Mind Neuroscience News

What’s wrong with brain science today

Spread the love

From the New York Times:

We know that there must be some lawful relation between assemblies of neurons and the elements of thought, but we are currently at a loss to describe those laws. We don’t know, for example, whether our memories for individual words inhere in individual neurons or in sets of neurons, or in what way sets of neurons might underwrite our memories for words, if in fact they do.

The problem with both of the big brain projects is that too few of the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent are devoted to spanning this conceptual chasm. Both projects are making important contributions: the European effort is helping build infrastructure for data integration; the American project is emphasizing the development of state-of-the-art tools for collecting new kinds of data. But as anyone in a field richer in data than theory (like weather forecasting) can tell you, amassing data is only a start.

The success of both the Human Brain Project and the Brain Initiative will ultimately rest not just on the data to be collected but also on what can be done with those data once they are collected. On that, too little has been said.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

3 Replies to “What’s wrong with brain science today

  1. 1
    cantor says:

    We know that there must be some lawful relation between assemblies of neurons and the elements of thought…

    You don’t know that. Your worldview requires it.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    Before we had a brain, we were a zygote. Would it help to understand the cell fate determination mechanisms that produce the structure and functionality of the brain in human development?

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Well at least they mentioned the word memory.
    I say there is only a memory machine and no other BRAINY thing going on.
    Our thoughts come from our souls, immaterial, and our soul is meshed to our memory.
    I think the mind is just a priority memory organization.
    so looking in the brain is looking in vain for thinkingness.
    its not there. only a middleman is there.

Leave a Reply