The Human Amygdala by Paul J. Whalen and Elizabeth A. Phelps (Guilford)Building on pioneering animal studies, and making use of new, noninvasive techniques for studying the human brain, research on the human amygdala has blossomed in recent years. This comprehensive book brings together leading authorities to review the latest knowledge on the amygdala and its involvement in psychological function and dysfunction. It is a state-of-the-art reference for all researchers and practitioners interested in brain—behavior relationships.
Part I elucidates how animal models have paved the way for work with human subjects. The neuroanatomy of the primate amygdala is described, with an emphasis on how it relates to the human form. Influential findings are reviewed on fear conditioning, fear inhibition, and reward conditioning in primates and rats. Part II builds on these foundations to illuminate normal amygdala function in humans. Topics range from the amygdala's critical role in emotional processing to implications for numerous aspects of learning, memory, and social interaction. The strengths and limitations of available neuroimaging technologies for this type of research are considered. Finally, Part III presents current work on amygdala dysfunction and its links to psychopathology. Chapters discuss key advances in understanding specific clinical disorders: anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. The genetic basis of human amygdala reactivity is also explored.
Synthesizing a rapidly accumulating body of data, and identifying salient directions for future investigation, this volume is an important addition to the libraries of affective, cognitive, and social neuroscientists; neuropsychologists; social and clinical psychologists; and psychiatrists, as well as graduate students in these fields. Illustrations include 39 color plates.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Paul J. Whalen, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College. The focus of his research is to better understand the neural substrates of biologically relevant learning in humans. To this end, Dr. Whalen's laboratory studies the human amygdala as a model system for such learning. Specifically, he studies the response of the human amygdala to facial expressions of emotion to assess normal amygdalaprefrontal function, as well as aberrations in this circuitry in psychopathology.
Elizabeth A. Phelps, PhD, is Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. Her laboratory has earned widespread acclaim for its groundbreaking research on how the human brain processes emotion, particularly as it relates to learning, memory, and decision making. Dr. Phelps is the recipient of the 21st Century Scientist Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Neuroethics, was President of the Society for Neuroeconomics, and is the current Editor of the journal Emotion.
Excerpt: The anatomist K. F. Burdach is credited as the first to use the term "amygdala" in the 19th century to describe the subcortical gray matter found rostral to the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe. Several contemporary anatomists have noted that Burdach probably chose this name because the shape of the basolateral amygdala resembled that of an almond. J. B. Johnstone is credited in the early 1920s with the formal recognition of the contemporary partition of the amygdala into its basolateral, centromedial, and cortical divisions. As in other animals, these divisions of the human amygdala can be justified on both functional and anatomical grounds. Over 80 years later, we continue to use this conceptualization of the amygdala to guide the questions we ask about the role of this structure in affective information processing.
This volume presents the latest information available about the structure and function of the human amygdala, as well as the animal models that have offered a theoretical framework for understanding the role of the amygdala in human behavior. Part I begins with an examination of the nonhuman primate amygdala as it relates to the human structure. Subsequent chapters in this part of the book detail influential animal models assessing the role of the amygdala in associative learning paradigms, such as fear conditioning, extinction, and reward conditioning.
Part II addresses healthy human amygdala function. Many of the investigators whose work is described here use functional brain imaging as a means to study the human amygdala. Much of this work is influenced by the animal studies detailed in Part I, demonstrating human amygdala responses during fear conditioning and extinction in humans that parallel the animal data. Though the spatial resolution of human neuroimaging limits our present ability to make strong claims about localization of function for different amygdala subdivisions, work with animals detailing different roles for various amygdala subnuclei clearly influences the hypotheses driving much of this human neuroimaging work. Thus Part II provides a blueprint for research using the technological advances of the future (e.g., neuroimaging with higher spatial resolution) to elucidate different functions for the subnuclei of the human amygdala.
Part III of this volume links the work described in Parts I and II with the field of psychiatry. Here leaders in psychiatric research document human amygdala dysfunction in psychopathological disorders. Many of these findings converge with findings from the animal literature. For example, studies show that the amygdala is implicated in emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression. These studies also suggest that these disorders involve a breakdown in communication between the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Such findings were predicted by studies in rats by LeDoux and colleagues showing a deficit in extinction learning following medial prefrontal cortex lesions. Additional data show that the amygdala has been implicated in more pervasive disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism. Part III concludes with data demonstrating the promise for identifying genes that might predict amygdala function and, in turn, its dysfunction in pathological anxiety.
This volume reflects a long and distinguished research tradition: the anatomists of the 1800s; the lesion studies in nonhuman primates of Kluver and Bucy in the 1930s; the human lesion work by Weiskrantz in the 1950s; Kaada and Ursin's amygdala stimulation and simultaneous EEG studies in cats and the electrical stimulation studies of the human amygdala by Gloor in the 1960s; the Blanchards' work on fear states in the 1970s; Kapp, LeDoux, McGaugh, and Davis's establishment of a field based on Pavlovian fear conditioning in the 1980s; and further human amygdala lesion work and nonhuman primate amygdala anatomical studies, together with human functional neuroimaging of the amygdala, in the 1990s. All this research is responsible for the still-growing interest in understanding the role of this relatively small brain structure in emotional learning and memory. These studies offer a vast amount of data from which to derive testable predictions concerning human amygdala function; this volume documents this field's modest initial efforts at addressing these predictions. To date, it is clear that the human amygdala and the nonhuman animal amygdala have much in common. The goal for the future will be to elucidate some of the important differences—differences that might explain the complexity of individual differences in normal human emotions and their aberrances in psychopathology.
