Windows on the Brain
Monitoring brain activity requires methods with appropriate resolutions. Field potential analysis (EEG and MEG), imaging of energy production (fMRI), optical recording methods, and single-cell recording techniques are dominant in contemporary cognitive-behavioral neuroscience. Unfortunately, even combined they fall short of explaining how neuronal groups generate representations of environments and appropriate responses. In the brain, behaviors emerge from the interaction of neurons and neuronal pools. Studying these processes requires the simultaneous monitoring of large numbers of neurons in multiple areas. Large-scale recording from multiple single neurons with tetrodes or silicon probes is an attempt at this. However, these methods are invasive and cannot be used to investigate the healthy human brain. Many other methods, such as pharmacological manipulations, macroscopic and microscopic imaging, and molecular biological tools, can provide insights, but all these indirect observations should be reconverted into neuronal spike trains to understand the brain's control of behavior.
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