By Michael L. Anderson
The pc analogy of the brain has been as largely followed in modern cognitive neuroscience as was once the analogy of the mind as a suite of organs in phrenology. simply because the phrenologist might insist that every organ should have its specific functionality, so modern cognitive neuroscience is dedicated to the inspiration that every mind zone should have its primary computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to accomplish an absolutely post-phrenological technology of the mind, we have to re-evaluate this dedication and devise an alternative, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of psychological function.
Anderson contends that the cognitive roles performed via each one sector of the mind are hugely numerous, reflecting diversified neural partnerships tested below varied situations. He proposes quantifying the sensible houses of neural assemblies by way of their dispositional traits instead of their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale matters, and drawing on facts from embodied cognition, Anderson develops an image of pondering rooted within the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving potential for iterated interplay with the realm. He argues that the multidimensional method of the mind he describes bargains a more robust healthy for those findings, and a extra promising highway towards a unified technology of minded organisms.
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Additional info for After Phrenology: How to Study the Brain
2005). Data like these, demonstrating that using neurons in one task makes them less available for another, seem to indicate that the very same neurons are being engaged by both tasks. This appears to weigh against the possibility that the poor spatial resolution of neuroimaging techniques is masking the fact that multiple neighboring structures are making separate contributions to cognition. Second—and more telling in my view—are the cases in which there does appear to be a functional or semantic inheritance that results from the sharing of components.
All this suggested that class concepts such as HAMMER, RED, and DOG might be stored using a sensory and/or motor code and, more generally, that high-level, conceptual-linguistic understanding might involve the reactivation of sensorimotor experiences. This dovetailed nicely with the general idea behind direct neural support for the kinds of metaphorical mappings mentioned above: understanding in one domain would involve the reactivation of neural structures used for another, and the new domain would thereby inherit some of the semantic structure of the old.
In the event, a series of early findings bolstered the case for modal concepts, on the one hand, and for the idea that direct neural substrates supported metaphorical mappings, on the other. For example, a series of papers from the labs of Antonio Damasio and Alex Martin offered evidence that verb retrieval tasks activated brain areas involved in motor control functions, and naming colors and animals (that is, processing nouns) activated brain regions associated with visual processing (Damasio & Tranel 1993; Damasio et al.