Brain And Being: At The Boundary Between Science, Philosophy, Language, And Arts edited by Gordon G. Globus, Karl H. Pribram, Giuseppe Vitiello (Advances in Consciousness Research, 58: John Benjamins Publishing) This book is the outgrowth of the meeting "Quantum brain dynamics and the humanities: A new perspective for the 21st century"; which was held at the Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) in Torino, Italy, in November 2002. The meeting was born from an idea of Globus Gordon, to gather those involved in the formulation of the quantum model of brain, initiated by Luigi Maria Ricciardi and Hiroomi Umezawa in the middle of 1960s, to discuss in some informal but productive way the model implications for literature, philosophy, and the arts. His conviction was that the quantum model of brain could be in some sense the prototype of a new conception of making science: without loosing its characteristics and the powerfulness of the Galilean method, science must recover its merging with humanities, from which it has diverged during its development. On the other hand, humanities cannot ignore the logical and formal (mathematical and methodological) apparatus of science. Knowledge should not continue to suffer a conceptual splitting between human science and natural science. New ways of thinking are needed to effect a rapprochement.
The meeting was thus conceived to be a first limited attempt, a sort of "experiment" of "thinking together" quantum brain dynamics and humanities, organized in the frame of the ISI Project "Expanding Perception": The ISI Project aims to explore that domain of complexity theory that lies at the boundary between "hard" science, arts, linguistic and bears as well on cognitive and perception science (including the notion of mental space as induced by knowledge structuring and language).
The meeting was a successful one. After few tutorial sessions aimed at creating a common dictionary and reciprocal understanding, which by themselves were an enjoyable example of "understanding the other's reasons" — not only the other's "words"! — the participants could feel the gratifying atmosphere of a real collective thinking by a working research group. The singularity, however, of that "happening" was in the disparate cultural provenance of the participants, in the fact that the physicist's effort was to read underneath his formulas if and where the conceptual images and the logic of the philosopher could find their place. And the philosophers tried to understand where in their theoretical schemes observations in the neurophysiological laboratory could find a counterpart. The participants tried to construct links, to end up with a conceptual net. Therefore, even metaphors, when adopted, were used for what they literally are, tools to "carry over"; to bridge apparently separate linguistic (conceptual) levels. To think together, indeed.
This book is the continuation of that experiment. In practically all the papers reported here there are strong echoes of the discussions among the participants at the meeting. The book, however, is far from answering questions; on the contrary, it poses them. Of course dis-homogeneity remains... thinking together science and humanities must be necessarily an interminable effort, dynamically changing in the course of time, with a somewhat dis-homogeneous appearance. This book is only a small step in such a direction. Thinking together is not a simple minded unification. The objective is on the contrary to have a coherent view of the totality of the differentiated objects of today's human sciences and natural sciences studies.
Perhaps, the secret for a true merging is in the assumption, on both sides, that humanity is the canon, the measure (the ratio) of everything else. It might be comforting that under such an assumption in the Italian Renaissance, painters and sculptors were listed as mathematicians in Pacioli's Summa de Arithmetica (1494). The first book of De Pictura (1435) by Leon Battista Alberti was completely devoted to "matematica". Knowledge, no matter how reached, was only one.
The meeting discussions pointed to a common direction where the participants, no matter their cultural provenance, were apparently converging: the idea that one cannot think in terms of isolated "elements" or "individuals", in biology as in physics, in psychology as in cognitive sciences. Rather One should think in terms of the cooperative dynamics among constitutive individuals which manifest themselves, at a larger scale, as a coherent system.
In many instances, the humanities, to which actually such a view is not completely extraneous, have been conditioned by the "atomistic" approach in natural sciences. During the latter part of the 19th century field theoretical concepts were regnant in the scientific community. Atomism came roaring in at the turn of the century. For the latter part of the 20th century, quantum field theory began to recognize what the earlier generation, Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Dirac and Wigner had already been trying to say. But when confronted with explanations, most quantum scientists often continued to fall back on particles.
On the other hand, subsequent successes of natural sciences, which could be achieved only by letting the atomistic view evolve into the modern field theoretical view, were not so deeply influential for the conceptual apparatus of human sciences. Moreover, not only humanities did not share the shift to field theory in the scientific conception, but also large sectors of "hard" science (think, e.g., of some sectors of biology and biochemistry) are still today bound rather to the atomistic view than to the field theory conception. It is interesting to notice that the humanities, in particular, are touched by the initial revolutionary steps of the 20th century, not so much for the new results they were providing, but for the halo of mystery and unknown they were still carrying along. It is also most interesting that the conceptual content of the Maxwell equations for the electromagnetic field, which still belongs to the classical physics view, is largely ignored in very large sectors of the humanities.
Apparently, it is the concept of field which is found frightening. The ontological prejudice by which "things" are made of little beings, individuals, atoms, able to survive even in the absence of any interaction with similar beings, strongly contrasts the idea, implicit in the concept of field, of abandoning the individuals as "the actors" able to establish or not establish some sort of relation with other individuals. In the concept of field the "action" is more fundamental than the actors, and there cannot exist one isolated, single actor, but only a multitude of them. Here there is a profound shift in the conception of the Being.
This conceptual shift, embedded in the formalism of quantum field theory, is the root of the modern understanding of solid state physics, of elementary particle physics, and of cosmology. The question is, then, whether time is ripe for thinking together science and the humanities on the basis of this revolutionary shift in the conception of the Being. The quantum field model of brain and of living matter provides an appropriate venue for such a challenge. What the group of people gathered in Torino hope to offer to the 21st century is combining their transdisciplinary sensibilities with the volume of data accumulated through the 20th century revolutionary experiences.
