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Computational Explorations in Cognitive Neuroscience: Understanding the Mind by Simulating the Brain [Paperback]

Randall C. O'Reilly , Yuko Munakata , James L. McClelland
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 4, 2000 0262650541 978-0262650540 1

The goal of computational cognitive neuroscience is to understand how the brain embodies the mind by using biologically based computational models comprising networks of neuronlike units. This text, based on a course taught by Randall O'Reilly and Yuko Munakata over the past several years, provides an in-depth introduction to the main ideas in the field. The neural units in the simulations use equations based directly on the ion channels that govern the behavior of real neurons, and the neural networks incorporate anatomical and physiological properties of the neocortex. Thus the text provides the student with knowledge of the basic biology of the brain as well as the computational skills needed to simulate large-scale cognitive phenomena.

The text consists of two parts. The first part covers basic neural computation mechanisms: individual neurons, neural networks, and learning mechanisms. The second part covers large-scale brain area organization and cognitive phenomena: perception and attention, memory, language, and higher-level cognition. The second part is relatively self-contained and can be used separately for mechanistically oriented cognitive neuroscience courses. Integrated throughout the text are more than forty different simulation models, many of them full-scale research-grade models, with friendly interfaces and accompanying exercises. The simulation software (PDP++, available for all major platforms) and simulations can be downloaded free of charge from the Web. Exercise solutions are available, and the text includes full information on the software.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James L. McClelland is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation at Stanford University. He is the coauthor of Parallel Distributed Processing (1986) and Semantic Cognition (2004), both published by the MIT Press.

Product Details

  • Series: Bradford Books
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: A Bradford Book; 1 edition (September 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262650541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262650540
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jargon - Not for beginners. February 13, 2008
With a background in chemistry, biology, psychology, and neuroscience, I believed a course on simulating the the brain to understand the mind would be incredibly fascinating. However, this book, in spite of various claims to be an introduction to cognitive neuroscience, is full of technical jargon that is mostly likely only understood by those familiar with the subject.

The book itself comes off as extremely condescending to any beginner who is frustrated with the book because throughout the text, the authors repeat over and over and over again some variation of, "Here is a SIMPLE example..."

****ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE: As for the free software you can download online, PDP++, it is prone to errors (random quitting, functions not working properly) and DOES NOT work on many newer versions of Mac OS X. You have to download a different program called Emergent, which is not compatible with what you read in this text; this is also an annoying problem.

The aspects of the book that focus on the biology of the mind are like breaths of fresh air, but every chapter inevitably leads into mind-numbing instructions and equations that are difficult to comprehend.

This is by far the most frustrating book I've had to deal with. The other one-star review was shrewd in warning undergrad students and beginners about this text.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new paradigm September 26, 2000
By A Customer
In this book, research themes, which include perception, memory, language as well as high-level cognition, are explained in terms of computation. Their theory is based on brain science, computer science, and psychology. Though the authors speculate about the functions of each part of the brain and the relation among them to some extent, the authors propose a new paradigm to existing sciences. Their integrative approach and method are very simulative, and I've got a lot of hints from this book. But I don't need the usageof particular software, PDP++ in such a theoretical book. The authors explain and demonstrate their models and theories using PDP++ at the end of each chapter. If you want to study how to use PDP++ as well as their theories, this book will be extremely good one.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Randall C. O'Reilly shares and explains algorithms of work spanning years of reproducing complex cognitive tasks using biologically plausible computer models.
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