interesting book blurb; Parkinson's model?

[From John Anderson (950519.1045)]

Here's a blurb about Walter Freeman's new book that sounds quite



From Wed May 17 19:14:44 1995

Date: Wed, 17 May 95 16:22:28 PDT
From: (Comp-Neuro Mailing List)
Subject: Book Announcement

Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 03:57:00 -0700


Subject: BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Societies of Brains


SOCIETIES OF BRAINS. A Study in the Neuroscience of Love and Hate

Walter J Freeman, University of California at Berkeley


The arts and sciences are embedded in the mystique of the individual as the
creator and discoverer, but, in reality, they are intensely social
enterprises. While individual human brains are capable of truly remarkable
feats of logic and technical virtuosity, which are the goals of emulation
in artificial intelligence, they have evolved primarily as organs of social
cooperation and understanding. The prior requirements for communication
are the construction of icons, symbols, codes, and languages as
representations, and the development of mechanisms by which to reach
agreement among social participants, about the relations between the
representations out in the world and the meanings inside the minds. These
constructions are done by dynamical brain processes that are pre-rational,
pre-logical, and non-computational. They also underlie the leaps of
scientific intuition in discovery, and the explosive emergence of new art

Recent studies of nonlinear brain dynamics during animal behavior have
shown that perception does not consist of information reception,
processing, storage, and recall. It is the creation of meaning, with new
steps taken several times each second in each brain, and with learning by
slow accretion of synaptic changes based in experience through action of
individuals into the world. However, for social bonding to occur, which
leads to the emergence of shared meanings in respect to scientific
principles, and to shared values in respect to aesthetics, one or more
forms of 'unlearning' is required, by which already learned value systems
in individuals are dissolved, and new ones are learned in their place,
through socially cooperative actions.

Recent studies of brain chemistry in animals during reproductive behavior
have revealed the operations of neurohumoral mechanisms, which have evolved
to promote success in mammalian reproduction and the care of altricial
young. I believe that our remote ancestors learned to adapt these chemical
mechanisms to re-shaping the synaptic networks in their brains. In
essence, they learned to form pair bonds and tribal groups by means of
music, dance, and sexually based rituals surrounding the use of totems and
icons, which have further evolved into our present techniques and
circumstances for religious and political conversions, and the most
effective forms of scientific and artistic education. I foresee that the
societal aspects of neurodynamics and neurochemistry, which have been
marginalized in recent decades of brain research, will soon come to occupy
center stage, in this age of high population densities and intolerable
levels of social disruption, conflict, and violence.


"In this essay written for the occasion of the Spinoza lectures of the
University of Amsterdam, Walter Freeman introduces the new concept of
neuroactivity which is defined as the structure of brain operations that forms
the interface between the electrochemical signs of neuronal populations and
overt measured behaviors. While rejecting the dualistic view of mind and
brain, he sets the stake for an inquiry into how causality arises in brain
functions by exploring how neuroactivity relates both to brain and to mind.
The pivotal concept of neuroactivity is that to understand brain functions it
is essential to take into account the dynamics of neuronal populations and
not just the behavior of single neurons. Based on a life-long series of
exciting experimental findings aimed at unraveling the dynamics of
neuroactivity in space and time, Freeman speculates about how sensation
and perception, intention and movement, intentional structure and thought,
learning and unlearning come about. Intrinsic to Freeman s analysis of the
signals generated by the neuronal networks of the brain (i.e. EEGs) is his
conviction that within the apparent unreproducibility and unpredictability of
EEG signals there may be a hidden chaotic determinism, although he admits
the difficulties in measuring chaos in such brain signals. In his view this
makes the theory of nonlinear dynamics, despite its difficulties and
limitations, the best available new tool for exploring brain function.
In this essay Freeman underscores the importance or theoretical
concepts in acquiring insight into the functions of the brain. Although he
leaves the reader with a lot of questions regarding how to assess his new
concepts and test his predictions this essay offers plenty of spicy food for
critical thought. Spinoza would have eagerly appreciated being confronted
with freeman's challenges."
                                Fernando H. Lopes da Silva, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Institute of Neurobiology, University of Amsterdam

"As fields of knowledge become more diversified it becomes more difficult
and more daring to attempt a synthesis. Nonetheless Walter Freeman offers
a unique perspective on issues in psychology, artificial intelligence,
literature, philosophy, and medicine organized around his unorthodox but
convincing account of how the brain uses chaotic dynamics to enable
animals like us to cope with their environment. The result is an original and
wide-ranging book full of fascinating facts and wry wisdom. It casts grave
doubts on the reigning paradigm in neuroscience and cognitivism and gives
researchers in the human sciences a controversial new theory of the
emotions and of human social bonding."
                                Hubert L. Dreyfus
Professor of the Graduate School, University of California at Berkeley

A discount order form, book blurb, and select scientific papers from
the Freeman Laboratory may now be accessed through a WWW server
by opening the Uniform Resource Locator (URL):


Paperback, 0-8058-2017-5 $18.50
Cloth, 0-8058-2016-7 $39.95

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
365 Broadway
Hillsdale NJ 07642 USA
FAX 1 (609) 853-0411

The earlier technical monograph:
ISBN 0-12-267150-3
is still available from ACADEMIC PRESS
FAX 1-(800) 874-6418

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Has anyone tried to construct a PCT model of Parkinson's disease? I'm
thinking of proposing to do this in the grant I'm working on. I'd
appreciate any info.