Metastable Coordination Dynamics of Brain and Behavior





One of the biggest puzzles in trying to understand ourselves is how we (and our brains) make decisions or choices. What kind of thing is the brain that it can make choices? If choice is a function of the large-scale activity of the brain, what form do these large-scale spatiotemporal patterns of brain activity take and how are they related to what people do? How are localized regions of the brain coordinated so as to support large-scale network activity? Fundamentally speaking, why is one kind of pattern of behavior selected over another? What are the principles and mechanisms? Choice implies the creation (and annihilation) of information. How is information created so that it may modulate, and be modulated by, the dynamics of the brain? These are big questions, so let's treat them systematically, albeit briefly. There are good reasons to believe that the answers may lie within <I>Coordination Dynamics</I>, a line of scientific enquiry that aims to understand—through theory and experiment—how patterns of coordination form, persist and change in living things. Coordination is not just matter in motion. It refers to the <I>functional</I> ordering of parts and processes in space and time. Coordination Dynamics is unique because it contains two <I>coexistent</I> aspects, a self-organizing, or 'undirected' aspect and an informational, or 'directed' aspect. The former deals with collective or cooperative effects that arise spontaneously when ordinary matter takes on novel properties, as in lasers and superconductors, or when new forms of organization among water molecules arise as in the weather (Cross and Hohenberg, 1993<SUP>1)</SUP>; Haken, 1977<SUP>2)</SUP>; Nicolis and Prigogine, 1977<SUP>3)</SUP>). The human brain and the behavior it produces has been demonstrated to exploit these self-organizing, cooperative effects, an intriguing finding in its own right (Sect. <B>2.0</B>). The latter, 'directed' aspect of coordination dynamics reveals how information is created <I>de novo</I> and how information guides, directs, modulates and is modified by self-organizing dynamics. "Directed" terms like "plans," "programs," "intentions" and so forth, rather than reified are embraced by <I>metastable coordination dynamics</I>. Metastable Coordination Dynamics means that there is no such thing as perfect order or randomness in the way natural systems are coordinated. Only <I>tendencies</I> toward order and randomness exist in spacetime. These tendencies arise from the <I>coexistence</I> of intrinsic properties of individual parts and the essentially nonlinear coupling between them (Sect. <B>5.0</B>).


  • 日本神経回路学会誌 = The Brain & neural networks

    日本神経回路学会誌 = The Brain & neural networks 8(4), 125-130, 2001-12-05

    Japanese Neural Network Society

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