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“A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.” – G. Lichtenberg Although the brain-computer metaphor has served cognitive psychology well, research in cognitive neuroscience has revealed many important differences between brains and computers.

Similarly, networks of neurons can fire in relative synchrony or in relative disarray; this coherence affects the strength of the signals received by downstream neurons.One consequence of this over-simplification is that we are only now learning that “memory” regions (such as the hippocampus) are also important for imagination, the representation of novel goals, spatial navigation, and other diverse functions.Similarly, one could imagine there being a “language module” in the brain, as there might be in computers with natural language processing programs.Since their simple 2-layer networks could not solve many important problems, Minksy & Papert reasoned that that larger networks also could not.In contrast, the computations performed by more realistic (i.e., nonlinear) networks are highly dependent on the number of layers – thus, “perceptrons” grossly underestimate the computational power of neural networks.

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