The supernatural in your brain

Some limits on interpreting causality in neuroscience experiments

Causality is the killer test for science. And nowhere is causality more elusive than in neuroscience. We want answers to seemingly simple questions. Does the activity of neuron “Alice” cause behaviour “Boris”? The answers are not forthcoming, for the simple reason that brains are phenomenally complex, constructed from neuron upon neuron upon neuron. If a rat’s motor cortex contains one million neurons, then how many of those are needed to make its whisker twitch? One? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? All of them? The answer is “somewhere in between”. And “somewhere in between” is a vast territory to explore. ….[READ]