Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hebb's Rule: Neurons That Fire Together Wire Together

The above figure illustrates Donald O. Hebb's most original hypothesis (which is yet to be proven): The reverbatory cell assembly formed via correlated activity. Hebb theorized that increasing connection strength due to correlated activity would cause chains of association to form, some of which could maintain subsequent activation for some period of time as a form of short term memory (due to autoassociation).
The Hebbian Learning Rule: 'Neurons that fire together wire together' (1949)

Donals O. Hebb's (1904-1985) most famous idea, that neurons with correlated activity increase their synaptic connection strength, was based on the more general concept of association of correlated ideas by philosopher David Hume (1739) and others. Hebb expanded on this by postulating the 'cell assembly', in which networks of neurons representing features associate to form distributed chains of percepts, actions, and/or concepts.

Hebb, who was a student of Karl Lashley, followed in the tradition of distributed processing (discounting localizationist views).

Implication: The mind, largely governed by reward-seeking behavior, is implemented in an electro-chemical organ with distributed and modular function consisting of excitatory and inhibitory neurons communicating via convergent and divergent synaptic connections strengthened by correlated activity.

Donald Olding Hebb

You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life by  Jeffrey M. Schwartz Ph.D. and Rebecca Gladding MD

"Two neuroscience experts explain how their 4-Step Method can help identify negative thoughts and change bad habits for good.

A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.

Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want—to make your brain work for you—is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength.

You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.

"How can the brain, which is just a complex network of interconnected nerve cells, give rise to consciousness and to thought? Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and Dr. Rebecca Gladding argue, persuasively, that the mind actually has massive causal effects on the functioning of the brain. In other words, you can not only change the way you think, feel and behave through conscious effort when you're upset, but you can also change the programming and chemistry of your brain. A compelling and important message."
David Burns, M.D., author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

The idea that we can deliberately and systematically change our brains with our minds was once thought ridiculous.  But now, largely due to Jeffrey Schwartz and his UCLA research on neuro-plasticity and OCD, this once revolutionary idea is well accepted.  Rebecca Gladding and Jeffrey Schwartz adapt Schwartz’s extraordinarily successful program for a mainstream audience giving simple, self-directed tools to help achieve greater happiness, emotional balance, and overall well-being.”
Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child

This new book is very similar to Brain Lock.

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