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    Models and theory

    Difficulty level

    Introduction to the role of models in theoretical neuroscience

    Topics covered in this lesson

    Introduction to David Marr's work on levels on description/analysis of the brain as a complex system - computation, algorithm & representation, implementation. Marr's argument that neuroscience needs to start with studying the specific computation a system is trying to achieve, and his postulation that we need to study specific computations rather than "grand theories of the brain". Different flavors of models: 

    • descriptive models (what) - often aim to capture a core phenomenon of interest, not all details 
    • mechanistic models (how) - how is X implemented at a biophysical level? Challenge to find right level of abstraction. 
    • interpretive models (why) - why is the system set up a particular way? What is its role/function?