Breaking News
October 16, 2018 - Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2018
October 16, 2018 - Study holds promise for new pediatric brain tumor treatment
October 16, 2018 - Patient advocate uses MRI scans to create art and spark conversations about life with illness
October 16, 2018 - Fish oil based diets may suppress growth and spread of breast cancer cells
October 16, 2018 - Number of VHA facilities offering acupuncture has increased rapidly
October 16, 2018 - Influential Leapfrog Group jumps in to rate 5,600 surgery centers
October 16, 2018 - HIV-infected infants more likely to acquire congenital cytomegalovirus infection
October 16, 2018 - Study pinpoints new marker that can predict Crohn’s disease subtype
October 16, 2018 - Simple procedure could be efficacious intervention for failed back surgery
October 16, 2018 - New research identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in elderly people
October 16, 2018 - Zebrafish study uncovers molecular ‘brake’ that helps control eye lens development
October 16, 2018 - Overlapping copy number variations underlie autism and schizophrenia in Japanese patients
October 16, 2018 - Majority of Americans’ ancestry can be traced through existing DNA databases
October 16, 2018 - Patients coerced into mental health care less likely to perceive treatment as effective
October 16, 2018 - Interactive robot helps older people exercise and detects underlying health problems
October 16, 2018 - What you need to know about autism spectrum disorder
October 16, 2018 - Antidepressants can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease
October 16, 2018 - Study uncovers important role of PRMT1 in dilated cardiomyopathy
October 16, 2018 - Nutritional quality of breakfast linked to cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in children
October 16, 2018 - Study uses novel approach to investigate genetic origins of mental illnesses
October 16, 2018 - Scientists develop dual anthrax-plague vaccine
October 16, 2018 - Poor Outcomes for Hispanic Infants With Congenital Heart Dz
October 16, 2018 - Global study finds youngest in class more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
October 16, 2018 - Researchers sequence two selfish genes in the fungus Neurospora intermedia
October 16, 2018 - Survey results highlight the need for better communication between patients and HCPs about bacterial vaginosis
October 16, 2018 - Researchers develop fibrin-targeting immunotherapy to protect against neurodegeneration
October 16, 2018 - Researchers create open access database on healthy immunity
October 16, 2018 - Rice University chemist wins big award to study small surfaces
October 16, 2018 - Study finds 43% drop in stroke rate
October 16, 2018 - Researchers identify basic relationships of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta
October 16, 2018 - UA professor receives NSF grant to develop antifouling materials for medical implants
October 16, 2018 - Obesity Doubles Odds for Colon Cancer in Younger Women
October 16, 2018 - Adults with ADHD not constrained in creativity
October 16, 2018 - Raising visibility for people and students with chronic illness and disability
October 16, 2018 - Allele awarded NIH grant to develop nanoantibody therapies for treatment of sepsis
October 16, 2018 - Only 59% of young adults undergoing surgery are fluid responsive
October 16, 2018 - Research points to potential new treatment for hearing loss
October 16, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory receives $1.2 million SEPA grant to promote data literacy
October 16, 2018 - Vast majority of dementia cases may arise from spontaneous genetic errors
October 16, 2018 - New project aims to deliver fast, effective treatment for autoimmune rheumatic diseases
October 16, 2018 - Study identifies molecular switch that controls fate of milk-producing breast cells
October 16, 2018 - Research shows diet has little influence on precursor to gout
October 16, 2018 - “Without Dr. Shumway doing his miracle work, three generations would not be here”: A Stanford heart transplant patient’s story
October 16, 2018 - Non-invasive brain stimulation sheds light on neurobiology underlying implicit bias
October 16, 2018 - Researchers demonstrate integrated technique to control production of cell therapeutics
October 16, 2018 - Breast tomosynthesis detects 34% more tumors than traditional mammography
October 16, 2018 - Rhode Island Hospital, Brown receive $800,000 grant to keep up fight against opioid epidemic
October 16, 2018 - UVA partners with health systems in AVIA network’s Medicaid Transformation Project
October 16, 2018 - Trevena Announces Oliceridine FDA Advisory Committee Meeting Outcome
October 16, 2018 - Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus
October 16, 2018 - Connecting the dots of Alzheimer’s disease
October 16, 2018 - New publication offers evidence-based content for global breast imaging medical community
October 16, 2018 - ‘EinsteinVision’ that improves hand-eye coordination of surgeons introduced at Harefield Hospital
October 16, 2018 - WRAIR clinical study evaluates safety and immunogenicity of Marburg vaccine
October 16, 2018 - Ketamine can be considered as alternative to opioids for short-term pain control in ED
October 16, 2018 - Endurance exercise training beneficially alters gut microbiota composition
October 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Yutiq (fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant) for Chronic Non-Infectious Posterior Segment Uveitis
October 15, 2018 - Birthing Options for Full-Term Pregnancy
October 15, 2018 - Stressed, toxic, zombie cells seen for first time in Alzheimer’s
October 15, 2018 - Concussion researchers study head motion in high school football hits | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Neuropsychiatric symptoms related to earliest stages of Alzheimer’s brain pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neck collar device may help protect the brain of female high school soccer players
October 15, 2018 - Research reveals how the inner ear processes speech
October 15, 2018 - Many parents still skeptical about safety and effectiveness of flu shot, survey finds
October 15, 2018 - Payer Policies May Discourage Non-Pharma Tx for Low Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Exercise may delay cognitive decline in people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
October 15, 2018 - Researchers modify CRISPR to reorganize genome | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Innovative brain tumor operation set to tailor to patients’ needs
October 15, 2018 - Findings offer new insight into early changes that occur during AD pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neurons regulating reproductive hormone release have different activity in epileptic mice
October 15, 2018 - More parents are concerned about taking babies swimming in public pools
October 15, 2018 - Health Tip: Know the Risk Factors for Lower Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Study shows cigarillo flavors enhanced by high-intensity sweeteners
October 15, 2018 - Study traces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections to patients’ own bodies | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Abnormal vision in childhood can affect development of brain areas responsible for attention
October 15, 2018 - Study highlights need for increased support for alcohol-related liver disease patients
October 15, 2018 - Color-changing contact lens could help doctors to monitor eye disease medications
October 15, 2018 - Tobacco heating products cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes
October 15, 2018 - Young adults who are obese can expect to lose up to 10 years in life expectancy
October 15, 2018 - Scientists uncover how proteins meet on the cell membrane
Human brain structured to make best possible decision with limited resources

