Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience

Professor Edmund T. Rolls

Theories of brain function and behaviour


Cerebral Cortex





The Noisy Brain



Emotion Explained



Memory, Attention, and Decision-Making



Neuroculture


Neural Networks and Brain Function

All these theories are closely linked to the discoveries made in the neuronal recording, functional neuroimaging, and patient investigation studies. 


Principles of Operation of the Cerebral Cortex (B12, 581).

 

A theory of emotion, and pleasure, and reward; and the principles of their implementation in the brain (B5, B11, B13, 273, 520, 148, 364, 428, 509, 526, 533, 534, 552, 579).


A theory of motivation (557).


In this context, a key principle in primates including humans is that reward value and emotional valence are represented in the orbitofrontal cortex (and amygdala), whereas before that, the representations are about objects and stimuli independently of value, in the inferior temporal visual cortex, the primary taste cortex in the insula, and in the olfactory cortex (B11, B13, B14). This provides for the separation of emotion from perception.


In this framework, the dopamine neurons are seen as receiving their information from brain regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex, via the ventral striatum and habenula (572, B11, B13, B14). Further, orbitofrontal cortex neurons encode reward value and hence emotion, independently of goal-related actions. The orbitofrontal cortex provides reward-related information to the cingulate cortex for action-outcome learning, and to the basal ganglia for habit-based responses (B11, B13, B14, 579).


The roles of the emotional and the reasoning systems in decision-making (497, 518, B5, B10, B11, B13).

 

A biased activation theory of top-down attentional and cognitive control (339, 488, 520, 530, B11, B12).

 

A theory and model of hippocampal operation and episodic memory (111, 125, 136, 163, 186, 200, 205, 258, 266, 268, 300, 306, 307, 309, 345, 370, 403, 411, 415, 433, 453, 479, 521, 527, 529, 539, 545, 550, 584, B12). This remains the only quantitative theory of the storage and recall of memories in the hippocampo-cortical system.


A theory for how hippocampal spatial view cells are involved in memory and navigation (584, 594, 539, B12).


A theory of how spatial view cells and hippocampal attractor networks are involved in the art of memory (using the method of loci) (571, 595).

 

A theory and model of invariant visual object recognition in the ventral visual system (162, 179, 192, 226, 245, 275, 277, 280, 283, 290, 304, 312, 396, 406, 414, 446, 455, 473, 485, 516, 535, 536, 554, 589, B12).

 

A theory of invariant global motion recognition in the dorsal visual system (413).

 

A theory of the utility of the stochastic dynamics of networks in the brain for decision-making and many other aspects of our behaviour, including creativity (404, 463, 477, 483, 491, 500, 502, 504, 507, 513, 518, 540, B9, B11, B12). The stochastic dynamics arises from the almost random (Poisson) firing times of cortical neurons for a given mean firing rate, and gives rise to the concept of The Noisy Brain (B9).

 

Theories of how alterations in the stability of cortical attractor networks can account for the symptoms of schizophrenia, of obsessive compulsive disorder, of depression, of normal aging, and for creativity. The theories (431, 436, 449, 450, 490, 503, 540, 559, 572, B12, B13, B14) have implications for treatment, and are complemented by neuroimaging investigations (538, 541, 563, 564, 565, 583, 585, 587, 588, 590, 591, 592, 596, B14).


A non-reward attractor theory of depression (559, 572, B13), supported by altered connectivity of the orbitofrontal cortex in depression (564, 583, 588, B13, B14), and a model of non-reward computation in the orbitofrontal cortex (562).

 

The roles of cortical attractor networks in short-term memory and top-down attention (294, 295, B6, 347, 360, 372, 379, 391, 410, 520, B8, 523, 530, B12).

 

The design of neural networks in the cortex by genetic evolution (284, B12).

 

A higher order syntactic thought (HOST) approach to consciousness (239, 341, 355, 398, 422, 432, 456, 493, 497, 525B11, B12, B13).

Separate limbic systems for emotion and memory, but no single limbic system (531).

The representation of information in the brain (172, 196, 204, 225, 227, 321, 255, 419, 474, 508, 231, 265, 329, 348, 351, 369, 517, 193, 197, 257, 407, 553, 561, B12).


The computational utility of diluted connectivity in attractor, pattern association, and competitive networks in the cerebral cortex (504, 515, 545, 550, B12).


A possible implementation of syntax in the brain (537).


Biological underpinnings of art and aesthetics (B10, 492, 509, 532, 556, 574).