Neural configurations

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A note for Lesson no. 2, "Your Brain Is a Network," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 37 is:

Neuromodulators and neurotransmitters together allow your brain’s single structure to take on trillions of different patterns of activity.

Your brain has the potential to create a vast number of distinct neural configurations. The philosopher Paul Churchland estimates the number at 10100,000,000,000. That's a 1 followed by 100 billion zeroes, a figure that supposedly dwarfs the number of atoms in the universe.[1]


  1. Churchland, Paul M. 2012. Plato’s Camera: How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals, 17 Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.