CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE BRAIN:
Ralph D. Ellis, Ph.D.
Clark Atlanta University
Natika Newton, Ph.D.
New York Institute of Technology
Sartre, Jean Paul. 1966. The Psychology of the Imagination. New York: Washington Square Press.
Points out that an imaginary mental picture of the facade of the Pantheon, for most of us, does not have a definite number of columns, whereas a perception of it does (50). The image of an object is not simply the same as the perception absent the positing of the existence of the object. Thus the problem of relating different conscious modalities with similar `content' is a puzzle within phenomenology as well as a neuroscientific one. Tries to analyse imagination in such a way as to help explain the phenomenon of neutrality-modification the fact that the `content' of a mere mental image can seem so similar to the `content' of the corresponding perception, yet the two forms of consciousness are so unmistakably and utterly different. He insists simply that every imaginative consciousness is a negating of the really-existing, actual, physical world, and that this physical world is therefore the true intentional object of the imaginative experience.
Sartre, Jean Paul. 1971. Sketch for a Theory of Emotions. London: Methuen.
Argues that each state of consciousness, including emotional consciousness, is simply a different manner of relating to the actual, physical world. This point is clearly to his thesis that imaginative consciousness `negates' the physical world,
Sartre, Jean Paul. 1957. The Transcendence of the Ego. F. Williams and R. Kirkpatrick trans. New York: Noonday.
Saussure, F de 1966. Course in General Linguistics, Bally, C. and Sechehaye, A. (eds). New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. [1st French edn, 1916.]
Scheler, Max. 1928-1968. Man's Place in Nature. Hans Meyerhoff (trans). New York: Nonday Press.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. 1962. The World As Will and Idea New York: Modern Library.
Schües, Christina. 1994. "The anonymous powers of the habitus". Study Project in the Phenomenology of the Body Newsletter 7: 12-25.
Describes the phenomenology of the experience of consciousness as follows: "The continual course of experiences takes place as a process of actual anticipations followed by subsequent assurances in which the same object of perception, remembering, etc., is held in awareness and is determined more closely. If an anticipation is not assured, but dissapointed, then I might be surprised and a modalization of my experience takes place. . . We find here the possibility of a meaning which may even retroactively inhibit the already constituted meaning and overlie it with a new one, and hence, transform the experience accordingly. . . . When an object of experiences affects me, it seems to have an affective power which motivates me to perceive it. . . a movement of interest aiming at the object. . . . If the anticipation is disappointed and its motivational power diminishes, then the original mode of the experience is transformed into negation (Schües 1994: 12-14)."
Schank, R.C. and Abelson, R.P. 1977. Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Schiffer, S. 1987. Remnants of Meaning . Cambridge: MIT Press.
Schmidt, R. 1982. Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics Publishers.
The motor system, is shown to involve regions whose function is to develop abstract motor plans in light of sensory and somatosensory information, and to hold these plans in a memory buffer for various uses.
Schyns, Philippe. 1991. "A modular neural network model of concept acquisition". Cognitive Science 15: 461-508.
Presents a modular neural network architecture that realizes concept acquisition through a probibilistic representation of categories as in prototype theory.
Scoville, W.B. and Milner, B. 1957. "Loss of recent memory after bilateral hippocampal lesions." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 23, 589-599.
Case studies of amnesiacs, such as H.M., who had a normal digit span and could describe what his memory loss felt like to him. His short-term memory seemed unaffected. Such studies are often used to formulate the short-term/long-term memory distinction.
Searle, John. 1984. Minds, Brains and Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Argues that consciousness and brain states are not the same thing, but that consciousness is `caused by' brain states. This raises the issue of whether epiphenomenalism (as opposed to psychopysical identity theories) is inadvertantly committed to a kind of dualism, since cause and effect presumably cannot be the same event.
Searle, J. 1980. "Minds, brains and programs." The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 417-424.
Proposes his famous example in which he imagines imitating a computer that takes Chinese symbols as input, matches them to other Chinese symbols according to a rule-book, and delivers the latter symbols as output. According to some accounts of understanding (e.g. Schank and Abelson 1977), if the input constitutes questions about a story, and the output constitutes correct answers to the questions, then the computer understands the story. But, Searle says, even though he performs the manipulations correctly, he knows he does not understand the symbols.
Searle, J. 1969. Speech Acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Searle, J. 1983. Intentionality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sedikides, Constantine. 1992. "Mood as a determinant of attentional focus". Cognition and Emotion 6: 129-148.
Empirical study of the way the arousal and attentional system precedes perceptual consciousness and is determined by the general emotional needs of the organism.
Segal, Sydney. 1971. Imagery: Current Cognitive Approaches. New York, Academic Press.
The conflict between imagining one object and simultaneously perceiving another is demonstrated empirically.
Sellars, Wilfrid. 1965. "The identity approach to the mind-body problem". Review of Metaphysics 18: 430-451.
Argues that `mental event' and `pattern of brain activity' do not occupy the same logical space.
Shallice, T. 1988. From Neuropsychology to Mental Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
While language deficits such as Broca's aphasia are usually associated with motor deficits, general nonverbal cognitive abilities tend to be spared. This evidence supports the position that language may be a cognitive subspecialty more closely related to motor and sequencing aspects of verbal expression than to reasoning ability. However, Shallice points out that deficit associations are less reliable than dissociations as evidence of localization of function.
Sharvy, Richard. 1963. "A logical error in Taylor's `Fatalism'". Analysis 23: 96.
Further analysis of the problem of the direction of causation as initially framed by Taylor (1962).
Shaver, Phillip, Lee Pierson, and Stephen Lang. 1974-1975. "Converging evidence for the functional significance of imagery in problem solving". Cognition 3: 359-375.
Study of the way imagery functions in the construction of mental models in syllogistic reasoning.
Shoemaker. 1985. "Introspection and the self." Midwest Studies in Philosophy, X, 101-120.
Argues that introspection cannot be the perception of a perception since there are no sense impressions of mental states.
Simon, Michael. 1979. "Action and dialictics". Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 39: 468-69.
Stresses that consciousness sometimes makes sense only holistically, whereas the physical interactions between the particles of its physiological substratum can usually make sense in partes extra partes fashion.
Sloman, A. 1985. "What enables a machine to understand?" In Proceedings of the 9th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, v. 2, 995-1001.
Slomianko, Joshua. 1987. "Learning to learn". Seminar presented at Atlanta University, August 1987.
Studies of the learning process in students indicate that students absorb abstract as well as concrete reading material more effectively if they ask themselves questions about what they read.
Smart, J.J.C. 1963. "Materialism". Journal of Philosophy 60: 651-662.
Presents and defends one of the classic epiphenomenalist theories of the relation between physical and mental events.
Smart, J.J.C. 1970. "Sensations and brain processes". Philosophical Review 68: Reprinted in C.V. Borst (ed). The Mind-Brain Identity Theory. London: Macmillan, 1970, 141-156.
Argues that those who speak of mental events as distinct from brain states are in violation of Ockham's principle of parsimony. Discusses differences between theories of epiphenomenalism and psycho-physical identity.
Smith, Edward, Christopher Langston, and Richard Nisbett. 1992. "The case for rules in reasoning". Cognitive Science 16: 1-40.
It is objected against emphasis on manipulation of mental images that logical thought proceeds by means of the application of inference rules not by means of imagistic manipulation of `mental models' (as in Johnson-Laird and Byrn 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994). How can deductive-logical inferences be explained on the basis of the theory of selectively inhibited efferent functioning, given that the everyday use of inference rules does not always (or even usually) seem to involve mental images? Moreover, even if the thinking of an abstract concept can be explained as a `readiness' to execute a series of interrelated images, this does not account for how we are able to make logical inferences based on the meanings of these concepts without taking the time to explicate them in this way.
Smith, Peter, and O.R. Jones. 1986. The Philosophy of Mind. London: Cambridge University Press.
Traditional philosophy of mind discussion showing that it seems to many neuroscientists that, if one causal antecedent for a phenomenon (a physical one) is both necessary and sufficient to explain the phenomenon, then no other antecedent (say, a conscious one) can be either necessary or sufficient to explain that same phenomenon. If consciousness is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain cognitive functioning, then it plays no role in bringing it about. And if consciousness can play no role in bringing about cognitive functioning, then certainly neuroscientists should ignore it in their work. This is the essential basis of both `reductive' and `eliminative' materialisms.
Spiegelberg, H. 1960. The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
Sperry, R.W.. 1966. "The great cerebral commissure". In Stanley Coopersmith (ed), Frontiers of Psychological Research. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 60-70.
A feeling of interest in an environmental stimulus leads the prefrontal cortex to translate the emotional feeling of desire or interest into the formulation of questions (in agreement with Luria 1973: 188-189, 211, 219ff; and Luria 1980). Patients with lesions of the frontal lobe fail to solve cognitive tasks because they are unable to ask themselves the right questions at the appropriate point in their thought process . See also Luria 1973: 219 and passim; Joseph 1982.