In these dark days, their commitment is to adopt in their search the spirit of the Tokyo '99 Declaration:) Their hope is that the effort put forth in erasing "the egocentric discipline-confined approach" would be "for serving the human welfare, never warfare".
The Biology Of Transcendence: A Blueprint Of The Human Spirit by Joseph Chilton Pearce (Park Street Press) (Hardcover) Uses new research about the brain to explore how we can transcend our current physical and cultural limitations.
Reveals that transcendence of current modes of existence requires the dynamic interaction of our fourth and fifth brains (intellect and intelligence).
Explores the idea that Jesus, Lao-tzu, and other great beings in history are models of nature's possibility and our ability to achieve transcendence.
Why do we seem stuck in a culture of violence and injustice? How is it that we can recognize the transcendent ideal represented by figures such as Jesus, Lao-tzu, and many others who have walked among us and yet not seem to reach the same state?
In The Biology of Transcendence Joseph Chilton Pearce examines the current biological understanding of our neural organization to address how we can go beyond the limitations and constraints of our current capacities of body and mind--how we can transcend. Recent research in the neurosciences and neurocardiology identifies the four neural centers of our brain and indicates that a fifth such center is located in the heart. This research reveals that the evolutionary structure of our brain and its dynamic interactions with our heart are designed by nature to reach beyond our current evolutionary capacities. We are quite literally, made to transcend.
Pearce explores how this "biological imperative" drives our life into ever-greater realms of being--even as the "cultural imperative" of social conformity and behavior counters this genetic heritage, blocks our transcendent capacities, and breeds violence in all its forms. The conflict between religion and spirit is an important part of this struggle. But each of us may overthrow these cultural imperatives to reach "unconflicted behavior," wherein heart and mind-brain resonate in synchronicity, opening us to levels of possibility beyond the ordinary.
Development and Cognition: A Reader by Mark H. Johnson,
Yuko Munakata, Rick O. Gilmore (Blackwell) The first
edition of this successful reader brought together key readings in the area of
developmental cognitive neuroscience for students. Now updated in order to keep
up with this fast-moving field, the volume includes new readings illustrating
recent developments along with updated versions of previous contributions. These
revisions ensure that the collection will remain a crucial resource for anyone
teaching developmental cognitive neuroscience or cognitive development.
Brain Development and Cognition
is arranged into 6 parts: Part 1” Perspectives on Development sets up the
contexts by offering Lorenz’s classic critique of ethology. Piaget’s epigenetic
system and cognitive development and Gottlieb’s view of hierarchical system
development in interactional steps. Parts 2 & 3 deals with Brain Maturation and
Cognition. Parts 4 & 5 Brain Plasticity and Cognition. Part 6 with
Self-organization and development and pat 7 concludes with New Directions by
discussing connectionism and genetic studies.
The reader is wide-ranging, covering every aspect of developmental cognitive neuroscience. New pieces for the second edition include writing on individual development and evolution, on the structural and functional development of the brain and on object recognition and sensitive periods, while articles updated include those on the neurobiology of cognitive and language processing and self-organization in developmental processes. The editors provide linking text to clarify the significance of each contribution
Self-Embodying Mind by Jason W. Brown (Station Hill
Press) extends microgenetic theory from
an account of disorders of language, action, and perception to a process-based
model of the mind/ brain state. The model is explicit and testable, particularly
with regard to the serial order of entrainment of linked cognitive and neural
systems and the temporal parameters of the entrainment sequence. The theory is
centered in the momentary prehistory of mental contents, their microdevelopment
or the process through which they unfold. The progression from the archaic to
the recent over evolutionary structure corresponds with a microgeny from depth
to surface in the mental state. The reiteration over evolutionary structure in
the ontogeny of every organism is replicated in the reiteration of the microgeny
in every mental state. The structure of the microgeny is not a static anatomy
that outputs process, but a process that is invisible in the anatomy. Structure
is a stabilized representation of intrinsic change.
framework, an understanding of mental content is to be found in the formative
history of the content, not its composition or interaction with other contents.
Like evolution or psychoanalytic theory, microgenesis is a retrospective theory,
an account of how contents develop. The theory is opposed to output-based models
that depend on the interaction of "solid" elements. Output models are causal.
They assume the efficacy of mental contents in the production of oncoming
states. For this reason, such models appear more open to experimental test, for
example, the prediction of a behavior that follows a given stimulus. The
statistical likelihood of the response to a stimulus is the degree to which the
effect is deemed to be causal. However, the heuristic value attributed to such
models is misleading. It is impossible to give a nonprobabilistic causal
account of either the outcome or the determinants of a mental state since the
change leading to or from the state is one of continuous novelty whereas the
state, and its temporal surround, are always in the present. The prediction of
future states in a component model is the recurrence of novel states in a
to the theory is the description of an absolute mental state as a system that
unfolds in a fraction of a second. The direction of the unfolding is obligatory,
with reiteration over a hierarchy of evolutionary levels. The theory assumes a
context-to-item transform in growth and cognition and a fractionation of content
in evolution and microgeny. This assumption has clinical and experimental
support and provides a common mechanism for brain and mental process. The
minddependence of the awareness of time, novelty, and duration is a critical
feature. An idealist perspective is assumed with regard to intrapersonal and
extrapersonal events. External objects are a distal phase in a process that is
Microgenesis, therefore, is a holistic theory of mental and neural phenomena.
