Developing Intelligence

Archives for April, 2009

Every now and then, I read some science from some other dimension. That is, the methods are so unusual, the relevant theories so fringe, or the conclusions so startling that I feel like the authors must be building on work from a completely separate science, with its own theories and orthodoxy. This can be good…

There are three on-off light switches on the wall of the first floor of a building. One of the switches is initially off and controls an incandescent bulb in a lamp on the third floor of the building. The other two switches do not control the bulb or anything else (they are disconnected). How can…

Most computational models of working memory do not explicitly specify the role of the parietal cortex, despite an increasing number of observations that the parietal cortex is particularly important for working memory. A new paper in PNAS by Edin et al remedies this state of affairs by developing a spiking neural network model that accounts…

A number of previous behavioral and neuroimaging experiments, as well as computational models, support the idea that people can filter the contents of memory and perception so as to focus on only the information that’s currently relevant. For example, in a visually-complex environment, distracting items often go unprocessed by the human visual system, perhaps due…

One theoretical model of the prefrontal cortex posits that we can achieve goal-directed behavior via “biased competition” – that is, representations of our current goals and context are maintained in the prefrontal cortex and exert an influence on downstream areas, ultimately biasing our behavior in a goal-directed and context-appropriate way. By theory, this relatively simple…