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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

brain modalities mapped

Brain uses both neural 'teacher' and 'tinkerer' networks in learning. While most people need peace and quiet to cram for a test, the brain itself may need noise to learn, a recent MIT study suggests. In experiments with monkeys, the researchers found that neural activities in the brain gradually change, even when nothing new is being learned.

"In the same way, learning in the brain has two components--error-correction and noise--so that even though the neural representation keeps changing, the behavior remains fixed. We think the tinkerer, that is the noise, is not merely a nuisance to the teacher but is actually helping the teacher explore new possibilities it wouldn't have considered otherwise."

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