Section 1 – Constructing Cognitive Networks Using Polysingularity Framework


Unit 1/2 – Network as a Natural Representation Mechanism of the Human Brain

Human brain is a processing center that encodes, represents and transmits information through activating various neuronal patterns simultaneously. It maintains the rate of your breathing and pulse while you are aware of reading this text and thinking about what happens tomorrow – all at the same time. 

This multi-tasking ability is made possible through a combination of local and global synchronization. Local clusters of neurons engage in winnerless competetion to produce islands of non-equilibrium stability through synchronization. These islands synchronize globally to produce complex sensorimotor behaviors.

For example, in order to maintain your breathing, a certain group of neurons connected to your respiratory system is activated. Another group of neurons responsible for your heart beat is activated to maintain a steady heart rhythm. Other groups of neurons are responsible for recognizing the shapes of letters on this screen, putting them into letters, binding the letters into words, forming sentences, and making sense of those sentences. Japanese researchers could film the neuronal activity in the brain and it looks like a succession of flashes that arise in patterns at various parts of the brain: 

 

All of those groups of neurons can operate more or less independently, but they can also affect one another. For example, watching the video below for a few seconds is guaranteed to affect your heartbeat and breathing:


 
Your state changes from the one that is a comfortable and “stable” one to a slightly uncomfortable “agitated” one (faster heartbeat, faster breathing, acute awareness). This is a simple adaptive response of the organism to a change in external circumstances – a state that is “transitionary”. This new “transitionary” state will not last a long time and soon you will settle back again into another “stable” state. 

 

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Studies in cognitive science have shown that the “stable” states are characterized by a certain degree of synchronization across various neuronal and body rhythms (compare to harmony and synchronization in music). When they de-synchronize, we experience “transitionary” states that may feel uncomfortable and unstable (compare to “tension” and disharmony in music), which simply indicate that our body is busy adapting to an internal or external change. 

In this course we will learn how to modulate de-synchronization and to control it from spiralling out of control, so that it always stays connected to the safe “islands” of soma~cognitive stability. Such approach allows to maintain a higher degree of sensitivity and openness to the environment and yet having a firm ground to come back to, if needed.

When we practice Polysingularity we activate as many different groups of neurons as possible for any given situation to increase our adaptability. On the one side, having multiple points of view on a situation makes it easier to come up with multiple strategies to respond to any challenge that may arise. On the other side when several groups of neurons are activated, it is much less likely that most of them will be desyncronized by an external challenge. Therefore, we also increase stability of our internal mental states and at the same time keep those states sufficiently open for external input.