1, 2). The use of matrix reasoning is ecologically valid for its psychometric relevance and for its potential to link the processing of psychophysically specific visual properties with various levels of RC during reasoning. The role of these elements is important because matrix tests assess intellectual aptitude based on these seemingly context-less exercises. This experiment is a first step toward examining the psychophysical underpinnings of performance on these types of problems. The importance of this is increased in light of recent evidence that intelligence can be linked to visual discrimination. We submit three main findings. First, color and black-white visual contrast (BWVC) add demand at a basic sensory level, but contributions from color and from BWVC are dissociable in cortex such that color engages a “reasoning heuristic” and BWVC engages a “sensory heuristic.” Second, color supports contextual sense-making by boosting salience resulting in faster problem solving. Lastly, when visual complexity reaches 2-relations, color and visual contrast relinquish salience to other dimensions of problem solving.
dc.description.sponsorship Salary support for M. Layne Kalbfleisch was provided by Leonard and Virginia Pomata. Salary support for M. Banasiak was provided by the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA). Publication of this article was funded in part by the George Mason University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Frontiers en_US
dc.rights Attribution 3.0 United States *
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/ *
dc.subject event-related fMRI en_US
dc.subject heuristic processing en_US
dc.subject prefrontal cortex en_US
dc.subject reasoning en_US
dc.subject color perception en_US
dc.subject relational complexity en_US
dc.subject visual contrast en_US
dc.subject constructivist learning en_US
dc.title Environmental influences on neural systems of relational complexity en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00631


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