Refocusing Neuroscience: Moving Away from Mental Categories and Toward Complex Behaviors
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Mental terms—such as perception, cognition, action, emotion, as well as attention, memory, decision-making—are epistemically sterile. We support our thesis based on extensive comparative neuroanatomy knowledge of the organization of the vertebrate brain. Evolutionary pressures have moulded the central nervous system to promote survival. Careful characterization of the vertebrate brain shows that its architecture supports an enormous amount of communication and integration of signals, especially in birds and mammals. The general architecture supports a degree of ‘computational flexibility’ that enables animals to cope successfully with complex and ever-changing environments. Here, we suggest that the vertebrate neuroarchitecture does not respect the boundaries of standard mental terms, and propose that neuroscience should aim to unravel the dynamic coupling between large-scale brain circuits and complex, naturalistic behaviours.
Is part ofPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021, vol. 377, núm. 1844, Article Number 20200534
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