How can Mind Brain Insights enhance applied neuroscience; in particular motor neuroprosthetics and BCI projects? How might we add  value — better products, better performance, quicker learning, easier use? The answer is tied directly to theory — of both mind and brain. Although vast knowledge about the brain exists, both the mind — and the brain networks that expresses it — are poorly understood.

Many if not most neuroscientists think of the mind as a vague and murky psuedo-phenomenon. The mind (whatever it is, there’s no clear definition) is “processed,” “computed,” or “mediated” by the brain. Experience — perception, recognition, cognition and emotion, attention, behavior etc. — is “processed” moment by moment. Also the result of neural processing are meaning, arousal, goals, attention, motor intention, and all other subjective phenomena. The brain (somehow) “processes” the mind.

The main flaw in this view is it all but ignores the field external to the brain. The brain is primary, the mind secondary, and experience (as it occurs in vivid detail, external to the brain) an afterthought.

The MA (Memory Activation) cognitive neuroscience paradigm expands this highly constrained view of the mind. The mind is comprised mostly of general memory. Memories in turn are constructed from life experience. All of our most common and powerful experience is included. This alternative paradigm enables a new and demonstrably more accurate understanding of not only the mind, but its brain correlate.

Human experience extends beyond the confines of the perceived skull. This is common knowledge. What one is aware of — one’s conscious mind — unfolds through space and time within a person’s (modal and amodal) visual field. As this three-dimensional field changes, or not, the brain makes copies of it. This field, and the episodic memory thereof, continually activate (matching) general memory. In turn, a person’s general memory activity creates most of the mind: recognition, meaning, thought, goals, state of arousal, etc.

A correct conceptual framework adds significant value to applied neuroscience. Large scale neural network activity, and the corresponding brain signal, can be defined with greater accuracy. Once the mind’s memory networks are identified, connected, and weighted, corresponding neural networks can be pinpointed. In other words, any neural network (ex: that of “lemon”) mirrors a definable set of memory components (“fruit” “juicy,” “sour,” “pucker,” “bite into,” etc.). This is true both structurally and functionally.

The MA Method is essentially a new science tool. It’s like giving a surgeon a scalpel to work with instead of a butter knife. It can be used to carve out precise definitions of mind, and map these to the brain. This includes the mapping of any movement, or sequence of movements. It can be applied to any person or population, situation, disability, neuroprosthetic device, or other context.

The method enhances motor neuroprosthetics and BCI — design, signal classification, testing, training, and use — in the following ways:

  • Replaces an incorrect mind/brain paradigm with an essentially correct one.
  • Adds value to existing neuroscience knowledge; particularly that of (functional and structural) neural networks.
  • Shines new light on the environment/body/brain/mind-brain system.
  • Defines the mind — in any situation and measurement context — as a general memory set: its components & associations, and their connections and weights.
  • Enables classification of memory/FNN/brain signals across any movement context: people, disorder, situation (lab, home, work…), body/object spatial relationship, etc.
  • Allows brain signal, and noise, to be classified with greater accuracy and precision.
  • Clarifies functional neuroimaging experiments: goals, what is being targeted for (mind) expression, what is subsequently expressed & measured, what the data represents, etc.
  • Enables the design of BCI mind/brain “targets” that are stronger, more consistent, and more unique to that action.
  • Empowers the patient and her team to design more personalized, desirable, and easy-to-repeat state of mind “targets.”
  • Applies to both natural and artificial movement.
  • Can be used in addition to other approaches of neuroprosthetic/bci design, testing, training, and use.