Frontal Cortex and Human Behavior: a View From Direct Brain Recordings


Event details

Date and time 07.06.2017 11:0012:00  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. Robert T. Knight, University of California, USA.
Category Conferences - Seminars

Bilateral damage to human prefrontal cortex results in a profound disintegration in goal-directed behavior. We employ the superb spatial-temporal dynamics of cortical intracranial recording (electrocorticography; ECoG) and intracortical depth recording (stereoencephalography; SEEG) to obtain neurophysiological insights into how prefrontal cortex enables human cognition. High frequency band neural activity (HFB; 70-200 Hz) provides an index of cortical excitability and connectivity metrics are employed to assess network dynamics. We have observed that HFB activity is tuned by the phase of lower frequency oscillations providing a metric of information flow in rapidly reconfiguring and dynamic neural networks. The intracranial approach has provided insights into how PFC enables both cognitive and social capacity. Research on prefrontal cortex and other efforts to develop a speech prosthesis will be reviewed.

Dr. Knight is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He  received his undergraduate degree in  Physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology, an MD from Northwestern University Medical School,obtained Neurology training at UC San Diego and Post-Doctoral training at the Salk Institute. He served as Director of the UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute from 2001-201l. Dr. Knight has twice received the Jacob Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for distinguished contributions to neurological research, the IBM Cognitive Computing Award, the German Humboldt Prize in Neurobiology and the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His laboratory studies neurological patients with frontal lobe damage and also records electrical signals directly from the brain in neurosurgical patients to understand the role of prefrontal cortex in goal-directed behavior.  His lab is also engaged in developing a speech prosthesis for use in patients with disabling neurological disorders.  

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free



  • Host: Prof J. del R. Millán