Since the first demonstration of how to simultaneously measure brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on two subjects about 10 years ago, a new paradigm in neuroscience is emerging: the assessment of the inter-brain coupling between two or more subjects, termed “hyperscanning”. The hyperscanning approach has the potential to enable a new view on how the brain works and will reveal as yet undiscovered brain functions based on brain-to-brain coupling, since the single-subject setting cannot capture them. In (...) particular, functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRI) hyperscanning is a promising new method, offering a cost-effective, easy to apply and reliable technology to measure inter-personal interactions in a natural context. In this short review we report on fNIRI hyperscanning studies published so far and summarize opportunities and challenges for future studies. (shrink)
A number of scientists have recently argued that neuroscience provides strong evidence against the requirements of the folk notion of free will. In one such line of argumentation, it is claimed that choice is required for free will, and neuroscience is showing that people do not make choices. In this article, we argue that this no-choice line of argumentation relies on a specific conception of choice. We then provide evidence that people do not share the conception of choice (...) required of the argument, nor do people hold that free will requires the conception of choice on which the argument relies. This leaves the proponents of the no-choice argument with a dilemma: Either they adopt a conception of choice that is not required of the folk concept of free will and thus they cease to be talking about the folk concept of free will, or they adopt a conception of choice that aligns with the folk concept of choice and thus the no-choice argument fails. (shrink)
I examine one of the conceptual cornerstones of the field known as computational neuroscience, especially as articulated in Churchland et al. (1990), an article that is arguably the locus classicus of this term and its meaning. The authors of that article try, but I claim ultimately fail, to mark off the enterprise of computational neuroscience as an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the cognitive, information-processing functions of the brain. The failure is a result of the fact that the authors (...) provide no principled means to distinguish the study of neural systems as genuinely computational/information-processing from the study of any complex causal process. I then argue for two things. First, that in order to appropriately mark off computational neuroscience, one must be able to assign a semantics to the states over which an attempt to provide a computational explanation is made. Second, I show that neither of the two most popular ways of trying to effect such content assignation -- informational semantics and 'biosemantics' -- can make the required distinction, at least not in a way that a computational neuroscientist should be happy about. The moral of the story as I take it is not a negative one to the effect that computational neuroscience is in principle incapable of doing what it wants to do. Rather, it is to point out some work that remains to be done. (shrink)
From the “epistemologically different worlds” perspective, I analyze the status of cognitive neuroscience today. I investigate the main actual topics in cognitive neuroscience: localization and the brain imaging, the binding problem (Treisman’s feature integration theory and synchronized oscillations approach), differentiation and integration, optimism versus skepticism approaches, perception and object recognition, space and the mind, crossmodal interactions, and the holistic view against localization. I want to show that these problems are pseudo-problems and this “science” has “No ontology landscape”.
Neuroscience and psychology have recently turned their attention to the study of the subpersonal underpinnings of moral judgment. In this article we critically examine an influential strand of research originating in Greene's neuroimaging studies of ‘utilitarian’ and ‘non-utilitarian’ moral judgement. We argue that given that the explananda of this research are specific personal-level states—moral judgments with certain propositional contents—its methodology has to be sensitive to criteria for ascribing states with such contents to subjects. We argue that current research has (...) often failed to meet this constraint by failing to correctly ‘fix’ key aspects of moral judgment, criticism we support by detailed examples from the scientific literature. (shrink)
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label “neuroscience”; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks – at least one for each responsibility (...) concept – and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. (shrink)
Joshua Greene has argued that several lines of empirical research, including his own fMRI studies of brain activity during moral decision-making, comprise strong evidence against the legitimacy of deontology as a moral theory. This is because, Greene maintains, the empirical studies establish that “characteristically deontological” moral thinking is driven by prepotent emotional reactions which are not a sound basis for morality in the contemporary world, while “characteristically consequentialist” thinking is a more reliable moral guide because it is characterized by greater (...) cognitive command and control. In this essay, I argue that Greene does not succeed in drawing a strong statistical or causal connection between prepotent emotional reactions and deontological theory, and so does not undermine the legitimacy of deontological moral theories. The results that Greene relies on from neuroscience and social psychology do not establish his conclusion that consequentialism is superior to deontology. (shrink)
This volume provides an up to date and comprehensive overview of the philosophy and neuroscience movement, which applies the methods of neuroscience to traditional philosophical problems and uses philosophical methods to illuminate issues in neuroscience. At the heart of the movement is the conviction that basic questions about human cognition, many of which have been studied for millennia, can be answered only by a philosophically sophisticated grasp of neuroscience's insights into the processing of information by the (...) human brain. Essays in this volume are clustered around five major themes: data and theory in neuroscience; neural representation and computation; visuomotor transformations; color vision; and consciousness. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the usefulness of the Machamer, Darden, and Craver (2000) mechanism approach to gaining an understanding of explanation in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that although the mechanism approach can capture many aspects of explanation in cognitive neuroscience, it cannot capture everything. In particular, it cannot completely capture all aspects of the content and significance of mental representations or the evaluative features constitutive of psychopathology.
Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and normativity. Empirical discoveries about brain structure and (...) function suggest ways that “naturalistic” programs might develop in detail, beyond the abstract philosophical considerations in their favor. -/- The literature distinguishes “philosophy of neuroscience” and “neurophilosophy.” The former concerns foundational issues within the neurosciences. The latter concerns application of neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions. Exploring various concepts of representation employed in neuroscientific theories is an example of the former. Examining implications of neurological syndromes for the concept of a unified self is an example of the latter. In this entry, we will assume this distinction and discuss examples of both. (shrink)
This book precis describes the motives behind my recent attempt to bring to bear “ruthlessly reductive” results from cellular and molecular neuroscience onto issues in the philosophy of mind. Since readers of this journal will probably be most interested in results addressing features of conscious experience, I highlight these most prominently. My main challenge is that philosophers (even scientifically-inspired ones) are missing the nature and scope of reductionism in contemporary neuroscience by focusing exclusively on higher-level cognitive neuroscience, (...) and ignoring the discipline's cell-physiological and molecular-biological core. (shrink)
The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psyychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which (...) make critical use of distinctly teleological functional considerations in brain cartography. Only by invoking teleological criteria can researchers distinguish the fruitful ways of identifying brain components from the myriad of possible ways. One likely reason for reluctance to turn to neuroscience is fear of reduction, but we argue that, in the context of a teleological perspective on function, this concern is misplaced. Adducing such theoretical considerations as top-down and bottom-up constraints on neuroscientific and psychological models, as well as existing cases of productive, multidisciplinary cooperation, we argue that integration of neuroscience into psychology and evolutionary biology is likely to be mutually beneficial. We also show how it can be accommodated methodologically within the framework of an interfield theory. (shrink)
According to some philosophers, computational explanation is proprietary to psychology—it does not belong in neuroscience. But neuroscientists routinely offer computational explanations of cognitive phenomena. In fact, computational explanation was initially imported from computability theory into the science of mind by neuroscientists, who justified this move on neurophysiological grounds. Establishing the legitimacy and importance of computational explanation in neuroscience is one thing; shedding light on it is another. I raise some philosophical questions pertaining to computational explanation and outline some promising (...) answers that are being developed by a number of authors. (shrink)
The phenomenon of hypnosis provides a rich paradigm for those seeking to understand the processes that underlie consciousness. Understanding hypnosis tells us about a basic human capacity for altered experiences that is often overlooked in contemporary western societies. Throughout the 200 year history of psychology, hypnosis has been a major topic of investigation by some of the leading experimenters and theorists of each generation. Today hypnosis is emerging again as a lively area of research within cognitive (systems level) neuroscience (...) informing basic questions about the structure and biological basis of conscious states. This book describes the latest advances in understanding hypnosis and similar trance states by researchers within the neuroscience of consciousness. It contains many new and exciting contributions from up and coming researchers and provides a lively debate on methodological and theoretical issues central to the development of emerging research paradigms in the neuroscience of conscious states. The book introduces and describes many of the recent new tools that have become available to researchers in this field. Academics, researchers, and clinicians wanting to develop their knowledge of the latest findings, theories and methods in the scientific study of hypnosis and related states of consciousness will find this an up to date guide to this rapidly advancing field. (shrink)
