It has been reported that, on average, most adults recall first memories formed around age 3.5. In general, most first memories are positive. However, whether these first memories tend to be visual or verbal and whether the period for childhood amnesia (CA) is greater for visual or verbal or for positive versus negative memories has not been determined. Because negative, stressful experiences disrupt memory and can injure memory centers such as the hippocampus and amygdala, and since adults who were traumatized (...) or abused during childhood (TA) reportedly suffer memory disturbances, it was hypothesized that those with a history of early trauma might suffer from a lengthier childhood amnesia and form their first recallable memories at a later age as compared to the general population (GP). Because the right hemisphere matures earlier than the language-dominant left hemisphere, and is dominant for visual and emotional memory, as well as the stress reponse, it was hypothesized that first recallable memories would be visual rather than verbal. Lastly, since stress can injure the brain and disrupt memory, it was hypothesized that the traumatized group would demonstrate memory and intellectual disturbances associated with right hemisphere injury as based on WAIS-R, Wechsler Memory Scale, and facial-memory testing. All hypotheses were supported. Positive and visual memories are formed before negative and verbal memories. TA CA offset, on average, is at age 6.1 versus 3.5 for GPs. TA PIQ (performance IQ), short-term visual memory, and facial memory were significantly reduced. (shrink)
In a recent BBS target article, MacNeilage (1998) presents what he claims to be the only theory that can account for the evolution of language. However, major portions of his target article basically repeat and in many respects are identical to the theories of language evolution and development first proposed and detailed by the present commentator.
We suggest that consciousness (C) should be addressed as a multilevel concept. We can provisionally identify at least three, rather than two, levels: Gray's system should relate at least to the lowest of these three levels. Although it is unlikely to be possible to develop a behavioural test for C, it is possible to speculate as to the evolutionary advantages offered by C and how C evolved through succeeding levels. Disturbances in the relationships between the levels of C could underlie (...) mental illness, especially schizophrenia. (shrink)
In his Sefer ha-'Ikkarim [Book of Principles] R. Joseph Albo discusses Maimonides' proofs for the existence of God. The following paper offers an analysis of Albo's discussion of the proofs, advancing two theses: Albo's main argument in his central discussion is that proofs for the existence of God cannot be based on the theory of the eternity of the universe. This argument, however, is contradicted by his other remarks on the topic, which appear elsewhere in the Sefer ha-'Ikkarim . (...) Albo's discussion of this issue includes several expressions of independent and critical thought. (shrink)
In an influential article, A. I. Sabra identified an intellectual trend from twelfth and thirteenth-century Andalusia which he described as the ‘‘Andalusian revolt against Ptolemaic astronomy.” Philosophers such as Ibn Rushd , Ibn Tufayl , and Maimonides objected to Ptolemy’s theories on philosophic grounds, not because of shortcomings in the theories' predictive accuracy. Sabra showed how al-Bitrūjī's Kitāb al-Hay'a attempted to account for observed planetary motions in a way that met the philosophic standards of those philosophers and others. In Nūr (...) al-‘ālam , the subject of this article, Joseph ibn Joseph ibn Nahmias endeavoured to improve upon al-Bitrūjī’s models. Levi Ben Gerson's Hebrew writings on astronomy criticized al-Bitrūjī, but Ibn Nahmias did not mention them. Nūr al-‘ālam deserves attention, too, because it is the first Arabic text on theoretical astronomy by a Jewish author to come to light. In the body of this article, I will describe and analyze Ibn Nahmias’ theory, from Nūr al-‘ālam , for the motion of the sun. (shrink)