Towards physics of neural processes and behavior

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Abstract

Behavior of biological systems is based on basic physical laws, common across inanimate and living systems, and currently unknown physical laws that are specific for living systems. Living systems are able to unite basic laws of physics into chains and clusters leading to new stable and pervasive relations among variables (new physical laws) involving new parameters and to modify these parameters in a purposeful way. Examples of such laws are presented starting from the tonic stretch reflex. Further, the idea of control with referent coordinates is formulated and merged with the idea of hierarchical control and the principle of abundance. The notion of controlled stability of behaviors is linked to the idea of structured variability, which is a common feature across living systems and actions. The explanatory and predictive power of this approach is illustrated with respect to the control of both intentional and unintentional movements, the phenomena of equifinality and its violations, preparation to quick actions, development of motor skills, changes with aging and neurological disorders, and perception.

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