(June 2013) “The mind-body problem in cognitive neuroscience”, Philosophia Scientiae 17/2, Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu (eds.): 1. William Bechtel (Philosophy, Center for Chronobiology, and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science University of California, San Diego) “The endogenously active brain: the need for an alternative cognitive architecture” 2. Rolls T. Edmund (Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, Oxford, UK) “On the relation between the mind and the brain: a neuroscience perspective” 3. Cees van Leeuwen (University of Leuven, Belgium; Riken (...) Brain Science Institute, Japan) “Brain and mind” 4. Kari Theurer (Trinity College) and John Bickle (Philosophy, Mississippi State University) “What’s old is new again: Kemeny-Oppenheim reduction at work in current molecular neuroscience” 5. Bernard Andrieu (Staps Université de Lorraine) “Sentir son cerveau? Les dispositifs neuro-expérientiels en 1er personne” 6. Corey Maley and Gualtiero Piccinini (Philosophy, University of Missouri – St. Louis) “Get the latest upgrade: Functionalism 6.3.1” 7. Paula Droege (Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University) “Memory and consciousness” 8. Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu (Philosophy, University of Bucharest) “Troubles with cognitive neuroscience”. (shrink)
This paper argues that the cognitive neuroscientific use of ordinary mental terms to report research results and draw implications can contribute to public confusion and misunderstanding regarding neuroscience results. This concern is raised at a time when cognitive neuroscientists are increasingly required by funding agencies to link their research to specific results of public benefit, and when neuroethicists have called for greater attention to public communication of neuroscience. The paper identifies an ethical dimension to the problem and presses (...) for greater sensitivity and responsibility among neuroscientists regarding their use of such terms. (shrink)
The following analysis shows how developments in epistemic logic can play a nontrivial role in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that the striking correspondence between two modes of identification, as distinguished in the epistemic context, and two cognitive systems distinguished by neuroscientific investigation of the visual system (the "where" and "what" systems) is not coincidental, and that it can play a clarificatory role at the most fundamental levels of neuroscientific theory.
This paper investigates how "representation" is actually used in some areas in cognitive neuroscience. It is argued that recent philosophy has largely ignored an important kind of representation that differs in interesting ways from the representations that are standardly recognized in philosophy of mind. This overlooked kind of representation does not represent by having intentional contents; rather members of the kind represent by displaying or instantiating features. The investigation is not simply an ethnographic study of the discourse of neuroscientists. (...) If there are indeed two different kinds of representations, and the non-standard ones are the ones referred to in some areas of cognitive neuroscience, then we will have to give up the idea that appealing to inner representations with intentional contents is the defining distinction between cognitive neuroscience and behaviorist psychology (Montgomery, 1995). Further, if the conclusions of this paper are correct, many general accounts of how neural states represent are either false or theoretically ill-motivated. (shrink)
John Bickle's Psychoneural reduction: the new wave (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998) aims to resurrect reductionism within philosophy of mind. He develops a new model of scientific reduction, geared to enhancing our understanding of how theories in neuroscience and cognitive science are interrelated. I put this discussion in context, and assess the prospects for new wave reductionism, both as a general model of scientific reduction and as an attempt to defend reductionism in the philosophy of mind.
