Principles of Neural Design

Principles of Neural Design

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Neuroscience research has exploded, with more than fifty thousand neuroscientists applying increasingly advanced methods. A mountain of new facts and mechanisms has emerged. And yet a principled framework to organize this knowledge has been missing. In this book, Peter Sterling and Simon Laughlin, two leading neuroscientists, strive to fill this gap, outlining a set of organizing principles to explain the whys of neural design that allow the brain to compute so efficiently. Setting out to qreverse engineerq the brain -- disassembling it to understand it -- Sterling and Laughlin first consider why an animal should need a brain, tracing computational abilities from bacterium to protozoan to worm. They examine bigger brains and the advantages of qanticipatory regulationq; identify constraints on neural design and the need to qnanofyq; and demonstrate the routes to efficiency in an integrated molecular system, phototransduction. They show that the principles of neural design at finer scales and lower levels apply at larger scales and higher levels; describe neural wiring efficiency; and discuss learning as a principle of biological design that includes qsave only what is needed.qSterling and Laughlin avoid speculation about how the brain might work and endeavor to make sense of what is already known. Their distinctive contribution is to gather a coherent set of basic rules and exemplify them across spatial and functional scales.suddenly change direction, it bends the whole body and then springs backa€”a good tactic for evasion and escape. ... Oscillations might be produced within the nervous system by local circuits (central pattern generators). ... No intrinsically oscillating neurons have been found, nor does the braina#39;s wiring diagram (see below) show the typical oscillatory circuita€”a small group of neurons that send signalsanbsp;...

Title:Principles of Neural Design
Author:Peter Sterling, Simon Laughlin
Publisher:MIT Press - 2015-06-05


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