The holism does not obtain in the extraction of a single principle or mechanism,
such as integration, abstraction, or equipotentiality, but in the application of
the same laws or patterns of transformation to successive moments in growth,
cognition, and neural process. This coherence across mind and brain and across
the different cognitive systems and modalities is the essence of the holism. It
is the concept that unifies the manifold of brain and cognitive elements.
microgenetic approach prepares the way for a new interpretation of many old,
seldom addressed problems in the neurology of behavior. The theory provides a
picture of the self in relation to images and objects. It accounts for the
transition from image to object and the relation between percepts, as
representations, and physical (sensory) inputs, as constraints. In this way,
microgenesis resolves the boundary between mind and perception, and between
learning and endogenous representation. There is a mapping of one cognitive
function to another at homologous levels and a linear relation between moments
in the unfolding responsible for the levels, and for consciousness and agency.
is based on the study of pathological cases. This material reveals the
infrastructure or lines of processing beneath awareness. A knowledge of the
pattern and detail of the subsurface process deepens our understanding of the
subconscious of psychoanalytic study. The subconscious is preliminary in the
ongoing derivation of consciousness; it is active in introspection and the flow
from mind to world. The division of mind into inner, outer, and what is
subconscious and inaccessible is fictive and porous. It relegates to different
worlds what are segments in a continuum and, in so doing, obscures the laws
through which mental contents unfold.
Novelty, loss, the immediacy of the moment, the emergence of the now, the deliverance of contents with and into consciousness, the inability to know events other than those at the surface of the present state, growth and decay in relation to memory and duration, these are the principle themes of this work. Life is fully lived in the present. Things, events, facts, all static references, reminiscence, mind and world, history and expectation, the self and its mythology, feelings, and values are momentary shapes in an ocean of eternal change.
Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience by Max R.
Bennett, P. M. S. Hacker, James R. Davis (Blackwell) Philosophical
Foundations of Neuroscience presents the fruits of a cooperative project
between a neuroscientist and a philosopher. It is concerned with the conceptual
foundations of cognitive neuroscience - foundations constituted by the
structural relationships among the psychological concepts involved in
investigations into the neural underpinnings of human cognitive, affective and
volitional capacities. Investigating logical relations among concepts is a
philosophical task. Guiding that investigation down pathways that will
illuminate brain research is a neuroscientific one. Hence our joint venture.
If we are
to understand the neural structures and dynamics that make perception, thought,
memory, emotion and intentional behaviour possible, clarity about these
concepts and categories is essential. Both authors, coming to this
investigation from very different directions, found themselves puzzled by, and
sometimes uneasy with, the use of psychological concepts in contemporary
neuroscience. The puzzlement was often over what might be meant by a given
neuroscientist's claims concerning the brain and the mind, or over why a
neuroscientist thought that the experiments he had undertaken illuminated the
psychological capacity being studied, or over the conceptual presuppositions of
the questions asked. The unease was produced by a suspicion that in some cases
concepts were misconstrued, or misapplied, or stretched beyond their defining
conditions of application. And the more we probed, the more convinced we became
that, despite the impressive advances in cognitive neuroscience, not all was
well with the general theorizing.
questions about the nervous system are the province of neuroscience. It is its
business to establish matters of fact concerning neural structures and
operations. It is the task of cognitive neuroscience to explain the neural
conditions that make perceptual, cognitive, cogitative, affective and volitional
functions possible. Such explanatory theories are confirmed or infirmed by
experimental investigations. By contrast, conceptual questions (concerning, for
example, the concepts of mind or memory, thought or imagination), the
description of the logical relations between concepts (such as between the
concepts of perception and sensation, or the concepts of consciousness and
self-consciousness), and the examination of the structural relationships between
distinct conceptual fields (such as between the psychological and the neural, or
the mental and the behavioural) are the proper province of philosophy.
questions antecede matters of truth and falsehood. They are questions concerning
our forms of representation, not questions concerning the truth or falsehood of
empirical statements. These forms are presupposed by true (and false) scientific
statements and by correct (and incorrect) scientific theories. They determine
not what is empirically true or false, but rather what does and what does not
make sense. Hence conceptual questions are not amenable to scientific
investigation and experimentation or to scientific theorizing. For the concepts
and conceptual relationships in question are presupposed by any such
investigations and theorizings. Our concern here is not with trade union
demarcation lines, but with distinctions between logically different kinds of
intellectual inquiry. (Methodological objections to these distinctions are
examined in chapter 14.)
Distinguishing conceptual questions from empirical ones is of the first
importance. When a conceptual question is confused with a scientific one, it is
bound to appear singularly refractory. It seems in such cases as if science
should be able to discover the truth of the matter under investigation by theory
and experiment - yet it persistently fails to do so. That is not surprising,
since conceptual questions are no more amenable to empirical methods of
investigation than problems in pure mathematics are solvable by the methods of
physics. Furthermore, when empirical problems are addressed without adequate
conceptual clarity, misconceived questions are bound to be raised, and
misdirected research is likely to ensue. For any unclarity regarding the
relevant concepts will be reflected in corresponding unclarity in the questions,
and hence in the design of experiments intended to answer them. And any
incoherence in the grasp of the relevant conceptual structure is likely to be
manifest in incoherences in the interpretation of the results of experiments.
neuroscience operates across the boundary between two fields, neurophysiology
and psychology, the respective concepts of which are categorially dissimilar.
