A New I-Phi Web Page for Donald Hebb

Donald Hebb

Donald O. Hebb was a Canadian psychologist whose 1949 book The Organization of Behavior put forward what he called his “neuropsychological postulate,” the assumption that cognitive processes like perception and learning can be understood in terms of the connections between assemblies of neurons. Hebb’s thesis was that behavior is to be understood entirety in terms of brain function.

He is considered the father of neural network theory, which is central to artificial intelligence research. These networks or “cell assemblies” were connected in ways that control the responses to various stimuli.

It is a model for leaning often called “Hebbian learning.” He described his “neuropsychological postulate” as this assumption:

When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A’s efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased.

Hebb, D. O. (1949). The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory. New York: Wiley and Sons, p.62

This assumption is often paraphrased as “Neurons that fire together wire together.

The Experience Recorder and Reproducer (ERR) model of information philosophy is built on Hebb’s assumption as the basis of the Recorder stage, where the Reproducer depends on this extension of Hebb’s insight.

Neurons that were wired together in the past will fire together in the future.

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