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Keywords:

  • Cognition;
  • Mental chronometry;
  • Preparation;
  • Partial information transmission;
  • Response inhibition;
  • Cognitive psychophysiology;
  • Cognitive neuroscience;
  • Event-related brain potentials;
  • Lateralized readiness potential;
  • Motor cortex

ABSTRACT

This paper reviews the actual and potential benefits of a marriage between cognitive psychology and psychophysiology. Psychophysiological measures, particularly those of the event-related brain potential, can be used as markers for psychological events and physiological events. Thus, they can serve as “windows’ on the mind and as “windows’ on the brain. These ideas are illustrated in the context of a series of studies utilizing the lateralized readiness potential, a measure of electrical brain activity that is related to preparation for movement. This measure has been used to illuminate presetting processes that prepare the motor system for action, to demonstrate the presence of the transmission of partial information in the cognitive system, and to identify processes responsible for the inhibition of responses. The lateralized readiness potential appears to reflect activity in motor areas of cortex. Thus, this measure, along with other psychophysiological measures, can be used to understand how the functions of the mind are implemented in the brain potential.