David, Gyuri, and I discuss the issues they argue for in their back and forth commentaries about the importance of neuroscience and psychology, or implementation-level and computational-level, to advance our understanding of brains and minds – and the names we give to the things we study. Gyuri believes it’s time we use what we know and discover about brain mechanisms to better describe the psychological concepts we refer to as explanations for minds; David believes the psychological concepts are constantly being refined and are just as valid as objects of study to understand minds. They both agree these are important and enjoyable topics to debate.
Also, special guest questions from Paul Cisek and John Krakauer.
- Buzsáki lab; Poeppel lab
- Twitter: @davidpoeppel.
- The papers we discuss or mention:
- Calling Names by Christophe Bernard
- The Brain–Cognitive Behavior Problem: A Retrospective by György Buzsáki.
- Against the Epistemological Primacy of the Hardware: The Brain from Inside Out, Turned Upside Down by David Poeppel.
0:00 – Intro
5:31 – Skip intro
8:42 – Gyuri and David summaries
25:45 – Guest questions
36:25 – Gyuri new language
49:41 – Language and oscillations
53:52 – Do we know what cognitive functions we’re looking for?
58:25 – Psychiatry
1:00:25 – Steve Grossberg approach
1:02:12 – Neuroethology
1:09:08 – AI as tabula rasa
1:17: 40 – What’s at stake?
1:36:20 – Will the space between neuroscience and psychology disappear?
Gyuri 00:00:01 Every science in the history of physics, chemistry, genetics, computer science, they came up with their own defined vocabulary neuroscience hasn’t Euroscience is just take it for granted that we are already given a vocabulary. And V we have a roadmap. All we have to do is take those words and, and identify them. The mechanism.
David 00:00:23 I’m a naive realist. I believe the world is as it is, and we can figure it out. And I would like to use the best put our best foot forward. Right. And so I think the, uh, slightly too casual dismissal of the contribution of the psychological sciences comes at a cost that I don’t want to incur.
Gyuri 00:00:42 David, let me push you in a corner now. Okay, please. He’s a quote from you that takes to be explained a human cognitive faculties. So here are my questions.
David 00:00:56 It’s important. I think that people realize that we can be friends, colleagues, and actually appreciate the work, and just try to understand these very difficult problems and debate. There’s just nothing wrong with that. That hopefully makes better science makes her arguments deeper. And these were we’re working on extremely difficult problems.
Speaker 3 00:01:21 This is brain inspired.
Paul 00:01:34 What’s more important for understanding brain and mental functions, psychology or neuroscience. That’s the super short version of the question for today’s episode, which is about the balance between the functional level terms and descriptions of psychology and the mechanism level terms and descriptions of neuroscience and how we should proceed to explain and understand not only the relation between brains and minds, but how to conceptualize what it is. We’re even trying to explain and understand, uh, Hey everyone, I’m Paul, uh, welcome to the show and we’re really grateful to bring you today. Your abuser, Jackie and David <inaudible> to discuss this. So URI and David are both neuroscientists at NYU. David’s been on the podcast before, back on episode 46. And the reason they’re both on is because of a recent exchange of commentaries they had in the journal. e-Neuro about these topics. URI has recently written the book, the brain from inside out, which summarizes years and years of his thoughts and, uh, much neuroscience work from his own lab and from other labs, uh, it is a fantastic book and we refer to it a lot throughout the conversation.
Paul 00:02:51 So you’ll learn more about it, but the exchange, he and David had recently stems from URI deciding to try to publish that he wrote 20 years ago, which got rejected 20 years ago. But that 20 year old manuscript contains the seeds and some core ideas that later developed into his book, the brain from inside out. So Yuri resubmitted that original commentary manuscript, and you’ll hear him tell this story, but the end product is a series of commentaries, uh, between the editor, Christophe Bernard and URI and David. So the short version is that URI believes we’ve suffered too long at the hands of psychologists who tend to give a name to something that they deem a mental function like attention, and then leave it up to neuroscientists to then find a tension in the brain. Uh, he thinks rather that we should use what we observe about brains to better develop the concepts and terms in psychology, David, uh, who, by the way, recently released the latest edition of the definitive cognitive neurosciences textbook.
Paul 00:03:58 Uh, David believes it’s a mistake to give brain mechanisms primacy over mental functions when it comes to understanding the emergent properties of brain function and our minds that rather they should be given equal footing and that neuroscientists, whether they admit it or not are always operating under some assumptions about the mental functions, their brain experiments refer to. All right. So those are just the starting points. We cover a lot of terrain from there. And for fun, I asked two previous guests on the show, Paul ChIP-seq and Jon Krakauer to each record a question for your and David. So I play those questions and, uh, URI and David, uh, respond. And there’s even a guest appearance by a little family of black bears for a little intermission. All right. So I link to all of the many things I just discussed, uh, you know, include including the commentaries and URIs book and David’s book, uh, in the show notes at brain inspired.co/podcast/ 84, man, if you value this podcast and you want to support it and hear the full versions of all the episodes and occasional separate bonus episodes, you can do that for next to nothing through Patrion, go to brain inspired.co and click the red Patrion button there.
Paul 00:05:15 All right. Again, I just feel very grateful to bring you these wonderful minds, and I feel lucky for being able to host them. And I hope you feel lucky for getting to listen to them, enjoy your, a, your recent book, the brain from inside out, um, which I love. And I also loved, uh, rhythms of the brain. They’re both written really, really well. Um, and it’s just something for authors to aspire to. One of the wonderful features, uh, in both those books are the summaries that you give at the end, the little chapter summaries. I they’re so good when I was in graduate school. After I read rhythms of the brain, uh, I took the book which the library had to the copier, which also had a scanner. And at the time this seemed pretty fancy to me and I scanned in all of the summaries and I still have it on my computer.
Paul 00:06:07 So it’s, it’s made it through a few different computers now. And just recently, I just pulled it out to actually to make sure I still had it. Um, so nice job on both books, but the brain from inside out is, is also filled with a bunch of quotes. So I’m going to start with, um, what I think is a relevant quote for today and see if you guys can guess who it’s from. Quote, I am convinced that an important stage of human thought will have been reached when the physiological and the psychological, the objective and the subjective are actually United when the tormenting conflicts or contradictions between my consciousness and my body will have been factually resolved or discarded. Can you guys guess who that is?
David 00:06:52 No, but I would have said Descartes
Paul 00:06:54 Descartes, pretty good guests, URI, any guests,
Gyuri 00:06:57 Somebody like that. Cod could say that,
Paul 00:06:59 Well, Pavlov would be, I think you would take that as a compliment. She was cast as Dick Hart.
Gyuri 00:07:05 Yeah. There is nothing new under the sun. There’s nothing new under the sun.
Paul 00:07:11 That’s right. It’s an old, yeah, it really it’s it’s and Descartes is, it could very well have been Descartes, so people can be very opinionated about this topic. So I’m confident today that we will, uh, resolve it. I’m sure. Okay. Here’s another quote. Before we really get the ball rolling. Quote, I analyzed how an undefined and an agreed upon terminology, which we inherited from our pre neuroscience ancestors and never questioned, has it become a roadblock to progress Yuri and he guesses Decart perhaps
David 00:07:47 That’s URI. There
Paul 00:07:49 You go. Yeah. That’s URI. That’s a tweet.
David 00:07:52 It’s a tweet that you already wrote for sure.
Gyuri 00:07:55 Yeah. But, you know, I can, I can come up with several people. Of course, who, again, the thoughts mature very slowly and they get embedded into the right environment. And, uh, that, that process is very slow.
Paul 00:08:11 Yeah. Well, okay guys, uh, I’m going to ask you both to summarize, you know, two minutes, you know, whatever it really takes, not, not more than 45 minutes, kind of just briefly summarize your positions, your perspectives on these issues. Uh, and then, and then we’ll, we’ll move on from there. And your, uh, let’s just start with you because, uh, the way that the articles worked is you, you, you posted your 20 year old article, which David then got to respond to. And then, you know, after you guys summarize, then we’ll come back and I’ll let Yuri also respond to David’s response. So you’re a ticket away.
Gyuri 00:08:46 Well, historically research on the brain has been working its way in from the outside world, hoping that such systematic exploration will take us to the middle and on through the middle to the output. Ever since the time I’ve already still told fellows as a scientist assume that the brain or more precisely back then the mind is initially a blank slate. Feel the upgrade, your lived experience in an outside in manner. And the alternative a brain centric view. The one I’m proposing is that self-organized brain networks induce a vest repertoire of preformed neuronal patterns while interacting with the world. Some of these initially nonsensical patterns acquire behavioral significance, or you can call them meaning that’s. The experience is a process of matching pre-existing neuro dynamics to events of the world. The perpetuity active internal dynamic is the source of cognition and your operation disengaged from images census accordingly.
Gyuri 00:09:46 In my book that you kind of mentioned the brain from inside out, I discuss three major topics. First, how we got to our present presently dominant framework in neuroscience. The second part argues in favor of the idea that all source of knowledge, including our perceptions, memories and plans that eyes from actions in the third part are you would say the advantages of a self-organized pre-configured brain and presented as an alternative to the black slate framework. Now, thinking about part of the book began 20 years ago, when I wrote that review the manifesto, if you want about the origin of our scientific terminology, which is the main topic of the book’s introduction in this old review, I summarize how neuroscientists began to study the brain, buying into a system created by philosophers and psychologists for understanding the soul and the mind without ever asking how those terms, whose brain functioning neuroscientists are trying to understand such as consciousness attention.
Gyuri 00:10:44 And so it brought into our thinking in the first place I argued that this outside in framework may not be the best strategy to understand the brain. Although back then, I didn’t have enough ammunition to offer an alternative. The arguments laid down in that unpublished manuscript have become more popular over the years. So to test the waters, I resubmitted the paper and got full good reviews. Now publish this text with its 20 year old references and thinking is a good target for contemporary coated scientists like David Poeppel, who can repeat the path and offer better. Substituents
Paul 00:11:23 All right. That’s good. Good introduction. David, do you want to just take
David 00:11:28 Sure. Let me get, so there is a few things. So for context, I want to start with, um, first of all, uh, like you said, Paul come for me as well. Your, his book rhythms of the brain was absolutely foundational and super important and required reading in my lab. Um, it’s, uh, absolutely, you know, kind of masterpiece. And I have to say very kindly, I once saw URI, uh, at a lecture I gave, I think it was a Rutgers. He signed the book. I had the book with me and he signed it saying all intelligent people think about timing, which thanks for that URI. And then of course I with, you know, voraciously read his recent book. Now there’s a kind of larger points I want to start with before we debate all kinds of nitty gritty argumentation. That is, I want to make clear to listeners in particular students and postdocs or trainees, how useful it is to be able to have debates even among friends and colleagues.
