Response Selectivity, Neuron Doctrine, and Mach’s Principle in Perception

  • Ken Mogi


In this paper, I discuss the principle that bridges neural firing and perception, questioning some fundamental aspects of the neural correlates of conscious perception/cognition, which are central to the new trends in cognitive science. The assumption is that in order to understand perception, the state of neural firing in the brain is necessary and sufficient (the neuron doctrine in perception). The concept of response selectivity, currently the de facto central dogma in explaining the relation between neural firing and the mind, is found to be incompatible with the neuron doctrine. I put forward two new concepts, Mach’s principle in perception and the principle of interaction simultaneity. The latter is concerned with the origin of the subjective time. The approach outlined in this paper has elements common with the constructivist approch in cognitive science.


Visual Feature Proper Time Neural Correlate Twistor Space Response Selectivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barlow, H. (1972) Single units and sensation: A neuron doctrine for perceptual psychology? Perception 1:371–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chalmers, D. (1996) The Conscious Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Damasio, A. R. (1989) The brain binds entities and events by multiregional activation from convergence zones. Neural Computation 1: 123–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Einstein, A. (1905) Zur Elektodynamik bewegter Koerper. Ann. der Phys. 17: 891–921. English translation in: Stachel, J. (ed.) (1989) The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: The Swiss Years, Writings 1900–1909. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Glasersfeld, E. von (1995) Radical Constructivism. A Way of Knowing and Learning. The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  6. Glasersfeld, E. von (1996) The Conceptual construction of Time. Paper Presented at Mind and Time, Neuchâtel, 8–10 September 1996.Google Scholar
  7. Glasersfeld, E. von (1999) Piaget’s Legacy:Cognition as Adaptive Activity. This volume.Google Scholar
  8. Gray, C. M., König, P., Engel, A. K. & Singer, W. (1989) Oscillatory responses in cat visual cortex exhibit inter-columnar synchronization which reflects global stimulus properties. Nature 338: 334–337.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hammerof, S. & Penrose, R. (1996) Conscious events as orchestrated space-time selections. J. Consci. Stud. 3: 36–53.Google Scholar
  10. Hubel, D. H. & Wiesel, T. N. (1962) Receptive fields of single neurons in the cat’s striate cortex. J. Physiol. 148: 574–591.Google Scholar
  11. Land, E. H. (1983) Recent advances in retinex theory and some implications for cortical computations: color vision and the natural image. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A. 80: 5163–5169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Libet, B. (1985) Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behav. Brain Sci. 8: 529–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lockwood, M. (1989) Mind, Brain & the Quantum. The Compound “I”. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Malsburg, C. v. d. (1981) The correlation theory of brain function. Internal Report 81-2, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.Google Scholar
  15. Newsome W. T., Britten K. H., Movshon J. A. (1989) Neuronal correlates of a perceptual decision. Nature 341: 52–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Penrose, R. & Rindler, W. (1984) Spinors and space-time, vol I. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Penrose, R. & Rindler, W. (1986) Spinors and space-time, vol II. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Rolls, E. T. & Tovee, M. J. (1995) Sparseness of the neuronal representation of stimuli in the primate visual-cortex. J of Neurophysiol. 73: 713–726.Google Scholar
  19. Sherrington (1941) Man on his nature. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Singer, W. & Gray, C. M. (1995) Visual feature integration and the temporal correlation hypothesis. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 18: 555–588.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tanaka, K. (1993) Neuronal mechanisms of object recognition. Science 262: 685–688.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zeki, S. (1980) The representation of colours in the cerebral cortex. Nature 284: 412–418.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Mogi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Sony Computer Science Laboratory Inc.TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Physiological LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations