Editor’s Introduction - Issue 21.1

The collected works of Warren S. McCulloch are vast. Our goal in re-introducing them through this four-part series in E:CO is to whet the reader’s appetite for the wealth of insight found in the full four-volume collection. We also hope to excite the researcher with our use of latent semantic analysis tools in creating a context in which to place the McCulloch works. The 30+ years during which the collection lay fallow deprived current day researchers of a what should have been a rich intellectual ecology to situate the works. Our goal with the use of technology is to provide researchers with a similar intellectual habitus.

The first issue in this four-part series contains five articles by McCulloch:

  1. Recollections of the Many Sources of Cybernetics (Chapter 1, Vol. 1)
  2. A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity (Chapter 33, Vol.1)
  3. Functional Organization in the Sensory Cortex of the Monkey (Macaca Mulatta) (Chapter 7, Vol. 1)
  4. Factors for Facilitation and Extinction in the Central Nervous System (Chapter 11, Vol. 1)
  5. The Statistical Organization of Nervous Activity (Chapter 58, Vol. 2)

In general, my selection of which articles should go in each issue was guided by their volume placement and their number of citations. In addition, I exercised a bit of editorial judgment to keep like concepts somewhat together. The selection of “Recollections of the Many Sources of Cybernetics” was somewhat obvious given that this set of issues and the second edition is the work of the American Society for Cybernetics. As of February 2020, it was cited more than 80 times according to Google Scholar. By contrast, "Logical Calculus" has been cited more than 18,600 times and is clearly regarded as McCulloch’s seminal work. The other three articles have been cited between 80 and 150 times.

There are, of course, some commonalities amongst the articles. When their contents are run through the American Society for Cybernetic’s epi-search software the following are displayed as recommended book from the ASC’s ISCE Library:

ISCE Library Recommendations of “Related Books”

Recollections of the Many Sources of Cybernetics

  1. Dynamical Psychology
  2. Brain of the Firm (Classic Beer Series)
  3. Norbert Wiener: Collected Works, Volume 4: Cybernetics, Science, and Society; Ethics, Aesthetics, and Literary Criticism; Book Reviews and Obituaries
  4. Systems Thinking (SAGE Library in Business and Management)
  5. Introduction to Systems Philosophy: Toward a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought
  6. Cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and ecology
  7. Norbert Wiener 1894-1964 (Vita Mathematica)
  8. Purposive Systems: Proceedings of the First Annual Symposium of the American Society for Cybernetics
  9. Brain of the Firm
  10. A Missing Link in Cybernetics: Logic and Continuity (IFSR International Series on Systems Science and Engineering)

A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity

  1. Information In The Brain: A Molecular Perspective
  2. Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks In Brains And Computers
  3. Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are
  4. Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are
  5. Plato's Camera
  6. The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
  7. The Dream of Reality
  8. Discovering the human connectome
  9. The Computer and the Brain
  10. The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists

Functional Organization in the Sensory Cortex of the Monkey (*Macaca Mulatta*)

  1. Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks In Brains And Computers
  2. Going Inside
  3. Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are
  4. Attentional Processing
  5. The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
  6. The ravenous brain
  7. Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts
  8. The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind
  9. Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life
  10. ID: The Quest for Meaning in the 21st Century

Factors for Facilitation and Extinction in the Central Nervous System

  1. The Mind And The Brain: Neuroplasticity And The Power Of Mental Force
  2. Who's In Charge? Free Will And The Science Of The Brain
  3. The Feeling Of What Happens: Body And Emotion In The Making Of Consciousness
  4. Inner Vision: An Exploration Of Art And The Brain
  5. Cognition, Computation, And Consciousness
  6. The Nature Of Consciousness
  7. Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks In Brains And Computers
  8. On Intelligence
  9. The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
  10. When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century

The Statistical Organization of Nervous Activity

  1. The Mind And The Brain: Neuroplasticity And The Power Of Mental Force
  2. Information In The Brain: A Molecular Perspective
  3. A Universe Of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination
  4. Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks In Brains And Computers
  5. Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are
  6. The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
  7. The Dream of Reality
  8. Unlocking the Brain: Volume 1: Coding
  9. The brain that changes itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science
  10. The Computer and the Brain

Two books are recommended four times: The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach and Enchanted Looms: Conscious Networks In Brains And Computers. The notions of consciousness and networks clearly underlie the commonalities in the articles. Running the full text through a key concept extractor confirms the point: Consciousness, Cybernetics, Science, Nervous, and Systems.

Similar analyses are shown for each of the articles. We have prepared a word cloud, extracted key concepts or topics, and run several key word generatorsall with a goal of finding a good short-hand representation of the article itself over and above the abstract of the article prepared by the author. When these shorthand representations are combined (using the ASC’s epi-search technology or its equivalentwe recommend http://findrelatedbooks.com), it becomes possible to look for related books and articles which build upon the original McCulloch article and illustrate where a contemporary researcher might find linkages and inspiration. Thus the shorthand representations are followed by a list of prominent works which cite the McCulloch article (citations per Google Scholar) and a list each of related articles (Google Scholar) and books (Google books) derived by running the complete shorthand representation (abstract plus word cloud plus concepts plus keywords) through the recommendation engine at http://findrelatedbooks.com. It is our intent that by providing this material current day researchers will be able to quickly see how a given McCulloch article relates to their own work or to works they are interested in.

We have applied similar steps to the articles in each issue of E:CO.

A word cloud of the five articles in this issue shows: activity, after discharge, amplitude, antecedent, area, cells, change, cortex, cortical, distribution, ECG, electrical, electrodes, experiments, extinction, facilitation, focus, following, form, given, increase, interval, local, Macaca, motor, must, nervous, net, nets, neuron, number, record, response, results, second, see, sensory, shows, spikes, stimulation, strychninization, system, test, threshold, time, upon, voltage, will, and within. A key word generator suggests: stimulation, cortex, excitation, inhibition, response, activity, facilitation, latency, and logic.

What I find to be of the most interest is locating the McCulloch articles in the current context of today. When I use epi-search on the collection of citations, related articles, and related books from each of the five McCulloch pieces in this issue, the following list of related books is produced:

Animal Models of Cognitive ImpairmentEdward D. Levin, Jerry J. Buccafusco - 2006http://asclinks.live/teco
Anticipatory Behavior in Adaptive Learning Systems: Foundations, Theories, and SystemsMartin V. Butz, Olivier Sigaud, Pierre Gérard - 2003http://asclinks.live/x75s
Artificial Neural Networks as Models of Neural Information ProcessingMarcel van Gerven, Sander Bohte - 2018http://asclinks.live/hvb8
Behavioral Neuroscience of Learning and MemoryRobert E. Clark, Stephen Martin - 2018http://asclinks.live/vs2o
Brain and ArtIdan Segev, Luis M. Martinez, Robert J. Zatorre - 2014http://asclinks.live/1vzz
Brain and Perception: Holonomy and Structure in Figural ProcessingKarl H. Pribram - 2013http://asclinks.live/a4po
Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness: Introduction to Cognitive NeuroscienceBernard J. Baars, Nicole M. Gage - 2010http://asclinks.live/vb33
Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia: Characteristics, Assessment and TreatmentPhilip D. Harvey - 2013http://asclinks.live/ssou
Decision Making under UncertaintyKerstin Preuschoff, Peter N. C. Mohr, Ming Hsu - 2015http://asclinks.live/yzrv
Deep Learning: How the Mind Overrides ExperienceStellan Ohlsson - 2011http://asclinks.live/j05c
Encyclopedia of Computational NeuroscienceDieter Jaeger, Jung Ranu - 2015http://asclinks.live/m97i
Encyclopedia of the Human BrainV. S. Ramachandran - 2002http://asclinks.live/4ym2
Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations Into the History of Psychological ResearchRoger R. Hock - 2005http://asclinks.live/k4yg
Four Arguments for the Elimination of TelevisionJerry Mander - 2013http://asclinks.live/xeh8
Free Will and the Brain: Neuroscientific, Philosophical, and Legal PerspectivesWalter Glannon - 2015http://asclinks.live/ep34
