From Stimulus-Response to Probe-Feedback

1 minute read

Apparently a shift is happening in the theoretical model used to guide neuroscientific research:

These results contrast with most neuroscientific research today which works under the assumption of the sensorimotor hypothesis, stating that the main function of brains is to produce behavior in response to sensory stimulation. This new research suggests that at least the ancestral state was the reverse: brains are generating behavior and then await the response of the environment.
— B. Brembs (2009) The First Motor-Sensory System?

Studies over the last decade and a half revealed that the human brain is far from passively waiting for stimuli, but rather constantly produces ongoing, variable activity.
— B. Brembs (2015) Watching a Paradign Shift in Neuroscience

My interest in neuroscience is a byproduct of my interest for consciousness and learning, but since I’m not an expert I have to rely on authors that are able to synthesize the studies for me.

The above is a very interesting take: actively probing the environment and then analyzing feedback seems a proof at a lower level of the models that Varela suggested years ago around the idea of embodied cognition.

Also, if this is a field that interests you, I highly advise the two articles above.