[Comp-neuro] (book) Invariants of Behavior

Mario Negrello mnegrello at gmail.com
Mon Jun 20 05:24:55 CEST 2011

Dear List,

This is a teaser for the book recently released, Invariants of Behavior -- Constancy and Variability in Neural Systems, by yours truly. 

The ebook has been released at http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-1-4419-8803-4. 
Series: Springer Series in Cognitive and Neural Systems, volume 1 -- 1st Edition., 2011, XIX, 251 p. 65 illus., 45 in color.

About the Book

The brain is an orderly mess where constancy and variability harmoniously coexist. Between the two is the concept of invariance, one of the most prominent —if implicitly— tools of the neuroscience trade. We strive for it, trying to isolate parts of a system to find the responses of that system become invariant under some transformation, i.e., an experimental paradigm. Neuroscientists search for steady relationships between stimulus and response with the hope to characterize the bricks to build an understanding of the brain. 

Max Plank could be talking about brain theory:
"Our every starting-point must necessarily be something relative. All our measurements are relative. The material that goes into our instruments varies according to its geographic source; their construction depends on the skill of the designer and toolmaker; their manipulation is contingent on the special purposes pursued by the experimenter. Our task is to find in all these factors and data, the absolute, the universally valid, the invariant, that is hidden in them [...]”

The book tackles issues orbiting behavioral invariance, and analyses the sources of constancy and variability in brain and behavior. Many examples and models from current computational approaches are presented and discussed, as well as an original set of experiments in evolutionary robotics. The experiments illustrate some of the core principles behind the appearance of invariances in brain measurement, brain evolution, and behavioral function. Spotting the principles behind invariances can be a central tool to identify fruitful research venues, and that is, among other things, hopefully, what the book offers.

Abstract, introduction and selected chapters are freely available at the link provided above.

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