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Neuroheuristics (or Neuristics) studies the dynamic relations between the complex knowledge acquired by neuroscience by means of an approach not reducible in an expertise since it is continuously renewed at every stage of progress towards scientific discovery.


The word comes from the Greek νεύρον (neuron, which refers to the nerve cell[1]) and εύρισκω ("euriskein" heuristic, which refers to a problem-solving procedure that is often characterized by its informal, intuitive and speculative features[2]).


Neuroheuristics[3] defines a scientific paradigm aimed to develop strategies that can be enabled to understand brain and mind following subsequent problems emerging from transdisciplinary studies including philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physics, artificial intelligence, engineering, computer science, economics and mathematics.

The neuroheuristic paradigm was presented for the first time at the conference Entrer dans le XXIe siècle : de l'apoptose à la métamorphose, held in 1994 at the Centro Stefano Franscini Monte Verità, under the auspice of the XV Videart Festival Locarno.[4][not in citation given]

The research framework introduced by the neuroheuristic paradigm appears as an essential step for the investigation of the information processing effected by the brain because it is the outcome of nature and nurture, at the crossing of top-down and bottom-up design.

The neurobiologists apply a "bottom-up" research strategy in their studies. This strategy seems to prove necessary and sufficient to understand a brain in its entirety after the impressive achievements in studying the entire nervous system of a simple model organism, such as Caenorhabditis elegans.[5] However it is not wholly viable to actual experimentation considering the impossibility of simultaneously examining all cellular elements of the brain and all variables that affect those elements.

The "top-down" strategy with the assistance of black box theory[6] appears easier to bring to fulfillment but insufficient and irrelevant in understanding the mechanisms coordinating the local networks of cellular elements.[7] The neuroheuristic (or neuristic) paradigm offers as a needed and possible distinct approach to the study of brain and mind.[8] In this framework, a "result" cannot be simply positive or negative because the process itself cannot be reduced to proficiency as such. Dynamics is an essential feature of the neuroheuristic paradigm, but it cannot be merely considered as the neurobiological facet of holism as opposed to reductionism.


  1. ^ "Neuron". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  2. ^ "Structure of problems in thought". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  3. ^ "The Neuro Heuristic paradigm". Neuroheuristic Research Group. 
  4. ^ "Vers un nouveau paradigme en neurosciences" (PDF). Archives cantonales vaudoises, document reference PP 525/806. 
  5. ^ "A database featuring behavioral and structural anatomy of Caenorhabditis elegans".  "Specification of the nervous system of C. elegans".  White, J.G.; Southgate, E.; Thomson, J.N.; Brenner, S. (1986). "The Structure of the Nervous System of the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 314 (1165): 1–340. doi:10.1098/rstb.1986.0056. PMID 22462104.  Jabr, Ferris. "The Connectome Debate: Is Mapping the Mind of a Worm Worth It?". Scientific American. 
  6. ^ Botterill, George; Carruthers, Peter (1999). The Philosophy of Psychology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521559157.  Von Hilgers, Philipp (2011). "The History of the Black Box: The Clash of a Thing and its Concept". Cultural Politics. 7 (1): 41–58. 
  7. ^ Burke, Robert E. (2007). "Sir Charles Sherrington's the integrative action of the nervous system: a centenary appreciation". Brain. 130 (4): 887–894. doi:10.1093/brain/awm022. PMID 17438014. 
  8. ^ Taylor, John G.; Villa, Alessandro E.P. (2001). "The "Conscious I": A Neuroheuristic Approach to the Mind". Frontiers of Life. 3: 349–368. ISBN 9780120773404.  Villa, Alessandro E.P. (2000). "Neuroheuristics, a new paradigm in neuroscience". Rev Med Suisse Romande. 120 (9): 743–748. PMID 11094540.  Villa, Alessandro E.P. (2008). "Neural Coding in the Neuroheuristic Perspective". Biosemiotics. 1: 357–377. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-6340-4_16.  Villa, Alessandro E.P.; Missonnier, Pascal; Lintas, Alessandra (2012). "Neuroheuristics of Decision Making: From Neuronal Activity to EEG". Intelligent Systems Reference Library. 28: 159–194. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-24647-0_7.