After Phrenology: How to Study the Brain by Michael L. Anderson

By Michael L. Anderson

The pc analogy of the brain has been as commonly 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 suggestion that every mind zone should have its primary computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to accomplish a completely post-phrenological technological know-how of the mind, we have to think again this dedication and devise another, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of psychological function.

Anderson contends that the cognitive roles performed through every one area of the mind are hugely quite a few, reflecting various neural partnerships demonstrated less than various conditions. He proposes quantifying the useful homes of neural assemblies by way of their dispositional developments instead of their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale concerns, and drawing on facts from embodied cognition, Anderson develops an image of considering rooted within the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving capability for iterated interplay with the realm. He argues that the multidimensional method of the mind he describes bargains an improved healthy for those findings, and a extra promising highway towards a unified technological know-how of minded organisms.

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In fact, proponents of conceptual metaphor theory in mathematics tend to focus on relatively higher-level concepts such as sets and to investigate how our understanding of them is informed by such things as our experience with physical containers. , Goldin-Meadow 2003). , to index moments of decision or reconsideration in a Neural Reuse in Brain Function 25 problem-solving routine) but also appears to have utility in advancing the learning process by providing another representational format that might facilitate the expression of ideas currently unsuited (for whatever reason) to verbal expression.

This differed from the sort of strict localization advocated by Posner, Kanwisher, and others (Kanwisher 2010; Posner et al. 1988) only in the expectation that these workings would be multimodal, multidomain operators capable of contributing to task processes across perceptual modalities and cognitive domains—a conceptual and architectural reform that suggested that the operators might not look like those typically postulated by contemporary cognitive theories. Yet as I noted in that earlier work and wish to emphasize here, the evidence is equally compatible with a weaker (and thus an even less architecturally and functionally conservative) claim: local neural structures have a functional bias, a set of dispositional tendencies that capture the set of inputs to which the circuit will respond and govern the form of the resulting output.

Note, however, that Broca’s area is also activated in domains such as music perception (Maess et al. 2001; Tettamanti & Weniger 2006). Although it is 28 Chapter 1 possible that this is because processing music requires some of the same basic sensorimotor capacities as processing language, it seems also possible that this reuse was driven by functional features that Broca’s acquired as the result of its reuse in the language system, and thus by some more specific structural similarity between language and music (Fedorenko et al.

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