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BrainSpace: Relating Neuroscience to Knowledge About Everyday Life

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Knowledge about the brain and the human nervous system ultimately relates to human thought, perception, and behavior. People use natural languages like English to talk about “common sense” concepts, but the brain processes that produce them are described in a highly technical vocabulary. BrainSpace tries to relate technical concepts in anatomy and chemistry to a general body of common sense knowledge, Open Mind Common Sense. It uses the novel inference technique of Blending, to perform joint inference between technical neuroscience knowledge and common sense knowledge, and vice versa. The current paper reports preliminary results showing that BrainSpace’s inference organizes concepts such as the “visual brain,” “dynamic brain,” and deep brain stimulation in an intuitively plausible manner, indicating that it can serve as a foundation for interpreting more specific experimental and medical data.

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We thank Ed Boyden, Kevin Gold, Mark Marchionni, Marvin Minsky, and Sebastian Seung,Elizabeth Hawkins, Catherine Havasi, Kenneth C. Arnold for contributing their advice and expertise in neuroscience. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the MIT Mind-Machine Project (MMP).

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Correspondence to Newton Howard.

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Howard, N., Lieberman, H. BrainSpace: Relating Neuroscience to Knowledge About Everyday Life. Cogn Comput 6, 35–44 (2014).

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