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[ontolog-forum] Brainweb (was http...)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 08:28:02 -0500
Message-id: <4B20F762.2030507@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ferenc,    (01)

That's an interesting paper:    (02)

FK> a link for those who are interested in the interpretation of the
 > physical network in the brain with respect to the importance of
 > the exposition of relations in FO
http://www.leitl.org/docs/public_html/striz/striz.org/docs/brainweb-synchronization-integration.pdf    (03)

Following is the title, authors, and opening paragraph:    (04)

> Francisco Varela*, Jean-Philippe Lachaux*, Eugenio Rodriguez‡ and Jacques 
> The emergence of a unified cognitive moment relies on the coordination of 
>scattered mosaics of
> functionally specialized brain regions. Here we review the mechanisms of 
>large-scale integration
> that counterbalance the distributed anatomical and functional organization of 
>brain activity to
> enable the emergence of coherent behaviour and cognition. Although the 
>mechanisms involved
> in large-scale integration are still largely unknown, we argue that the most 
>plausible candidate is
> the formation of dynamic links mediated by synchrony over multiple frequency 
>bands.    (05)

Some observations:    (06)

  1. Activity in many "scattered" brain regions is involved in
     a "unified cognitive moment".    (07)

  2. Synchrony of the frequencies of the activations in different
     brain regions is a significant criterion for showing that
     they are doing related operations.    (08)

  3. But the caveat is that "the mechanisms involved in large-scale
     integration are still largely unknown."    (09)

  4. And the conclusions are at best "plausible."    (010)

There has been an enormous amount of research on neural mechanisms
in the past 20 years, and a great deal has been learned.  But note
how little is actually known about what those brain regions are
doing and what kind of data they are processing.    (011)

Suppose that somebody did an analysis of the Internet and showed
that there were significant correlations in the frequencies of
activations of different regions.  That would be interesting.
But we would immediately ask what kinds of data were those
regions processing and what transformations on the data were
they performing.    (012)

Those questions are ones that every neuroscientist would love
to answer, but nobody knows how to decode the signals.  It's
possible to find correlations of activity in different regions
with different subjects that people are viewing or talking about.
But that is like saying "This pattern of computer activity shows
that the user is viewing a PDF file."  That information may be
useful, but it doesn't tell us how to decode a PDF file.    (013)

In short, the neural evidence is interesting, since it might give
us some useful hypotheses to explore.  But there is a long way
to go before it can tell us what people are thinking, feeling,
reasoning, acting -- or how we could simulate what they do.    (014)

John Sowa    (015)

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