What insights can statistical analysis of the time series recordings of neurons and brain regions during behavior give about the neural basis of behavior? With the increasing amount of whole-brain imaging data becoming available, the importance of addressing this unanswered theoretical challenge has become increasingly urgent. We propose a computational neuroethology approach to begin to address this challenge. We evolve dynamical recurrent neural networks to be capable of performing multiple tasks. We then analyze the neural activity using popular network neuroscience tools, specifically functional connectivity using Pearson’s correlation, mutual information, and transfer entropy. We compare the results from these tools against a series of informational lesions, as a way to reveal their degree of approximation to the ground-truth. Our initial analysis reveals an overwhelming large gap between the insights gained from statistical inference of the functionality of the circuits based on neural activity and the actual functionality of the circuits as revealed by mechanistic interventions.

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