The logical or conceptual relations between the physiological and the
psychological are problematic. Numerous psychological concepts and categories of
concepts are difficult to bring into sharp focus. The relations between the mind
and the brain, and between the psychological and the behavioural, are
bewildering. Puzzlement concerning these concepts and their articulations, and
concerning these apparent `domains' and their relations, has characterized
neurophysiology since its inception (we shall begin our investigations in
chapter 1 with a historical survey of the early development of neuroscience). In
spite of the great advances in neuroscience at the beginning of the twentieth
century at the hands of Charles Sherrington, the battery of conceptual questions
popularly known as the mind-body or mind-brain problem remained as intractable
as ever - as is evident in the flawed Cartesian views embraced by Sherrington
and by such of his colleagues and protégés as Edgar Adrian, John Eccles and
Wilder Penfield. Brilliant though their work unquestionably was, deep conceptual
confusions remained - as we show in chapter 2. Whether the current generation of
neuroscientists has successfully overcome the conceptual confusions of earlier
generations, or whether it has merely replaced one conceptual entanglement by
others, is the subject of our investigation in this book.
tangle is evident in the persistent ascription of psychological attributes to
the brain. For, while Sherrington and his protégés ascribed psychological
attributes to the mind (conceived as a peculiar, perhaps immaterial, substance
distinct from the brain),
contemporary neuroscientists tend to ascribe the same range of psychological
attributes to the brain (commonly, although not uniformly, conceived to be
identical with the mind). But the mind, we argue (§3.10), is neither a substance
distinct from the brain nor a substance identical with the brain. And we
demonstrate that ascription of psychological attributes to the brain is
incoherent (chapter 3). Human beings possess a wide range of psychological
powers, which are exercised in the circumstances of life, when we perceive,
think and reason, feel emotions, want things, form plans and make decisions. The
possession and exercise of such powers define us as the kinds of animals we are.
We may enquire into the neural conditions and concomitants for their possession
and exercise. This is the task of neuroscience, which is discovering more and
more about them. But its discoveries in no way affect the conceptual truth that
these powers and their exercise in perception, thought and feeling are
attributes of human beings, not of their parts - in particular, not of their
brains. A human being is a psychophysical unity, an animal that can perceive,
act intentionally, reason and feel emotions, a language-using animal that is
not merely conscious, but also self-conscious - not a brain embedded in the
skull of a body. Sherrington, Eccles and Penfield conceived of human beings as
animals in whom the mind, which they thought of as the bearer of psychological
attributes, is in liaison with the brain. It is no advance over that
misconception to suppose that the brain is a bearer of psychological attributes.
Talk of the
brain's perceiving, thinking, guessing or believing, or of one hemisphere of the
brain's knowing things of which the other hemisphere is ignorant, is widespread
among contemporary neuroscientists. This is sometimes defended as being no more
than a trivial falon de parler. But that is quite mistaken. For the
characteristic form of explanation in contemporary cognitive neuroscience
consists in ascribing psychological attributes to the brain and its parts in
order to explain the possession of psychological attributes and the exercise
(and deficiencies in the exercise) of cognitive powers by human beings.
ascription of psychological - in particular, cognitive and cogitative -
attributes to the brain is, we show, also a source of much further confusion.
Neuroscience can investigate the neural conditions and concomitants of the
acquisition, possession and exercise of sentient powers by animals. It can
discover the neural preconditions for the possibility of the exercise of
distinctively human powers of thought and reasoning, of articulate memory and
imagination, of emotion and volition. This it can do by patient inductive
correlation between neural phenomena and the possession and exercise of
psychological powers, and between neural damage and deficiencies in normal
mental functions. What it cannot do is replace the wide range of ordinary
psychological explanations of human activities in terms of reasons, intentions,
purposes, goals, values, rules and conventions by neurological explanations
(reductionism is discussed in chapter 13). And it cannot explain how an animal
perceives or thinks by reference to the brain's, or some part of the brain's,
perceiving or thinking. For it makes no sense to ascribe such psychological
attributes to anything less than the animal as a whole. It is the animal that
perceives, not parts of its brain, and it is human beings who think and reason,
not their brains. The brain and its activities make it possible for us - not for
it - to perceive and think, to feel emotions, and to form and pursue projects.
initial response of many neuroscientists to the accusation of conceptual
confusion is to claim that the ascription of psychological predicates to the
brain is a mere
parler, their reaction to the demonstrable fact that their explanatory theories
nontrivially ascribe psychological powers to the brain is sometimes to suggest
that this error is unavoidable due to the deficiencies of language. We confront
this misconception in chapter 14, where we show that the great discoveries of
neuroscience do not require this misconceived form of explanation - that what
has been discovered can readily be described and explained in our existing
language. We demonstrate this by reference to the much discussed phenomena
resultant upon commissurotomy, described (or, we suggest, misdescribed) by
Sperry, Gazzaniga and others (§14.3).
In Part II
we investigate the use of concepts of perception, memory, mental imagery,
emotion and volition in current neuroscientific theorizing. From case to case we
show that conceptual unclarity - failure to give adequate attention to the
relevant conceptual structures - has often been the source of theoretical error
and the grounds for misguided inferences. It is an error, a conceptual error, to
suppose that perception is a matter of apprehending an image in the mind (Crick,
Damasio, Edelman), or the production of a hypothesis (Helmholtz, Gregory), or
the generation of a 3-D model description (Marr). It is confused - a conceptual
confusion - to formulate the binding problem as the problem of combining data of
shape, colour and motion to form the image of the object perceived (Crick,
Kandel, Wurtz). It is wrong, conceptually wrong, to suppose that memory is
always of the past, or to think that memories can be stored in the brain in the
form of the strength of synaptic connections (Kandel, Squire, Bennett). And it
is mistaken, conceptually mistaken, to suppose that the investigation of
thirst, hunger and lust is an investigation into the emotions (Rolls) or to
think that the function of the emotions is to inform us of our visceral and
musculoskeletal state (Damasio).
reaction to such critical remarks may well be indignation and incredulity. How
can a flourishing science be fundamentally in error? How could there be
unavoidable conceptual confusion in a well-established science? Surely, if
there are problematic concepts, they can easily be replaced by others that are
unproblematic and that serve the same explanatory purposes. Such responses
betoken a poor understanding of the relation between form of representation and
facts represented, and a misunderstanding of the nature of conceptual error.