Springer, Sally, and Georg Deutsch. 1989. Left Brain, Right Brain. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Confirms Hoppe (1977) in the view that images heavily involve right brain parietal and frontal acitivity (esp. 390ff). Also shows that the self-questioning process heavily involves the frontal lobe; and that the right (or nondominant) hemisphere is holistic and imagistic, while the left (or dominant) hemisphere is very important in logic and linguistic thinking. The frontal lobe is the crucial link between the limbic region, which is strongly associated with the feeling of emotions, and the cerebrum, associated with representations and logical thinking. Since the framing of a question is largely a matter of defining and delineating an emotion (i.e., identifying what it is that one `wants' to know about or understand), it makes sense that the frontal lobe, which bridges intellectual with emotional functions, should be an area heavily involved in the formation of questions. (See also Richardson 1991; Sperry 1966.)
Srebro, Richard. 1985. "Localization of visually evoked cortical activity in humans". Journal of Physiology 360: 233-246.
The amount of time it takes for a subject to be `aware' of a novel image on a screen is always longer than it takes for the neurons in the brain to be activated by the signals from the retina . This initial neural activation is only the first stage in the process through which the subject becomes aware of the object. The afferent activity must first cause efferent activity (probably at the point when the incoming nerve impulse passes through the thalamus as it travels on its way to the prefrontal and parietal areas), which in turn sends signals to the limbic region, where they interact with the subject's emotional/motivational state, where they then cause the frontal lobe to formulate the question as to whether an object of such-and-such nature is present, which then causes the parietal right brain to enact an image of the object (i.e., an efferent looking-for), which then feels itself as being fulfilled by the afferent pattern being delivered. (See esp. pp. 233-246.)
Stapp, Henry P. 1993. Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics.
Collection of author's articles on the Mind-Matter connection in quantum
theory. The article "The Copenhagen Interpretation" explains the orthodox
interpretation of quantum mechanics, with comment's by Heisenberg and
Rosenfeld. The central article is "A Quantum Theory of the Mind-Brain Interface", based
on a 1990 conference talk. It combines ideas of Wm. James, W.Heisenberg, N.
Bohr, J. von Neumann, E. Wigner, and W. Pauli. The core idea is that there are,
in analogy to the events in measuring devices that actualize the observed
states of these devices, events in brains that actualize the experienced states
of the brain. Each such actualized state is a large-scale pattern of neural
excitations that is a templates for action that is experienced as the
initiating of the action initiated by that template for action.
Stapp, Henry P. 1995 "Why classical mechanics cannot naturally accommodate
consciousness but quantum mechanics can". Electronic Journal PSYCHE, 2(5).
Reprinted in Scale in Conscious Experience: Is the Brain Too Important
To Be Left to Specialists to Study? Lawrence Erlbaum, 1995, Joseph King and
Karl Pribram (eds.)
Occam's Razor says the simplest ontology compatible with the evidence
is to be preferred. The simplest ontology for the physical part of nature that
is compatible with classical mechanics is local. In computer terminolgy this
would correspond to nature's being composed of a collection of computers,
one for each of a collection of tiny (overlapping) spacetime regions, with each
computer having access only to the physical variables associated with its own
spacetime region: the physical reality would be completely described by the
contents of the registers associated with these different tiny regions. Thus,
for example, the sum of two variables, one corresponding to each of two
far-apart regions, would not be part of the physical reality because it is not
represented in any register. Thus a thought that represents a complex
combination of variable in different tiny spacetime regions could not be
part of physical reality: some overseeing process is needed. Quantum
mechanics has just such an overseeing processes built into the dynamics.
Stapp, Henry P. 1996. "The Hard Problem: A Quantum Approach". Journal of
Consciousness Studies 3: 194-210.
Conscious events can be basic realities in a quantum theory of nature.
There is, according to quantum theory, no ordinary substantive component in
nature: the quantum analog of classical matter represents only tendencies
for events to occur. These events include, if the theory is to work correctly
at the practical level, the experiential events that increase our knowledge.
That, indeed, is the core idea of the orthodox interpretation of quantum
theory, which thereby brings conscious events into physical theory in a
fundamental, yet completely practical, way that is tied nontrivally to the
dynamics, thus allowing consciousness to be selected for by natural selection.
St. George, M., Mannes, S., and Hoffman, J. 1994. "Global semantic expectancy and language comprehension." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 6, 1, 70-83.
Stich, Steven. 1983. From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science: The Case Against Belief. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Classic critique of `folk psychological' explanation.
Stich, S. 1983. From Folk Psychology To Cognitive Science: The Case Against Belief. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Strawson, P. 1959. Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Methuen & Co, Ltd.
Emphasizes the role of the body in perceptual experiences, but argues that we still need to know why perceptual experiences should be ascribed to any subject at all, and why they and the corporeal experiences should be ascribed to the same subject (1959: 93). In noting that bodily experience accompanies all perceptual experience haven't I simply multiplied the experiences which still, unaccountably, are ascribed to the self? And how do I know it is my body I experience? Part of what it is to understand that given entities are part of this world is to know their situation relative to one's own situation.
Streri, Arlette, Elizabeth Spelke, and E. Rameix. 1993. "Modality-specific and amodal aspects of object perception in infancy: The case of active touch". Cognition 47: 251-279.
Describes recent tests of infant perception, which make use of a tendency in infants to look longer at novel displays than at familiar ones. Object unity and boundaries are perceived by means of observed motion in visible areas of the object. Spelke summarizes the results of this work: "In summary, humans have some early-developing abilities to perceive the unity, the boundaries, and the identity of objects in visual scenes. These abilities are present before the onset of visually directed reaching or independent locomotion. Capacities to apprehend objects appear to emerge without benefit of trial-and-error motor learning." (117) Observations of infants' use of conceptual categories support the view that infants even learn to perceive elementary physical realities by using subjunctives. The object is one that if pulled would bounce back, or if grabbed would lend itself to being sucked, or if thrown would knock something else aside. And, of course, every object is one which, if turned around, would turn out to have another side, and thus would have thickness. These are all subjunctive thought processes. Develops the idea that identifying an object involves imagining how it could be manipulated, and support this idea with developmental research, confirming in humans the same principle that Held and Hein (1958) found for cats: I.e., when deprived of the opportunity to manipulate and interact with the objects they were looking at, the kittens in the Held and Hein study ended up being functionally blind. Sinilarly, the Streri et. al. study finds that human infants learn to recognize objects by interacting with them. Even perceptual consciousness, then, is in part imaginative and subjunctive.
Stubenberg, Leopold. 1996. Consciousness and Qualia. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Consciousness is analyzed as the having of qualia. Given that phenomenal properties or qualia are problematical because the lack appropriate bearers, it is argued that the relation of `having' is problematical because none of the typical candidates for this relation -- introspection, inner monitoring, higher level thoughts -- explains wy it is like something to have a quale. The qualia problem is solved by introdeucing a bundle theory of phenomenological objects. Phenomenological objects are characterized as bundles of qualia, so that there is no need for independent qualia bearers.
Studdert-Kennedy, M. and D. Shankweiler. 1970. "Hemispheric specialization for speech perception". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 48: 579-594.
Empirical support for the view that speech evolves as a truncated motoric behavior (i.e., to think a word is largely to imagine ourselves saying the word). See also Kimura and Archibald (1974); Liberman et al (1967).
Stuss, D.T. and Benson, D.F. 1986. The Frontal Lobes. New York: Raven Press.
Broca's aphasia is associated with motor deficits: lesions in Broca's area can cause "usually transient right-sided . . . paralysis. A residual clumsiness and sensory disturbance of the right hand may persist, especially involving the thumb and index finger. There may be an apraxia. . ." (86). Apraxia is defined as the "impairment of ability to carry out purposeful movements by an individual who has normal primary motor skills . . . and normal comprehension of the act to be carried out" (Hecaen, quoted in Stuss and Benson 1986: 84).
Symons, Donald. 1993. "The stuff that dreams aren't made of: Why wake-state and dream-state sensory experiences differ". Cognition 47: 181-217.
Further investigates the finding of Dement (1958) that during dreams it is primarily the non-modally-specific imaging areas of the parietal and secondary sensory areas that are most activated, and that by casting mental representations in visual rather than auditory imagery we allow the `vigilance mechanism' to function only for the most important auditory stimuli that might impinge from the real environment.
Taylor, Richard. 1962. "Fatalism". The Philosophical Review 71: 55-66.
Raises problems with the concept of causation which has specially significant implications for the mind-body relation. Points out that if `A causes B' were to mean nothing more than that A is necessary and sufficient for B, then B would also be sufficient and necessary for A, which would imply that if A causes B, then B must also cause A. Thus, if a physical event is necessary and sufficient for a mental one, this fact alone does not imply a causal relation. See also Taylor (1963, 1964, 1964b).
Taylor, Richard. 1963. Metaphysics. Englewood Cliffs.
Further discussion of the problem of causation as framed in Taylor (1962).
