For questions about mathematical and computational neuroscience.

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22
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3answers
13k 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
719 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
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
901 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
731 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
304 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
490 views

Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition

Inspired by this question: What are drawbacks to probabilistic models of cognition? I would like to know more about the biological plausibility of Bayesian models of cognition. Is there any neural ...
12
votes
1answer
245 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
252 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
163 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
110 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
627 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
277 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
124 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
149 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
85 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
votes
3answers
437 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
77 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

Can processing effort for sub-tasks in neural networks be measured?

I often heard statements like: 80% of your brain processing is computing the effect of gravity or, similarily: You only use 20% of your brain power My question isn't about the truth of ...
7
votes
1answer
51 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
133 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
80 views

In a central pattern generator based on reciprocal inhibition, how does one “side” get picked over the other to start out?

Consider two neurons, A and B, which reciprocally inhibit each other. If both of the neurons receive input at the same time, it seems to me that no oscillation will occur between the two. Such would ...
6
votes
1answer
35 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
30 views

What are the common components of other cognitive architectures and the Semantic Pointer Architecture

In the papers I've read about it, the Semantic Pointer Architecture (SPA) embodied in Spaun is said to be more biologically plausible than many other proposed architectures such as the Neural ...
5
votes
2answers
144 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Cosyne vs CNS conferences for Computational Neuroscience?

While Googling, I noticed there are 2 conferences for computational neuroscience: Cosyne and CNS. My questions are: 1) What are these conferences' differences in terms of material & impact/size? ...
5
votes
1answer
38 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Computational model of biological object recognition

The human brain can achieve a remarkable ability to recognize visual patterns in an Invariant, selective and fast manner. The human visual system is quite powerful. It has an exquisite selectivity ...
5
votes
0answers
101 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

Is there a function between loss of memory and time?

I have 2 related questions with regards to memory capabilities and time: "Is there a function (e.g. $e^{-\Delta Time}$) with regards to memory loss?" Everyone is bound to forget over time. Is there ...
4
votes
2answers
150 views

Can a biological entity be thought as a simple algorithm? Case-study with the concept of randomness

John Von Neuman believed that all organisms can be though of as information-processing systems. He built on the work of Alan Turing (algorithmic) to create simulations of biological entities. This ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

What does a cortical column do?

The Blue Brain project led by Henry Markram focused on simulating cortical columns under the idea they form basic processing units of the brain/cognitive function. What does a cortical column do? I ...
4
votes
0answers
56 views

For binary (spike train) signals, take FFT of signal or autocorrelation of signal?

I want to characterize a binary time-series signal x (derived from neuron action potential data) in the frequency domain. Should I use the FFT of the original signal x, or the power spectrum (FFT of ...
4
votes
0answers
167 views

Is “Biophysics of Computation” still a good book?

To begin with, I hope this is the right place to ask - if not, please don't be too mad about it :) Currently I'm studying mathematics (2nd year) and I think I'm pretty into neuroscience. To "test" ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

How does cognitive science explain distant intentionality and brain function in recipients?

Achterberg and colleagues' (2005) study, Concluded that instructions to a healer to make an intentional connection with a sensory isolated person can be correlated to changes in brain function ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Relation between Nengo, SPA and NEF with respect to other Neural Models

I'm working through How to Build a Brain and I keep getting confused on the relation between Nengo, the Semantic Pointer Architecture (SPA) and the Neurological Engineering Framework (NEF). Are there ...
3
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
17 views

What aspects of ACT-R are not contained within Spaun?

ACT-R was the first big cognitive model and excels at modelling human behavioral data quite accurately. Spaun, which is the world's largest functional brain model, took a lot of ACT-R's insights and ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

Is there a research field which holds close connections between computational neuroscience and classical robotics

Is there a research field which holds close connections between computational neuroscience and classical robotics, particularly building corresponding robots to implement and test the theories from ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Neuroscience student

I'm thinking about studying neuroscience, but the only interests I have in the general area are: Where thought or consciousness come from and how it all works How memory works and why it can't be ...