To our Brain Everything is a Location: A Unified Theory of Neuroscience

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I graduated from my Neuroscience BSc back in 1998. The big takeaway from my degree was that as Francis Crick put it back in 1979

There is no theoretical framework for neuroscience

No over-arching theory about we go from neurone to brain. From perception to thinking, deciding, diverting attention. No unified view on how we encode data in our brain. How when we see a coffee is coffee cup, we recognise a coffee cup, we know what to do with a coffee cup, we pick it up and we can predict what’s inside.

Fast forward almost 40 years and it looks like we finally have that theory.

A Framework for Intelligence and Cortical Function Based on Grid Cells in the Neocortex for a neuroscience paper is easy-ish to read and understand.

The theory is simple and elegant. The groups of cells in our neocortex (the big ‘human’ bit of the brain) share a structure with the cells in our hippocampus. The hippocampus has been long known to help us map our body relative to the space around us. Mapping where our hands and feet are and the movements they make.

These Grid Cells in the neocortex use this same spatial encoding to encode objects and concepts. We represent ideas, objects and UIs as objects in space. We are all spatial thinkers.

Grid cells in the neocortex suggest all knowledge is learned and stored in the context of locations and location spaces and that “thinking” is the movement though these location spaces.

Ground breaking stuff. Finally a unified theory of neuroscience.

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