Marcel Just

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Marcel Just is D. O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. His research uses brain imaging (fMRI) in high-level cognitive tasks to study the neuroarchitecture of cognition. Just's areas of expertise include psycholinguistics, object recognition, and autism, with particular attention to cognitive and neural substrates. Just co-directs the Brain Imaging Research Center and is a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at CMU.


Mind reading[edit]

Marcel Just, Tom Mitchell, and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University are conducting research on "thought identification" using fMRI.[1] Using machine learning techniques, they have been able to identify patterns of brain activation that are reliably associated to the concept of different objects. These signature patterns could be generalized across different participants, so that the authors were able to correctly identify which object a participant was thinking of by analyzing the corresponding brain activation.[2]

A demo of their system was shown on CBS during 60 Minutes.[3]

Autism and the underconnectivity hypothesis[edit]

Just and Nancy Minshew are known for the underconnectivity hypothesis of autism, which posits that autism is marked by underfunctioning high-level neural connections and synchronization, along with an excess of low-level processes.[4] Evidence for this theory has been found in functional neuroimaging studies on autistic individuals[5] and by a brain wave study that suggested that adults with ASD have local overconnectivity in the cortex and weak functional connections between the frontal lobe and the rest of the cortex.[6]

Computational cognitive modeling[edit]

Marcel Just also developed 4CAPS, a cognitive architecture specifies how different cortical regions of the brain collaborate to perform specific tasks.[7] 4CAPS model have been used to explain behavioral and brain imaging data in different experimental tasks.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Marcel Just D O Hebb Professor of Psychology". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  2. ^ Mitchell TM, Shinkareva SV, Carlson A, Chang KM, Malave VL, Mason RA, Just MA (2008). "Predicting Human Brain Activity Associated with the Meanings of Nouns". Science. 320 (4): 1191–1195. CiteSeerX doi:10.1126/science.1152876. PMID 18511683.
  3. ^ 60 Minutes: Can brain imaging be used to read the mind? (Television production). CBS. 3 January 2009. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  4. ^ Just MA, Cherkassky VL, Keller TA, Kana RK, Minshew NJ (2007). "Functional and anatomical cortical underconnectivity in autism: evidence from an FMRI study of an executive function task and corpus callosum morphometry". Cereb Cortex. 17 (4): 951–61. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhl006. PMC 4500121. PMID 16772313.
  5. ^ Williams DL, Goldstein G, Minshew NJ (2006). "Neuropsychologic functioning in children with autism: further evidence for disordered complex information-processing". Child Neuropsychol. 12 (4–5): 279–98. doi:10.1080/09297040600681190. PMC 1803025. PMID 16911973.
  6. ^ Murias M, Webb SJ, Greenson J, Dawson G (2007). "Resting state cortical connectivity reflected in EEG coherence in individuals with autism". Biol Psychiatry. 62 (3): 270–3. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.11.012. PMC 2001237. PMID 17336944.
  7. ^ a b Just MA & Varma, S (2007). "The organization of thinking: What functional brain imaging reveals about the neuroarchitecture of complex cognition". Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. 7 (3): 153–191. doi:10.3758/CABN.7.3.153.
  8. ^ Newman SD, Carpenter PA, Varma S, Just MA (2003). "Frontal and parietal participation in problem solving in the Tower of London: fMRI and computational modeling of planning and high-level perception". Neuropsychologia. 41 (12): 1668–1682. doi:10.1016/S0028-3932(03)00091-5. PMID 12887991.

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