Decoding the Brain: Neural Representation and the Limits of Multivariate Pattern Analysis in Cognitive Neuroscience


Authors
David M. Kaplan
University of North Texas
Abstract
Since its introduction, multivariate pattern analysis, or ‘neural decoding’, has transformed the field of cognitive neuroscience. Underlying its influence is a crucial inference, which we call the decoder’s dictum: if information can be decoded from patterns of neural activity, then this provides strong evidence about what information those patterns represent. Although the dictum is a widely held and well-motivated principle in decoding research, it has received scant philosophical attention. We critically evaluate the dictum, arguing that it is false: decodability is a poor guide for revealing the content of neural representations. However, we also suggest how the dictum can be improved on, in order to better justify inferences about neural representation using MVPA. 1Introduction 2A Brief Primer on Neural Decoding: Methods, Application, and Interpretation 2.1What is multivariate pattern analysis? 2.2The informational benefits of multivariate pattern analysis 3Why the Decoder’s Dictum Is False 3.1We don’t know what information is decoded 3.2The theoretical basis for the dictum 3.3Undermining the theoretical basis 4Objections and Replies 4.1Does anyone really believe the dictum? 4.2Good decoding is not enough 4.3Predicting behaviour is not enough 5Moving beyond the Dictum 6Conclusion
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axx023
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,149
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Explaining Behaviour: Reasons in a World of Causes.Andy Clark - 1988 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (158):95-102.
Can Cognitive Processes Be Inferred From Neuroimaging Data?Russell A. Poldrack - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):59-63.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Content of Marr’s Information-Processing Framework.J. Brendan Ritchie - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (7):1078-1099.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

How to Interface Cognitive Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience?Hannu Tiitinen - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):148-149.
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness, Mysticism and Psi.B. L. Lancaster - forthcoming - International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.
Functional MRI and the Study of Human Consciousness.Dan Lloyd - 2002 - Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14 (6):818-831.
Neuroscience and the Explanation of Psychological Phenomena.Antti Revonsuo - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):847-849.
Engineering the Brain.Durstewitz Daniel - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (1):76-77.
Supervenience and Qualia.Ken Mogi - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):844-845.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-05-09

Total views
25 ( #378,118 of 2,289,308 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #75,551 of 2,289,308 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature