Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Computational Models in Neurosciences Between Mechanistic and Phenomenological Characterizations

Version 1 : Received: 13 January 2022 / Approved: 14 January 2022 / Online: 14 January 2022 (11:28:41 CET)

How to cite: Gauld, C.; Brun, C.; Boraud, T.; Carlu, M.; Depannemaecker, D. Computational Models in Neurosciences Between Mechanistic and Phenomenological Characterizations. Preprints 2022, 2022010206 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202201.0206.v1). Gauld, C.; Brun, C.; Boraud, T.; Carlu, M.; Depannemaecker, D. Computational Models in Neurosciences Between Mechanistic and Phenomenological Characterizations. Preprints 2022, 2022010206 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202201.0206.v1).

Abstract

Computational neuroscience combines mathematics, computer science models, and neurosciences for theorizing, investigating, and simulating neural systems involved in the development, structure, physiology, and cognitive abilities of the brain. Computational models constitute a major stake in translational neuroscience: the analytical understanding of these models seems fundamental to consider a translation towards clinical applications. Method: We propose a minimal typology of computational models, which allows distinguishing between more realistic models (e.g., mechanistic models) and pragmatic models (e.g., phenomenological models). Result: Understanding the translational aspects of computational models goes far beyond the intrinsic characteristics of models. First, we assume that a computational model is rarely uniquely mechanistic or phenomenological. Idealization seems necessary because of i) the researcher’s perspectives on the phenomena and the purposes of the study (i.e., by the relativity of the model); ii) The complexity of reality across different levels and therefore the nature and number of dimensions required to consider a phenomenon. Especially, the use of models goes far beyond their function, and requires considering external characteristics rooted in path dependence, interdisciplinarity, and pluralism in neurosciences. Conclusion: The unreasonable use of computational models, which are highly complex and subject to a shift in their initial function, could be limited by bringing to light such factors.

Keywords

Computing Methodologies; Computer Simulation; Models, Biological; Models, Theoretical; Theoretical neurosciences

Subject

LIFE SCIENCES, Other

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