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Cognitive Regime Shift II - When/why/how the Brain Breaks/DavidKrakauer

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Notes by user David Krakauer (SFI) for Cognitive Regime Shift II - When/why/how the Brain Breaks

Post-meeting Reflection

1+ paragraphs on any combination of the following:

  • Presentation highlights
  • Open questions that came up
  • How your perspective changed
  • Impact on your own work
  • e.g. the discussion on [A] that we are having reminds me of [B] conference/[C] initiative/[D] funding call-for-proposal/[E] research group

Much of the emphasis was placed on describing the necessary basic principles, models or data, for describing brain functions.

These included:

  1. Resting state correlations from imaging data
  2. Behavioral psychological experiments
  3. Local field potentials
  4. Deep neural networks
  5. Information theoretic formalisms.

Much emphasis was placed on either justifying or discovering appropriate levels for prediction and explanation. On this topic;

  1. Is there a preferred level based on fundamental principles?
  2. How to reconcile computational models (with strong time separation) with dynamical systems models (with a spectrum of time scales)
  3. How to present and justify theoretical frameworks with many free parameters - theory for complex systems (in contrast to mere complication as in physics).
  4. How to triangulate among levels of description

My own question dealt with the general problem: does the fact of the brain as a computational organ imply distinct regularities in the way in which it breaks?

One approach to this would be to ask about:

  1. Robustness and adaptability
  2. Critical transitions: order disorder regimes
  3. Cascading failure and percolation.

This triplet provides a possible informal coordinate system in which to situate a system to include the brain. The rather unique scale and connectivity and general function of brain might suggest that it sit near a critical point, balanced between robust and adaptive regimes.

Reference material notes

Some examples:

  • Here is [A] database on [B] that I pull data from to do [C] analysis that might be of interest to this group (insert link).
  • Here is a free tool for calculating [ABC] (insert link)
  • This painting/sculpture/forms of artwork is emblematic to our discussion on [X]!
  • Schwartz et al. 2017 offers a review on [ABC] migration as relate to climatic factors (add the reference as well).

Flack et al. 2012 summarizes our understanding of mechanisms that generate robustness (invariance of function to non-trivial perturbations) in biological and social systems. It provides a classification of these mechanisms in pursuit of more general principles that confer robustness at different time and space scales. 

Reference Materials

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Robustness in biological and social systems Jessica Flack, Peter Hammerstein, David Krakauer Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making 2012 0 27 Download (Encrypted)