Review

Navigating cognition: Spatial codes for human thinking

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Science  09 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6415, eaat6766
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6766

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  • RE: THE MYTH OF FALSIFIABILITY IN THE ASSESSMENT OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES
    • Arturo Tozzi, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of North Texas

    It has been stated that "a founding principle in science is the ability to falsify your theory". This logical, Popperian tenet, dating back to the first half of the 20th Century, has been fully discarded, in particular by Lakatos, and then by Sokal, Bartley III, and so on.
    A scientific theory does not need to be falsifiable, rather simply requires experimentally testable, quantifiable previsions that must be treated with statistic methods to evaluate their probability.
    To give an example related to the scientific (not philosophical!) theory of the multidimensional brain, the "geometric codes that map information domains" can be tested by looking at the required hidden symmetries, possibly endowed in the real neurodata provided by currently-available techniques, such as EEG, fMRI.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: philisophical theories of brain function

    A founding principle in science is the ability to falsify your theory. After reading the article, I am left wondering, how could you falsify "geometric codes that map information domains"? If a clear experimental design to falsify the theory does not exist, then the theory does not stand up to the rigors of science.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: "how a continuous code can be extended to map additional dimensions?"
    • Arturo Tozzi, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of North Texas

    In this intriguing paper, the Authors define a concept as "a set of CONVEX (i.e., positive curvature) regions of similar stimuli". Such regions might also display other types of curvatures, such as CONCAVE ones. Indeed, several studies point towards many biological and physical dynamics taking place in negative-curvature phase spaces: this is because trajectories on hyperbolic manifolds allow a more manageable treatment of many of the required equations, such as, e.g., the Fokker-Plank ones. Further, parallel transport from Euclidean spaces to concave manifold allows the assessment of nervous multidimensional dynamics in terms of symmetry breaks, and the latter, i.e., a successful approach borrewed from physics, would be very useful in the description and categorization of higher-dimensional manifolds.
    Linked to the issue of the multidimensional brain and nervous symmetries, stands the fundamental question raised by the Authors: "how a continuous code can be extended to map additional dimensions"?
    In order to answer, the "evidence of topological representations of spaces in rodents and humans" paves the way to the use of an algebraic topological tool, i.e., the Borsuk-Ulam theorem: provided a function is continuous (in this case, "spatially specific cells provide a continuous code"), a single feature in one dimension (say, a sports car) maps to two features with matching description in a dimension higher (two sports c...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.