Introduction

After decades of diligent cataloguing of neural and behavioral properties of the aging organisms, the stage is set for a union of neuroscience and cognitive psychology aimed at understanding the relationships between aging brain and cognitive performance. Although a promise of cognitive neuroscience looms large in the minds of the students of cognitive aging, its emergence created a flux of ideas and generated empirical findings that compel us to revise ostensibly well-set concepts and theories on almost a daily basis.

Thus, the following article, by necessity, is a snapshot of a powerful stream in its exciting but ill-defined turbulence rather than a detailed picture of a stationary entity.

As often happens in science, the advent of new measurement techniques and invention of new instruments provided an impetus for the current neural revolution in cognitive science in general and cognitive gerontology in particular. In the past two or three decades, with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), previously inaccessible terra incognita of the human brain has been clearly visualized in vivo with relatively high anatomical precision (< 1 mm3). Metabolic workings of the brain and local changes in cerebral blood flow can be gauged by positron emission tomography (PET) and functional MRI (fMRI).

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