Computational neuroscience

Computational neuroscience is the field of study in which mathematical tools and theories are used to investigate brain function. It can also incorporate diverse approaches from electrical engineering, computer science and physics in order to understand how the nervous system processes information.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    How do we recognize the individual faces of our family members, friends and acquaintances across the variation that is common in daily life? Zhan and colleagues demonstrate the importance of three-dimensional structure in the representations of known individuals and argue that texture—the surface properties of faces—plays little role in representation.

    • Nicholas Blauch
    •  & Marlene Behrmann
  • News and Views |

    Classic theories of reinforcement learning and neuromodulation rely on reward prediction errors. A new machine learning technique relies on neuromodulatory signals that are optimized for specific tasks, which may lead to better AI and better explanations of neuroscience data.

    • Blake A. Richards
  • News and Views |

    Disproportionate reactions to unexpected stimuli and greater attention to perceived threat are cardinal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Computational psychiatry helps explain how these responses develop and result from abnormalities in learning and prediction during and after traumatic events.

    • Peggy Seriès
    Nature Neuroscience 22, 334-336
  • News and Views |

    Variability is a ubiquitous aspect of neural recordings. In an influential paper, Churchland et al. (2010) compiled data from many cortical areas to demonstrate that variability generally decreases upon presentation of a stimulus. What are the implications of this finding?

    • Adrienne L. Fairhall
    Nature Neuroscience 22, 329-330
  • Comments and Opinion |

    The development of systems combining rapid volumetric imaging with three-dimensional tracking has enabled the measurement of brain-wide dynamics in freely behaving animals such as worms, flies, and fish. These advances provide an exciting opportunity to understand the organization of neural circuits in the context of voluntary and natural behaviors. In this Comment, we highlight recent progress in this burgeoning area of research.

    • John A. Calarco
    •  & Aravinthan D. T. Samuel
    Nature Methods 16, 14-15
  • Research Highlights |

    Dopamine released in the rodent prefrontal cortex increases the signal-to-noise ratio of responses to aversive stimuli that are transmitted to the periaqueductal grey.

    • Natasha Bray