Modeling the human brain: Are we more than the sum of our parts?

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ORIGINAL: Research At Google

How does the human brain work? What is happening when the brain generates cognitions? One way to think of the brain is as a series of connected systems, with brain function emerging from the various “network” connections that exist between neurons. During the last several decades, there has been an explosion of methods one can use to measure and quantify network operations in the human brain, and yet how the brain and its structure uniquely allows an individual to sleep, generate emotions, and create innovative ideas, remains an open area of research with many unanswered questions.

Recently, University of Toronto Psychology Professor Rotman Research Institute ( Director Randy McIntosh ( spoke at Google about The Virtual Brain (TVB,,

an international project that uses real neuroimaging data to construct a simulation of the human brain, with the goal of regenerating via simulation the data that is measured when an actual human being is thinking. By doing so, TVB aims to provide a means to merge available neurophysical data with the goal of understanding what it is about the “function-structure confluence” in a brain that forms the basis of cognitive architectures.

Watch a brief synopsis of TVB below as well as the longer talk given at Google at, which includes a peak at a side project called My Virtual Dream, in which small groups of people interact with TVB through wireless EEG headsets, modifying an immersive audiovisual environment that mimics a dream and augmenting the group experience.

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