Connecting the dots: The organization of interaction in centralized, decentralized, and distributed networks

| Comparing types of network design | In the early 1960s, as an introduction to a series of memoranda entitled “On Distributed Communications,” Baran made the case for shifting existing communication systems from analog-based, hierarchically organized networks to an innovative, digital, distributed type of network. He maintained that the greater connectivity and localized control of […]

Systems of organization: Ladders, webs, and fractals as organizing structures

If we look carefully, we can see systems literally everywhere. But what exactly are we looking for? Why does our perspective matter? And how do different perspectives affect how we think about the world? There are all kinds of systems: physical (mechanical, infrastructure, environmental, physiological), social (political, economical, legal, health care), informational (ideological, mathematical, linguistic). […]

The Power of Networks: Complexity, patterns, fractals, and scale | Gaia Marcus • Manuel Lima

Gaia Marcus: Something we’re examining is how people need to understand complexity… We’re taught that A plus B equals C but that’s not actually how that works at the more complex level. And something you touch on… was how order and disorder, or order and complexity are actually two poles of the same phenomena and […]

Collage: Visual Complexity

Although there are important distinctions between the physical processes of the brain and the processing of information within the brain, one key similarity is the role of networks. Even as researchers, designers, and technologists advance our capacity for the conscious understanding of big data, we should remember that we are basically attempting to bring forth into the world that which is already […]

The stories we tell ourselves: Cognition, brain networks, and points of view

What if networks in the brain correspond to different ways of interpreting information? In their article about a large-scale brain networks framework of cognition, Bressler and Menon describe three major networks: central executive, default mode, and salience. The executive network is “responsible for high-level cognitive functions, notably the control of attention and working memory”, the […]

Large-scale networks in cognition: Emerging methods and principles | Steven Bressler • Vinod Menon

The study of cognition is moving beyond the idea that specific areas of the brain are independently responsible for the full range of cognitive functions. Scientists are learning more about how the coordinated activity of areas across the brain also plays a role in thought, feeling, and behavior. This network perspective involves exploring larger scales […]

Different perspectives: Creativity, awareness, and the third person point of view

For most people, the metaphor of the meandering creative brain resonates deeply because in many ways our conceptual sense of what it means to be creative emerges from our physical experience of meandering, of wandering, of exploring new places and rediscovering familiar ones. Krista Tippett (On Being) | A heightened potential for creativity [Rex Jung […]

Scott Barry Kaufman (Scientific American) | The real neuroscience of creativity

According to Kaufman, creativity involves three major neural networks in the brain: Executive Attention, Default [Imagination], and Salience. In his argument against an oversimplified right brain versus left brain perspective, he also speaks to the role of imaginative activity in the creative process. The latest findings from the real neuroscience of creativity suggest that the right […]

danah boyd (Web2.0 Expo) | Streams of content, limited attention: The flow of information through social media

For the last few centuries, we have been living in an era of broadcast media, but we have been switching to an era of networked media. This fundamentally alters the structure by which information flows. As networked technologies proliferate around the world, we can assume that there is a channel of distribution available to everyone […]

Gail Gallessich (Futurity) | Brain’s flexibility predicts learning

There are flexible brain regions with allegiances that change through time. “That flexibility seems to be the factor that predicts learning,” says Bassett. “So, if you are very flexible, then you will end up learning better on the second day, and if you are not very flexible, then you learn less…”A brain’s flexibility is determined […]

The power of networks: Knowledge in an age of infinite interconnectedness | Manuel Lima

I’m going to talk today about the power of networks and the challenge of mapping an increasingly complex world. And I’m actually gonna start this talk with trees…This widespread metaphor it’s so so popular because it really expresses a human desire for order, for symmetry, for hierarchy, for simplicity, for balance and unity. Trees are […]