By Elena Blanco-Suárez
One of the most common metaphors in neuroscience is that the brain is like a computer. Yet this comparison fails to illustrate how complex our brains are. The brain, like a computer, receives information and analyzes it. However, there are substantial differences in the way a computer or a brain manages information as well as how and from where it receives the inputs, among many other reasons that render the analogy inaccurate.
Eric Jonas from UC Berkeley and Konrad Kording from Northwestern University in Chicago took this metaphor a step further in an amusing – though slightly disheartening – article in PLOS Computational Biology, alluringly titled Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? Their intention was to confront the possibility that current neuroscience techniques might not be the best to decipher the workings of the brain. To do this they analyzed a microprocessor as if it were a brain. They collected…