In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the MindBernard J. Baars - 1997http://asclinks.live/ple9
Introduction to PsychologyCharles Stangor, Jennifer Walinga - 2014http://asclinks.live/z836
Knowledge StructuresJames A. Galambos, John B. Black, Robert P. Abelson - 2013http://asclinks.live/jsbi
Learning and Memory: From Brain to BehaviorMark A. Gluck, Eduardo Mercado, Catherine E. Myers - 2016http://asclinks.live/b1em
Learning Theories: An Educational PerspectiveDale H. Schunk - 2012http://asclinks.live/effq
Machine Learning for Decision Makers: Cognitive Computing Fundamentals for Better Decision MakingPatanjali Kashyap - 2018http://asclinks.live/fj3l
Mental ImageryAlan Richardson - 2013http://asclinks.live/2sx0
Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based TeachingTracey Tokuhama-Espinosa - 2010http://asclinks.live/ehe3
Motivation, Emotion, and Cognition: Integrative Perspectives on Intellectual Functioning and DevelopmentDavid Yun Dai, Robert J. Sternberg - 2004http://asclinks.live/iq9v
Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group SelectionGerald M. Edelman - 1987http://asclinks.live/3mwn
Neural Mechanisms Underlying Internet Gaming DisorderJintao Zhang, Matthias Brand - 2019http://asclinks.live/utpm
Neurobiology of Decision-MakingAntonio R. Damasio, Hanna Damasio - 2012http://asclinks.live/1lxc
Neuroeconomic and Behavioral Aspects of Decision Making: Proceedings of the 2016 Computational Methods in Experimental Economics (CMEE) ConferenceKesra Nermend, Małgorzata Latuszyńska, 2017http://asclinks.live/jp07
Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the BrainPaul W. Glimcher, Ernst Fehr - 2013http://asclinks.live/nsf4
Neuroscience for Clinicians: Evidence, Models, and PracticeC. Alexander Simpkins, Annellen M. Simpkins - 2012http://asclinks.live/y2nb
Neuroscience of Decision MakingOshin Vartanian, David R. Mandel - 2011http://asclinks.live/tyk4
Niko's Nature: The Life of Niko Tinbergen and his Science of Animal BehaviourHans Kruuk - 2003http://asclinks.live/h28k
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain ScienceJohn Fleischman - 2004http://asclinks.live/9pdi
Plugged in: How Media Attract and Affect YouthPatti M. Valkenburg, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski - 2017http://asclinks.live/abra
Representation in the BrainAsim Roy, Leonid Perlovsky, Tarek Besold - 2018http://asclinks.live/vrpk
Rhythms of the BrainGyorgy Buzsaki - 2006http://asclinks.live/7skh
Studies of Mind and Brain: Neural Principles of Learning, Perception, Development, Cognition, and Motor ControlS.T. Grossberg - 2012http://asclinks.live/3rg2
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your BehaviorLeonard Mlodinow - 2013http://asclinks.live/npmb
The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching Teaching by Exploring the Biology of LearningJames Ellwood Zull - 2002http://asclinks.live/krvm
The Cambridge Handbook of Human Affective NeuroscienceJorge Armony, Patrik Vuilleumier - 2013http://asclinks.live/9nb0
The Cognitive-Emotional Brain: From Interactions to IntegrationLuiz Pessoa - 2013http://asclinks.live/zzll
The Deep Learning RevolutionTerrence J. Sejnowski - 2018http://asclinks.live/6sah
The Dissociative MindElizabeth F. Howell - 2013http://asclinks.live/m2ni
The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional LifeJoseph Ledoux - 2015http://asclinks.live/1ahx
The Integrative Action of the Nervous SystemSir Charles Scott Sherrington - 1906http://asclinks.live/gx9w
The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological TheoryDonald Olding Hebb - 1966http://asclinks.live/2d0j
The Psychological Construction of EmotionLisa Feldman Barrett, James A. Russell - 2014http://asclinks.live/r9pe
The Psychotherapist's Essential Guide to the BrainMatthew Dahlitz, Geoff Hall - 2017http://asclinks.live/279l
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and ReligionJonathan Haidt - 2013http://asclinks.live/ady8
The Volitional Brain: Towards a Neuroscience of Free WillBenjamin Libet, Keith Sutherland, Anthony Freeman - 2000http://asclinks.live/x5l1

What this collection demonstrates is the high relevance of McCulloch's work to current research. These works, in turn, are focused around the following keywords or concepts: Activity, Brain, Cortex, Cybernetics, Deep, Events, Hilgard, Information, Learning, Mind, Models, Nervous, Neural, Stimulation, Systems, Theory.

The lists of concepts and key words can, of course, be used to find related material from any corpus. For example, if one wanted to find items in the JStor collection related to these five articles as a group, the following search would be entered into Google Scholar: site:jstor.org stimulation, cortex, excitation, inhibition, response, activity, facilitation, latency, logic. This results in:

Inhibitory engrams in perception and memoryBarron, Vogels et al 2020https://www.jstor.org/stable/26484967
Mapping by Microstimulation of Overlapping Projections from Area 4 to Motor Units of the Baboon's HandP Andersen - 1975https://www.jstor.org/stable/76434
Interference and Inhibition in Cognition and BehaviorFN Dempster - 1999https://www.jstor.org/stable/23361512
Experiment And Neurological SurgeryDWC Northfield - 1968https://www.jstor.org/stable/20394835
Dynamical Relaying Can Yield Zero Time Lag Neuronal Synchrony despite Long Conduction DelaysR Vicente - 2008https://www.jstor.org/stable/25465241
The Ferrier Lecture, 1968: Motor Apparatus of the Baboon's HandCG Phillips - 1969https://www.jstor.org/stable/75812
The Role of Electricity in Plant Movements PJ Simons - 1981https://www.jstor.org/stable/2485118
Walter Pitts and "A Logical Calculus"M Schlatter - 2008https://www.jstor.org/stable/27653725
Understanding the Intrinsic Circuitry of the Cat's Lateral Geniculate Nucleus: Electrical Properties of the Spine--Triad ArrangementC Koch - 1985https://www.jstor.org/stable/35999
Introducing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Its Property of Causal Inference in Investigating Brain-Function RelationshipsDJLG Schutter - 2004https://www.jstor.org/stable/20118475
The Facilitative and Inhibitory Effects of Muscular Tension upon PerformanceGL Freeman - 1933https://www.jstor.org/stable/1414185
Cortical Neurons Sensitive to Combinations of Information-Bearing Elements of Biosonar Signals in the Mustache BatN Suga - 1978https://www.jstor.org/stable/1746633
Theta Oscillations by Synaptic Excitation in a Neocortical Circuit ModelJML Budd - 2005https://www.jstor.org/stable/30047512
Action-Based Mechanisms of Attention SP Tipper - 1998https://www.jstor.org/stable/56892
Spinal Processing: Anatomy and Physiology of Spinal Nociceptive MechanismsA Iggo - 1985https://www.jstor.org/stable/2396223
A Comparative Account of Visual and Motor CortexS Shipp - 2005https://www.jstor.org/stable/30041302
Some Electrophysiological Methods for Studying the Action of Narcotic Agents in Animals, with Special Reference to Industrial Solvents: A ReviewH Mikisková - 1968https://www.jstor.org/stable/27722296
Charles Scott Sherrington. 1857-1952EGT Liddell - 1952https://www.jstor.org/stable/768811
Arousal and the Causation of BehaviourRJ Andrew - 1974https://www.jstor.org/stable/4533626
Problems in the Development of Cognitive Neuroscience, Effective Communication between Scientific DomainsE Manier - 1986https://www.jstor.org/stable/193119

Interestingly, one can generate a somewhat different list by making use of those same keywords inside JStor's internal search engine. For example, a JStor TextAnalyzer search using Recollections of the Many Sources of Cybernetics produces the following as key concepts: Logic, Cybernetics, Self Organizing Systems, Quakers, and Philosophy of Mathematics, whereas the epi-search analysis produced: Activity, Think, Information, Computers, Engineers, Logic, Cybernetics, Functions, Norbert, and Problems. The remaining four articles are shown below:

McCulloch ArticleJStor TextAnalyzer Keywords/ConceptsEpi-Search Keywords/Concepts
Recollections of the Many Sources of CyberneticsLogic, Cybernetics, Self Organizing Systems, Quakers, Philosophy of MathematicsActivity, Think, Information, Computers, Engineers, Logic, Cybernetics, Functions, Norbert, Problems
A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous ActivityNeurons, Nerve Tissue, Propositional Logic, Formal Languages, QuantificationActivity, Means, Net, Assumptions, Logic, Neuron, Choices, Expression, Sense, Theorem
Functional Organization in the Sensory Cortex of the MonkeyElectrocardiography, Motor Cortex, Neural Oscillations, Spinal Cord, Cerebral CortexCortex, Strychnine, Strychninization, Post, Results, Activity, Deals, Spikes, Area, Organization
Factors for Facilitation and Extinction in the Central Nervous SystemEvoked Potentials, Ordered Pairs, Running, Electroencephalography, SpacetimeStimulation, Response, Limb, Cortex, Phenomenon, CNS, Physiology, Excitation, Extinction, Facilitation
The Statistical Organization of Nervous ActivityNeurons, Nervous System, Reflexes, Neuroscience, Artificial Neural NetworksActivity, Neurophysiology, Signals, Input, Algebra, Theories, System, Behavior, Methods, Conceptions

The differences between these lists are themselves suggestive of the role of intellectual habitus and representational networks in knowledge retrievalimportant current day implications of McCulloch's work from many decades ago.

This list of JStor articles shown above is yet another good representation of the work in this issue.

At the end of each article we present the results of the "epi-search" analysis: first a word cloud list of the fifty most used words in the article, then the "topics" as analyzed by the software, and three lists of keywords: the final output of our analysis (generated from the "lexical profile" of the article, a preliminary list generated from the full text of the article using the epi-search software, and a similar list compiled using software from cortical.io.) These are then followed by a list of the top articles which Google Scholar shows to be citing that McCulloch article, a list of "related articles" produced by using the final keywords from the epi-search software as a search in Google Scholar, and a list of "related books" produced by using the final keywords from the epi-search software as a search in Google Books. There will be similar “end pieces” for each McCulloch article in this series.

One word of caution: McCulloch had a vast vocabulary and had a tendency to use some rather obscure English words. Once again Google is there for the rescue. (In editing this issue I learned at least two dozen new words.)

On behalf of the American Society for Cybernetics, it is my great honor to welcome you to a contemporary read of the great works of Warren S. McCulloch.

Michael Lissack

President, American Society for Cybernetics and Founding Editor, E:CO, Emergence and Complexity in Organizations