Intuition and big data in neuroscience

Thoughtful essay from Eve Marder on how science progresses.

A deeper cause for my trepidation comes from the existence of parallel pathways and multiple solutions in large brains. Detailed connectomes will assuredly show the extent to which neurons and brain regions are connected by multiple parallel pathways. While we can speculate that parallel pathways can provide additional robustness to circuits, or increase their dynamic range and flexibility, they make it far more difficult to predict the outcome of a specific pattern of activity or understand the results of a perturbation. As the number of parallel pathways and brain circuit loops increase, deducing how information flows through large and multiply interconnected circuits and why and under which contexts will be a challenge for many, many years to come.