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[Neuroscience] Re: Looking foronlineorebookneurosciencedictionaries or encyclopedias

konstantin kouzovnikov myukhome at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 15 12:02:29 EST 2006


KK:    Glen: I hope you do not mind me being interested in understanding 
your positions better.

I just would like to follow these two statements:

>that results from those changes, but the concepts of cognitive "science" 
>are
>simply explanatory fictions.
>(and bear in
>mind that what I am criticizing the conceptual structure of cognitive
>"science.")

KK: Could you just give me a backgrounder or a couple of specific examples 
for each?


>GS: Imaging is a feat of physics and engineering. It has nothing to do with
>cognitive "science." Thus when an area "lights up" it seems like 
>explanation.
>"Oh! That's where the executive is!" "Oh! That's where the little 
>indwelling
>spirit reads the 'cognitive map.'"

KK: I do like your analogy. There are too many "Christmas tree"-like 
approaches. However, don't you think that various quality of a job done is a 
….. normal distribution thing in any field of human activity? You asked me 
to give you some info re: the research I've mentioned before. I'll give you 
the links to a couple of my recent favorites. I do find them not fitting 
into your description:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12880804&dopt=Abstract

as I like this lab a lot, here is a link:
http://www.brain-dynamics.net/braindynamics/publications/pubs_all.jsp

essentially, any  paper by either Williams or Liddle will do..

>but I don't intend right now to
>launch a criticism of methodology. The conceptual problems with cognitive
>"science" are so overwhelming that all other issues should take a back 
>seat.

KK: Glen, I hope you do realize that we would need to have something beyond 
your general statements, right? It is not just you doing a cope out, or is 
it?

>GS: Are you saying that we can, for example, say exactly what is going on
>when we establish, say, a so-called conditioned emotional response in a 
>rat?
>That is nonsense. We are not even close.

KK: don't you think you've changed the subject? I am saying that each 
"tribe" has ability to contribute, eventually, so, Yes, cog neuroscience has 
a lot to contribute, in addition to what was done in behaviorism. It is you 
who is saying "say exactly what is going on ", not me.  No one is in 
position to provide a "final answer". Let's just recall that you and I are 
talking about cog neuroscience being a complete crap, in your view.

But you "rat" thing is a good one. I'd like to stay with this one for a 
while. It may surprise you, but, as Captain Spoke would say, it is illogical 
to assume that the knowledge of what "exactly" going on in a rat can be 
established before a similar event is understood in humans. Why? Because of 
the nature of the science which demands not an A or a B, but A and B 
together. Allow me to explain,  To understand "exactly" what's going on in a 
system, would ALSO  require the system speaking back to you, or being able 
to contribute some self-generated data which is impossible to a dog, or a 
rat, especially if one is dead. In other words, you can go a long way with 
rats, but only so far. Any scientific product which won't contain ALSO the 
type of data that they used to call "introspective" will be INVARIABLY short 
of having SUFFICIENT data to apply YOUR label "EXACTLY". Further 
explanation, it is shutting down "conscious" (or accessible to 
introspection) allowed factoring out non-conscious, in the recent 
translational and integrative research, also with the use of neuroimaging. 
One cannot do it in a rat, not really.

So,  SOME progress has been taking place in the cognitive neuroscience of 
emotion . You can't deny it.

>GS: Freud was right about a couple of things but his mental models were
>crap.

KK: Glen, again, could you give me a 2-3 liner regarding what is it exactly 
that you mean? What are "a couple of things"? What are Freud's mental models 
that you like and dislike? It seems impossible to get out of you anything 
palpable. Is there a reason for it?

>because most people do not know that radical behaviorism places a lot of
>emphasis on self-talk, imagining, etc.

KK: "radical"? is there a definition to what exactly it is? Is there a link 
to read about?

>
>KK: Pavlovian behaviorism was largely physiological science rather than
>behavioral.
>
>GS: Nonsense. There was some manipulation of the brain, but Pavlov's work
>involved manipulating the environment and measuring behavior. > He talked 
>about the brain a lot,
>but the work is most famous for is purely behavioral.