They also betray ignorance of the history of science in general, and of
neuroscience in particular.
no more immune to conceptual error and confusion than any other form of
intellectual endeavour. The history of science is littered with the debris of
theories that were not simply factually mistaken, but conceptually awry. Stahl's
theory of combustion, for example, was conceptually flawed in ascribing, in
certain circumstances, negative weight to phlogiston - an idea that made no
sense within its framework of Newtonian physics. Einstein's famous criticisms of
the theory of electromagnetic aether (the alleged medium by which light was
thought to be propagated) were directed not only at the results of the
Michelson-Morley experiment, which had failed to detect any effect of absolute
motion, but also at a conceptual confusion concerning relative motion involved
in the role ascribed to aether in the explanation of electromagnetic induction.
Neuroscience has been no exception - as we show in our historical survey. It is
true enough that the subject is now a flourishing science. But that does not
render it immune to conceptual confusions and entanglements. Newtonian
kinematics was a flourishing science, but that did not stop
becoming entangled in conceptual confusions over the intelligibility of action
at a distance, or from bafflement (not remedied until Hertz) over the nature of
force. So too, Sherrington's towering achievement in explaining the integrative
action of synapses in the spinal cord, and thereby eliminating, once and for
all, the confused idea of a `spinal soul', was perfectly compatible with
conceptual confusions concerning the `cerebral soul' or mind and its relation to
the brain. Similarly, Penfield's extraordinary achievements in identifying
functional localization in the cortex, as well as in developing brilliant
neurosurgical techniques, were perfectly compatible with extensive confusions
about the relation between the mind and the brain and about the `highest brain
function' (an idea borrowed from Hughlings Jackson).
conceptual entanglement can coexist with flourishing science. This may appear
puzzling. If the science can flourish despite such conceptual confusions, why
should scientists care about them? Hidden reefs do not imply that the seas are
not navigable, only that they are dangerous. The moot question is how running on
these reefs is manifest. Conceptual confusions may be exhibited in different
ways and at different points in the investigation. In some cases, the conceptual
unclarity may affect neither the cogency of the questions nor the fruitfulness
of the experiments, but only the understanding of the results of the experiments
and their theoretical implications. So, for example, Newton embarked on the
Optics in quest of insight into the character of color. The research was a
permanent contribution to science. But his conclusion that `colors are
sensations in the sensorium' demonstrates failure to achieve the kind of
understanding he craved. For, whatever colors are, they are not `sensations in
the sensorium'. So in so far as Newton cared about understanding the results of
his research, then he had good reason for caring about the conceptual confusions
under which he labored - for they stood in the way of an adequate understanding.
cases, however, the conceptual confusion does not so happily bracket the
empirical research. Misguided questions may well render research futile
(examples will be examined in relation to mental imagery (§6.3.1) and voluntary
movement (§8.2)). Rather differently, misconstrual of concepts and conceptual
structures will sometimes produce research that is by no means futile, but that
fails to show what it was designed to show (examples will be discussed in
relation to memory (§§5.2.1-5.2.2) and to emotions and appetites (§7.1)). In
such cases, the science may not be flourishing quite as much as it appears to
be. It requires conceptual investigation to locate the problems and to eliminate
conceptual confusions unavoidable? Not at all. The whole point of writing this
book is to show how to avoid them. But, of course, they cannot be avoided while
leaving everything else intact. They can be avoided - but if they are, then
certain kinds of questions will no longer be asked, since they will be
recognized as resting on a misunderstanding. As Hertz put it in the wonderful
introduction to his Principles of Mechanics: `When these painful contradictions
are removed, . . . our minds, no longer vexed, will cease to ask illegitimate
questions.' Equally, certain kinds of inferences will no longer be drawn from a
given body of empirical research, since it will be realized to have little or no
bearing on the matter which it was meant to illuminate, even though it may bear
on something else.
are problematic concepts, can they not be replaced by others that serve the same
explanatory function? A scientist is always free to introduce new concepts if he
finds existing ones inadequate or insufficiently refined. But our concern in
this book is not with the use of new technical concepts. We are concerned with
the misuse of old, nontechnical concepts - concepts of mind and body, thought
and imagination, sensation and perception, knowledge and memory, voluntary
movement, and consciousness and selfconsciousness. There is nothing inadequate
about these concepts relative to the purposes they serve. There is no reason for
thinking that they need to be replaced in the contexts that are of concern to
us. What are problematic are neuroscientists' misconstruals of them and the
misunderstandings consequently engendered. These are remediable by a correct
account of the logico-grammatical character of the concepts in question. And
this is what we have tried to supply.
