The Mind Within the Net: Models of Learning, Thinking, and Acting

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MIT Press, 1999 - Medical - 359 pages
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How does the brain work? How do billions of neurons bring about ideas, sensations, emotions, and actions? Why do children learn faster than elderly people? What can go wrong in perception, thinking, learning, and acting? Scientists now use computer models to help us to understand the most private and human experiences. In The Mind Within the Net, Manfred Spitzer shows how these models can fundamentally change how we think about learning, creativity, thinking, and acting, as well as such matters as schools, retirement homes, politics, and mental disorders.

Neurophysiology has told us a lot about how neurons work; neural network theory is about how neurons work together to process information. In this highly readable book, Spitzer provides a basic, nonmathematical introduction to neural networks and their clinical applications. Part I explains the fundamental theory of neural networks and how neural network models work. Part II covers the principles of network functioning and how computer simulations of neural networks have profound consequences for our understanding of how the brain works. Part III covers applications of network models (e.g., to knowledge representation, language, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease) that shed new light on normal and abnormal states of mind. Finally, Spitzer concludes with his thoughts on the ramifications of neural networks for the understanding of neuropsychology and human nature.


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Vectors in the Head
H Principles
Hidden Layers
Semantic Networks
The Disordered Mind
Thoughts and Impressions

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About the author (1999)

Manfred Spitzer ist Professor fA1/4r Psychiatrie an der UniversitAt Ulm, wo er die UniversitAtsklinik fA1/4r Psychiatrie und das Transferzentrum fA1/4r Neurowissenschaften und Lernen (ZNL) leitet. Er studierte Medizin, Psychologie und Philosophie in Freiburg. Nach den Promotionen in Medizin (1983) und Philosophie (1985) sowie dem Diplom in Psychologie (1984) und einer Weiterbildung zum Facharzt fA1/4r Psychiatrie prAgten zwei Gastprofessuren an der Harvard-UniversitAt und ein weiterer Forschungsaufenthalt an der University of Oregon seine wissenschaftliche Arbeit an der Schnittstelle von Neurobiologie, Psychologie und Psychiatrie, bevor er an der Psychiatrischen UniversitAtsklinik in Heidelberg Oberarzt wurde und 1997 nach Ulm ging. Sein mit A1/4ber 100 Publikationen umfangreiches wissenschaftliches Werk wurde 1992 mit dem Forschungspreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft fA1/4r Psychiatrie und Nervenheilkunde und 2002 mit dem Preis der Cogito-Foundation zur FArderung der Zusammenarbeit von Geistes- und Naturwissenschaften ausgezeichnet.

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