Human brain structured to make best possible decision with limited resources

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Driving down a dark country road at night, you see a shape ahead on the roadside. Is it a deer or a mailbox? Your brain is structured to make the best possible decision given its limited resources, according to new research that unites cognitive science and information theory – the branch of mathematics that underlies modern communications technology.

The finding, which was published in the journal Science, is an outgrowth of National Science Foundation-supported research into improving pedagogy in STEM fields, which often rely heavily on perceptual abilities and perceptual expertise, said Chris Sims, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assistant professor of cognitive science.

“Take for example geology, where students have to learn to differentiate between rocks or geologic formations that may have a highly similar appearance,” said Sims. “The way it’s typically done is through repetition–you look at lots of rocks until it sinks in. But understanding how the brain works can help us build better classroom training exercises that teach those abilities more efficiently.”

A canonical law of cognitive science–the Universal Law of Generalization, introduced in a 1987 article also published in Science–tells us that your brain makes perceptual decisions based on how similar the new stimulus is to previous experience. Specifically, the law states that the probability you will extend a past experience to new stimulus depends on the similarity between the two experiences, with an exponential decay in probability as similarity decreases. This empirical pattern has proven correct in hundreds of experiments across species including humans, pigeons, and even honeybees.

“This is a fundamental equation that is universal in nature, and it’s held up very well,” said Sims. “But while the law describes the empirical pattern, it doesn’t adequately explain why this pattern should appear in nature. And that’s what I set out to do.”

In his research, Sims turned to information theory, a branch of mathematics founded at Bell Labs in the 1940s that makes it possible to predict the best possible performance of a communication system given the limits of the system. For example, information theory makes it possible to predict the best possible voice accuracy that a telephone wire could transmit given a specific level of noise in the signal.

Building on the evident parallels between noisy telephone wires and noisy neurons, Sims has been using information theory to understand the biological communication systems of perception and memory.

“The idea is that visual perception is a communication channel: there is information in the world, and you need to transmit that information from your eyes to your brain,” said Sims.

Just as there are limits on a mechanical system like a telephone line, there are limits on a biological system, and Sims looked to information theory to describe and predict the optimal performance that could be achieved from the human visual system.

And that led to a serendipitous connection between the Universal Law of Generalization long studied in cognitive science, and the mathematical framework of information theory.

When Sims described the visual system using the information theory framework, he found that a well-known aspect of information theory known as efficient coding predicted the same exponential generalization gradient as that predicted by the Universal Law of Generalization. His work connected the dots between two foundational laws within disparate fields, and suggests that evolution has given us a perceptual system that approaches the optimum predicted by the mathematical laws of information theory.

“I set out to explain why this pattern appears in nature, and the answer according to information theory is that nature has given us perceptual systems that are as efficient as possible, given the constraints and limits they have to work with. It’s a simple explanation for why this pattern exists everywhere and that’s promising.”

The finding might be used to help develop more accurate measurement of perceptual expertise and progression, but Sims said at heart, he’s pleased to have advanced the foundational science.

“I’m excited that now we have mathematical laws we can use to better describe and understand information processing in the brain, and the nature of intelligence in general,” said Sims.

“Efficient coding explains the universal law of generalization in human perception” was published in Science.

Research on human perception fulfills The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for higher education which recognizes that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration — working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions — to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer. Research at Rensselaer addresses some of the world’s most pressing technological challenges — from energy security and sustainable development to biotechnology and human health. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.

Source:

https://news.rpi.edu/content/2018/09/19/what-your-cell-phone-camera-tells-you-about-your-brain

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles