Exploring the Foundations of Neuroscience
Although technological advances have offered unprecedented access to the inner workings of the brain, gaining a deeper understanding has remained elusive. This is not only because conceptual innovation has not kept pace with technological advances, but also because the relevant scientific fields remain isolated from one another.
Dr. Michael Anderson, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Science, has dedicated his career to gaining a fuller understanding of the brain and how it gives rise to the mind. To this end, he and his research team are trying to find out what allows coherent functional networks to emerge from the brain’s interacting, functionally complex regions.
Anderson and his team will develop new approaches to detect the brain’s dynamic reconfigurations (the highly evolving networks of brain regions that interact in complex and transient communication patterns). They will also determine the mutual constraints that exist between neural dynamics, behaviour and perceptual information (the process by which sensory stimuli are recognized and interpreted). This will entail integrating findings from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, physics and computer science.
Ultimately, gaining a better understanding of the true nature of exactly how the brain works—its functional architecture—could lead to better diagnostics and treatments of brain disorders. Anderson’s research could also result in a new generation of brain-machine interfaces, such as computing devices and functional prosthetics.