The Brain from Inside Out

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Oxford University Press, Apr 18, 2019 - Science - 464 pages
Is there a right way to study how the brain works? Following the empiricist's tradition, the most common approach involves the study of neural reactions to stimuli presented by an experimenter. This 'outside-in' method fueled a generation of brain research and now must confront hidden assumptions about causation and concepts that may not hold neatly for systems that act and react. György Buzsáki's The Brain from Inside Out examines why the outside-in framework for understanding brain function has become stagnant and points to new directions for understanding neural function. Building upon the success of 2011's Rhythms of the Brain, Professor Buzsáki presents the brain as a foretelling device that interacts with its environment through action and the examination of action's consequence. Consider that our brains are initially filled with nonsense patterns, all of which are gibberish until grounded by action-based interactions. By matching these nonsense "words" to the outcomes of action, they acquire meaning. Once its circuits are "calibrated" by action and experience, the brain can disengage from its sensors and actuators, and examine "what happens if" scenarios by peeking into its own computation, a process that we refer to as cognition. The Brain from Inside Out explains why our brain is not an information-absorbing coding device, as it is often portrayed, but a venture-seeking explorer constantly controlling the body to test hypotheses. Our brain does not process information: it creates it.


1 The Problem
2 Causation and Logic in Neuroscience
3 Perception from Action
The Fundamental Unit of Communication
Cognition from Action
6 Brain Rhythms Provide a Framework for Neural Syntax
7 Internally Organized Cell Assembly Trajectories
8 Internally Organized Activity During Offline Brain States
10 Space and Time in the Brain
11 Gain and Abstraction
The Nonegalitarian LogScaled Brain
13 The Brains Best Guess
14 Epilogue

9 Enhancing Brain Performance by Externalizing Thought

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About the author (2019)

György Buzsáki is Biggs Professor of Neuroscience at New York University. Member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Co-recipient of the 2011 Brain Prize. His main interest is "neural syntax", how segmentation of neural information is organized to support cognitive functions. Book: G. Buzsáki, Rhythms of the Brain, Oxford University Press, 2006

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