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From cortical inhibition and excitation to cognitive enhancement

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Academic achievements such as maths and reading are key predictors for an individual’s future professional success, whereas failure in these critical capacities negatively impacts the welfare of society as a whole. Current understanding of the link between high-level cognition and brain is mainly restricted to understanding the relationship between brain structure/function and achievements, despite a substantial body of animal and clinical research showing that cortical inhibition and excitation at the molecular or cellular levels play a critical role in efficient information transfer in the brain. Specifically, it has been suggested that cortical inhibition and excitation affects cognition in humans. I will present studies that show how cortical inhibition and excitation are linked to high-level cognitive abilities in the child and adult human brain. Moreover, I will show that we can exogenously modulate cortical inhibition and excitation during cognitive training to optimise brain functions and improve cognition in typical and atypical development. Such a multidisciplinary approach has the potential to bridge the separated strands of current research in psychology and education, system and molecular neuroscience, as well as animal models.

This talk is part of the Chaucer Club series.

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