June 23, 2017

HBP insights into 'How Does the Brain Work?'

Human Brain Project researchers have contributed to five new theoretical Perspectives in Neuron’s special issue How Does the Brain Work?

The special issue, with contributions from theoretical and experimental neuroscientists, aims to offer “insights into the strengths and challenges of current brain models and how these theoretical frameworks can motivate experimental work to deepen our understanding”.

“Each Perspective provides an overview of the particular topic, with the aim of illustrating not only what we know and where recent advances have shed light, but also to highlight what we don’t yet know and how theory could help to fill the gaps,” says the editorial.

Human Brain Project (HBP) researchers contributed to five of the 12 Perspectives in the special issue (see links below). One of the HBP researchers, Misha Tsodyks, says he hopes the issue will encourage the community to think more deeply about where theoretical neuroscience is at now, and where it is going.

Tsodyks describes his work ‘Memory Retrieval from First Principles’, written with Mikhail Katkov and Sandro Romani, as raising the “seemingly outrageous idea that a quantitatively precise theory of human cognition based on a small number of fundamental principles is possible.”

The paper proposes a candidate theory of this type that Tsodyks says provides a surprisingly accurate description of memory recall experiments.

The five Perspectives that HBP researchers contributed to are:

Hierarchy of Information Processing in the Brain: A Novel ‘Intrinsic Ignition’ Framework

Enhanced Responsiveness and Low-Level Awareness in Stochastic Network States

Symmetry Breaking in Space-Time Hierarchies Shapes Brain Dynamics and Behavior

Memory Retrieval from First Principles

Shaping the Default Activity Pattern of the Cortical Network