David 00:12:28 So a few years ago I was teaching a class at cold spring Harbor. And in that context, I got into a really intensive debate with one of my very close friends and we really had it out for an hour or so. And the students came back and felt uncomfortable, but this level of back and forth, which that sounds really disturbing because it has nothing to do with our regard for each other, with our respect for each other’s work. And so on, we just, we were disagreeing on some points and we really went after each other. And this, the training is didn’t like that. And I found that not good actually. And it really, I found it to be willed during and disturbing. And one of the things I really appreciate about being able to sort of bounce back and forth ideas with Yuri and having a discussion today is that it’s important.
David 00:13:15 I think that people realize that we can be friends, colleagues and actually appreciate the work and just try to understand these very difficult problems in debate. There’s just nothing wrong with that. That hopefully makes better science makes her arguments deeper. And these were we’re working on extremely difficult problems. And so for don’t begrudge us that we, we can like each other and still debate points because we’re trying to move the thing forward. And I found that a really odd reaction a few years ago, and it really kind of moved me. So I’m very happy that we can do something about the topics.
Gyuri 00:13:48 So I had exactly the same memory and experience as your students many years ago, when my mentor entered Russia and invented both Fremont, our Volta, Fremont to give a talk in Hungary and then <inaudible> attacked him. And it was strange to me, you know, why he invites a person from far away lands to attack you and that lunch Walter Freeman said, oh, I never had such a good time for a long time,
Paul 00:14:19 But it made you uncomfortable Yuri at the time, or,
Gyuri 00:14:21 Well, it was yeah, just like David students. But I think David students also realize in time that, you know, discussion is the way how to move forward, don’t play out your cards. How do you know what’s in the cards?
Paul 00:14:36 Well, I was going to ask David before you told that story, whether he thought that it was a generational thing or whether it was a developmental aspect and that happens every generation, is it snowflakes or is it a normal developmental? I mean, I,
David 00:14:52 I must say, I don’t know. So the, the paper that I wrote, just in reaction to your research paper that, you know, Christophe Bernard, kindly invited us to comment on is a, is a graduate student. So here’s a young, you know, Federico Adelphi is a young scientist who works on computational topics and psychophysics he’s just has a big appetite for these topics and knowledge and likes to read. So it can’t be purely generational. I do remember in graduate school, growing up in a context where debate was a vigorous, maybe sometimes too vigorous and valued. And, um, I think that’s not always the case so much. And I think we’re, we at our, it’s a risk that we take to be too. I mean, we, we, these are not things that are ad hominem. We can say, I just think you’re wrong about this argument. And we try to move the needle. And I think people should accept that as part of a positive part of the scientific process actually,
Paul 00:15:39 Is that, is that why you, so in your article and I’m sorry, I started digression, which is totally fine, cause that’s what we should do, but is that why you are so complimentary throughout the article of Yuri’s work just to ward off the, uh, the potential?
David 00:15:54 I think it’s important to be clear because so, so this is not about to, for instance, take, take the last part of, or what I think it’s the last part of your book where there’s tons of places where of course I agree. Those are, you know, very fundamental points in particular.
Paul 00:16:07 The last part of the show, David does not good for the chefs. I know
David 00:16:10 We’re, don’t worry, I’ll, I’ll disagree as soon. The, so there’s a part of the book for instance, that the notion of preformed self-organized dynamics that formed the basis. I’m absolutely on board with that. I think that’s actually where, uh, I think it would be fun to work together on how to, how to move that forward. So I completely agree, but the point is one can agree on certain things on data, on how to do experiments and disagree about the foundations of how we move this forward. And that is where I disagree. And that’s sort of the things I tried to highlight in our reaction to
Paul 00:16:42 Piece. Do you want to, you want to summarize what the
David 00:16:45 So I’ll summarize quickly? So I mean maybe the easiest way to summarize it is that we stand in defense of the outside in view rather than the clear inside out view that URI outlands, because, um, we think that it’s happens anyway, so that the inside out that kind of stringently stridently inside out view that you’re your for in the book is not really what happens. Uh it’s you have implicit hypothesis, you’re an implicit philosopher. You make assumptions that sort of underpin what you’re trying to explain. Then you do the very detailed implementational work, and then you go back and sort of revise and try to make it very explicit. So we have a sort of slightly cheeky phrase called the implementation. The sandwich is you can’t just start with the wetware or the brain. You actually make some assumptions about what you’re trying to explain. Then you do the implementation that will work, and then you refine the kind of psychology or cognitive science, but you sandwich the implementation work. You don’t just go from a characterization of the hardware to a puta dysfunction. And that’s where I think we
Paul 00:17:52 Disagree. Okay. So you’re a, um, I want to give you a chance to respond here, uh, to, you know, David’s perspective. Um, you know, first of all, is that an accurate portrayal of your view or, or, or would you say that maybe he mischaracterized, um, some of your goals, you know, is, is there a straw man that David is addressing that, that isn’t your objective?
Gyuri 00:18:17 Well, first of all, I’d like to thank David and Federico for taking the time, reading by the view and parts of my book and writing a beautiful piece, expressing differences of opinion. I think this is what we expected. I’m talking about neuroscience and the brain. I think David is represented the psychology undermine. He claims that the object of neuroscience is the hardware wetware itself. This is what he has written, but in reality, no self-respecting neuroscientists would agree with such correspondence. The focus of neuroscience is how behavior and cognition are generated by the brain, including by its interaction with this niche, which is the body it supports and other brain it community, other brains. It communicates. I agree with David that it may be premature to abandon the traditional outside-in strategy in some areas of cognitive neuroscience, because currently there may be no substitute, but my argument is that the time is right for neuroscience because the outside in framework has reached an asymptote in many areas.
Gyuri 00:19:21 And that process began perhaps 20 years ago. I claim that they, and the inevitable consequence of the outside in framework is viewing the brain as a blank slate. Nobody believes in it, but in practice, this idea just does not go away. AI is still can go on brain inspired algorithms, but as a result of taking the current state of Euroscience virtually all AI is based on the tablet as a philosophy. Now, David and Federico are trying to push me in a corner of a boxing ring so they can have a vantage point to make the statements in the tradition of classic classic cognitive science. They first come up with labels, which in their view characterize my work such as epistemological primacy of the hardware. I liked that that radical implementation is I like that too. But then these terms, I explained the detail in the paper, David, I feel that these attacks actually are directed to, or towards Henry Markram his original human brain project, which recommends to build up a brain from bottom up.
Gyuri 00:20:31 But I do not belong to that camp at all. And the inside out he is very different from the button-up reductionist formulation. In fact, a good part of my book is trying to explain why such program have limitations using civil arguments that David and Federico, again, the inside out has little to do with the bottom-up implementation. Isn’t it’s suggests that the debate between the cognitive terms, which are made up by our predecessors and brain mechanisms, brain mechanisms should be the arbitrators, not the other way around. That’s all I wanted to say in response for now. All right.
David 00:21:07 Can I just, since we’re just on this particular issue, because it’s an important, I think that, yeah, you’re, uh, the question is how brain mechanisms, you know, brain Mickens are the arbitrators of what, right. So how will, so in the end, our real disagreement is about the utility of the concepts from the psychological and cognitive sciences and how neural data on its own could adjudicate between alternatives that are posed that way. And I think that’s, so I’m more optimistic on the side that con cognitive science and computation, and some amalgam actually have as an equal status in terms of evidence as neuroscience. And I think that’s where we may disagree. Actually. That’s why we call it epistemological primacy or whatever the phrase was. We use to say, actually at the end, this the most serious arbitration comes from the neuro-biological data, not from the cognitive science or psychological data.
Gyuri 00:22:00 Yeah. So you ask it though, uh, what, what do the brain mechanisms will refer to? Well, what they refer to is already out to our preconceived ideas, but they help us to systematize to abandon some assumptions and reinforce others. I never ever thought seriously, but I’m, uh, I, I realized that perhaps it’s easy to misunderstand what I said. I don’t suggest we go into the brain. We do a lot of things there and voila, the cognitive terms will come out. No, we go into anything into anything. Any, any thought has a background. It has a context. So we, we, we always go with something in it. And I, I say it very clearly in the last two chapters that the brain always guesses, there is nothing new in the world for the brain. Everything is, everything is, is, is familiar. And then the familiar becomes with time different.
Gyuri 00:23:03 If the organism has problems with understanding that. So I understand that part of my brain centered obsession can be viewed as a, uh, uh, implementational naive view. How to, how to you go here and from elements, you build up the brain. But no, I, I, I doubt that’s possible. And I, I think this is a platform that we agreed and disagree. There are other areas we will discuss later where there is a disagreement, but I, I think this is, uh, this is perhaps my mistake to, uh, not clarified enough. And I think the main problem is that indeed, that target article probably had the flavor of this, not necessarily the book, but the article was 20 years ago. It’s not a good excuse, but
Paul 00:24:05 David, you were going to respond. Do you want to briefly respond
David 00:24:10 Yuri raise an important point, which is, I think where we, uh, they want to make a distinction between, um, implementation driven versus sort of radical reductionism. Those seem to me a little different. So what I want to impute to your is that he is an implementation analyst in the sense of <inaudible> or something like that. Although that’s not quite care, that’s not correct about Mara. We’ll get to that later. But the, and that is the, there is really a higher status of the evidence of the implementation level that doesn’t have to be reductionist in the sense of going to, you know, send haptic mechanisms or quantum mechanics. It has some level of description that is the level of the implementation of the putative mechanism is, uh, is higher ranked in terms of what it is as evidence than some other evidence. And I don’t think, I guess evidence is just evidence, right? And there’s no sort of, uh, this is the best evidence, the second best, the third best. I just don’t see that. So I absolutely agree with URI that some of the, the more trenchant critique is re directed some of the research program that kind of Henry Markram pushed, which I also see as not even coherent, actually, it’s not even clear how that could go anywhere at all. So I have no sympathy for that and I wouldn’t take the time to write a paper about it. It’s just it’s incoherent.
Paul 00:25:30 Okay. All right. So this is a great beginning here, and I’m just going to right off the bat. We’re going to get into questions from my little surprise guests here, and you guys didn’t know who these were. Um, and they didn’t know they knew who each other were, but they didn’t know what each other’s question was. Okay. So the first question is, uh, from Jon Krakauer, and this question will be directed more toward your’e, but we can, you know, you can both discuss the second. And then, um, before you actually react to that, I’m going to go in and play the second question. And that is from Paul <inaudible>, uh, and that will be directed more toward David. Uh, and then, and then I’ll play the two questions and then we can move on. So here, if you guys are ready, here’s John Krakauer.
