User:J. A. Scott Kelso/Proposed/Metastability in the brain

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Historically there are two major theories of how the brain works. One says that the brain functions as a global, integrated system, all of its numerous and various parts working in Gestalt-like harmony. The other says that these parts are localizable and contain specialized functions, one local area or region for decision making, another for working memory, yet another for the seat of habits. Plenty of candidate neural areas have been proposed for such functions. Yet, it is now generally agreed that cognitive processes in the brain arise from coordination within locally segregated neural areas and also between cortical and sub-cortical neural areas. The dual nature of this coordination, how the individual parts retain their local specialized function while interacting to form global, context-dependent patterns of spatiotemporal activity is, however, just beginning to be understood.

“Metastability is an entirely new conception of brain functioning where the individual parts of the brain exhibit tendencies to function autonomously at the same time as they exhibit tendencies for coordinated activity (Kelso, 1991; 1995; Kaplan, 1998; Friston, 2000)”

      Fingelkurts & Fingelkurts, Int. J. Neurosci., 2004
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