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: