Waking up

From A conversation about the brain
Jump to: navigation, search
How do we over start again, roughly where we left off?
This is an example that brings into focus the gulf between different assumptions about the role of patterns of neural responses in the cortex.

Consider what might happen when we wake up. Does this present a difficult problem for neuroscience or not? If how we think, the kind of person we are, is some complicated function of cortical firing rates, [math]\vec{r}[/math] then generating this pattern of firing rates from scratch (i.e. a sleeping state) is a daunting prospect. The opposite perspective, which is the topic of these pages, is that the complexities of how we think, the kind of person we are, is encoded in stored synaptic weights, [math]\mathbf{W}[/math], which remains fixed during the night (at least to a first approximation). Moving [math]\vec{r}[/math] along a path from some sleeping state back to familiar routes through sensory+motivational space is not such a computational nightmare.