John Krakauer 00:26:14 Hi URI. Uh, this is John, sorry that I can’t be asking you these question in person. I very much look back fondly on our debate at Columbia several years ago. So here’s my question. Um, on page 225 of your wonderful new book, you see this about tools they had to be imagined before their maker could start working artifacts. So externalized versions of a thought, a reflection of contemplation artifacts are semantic entities. So given that you want to get rid of philosophical and psychological language, um, I challenge you to restate that sentence with only neural implementational language. So no psychological terms allowed, remove the words, imagination, reflection, thought, contemplation, and semantics, and say it all in terms of neurons and circuits, I would contend you won’t be able to do it. And please, no, you, you, you use those psychological terms to hypothesize yourself about externalization. So they’re doing work for you. Conceptually, you may answer that we need to find a new language based on implementational level details, but that’s never going to happen. In my view, you’re always going to have compressed psychological concepts to express ideas about cognition and neural data will simply be confirmatory. So my question is, do you really think that you’re going to be able to forego the very language that you yourself used throughout your book to conceptualize with?
Paul 00:27:39 She is. Okay, so that’s John’s, can you hold that in mind? And we’ll play Paul’s just because they’re of a similar nature, but directed, uh, in, in different directions. Okay. So here is Paul.
Paul Cisek 00:27:52 So my question is for Dr. Pebble in principle, I agree that neuroscience needs behavior and that what we should seek is alignment between theories about low-level neural mechanisms and high-level psychological concepts. However, the need for having high level concepts does not imply that the particular high level concepts we currently have are necessarily the right ones. And here I agree with Dr. <inaudible> that many of the current concepts of mainstream cognitive neuroscience are inherited from folk psychology and from largely outdated pre-scientific ideas about the human mind. In fact, Russ Poltrack has pointed out that about 80% of psychological terms and use today were already around in a year 1800, which is long before psychology was actually a science. So despite all we’ve learned about neural mechanisms and all that time, we still use many of the same old high level conceptual categories to describe behavior. We’ve subdivided them into smaller categories, but the general taxonomy has a resisted change.
Paul Cisek 00:28:54 So my question is this, do you believe that the high level concepts have resisted change because they are so good? Or is it because they are the words we use to talk to each other about behavior and thus they have a kind of stranglehold on our scientific conversations. If the latter, then what can we do to break that stranglehold? Should we continue to subdivide and modify the same concepts or as I would argue. And I think Dr. <inaudible> would argue, should we instead seek a different set of high level concepts that are better informed by all that we’ve learned about neural mechanisms and real animals.
Paul 00:29:29 Okay. So you’re a, you want to respond to David’s, uh, challenge John’s John’s challenge. Oh yeah. I, yeah. Sorry. I, I, I suppose I know I’ve spoken to too many them recently, so yeah, yeah. To John’s challenge.
Gyuri 00:29:44 Yes, John, thank you very much for the question. My response is very similar to what I just gave to David that I like to apologize if you thought that, uh, somehow I naively think that the should have opened up the skull 2000 years ago, and they set up going to the, to the, the forum and the Agoda in Athens and discuss these things and just look something, uh, some kind of mechanism in the brain and, uh, build from, from there, from the details of physiological observations, then I agree with you. That would be a nice thing. I fully agree with you in general, as well as the beautiful paper that you have written with David and several others. That behavior is the F the F is a fundamental thing. In fact, you may remember, and David probably remembers that in the good old days, when you did the, any kind of psychological experiment, evoke responses, for example, it was mandatory to Recode the heart rate respiration, the galvanic skin reflex and so on, because there are so many hidden variables that my food, the investigator that the bold signal change is not a cognitive correlate, but just the change in the desperation.
Gyuri 00:31:12 So I’m fully with you. And I agree that whenever we go into doing an experiment, we already have our preconceived ideas and this preconceived ideas are coming from other brains. That’s what, this is why I said. And David picked up the sentence that it’s impossible for to find nothing in the brain. Yes, it’s impossible to find nothing because we have already tons and tons of alternatives, which we can exclude. This is what I call the null hypothesis that we go in. We do something, and then we can read, use the realm of possibilities, become abandoned one at a time, and this is what called scientific progress. So I don’t want to be put into the, in the bottom up build, build it up from elements, a camp, because I know it is impossible to break apart a complex system and put it together from its ingredients without understanding the higher rules that keep together a complex system.
Paul 00:32:13 Uh, and, and we can just jump from there. David, do you want to answer a Paul’s question?
David 00:32:19 Yes. Thank you, Paul, for that extremely interesting point. And of course, uh, very much related to, uh, points that you remakes in his original paper. And of course in the recent book brain from inside out, and also actually a point that the editor of the special issue Christophe Bernard makes about naming things and giving them kind of medieval. Nominalism giving reifying concepts by giving them a name. I think that I am much more optimistic than you and your question and your in his book about the progress that’s a psychological and cognitive scientists can make and have made. And I think it’s very important to make a distinction between the casual everyday use of terminology that has turned out to be quite useful for, you know, talking to each other and the scientific decomposition, the standard, uh, there’s a philosophical tradition, Wilfred Sellars. The philosopher makes this very clearly called a manifest image in the scientific image in that particular line of philosophy of science, which is, uh, we use certain terminology just in our, let’s say daily location because it works right.
David 00:33:27 So Yuri actually gives the example of the concept greed, because it’s something we understand it’s very easy and we explain behavior quite effectively to each other. It doesn’t follow from that, that a very systematic decomposition can not yield new taxonomies or new structures of these concepts. So I think we, we just, you know, like neuroscience, cognitive science or psychology are not that old. And we need to give the field a little bit of credit. I mean, I’m a pretty nasty critic generally of the, of my own field, or at least I’m on record as being pretty nasty to my own field. But I also want to defend that the cognitive sciences in particular, as they’re becoming more and more computationally, explicit have made serious progress in decomposing things that as we don’t just use a concept like imagination, or we use a concept like, well, maybe part of the imagination draws on memory mechanisms, which themselves are complicated and internal forward models and predictive coding and ensembles.
David 00:34:25 And so I think we have to be, you have to give a little bit more credit to the conceptual analysis that the cognitive sciences and philosophy are on our offering right now and be optimistic because there’s really, we’re not just working with terminology that like my personal favorites from, from, um, the time of gull things like relationship to your parents was a conceptual primitive. You mean, you’re talking about phonology time. Yeah. So, so, you know, you think now retrospectively we make fun of that, but in the context of gulls, uh, you know, what was going on in the history of how minds were explained, that’s a totally reasonable concept, right? The notion that you would have a special attachment to your caregivers, that’s not crazy. Uh, those are just, that was, but now we have of course, much more richly structured and fine grain and pulled apart conceptual analysis.
David 00:35:18 And I think so I’m actually optimistic. The question that you raised at the end of your question is whether an approach that’s different and maybe more endorsed by URI would yield a different taxonomy. That’s a totally reasonable question and an empirical question, right? So as we decompose these things more find successful Lincoln hypothesis neuro-biological mechanisms, we might end up with a slightly different, uh, parts list of the mind, which would be, I think everyone is actually open to that. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use words like greed anymore or imagination, or will. Those are words that we use. They actually do a lot of work for us, uh, as suggests, you know, the work of the philosopher, Jerry Fodor explains very well, how simple concepts like that. They, they work for daily life, but they don’t work for a scientific analysis. And as long as we keep that separate, I think we’re unsafe ground.
Paul 00:36:05 So it does seem like a lot of this is, um, first of all, thanks for answering these surprise questions,
David 00:36:12 Having surprise question. Very good idea. Very good. Very nice idea.
Gyuri 00:36:18 Fantastic.
Paul 00:36:19 Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Yeah. Um, so, uh, it just seems like so much of this is wrapped up in the language that we use URI. Um, one of the things that you state that you had, I believe you explicitly stated is that you would like to, um, develop from neuroscience, um, sort of a new language to, uh, describe the principles and patterns found in circuits and activity, dynamics of neurons. Um, first of all, is that correct? And if so, uh, how’s the new dictionary coming along.
Gyuri 00:36:57 It’s a nice question. And this is what everybody asks now, how will we make progress? Well, David mentioned and will be ridiculed the goal, and it’s easy because, uh, they are a little bit smarter collectively speaking as a, as a, as a group, but he was probably smarter than any of us back then. Now I can say the same thing about totally agree.
David 00:37:24 I I’m officially on record
Gyuri 00:37:28 Indeed. You know, I, I, I, I think recently we discussed it with the gym. My goal is that, you know, how easy it is to ridicule somebody. And he was, he’s very strongly in defense of, uh, of, of, of friends goal. Now the same can be said about the giant of psychology, you know, William James. And there is a, my, I pick on him. It’s not because I don’t like him, but because he’s the best. And, uh, indeed his, uh, is what I call the James’ list is something that looked like the top of the top back then in 1890. But today, many of those things look a little funny. And so how do you know, how do we know that those things that we take seriously today? Let me pick on this. Decision-making a very popular one will not be ridiculed, uh, 10 years from now or 50 years from now.
Gyuri 00:38:27 So how do I imagine this progress? Let me just give you two examples. The first one is that memory planning and imagination, these are so different concepts that are different chapters dedicated to understand and explain it to students in, in, in, in textbooks that are different people who are doing this research separately, people who are doing imagination, that they don’t talk or don’t necessarily have much to do with, with memory or planning. But over the past decade also starting to have sit cognitive scientist or starting with us in neuro physiologist, we realize that, you know, one thing can be called prediction. The other fund can be called pose diction, and one belongs to the past. The other one belongs to the future related to the current presence. But now when we look at it, for example, through hippocampal, fatal simulations, or people come to shop every pose when the past the present and the future just conferences into one entity, then all of a sudden, you may wonder whether these separations, uh, justifiable and then Schachter, and, and then then many others who started looking at the imaging of the brain.
Gyuri 00:39:54 They were all of a sudden surprised that the same structures and I could add perhaps the same exact mechanisms that are mobilized when you are traveling back to the past are the same as when you are thinking about the future or making plans. So based on, on, on your own mechanism, I can imagine maybe premature, but this three words in fact will be pulled together just like in relativism of physics, that they are not separate. They are the same. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Now, there is another interesting concept that I attacked several years ago, and then there is a recent actually I think Paul <inaudible> was also one of them. It’s about attention. And, um, you know, attention is such a vague, coral, terrible concept, but it is so useful. And if you look at it slightly differently from the brain mechanism of back-end is point of view, and you say, aha, it’s nothing else, but gain.
Gyuri 00:41:03 And then David and <inaudible> and several other people have produced beautiful results. That indeed is a gay mechanism that we can now explain with a little bit of asset they’re calling and inhibition or another concept or another territory is running speed. What does running speed had to do with potential? I claim that they are the same thing. The attention is internalized running speed, running speed is again, mechanism. And then more goes faster than it produces a gain through perhaps acetylcholine and through the same interference that the brain internalizes this, this initially environment dependent or body dependent function and release is the same as the recording to use or produce the same thing such as, uh, again, modulation. And that’s what the psychologists call attention. So this is another example, I think when we can make inroads taking a, uh, a, uh, uh, lumping together ideas, and perhaps it can come up with a different formulation. This is what happened in physics and at home is not dividable, but we still call it at home. But with the new understanding, because now that Tom is better defined,
Paul 00:42:22 Needing new words, do we need new words? I mean, it does. Is it a recognizing of psychological terms that we need, or a discarding of them, you know,
Gyuri 00:42:30 Either way it worked in, in the history, you know, your genetics, uh, you know, we are still talking about the same genes. The words have been different, but the meaning the definition have changed. Every science, every science in the history of physics, chemistry, genetics, computer science, they came up with their own defined vocabulary. You’re a science, hasn’t, you’re a science is just take it for granted that we are already given a vocabulary. And V we have a roadmap. All we have to do is take those words and, uh, and, and, and, and identify them the mechanisms when I go to give a talk somewhere and I asked, and I show a James’ list, then everybody in the audience without an exception can identify with one of himself or herself. It’s one of those things it’s like, yeah, I’m going to dedicate my entire life to figure out attention, or I’m going to work on memory. I put it to work on the, on emotion. And so on as if those entities are really the ones that you will identify when you are starting poking the brain. But let me ask you,
David 00:43:37 You can ask it. So, but, uh, I mean, that amplifies my concern about being, you know, carefully decomposing concepts into their constituent parts. Just like you raised the issue of Adam, right? We take it as a primitive that really is there smaller primitives inside there. Uh, but the, in the case of neuroscience where we do, of course, neuroscience does have the vocabulary for the neuro-biological parts list. Do you think we have that correctly identified? So you, I mean, you criticize, uh, often rightly that the cognitive sciences in psychology are kind of lame or using old vocabulary, but that makes a sort of implicit presupposition that neuroscience has its parts list correctly identified. And I’m not so sure that that’s true
Paul 00:44:19 Things like action, potential,
David 00:44:22 Take that. I mean, so we make assumption that let’s say, you know, the neuron doctrine, very successful idea is that really the representational or computational primitive in a brain, maybe it’s going to turn out in 10 years that it’s some weird ensemble that we don’t yet know. Maybe it’s seven neurons wired up a certain way. So we have a vocabulary for neurobiology, but we should, we assume that it is actually more successful. I’m not, I’m not so sure that I’m willing to buy that.
Gyuri 00:44:49 Uh, you’re right, that, you know, this, this argument can go from very, from every level down to a deeper and deeper level. Uh, but it, it, it’s always the case that in order to understand one level, you have to understand something about the interaction of an upper and a lower level. I’m not saying, and you know, you, you try to put me in a corner and say that I’m trying to say, I’m not saying that you need quantum physics to explain the knee jerk, reflex. The knee-jerk can be explained it the way how I explained it to my mother-in-law, but we have to ground our observations with other observations. We seem to be independent because otherwise people will be double-dipping. So when you say we decompose and they don’t <inaudible> progress, and you, your site, your own area, which I, I really respect. And I will come back to that, you know, by decomposing the, the, you know, you just gotta go and say, oh, I’m going to the brain to figure out language. No, you have to decompose that, those things.
David 00:45:57 So it’s like a tension. These are complicated concepts with internal structure,
Gyuri 00:46:01 But then it reminds me a little bit of the program of Hubel and visa, because you will, and as I said, you know, vision is a complicated things. Let’s break it down to a simple ingredients. Let’s just study the impact of horizontal and vertical lines on neurons and then edges, and then contours, and maybe a little color. And someday from this elementary things that we identified, we’ll put together the composition. And of course it didn’t work. And it, you know, I always wondered, you know, how many more monkeys cats and how many Euro scientists are needed and how many more experiments to move forward. And the answer is that if the entire world in diet 6,000 neuroscientists in the world will do nothing, just the same kind of experimented the same outside in framework, then we wouldn’t get much smarter. Uh, so I wonder if that decomposition that is done without grounding is more than just an exercise. And my answer is, yes, it’s just an exercise. And your answer is that what I recommend is going to do the deeper is also an exercise. And this is what science is. You know, it’s an exercise and we’ll go to the sandwich problem a little bit later, but this is exactly what we do. We try to ground a unknown or less, more familiar
David 00:47:30 Things, but I may look, so I respectfully disagree that the decomposition is just ad hoc. I think the point of it is that you take some idea, you know, whatever it is, attention, language, pick, pick your favorite psychological domain. We pick it apart, you know, like peel the onion, because the assumption is that one of those sub things is a more plausible way to link to the neuro-biological thing, right? So if you say what’s the brain basis of languages, I have no idea that that’s made up of dozens and dozens of sub routines, but if I can make it into something that could be realistically probed at the level of the cell, a circuit on ensemble, a column, God knows what don’t you think that that would actually then be at the granularity of linking hypothesis between the neuro-biological infrastructure and some part of the concept that we’re trying to get. So it’s not an ad hoc decomposition, it’s a decomposition with a motivation to find, to identify a linking hypothesis to the neurobiology. I mean, I think that’s the premise of the research program.
Gyuri 00:48:35 Well, I think what the inside out framework suggest is that it’s on a safer ground when we compared his decomposed ideas and comfort them against brain mechanisms than without right mechanisms. And I can ask the question from you that you’ll composition or decomposition help you to ground your things by relating them to brain rhythms.
David 00:49:06 That’s exactly
Gyuri 00:49:08 That. But let me remind you that we went out and figured out and try to work on the system of brain atoms at the CrossFit, fancy coupling without language in mind. So, you know, we have observed that these are regularities that are there probably to serve something important. Then we can talk about later if you want, why they are important and in general principles. And it happened to be a food type ground for language,
David 00:49:42 Right? It does this, it does this as a perfect example. So does this,
Paul 00:49:46 The David, can you just actually just summarize like that linkage before, uh, you know, that the phoneme like still
David 00:49:54 So we can take them? So, so there’s a, there’s an aspect of language. Comprehension is a complicated problem. It’s complicated from a point of view because you have the more or less continuous signal. And so as we’re having a conversation, there’s a physical wave form. It comes to you. And in the end, the remarkable thing of communication is that I send you a physical signal to your ear, and it ends up as an idea in your mind, which is cool. The fact that we can have a conversation is actually unbelievably impressive from a brain’s eye view, from a mind’s eye view. One of the problems you have to do is you have to actually, uh, this has been known for a long time, certainly, you know, for, for probably a hundred years, it’s been discussed. It’s certainly since the late forties, how do you actually chunk the information that’s coming continuously into usable, uh, bits of information that you can then work with?
David 00:50:45 This has been a pain in the ass of a problem for a long, long time. And some years ago, you know, there were no functionally driven questions, right? Questions about how do you about this? How would you do this in a, in a few people, a community of us thought, well, here’s a really cool way to do it. So there’s this interesting thing of, you know, excitability cycles or oscillations in the brain. What would be if you actually found a link between what they’re doing and that particular problem, because it gives you a potential mechanism for trunking things at different timescales. And that’s a hypothesis that you can chunk things at different levels of sizes. You know, let’s say at the syllabic level or smaller levels, and then you can do experiments. Is it real? Is it, you know, some people think of totally epiphenomenal, I think they’re wrong.
David 00:51:30 I think it’s real and important. You can begin to really try to parse it, part that problem. So there is a case where there’s a neuro-biological phenomenon, which turns out to be immensely useful for querying a functional aspect of language comprehension, but note that it’s because we knew the particular problem that had to be solved, naming the problem of segmenting it, continuous stream into smaller chunks of different temporal sizes, and that’s the case. And so the reason I liked that line of research is because it’s, to me a really interesting linking hypothesis between a part of language comprehension and a part of neurobiology, both of which are very well motivated. And then you can try to figure out how does it work? How do you manipulate it? You know, how do you actually cash it out? So that’s, that’s sort of the, and I think that’s an area about Yuri and I probably very much agree, but that particular issue, that’s not
Gyuri 00:52:22 David. What other arguments you think you could use to convince your colleagues, that your segmentation that you have done is right. If you don’t go and link it to brain, it comes,
David 00:52:38 There are many,
Gyuri 00:52:39 That’s what are called grounding. Because once you start that argument, then you are on safer grounds.
David 00:52:46 I mean, it’s a form of evidence that I happened to find compelling, but of course, let’s say you’re working. You’re somebody who works just on automatic speech recognition, or, you know, some natural language processing. There are psychophysical, uh, risk, uh, data that might be as compelling for you. So for instance, take experiments, psychophysical experiments that my colleague Odette gets us, has done it. BU if you take a speech stream and you’re removed the cues that allow you to have some kind of trunking, then your intelligibility goes away. And if you put in signposts, that gives back some kind of rhythmicity in the signal, you get intelligibility back, right? So those are purely psychophysical data that are consistent with this. We happen to believe that it’s, we want to go to neuroscience because we’re interested in neuroscience, but it’s, but psychophysical and computational data are of course, in my mind of equal status. You’re right. That it gives you the, the biological data. It gives you extra reason to ground it that’s, uh, these independent forms of data are also legitimate and epistemologically at the same status. I would argue,
Gyuri 00:53:52 David, let me push you in a corner now, please. So here’s a quote from you that takes to be explained our human cognitive faculties. So here are my questions. Do we know them? Do we know how many things we need to explain what authority made up these terms? Isn’t that a bit of arrogance by claiming that we know what we are, what we are looking for or what you should look for these days, you probably have noticed also that many papers introduce a problem by saying that in order to solve problem X, the brain must have this or that function. Where does this confidence come from? Brain evolution. Didn’t start out, generate a program where the end product is, should be the human level, cognitive faculties, instead of brains evolved to use actions, the learn the consequences of those actions as afforded by a particular environment.
Gyuri 00:54:51 The brain is not interested in the true nature of the world. Instead its main occupation is help its host to survive and prosper it’s niche. Do we know at all that the attention motivation and so on, these are entities. So when you look at the brain problem from a wider perspective, then these issues inevitably come up and then the start moving away from the historical aspect of brain research. We started out with the problem of how the mind works and this is what we have to figure out. And we work our way from the top to the bottom. I think Paul seasick beautifully also explains that why evolutionary concepts are so important as frameworks to understand, but they’re very complex function cannot be unbroken into simple pieces, but it can be put into an evolution context.
David 00:55:46 Three bears just ran right by my window. Oh my black bears. They’re right there running right by my house. Oh, here comes the mind. You’re paying attention smokes. Yeah. Well there is no concept of attention according to URI, so I can’t see them, but
Gyuri 00:56:04 There’s a gain mechanism.
