[Neuroscience] Re: Combine neuroscience and computer science

J.A.Legris via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by jalegris from sympatico.ca)
Wed Jan 28 10:36:57 EST 2009

On Jan 28, 7:22 am, KATHARINE LEAH DICKSON <kldick... from wisc.edu> wrote:
> Studying consciousness in neuroscience, I think, requires a knowledge of what consciousness actually is.  It's not impossible to study it - Giulio Tononi at my institution is doing some research related to sleep, and I think Tristan Bekinschtein at Cambridge is doing research on 'disorders of consciousness', but I don't know how you'd approach it from computational paths since much of 'consciousness' is colored by human emotions, which computers cannot simulate.
> Katharine Leah Dickson
> kldick... from wisc.edu
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "J.A.Legris" <jaleg... from sympatico.ca>
> Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:35 am
> Subject: [Neuroscience] Re: Combine neuroscience and computer science
> To: neur-... from magpie.bio.indiana.edu
> > On Jan 26, 8:33 am, davide <davide... from REMOVECAPITALhotmail.com> wrote:
> >  > Hello everybody,
> >  > I explain a bit the strange subject. By the way I am not sure this
> > is
> >  > the right NG, apologies if it isn't.
> >  > I have studied computer science for many years and very recently
> >  > robotics but now for some reasons (I am not going to bore you with
> > them)
> >  > I have realised that it is not what I really want to do. Now I am very
> >  > interested in spirituality (humans and not machines) and in particular
> >  > in consciousness. Neuroscience is directly related to it and also very
> >  > fascinating. But I am not sure it's what I had in mind (at the
> > moment I
> >  > am more interested in the spiritual side of consciousness but I have
> >  > also started to read about neuroscience). Anyway, I did not want to
> >  > waste many years of computer science and therefore I was looking
> > for a
> >  > solution to put the two things together. That's why this post.
> >  > So, is there a way to combine computer science and consciousness?
> >  > I know this may sound a bit strange to you but if you have any idea,
> >  > suggestion, comment, critic ..... I would really appreciate.
> >  > Many thanks.
> >  > Davide.
> >  You may have a point there, lumping consciousness in with
> >  spirituality, because for the most part people who think they are
> >  studying consciousness are actually just playing word games.
> >  Neuroscience is something completely different - it is biology, with
> >  no connections to computer science beyond those we find in other
> >  fields of science.
> >  --
> >  Joe

Thanks for mentioning Tonini, you reminded me of a fine book. It's a
good example of a scientific approach to the subject where computation
is seen as a tool rather than a substrate:

Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi (2001). A Universe Of Consciousness:
How Matter Becomes Imagination

Here's another I haven't read yet that comes highly recommended:

Gyorgy Buzsaki (2006). Rhythms of the Brain

Also, if you want to understand consciousness, consider the continuity
of brain structure/function across time and phyla. This one I can
personally recommend:

Georg F. Striedter (2004). Principles of Brain Evolution


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