Roslyn Holly Fitch (1996) Reconciling the Optimal Brain With Variability
. Psycoloquy: 7(03) Optimal Cognition (2)
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Psycoloquy 7(03): Reconciling the Optimal Brain With Variability
RECONCILING THE OPTIMAL BRAIN WITH VARIABILITY
Roslyn Holly Fitch
IN NEURAL ORGANIZATION AND COGNITION
Commentary on Worden on Optimal-Cognition
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience
197 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102
The concept of an optimal brain which underlies an
optimal cognitive strategy for a given species in a given situation
is apparently at odds with the enormous within-species variation in
cortical organization and cognitive function, and specifically with
replicable group differences in brain organization and/or cognitive
performance. One such example concerns sex differences in neural
lateralization and spatial navigation strategy; differences which
cannot be reconciled with the notion of an optimal evolutionary
path. Moreover, on a more general level the term "optimal" seems
impossible to define with respect to human cognitive behavior,
since a specific outcome can rarely be defined as the "ideal" one.
Bayes, conditioning, evolution, foraging, navigation,
neural nets, optimality, representation, situated action.
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