David 00:56:06 I’m going to appeal to my game that I saw there. They’re right next to my garage. It’s incredible. Three, three Cubs that are big and a big mom. Holy cow. Okay. Sorry. That’s very, that was very distracting. My visual periphery. Sorry about, okay. So that’s, uh, I don’t feel pushed in the corner at all by that because I think it’s a fair point and it’s exactly the point that I want to push back on with you, which is what, why are you confident in the neuro-biological primitives? I think that the concepts we use in the cognitive sciences are hypothesis. I mean, so I don’t think that there’s a particular arrogance to them. I think that there’s our hypothesis about the parts list of the mind just as the <inaudible> list was a hypothesis. That part, the parts list of the mind, except that he made some weird, extra assumptions about phrenology.
David 00:56:58 Although his <inaudible>, I think is quite fascinating and good, but our hypothesis does, those are hypothesis that people I think are willing, very likely to abandon. When we think about the scientific approach, it’s unlikely that people are willing to abandon them when we use this terminology, just to explain at the superficial level human behavior, because if you know, like I’m hungry, I’m going to meet my wife for lunch and you know, I’m very greedy. So I, you know, I’m going to invest in apple or whatever, but the parts list of the mind is a negotiable. And what is the right granularity of analysis of that parts list is negotiable. I think those are empirical hypothesis. They can be tested neurobiologically, which is what we all want to do. Computationally psycho, physically, theoretically. So there’s I think a rich reason. So just like I’m claiming that you can’t be sure, you know, that maybe the neuron is the right level of analysis.
David 00:57:54 Likewise, you’re correct. I can’t be sure that attention or language or word recognition is the right level of analysis. And I don’t think there’s, I think those are all up for debate. I think that everything is up for debate. I’m just wanting to point out that it kind of, uh, a decomposition of these concepts to the level of things that could be a linking hypothesis is what we’re trying to seek to make progress there. Right? So at the level of, let’s say neural dynamics, self-organized systems, that kind of stuff that we can measure and test and so on.
Gyuri 00:58:25 So how would the decomposition would work in other areas of, uh, of, uh, cognitive sciences without grounding to the brain? And what comes to my mind is a large other area, which is not cognitive science, but psychiatry, no DSM-V, which is the popular and hated. The big book of, uh, my wife was a psychiatrist and many other psychiatrists is that it’s full with terms. And this terms were made in good faith by intelligent people and for a good purpose. So what is the Mac? What is the, the strategy for decomposition? Unless we go back to the brain and from the brain perspective, it will say, Hmm, no, this two or three or four diseases in fact has the same mechanism and perhaps the same substrate because they respond to the same treatment. For example, about 20 years ago, people started to have psychiatry started to use the drugs that have been used in epilepsy and took a long time to figure out or learn that, oh, the reason why it happens is because many of those psychiatric problems are due to a hyperexcitability that if you had the recording from the right part of the brain would be classified by an epileptologist as seizure.
Gyuri 00:59:53 So that’s one example. So without going into the brain as a classifier and the final arbitrator, I don’t know whether we can make a, we can make progress of course, but in 2020, I think, you know, you are a prime example that you want to tie your work and research as much as possible to the brain rather than doing decomposition independent of the brain. Again,
David 01:00:24 Paul, go ahead.
Paul 01:00:25 Well, no, I, I don’t want to break the flow. I, um, you know, just on a personal note, I recently had Steve Grossberg on the show. And one of the things that we talked about was his sort of cyclic method of developing his theories and his models. Uh, and, and it, it struck me as I’ve had it all wrong. Uh, you know, thus far, you know, I’m slowly correcting myself as well. Everything’s a slow developmental process, but, you know, I have thought, uh, well, you know, like Yuri, I don’t know that you think this way, but like, I think, okay, we have all these brain mechanisms, like what could they do? And that’s sort of a bottom up approach. And then I’ve also like, sort of swim in the like, well, attention, you know, what, how could that relate to consciousness and how could these psychological terms relate?
Paul 01:01:08 And then how could they relate to brain? But Steve, um, professors too, and I believe him because he’s done it for a long time, he’s been very productive, uh, that he begins with the behavior. And he actually seeks out a paradoxical behavioral findings and assimilates and synthesizes, a large body of behavioral work from psychological experiments and psychophysics experiments. And then from there spends about five years, he says thinking, uh, and that leads to design principles that then he can implement in models and then start thinking about the mechanistic implementation of these things. And because he starts with behavior, it doesn’t matter what the terms are for the psychological processes. Um, likewise it really doesn’t matter what the mechanisms are neuronally because, um, his claim is that he does it lets it stew for a long time and thinks about what sort of design principles could implement, something like that. Uh, and in fact that he originally started doing that before he knew anything about neuroscience and I presume about psychology,
David 01:02:13 I’m sympathetic to that, right? So just to respond to specific to Steve gross Berg’s program, but this particular part of his research. And in fact, that is sort of the, um, a core part of the paper that, um, Jon Krakauer, ACIF Gaza far out school Marine and Malcolm MacGyver. And I wrote that is to say there is a sort of core of identifying well, characterize behaviors, hopefully behaviors that are really interesting to their creature, not like weird animal, not weird lab, things that are just highly artificial, but really trying to identify, you know, reviving the ideas of ethos. And so not forgetting the incredibly important contributions from, you know, the fun host from fish, Tinbergen, Lawrence, who really were extremely careful at describing what might be going on, being inspired by that and turning that into experiments in neuroscience. And so we are on record of saying, look, that aspect of extremely thoughtful characterization of behavioral should take an equal ground in neuroscience. It should be, uh, should be revived as having this important, uh, role for stimulating research that’s. And so we, so I think I would be in favor of that kind of view of,
Gyuri 01:03:26 So it’s a very interesting thing. You know, you just brought up pathology. I started out as a nephrologist. I, I produce Ethel grams in cats and rats. And because that was the big thing at a time when the Nobel prize was given the Tinbergen Fisher and Lawrence, who was by the way, uh, uh, Hydaburg Heidi, Greenberg’s a mentor. Um, and the question in my mind is always that, why did it die? Why did the tology die? And the reason is simple because it never tied, it’s systematic exploration to the brain. So here’s one example. I spent enormous amount of time as a graduate student, arguing back and forth with others that Pavlovian conditioning is a symbol substitution, or it’s an epistemological behavior is the dog or cat or a rat is a proud to the loudspeaker because it is so stupid that it thinks it’s food or as the similar substitution predicts, or it is because it became a new goal as a result of the, of the contingencies.
Gyuri 01:04:42 And this was the time when a term was introduced called auto shaping. Maybe you don’t even remember what it is, but basically what it is is that you put an animal into a box and you present a lever for example. And all the animal has to do is whenever the level is presented, it just gets the food automatically. Doesn’t have to be a, except the lick, but animals can’t help red start pressing the lever. They shaved themselves to do what Skinner is, shaved them to do pigeons pack on the light source and sword because they can’t help. This is how they are put together. The brain is put together day that without behavior, without action, they learn, they never ever get anything. They have to behave in order to receive something. So the debate went on and on and on that one is the, the packing behavior or pressing behavior or approaching the loudspeaker is a consumer three behavior or preparative behavior. And this was unending. I put an electrode in the hippocampus and in an hour, the answer was clear because hippocampus theta, oscillations are classifying all behaviors into two major categories, prep, and authority or consumer theory. And that was always data behavior. That was the end of the debate. So I realized in order to make progress, instead of doing programs, I should start poking the brain.
David 01:06:17 I mean, it’s true that, I mean, I, it’s an interesting story. I didn’t, I think you’re right. It’s interesting that why did you solidly and neuroimmunology not, not just flourish suddenly and maybe it was a focus on behavior, although the
Paul 01:06:33 Wasn’t it behaviorism,
David 01:06:36 But not really because behavior prior to that, it was, you know, behaviorism was
Gyuri 01:06:41 Killed off in the 1970s.
David 01:06:44 Behaviorism was effectively killed forever in 1959 and 1959. It was over, it was a,
Paul 01:06:51 Is it because, um, we needed, we thought we needed much higher control over the experiments. And so everything came into the lab and pathology was discarded because of that,
David 01:07:01 Maybe it’s a good, I mean, it’s so it does raise an interesting problem of that. We have currently in much of our research, right? Which is this tension between experimental control and naturalism, right? So on the one hand, the interesting, the things we would like to understand are the sort of natural class of behaviors that organisms have. And then we bring people into the lab and have them, you know, press a button for a Godber patch, tilted to the right, which is, you know, like a little bit, but it’s hard to do experiments and naturalistic preps
Gyuri 01:07:29 Kill behaviorism for me or skin areas is, uh, two things. One is, uh, the students of Skinner Brandon and to work in, uh, in, uh, in the hallway have published a nice book called misbehavior of organism as a response to behavior of organism, which showed that it, when in many cases, animals just cannot be trained, no matter how many trials you are trying to do. And that is less to Seligman prepared, contract prepared and unprepared category is that there are certain rigidity in the, in the brain or in evolution that doesn’t allow you to train animals. For example, uh, a red Terea on its hind legs to avoid the shock. This is just naturally incompatible. So the animal’s brain is unprepared for that. And then later on learned helplessness and all the others came about. So this totality or globality of ask me any behavior and I can shape it, or I give the brain two different stimuli and they break an associate. Anything you want was just not true. And it was very clear. So then the turn went back or the, the, the cycle turn back to the idea that you have to look at the brain, what are the constraints of the brain that allow things to happen and what things in the brain does not allow other things to happen?
David 01:08:55 Yeah, I mean, from the perspective of this psychological sense in the cognitive sciences, that, you know, Skinner’s 1957 book, verbal behavior will serve, supposed to be the apex of explaining, you know, complex human function. And in 1959 at Chomsky wrote a review of verbal behavior that was effectively a kind of just unlogical grounds and examination of could this work in principle on logical grounds. And it was a very, it’s the ultimate reviewer. Number three, if you ever want to read something at career ending, read Chomsky 1959, it’s very neutral. It’s very cold clinical. And it also ended behaviorism and psychology. That was a, it was a one event for the law, for the cognitive sciences there. So that part didn’t work. Interestingly, of course, with respect to AI, that’s coming back, right? The notion of that, that you were a criticizes. And then I also relentlessly dislike this kind of tabula rasa approach is deeply ingrained in the AI approach to these problems. And I find it very surprising. It’s going away a little bit, but it’s sort of still,
Gyuri 01:09:58 Well, if it’s going away to bring in sleep as an officer of a line, a helper and so on, but it’s basically a blank slate.
Paul 01:10:08 No, but just, but there are priors in the form of the operations performed. So the classic example now is a convolutional neural net, right? Well, it’s still randomly initialized. Exactly.
Gyuri 01:10:19 It’s still that
Paul 01:10:20 The weights are, but, but there’s structure to the structure built into the network. I mean, I’m not saying it’s there yet. Now that AI is building in all of the things that it could, but it’s moving in that direction.
