Sunday, January 26, 2003

 

New blog not done yet, though I do have something to write about . . . I just plowed through a painful target article and several peer responses from a 1994 issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The article's called "Neuropsychological inference with an interactive brain: A critique of the 'locality' assumption." It's one of those instances where I read the article, and all of the words individually make sense, but together, well, I'm not sure. I have digested the information on a really superficial level. This stuff is hard!

Basically, the article is a critique of the assumption that the brain's architecture can be inferred by considering local effects: basically, that function is kind of contained in a little area of the brain that performs a certain function. When that part is damaged, the function may be affected, but other related/connected functions aren't affected because the local areas of the brain aren't interdependent. The author argues, instead, for a model more along the lines of parallel distributed processing (pdp) networks. More interdependency, and in the examples discussed in the article, a more streamlined kind of functioning, too. It's interesting to read the reactions, which range, of course, from "the author is totally wrong" to "yes, the author is entirely right, and let me give a few more examples and models to support."

pdp networks are fascinating: I am really interested in how tests for object and word recognition are simulated, and how these networks are trained or taught over time. There's a lot of discussion of emergence in the article and responses, another intriguing phenomenon. I'm also flashing back to reading Deleuze and Guattari, though, and the summer 2001 seminar on A Thousand Plateaus I took with Rich Doyle. There's all of this overlap between cognitive theories, literary theory, distributed networks, peer-to-peer systems (digital and otherwise).

Argh. I just ventured into abstract theoretical territory, and the loftiness and logic required to pursue such a train of thought is just absolutely lacking right now, 6:58 on a Sunday night. My brain is spent. Reading about cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience is ouchy. I am going to go do something sompletely mindless for a bit before shifting gears a bit and tackling another task.

- posted by laurie @ 1/26/2003 04:53:00 PM
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