Laboratory of Neurophysiology of Cognitive Processes Main page » About the Lab
Institute of Developmental Physiology (RAE)

The laboratory of neurophysiology of cognitive processes was established in 1964 by Prof. Deborah A. Farber  who was heading the laboratory ever since until 1999. For five years that followed, Prof. Natalie V. Dubrovinskaya was defining the lab's research strategy. At present, Prof. Regina I. Machinskaya  is heading the laboratory.

         The major focus of the lab's research activities is on the studying of the fundamental neurophysiological mechanisms that lie behind the growing cognitive ability of a child and constitute the specifics of cognitive processes at the different stages of development.

         The lines of experimental research include:

- studying the brain functional maturation using qualitative visual analysis of EEG

- quantitative EEG/ERP analysis of brain organization of cognitive processes, mainly, visual perception, attention, working memory, problem solving, planning, strategy formulation

- sensorimotor learning.

         In most of our research projects, we combine electrophysiological, psychophysical and neuropsychological methods. The particular attention is being paid to the interplay between the regulatory and information-related functional components of cognitive activities.

         In multiple studies that have been done in our lab [D. Farber, Ch. Njiokiktjien (eds). (1993). Developing Brain and Cognition. Amsterdam: Suyi Publications (www.suyi.nl)] it was shown that at the early stage of child development (infancy), the cortical contribution to visual perception, for the most part, is limited to the visual cortex. Later, at more mature stage of development (early preschool period), the visual perception is characterized by the involvement of multiple cortical areas including associative cortices. The distinctive feature of this stage is a lack of any apparent specificity of the functional contribution of different cortical areas which makes the cooperation among cortices "diffusive". In maturity (primary school ages and following ages), what underlies visual perception is a functional system of many interacting cortical structures each making its unique and specific contribution to the functioning of the whole. In the course of development, a similar transition from the nonspecific cooperation of cortical structures to specialized participation of selected cortical areas in the whole functional system is also found when studying the attentional, visuo-spatial and verbal functions.

         The joint analysis of electrophysiological (patterns of cortical functional connectivity [R.I. Machinskaya, 1999 (44 Kb), 2006 (178 Kb)], neuropsychological [R.I. Machinskaya & O.A. Semenova, 2004 (103 Kb)] and behavioral [R.I. Machinskaya & E.V. Krupskaya (in Russian) (2008) (224 Kb)] data obtained in children with different maturity levels of fronto-thalamic system (as assessed via the qualitative analysis) led us to a suggestion that the fronto-thalamic system plays a crucial role in the  selective top-down modulation of cortical organization of goal-directed behavior.

         In the lab, a special line of research activity is dedicated to the study of the brain functional state and the organization of cognitive processes in ADHD children [R. I. Machinskaya & E.V. Krupskaya, 2001 (44 Kb), R. I. Machinskaya & E.V. Krupskaya (in Russian), 2007 (2,2 Мб)].


 

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