Taylor, Richard. 1963. "A note on fatalism". The Philosophical Review 72: 497-99.
Extension of the discussion of the direction of causation in Taylor (1962).
Taylor, Richard. 1964. "Comment". The Journal of Philosophy 61: 305-307.
Response to critics of the original discussion of the direction of causation in Taylor (1962).
Taylor, Richard. 1964. "Fatalism and ability". Analysis 24: 25-27.
Specific application of the notion of strict causation (as in Taylor 1962, 1963 and 1964) to mental events.
Thompson, Richard F. 1975. Introduction to Physiological Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.
Shows the role of the reticular activating ssytem in directing attention and in recognizing the meaning of a remembered image.
Titchener, Edward B. 1912. "Descriptions vs. statement of meaning". American Journal of Psychology 23: 165-182.
Classic attempt to use introspective reports of problem solving processes to study cognition; subjects were unable to specify what thought process led to the solution of the problem.
Tienson, John. 1987. "An introduction to connectionism". Southern Journal of Philosophy 26: 1-16.
Criticizes connectionist models as neurophysiologically unrealizable, pointing out that no version of connectionism as yet devised is really consistent with what we know about the actual connections between neurons in the human brain. (See also Butler 1993.)
Tranel, D. and Damasio, A.R. 1985. "Knowledge without awareness: An autonomic index of facial recognation in prosopagnosics." Science 228, 1453-4.
Treisman, A.M. 1964. "Selective attention in man". British Medical Bulletin 20: 12-16.
Develops the theory of late selection of objects of attention (in opposition to Broadbent 1958), arguing that information must be processede before we can choose which information to attend to.
Treisman, A. 1986. "Features and objects in visual processing." Scientific American 255, 144-125.
Describes the phenomenal sense of colors as paradoxically presenting themselves as belinging purely to the object, whereas in reality colors arise from subjective processing: "It is as if the red color of the triangle were represented by an abstract code for red rather than being incorporated into a kind of analog of the triangle that also encodes the object's size and shape" (117).
Tucker, Don. 1981. "Lateral brain function, emotion and conceptualization". Psychological Bulletin 89: 19-43.
Symbolic activity entails interaction of left temporal syntactic and right parietal semantic functions. Emphasizes the importance of the frontal-limbic connection in activating other parts of the brain in conscious states. See also Tucker (1986).
Tucker, Don. 1986. "Neural control and emotional communication," in Blanck, Bush and Rosenthal (eds.), Nonverbal Commnication in the Clinical Context. University Park, Pa. Pennsylvania State University Press.
Hypothesizes that the function of `activating' the organism toward emotionally motivated motoric behavior is facilitated by a left-anterior-ventral brain system. I.e., the midbrain activates the left frontal area to prepare for action. Meanwhile, the right-posterior-dorsal system is geared toward passively `taking in' information, which does not become conscious until the left-anterior-ventral system motivates this consciousness. There is also the often implicit assumption in Tucker's view that efferent activity is oriented toward activating motoric behavior, and that consciousness is largely a truncated, imaginary motoric behavior. For example, we may be conscious of the memory of a piece of music by imagining ourselves playing the piece.
Tulving, E. 1985. "Memory and consciousness." Canadian Psychology 26: 1-12
Describes a case, N.N., with severe amnesia, who "seems to have no capability of experiencing extended subjective time . . . even if he feels that he has a personal identity, it does not include the past or the future; . . He seems to be living in a "permanent present ." (4) N.N., like other amnesiacs such as H.M. (Scoville and Milner, 1957), had a normal digit span and could describe what his memory loss felt like to him. His short-term memory seemed unaffected. Such patients have been an important source of evidence for the STM/LTM distinction
Tulving, E. 1983. Elements of Episodic Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Neurological study of the distinctions and relationships between short term and long term memory.
Tversky, A., and Kahneman, D. 1983. "Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgement." Psychological Review 90, 4.
Even though it is a fundamental truth that the probability of a conjunction of propositions is less than or equal to the probability of its components, people routinely judge compounds to be more probable than their components .
Tye, M. 1992. "Naturalism and the mental." Mind 101, 403, 421-441.
Agrees with Bernard Williams (see 1973) that imagination cannot be used as a criterion for what is logically possible; thus our ability to imagine any given form of neurophysiological information processing as taking place in the absence of consciousness (see Chalmers 1995) is no guarantee that such processing could take place in the absence of consciousness.
Tye, M. 1983. "On the possibility of disembodied existence." Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61, 3, 275-282.
Umilta, Carlo. 1988. "The control operations of consciousness". In A.J. Marcel and E. Bisiach (eds), Consciousness in Contemporary Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 334-356.
Argues for frontal lobe's role as controlling cognitive operations.
Vaid, Jyotsha and Fred Genessee. 1980. "Neuropsychological approaches to bilingualism: A critical review". Canadian Journal of Psychology 34: 419-447.
Neurophysiological observation of people in various stages of learning languages shows that the meanings of words are at first registered primarily as images (showing extensive right brain activity) and then gradually are taken over by the left brain . See also Genesee et al (1978).
Varela, Francisco, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch. 1991-1993. The Embodied Mind. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Develops an `enactive' approach in which we know the environment by acting on it rather than passively receiving inputs. Also emphasizes the global and estensively distributed nature of neural subensembles: "In primates, the participation of subensembles of neurons in color perception has been demonstrated in the thalamus (LGN), primary and extrastriate visual cortex, inferotemporal cortex, and frontal lobes. Most notable is a collection of neurons in the so-called V4 of the extrastriate cortex where even individual neuronal responses can be roughly associated with the color constancies of a visual field. These neuronal structures constitute a color subnetwork a sort of perceptual `agent,' to use Minsky's terminology. Thus nothing short of a large and distributed neuronal network is involved in our perception of color (161-162)."
Vygotsky, Lev. 1962. Thought and Language. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Consistently with Luria (1980) and Joseph (1982), emphasizes the role of self-talk in neurological and cognitive development; without a period of extensive self-talk around the ages of 8 to 10, specific logical skills could not develop properly.
Wade, Nicholas. 1998. A Natural History of Vision Bradford Books.
This illustrated survey covers what Nicholas Wade calls the
"observational era of vision," beginning with the Greek philosophers and
ending with Wheatstone's description of the stereoscope at the end of
the 1830s (after which vision became an experimental science). Although
there are other histories of vision, this is the first to present
extracts of the works of scholars, organized both topically and
chronologically. In what has become the author's signature style, the
book juxtaposes verbal and visual descriptions. Many of the over three
hundred illustrations are derived from engravings--of portraits of the
scholars cited, as well as of scientific diagrams.
Each portrait appears beside a significant quotation by the scholar,
along with the dates of birth and death, and the source of the original
illustration. The author's commentary provides the context for the
quotations and traces the scientific development within each topic. The
book is organized around the principal topics within the investigation
of visual phenomena: light, color, subjective visual phenomena (such as
afterimages and pattern distortions), motion, binocularity, space, and
Warrington, E.K. 1985. "Visual deficits associated with occipital lobe lesions in man". Pontificiae Academiae Scientiarum Scripta Varia 54: 247-261.
Solid evidence that the occipital lobe is largely responsible for visual processing.
Washburn, M.F. 1916. Movement and Mental Imagery. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Argues that higher cognition makes use of the same structures as those involved in sensorimotor activity. Representations of sensory and motor experiences form the raw material for all types and levels of cognition, no matter how abstract; every cognitive structure is built directly and entirely upon these representations. The central concept of this theory is that of a sensorimotor representation: an activated memory trace of sensory and motor experience. (See also Werner and Kaplan 1952, Newton 1996.)
Wason, P.C. and Johnson-Laird, P.N. 1972. Psychology of Reasoning: Structure and Content. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Develops explanation of logical reasoning along the lines of mental-models theory.
Watson, John. 1900-1930. Behaviorism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Classic argument for confining scientific psychology to the study of behavior, since inrospective processes cannot be objectively observed and measured.
Watson, John. 1913. "Psychology as the behaviorist views it". Psychological Review 20: 157-158.
Further development of the argument against introspective data in Watson (1900).
Watt,. D.F. (1998) "Emotion and Consciousness - Implications of Affective
Neuroscience for ERTAS (Extended Reticular Thalamic Activating System)
Theories Of Consciousness" Virginia Tech
Department of Philosophy website.
This paper argues that affect's organizing and integrating role in consciousness
has been generally neglected. The paper examines the notion of global state
functions, the architecture of the Extended Reticular Thalamic Activating
System, clinical literature on diseases of consciousness, and
neurodevelopmental points of view to summarize evidence that emotion is not
just another form of qualia, but essential to the formation of a global
workspace. In particular, there is emphasis on the deep intersections of
ERTAS and the "limbic system": crucial connectivities underlining this
relationship are: 1) connectivities between the midbrain reticular
formation and periaqueductal gray (PAG); 2) connections of ILN to midbrain
PAG, limbic, and BG systems; 3) predominant limbic modulation of nRt
"gatelets" by nucleus accumbens, paralimbic cortices, BG, and DM
thalamus-prefrontal regions. Severe damage to PAG as the most crucial
basal structure in a highly distributed "limbic system" may permanently end
consciousness, presumably because of its extensive projections to ILN and
Weil, Vivian. 1979. "Intentional and mechanistic explanation". Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 40: 459-473.