that neuroscientists may not be using these common or garden concepts the way
the man in the street does, with what right can philosophy claim to correct
them? How can philosophy so confidently judge the clarity and coherence of
concepts as deployed by competent scientists? How can philosophy be in a
position to claim that certain assertions made by sophisticated neuroscientists
make no sense? We shall resolve such methodological qualms in the following
pages. But some initial clarification here may remove some doubts. What truth
and falsity is to science, sense and nonsense is to philosophy. Observational
and theoretical error result in falsehood; conceptual error results in lack of
sense. How can one investigate the bounds of sense? Only by examining the use of
words. Nonsense is often generated when an expression is used contrary to the
rules for its use. The expression in question may be an ordinary, non-technical
expression, in which case the rules for its use can be elicited from its
standard employment and received explanations of its meaning. Or it may be a
technical term of art, in which case the rules for its use must be elicited from
the theorist's introduction of the term and the explanations he offers of its
stipulated use. Both kinds of term can be misused, and when they are, nonsense
ensues - a form of words that is excluded from the language. For either nothing
has been stipulated as to what the term means in the aberrant context in
question, or this form of words is actually excluded by a rule specifying that
there is no such thing as ... (e.g.. that there is no such thing as `east of the
North Pole'), that this is a form of words that has no use. Nonsense is also
commonly generated when an existing expression is given a new, perhaps technical
or quasi-technical use, and the new use is inadvertently crossed with the old -
for example, inferences are drawn from propositions containing the new term
which could only licitly be drawn from the use of the old one. It is the task of
the conceptual critic to identify such transgressions of the bounds of sense. It
is, of course, not enough to show that a certain scientist has used a term
contrary to its ordinary use - for he may well be using the term in a new sense.
The critic must show that the scientist intends using the term in its customary
sense and has not done so, or that he intends using it in a new sense but has
inadvertently crossed the new sense with the old. The wayward scientist should,
whenever possible, be condemned out of his own mouth. We address methodological
qualms in detail both in chapter 3, section 3, and in chapter 14.
misconception against which we wish to warn is the idea that our reflections are
unremittingly negative. All we are concerned with, it might be thought, is
may appear at a superficial glance to be no more than a destructive undertaking
that promises neither assistance nor a new way forward. Worse, it may even
appear to be engineering a confrontation between philosophy and cognitive
neuroscience. Nothing could be further from the truth.
written this book in admiration for the achievements of twentieth-century
neuroscience, and out of a desire to assist the subject. But the only ways in
which a conceptual investigation can assist an empirical subject are by
identifying conceptual error (if it obtains) and by providing a map that will
help prevent empirical researchers from wandering off the high roads of sense.
Each of our investigations has two aspects to it. On the one hand, we have tried
to identify conceptual problems and entanglements in important current theories
of perception, memory, imagination, emotion and volition. Moreover, we argue
that much contemporary writing on the nature of consciousness and
self-consciousness is bedeviled by conceptual difficulties. This aspect of our
investigations is indeed negative and critical. On the other hand, we have
endeavored, from case to case, to provide a perspicuous representation of the
conceptual field of each of the problematic concepts. This is a constructive
endeavor. We hope that these conceptual overviews will assist neuroscientists in
their reflections antecedent to the design of their experiments. However, it
cannot be the task of a conceptual investigation to propose empirical hypotheses
that might solve the empirical problems faced by scientists. To complain that a
philosophical investigation into cognitive neuroscience has not contributed a
new neuroscientific theory is like complaining to a mathematician that a new
theorem he has proved is not a new physical theory.
improbable that many neuroscientists will wish to read a 450-page conceptual
investigation from cover to cover. Consequently, we have tried to make our
chapters on select psychological concepts as self-contained as possible. We have
done this in the hope that the book will serve as a conceptual reference work
for cognitive neuroscientists who wish to check the contour lines of the
psychological concept relevant to their investigation. This has, of course,
meant that there is a degree of repetition between certain chapters. This is, we
hope, warranted by the objective.
chapters of the book are accompanied by italicized marginalia indicating the
subject under discussion in the correlated paragraph or paragraphs. The purpose
of this is to facilitate surveyability, to make it easier to follow the steps in
the argument, and to assist in locating arguments. The section headings in the
table of contents are accompanied by the italicized names of neuroscientists
(and occasionally philosophers who concern themselves with neuroscientific and
cognitive scientific matters) whose theories are either discussed in some detail
or mentioned en passant in the course of the chapter. This will, we hope, help
the reader to locate the themes and discussions that are of specific interest
The Secret Life of the Brain by Richard M. Restak, David Grubin (Joseph Henry Press) well-illustrated popular survey of recent research and theories of human brain development and capacities, key to the PBS television series of same name. Ten years ago a presidential proclamation ushered in the “Decade of the Brain.” We have since realized enormous benefits from this decade of discovery. Scientists now have a better understanding and appreciation of the complexity of this rather unassuming three-pound mass of interwoven cells. Over the years, we have gleaned insights into how the brain functions, physically and chemically. We have even seen evidence of how a healthy brain contributes to our overall sense of wellness. And perhaps most important of all, we now—more than ever—recognize the awesome power and potential of the human brain.
Each of the brain’s developmental stages provides its own opportunities and perils. Each is part of a marvelous narrative—opening at the very moment of conception, building to peak adult neurological performance when the brain contains its full repertoire of cells, and slowly edging toward the denouement of old age. The Secret Life of the Brain tells this fascinating story by tracing the patterns that only careful study has revealed to us.
Equal parts fragile and tenacious, development continues unabated across the entire life span through five specific stages: gestation, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. In each of these phases, the opportunities are abundant, while the dangers remain equally apparent. Deprive a baby’s brain of light and sound and human contact, and you stunt normal development. Should a teenager take drugs, the brain becomes contaminated by the unnatural chemicals that are introduced into the body. Like a muscle in our arms or legs, if we ignore the brain, leave it untended, it becomes flaccid and slow, especially as we move into old age, when the brain is more vulnerable to afflictions.
The Secret Life of the Brain explores each of these five stages in detail. Like the PBS series of the same name, the complex subject of leading-edge brain science is presented in terms accessible to all and brought to life through anecdotes and real-life stories. Told by best-selling author Dr. Richard Restak, the majesty and the mystery of human intelligence are unveiled.
