Artificial Neural Nets

Alan S. Gevins alan at
Wed Apr 26 13:43:03 EST 1995

> From BIOSCI-REQUEST at Wed Apr 26 06:21:08 1995
> To: neuroscience at
> From: kate at (Kate Jeffery)
> Subject: Re: Artificial Neural Nets
> Sender: news at (Usenet News System)
> Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 10:53:48 GMT
> Reply-To: kate at
> Content-Length: 1236
> In article db0 at, gfrancis at wizard (Greg Francis) writes:
> > > In article <3ngtbp$pgs at>, e8627164 at (Otto Hain
> > > zl) writes:
> > > >Daniel Rabinovitch (drabinov at wrote:
> > > >I think the flow is from natural NN's to artificial NN's but never back.
> > > >This means that the artificial neuronal networks are modeled after there
> > > >natural counterpart but not for giving feedback on the research done there.
> > > >Same with genetic algorithms.
> > > >
> > > >Otto
> > 
> > This is an interesting claim. A colleague and I were discussing just last week that  
> > we could not think of a single example (outside of visual perception) where studies  
> > of real neuronal networks have lead to a better understanding of a specific aspect  
> > of human cognitive behavior. 
> > 
> > Can anybody give me examples where neurophysiology studies produced better (or even  
> > different) theories of cognition? (I will not accept general claims of modularity,  
> > distributed coding, and the like, I am looking for something specific.)
> What about the cognitive map theory of hippocampal function following the discovery of place-coded cells in the hippocampus?
> Kate Jeffery
> kate at

Human neurophysiology studies (EEGs and Evoked Potentials)
have provided a number of reality checks on theories
of cognition by providing data which are not observable from overt behavior, 
including measures of: the sub-second timing of serial and parallel attentive processes; 
the interaction between internal models and sensory stimuli; 
the actual operations of immediate, short and long term memory processes; etc.

Aside from useful knowledge of the actual neural processes of cognition, the net effect of
this body of research has been to provide a conceptual framework for cognition which
does not derive directly from analogies with computer systems. For example, while psychological
theories of working memory postulate a central executive, an articulatory loop and
a visuospatial scratch pad, direct neuronal measurements demonstrate that working memory is
a fundamental feature of neurons, neural populations and large neural systems, ie. there
are no specialized working memory centers.

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