Do Thrifty Brains Make Better Minds?

Do Thrifty Brains Make Better Minds?

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Might the miserly use of neural resources be one of the essential keys to understanding how brains make sense of the world? Some recent work in computational and cognitive neuroscience suggests that it is indeed the frugal use of our native neural capacity (the inventive use of restricted “neural bandwidth,” if you will) that explains how brains like ours so elegantly make sense of noisy and ambiguous sensory input. That same story suggests, intriguingly, that perception, understanding and imagination, which we might intuitively consider to be three distinct chunks of our mental machinery, are inextricably tied together as simultaneous results of a single underlying strategy known as “predictive coding.”

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