This target article considers the relation of fluid cognitive functioning to general intelligence. A neurobiological model differentiating working memory/executive function cognitive processes of the prefrontal cortex from aspects of psychometrically defined general intelligence is presented. Work examining the rise in mean intelligence-test performance between normative cohorts, the neuropsychology and neuroscience of cognitive function in typically and atypically developing human populations, and stress, brain development, and corticolimbic connectivity in human and nonhuman animal models is reviewed and found to provide evidence (...) of mechanisms through which early experience affects the development of an aspect of cognition closely related to, but distinct from, general intelligence. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of emotion in fluid cognition and on research indicating fluid cognitive deficits associated with early hippocampal pathology and with dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stress-response system. Findings are seen to be consistent with the idea of an independent fluid cognitive construct and to assist with the interpretation of findings from the study of early compensatory education for children facing psychosocial adversity and from behavior genetic research on intelligence. It is concluded that ongoing development of neurobiologically grounded measures of fluid cognitive skills appropriate for young children will play a key role in understanding early mental development and the adaptive success to which it is related, particularly for young children facing social and economic disadvantage. Specifically, in the evaluation of the efficacy of compensatory education efforts such as Head Start and the readiness for school of children from diverse backgrounds, it is important to distinguish fluid cognition from psychometrically defined general intelligence. (Published Online April 5 2006) Key Words: cognition; cognition-emotion reciprocity; developmental disorders; emotion; fluid cognition; Flynn effect; general intelligence; limbic system; neuroscience; phenylketonuria; prefrontal cortex; psychometrics; schizophrenia. (shrink)
"Cognitive psychology," "cognitive neuroscience," and "philosophy of mind" are names for three very different scientific fields, but they label aspects of the same scientific goal: to understand the nature of mental phenomena. Today, the three disciplines strongly overlap under the roof of the cognitive sciences. The book's purpose is to present views from the different disciplines on one of the central theories in cognitive science: the theory of mental models. Cognitive psychologists report their research on the representation and processing (...) of mental models in human memory. Cognitive neuroscientists demonstrate how the brain processes visual and spatial mental models and which neural processes underlie visual and spatial thinking. Philosophers report their ideas about the role of mental models in relation to perception, emotion, representation, and intentionality. The single articles have different and mutually complementing goals: to introduce new empirical methods and approaches, to report new experimental results, and to locate competing approaches for their interpretation in the cross-disciplinary debate. The book is strongly interdisciplinary in character. It is especially addressed to researchers in any field related to mental models theory as both a reference book and an overview of present research on the topic in other disciplines. However, it is also an ideal reader for a specialized graduate course. (shrink)
The central aim of this paper is to shed light on the nature of explanation in computational neuroscience. I argue that computational models in this domain possess explanatory force to the extent that they describe the mechanisms responsible for producing a given phenomenon—paralleling how other mechanistic models explain. Conceiving computational explanation as a species of mechanistic explanation affords an important distinction between computational models that play genuine explanatory roles and those that merely provide accurate descriptions or predictions of phenomena. (...) It also serves to clarify the pattern of model refinement and elaboration undertaken by computational neuroscientists. (shrink)
The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically (...) important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel --- albeit described in different terms --- concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the common-sense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.‘ Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising --- albeit more implicit --- analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good‘ is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom. (shrink)
We discuss the development of cognitive neuroscience in terms of the tension between the greater sophistication in cognitive concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences and the increasing power of more standard biological approaches to understanding brain structure and function. There have been major technological developments in brain imaging and advances in simulation, but there have also been shifts in emphasis, with topics such as thinking, consciousness, and social cognition becoming fashionable within the brain sciences. The discipline has great (...) promise in terms of applications to mental health and education, provided it does not abandon the cognitive perspective and succumb to reductionism. (shrink)
In recent years there have been growing calls for forging greater connections between education and cognitive neuroscience. As a consequence great hopes for the application of empirical research on the human brain to educational problems have been raised. In this article we contend that the expectation that results from cognitive neuroscience research will have a direct and immediate impact on educational practice are shortsighted and unrealistic. Instead, we argue that an infrastructure needs to be created, principally through interdisciplinary (...) training, funding and research programs that allow for bidirectional collaborations between cognitive neuroscientists, educators and educational researchers to grow. We outline several pathways for scaffolding such a basis for the emerging field of ‘Mind, Brain and Education’ to flourish as well as the obstacles that are likely to be encountered along the path. (shrink)
