ISBN : 9780190905385
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.
Chapter 1: The Problem
Chapter 2: Causation and Logic in Neuroscience
Chapter 3: Perception from Action
Chapter 4: Neuronal Assembly: The Fundamental Unit of Communication
Chapter 5: Internalization of Experience: Cognition from Action
Chapter 6: Brain Rhythms Provide a Framework for Neural Syntax
Chapter 7: Internally Organized Cell-Assembly Trajectories
Chapter 8: Internally Organized Activity During Off-Line Brain States
Chapter 9: Enhancing Brain Performance by Externalizing Thought
Chapter 10: Space and Time in the Brain
Chapter 11: Gain and Abstraction
Chapter 12: Everything is a Relationship: The Non-Egalitarian, Log-Scaled Brain
Chapter 13: The Brain's Best Guess
Chapter 14: Epilogue
"The Brain from Inside Out is a fascinating guided tour by a leading brain scientist of the race to address the biggest challenge of our times: understanding the inner workings of the brain. Buzsáki's ideas are at the same time personal and universal, offering an intimate look at the major hypotheses and roadblocks that drive brain science today. A wonderful read." - Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, PhD, Professor of Network Science, Northeastern University, Boston, MA and the author of The Formula
"In The Brain from Inside Out, György Buzsáki shows how dynamic patterns of activity in neurons actively generate good guesses rather than passively represent the outside world. Buzsáki is a master at vividly explaining what we know about brains and illuminating what we don't yet know." - Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD, Francis Crick Chair, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA
"This outstanding book will challenge you to think deeply about how we should view the route to discovery in brain research. The primary argument of the book is that the brain is a self-organized system with a preexisting organization designed to generate actions and to evaluate and predict the consequences of those actions. This is contrasted with the dominant view in modern neuroscience that the brain exists to represent the world, process information and decide how to respond. The consequences of this distinction are presented from an historical and a scientific perspective done with remarkable scholarship and scientific rigor. As a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding dialogue on brain science and society, I hope it finds its way onto the desks of young people commencing careers in the neurosciences." - -Marcus E. Raichle, MD, Alan A. & Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University of Medicine, St. Louis, MO