Attempts to explain the compatibility of mechanistic and purposeful accounts of behavior with reference to the relationship between reasons for action and causes of actionl
Weiskrantz, Lawrence. 1986. Blindsight: A Case Study and Implications. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Classic study in which `blindsight' -- i.e., non-conscious processing of perceptual information -- is documented.
Weiskrantz, L. 1988. Thought Without Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Further discussion of the `blindsight' phenomenon and its possible implications for cognitive processing in general.
Werner, H., and Kaplan, E. 1952. The Acquisition of Word Meanings: A Developmental Study. Evanston, Ill.: Child Development Publications
Argues for a version of the sensorimotor theory of cognition, according to which representations of sensory and motor experiences form the raw material for all types and levels of cognition, and that even abstract cognitive structures are built on these representations. A `sensorimotor representation' refers to an activated memory trace of sensory and motor experience.
White, Alan. 1987. "Visualizing and imagining seeing". Analysis 47: 221-224.
In agreement with Wittgenstein (1953) argues that it is not possible to understand concepts as built up from images. The most formidable obstacle to such an explanation is that, when we think in terms of abstract conceptualizations, we may indeed `imagine' whether certain conceptual relations are possible, impossible, unlikely, etc., but this kind of `imagining' does not seem to involve the presence of `images' or `imagery' as Johnson-Laird (1994) is correct in that, when we make logical inferences, we `imagine a scenario' in which the pattern of logic in question does not work and that, if we can `imagine' such a scenario, we judge that pattern of logic to be invalid.
Whitehead, Alfred N. 1925. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge. New York: Dover.
Development of a coherent theory in which processes determine the behavior of the substrata for the processes rather than the other way around.
Whorf, B. 1956. Science and Linguistics. In Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, Carroll, J.B.(ed.) Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Argues for direct determination of thought processes by natural language structures.
Another version of this view has been articulated by Dennett (see 1991).
Williams, Bernard 1973. "Imagination and the self." In Problems of the Self, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 26-45.
Argues that "the imagination is too tricky a thing to provide a reliable road to the comprehension of what is logically possible" (Williams 1973: 45; see also Tye 1983 for related arguments). Intuitions are fed by traditions, in ways that are often very hard to see; arguments based on them are thus prone to circularity.
Williams, Bernard. 1966. "Imagination and the self". Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 52, 105-124.
See Williams (1973).
Winograd, T. 1972. Understanding Natural Language. New York: Academic Press.
Winson, Jonathan. 1986. Brain and Psyche. New York: Random House.
Good general discussion of the theoretical implications of many of Winson's empirical findings, especially with regard to the role of the prefrontal cortex and the implications of research on dreaming (see below). Excellent example of the extensiveness of prefrontal area connections to diverse brain areas; here is a summary: "The prefrontal cortex . . . is defined by its connections to a particular assembly or nucleus of cells in the underlying thalamus called the mediodorsal nucleus. . . The thalamic nuclei are information relays to the neocortex. The thalamocortical systems may be sensory vision, hearing, touch or they may govern movement. The prefrontal cortex is different. It is neither sensory nor motor but carries out some higher-order function. Its connections with the rest of the brain give an idea of the complexity of this function; all of the higher-order sensory information that reaches the hippocampus also reaches the prefrontal cortex. In addition, it has direct information from the amygdala and many other subcortical brain structures, sends information back to almost all areas from which it receives information, and, lastly, transmits signals to the subcortical area called the basal ganglia, which are believed to be involved in final motor action (58)."
Winson, Jonathon and Charles Abzug. 1977. "Gating of neuronal transmission in the hippocampus: Efficacy of transmission varies with behavioral state". Science 196: 1223.
The stimulation of the primary sensory area leads first of all to an increase of general cortical arousal (involving the reticular activating system via neuronal `gating' in the hippocampus). This arousal system is geared toward `letting through' into awareness only those stimuli judged to be important for the organism. This role of hippocampal gating for censoring incoming data for awareness is consistently confirmed by empirical studies. Further confirmed and elaborated in Symons (1993); Dahl et al (1983); Aston-Jones and Bloom (1981); Winson and Absug 1978a, 1978b.
