Technical Program

Paper Detail

Paper: PS-2A.49
Session: Poster Session 2A
Location: H Lichthof
Session Time: Sunday, September 15, 17:15 - 20:15
Presentation Time:Sunday, September 15, 17:15 - 20:15
Presentation: Poster
Publication: 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience, 13-16 September 2019, Berlin, Germany
Paper Title: Sources of Evidence for Neural Representation
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
License: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Authors: Tyler Brooke-Wilson, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), United States
Abstract: A crucial methodological question for cognitive neuroscience is the question of what constitutes evidence of neural representation. A number of critiques over the last decade have challenged the view that correlation alone, as measured by neural decoding, is sufficient to establish representation. In response to such critiques, correlation is often augmented by a behavioral measure, showing that the decoding accuracy of a classifier and some behavioral performance measure are themselves correlated. I argue that correlation and behavioral causation together are nevertheless still insufficient for establishing representation. Inferring the existence of a neural representation on the basis of correlation and behavior alone is liable to both false positives and false negatives. Reflection on one common theory of representation (functional homomorphism theory, proposed by King and Gallistel 2010) elucidates why correlation + behavior is insufficient and suggests more direct sources of evidence. I present this theory and explain its implications for the question of empirical evidence of representation. Along the way I draw out some of the connections between the functional homomorphism theory of representation and predictive theories of perception.