Neuroscience seeks to understand how neural circuits lead to behavior. However, the gap between circuits and behavior is too wide. An intermediate level is one of neural computations, which occur in individual neurons and populations of neurons. Some computations seem to be canonical: repeated and combined in different ways across the brain. To understand neural computations, we must record from a myriad of neurons in multiple brain regions. Understanding computation guides research in the underlying circuits and provides a language for theories of behavior.
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Most of these thoughts have arisen from conversations with colleagues, among them D.J. Heeger, J. Schmidhuber, R.I. Wilson, J.A. Movshon and the attendees of the 2009 meeting on Canonical Neural Computation (http://www.carandinilab.net/canonicalneuralcomputation2009). The author's research is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (grant G0800791) and by the European Research Council (project CORTEX). The author holds the GlaxoSmithKline/Fight for Sight Chair in Visual Neuroscience.
The author declares no competing financial interests.
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Carandini, M. From circuits to behavior: a bridge too far?. Nat Neurosci 15, 507–509 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3043
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