Winson, Jonathon and Charles Abzug. 1978a. "Neuronal transmission through hippocampal pathways dependent on behavior". Journal of Neurophysiology 41: 716.
Anterior or efferent activity occurs throughout sleep, even when the subject is not dreaming (consistent with Restak 1984: 315-333). In addition to extensive neocortical activity during non-REM sleep, something else happens during REM sleep, when dreams occur: More afferent, secondary sensory and secondary association activity can be detected than during non-REM sleep (consistent with Restak 1984) at least as much as in the waking `vivid' imagery reported by Richardson (1991), and consequently more than in `non-vivid' imagery. Clearly what is happening here is that, in the absence of much input from the senses during sleep, the looking-for activities of the efferent anterior system are able to cause the posterior system to behave in the patterns associated with them, so that one has the impression that one is really looking at the merely imagined object. Also discusses the point that neonates may be pre-programmed to look for certain patterns, such as the human face (162ff). See also Winson 1986: 46ff; and Winson, Jonathon and Charles Abzug. 1978b. "Dependence upon behavior of neuronal transmission from perforant pathway through entorhinal cortex". Brain Research 147: 422.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. New York: MacMillan.
Offers reasons for rejecting inagery as basic to cognitive processes. The difference between viewing Wittgenstein's duck-rabbit as a duck and as a rabbit is that if the figure is a duck it looks to one's left, and if it is a rabbit it looks to one's right. Wittgenstein argues that there is no imagistic difference between the duck and the rabbit, and thus that the content of the experience is not contained in the image. But Jackendoff 1983 and Newton 1996 point out that noting the difference requires reference to one's own spatial orientation with respect to the figure, which entails a somatosensory representation along with the visual one).
Woodward, Steven H. 1988. "An anatomical model of hemispheric asymmetry". Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 10: 68.
Wright, C. 1990. "Controlling sequential motor activity." In Visual Cognition and Action, vol. 2, Osherson, D., Kosslyn, S., and Hollerbach, J. (eds). Cambridge: MIT Press. 285-316.
Motor plans are formed in advance of the activation of motor sequences, and are used to activate and monitor them. Describes evidence such as anticipatory lip movements in speech that "suggests that a representation of the whole sequence a motor program exists before the sequence begins and is used to control the production of the sequence" (305).
Wyer, Robert S. and Thomas K. Srull. 1981. "Category accessibility: Some theoretical and empirical issues concerning the processing of social stimulus information". In E.T. Higgins, C.P. Herman, and
and M.P. Zanna (eds), Social Cognition: The Ontario Symposium, Vol. I. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 161-198.
Empirical study confirming that the motivated attentional mechanism determines our consciousness of stimuli and is an indispensable prerequisite to such consciousness.
M.P. Zanna (eds), Social Cognition: The Ontario Symposium, Vol. I. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 161198.
Yarbus, Alfred L. 1967. Eye Movement and Vision. New York: Plenum.
Emphasizes that there must be some plan in the brain that instructs the eyes where to go. If I am looking for an image to appear on a blank screen, and am told what the image will be, I then focus my eyes in such a way as to maximize the ease with which what I am expecting can be seen, when and if it occurs.
Young, John Z. 1988. Philosophy and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Characterizes the directive role of the frontal lobe's questioning process as an attempt to confirm or disconfirm hypotheses about the environment. Advocates `grandmother cell' approach in such terms as the following: "We might go further and speculate that there may be neurons that represent not only physical objects but words and abstract concepts. It is no longer possible to ridicule the idea that there are neurons responsible for representation of the concept of representation (128)." Certainly, the fact that "there are indeed cells in the temporal cortex of monkeys that signal the presence of a particular face, and even whether or not it is gazing at the observer. . . . Nineteen cells in one particular area responded selectively to the sight of a face; this was 9 per cent of all cells examined" (Young, 126) does not imply that the consciousness of that face is `contained in' or in any way limited to the activity of those particular nineteen cells (the 'grandmother cell' approach). Young also defends a traditional reinforcement-theory explanation of neural development: It is striking, however, that Young (p. 182) posits that we must presume `reward centers' which are somehow structured by postulated `needs for emotional and social satisfaction' in order to explain the physical workings of the brain. This seems a clear example of the problem that the need to substitute theories of learning in place of direct observation was essentially built into the epistemology of behaviorism from the very beginning, because it placed such severe limits on what was deemed `directly observable.'
Zeki, S. 1980. "The representation of colors in the cerebral cortex." Nature, 284, 412-418.
Further support for modularity (see Marr) from work in the neurophysiology of vision.
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