• Publications list.
    (tags: neuroscience)
  • "Llinás argues convincingly that the centralization of motor control produces the need for the organism to monitor and predict its own bodily state. The pervasive, intimate, moment-to-moment 'sense of self' that we all enjoy is thus to be understood not as the product of some evolutionary leap in cognitive or perceptual sophistication, but as a functional prerequisite for the deliberate control of action."
  • "Classical cognitivist and connectionist models posit a Cartesian disembodiment of mind assuming that brain events can adequately explain thought and related notions such as intellect. Instead, we argue for the bodily basis of thought and its continuity beyond the sensorimotor stage. Indeed, there are no eternally fixed representations of the external world in the “motor system”, rather, it is under the guidance of both internal and external factors with important linkages to frontal, parietal, cerebellar, basal ganglionic, and cingulate gyrus areas that subserve cognitive and motivational activities. Indeed, the motor system, including related structures, is a self-organizing dynamical system contextualized among musculoskeletal, environmental (e.g., gravity), and social forces. We do not simply inhabit our bodies; we literally use them to think with."
  • "Llinás goes on to suggest that the ultimate function of the brain is prediction, and that the self is the centralization of prediction. This argument is advanced in a linear fashion, supported by a wealth of information on the physiology of motor control. One reason why this rationale is so persuasive is because the motor ‘card’ is precisely what has been missing from play in a number of theories of consciousness. The unsatisfactory nature of concepts of mind based on sensory perception, and the uneasy discomfort generated by such hypotheses, is laid bare by this, now patently evident, idea. Although the argument is complex, the basic idea is simple and almost obvious. Such simple ideas are the stuff of quantum leaps in science."
  • "Active movement—what Llinás calls motricity—is the very source and main stem of mental life. "That which we call thinking is the evolutionary internalization of movement." Only organisms that move have brains, Llinás points out. A tree has no need of a central nervous system because it's not going anywhere, but an animal on the prowl needs to see where it's headed and needs to predict—perhaps even envision—its future place in the world. The poster—child organism for this close connection between motricity and mentality is the sea squirt. This marine creature starts life as a motile larva, equipped with a rudimentary brainlike ganglion of about 300 neurons. But after a day or two of cavorting in the shallows, the larva finds a hospitable site on the bottom and puts down roots. As a sessile organism, it has no further use for a brain, and so it eats it!"
  • "Just as physicists can explain complex systems with a small set of elegant equations (e.g. Maxwell's), it might be possible for the multidisciplinary study of the brain to produce a list of well-defined universal principles that can explain the majority of its operation. Given exciting developments in theory, empirical findings and computational studies, it seems that the generation of predictions might be one strong candidate for such a universal principle. Predictions in the brain is the focus of the collection of papers in this special theme issue."