Questions on the Nature of memory, personality, etc.

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Thu May 13 07:27:58 EST 2004


RM: I agree with you that especially in the field of cognitive psychology
big words are drawn from poor experiments.



GS: But the real problem with cognitive "science" is that its conceptual
foundation is laughable. But only a very small minority of scientists are
laughing.



RM: I'm thinking of fMRI
studies where a neural correlate of some higher cognitive function
(e.g. Language) is to be found.



GS: Yeah, that's a good place to start...just what is a "cognitive process?"
As to any kind of imaging, and even lesion experiments - what do they tell
you exactly? Of course, these facts will be important, but we are not even
close to having some big picture of the physiological mediation of
behavioral function. And, as you seem to agree below, many times we are not
asking the right questions - "executive regions," the "binding problem,"
etc. etc. It is animism.



RM: The localizations are coarse, the
underlying model often is distgustingly GOFL - AI like... assuming
that there are central executive regions...

But fortunately our professors teach us to critically evaluate
contemporary neurobiological and neuropsychological papers. "Do you
buy it ?" "Whould you do an other experiment ?", "Are the numerical
methods okay ?".
And there is an emphasis on clean behavioural and electrophysiological
experiments as well as numerical training at our institute.
Furthermore there are people whose papers I can read without turning
the methods section upside down because I know that I can trust these
guys.



GS: Well, it goes a little deeper than just trying to figure out what was
actually manipulated and measured, though this is certainly a problem. The
red flags should go up when one realizes psychology manipulates and measures
one set of things, but claims they're actually measuring something else.
Something which, itself, is not usually assigned dimensions. This is part of
the conceptual BS of cognitive "science," and it has infected a great deal
of behavioral neurobiology. Errr...sorry..cognitive neurobiology.





"Robert M?rtin" <robertmaertin at gmx.de> wrote in message
news:85d56b27.0405122306.5465d202 at posting.google.com...
> David Longley <David at longley.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:<wXO3qYDd4foAFwNF at longley.demon.co.uk>...
> > In message <85d56b27.0405120043.5ea05a37 at posting.google.com>, Robert
> > M?rtin <robertmaertin at gmx.de> writes
> > >> I think you'll find that the problems lie much deeper than you make
out.
> > >> It is one thing to assert that one's a physicalist, it's a lot harder
to
> > >> practice that. In some areas of neuroscience the problems just don't
> > >> arise. They manifest themselves in much more subtle and insidious
ways
> > >> elsewhere.
> > >
> > >
> > >I can remember that Folk Psychology and Intentionality cannot be
> > >reduced to physical terms and that there is a struggle determinism vs.
> > >indeterminism.
> > >But... this never bothered me.
> > >
> > >What are you thinking of ?
> > >Do you know a situation where I might get into serious inner conflicts
> > >? Or an assumption I have to make as a scientist that really would be
> > >an outrage for certain philosophers ?
> > >
> > >regards
> > >Robert
> >
> > The conflict arises when one has to read other peoples'  papers and
> > decipher what lots of them are *really doing* (as opposed to what they
> > say they're doing). Sadly, the methods sections are not always as clear
> > as one might expect. Having to skim so many introductions and
> > discussions, and critically read the methods and results sections tends
> > to make one a bit punch drunk! Getting down to the work oneself isn't
> > all that easy either. Folk insist on talking rather eccentrically and
> > ask what one is *really* doing. We are all creatures of our environments
> > <g>
>
> Hi
> I agree with you that especially in the field of cognitive psychology
> big words are drawn from poor experiments. I'm thinking of fMRI
> studies where a neural correlate of some higher cognitive function
> (e.g. Language) is to be found. The localizations are coarse, the
> underlying model often is distgustingly GOFL - AI like... assuming
> that there are central executive regions...
>
> But fortunately our professors teach us to critically evaluate
> contemporary neurobiological and neuropsychological papers. "Do you
> buy it ?" "Whould you do an other experiment ?", "Are the numerical
> methods okay ?".
> And there is an emphasis on clean behavioural and electrophysiological
> experiments as well as numerical training at our institute.
> Furthermore there are people whose papers I can read without turning
> the methods section upside down because I know that I can trust these
> guys.





More information about the Neur-sci mailing list