From artists, to writers, to philosophers, to scientists, to experts and dilettantes alike, our species as a whole has sought to understand the nature of emotions for centuries. The reason for this is multifaceted and includes the intrinsically curious nature of our kind and the fact that the experience of emotions is one of the most familiar phenomenon to us.
With this advanced course, our aim is to give room for discussions on how the brain and different peripheral systems influence each other. More specifically, we will ask how the digestive system, the gut-microbiome and the immune system shape, and are shaped, by the brain and the behaviour it produces. What is the evidence for these interactions? What are their possible underlying mechanisms?
Our efforts will be towards providing a forum for cross-talk between experts (in a language and atmosphere that is fruitful for students and non-expert scientists too) in different fields to critically evaluate some of the commonly held perspectives on the plausibility of establishing similarities, analogies and homologies in neuroscience.
In this workshop we would like to create a forum for discussion about several topics related to variability in biological systems and in the brain. We feel that these issues are still open and general enough that approaches from any one field can potentially be valuable in others. We are, thus, encouraging a diversity of themes and perspectives rather than a focus on any of them in particular.
The term “embodied cognition” appears with increasing regularity in cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and cognitive neuroscience. But what could possibly be exciting about the claim that cognition is embodied? After all, if the brain is part of the body, and thinking goes on in the brain, then isn’t cognition trivially embodied?
Since the 1990s, Reinforcement Learning has been pivotal in providing ideas for models of learning and decision making.
The most successful example is the understanding the activity of phasic dopaminergic neurons, but there are many more neural and behavioral applications.
It is the aim of this course to give the foundations of the models, with a hands-on approach, while making the connection to relevant concepts in psychology and neuroscience.