Nothing but a pack of neurons?

 

 

The sort of Cartesian dualism that sees us as disembodied souls piloting a brain that exists only to sense the external (and internal) world and to execute action has long been difficult to reconcile with knowledge from neurology of the extent to which many aspects of cognition depend on the brain, in that they are impaired or lost when it is damaged.

More recently a wide range of techniques has been used to investigate information processing in the intact brain, both in humans and animals, so that for some aspects of behaviour we now understand not only which areas of the brain are necessary but also a good deal about the pathways and neuronal mechanisms involved.

While there is certainly much that we do not know about the brain and cognition, it would be fair to say that where it has been possible to define a quantitative procedure for investigating a cognitive task, it has been possible to find neuronal activity that correlates with the cognitive performance

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