euroscience of Rule-Guided Behavior brings together, for the first time, the experiments and theories that have created the new science of rules. Rules are central to human behavior, but until now the field of neuroscience lacked a synthetic approach to understanding them. How are rules learned, retrieved from memory, maintained in consciousness and implemented? How are they used to solve problems and select among actions and activities? How are the various levels of rules represented in the brain, ranging from (...) simple conditional ones if a traffic light turns red, then stop to rules and strategies of such sophistication that they defy description? And how do brain regions interact to produce rule-guided behavior? These are among the most fundamental questions facing neuroscience, but until recently there was relatively little progress in answering them. It was difficult to probe brain mechanisms in humans, and expert opinion held that animals lacked the capacity for such high-level behavior. However, rapid progress in neuroimaging technology has allowed investigators to explore brain mechanisms in humans, while increasingly sophisticated behavioral methods have revealed that animals can and do use high-level rules to control their behavior. The resulting explosion of information has led to a new science of rules, but it has also produced a plethora of overlapping ideas and terminology and a field sorely in need of synthesis. In this book, Silvia Bunge and Jonathan Wallis bring together the worlds leading cognitive and systems neuroscientists to explain the most recent research on rule-guided behavior. Their work covers a wide range of disciplines and methods, including neuropsychology, functional magnetic resonance imaging, neurophysiology, electroencephalography, neuropharmacology, near-infrared spectroscopy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. This unprecedented synthesis is a must-read for anyone interested in how complex behavior is controlled and organized by the brain. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to explore the question of whether or not there are laws in psychology. Jaegwon Kim has argued (Supervenience and mind. MIT press, Cambridge; 1993; Mind in a physical world. MIT press, Cambridge 1998) that there are no laws in psychology that contain reference to multiply realized kinds, because statements about such kinds fail to be projectible. After reviewing Kim’s argument for this claim, I show how his conclusion hinges on a hidden assumption: that a kind (...) can only feature in a projectible statement if it is defined by an internal physical property. This assumption, however, is false: constrained kinds can feature in projectible statements, and yet they are not defined by any set of internal physical properties. I suggest that many mental terms actually refer to constrained kinds, and give an example from motor neuroscience of a constrained kind that is multiply realizable and “projectible”: the intention to move voluntarily in a specific direction. (shrink)
The need to align multiple experimental procedures and produce converging results so as to demonstrate that the phenomenon under investigation is real and not an artifact is a commonplace both in scientiﬁc practice and discussions of scientiﬁc methodology (Campbell and Stanley 1963; Wimsatt 1981). Although sometimes this is the purpose of aligning techniques, often there is a different purpose—multiple techniques are sought to supply different perspectives on the phenomena under investigation that need to be integrated to answer the questions scientists (...) are asking. After introducing this function, I will illustrate it by considering three of the major techniques in cognitive neuroscience for linking cognitive function with neural structure. (shrink)
Introduction -- Historical essays -- The humanist brain : Alberti, Vitruvius, and Leonardo -- The enlightened brain : Perrault, Laugier, and Le Roy -- The sensational brain : Burke, Price, and Knight -- The transcendental brain : Kant and Schopenhauer -- The animate brain : Schinkel, Bötticher, and Semper -- The empathetic brain : Vischer, Wölfflin, and Göller -- The gestalt brain : the dynamics of the sensory field -- The neurological brain : Hayek, Hebb, and Neutra -- The phenomenal (...) brain : Merleau-Ponty, Rasmussen, and Pallasmaa -- Neuroscience and architecture -- Anatomy : architecture of the brain -- Ambiguity : architecture of vision -- Metaphor : architecture of embodiment -- Hapticity : architecture of the senses -- Epilogue: The architect's brain. (shrink)
John Bickle's new book on philosophy and neuroscience is aptly subtitled 'a ruthlessly reductive account'. His 'new wave metascience' is a massive attack on the relative autonomy that psychology enjoyed until recently, and goes even beyond his previous (Bickle, J. (1998). Psychoneural reduction: The new wave. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) new wave reductionsism. Reduction of functional psychology to (cognitive) neuroscience is no longer ruthless enough; we should now look rather to cellular or molecular neuroscience at the lowest (...) possible level for explanations of memory, consciousness and attention. Bickle presents a fascinating set of experimental cases of such molecule-to-mind explanations. This book qualifies as a showcase of naturalism in the philosophy of mind. Naturally, many of the traditional conceptual approaches in the philosophy of mind are given short shrift, but - in Bickle's metascientific scheme - the role of philosophy of science also seems reduced to explicating laboratory findings. The present reviewers think that this reductionism suffers from overstretching; in particular, the idea of 'explanation in a single bound' from molecule to mind is a bit too ruthless. Still, Bickle's arguments are worth serious attention. (shrink)
In their review essay (published in this issue), Looren de Jong and Schouten take my 2003 book to task for (among other things) neglecting to keep up with the latest developments in my favorite scientific case study (memory consolidation). They claim that these developments have been guided by psychological theorizing and have replaced neurobiology's traditional 'static' view of consolidation with a 'dynamic' alternative. This shows that my 'essential but entirely heuristic' treatment of higher-level cognitive theorizing is a mistaken view of (...) actual scientific practice. In response I contend that, on the contrary, a closer look at the memory reconsolidation following reactivation experiments and data suggests (1) a less revolutionary judgment about the proposed alternative, and (2) a now-complete reliance on ruthlessly reductive experimental methods from cellular and molecular neuroscience. These conclusions save the heuristic status I propose for higher-level investigations of behavior and brain. I close with a brief comment on their further charge that I 'sell out' philosophy of science to factual developments in science itself. (shrink)
In this position statement it is argued that educational neuroscience must necessarily be relevant to, and therefore have implications for, both educational theory and practice. Consequently, educational neuroscientific research necessarily must embrace educational research questions in its remit.
The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which (...) make critical use of distinctly teleological functional considerations in brain cartography. Only by invoking teleological criteria can researchers distinguish the fruitful ways of identifying brain components from the myriad of possible ways. One likely reason for reluctance to turn to neuroscience is fear of reduction, but we argue that, in the context of a teleological perspective on function, this concern is misplaced. Adducing such theoretical considerations as top-down and bottom-up constraints on neuroscientific and psychological models, as well as existing cases of productive, multidisciplinary cooperation, we argue that integration of neuroscience into psychology and evolutionary biology is likely to be mutually beneficial. We also show how it can be accommodated methodologically within the framework of an interfield theory. (shrink)
This paper analyses ethical training in neuroscience curricula at universities in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. The main findings are that 52 % of all courses have ethical training available, while in 82 % of those cases, the training is mandatory. In terms of specific contents of the teaching, ethical issues about ‘animal subjects and human participation in research’, ‘scientific misconduct’, and ‘treatment of data’ were the most prominent. A special emphasis during the research (...) was placed on the prevalence of dual-use bioethics. In total, only 3 % of all courses mention it in any of their modules. One of the major findings of the survey was the trend towards ‘mainstreaming’ ethics education particularly in the UK, which is to disperse ethics among the various modules within the education instead of relying on a single ethics module. The paper discusses the utility of this approach for science education as well as describes the overall difficulties that course coordinators face when trying to teach ethics based on the responses to the qualitative part to the survey. (shrink)
This paper discusses possible correspondences between neuroscientific findings and phenomenologically informed methodologies in the investigation of kinesthetic empathy in watching dance. Interest in phenomenology has recently increased in cognitive science (Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ) and dance scholars have recently contributed important new insights into the use of phenomenology in dance studies (e.g. Legrand and Ravn (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8(3):389–408, 2009 ); Parviainen (Dance Research Journal 34(1):11–26, 2002 ); Rothfield (Topoi 24:43–53, 2005 )). In vision research, coherent neural (...) mechanisms for perceptual phenomena were uncovered, thus supporting correlation of phenomenology and neurophysiology Spillmann (Vision Research 49(12):1507–1521, 2009 ). Correspondingly, correlating subjects’ neurophysiological data with qualitative responses has been proposed as a means to research the human brain in the study of consciousness (Gallagher and Zahavi 2008 ), with similar issues in clinical psychology Mishara (Current Opinion in Psychiatry 20(6):559–569, 2007 ) and biology Kosslyn et al. (American Psychologist 57:341–351, 2002 ). Yet the relationship between neuroscience and qualitative research informed by phenomenology remains problematic. How qualitative research normally handles subjective experiences is difficult to reconcile with standard statistical analysis of objective data. Recent technological developments in cognitive neuroscience have inspired a number of researchers to use more naturalistic stimuli, outside the laboratory environment, such as dance, thereby perhaps helping to open up the cognitive sciences to more phenomenologically informed approaches. A question central to our research, addressed here, is how the phenomenal experiences of a dance audience member, as accessed by qualitative research methods, can be related to underlying neurophysiological events. We outline below some methodological challenges encountered in relating audiences’ first-person accounts of watching live dance performance to neurophysiological evidence of their experiences. (shrink)
In this article, I review recent findings in cognitive neuroscience in learning, particularly in the learning of mathematics and of reading. I argue that while cognitive neuroscience is in its infancy as a field, theories of learning will need to incorporate and account for this growing body of empirical data.