KK: and what was the goal of manipulation? (A formal employee of the 
Pavlov's Institute, I'd like you to you to tell me this one). Let me tell 
you, though. The overall goal was to show that brain is the bearer of the 
mental faculties while "brain" was what these guys used to call as 
"physiology".  What you threw in the garbage and called it "Pavlov used to 
talk about the brain a lot" was the entire point, So, an alternative 
interpretation of what they did is as this: they manipulated brain by a / 
manipulation of environment and  b/ observing and measuring behavior to make 
what you are refusing to see in behaviorism – exactly the type of 
generalizations you so resent when they are done by cognitive neuroscience.' 
It is the same mythology, the same "conceptualizations", etc.

>GS: Well, it is unlikely that we will agree upon what is "good."

KK: Not if you would continue being vague. What's you definition of good?

This is what I still remember about the Soviet psych (sorry, can’t call 
Soviet and post-Soviet as Russian; the Russian is either dead or all in 
"their heads"):

Luria (a Georgian guy, by the way, like Schewarnadze) gave the world the 
Neuropsychology, no matter how much Nebraska-Luria folks continues to 
bastardize his models. Although, as I referred to before, the communists 
castrated the scientific community, there still were a few great 
developments. I am sure you don't know about them as the post-soviet science 
continues to be self-contained with the majority of the Russians taking the 
benefit from doing science on several languages while the majority of their 
science continues to belong to the "dark side" of the moon, inaccessible to 
you, for instance.

No matter how much they used Vygotsky's developmental stuff to raise up the 
young communist league members, no one in the filed can work without his 
still very much valid conceptualization as well as the 
assessment/experimental parts.

Had you known the works of Boris Vekker  and Ananiev, you'd have no choice 
but take your hut off. Prof. Vekker's theory of invariant information 
processing is as recent as from 60s and 70s, but still is the only serious 
methodology in existence offering logical and methodologically correct 
opportunity for convergence of the so fractured multitude of psychological 
schools of thought. If Prof. Vekker were any good at spin-doctoring of his 
science as Chomskie is, his hugely important theory would not be one of the 
biggest losses in the field, at the time when objective, methodologically 
correct tool for conceptual convergence in psychology is need as never 
before.

A behaviorist , you would be interested to know that the big ideas as the 
Theory of Mind or the new wave called "mirror neurons" are just humble 
shadows of what has been done in the SU in the area of imitative behavior in 
animals and humans, by those who called themselves behaviorists and 
physiologists. You know when? Between 1932 and the end of the 70s. A massive 
body of knowledge. I have not a clue why this information is not here, in 
the West.

There are more curious things about the "Russian" neuroscience. Do you know 
that 95% of the staff from the Russian "physiological psychology" labs ended 
in Germany, between the early teens of the 20th century and the beginning of 
the 30th? So, a lot what we know now as German science had the benefit of 
the exodus of the old traditional neuroscience from the country taken by 
commies.

Have you ever heard about sensory deprivation method? Prof. Kuznetsov, the 
developer of the approach, eventually went to St.Pet's and I am happy to say 
that my practicum was at his department. Great guy he was.

Do you know who were the developers of the self-guided rockets? Guys and 
girls just like from the MIT, mostly neuropsychologists of cognitive 
neuroscience type. You see how the American product works in the Middle 
East, right?

Largely unknown psychosemantics tradition (Schmelyov and Petrenko) are now 
the granddaddies of this arm of research, still ahead of the pack.

I know that now there is a number of their folks are here, in the West, 
having very serious positions in behavioral science, especially in the areas 
of computational approaches as well as in neuroscience. However, the 
majority of them are snapped up by big pharma's , so one hears the name only 
infrequently.

Still,… the consequences of the red massacre are right there, not a lot of 
good stuff. But to say there is nothing important would be a mistake.

So, I am terminally interested in having the details about your "criticism" 
of the fundamentals of cognitive neuroscience and Freud's models. Any chance 
you can share it with us, so we know where the passion is coming from?

Cheers,

Konstantin



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