Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Neuronal Inspiration

Neuronal inspiration is often used as a synonym for the idea that parallel distributed processing networks are biologically inspired (Rumelhart & McClelland, 1986).  That is, to inspire the construction of a PDP network by examining the functional components of the brain is to be neuronally inspired.  However, neuronal inspiration can have a more specific interpretation (Dawson, 1998, 2004): the idea that the functional components of a PDP processor (compute net input, activate, and send output) map on to the information processing abilities of individual neurons (receive graded potentials, sum their effects in cell soma, generate an action potential (or not) depending upon this sum).


  1. Dawson, M. R. W. (1998). Understanding Cognitive Science. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  2. Dawson, M. R. W. (2004). Minds And Machines: Connectionism And Psychological Modeling. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  3. Rumelhart, D. E., & McClelland, J. L. (1986). Parallel Distributed Processing, V.1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

(Added April 2011)