What does the mind/brain know?

From: Grant Callaghan (grantc4@hotmail.com)
Date: Wed 12 Mar 2003 - 21:49:48 GMT

  • Next message: William Benzon: "Re: What does the mind/brain know?"

    Bridging the Gaps Between Neuron, Brain and Behavior with Neurodynamics

    Walter J Freeman Department of Molecular & Cell Biology University of California, Berkeley CA 94720-3200 http://sulcus.berkeley.edu


    Brain systems operate on many levels of organization, each with its own scales of time and space. Dynamics is applicable to every level, from the atomic to the molecular, and from macromolecular organelles to the neurons into which they are incorporated. In turn the neurons form populations; they form systems, and so on to an embodied brain interacting intentionally with its environment. Each level is "macroscopic" to the one below it and
    "microscopic" to the one above it. Among the most difficult tasks are those of conceiving and describing the exchanges between levels, seeing that the scales of time and distance are incommensurate, and that causal inference is far more ambiguous between than within levels. That holds for the relation of action potentials from microelectrodes to whole brain activity seen with new techniques for brain imaging: fMRI and PET. A new recourse is to conceive, identify and model an intervening
    "mesoscopic" level, which is a local self-organizing neural population. Its characteristic activities consist of 'spontaneous' action potentials and EEG dendritic activity.

    Mesoscopic neurodynamics gives a clear understanding of self-organized chaotic patterns of neural activity in primary sensory areas when significant stimuli arrive. These patterns are created with each sniff, glance, or movement of the head and hands. They are triggered by sensory input, but they are not the result of information processing, and they are not representations of stimuli. They are manifestations of the way in which brains make and test hypotheses. The patterns show that brains do not take information into themselves. They formulate expectations as hypotheses and test them by taking action into the environment. They are not data-driven; they are hypothesis-driven, and all that they can know is what hypotheses were tested, and what the results of the tests were.

    Freeman WJ (2001) How Brains Make Up Their Minds. New York: Columbia University Press.


    _________________________________________________________________ Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*. http://join.msn.com/?page=features/featuredemail

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed 12 Mar 2003 - 21:58:13 GMT