1st Edition

Theoretical Neuroscience Understanding Cognition

By Xiao-Jing Wang Copyright 2025
    570 Pages 312 Color & 5 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    570 Pages 312 Color & 5 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This textbook is an introduction to systems and computational neuroscience with a special focus on cognition. It consists of three parts: Part I covers basic concepts and mathematical models of computational neuroscience, as well as cutting-edge topics. Part II is dedicated to building blocks of cognition: working memory (how our brain maintains and manipulates information “online” in the absence of any external input), decision making (how a choice is selected among multiple options under uncertainty and risk) and behavioral flexibility (how we direct our attention and control our actions). In Part III frontier research is discussed: models of large-scale multiregional brain systems, computational psychiatry, interface with Artificial Intelligence. The author emphasizes the viewpoint of neural circuits as dynamical systems, and cross-level (from genes and cell types to collective neural populations to behavior) mechanistic understanding of the brain and the mind. Taken together, a reader is offered the opportunity to become well versed in this highly cross-disciplinary field of the 21st century.

    Key Features:

    • Rooted in the most recent advances in experimental studies of basic cognitive functions
    • Introduces neurobiological and mathematical concepts so that the book is self-contained
    • Heavily illustrated with high-quality figures that help to illuminate neurobiological concepts, present experimental findings, and explain mathematical models
    • Concludes with a list of core cognitive behavior tasks, ten take-home messages, and three open questions for future research
    • Computer model codes are available via GitHub for hands-on practice.

    Part I. Fundamentals Chapter 1. Understanding the cognitive brain Chapter 2. Neurons and synapses Chapter 3. Neural networks Chapter 4. Plasticity, learning and memory Part II. Core Cognitive Functions Chapter 5. Working memory Chapter 6. Decision making Chapter 7. Value-based economic choice Chapter 8. Executive control Part III. Frontiers Chapter 9. Large-scale brain circuits Chapter 10. Computational psychiatry Chapter 11. Biological and artificial intelligence Chapter 12. Outlook


    Xiao-Jing Wang is Distinguished Global Professor of Neural Science at New York University, where he is also affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Department of Physics. His honors include Guggenheim Fellowship, Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience.