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Questions tagged [theoretical-neuroscience]

For questions about mathematical and computational neuroscience.

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49
votes
4answers
2k views

What are current neuronal explanations and models of 'consciousness'?

I would like to understand more about consciousness from a neuroscientific perspective. I have a limited understanding of it in the philosophical/psychological sense through lectures. Although it is ...
43
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6answers
43k views

Why would the brain flip the images perceived by your eyes?

The following is a common scientific statement, which you don't have to google long for to find: The eye views images upside-down in the manner of a camera lens, but our brains reinterpret this ...
32
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2answers
2k views

Neural networks with biologically plausible accounts of neurogenesis

One of the reasons artificial neural net algorithms like cascade correlation (pdf) have been generating interest is because they start with a minimal topology (just input and output unit) and recruit ...
28
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2answers
711 views

How are newly created neurons recruited into existing networks?

As far as I understand, the basics of neurogenesis (abstracted down to the level that makes sense to a computer scientist) is as follows: Neural progenitor cells differentiate into new neurons that ...
28
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2answers
3k views

What is an effective metric of complexity for an Artificial Neural Network?

After asking the question What is the most complex neural network... I realized I don't really have a good metric of "complexity" in a general sense. The simplest measure would likely be count of ...
22
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2answers
1k views

Applications of computational learning theory in the cognitive sciences

Computational learning theory (CoLT) is a branch of theoretical computer science associated with the mathematical analysis of machine learning. A lot of the early ideas of the field take inspiration ...
21
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7answers
11k views

Difference between parallel processing done by human brain and by computers

I am asking a question regarding parallel processing as done by billions of Neurons inside our brain and parallel processing done by our computers in a cluster for example or even on a Graphics ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Is back-prop biologically plausible?

One of the common criticisms of Deep Learning is it's training algorithms, back-propagation of error (back-prop), has no biologically plausible implementation, despite evidence of something like it ...
16
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3answers
792 views

What are the key examples of the use of computational methods in the study of biological neural networks?

In an upcoming postdoc, I'm going to be looking through biological neural network data in the hopes of finding some interesting "patterns". I'm coming at this field from a mathematics/computer ...
16
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2answers
697 views

Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition

Inspired by this question: What are some of the drawbacks to probabilistic models of cognition? I would like to know more about the biological plausibility of Bayesian models of cognition. Is there ...
15
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2answers
387 views

References for biologically plausible models of knowledge representation?

I'm looking for references that deal with the issue of how various kinds of semantic knowledge are (or might be) represented neurally. Most of the discussion of this topic seems skewed by social ...
15
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1answer
531 views

How does the brain calculate velocity?

How does the human brain calculate velocities? For example, when crossing a road and seeing a car coming towards you, how does the brain actually compute the rough velocity of the vehicle and your own ...
14
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3answers
2k views

In what ways can neurons fire randomly?

When developing a model of a biologically-plausible neural network, it is important to know all the circumstances under which neurons can fire. But, I am limiting this question to random firing. In ...
14
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1answer
301 views

Computational models of early learning in children

What are currently used biologically plausible computational models/frameworks of early learning in children? Personally, I have used cascade correlation neural nets to model pronoun acquisition in ...
13
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1answer
457 views

How does neural spiking begin in the fetus?

I'm interested in modeling human brain spiking activity. How does the very first spiking activity begin in the fetus? I imagine all spiking activity is initiated by the senses and internal ...
13
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3answers
2k views

How distantly related are research in computational neuroscience and neural networks/machine learning?

If one is more interested in understanding how algorithms in the biological brain solve problems (theoretically, particularly the mathematical aspect), and possibly in building brain-inspired ...
13
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1answer
277 views

What explains variability in the mean firing rate across biological neurons?

Biological neurons have a trade-off between high information transfer (high firing rate) and energy conservation (low firing rate). One would suspect that the maximization of this function has a ...
12
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1answer
172 views

By which neuronal mechanisms does music make us happy or sad?

There are brain regions (X) that show stronger activation for joyful music, regions (Y) that show stronger activation for sad music, and regions (Z) that show similar activation for both. Assuming ...
11
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1answer
291 views

Hebbian Learning Rule, Local or Global?

I just learned about the Hebbian Learning Rule. It essentially says "Neurons that fire together, wire together". I'm wondering if the learning rule is affected by the spatial distance of the two ...
11
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2answers
247 views

Computational Model Linking Neural Activity to Behavior

A big question in neuroscience is how neural activity represents knowledge. We can use modelling to explore how different levels of neural activity- subthreshold currents, action potentials, local ...
11
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1answer
342 views

Can we draw conclusions about content of thoughts from neural firing patterns?

Can the neural firing patterns of animals be associated with specific kinds of thoughts? (ie Thoughts related to food, mating, or neighborly aggression?) I am curious about the speculations in ...
10
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2answers
174 views

What research has been done on brain-to-brain interfaces?

Is there an existing research area focusing on brain to brain interfaces? If so, what are some papers that have been published in this area?
10
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4answers
2k views

What are the mathematical models of memory?

Are there mathematical models of memory in humans or animals? I want to know how neuroscientists use mathematics to describe memory in living creatures. How do neuroscientists model memory and show ...
10
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1answer
479 views

Importance of Neural Synchrony to Cognition

Is there a consensus on whether computation using Neural Synchrony is reasonable or not? In "How to Build a Brain", Chris Eliasmisth cites Yuko Munakata and R. C. O'Reilly as saying that "the ...
10
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2answers
147 views

Criteria for evaluating cognitive systems

In the first chapter of the book "How to Build a Brain", Chris Eliasmith quickly establishes some criteria which he will use to evaluate Spaun, the cognitive system described in the book. He describes ...
10
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1answer
235 views

Is there evidence that STDP is responsible for the ability to infer causation?

Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) is a property of synapses that modifies their efficacy based on timing relationships between action potentials in the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic neuron. A ...
10
votes
1answer
142 views

Does an action potential abolish an excitatory postsynaptic potential?

From some sources, I've read that excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) decay over time, which would imply that they aren't abolished by action potentials. However, other sources seem to indicate ...
10
votes
1answer
149 views

What is the role of traveling waves in circuit formation during cortical development?

Propagating waves of activity have been characterized in various regions of the brain such as the visual cortex (Nauhaus et al., 2012). Recently they have been reported for the first time to occur ...
10
votes
1answer
164 views

Is cortical magnification in the visual system related to synaptic pruning, or is it a separate developmental or learning process?

I'm primarily interested in learning about current computational models that explain cortical magnification in the visual system. With this in mind, my specific questions are: (1) Is this phenomenon ...
10
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1answer
124 views

Does a recent general review of recurrent neural networks exist?

Does anyone know of a comparatively recent paper reviewing the literature on psychological applications of recurrent neural networks? I'm looking for a paper which provides a general overview of the ...
9
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2answers
970 views

How does masking work?

Masking occurs when the delay between the target and the mask is less than a threshhold (say 50 milliseconds). If sensory data passes from lower to higher visual cortices/processing regions as in a ...
9
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4answers
4k views

How to read a neuron tuning curve graph?

I'm working through the tutorial of section 2.4 of "How to Build a Brain" and I've encountered this graph of a neuron tuning curve. I understand the Y axis is the firing rate of the neuron, that each ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Research groups in Computer Science which study Computational Neuroscience

I am currently applying to graduate programs in Computer Science in the United States for admission next fall. I am particularly interested in the convergence of Computer Science and Computational ...
9
votes
1answer
220 views

How can I test whether Dorsal Raphe Nucleus (DRN) activity at night is related to variations in mood?

I'm reading this paper, which discusses Serotonin activity in the Dorsal Ralphe Nucleus(DRN), and even includes some mathematical models of how serotonin is released and reabsorbed. The paper states ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

How can STDP fit with reciprocal connectivity?

I have rather technical question regarding STDP dynamics. I am working on a neural network implementing an STDP learning algorithm, and have noticed that it is extremely anti-reciprocal. When two ...
9
votes
1answer
147 views

What are some good references for preprocessing and analysis of the P300 response from EEG data in Python?

I have just started to work on problems in neuroscience on my own. I sought to analyze the P300 response from EEG data because I was trying to understand a Kaggle.com challenge that used it. I found ...
8
votes
3answers
735 views

Why does a neuron choose to connect to another?

I have been reading about neuron creation, guidance cues and all sorts of highly complex mechanisms used to allow one neuron axon to extend or connect - but to what end? Why does one neuron end up ...
8
votes
3answers
430 views

Is there a neural network model of Pavlovian Learning?

I am trying to find a computer simulation of Pavlovian learning. i.e. an action such as salivation in response to a stimulus such as a bell ringing. Most neural network models I've seen seem to be ...
8
votes
2answers
102 views

Biologically plausible cognitive model of Wisconsin card sorting task

As discussed previously, there are a wide range of models that have been applied to the Wisconsin card sorting task. However, which one is most biologically plausible? That is, uses a realistic model ...
8
votes
2answers
438 views

What is the difference between spike-triggered averaging and reverse correlation?

I'm interested in the difference between spike-triggered averaging and reverse correlation. In some papers (i.e., Schwartz, Odelia, et al) I see the term 'Spike Triggered Averaging'. In others, (ie ...
8
votes
4answers
526 views

In what ways do our brains use compression?

I am reading a book on information theory and one line in the book states that "Brains are the ultimate compression and communication systems." However, there is no further elaboration on the matter. ...
8
votes
1answer
75 views

What are biologically plausible ways to model binocular disparity?

I figure there is a vast body of literature on stereovision, both neurophysiological and computational studies. Computer Vision also provides some algorithmic insight on implementing binocular ...
8
votes
1answer
108 views

Have there been any mechanisms proposed for normalization in probabilistic population codes?

I heard a talk yesterday by Dora Angelaki about multi-sensory integration. Part of the talk was about bayesian inference with multiple noisy sources of information. I know that there has been a lot ...
7
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5answers
6k views

Why do scientists say brains are faster than computers?

Supposing that neurons function similarly to transistors: A neuron able to fire $200$ times per second and transistors can be switched on and off more than $100,000,000,000$ ($10^{11}$) times per ...
7
votes
4answers
340 views

Can humans be reduced to a function?

Based on an article by UK Essays, we are nothing more than robots that operate based on our past experience and other factors like amount of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemicals, trying to ...
7
votes
3answers
277 views

How does the brain compute sound localisation without the equations?

What sort of computations are used for localising sound with the ears, and how does the brain compute the time difference between sounds reaching each ear? I am interested in the specific mechanisms ...
7
votes
1answer
996 views

What is the difference between computational neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience, and neuroinformatics (if there is one)?

In particular, theoretical and computational neuroscience seem to be synonymous with each other. Neuroinformatics at least seems to deal somewhat more with solving things numerically and the usage and ...
7
votes
1answer
89 views

What's the functional difference between the NEF and normal ANNs?

Aside from obvious biological plausibility, from a computational standpoint, what's the motivation of using the Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) instead of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) for ...
7
votes
1answer
171 views

Does neurodynamics have any relation to psychodynamics?

From Neural oscillation - Wikipedia: Neural oscillations are commonly studied from a mathematical framework and belong to the field of "neurodynamics", an area of research in the cognitive sciences ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

How are movements stored in the brain?

The high level flow of information through the brain for the purpose of motor control is well established. It is also known the cerebellum stores many different movements, while also participating in ...