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  1. Information Theory’s Failure in Neuroscience: On the Limitations of Cybernetics.Lance Nizami - 2014 - In Proceedings of the IEEE 2014 Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century.
    In Cybernetics (1961 Edition), Professor Norbert Wiener noted that “The role of information and the technique of measuring and transmitting information constitute a whole discipline for the engineer, for the neuroscientist, for the psychologist, and for the sociologist”. Sociology aside, the neuroscientists and the psychologists inferred “information transmitted” using the discrete summations from Shannon Information Theory. The present author has since scrutinized the psychologists’ approach in depth, and found it wrong. The neuroscientists’ approach is highly related, but remains unexamined. Neuroscientists (...)
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  • Paradigm Versus Praxis: Why Psychology ‘Absolute Identification’ Experiments Do Not Reveal Sensory Processes.Lance Nizami - 2013 - Kybernetes 42:1447-1456.
    Purpose – A key cybernetics concept, information transmitted in a system, was quantified by Shannon. It quickly gained prominence, inspiring a version by Harvard psychologists Garner and Hake for “absolute identification” experiments. There, human subjects “categorize” sensory stimuli, affording “information transmitted” in perception. The Garner-Hake formulation has been in continuous use for 62 years, exerting enormous influence. But some experienced theorists and reviewers have criticized it as uninformative. They could not explain why, and were ignored. Here, the “why” is answered. (...)
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  • Homunculus Strides Again: Why ‘Information Transmitted’ in Neuroscience Tells Us Nothing.Lance Nizami - 2015 - Kybernetes 44:1358-1370.
    Purpose – For half a century, neuroscientists have used Shannon Information Theory to calculate “information transmitted,” a hypothetical measure of how well neurons “discriminate” amongst stimuli. Neuroscientists’ computations, however, fail to meet even the technical requirements for credibility. Ultimately, the reasons must be conceptual. That conclusion is confirmed here, with crucial implications for neuroscience. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Shannon Information Theory depends upon a physical model, Shannon’s “general communication system.” Neuroscientists’ interpretation of that model is (...)
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