The man who made up his mind.
- Edelman, Gerald.
About this work
Prof. Gerald Edelman (b. 1929)(University of Pennsylvania), Nobel Laureate in Physiology (1972), explains why he rejects the popular comparison of the human brain with a computer. Turning to Darwin's theory of natural selection, and drawing on his own work on how antibodies are produced by the immune system, he evolved a theory of neural selection as a key to the way in which the brain builds up memory and patterns of behaviour. To compare the brain to a computer is too suggestive of a passive reception of input, whereas constant interaction is necessary to make sense of the world. Edelman's NOMAD robot demonstrates how the brain reacts to new experiences in an increasingly complex environment, evaluating them, and strengthening its synaptic connections so that the "positive" experiences are drawn into its patterns of behaviour. This neural selection theory explains how we build up complex skills without being pre- programmed for them.
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