The Dimensional Systems Model explains higher cortical functions on the basis of cortical columns that serve as the basic information unit. Although the original theory was developed in 1984, it was considered too speculative and untestable by peer reviewers. However, with advancement of technology and published studies, enough support existed to allow the first peer-reviewed article in 2006. The theory has been further developed and expanded, even to the level of psychotherapy applications and integration (i.e., the Clinical Biopsychological Model). At the present time, the theory goes from the neuronal level as to how columns are formed to the systems level of how cortical circuits interact with subcortical areas (e.g., basal ganglia, amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus) to allow cortical processing and memory storage.

Moss, R. A. (2006). Of bits and logic: Cortical columns in learning and memory. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 27, 215-246.

Despite the growing research and theoretical formulations tied to memory storage within the brain, the role of cortical columns has received relatively little attention. The current paper presents a theoretical formulation based on cortical columns as the binary units that contain all cortical information, and how memory and learning may occur based on interaction patterns of columns. The described model is an extension of Lurian views, and suggest all higher functions to result from the interaction of five systems. Specific mechanisms by which the thalamus and cortex interact to create long term memory formation are delineated. There is the suggestion of two distinct, but interactive, sensory-cortical memory systems, one for factual/generic memories and the other for episodic/personal memories. Hemispheric lateralization of function is explained on the basis of speed and quantity of columnar activation. Conclusions focus on recent technological advances that may allow cortical models to be testable in the near future.

Moss, R. A., Hunter, B. P., Shah, D., & Havens, T. (2012). A theory of hemispheric specialization based on cortical columns. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 33, 141-172.

Hemispheric function specialization and associated neuroanatomical characteristics have been a topic of interest for many years. In this regard, mechanisms of cortical processing and memory storage have proven elusive. The current paper proposes that a model of cortical processing based on the column has the potential for explaining laterality of function and memory. Memory formation is defined as the strengthening of synaptic connections in any given circuit of cortical columns, while forgetting is defined as weakened synaptic connections with failure to activate downstream columns in any given circuit. Following a discussion of the cortical column, it is suggested that speed and quantity of columnar activation can explain laterality findings. However, several additional aspects of columnar interaction patterns must be considered to explain the regional differences within each of the hemispheres. The paper concludes with a discussion of current approaches that offer a means to test the model’s validity.

Moss, R. A., (2013). A roadmap to the cerebral cortices. The Neuropsychotherapist, 2, 114-117. doi: 10.12744/tnpt(2)114-117

This is a shortened explanation of the design of the cortex based on the Dimensional System Model (Moss, et al., 2012). It provides a succinct description of the cortical column based dimensions of the cortex and how this relates to localization.

Moss, R. A. (2013). Gamma-band synchronization and cortical columns. The Neuropsychotherapist, 3, 126-127. doi: 10.12744/tnpt(3)126-127

This is a short paper speculating on the role of cortical columns in explaining how gamma-band synchronization was related to cognitive functions. It was an interim paper between the Moss et al. (2012) cortical column article where the concept was introduced and the detailed explanation the following year in the Moss and Moss (2014) article described next.

Moss, R. A., & Moss, J. (2014). The role of cortical columns in explaining gamma-band synchronization and NMDA receptors in cognitive functions. AIMS Neuroscience, 1, 65-88. doi: 10.3934/Neuroscience2014.1.65

The role of gamma-band synchronization and NMDA receptors in cognitive functions and neuropsychiatric disorders has received increased attention over the past two decades, with significant controversy about their roles. The role of the cortical column as a basic unit in cortical processing has also been debated. The current paper presents the theoretical argument that the dynamically formed column is the binary unit (bit) involved in all cortical processing and memory, and that gamma-band synchronization is required for columnar formation. Moreover, the role of NMDA receptors is explained as allowing the consolidation of synchronized boundary minicolumns that serve as the bit, as well as strengthening the connections among the circuit of columns that are involved with any given memory. Following a discussion of the microcircuitry that may be involved, there is a brief discussion on how the serious neuropsychiatric disorders of schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease can be conceptualized as disorders of disrupted column formation. The arguments presented provide a theoretical basis for future research to determine the validity of this novel view.

Moss, R. A., & Moss, J. (2014). Commentary on the Pinotsis and Friston neural fields DCM and the Cadonic and Albensi oscillations and NMDA receptors articles. AIMS Neuroscience, 1, 158-162. doi: 10.3934/Neuroscience.2014.2.158

This is a commentary that explains how the Moss and Moss (2014) cortical column theory explains aspects of the two other articles published in this special issue on gamma-band synchronization.

Moss, R. A. (2016). The hippocampus and memory: The binding of parallel curtail circuits. The Neuropsychotherapist, 4, 16-18.

When asked about the brain locations involved with memory storage, it is likely the first one that comes to mind is the hippocampus. Located in the medial temporal lobe with its associated cortical (e.g., perirhinal, parahippocampal) and subcortical (e.g., amygdala, thalamus) connections, it is well known that with sufficient damage, anterograde amnesia (i.e., forming new memories) can occur. Damage to the left hippocampus is usually associated with problems in forming new verbal memories, while damage to the right often interferes with many non-verbal memories. It has been suggested that hippocampus is associated with explicit, declarative, or “conscious” memories, but not with implicit, non-declarative, or “unconscious” memories. Another point of confusion is whether the hippocampus is a memory storage site versus being involved in facilitating the storage of memories in the cerebral cortex. This paper provides an explanation of how the Dimensional Systems Model views the hippocampus and its role in memory formation.

Moss, R. A. (2015). Psychotherapy integration from a brain-based perspective: Clinical biopsychology. This is a 5 hour continuing education course offered through Health Forum Online.

This is the comprehensive and complete description of all aspects of the Clinical Biopsychological approach. This course serves to bridge the conceptual divide between a neurophysiological theory and an applied clinical model for mental health practitioners. It gives a basic understanding of the brain model to avoid the impression that the simplified explanations (e.g., “giver” and “taker” relationship behavior patterns) lack neurophysiological credibility. In that regard, the first section discusses the general concepts of the Dimensional Systems Model. This is followed by an overview of the Clinical Biopsychological Model. The discussion next focuses on interpersonal behavior patterns that provide a new schema used both as a key component in the treatment of influential negative emotional memories and choosing the most effective strategies in handling current day problematic relationships. Next, there is a discussion of each of the three primary sources (i.e., current factors, negative emotional memories, and loss issues) of negative mood states. Detailed information is provided on how to conduct assessment, conceptualization, and treatment. The conclusions focus on the future of brain-based psychotherapy. The how-to-do assessment, conceptualization, and treatment is provided. This is a 5 hour continuing education course offered through Health Forum Online. This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours and ASWB Clinical CE clock hours.

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