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Monday, July 20 • 6:20pm - 6:40pm
O14: Reconciling emergences: An information-theoretic approach to identify causal emergence in multivariate data

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Pedro Mediano, Fernando Rosas, Henrik Jensen, Anil Seth, Adam Barrett, Robin Carhart-Harris, Daniel Bor

The broad concept of emergence is instrumental in various key open scientific questions – yet, few quantitative theories of what constitutes emergent phenomena have been proposed. We introduce a formal theory of causal emergence in multivariate systems, which studies the relationship between the dynamics of parts of a system and macroscopic features of interest. Our theory provides a quantitative definition of downward causation, and introduces a complementary modality of emergent behaviour, which we refer to as causal decoupling. Moreover, we provide criteria that can be efficiently calculated in large systems, making the theory applicable in a range of practical scenarios. We illustrate our framework in a number of case studies, including Conway’s Game of Life and ECoG data from macaques during a reaching task, which suggest that the neural representation of motor behaviour may be causally decoupled from cortical activity.

Speakers
avatar for Pedro Mediano

Pedro Mediano

Post-doctoral researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge


Monday July 20, 2020 6:20pm - 6:40pm CEST
Crowdcast
  Oral, Structural and Functional Connectivity
  • Moderator Sacha van Albada; Ingo Bojak