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What kind of network is the brain?

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Mollon, John D 
Takahashi, Chie 
Danilova, Marina V 


The different areas of the cerebral cortex are linked by a network of white matter, comprising the myelinated axons of pyramidal cells. Is this network a neural net, in the sense that representations of the world are embodied in the structure of the net, its pattern of nodes, and connections? Or is it a communications network, where the same physical substrate carries different information from moment to moment? This question is part of the larger question of whether the brain is better modeled by connectionism or by symbolic artificial intelligence (AI), but we review it in the specific context of the psychophysics of stimulus comparison and the format and protocol of information transmission over the long-range tracts of the brain.



connectome, engram, grandmother cell, neural net, sensory discrimination, white matter, Artificial Intelligence, Brain, Connectome, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Humans, Nerve Net, Neural Pathways, White Matter

Journal Title

Trends Cogn Sci

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Elsevier BV
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S000623/1)
Preparation of the paper was supported by BBSRC Grant BB/S000623/1 to Cambridge University and by Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education grant to Pavlov Center “Integrative Physiology for Medicine, High-tech Healthcare and Stress Tolerance Technologies” (Agreement No. 075-1502020-921).