13 December 2007, 18.30

Faculty Presentation: Fabian Klostermann (Berlin)

“Subcortical contributions to higher-order mental operations”

The human cortex is often considered the brain’s substrate of cognitive capacities, such as language competence or goal-directed behaviour. Contrary to this dominant cortico-centric view classical centrencephalic concepts argue that subcortical structures can be ‘while anatomically subcortical, functionally supra-cortical’. In between these positions, cortico-basal connectivity models propose subcortical structures to be involved in the built-up of higher-order mental operations under cortical control. In my talk, I will report on a couple of neurophysiological studies correlating cortical, thalamic and basal ganglia activations to specific performances in language, executive control and attentional tasks (obtained in patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation as a treatment for movement disorders). These studies suggest (i) that subcortical structures, particularly within the thalamus interact with cortical areas in a task-dependent way, (ii) that subcortical activation can lead cortical operations and vice versa, and (iii) that measured activations do not generally conform with the predictions from cortico-basal models. Altogether, the results demonstrate that subcortical substrates of higher-order mental operations do exist and that a supposition of a leading cortex is not substantiated by experimental data. 

PD Dr. Fabian Klostermann, Neurologische Klinik, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Programme 2007 (pdf 72 kb)
Map and Directions to Lecture Hall (pdf 105 kb)

All are welcome!



Hörsaal der Poliklinik
Alte Nervenklinik / Klinik für Neurologie
Charité Campus Mitte
10117 Berlin
(Internal address on campus: Bonhoeffer Weg 3)


Annette Winkelmann
030 20931706