Functional modules of the brain

Lars Philipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


Building on the view of massive modularity, a number of generalized assumptions lead to an entirely new concept of functional brain modules. In contrast to the nerve centers usually considered to be active in the brain, these modules, called symbions, are non-localized, non-hierarchical, and based on subcellular molecular mechanisms rather than on neurons. They act according to local rules that may be fundamentally nonlinear, potentially leading to strong interdependencies between parallel inputs, and they interact by information, not by force. The existence of inner states, feedback loops, internal models, and information encoding provide the basis for a higher complexity than is usually assumed in neuroscience. A map of the symbion world, showing functional rather than physical localization, can be used to illustrate symbion interaction patterns. Perceptual constancy, sensory illusions, visual cognition, and eye-hand coordination are used as examples of what can be explained by using the new theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


  • Mental Processes : physiology
  • Models
  • Neurological
  • Psychomotor Performance : physiology
  • Visual Perception : physiology
  • Human
  • Brain : physiology


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