In this paper I argue that neuroscience has been harmed by the widespread adoption of seriously inadequate methodologies or philosophies of science - most notably inductivism and falsificationism. I argue that neuroscience, in seeking to understand the human brain and mind, needs to follow in the footsteps of evolution.
What can neuroscience offer to educators? Much of the debate has focused on whether basic research on the brain can translate into direct applications within the classroom. Accompanying ethical concern has centered on whether neuroeducation has made empty promises to educators. Relatively little investigation has been made into educators’ expectations regarding neuroscience research and how they might find it professionally useful. In order to address this question, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 educators who were repeat attendees of (...) the Learning & the Brain conferences. Responses suggest that ‘brain based’ pedagogical strategies are not all that is sought; indeed, respondents were more often drawn to the conference out of curiosity about the brain than a desire to gain new teaching methods. Of those who reported that research had influenced their classroom practice, most did not distinguish between neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Responses indicated that learning about neuroscience can help educators maintain patience, optimism and professionalism with their students, increase their credibility with colleagues and parents, and renew their sense of professional purpose. While not necessarily representative of the entire population, these themes indicate that current research in neuroscience can have real relevance to educators’ work. Future ethical discussions of neuroeducation should take into account this broader range of motivations and benefits. (shrink)
This paper introduces the motivation and idea behind the recently founded interdisciplinary initiative Critical Neuroscience ( http://www.critical-neuroscience.org ). Critical Neuroscience is an approach that strives to understand, explain, contextualize, and, where called for, critique developments in and around the social, affective, and cognitive neurosciences with the aim to create the competencies needed to responsibly deal with new challenges and concerns emerging in relation to the brain sciences. It addresses scholars in the humanities as well as, importantly, neuroscientific (...) practitioners, policy makers, and the public at large. Does neuroscience indeed have such wide-ranging effects or are we collectively overestimating its impacts at the expense of other important drivers of social and cultural change? Via what channels is neuroscience interacting with contemporary conceptions of selfhood, identity, and well-being? Importantly, Critical Neuroscience strives to make the results of these assessments relevant to scientific practice itself. It aspires to motivate neuroscientists to be involved in the analysis of contextual factors, historical trajectories, conceptual difficulties, and potential consequences in connection to their empirical work. This paper begins to spell out a philosophical foundation for the project by outlining examples of the interaction taking place between the neurosciences and the social and cultural contexts in which they are embedded and by exposing some of the assumptions and argumentative patterns underlying dominant approaches. Recent anthropological work will be discussed to convey a sense of the de facto interactions between neuroscientific knowledge, its promissory projections, and the self-understandings of laypeople. This can be seen as a first step towards a phenomenology of the “seductive allure” that the neurosciences are exerting upon both the academic and the popular imagination. The concept of “critique” relevant to the project's overall orientation is outlined in the final section. (shrink)
Paul MacLean, founder and long-time chief ofthe Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior,National Institutes of Health, is a pioneeringfigure in the emergent field of evolutionaryneuroscience. His influence has been widelyfelt in the development of biologicalpsychiatry and has led to a considerableliterature on evolutionary approaches toclinical issues. MacLean's work is alsoenjoying a resurgence of interest in academicareas of neuroscience and evolutionarypsychology which have previously shown littleinterest or knowledge of his extensive work. This chapter builds on MacLean's work to bringtogether new (...) insights into the neuralarchitecture of human development, hierarchy,conflict behavior, and reciprocity in the formof the Conflict Systems Neurobehavioral (CSN)Model. Hamilton's rule of kinship altruism orinclusive fitness is proposed to be the gene'seye complement to MacLean's evolutionaryneuroscience and the CSN Model derivedtherefrom. Hierarchy, conflict behavior andreciprocity are also central issues in healthydevelopment as well as in clinical syndromes ofdepression, mania, and other socialmaladjustments. The emerging insights permitthe integration of the concept of inclusivefitness underpinning evolutionary psychologywith MacLean's perspective on evolutionaryneuroscience as well as the definition of newchallenges for mental health and socialstability. The policy implications areindicated. (shrink)