Throughout human history, poets, philosophers, and scientists have lauded the formidable power of the human brain. The sensible companion to every aching heart, the very seat of human intelligence, the brain has successfully hoarded its most precious secrets for millennia. But years of intensive research and a host of new technologies have yielded stunning insights into how the brain develops and functions. As we continue to add to our knowledge, we remain in awe of the brain’s enormous potential, while never losing sight of its frailties.
The journey begins with the brain's riot of growth in infancy and childhood, when our burgeoning abilities to move, communicate, and think are rapidly developing. Following nature’s course, the tumult of adolescence gradually gives way to a new-found balance as the brain sets about shaping its connections for mature planning and judgment. Throughout adulthood, the brain plays a quiet but strongly supportive role in the daily process of discovering who we are. Even as we age, the brain remains active, continuing to grow, renewing development, and perhaps most importantly, safekeeping of our most cherished abilities.
The brain’s developmental stages are each marked by both opportunity and peril. Throughout the book we are introduced to children and adults affected by brain disorders – from dyslexia to depression to drug addiction. But we are also heartened by one of the brain’s most surprising secrets: it rarely suffers assault passively. When injured or ill, the brain rallies, demonstrating its resilience and ability promote healing.Contents: Foreword Introduction Wider Than the Sky: The Baby's Brain A World of Their Own: The Adolescent Brain Crown of Creation: The Adult Brain Second Flowering: The Aging Brain About the Author Glossary Index Credits
User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of
the Brain by John J.
Ratey MD (Basic Books) For the first time ever, discoveries in our
understanding of the brain are changing anthropology, linguistics, philosophy,
and psychology--indeed, the brain itself may become a catalyst for transforming
the very nature of these inquiries.
In User's Guide to the Brain, Dr. John Ratey, best-selling co-author of Driven to Distraction, explains in lucid detail and with perfect clarity the basic structure and chemistry of the brain: how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, actions, and reactions; how possession of this knowledge can enable us to more fully understand and improve our lives; and how the brain responds to the guidance of its user. He draws on examples from his own practice, from research, and from everyday life to illuminate aspects of the brain's functioning, among them prenatal and early childhood development; the perceptual systems; the processes of consciousness, memory, emotion, and language; and the social brain.
January 1, 2001 marked the end of 'The Decade of the Brain' -- ten years of brain-based research focusing upon neuroscience, neuroanatomy, neurophenomenology, psychopharmacology, psychiatry and neural functioning. While this massive undertaking has been somewhat overshadowed by even more massive investigations of the human genome, it is likely that advances from brain research will have a greater impact on your life and your health. Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard Medical School professor and author or co-author of other well received previous books on neuropsychiatric conditions (eg, 'Driven to Distraction'), explains why and how, and in language that you can read even if you didn't study biology in college. Yet he never speaks down to the reader -- I am a professional medical educator myself, and I am sufficiently impressed by the breadth and depth of this book that I will recommend it to my students and colleagues. Growing knowledge about the brain is transforming our understanding of ourselves and our world, and Dr. Ratey is able to convey this information to the reader through lively descriptions and stories and through enlightening clinical vignettes.
The book is organized in a manner that is straightforward and incremental. Starting with 'perception', chapters go on to encompass 'attention and consciousness', 'movement', 'memory', 'emotion', 'language' and 'the social brain'. These are well written and informative and never boring or abstruse, with plenty of case examples taken from Dr. Ratey's practice or from autobiographical and biographical stories in the literature. For example, Temple Grandin is a middle-aged woman with an active professional and social life who overcame many limits of her well-diagnosed autism by self-observation, tenacity, and a disciplined, original, self-determined approach to her disorder. Another example, Rickie, is the daughter of an eminent psychiatrist who was frequently hospitalized for schizophrenia until it was discovered that this diagnosis was simply incorrect. Instead, Rickie suffered from an unusual perceptual problem which could be sufficiently remedied with special glasses so that she could begin a career as a rehabilitation counselor and also marry and raise children. Stories such as these are not only wonderful and humane, they are well told and instructive and the insights gleaned from them are used by Dr. Ratey to teach us about the brain, how it works, what can go wrong, what can be done about it, and most importantly, what we can do about it.
The brain, the reader learns, is certainly not a digital computer. It is an organ that provides us with access to a world and to other people as well as with the capacity to move through this world and to interact with it. The systems of the brain shape our emotions, our actions and reactions, and our identity. Furthermore, it is now very clear that our brain can be molded and cared for by us, its 'user', in a manner that can enrich our lives and expand our possibilities and potentialities. Or, with poor care, constrict these possibilities.
The book ends with a section on the four 'theaters' of the brain, a framework for understanding that encompasses traditional medical as well as more holistic approaches to healing. Finally, there is a section on the 'care and feeding' of the brain that is as practical as it is profound.
You will benefit from this book. Your brain will benefit as you --the user --
come to understand better how this miraculous organ works and what you can do to
keep it going and to enhance its performance. Besides, you will enjoy a book
that is a masterful and humane read.
As the best means for explaining the dynamic interactions of the brain, Ratey offers as a metaphor the four "theaters" of exploration: 1) the act of perception; 2) the filters of attention, consciousness, and cognition; 3) the array of options employed by the brain--memory, emotion, language, movement--to transform information into function; and 4) behavior and identity. Ratey succeeds not only in giving us a compelling portrait of the brain's infinite flexibility and unpredictability but also in demonstrating how our very understanding of the brain affects who we are.