Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Are Your Invariant Representations?

Genes dictate the overall architecture of the [brain's] cortex, including the specifics of what regions are connected together, but within that structure the system is highly flexible.
-Jeff Hawkins (2004), Neuroscience Researcher

Scientists often refer to the human brain as "wired". This term is misleading because it calls to mind an incorrect image of brain physiology. Substances, such as blood and hormones, and impulses, move through the brain in patterns that are often started and set by individual experience. A live brain is soft and pliable and truly, there are no wires involved. A more appropriate term, though clunky, is Jeff Hawkins's Invariant Representation.

An invariant representation is simply a neuronal pattern with enough connections to other patterns to make a human memory. The more complex a web of patterns is, the more actual brain space (mental space) it takes up. That is why, the brain of a violist practicing 6 hours a day, for the last five years, will be different then your brain, if you're spending 6 hrs/ day playing Wii Tennis.

Actress Jennifer Lopez said,

Until you`re twenty, you have the face you are born with, and after that you have the face you deserve.

The same thing applies to your brain. Your genes determine what you start with. Eventually, depending on how you have spent your time, you will have the brain you deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Try to picture the face of a friend or loved one in your minds eye with high detail. It's harder than you would have thought. It's because there is no such picture stored in your brain. You brain only remembers the important relationships of the face, not the details. It stores the distance between the eyes. The way the nose is positioned below. The way the hairline defines the forehead.

    This is why you can see spot your friend in a crowded room with ease, because the memory of them, or the representation of them, is stored in a non changing, or invariant form.