# Cortical Function, Normative Models of

**DOI:**https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_279-1

## Definition

Normative models of cortical function are a class of models that are related to or derived from a well-defined mathematical objective function. They allow to understand the brain’s solution to a certain computational problem in relation to an optimal solution that maximizes the chosen objective function, if such a solution can be found.

## Detailed Description

Normative models of cortical function are much like other computational models of the cortex. They try to describe and explain experimental data and make predictions that can be used to falsify them (Dayan and Abbott 2001). But rather than directly asking how the brain solves a particular computational problem, one first asks what the *optimal solution*to this problem is. Then the actual solution embodied in the brain may be understood as a specific implementation of this optimal solution or a reasonable approximation to it. Thus, by using normative models, one approaches the question of how the brain works by first...

## References

- Dayan P, Abbott LF (2001) Theoretical neuroscience: computational and mathematical modeling of neural systems. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- Doya K, Ishii S, Pouget A, Rao RPN (eds) (2007) Bayesian brain: probabilistic approaches to neural coding. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar