The Complementary Brain: From Brain Dynamics To Conscious Experiences
How do our brains so effectively achieve adaptive behavior in a changing world? Evidence is reviewed that brains are organized into parallel processing streams with complementary properties. Hierarchical interactions within each stream and parallel interactions between streams create coherent behavioral representations that overcome the complementary deficiencies of each stream and support unitary conscious experiences. This perspective suggests how brain design reflects the organization of the physical world with which brains interact, and suggests an alternative to the computer metaphor suggesting that brains are organized into independent modules. Examples from perception, learning, cognition, and action are described, and theoretical concepts and mechanisms by which complementarity is accomplished are summarized.