Information decomposition and the informational architecture of the brain.


To explain how the brain orchestrates information-processing for cognition, we must understand information itself. Importantly, information is not a monolithic entity. Information decomposition techniques provide a way to split information into its constituent elements: unique, redundant, and synergistic information. We review how disentangling synergistic and redundant interactions is redefining our understanding of integrative brain function and its neural organisation. To explain how the brain navigates the trade-offs between redundancy and synergy, we review converging evidence integrating the structural, molecular, and functional underpinnings of synergy and redundancy; their roles in cognition and computation; and how they might arise over evolution and development. Overall, disentangling synergistic and redundant information provides a guiding principle for understanding the informational architecture of the brain and cognition.