Gyuri 01:10:32 So for the sake of argument, let’s suppose for a moment that the idea that the brain’s most important occupation or preoccupation is maintaining its own dynamic and everything comes secondary to that. If you take that, I would say important message of my book. Then where is the AI that starts out with that model where you say, oh, the first thing we have to do is to have a, a model that can have all the possibilities. It generates a realm of possibilities, what this system can absorb and code for rather than the other way round. And I don’t see it yet.
Paul 01:11:18 No, but we don’t, but neuroscience doesn’t know the, uh, the, the right way, how to construct a realm of possibilities. So it would be hard for AI to code it in. Correct.
Gyuri 01:11:30 Um, I would say we don’t know. Yes, but we are making some progress at least. So for example, my, uh, my ex postdoc, uh, Ken Harris showed that the spontaneous patterns in the auditory cortex give you the realm of possibilities. So when you present signals of natural signals, uh, artificial signals, they all fall into this realm of possibilities is no boundary violation. You cannot produce anything in the normal brain or in the human brain that is not already not there as a dynamic. That the most important thing for the brain is to keep that dynamic together. You know, there are so many things that the brain has to the brain networks have to deal with, and they are competing with each other as a stability and reliance and, and a perturbation, uh, sensitivity and so on. So the only way it can put together is to have this extraordinary, diverse conglomeration of dynamic.
Gyuri 01:12:34 And the moment you change it, then you have a disease, but learning no matter how much we learn, the dynamic is not changing. So it is fundamentally different from the tabula rasa approach, where, or the AI approach, where the complexity of the network scales with the amount of experience my brain does, not your brain does not know an AI, you know, the shame or the problem is this bug called catastrophic interference. And they are various ways of dealing with it. Now sleep as a, as a saver is perhaps there, but catastrophic interference comes there because of the, the blank slate model, the brain solve that. And that’s why I’m saying that. I like to see a little, somebody will be thinking about to, to start building a simple thing that kind of blew up only 500 items, but at least start out with the a thousand possibilities rather than start out with zero.
Paul 01:13:38 That’s interesting that hearkens back to the original symbolic AI days, where we were going to build in all the expert systems where you build, build in all the knowledge. I know it’s very different, but it does remind me of that since we’re on AI, uh, because this is a topic that I wanted to talk about anyway. Um, and, and you’re, you just sort of made the case for the inside out approach to building AI. And my question was going to be whether any of this matters for AI, uh, David, do you have a, um, a counter to, to that inside out approach to building AI? I’m actually,
David 01:14:09 Uh, I’m, I’m, you know, we, we’ve taught you and I’ve talked about this before. I’m actually very sympathetic to your position on this. I think that’s, uh, I think that’s, uh, an, an AI that actually, uh, a kind of Neo AI that takes this position into account and evolution for that matter. And doesn’t, uh, it would be a very interesting new space. I’m super impressed by what AI systems can do. I think they’re amazing. And I think they’re about engineering. I’m very moved. I’m impressed. I don’t think they have anything to do with how minds and brains are organized. I enjoy, uh, reading about yet another network and yet another layer of convolutions and pooling. And I have the vaguest idea of what it has to do with anything other than it solves an engineering question, but not a question about how biology works or about how minds work. So,
Paul 01:14:59 Um, is it intriguing to you though that, um, you know, for instance, convolutional neural networks, and I don’t mean to harp on this, it’s just that that’s where the state-of-the-art is. What’s what
David 01:15:09 Your podcast is about. So you have to actually
Paul 01:15:11 Be, well, no, well, I mean, I’m at CNN in particular, but, but that sort of structure, uh, explains a lot of the neurophysiological data seen in the ventral stream. What do you mean with the
David 01:15:20 Explains? It explains, so, so let’s say the work of Danny Ammons and Jim Carlos, and amazingly elegant way to show that you can get at some layer discrimination between visual images. I just don’t think that that’s what vision is about.
Paul 01:15:34 No, but when you look at the activity of the units, it matches fairly well with the activity of neurons of neurons. Uh, and so there’s, there’s not a complete disconnect there. I mean, th there’s no,
David 01:15:45 You’ve got a certain level. No, I think so. This is actually an interesting conceptual point is up to a certain level of analysis. It’s the, those seem like potentially descriptively adequate systems. And those are the question is, are they explanatorily adequate? So they capture a good distinctions that at some layer of, you know, the inferior temporal cortex, you can make discriminations between things. And yes, when you probe at some layer down some layer of evolution, it looks a little bit like a receptive field. You can even make these cool, super stimuli by exploiting the properties of these DNS. Uh, I’ll wait for the movie, you know, I’ll wait, I’ll wait for the movie, but at the moment, I’m, I actually rather am in favor of the approach there that, that you is arguing for, which is let’s take it into a very different direction, into a much more <inaudible> direction.
David 01:16:40 We do know about intrinsic dynamics that are just there, and it would be extremely interesting to see what space that provides and what kind of AI and yeah, I’m, I’m not a big fan of learning. I’m, uh, I’m probably way more nativist than you guys, but I’m impressed by what, you know, evolution and what genes carry and that they provide an operating system. That’s so rich that it provides you very clear boundary conditions of which like the work of Ken Harris that you already mentioned them as extremely interesting. Like you can’t go outside of your coordinate system and why would you, it would be very weird. I mean, you have a really amazing operating system in the brain, Microsoft brain or whatever, it’s a good, uh, so that is going to be your, the thing within which you work and it doesn’t, you don’t give a trillion learning trials of some arbitrary and, uh, biology is not the mother of all regressions, the daughter of evolution.
Paul 01:17:37 Okay. So, um, before we go on, because there are some specific, um, claims that maybe we can go through here in a minute, but I want to ask what’s at stake in this, because, you know, th th there’s this issue, uh, I’m stepping outside of AI and back to our psychology, um, you know, high level implementation level psychology brain inside, out, outside in discussion. Um, does this matter issue in the long run, um, because science, you know, won’t science self-correct either way and progress and work it out regardless of our opinions of how to proceed, or, or is this conversation more about speeding up that progress so that we can see it in our lifetimes?
Gyuri 01:18:17 So one level is practical. I can say that we have tried the outside in for a long time. And, um, we got to a point where we said the progress is slowing down. And so he can say, why did you try something else? And the inside out perhaps is, uh, is an alternative that will use new data, you, new ways of thinking and so on, and maybe feel run into the same problem sooner or later, it’s hard to predict. So whatever the reason it is, uh, uh, I think the time is right for now, there are deeper issues. The deeper issues is that the, the, the outside in inevitably produces concepts that are difficult to digest. In other words, in order to go from the perception of the world to action, you need some funny thing in the middle that you can call, you know, Homeland Calusa consciousness, so decision-maker or anything.
Gyuri 01:19:18 And, and that is very difficult to, to bypass. And as I try to illustrate it in my book, that the way how the outside in approach works is that you put the experiment in a privileged situation, because he’s the one, or she’s the one who is presenting the world at the same time recordings and interpreting the signals from the brain. So she or he has access to both, but the brain does not the neurons that you are recording from, have no clue what happens out there that has to be grounded and grounding is the action. So you need a reader. You need a disciplined way of figuring out whether the correlation you find is actually utilized by the brain. So in the lab, the, not necessarily the mandatory EDU, but at least it’s the desire is that when we find an, a correlation and we have to show that those patterns that we link to behavior actually are read by downstream readers.
Gyuri 01:20:30 Now, this brings me back a little bit to AI, and especially the robotics or the brain machine interface, paradoxically, or not the brain machine interface literature, or the people who are working on it, subconsciously realize how important this is because they had a reader, the damn cursor, the cursor have to move up or down or somewhere. So there’s no negotiation what you have to do, because every single thing that you feed in from the brain has to accomplish a goal. It has to be interpreted by the reader. And so this is the kind of attitude that said, if you go and start doing a building of the system from the point of, of readers, that it’s much, much better off than studying from outside and from a higher level and see how the brain responds and trying to interpret you as the experiment of those responses without having a grounding mechanism. So
Paul 01:21:36 It’s not the psychological process you’re trying to, that’s not the object that you’re trying to build up a mechanism for. It is the actual,
David 01:21:44 So I, I think, so your question was, what are the stakes, does this matter? Or is this, you know, uh, and there’s two answers. One is, one is, uh, with Yuri. I agree that there are practical concerns. I mean, what are the next steps to advance our agenda and asking what are the hardest questions of science? I think the stakes are unbelievably high. Um, the stakes are what are, what is the parts list of the mind and brain that is the, what could be a more important list. I want to know, just like physicists, want to know what are the elementary particles of how the universe is organized. I want to know what are the elementary particles of how minds and brains are organized.
Paul 01:22:26 Do you think there’s risk that we won’t get there, or just that we’ll get there much, much more slowly if we do it the wrong way?
David 01:22:33 Uh, well, I’m not a that let’s say, is there a field called the F you know, there’s a field called history of science. I don’t know if they cares a futurism of science. I’m not a science futurist, I’m an optimist. I think that, you know, there is a fact of the matter, I’m a naive realist. I believe the world is as it is, and we can figure it out. And I would like to use the best, put our best foot forward. Right. And so I think the, uh, slightly too casual dismissal of the contribution of the psychological sciences comes at a cost that I don’t want to incur. I mean, that is the main argument of the, of the, uh, paper that Federico and I wrote in response to your paper and book, that is it’s, it’s too quickly dismissing, uh, the conceptual architecture of cognition, because of course, absolutely true.
David 01:23:20 There’s a lot of lame and shitty work. That’s legitimate and it’s annoying, but there’s also progress and good work. And we shouldn’t, as we said in, don’t throw the baby out with the bad science bathwater. That is the, there, these are realistic, well substantiated hypothesis about elementary, the elementary particles of the mind and brain. And they should have the same kind of status as our hypothesis about whether the neuron doctrine was right, or whether everything, you know, should be situated at the level of, you know, a dendritic spine or whether we should be looking in jeans. Let me make one more reason. So I think the stakes are really high and really exciting and important. We want to know how the basics work. This is the most fascinating field. One thing I want to disagree with w w or partially disagree with the worry is that the arbiter of everything is action.
David 01:24:11 I think that’s certainly part of it, but I would submit that one intermediate step, maybe a prior step to that is actually storage as one of the remarkable things we have, you know, in this sort of pre-configured or preformed, uh, nervous system operating system is the ability to store stuff. Some of it is already there, and some of it we have to put in, and that forms the basis for many things sometimes, including action. So I think, uh, one of the deepest questions that we owe in the neurosciences in the cognitive sciences is how does storage actually work? You know, it’s extremely difficult. And I think that the answers we have at the moment strike me as a very unsatisfying, like, oh, it’s the pattern of synaptic forms or something like that. That’s, you know, maybe, or maybe not, but it seems not. Uh, uh, so I think that’s one of the things for the future to, to dig in deep, because it’s going to lie at the basis of the links between how brains work and how minds work, which I take to be more or less the same thing. Right? So there are different coins of the inquiry.
Gyuri 01:25:15 Well, I, I, we work on memory, but memory and storage is totally useless without action. There’s no need there’s no. If, if, if, if something in the brain is not implemented and the implementation can happen only through action, then it doesn’t exist.
David 01:25:32 But as, as action for you a larger, just to word, that thought thought, okay. So that’s what I mean. So, so it’s a larger,
Gyuri 01:25:42 I was going to
David 01:25:43 Ask if memory is
Gyuri 01:25:45 Memories of the production too. So, you know, what is the largest stake? The larger agenda to me, he, the inside out versus outside in that if the build our logical system from the inside out, maybe the middle will disappear. And those problems that, uh, a large baggage of the outside in such as the little man, such as decision-making and all these very difficult concepts you be addressed in a total different light.
David 01:26:17 Do you have an example how that would work?
Gyuri 01:26:19 Well, the example is the way how I viewed the whole thing differently. So in chapter three, I discussed at life quarterly discharge, the difference between perception action and action perception. So the, this asymmetry occurs because every single time the brain sends an output to the actuators or a thought, it always signals back to what we call sensory part. Uh, and this is, uh, this is, this is the key moment because once the brain figures out and learns how to disengage from the muscles, the same mechanisms can be used for signaling about what if scenarios, what happens, what would happen if I would have made this action without actually doing that. And this is called thinking. So starting from the action and going back way,
David 01:27:22 What are the elements of that? I mean, I, I’m all on board with corollary discharge, and in fact, it’s very close, although not identical cousin, that you have internal forward models that have not just corollary discharge, but
Gyuri 01:27:36 No forward model is a variation of the <inaudible> a down to earth mechanism.
David 01:27:42 There are the elements of that red. So when that becomes thoughts, I mean, the, the, the, those are, so what are the conceptual or representational primitives of that corollary discharge?
Gyuri 01:27:52 So we can start with evolution and look how this works in the cricket. And then we see how this basic mechanism is being in getting larger and larger, larger. And I give a separate examples in my book is that even emotions, uh, explainable by Corona discharge, I, uh, have a chapter that you not the chapter, but the paragraph at least there, that you didn’t criticize the language is, is, uh, probably based on court order to discharge the thought itself. The thought process is based on court discharge or this mechanism or something like that.
David 01:28:33 Yeah. I mean, the reason I didn’t criticize that party, so I’m actually very much in a huge, well, it’s not a notion of fandom. I think that, that, there’s something extremely useful about that concept because I myself have done a series of experiments actually on how corollary discharge plays a key role in speech production. And the question, whether it scales up there, I know what the primitives are. The question is whether it scales up or scales sideways to other aspects of thought, right. And that’s a more difficult, so that, yeah,
Gyuri 01:29:01 I agree with that, but this is what I tried to scale up as an existing mechanism, as something that inherited from a phylogeny and that can be used and exploited in multiple.
David 01:29:12 Yeah, no, that’s an example of where, where I think they, there’s a really cool mechanism. I think for the first time, perhaps I’ve seen in the work of bounced mob, the physicist that talking about that because of eye movement control, right. So you have to have a copy sent into the future in a quite explicit paragraph in 1880s or something like that about, and then later in the work of <inaudible> for instance, right.
Paul 01:29:39 I just want to take a time out and make sure because we’re, we’re, I’m coming to, you know, time, I suppose, just, I just wanna make sure there’s not something that you want to make sure that,
David 01:29:48 But I want to find a while you were so something intelligent. I want to find, I have, I want to find a quote to really nail him to the,
Paul 01:29:57 I took out, he’s pulling out the book. I took some notes
David 01:30:00 Here to really, you know,
Paul 01:30:02 Did you want to respond to that?
Gyuri 01:30:04 Well, uh, I’d like to, I planned to say something and I’d like to say no, that it’s an interesting thing that we have this debate and about the origin of these words. And, uh, it would w you may wonder why this is so natural that we have this tendency or his urge to come up with words and terms. And the, the way I try to formulate this is something like this, that every animal semantic information is derived from personal experiences from episodic memories. The first time you see a dog is an episode, it’s your personal experience, but you see when you come across many dogs, the spacial temporal conditions of those specific episodes are stripped off. And what is left is the semantic entity of the dog. So learning semantic knowledge typically develops from ego spell equals specific individual interactions. This applies to all animals.
Gyuri 01:31:04 However, and this is a funny part in humans. This process is cut short. We have externalized, not, we evolution externalize a great deal of brain functions through artifacts and especially through language. So now we can learn exquisite semantic knowledge by absorption, not by video episodic memory that is learning from others, who name things for us. We learn about giraffes tigers, also about angels, Santa Claus and things like COVID NASDAQ index and galaxies. And you can go on now, where does this lead to us? This is a tremendous advantage, but it comes at a cost that we accept the existence that the existence of the students without ever experiencing or questioning them when these terms are used, especially by authorities, they become real, but you may wonder, are they really real? It is so easy to say that the reason we understand something is because the brain processes information, or we can say we sense time and space, because we have placed cells and time cells in the hippocampus.
Gyuri 01:32:16 So these are the statements I have problem with. And I illustrate it in various ways. And I have a cartoon, um, at the beginning, I think in chapter two, that the prefrontal cortex has already at least 200 terms that have been associated one way or another with some terms. So the reason why we tend to name things is because we have this urge, because we think that once we have a word for it, that explains. So the crux of the problem is that we use words and the terms to explains, to explain things that have to be explained. This is what I call the <inaudible>. And this is I think something that David picked on also, and there is I think, a fundamental agreement that there should two aspects shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but how we get away from it is the big issue.
Paul 01:33:20 But isn’t part of your agenda to create new vocabulary based on neural principle,
Gyuri 01:33:26 You grounded vocabulary. I don’t necessarily need new words. If, if for whatever reason a new word will clarify things better, let’s go for it. But, you know, I’m, I’m happy to work with the word interneuron that was created a long time ago, even though now that we know that many garbage of neurons have a long projection, but then we refer to <inaudible>. We already define it. We know exactly what we are talking.
Paul 01:33:52 I’m no language expert, but you got, well, we do have at least one language expert among us. Uh, the way that new words are created is not someone doesn’t decide to create a new word. And then it becomes a new word. It’s someone, it gets, it gets something sticks. Yeah.
David 01:34:08 Yeah. But I think, I mean, what, what you were saying, we don’t need to invent new words that we can, but we it’s the, it’s the scope of the concepts that our word, you know, it’s the reference or the, you know, what is the particular meaning of a word that’s at stake when we use it in a scientific context? I mean, so I think with respect to the explanation question, so I want to just narrowly focus on the question of the relationship between cognition and the brain, if that is the focus, uh, and, and one of the core parts of neuroscience, then I guess, you know, URI points out very early in his book, which I have underlined right here. Uh, the, um, the thing to be explained should be the activities of the brain, not the invented terms and a, and that’s where in, I think we, we, that that’s where that’s the implementation and I will chauvinism that is, I think what has to be explained is, as importantly, is actually the inventive terms on the view that the invented terms are just as carefully submitted to scientific analysis research, empirical verification.
David 01:35:20 That is the, the terms that we try to understand, even something as, as, uh, offensive as attention and can be extremely, you know, can be subjected to the same level of scientific scrutiny and empirical scrutiny as biology. And they are ultimately, if we’re trying to understand aspects of mental function, then those are the things that are the, and that as well, not trust, um, the activities of the brain. And that is I think, where re so I would submit that you, you must still have some of, I don’t know if we should call it outside in, but that the, that level of description needs to be sustained just as the level of description of the neuroscience needs to be sustained. And I think that, and, and that the arrow of information can not just flow from the characterization of the activity of the brain in one direction of the activity of, you know, psychology or cognition that, that, that I would feel strongly about.
Paul 01:36:20 So you already mentioned that his hope and, um, he’s optimistic that the middle will disappear. Um, maybe you both, I don’t know if you both want to comment, but is there a middle and, you know, if so, will it disappear or will we, will it disappear? And if, if there’s not a middle, I suppose that means, you know, that the emergent properties that are implied, um, and described when we use psychological terms will forever be separate from the emergent properties that we describe, uh, when we use implementation level terms. So is there, is there a middle, or will it disappear?
David 01:36:56 I’m not sure I understand what the middle is at the moment cruelly. Uh, so w what’s the, what’s the notice for
Gyuri 01:37:03 The notion of the middle is that in order to go from the outside in and to translate what the world is telling the brain to action, that has to be the logic goes like this brains are created to learn about the world that are thinks out there that are good or bad. You have to evaluate, and you have to choose good. And once you make the decision, you can act. So this is this serial process, which you’ve got called perception. Decision-making an actual cycle. I put it the other way around. I said, there is a action perception cycles, but it’s not perception without action. That’s a big claim. And I try to make it clear why I made it. So the middle is there because it has names question, whether those names really refer to something or not, and is the decision-making process is a vague idea. And that is present and omnipotent in a single neuron, because an action potential, you can conceive it as a decision, and if you make it so ubiquitous, then it’s no longer capturing those things that philosophers and maybe neuroscientists were talking about. So this is what I’m saying, that with that kind of thing, it may go away. And I hope that if we approach the brain from inside out, we may build up a different conceptual system, perhaps with different words and different problems to attack than the traditional outside.
David 01:38:48 I mean, I guess what you owe them is a sort of, I mean, this is a way to answer Jon Krakauer question, right? I mean, what you would owe is to say, I have a new conceptualization maybe with new or modulating vocabulary that actually can be an account of some mentalist phenomenon. That’s Jon Krakauer, his challenge, right? I mean, how would you end up using the infrastructure or conceptual structure of vocabulary of the neurosciences then account for the psychological phenomenon? So you, you could tell a story that way, but you still need to sort of figure out what is that chain of argumentation. In that case,
Paul 01:39:27 I have a feeling that Jon Krakauer would, even if that were to occur, he would maintain that the, the term, the psychological processes are on a different level. And in the vocabulary used, are describing different, uh, properties of the phenomenon.
David 01:39:41 Again, are we talking about the scientific use of the terminology or the informal use of the vocabulary? I, you know, we will not go away from that, right? We were because they are psychologically useful concepts like imagination, greed will shelf or useful. That’s how we attribute. That’s sort of the modern computational theory of mind. That is your belief system, right. Or knowledge system is that kind of terminology. And if you get rid of that, uh, what will you put in it’s place to have a conversation about how we’re, you know, about how we interact and
Paul 01:40:22 You don’t want to get rid of it, right? You don’t want to get rid of it.
