Statedependent Information Processing

The notion that the brain operates in a strictly bottom-up, input-output processing system is rather widespread. Still, strong evidence supports the opposite view that the fate of sensory inputs entering the brain depends on the actual functional state of the brain at or just before stimulus entry. This idea of a top-down control of brain functions underlies the functional state-shift hypothesis formulated by Koukkou and Lehmann (1983, 1987) and is consistent with the concept of selection of neural prerepresentations by resonance or reward (Changeux 1983, 2005b; Dehaene et al. 1987; Dehaene and Changeux 1989, 1991). Indeed, electrophysiological recordings revealed that spontaneous fluctuations of electric activity at the time of stimulus arrival control the way a stimulus is going to be perceived and processed.

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