Brains and theories of cognition

kkollins at pop3.concentric.net kkollins at pop3.concentric.net
Sat Oct 24 14:56:10 EST 1998


The most-compelling reason to study, and comprehend the neuroscience stems
from the fact that "knowledge" with respect to "human nature" has been
accumulated only haphazardly over the course of the millenia. But because such
has been the familiar experience, such "knowledge", worthless as it is (as is
the case with the products of any random walk), never-the-less, becomes
encoded within the microscopic trophic (growth) modifications to the brain,
and from which arises what's been referred to as "memory", which,
subsequently, governs convergence upon behaviorally-manifested "choices". And
because it's been the case that such haphazardly-accumulated stuff.does govern
"what will be" behaviorally, behavior, itself, can only be commensurately
haphazard. Any reading of History bears all of this.

Into such, via the study and comprehension of Neuroscience, strides
Understanding, which displaces the randomly-accumulated stuff, and
simultaneously, the behavioral "craziness" that the Historians have documented
so well.

That's why the study of Neuroscience is Worth the "trouble".

Gary Jasdzewski wrote:

> I am doing some research on the intersection of neuroscience and second
> language acquisition.  I'v become interested in knowing why anyone
> interested in cognition should pay attention to research in the
> neurosciences.  Some reasons that I've run across include the following:
>
> a.)  Most of the knowledge we are discovering about the brain and language
> comes from neuroimaging techniques.  To understand how these techniques
> work it is necessary to have some understanding of the smaller levels of
> the brain.
>
> b.) These techniques have improved to the point where they can be useful
> in the testing of the validity of theoretical claims.
>
> c.) Learning anything like a second language involves changes in the
> microanatomical structure of the brain.  Hence to understand learning we
> need to look at the smaller levels of the brain.  A potentially practical
> application of this pursuit is that it will lead to better the design of
> better learning environments that are suited to our computational
> abilities.
>
> d.) Finally, a neuroscientific perspective can impose constraints on the
> shape of a theory by requiring that it be neurally plausible.
>
> I have a question about reason b.  Exactly how can a picture of a brain
> test the validity of some theory?  Can someone give me an example from any
> field?

The scans disclose underlying neural energy dynamics... where the work is
happening. When the scans are cross-correlated with the rigorous geometrical
order that exists within our nervous systems, and with energy-flow dynamics
within the external environment ("stimuli"), the way that the external
environment is represented within the nervous system, and the way that the
nervous system operates in the global energy domain, can be flat-out seen.
Such seeing requires the study, and comprehension, of Neuroscience... else one
cannot even recognize that there is a rigorously-ordered geomethr through
which everything is disclosed.

Note: the scanning techniques are modern extensions of much-older
single-neuron recording techniques, and somewhat-older array-recording
techniques, which, when the stuff of their many experimental papers is
cross-correlated, disclose the same stuff.

> Also, I have a question about reason d.  Can someone give me an example of
> a theory of some aspect of cognition (like vision or language, etc.) that
> is neurally plausible and one that is not?

Any theory in Neuroscience is plausible to the degree that it incorportates
proven Neuro experimental results, discloses errors in experimental results,
and is in aggreement with cognitive, affective, and behavioral observation.

Any theory that does not, to the degree that it does not, is not a valid
theory.

> It seems to me that many of the authors I encounter assume that knowledge
> of the brain is a good thing, and they don't develop reasons why this is
> so.  Please email me if you would like a clarification about something
> I've written.

See my opening comments, above. It's a matter of Life and Death on the scale
of Earth's whole population. ken collins




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