Gyuri 01:40:26 We need two things. One is to realize that these are conversational pieces. The second one is to try to justify them. The problem David tried to criticize has been criticized even more so by my psychiatrist, wiser one, how do you derive from your sodium channels and spines ever depression or even tinnitus? I had a wonderful a couple of years ago, a rich person from Monte-Carlo invited a group of, uh, tinnitus experts. And you’re a scientist who had no knowledge whatsoever about tinnitus. And we were in prison together for a week. And we had to talk about how to solve this problem. And, uh, you know, when you confront yourself with something like this or depression or schizophrenia and said, well, how many years of my approach at this elementary level will take to get an answer? And of course, you know, I can, I have to tell my wife that, you know, we keep conversation about the words and, and modified as the symptoms.
Gyuri 01:41:37 And so allowed them, don’t wait for neuroscience because then you will have to wait for a long period of time, but it doesn’t mean that’s hopeless. We are working very hard. We are making inroads in various issues, and perhaps we can build up someday a vocabulary or a symptomatology or a, uh, a drug discovery programs based on Ray rhythms. Every single psychiatric disease is associated with a different constellation of problems of returns. So what if I can find a drug that, or work on a drug that works on the Telemaco vertical, alpha, or another one that affects sleep spindles in certain segments of the brain, these are Euroscience questions. And all of a sudden that kind of drug treatment based on the treatment of the writtens will fix, let’s say, uh, one disease or several diseases simultaneously. So this is the kind of far-reaching consequences of the inside out program.
David 01:42:46 Is it really inside out? I just don’t see that. I just don’t. I disagree with you on that. I mean, that’s because you started this with the very interesting point that, you know,
Gyuri 01:42:54 Well, inside out in a way that you take the brain as your primary target and say, oh, let’s use the, the urinal mechanism as a test bed to invent a new drug, right.
David 01:43:06 That you’re, you’re finding what you’re saying is, is, you know, the, the really the alluring possibility is that you find, uh, a taxonomy of, for instance, in this case, let’s say psychiatric disorders that have shared underlying things, let’s say because of rhythm changes in brain rhythms or dysrhythmias, or a arrhythmias for them. But that’s because of the presupposition that there would be underlyingly, conceptually similarities in the things ultimately underlying the pathology. I mean, that’s a very strong, theoretical position that you’re bringing to that task. I mean, that’s this outside in, as it gets, I mean, you have a clear theory.
Gyuri 01:43:43 No, the outside, it gives you the <inaudible>, there are some five full with a lot of things. What I’m saying is that that DSM-V could be grounded by brain mechanisms and maybe simplified, uh, much more effectively than, uh, than putting 500 psychiatrists about the table and negotiate
David 01:44:06 That’s. That must be true on, on many Reaper, many reasons. One, just to push your button on one more thing, just because, you know, I was looking through some of my notes into that, that came to my mind. So there’s a, in your chapter, that for me was very important was just the paper that the chapter on space and time, I think that’s very near and dear to concerns. I have. Um, you say somewhere where I think it’s very important, cause it’s also germane to my own particular research interests. I was paying close attention. You, uh, you say the hippocampus system may be responsible for constructing sequences of information chunks. Well, chunk content is encoded and retrieved from the neocortex. And that seems to me a very reasonable hypothesis and worth, you know, digging deep into the critical question for me is the word content, what is the chunk content? And how would you actually ask that question and go about it from, so I have a clear way of how I would go about it from the putative outside in way, but I want to know how you would go about it because it’s a little bit mystifying to me.
Gyuri 01:45:14 Well, the content is a short list of things that could be simplified in our world, by the animal, running through a maze and item one is corridor one or the beginning of corridor one, and the second one is somewhere else. And so on. And these segments are concatenated into a sequential order, a firing of the neurons. So when I have a sequential activity, the question is whether those euros actually represent space, or they are pointers to the neocortex where the world is represented or is mapped. And the hippocampal sequence just helps to link together these contents into an episode. So this is an example where I would say it’s experimentally relatively easy to put your finger on what is the potential contact, because that could be measured in centimeters, or it could be measured or exemplified with corridors. I understand what you’re asking is when it comes to a more complicated issue that you would like to know how to break down the content. And my answer is always that, you know, you have to have a simple situation such as an animal running through corridors, and then we can go from that.
David 01:46:43 Um, yeah, I mean, I certainly see you have the way of operationalizing the question for a very clear in this case. So sort of an animal prep and I guess the kind of you’re you’re right to point out, I would be interested in what content means in a, in a more, in a way of what I have actually as stored content, right? So I have a, I have a mental representation of the episode of this discussion, and I know that, you know, you were here in Paul’s here, I am here, and these are chunks of information, presumably neocortical and I want to know, well, how are those things done? And I can, then you have a story for how to actually connect those through Hoopa capital mechanisms into sequences. We start talking about this, we talked about that and we talked about the other thing, but for me, the, the cosmos connects us. The crucial thing is actually the original instantiation of the perimeters of this thing like that. I have
Gyuri 01:47:37 Very, very difficult to raise in, in, in, I forget which paper you had, this review paper that you wrote alone about the problem of alignment and mapping. And indeed, this is an interesting thing because a mapping of course, is the big preoccupation and the hippocampus research and the hippocampal map assumes that somehow space is mapped onto a hippocampus structure and its mechanisms to serve, to represent space. The problem with this approach is that space cannot exert any effect, any effect on anything, because space is a concept. Only things can affect that physics. We have no space sensors in our bodies or in the brain, no matter how attractive it is to explain hippocampal function in terms of space, in reality, the examining relationships between things and objects and for convenience, we refer to them as space, but things are not in space. Space is the things themselves.
Gyuri 01:48:43 Now, this is something that we debate among ourselves, but I think it somehow relates to what you are saying about the relationship between the primitives and the big concepts of language is because the big concepts making up language, the language is not this, but it is the primitives themselves in a particular constellation. And so when you are taking it apart and filling it with new content and tying it to Bray mechanism, this is what you call alignment. And it’s resonates with me as well. And I think we already clarified that. I don’t think that you have to, you know, you go blindly in a physiological experiment and then automatically some people come out, but you go in with a lot of discipline or naive primitives. And this is what you are trying to find, whether it matches to brain mechanisms or not.
David 01:49:43 I mean, this is sort of what, what Federico and I would, you know, what we’re we we’re saying, ultimately, the day-to-day practice of these experiments is an abductive process. And that is you have some kind of intuitive notion of what I’m looking for. Then you’re really go into the nitty-gritty. Then you refine the concepts because he was sort of, you don’t do it purely inductively. Cause that has just no,
Gyuri 01:50:03 Exactly. So this is what I said, that there are two major parts of the brains organization. One is what I call the good enough brain and the good enough brain is there for us to do what you just said, that under all conditions, we have an answer that is always a preconception. That is the brain always knows the answer. I cannot show you anything in this world that you will say, Hmm, it doesn’t exist because you will automatically say, oh, this is something like your brain immediately generalizes, it interprets it. The brain always interprets. And this interpretation processes, of course, what goes into the everyday business. When we go into the lab and do experiments that we interpreted, and then it requires a particular eye who’s who sees it differently than others, that this is a little bit different than what they are used to. And you know, this is not a hero, but the, uh, uh, five man would say the most important moment in the scientist’s life and says, Hmm, it’s funny.
Paul 01:51:06 I thought that was Asimov. Was that fine, man?
Gyuri 01:51:09 I thought it was five months from the book of a professor. You are joking or something.
Paul 01:51:15 And he might’ve been quoting us. I don’t know.
Gyuri 01:51:18 I don’t have a stake in it, but they, I think I agree with the principle that indeed that’s what we though, because that’s the discovery process that all of a sudden our preconceptions are confronted with something. And this is, I think the, what based in neuroscience should do now is taking those concepts that we inherited and confront them and see if we get some surprises here that,
David 01:51:43 I mean, if you didn’t have a preconception going and you would never have the surprise moment, it’s because you approach it with a preconception, you say, huh, I wonder what that’s all about. Right. Otherwise it would be just description, description, description, stamp, collecting. It would just be stuff
Gyuri 01:51:59 That also goes in, in neurosciences days, right? Yeah.
Paul 01:52:04 Yeah. I wanted to spend more time on abduction because I think, um, I really enjoyed that, that later piece in your article, David, but we gotta go. And, uh, this is always the risk you run when you have a couple of people who are almost as smart as France, Joseph gall, but not quite, um, you know, we could clear, we could just go on and anyway, but, um, I, I hope that we move the needle and at least gave people food for thought. And you know, of course I’ll, I’ll point people to, um, both your, uh, papers that, that series of articles and the introductory article and, and your, uh, your book, which is again, um, wonderfully done. So thank you for the book and thanks for your
David 01:52:45 Said at the very beginning.
Paul 01:52:45 I think it’s, I hope you can say something, but the just it’s really just unbelievable, useful to have debates go back and forth. Right. I mean, even just because, you know, both of you already had the experience I’ve had to experience with the students and trainees who just, they are uncomfortable about debate now, and it’s exactly the opposite that you should have, right. To serve say, well, I just, I’m just not understanding. I need to look at it from different and that’s kind of fun. It’s engaging. And it’s, I think it’s part of our sort of professorial responsibility to say that we, we get joy from that. But people debate into, in a different way these days, it seems like more name calling and definitive statements rather than I think this, therefore that it is you are this because that, you know, so it’s, uh,
David 01:53:31 Well that’s okay, but that’s kind of
Paul 01:53:32 Lame, it’s lame, but it’s, I think that that might be a reason why people are less. I don’t know. I don’t really know.
Gyuri 01:53:39 The other thing I think is the lack of time, no, discussing a paper for me and for my group 30 years ago, it took a day. Now we are discussing two papers in a lab meeting. So here’s the deal, David, we will pick a paper of yours and we will invite you to present it. Yes, that’s a good idea. My group is a little more vicious than the average group. And so they’re probably like
David 01:54:15 That. They’re probably like my <inaudible> my lab or my lab means good. Very vigorous. It’s fun. No, that’s exactly. I would love to think
Paul 01:54:23 So. Anyway guys, I’m sorry. We ran out of time. Thank you so much for the fascinating conversation and you know, hopefully maybe we can do it again sometime who knows.
Gyuri 01:54:30 Thank you so much for organizing this and thank you for the outside comments and thank you, David, for your effort and your kindness and your criticism.
David 01:54:39 Thanks. Thanks URI for tolerating me. Thanks Paul for organizing it. And I look forward always to more. It’s great fun and it’s important.
Paul 01:55:00 Brain inspired is a production of me and you don’t do advertisements. You can support the show through Patrion for a trifling amount and get access to the full versions of all the episodes. Plus bonus episodes that focus more on the cultural side, but still have science go to brand inspired.co and find the red Patrion button there to get in touch with me, emailPaul@braininspired.co. The music you hear is by the new year. Find email@example.com. Thank you for your support. See you next time.