Scope of the TMBI

Researchers affiliated to the Toulouse Mind & Brain Institute can be involved in a very wide range of research topics.  To help position people, we will ask every researcher to position themselves on three separate axes

  • Brain – Mind
  • Natural Systems – Artificial Systems
  • Fundamental Research – Applied Research

For each axis, they will position a cursor along a line that goes from one extreme to the other.

Thus, for the Brain-Mind axis, a researcher working on Brain mechanisms but with no direct interest in psychological phenomena such as Perception and Memory, would position themselves at the left of the continuum.

A psychologist working on Memory but who has no direct interest in the underlying Brain Mechanims would position themselves at the other extreme.

Someone working on Brain mechanims underlying Psychological processes, would position themselves somewhere between the two.

For the Natural-Artificial axis, we would have a similar choice. Researchers who only do experimental work on humans or animals would tend to be at the natural end, whereas a computer scientist doing models or a theoritician would be at the Artificial end of the spectrum. Again, someone who did models of biology would be somewhere in between.

Finally, the Fundamental-Applied axis can also be used to characterize a given researchers work. If their work only aims to understnand the basic mechanisms, then they would be at one end of the spectrum, whereas a researchers whose work was directly aimed at answering particular applied problems (finding treatments fo specific diseases, or developing technological solutions) would be at the other end.

Note that there are absolutely no value judgments associated with any of these meaures. Brain is not better than Mind, Natural is not better than Artifical, and Applied is not better than Fundamental.

Rather, it is clear that a thriving scientific environment will require all these ingrediants.

Using these three axes we will be able to place each researcher in a Cube that can be rotated in any direction – there is no up or down.


Using this cube, we can characterize different researchers depending on the vertex of the cube to which they are closest. A researcher working on Fundamental Brain Mechanisms in Biological (Natural) systems, could be described as FBN.  A psychologist working on applied  research on mental processs could be ApMN (Ap is short for Applied). A computer scientist working on fundamental theoretical aspects of cognition coul be close to the ArFM vertex, and so on.

Someone who worked on both brain and mind, with a mixture of both natural and artificial systems, and a mixture of applied and fundamental research would be located close to the center of the cube.

By asking every member of the TMBI to position themselves on the three basic axes, we will be able to obtain an overview of the areas where Toulouse is strongest.