Upcoming Talks

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Ways to think about the brain: Emergence of cognition from action

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 17:00 - 18:00
Speaker: Gyorgy Buzsaki (Neuroscience Institute, New York University, School of Medicine)
Location: Raiffeisen Lecture Hall
Series: Public outreach event
Host: Jozsef Csicsvari
Contact: Arinya Eller
Central building lecture hall

Current neuroscience is largely fueled by an empiricist philosophy that assumes the brain’s goal is to perceive, represent the world, and learn the truth. An inevitable consequence of this framework is the assumption of a decision-making homunculus wedged between our perception and actions. In contrast, I advocate that the brain’s fundamental function is to induce actions and predict the consequences of those actions to support the survival and prosperity of the brain’s host. Only actions can provide a second opinion about the relevance of the sensory inputs and provide meaning for and interpretation of those inputs. In this “inside-out” framework, the brain comes with a preconfigured and self-organized dynamic that constrains how it acts and views the world. In the brain’s nonegalitarian organization, preexisting nonsense brain patterns become meaningful through action-based experience. I will show recent experiments that support this framework and illustrate how seemingly disparate neural computations, such as metabolic homeostasis/allostasis and memory-guided behaviors, have co-evolved at every step within the same brain circuits.

Buzsaki, G. Rhythms of the Brain (OUP 2006)
Buzsaki G. The Brain from Inside Out (OUP 2019)
Buzsaki G. How the Brain ‘Constructs’ the Outside World. Scientific American, April 2022. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-brain-constructs-the-outside-world/

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