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The Brain from Inside Out

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  5 reviews
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 an ...more
Kindle Edition, 459 pages
Published April 18th 2019 by Oxford University Press
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Matthieu Thiboust
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The Brain from Inside Out" is a very enlightening book.

Experimental results make more sense when interpreted within the inside-out rather than the dominant outside-out framework.

It is misguided to think of the brain as a complex device that sequentially collect sensory inputs, process information, and then decide whether and how to act. Thinking from inside-out, the brain hosts internally generated and self-organized patterns that acquire "meaning" through actions, which becomes what we call "e
Kinga  Farkas
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book about neuroscience. Every chapter and subchapter contains tons of information, summarize knowledge from whole fields, often add interesting scientific and personal details about scientists and so on. Actually it mesmerizes me, with its scientific accuracy and entertaining language at the same time. I'm sure there is something in it for everyone, and for everyone for each read (I think it is not a one time reading type book), but there were three illuminating point for m ...more
Greta Sokoloff
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
So this book should be right up my alley. I read it with lab mates for a spring semester book club. We have our last meeting (aka zoom) tonight. The thesis is provocative - we have spent so much time focusing how outside experiences affect the brain (development, learning, etc.) that we have hampered our ability to move forward in the field of neuroscience. So, instead of outside - in, let's look at the brain from inside - out. Straightforward, but ultimately not written to be as compelling as i ...more
Weiyong Xu
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really like the new ideas and framework present in the book on how we should study neuroscience.
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“brain is not an information-absorbing, perpetual coding device, as it is often portrayed, but a venture-seeking explorer, an action-obsessed agent constantly controlling the body’s actuators and sensors to test its hypotheses. The brain ceaselessly interacts with, rather than just detects, the external world in order to remain itself. It is through such exploration that correlations and interactions acquire meaning and become information (Chapter 5). Brains do not process information: they create it.” 0 likes
“Next, we discussed the relationship between the tabula rasa (blank slate) and preconfigured brain models. In the empiricist outside-in model, the brain starts out as blank paper onto which new information is cumulatively written. Modification of brain circuits scales with the amount of newly learned knowledge by juxtaposition and superposition. A contrasting view is that the brain is a dictionary with preexisting internal dynamics and syntactical rules but filled with initially nonsense neuronal words. A large reservoir of unique neuronal patterns has the potential to acquire significance for the animal through exploratory action and represents a distinct event or situation. In this alternative model, the diversity of brain components, such as firing rates, synaptic connection strengths, and the magnitude of collective behavior of neurons, leads to wide distributions. The two tails of this distribution offer complementary advantages: the “good-enough” brain can generalize and act fast; the “precision” brain is slow but careful and offers needed details in many situations.” 0 likes
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