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  7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Fairmont Lounge, St. John's College

What is Thinking?
The dynamics of mental exploration

John Hopfield

Department of Molecular Biology
Princeton University

Thinking allows an animal to take an effective action in a novel situation, based on a mental exploration of the possibilities implicit in what the animal already knows. Thinking is a macroscopic process, spread across the brain - an emergent phenomenon representing the collective action of billions of interconnected nerve cells. Patterns of collective activity emerge in this system of nerve cells. The dynamics of these collective patterns represents the mental exploration of possible actions To bridge the gap between neurobiology and psychology, we need to understand how useful collective dynamics emerges from the underlying micro-dynamics of nerve cells. I will describe this relationship in a ‘model animal’ whose ‘brain’ is a system of interacting neurons, based loosely on the rat hippocampus.

To learn more please visit his webpage.

Additional resources for this talk: slides and video.