Of the many disorders that can afflict the brain, schizophrenia and autism are among the most inscrutable. The long scientific searches to explain their causes have turned up many clues and inspired various theories. But no clear answers have emerged.
A new way of thinking about these disorders has begun to show promise, Laura Sanders reports. This approach conceptualizes the brain as a fantastic guessing machine that combines information from the senses with expectations based on past experience. Interpreting the external world in this way can be described precisely (and therefore can be tested and explored in a rigorous way) with the use of a mathematical expression known as