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Title: Towards an ontology of ongoing thought
Author: Wang, Hao-Ting
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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Functional outcomes of ongoing thought show both costs and benefits. Yet, the reason for its heterogeneity remains unclear. The executive failure and representational accounts stemmed from different psychological research approaches to understand ongoing thought. The executive failure account examines why changes in ongoing thought happen, while the representational account seeks to explain how humans generate ongoing thought. The attentional system and the default mode network are the common neural processes of both theoretical accounts, but interacting in a contradicting manner. The two accounts can be seen as competing theories of ongoing thought. However, in the family resemblance view (Seli et al., 2018), the two theoretical accounts potentially serve as two component processes of one phenomenon. One possible solution to this conflict could be that under different global neural configurations, the two networks support different cognitive functions. The thesis sets out to present evidence supporting of the family resemblance view and to begin research on the ontology of the component processes in ongoing thought. Neural cognitive hierarchy is the potential explanation of the heterogeneity. The current thesis adopts sparse canonical correlation analysis to incorporate the neural and behavioural aspects of ongoing thought. The data suggests ongoing thought is a collective phenomenon with many types of experience driven by the connectivity patterns in the default mode network. Each type of experience associated with their unique functional outcomes and neural hierarchies at the whole-brain level. Cognitive flexibility and the balance of segregation and integration between the transmodal systems and the rest of the cortex determines the immersive details. The current findings suggested the importance of whole-brain neural hierarchies to ongoing thought. The confirmation of these trait level findings at a state level are necessary to gain more insights into the architecture of the component processes.
Supervisor: Smallwood, Jonathan ; Jefferies, Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available