Cognitive ontology and region- versus network-oriented analyses

Colin Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The interpretation of functional imaging experiments is complicated by the pluripotency of brain regions. As there is a many-to-one mapping between cognitive functions and their neural substrates, region-based analyses of imaging data provide only weak support for cognitive theories. Price and Friston argue that we need a 'cognitive ontology' that abstractly categorizes the function of regions. I argue that abstract characterizations are unlikely to be cognitively interesting. I argue instead that we should attribute functions to regions in a context-sensitive manner. I review recent meta-analyses that approach fMRI data in this light and argue that they have revisionary potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-960
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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