This chapter presents emotion as a function of brain-body interaction, as a vital part of a multi-tiered phylogenetic set of neural mechanisms, evoked by both instinctive processes and learned appraisal systems, and argues to establish the primacy of emotion in relation to cognition. Primarily based on Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis, but also incorporating elements of Lazarus' appraisal theory, this paper presents a neuropedagogical model of emotion, the somatic appraisal model of affect (SAMA). SAMA identifies quintessential components, facets, and functions of (...) affect necessary to provide a new domain, namely educational neuroscience, with a basis on which to build a dynamic model of affect serving to critique traditional cognitivist-oriented curricula and instruction, and to inform an alternative: neuropedagogy. (shrink)
This paper examines interwoven ethical and epistemological issues raised by attempts to promote responsive childcare practices based on neuroscience evidence on the developmental effects of early stress. The first section presents this “neuroscience argument for responsive early childcare”. The second section introduces some evidential challenges posed by the use of evidence from developmental neuroscience as grounds for parental practice recommendations and then advances a set of observations about the limitations of the evidence typically cited. Section three highlights (...) the ethical implications of the neuroscience argument for responsive early childcare. It argues that the neuroscience argument, first, fuels unwarranted parental anxiety by unduly raising the stakes of families’ early childcare choices and, second, threatens public confidence in developmental science’s potential to inform childcare practices and policy that enhance children’s health and well being. (shrink)
The insanity defense presents many difficult questions for the legal system. It attracts attention beyond its practical significance (it is seldom used successfully) because it goes to the heart of the concept of legal responsibility. “Not guilty by reason of insanity” generally requires that as a result of mental illness the defendant was unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime. The many difficult and complex questions presented by the insanity defense have led some in the (...) legal community to hope that neuroscience might help resolve some of these problems, but that hope is not likely to be realized. (shrink)
Recent research in computational neuroscience has demonstrated that we now possess the ability to simulate neural systems in significant detail and on a large scale. Simulations on the scale of a human brain have recently been reported. The ability to simulate entire brains (or significant portions thereof) would be a revolutionary scientific advance, with substantial benefits for brain science. However, the prospect of whole-brain simulation comes with a set of new and unique ethical questions. In the present paper, we (...) briefly outline certain of those problems and emphasize the need to begin considering the ethical aspects of computational neuroscience. (shrink)
As scientists advance knowledge of the brain and develop technologies to measure, evaluate, and manipulate brain function, numerous questions arise for religious adherents. If neuroscientists can conclusively establish that there is a functional network between neural impulses and an individual’s capacity for moral evaluation of situations, this will naturally lead to questions about the relationship between such a network and constructions of moral value and ethical human behavior. For example, if cognitive neuroscience can show that there is a neurophysiological (...) basis for the moral appraisal of situations, it may be argued that the world’s religions, which have traditionally been the keepers and purveyors of ethical values, are rendered either spurious or irrelevant. The questions point up broader dilemmas in the interface between science and religion, and raise concerns about the ethics of neurological research and experimentation. Since human beings will still arbitrate what is “moral” or “ethical,” how can religious perspectives enrich the dialogue on neuroethical issues and how can neuroscience enrich dialogue on religion? Buddhist views on the nature of consciousness and methods of practice, especially meditation practice, may contribute to discussions on neuroscience and theories about the interrelationship between consciousness and ethical awareness by exploring the role that karma, intentionality, and compassion play in Buddhist understandings of the interrelationship between consciousness and ethics. (shrink)