Chapter

Can We Understand the Action of Brains in Natural Environments?

Hermann Wagner and Bernhard Gaese

in 23 Problems in Systems Neuroscience

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195148220
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864676 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148220.003.0002

Series: Computational Neuroscience Series

 Can We Understand the Action of Brains in Natural Environments?

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One of the major challenges for future research will lie in trying to reconcile current reductionist approaches and results with the real demands of nervous systems: the online operation of brains and organisms in natural environments. In other words, can we understand the action of brains in natural environments? This chapter begins by introducing the early concepts formulated by the ethologists to define the problem. It then illustrates one case—hunting in the barn owl—in some detail to sketch a philosophy toward a possible way to obtain answers to this question, and finally the chapter ends with some general remarks.

Keywords: behavioral neuroscience; barn owl; hunting; brain; reductionist approaches; natural environments

Chapter.  8706 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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