Archive for April 3rd, 2011

Stephan Schleim from the University of Groningen in cooperation with Machiel Keestra, from the University of Amsterdam, have organized a very interesting conference in Amsterdam aimed at making philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists dialogue about neuroimaging.

Michael Anderson

To me, the most interesting contribution on Saturday was by Michael Anderson (a cognitive scientist and philosopher by training, from University of Lancaster, PA), who reported on his study of neuroimaging data: to counter the criticisms about reverse inference, and over-simplicity of localizationism, he presented a “simple” idea – that network analysis could shed light on the agency of cognitive functions. Those would not be over specialized and called sequentially,  but simultaneously recruited at the image of a cluster of computers. Your reaction might be “nothing new, how is that different from systems cognitive neuroscience?” Well, the metaphor of networks allows for new insights, since network analysis comes with an analytical framework to interpret the structure of the network (its density, clusterisation, diameter, etc.) where to my knowledge systems analysis remains quite silent. Also, network analysis translates in intuitive visualizations which help generate new hypotheses, and stimulate thinking generally (at least so I found, when using network analyses in other contexts). The paper which describes this “network in the brain” approach is here.

The sessions have been filmed, so Michael Anderson’s performance should be online soon! Meanwhile, here are the slides of my own presentation – that won’t provide you with a detailed argument, but give you an idea of the topics I evoked.



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