Major strands of the history of scientific psychology proposed less mechanistic explanations of behavior than the “series of billiard ball reactions” that Ellis ascribes to them. I tease apart psychological systems based on hedonism and those based on stimulus-response mechanisms-and then tease apart basic hedonism and drive-reduction hedonism, to layout psychological and neuroscientific foundations for the active, dynamic, cognitive, emotive, and "spiritual" dynamics of human nature which Ellis calls us to affirm. I trace these distinctions through the drive-reduction psychoanalysis of (...) Freud, the drive-reduction behaviorism of Hull, and the non-drive-reductive hedonistic system of Skinner. Then I trace the recent neuroscience of reward and punishment circuits and putative narcissistic and altruistic circuits, to conclude that Behaviorism and Neuroscience support broad hedonistic but major non-drive-reduction motivational systems. I affirm Ellis’ contention that emotions are basically “active”, although with some caveats and questions. (shrink)
This was my first 'Tucson-overseas' conference, and I will begin by briefly comparing this series with the (to me) more familiar ASSC and Tucson conferences -- several of which I have reviewed for JCS.
The International Union of Psychological Science ('Union') co-hosted, with the Chinese Psychological Society its 28th International Congress of Psychology ('Congress'). The first Congress was held with the World's Fair in Paris in 1889. In recent decades, they have been held every four years in different parts of the world. The Union has member organizations from 67 nations, representing one half million psychologists. Pretty scary stuff!
I have suggested that the prefrontal cortex constitutes an ?executive committee? with five streams coming from posterior cortex and subcortical areas to five pre-frontal executive regions, each of which chairs at least one on-going ?sub-committee? and vies with the other executives for taking over central control of conscious attention and willed action. It is through the dynamic interaction of this executive committee that unified conscious experiences and a sense of continuous self-identity are created. There is growing evidence that the amygdala-orbitofrontal (...) brain circuit, in particular, is crucial to impulse control, ?knowledge of good and evil,? personality, personhood, and even ?how X-me made Y-me do something.? There are striking examples of the ways that orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate ?committee members? can stage an insurrection against the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex executive chair. (shrink)