Posts Tagged With: neuropsychology

NeuroScience: A Cartoonist’s Take

http://talesoftherapy.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/neuro-therapy-tales-272/

Re-blogged fromNeuro – Therapy Tales #272

The cartoonist says:  “This one is inspired by an article I was reading on “neuropsychoanalysis”. Now I’m all for the integration of learning between neuroscience and psychotherapy (and have been a-shouting about this excellent book for years) but neurology and psychoanalysis..? Yes, I know Freud was a neurologist, but something so scientific, so evidence-based, combined with something so… well.. not. Despite what some would say and what Freud wanted, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are more art than science. (And I don’t count CBT. Ever. ;) )”

Ooh, that sounded dangerously like an opinion. So, erm, yeah, whatever. I thought it was interesting. Or summink. Come kick my ass in the comments and tell me why I’m wrong.

“Anyway”, he says, “enough seriousness. We’re about the giggles here. So I reduced this well-written, highly intelligent article to the question “how would a brain look on the couch?” and there you go.”

“What can I say.. it ain’t (rocket) science.”

MORE CARTOONS

Me?

Good Cartoons!

Categories: Cartoons, Practicing Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

NeuroScience: Music and Brain

In this blog, University of Toronto students discuss  the course, Music and the Brain.  Posting permission is granted to present and past students in the course. The blog is moderated by Dr. Lee Bartel.

http://musicbrainerblogger.blogspot.com/2011/12/music-and-brain-imagery-and-imagination.html

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chapter 4-
Music on the Brain: Imagery and Imagination
Sacks, Oliver. 2007. “Music on the Brain: Imagery and Imagination.” In Musicophilia, Tales of Music and The Brain. Vintage Canada, Toronto: ON.
Summary:
In this chapter of Sacks’ book Musicophilia, he discusses the concept of musical imagery, as it exists for individuals. Recalling the vivid internal musical symphonies that could be evoked in his father’s own mind, yet not for his mother, Sacks concluded that not everyone possesses an equal capacity for such mental imagery. Professional musicians, however, are remarkably skilled at this trait.
Sacks contemplates composers of past and present and the creative musical stimulus that occupies their minds.
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While some composers rely on an instrument during their creative process, many are able to conceptualize and hear the music entirely in their head. In addition, he examines Beethoven’s deafness and its effect on him as a composer; contrary to a musical demise that some may have predicted, following his sudden loss of hearing, it would seem as though the music grew more intellectually complex. Could it be, perhaps, that through the loss of an input source of hearing that his internal musical imagery was intensified as his auditory cortex became increasingly sensitive. Since Beethoven could no longer perceive external music, he was forced to rely upon more abstract, imaginative powers of thought as he composed. Through these measures, his music was an undeniable success.
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His own personal history with music has also influenced Sacks mental musical imagery. Although not heightened to the acuteness of his father’s, Sacks noted his ability to glance at a piece of music which he had learned several years prior, and instantly begin to feel as though he was playing that music: he could “see” his hands on the keyboard, and “hear” the music in his head. This mental rehearsal to which he refers is an extremely important tool for performers before and while they are learning new repertoire, and before performances. Research has provided proof to the effectiveness of imagined practice.
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Through their study of music’s effect on the mind, Robert Zatorre and colleagues have discovered that imagining the sound of music stimulates the auditory cortex to almost the same degree as actually hearing the music. Imagining the act of playing has an equally stimulating effect on the motor cortex, which in turn, continues to stimulate the auditory cortex. This evidence is encouragement for performers to visualize and imagine playing new music before attempting it; this process initiates neural circuitry that will be formed during the actual learning, thus, making the physical attempt much more fluent, as if the musician had already learned the music. The pathways have already been created; half the work has been done.
He continues to describe the mind’s tendency to predict music that is familiar to us. Studies of individuals’ brain activity during familiar listening experiences, wherein audible music is removed, demonstrate how the mind will attempt to fill in the missing segments of music; according to MRI brain scans, although music may have been removed, the auditory control centers displayed greater activation these times than with non-familiar musical examples.
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Research has also allowed investigators to learn of frontal cortex stimulation that occurs during deliberate, conscious and voluntary mental imagery, such as frequently relied upon by professional musicians. Those who do not depend on such musical imagery for their vocation, may find most of their imagery is the result of unconscious thought. Even when one is not aware of why a musical association is occurring, it is a continual occurrence. Some experiences of musical imagery can be predicated by repeated listening; a favourite song, for example, can become embedded into one’s subconscious and revisited unconsciously, for unexplained reasoning.
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Verbal associations may also initiate musical imagery: lyrics from a song, similarities of a situation, a key word may all cause an involuntary lapse of music in one’s mind. Finally, repressed emotions may be another factor in musical imagery that seems to be cultivated out of the blue. Sacks draws upon personal experiences through which he can relate to each unexplained onset of musical imagery. Clearly music is always on his mind.
Reflection:
Having spent a great volume of my time as of late researching biofeedback and EEG neurofeedback training as it applies to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Sacks’ chapter speaks volumes to me. I am flooded with inquiry questions and ideas for future research into the discipline of brain therapy, and reading his insights with regards to musical imagery, I am curious as to the overlap that I see.
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Studies and therapeutic applications involving neurofeedback are based upon the notion that one is able to consciously retrain the brain. Through monitoring EEG patterns in an individual and applying biofeedback therapy which functions through operant conditioning principles, the subject can change the produced brainwaves. Thus, successful biofeedback or retraining of brain activity.
Sacks describes the cognitive processes of visual imagery used by musicians before learning new music, and even when they are away from their instrument. According to brainwave MRI scans, activity occurs in the auditory and motor cortex during these sessions of imagining hearing and playing music. As well, if an individual deliberately, voluntarily imagines music, the frontal cortex is also involved. This knowledge could prove to be effective in the treatment of ADHD, which is shown to affect the frontal and motor cortex within individuals.
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Whether through consciously invoked musical imagery of playing or simply hearing a melody that is familiar, benefits may be sought in the for patients. As well, evidence of auditory stimulation during familiar listening exercises could also prove to be beneficial to ADHD sufferers if implemented into therapeutic practices; if could offer individuals‘ increased spans of attention and focus, and help to engage concentration.
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This chapter has left me with further areas of interest to explore and contemplate, in the field of music and brain research, and has given me new insight into the power of both music and the human mind.
Posted by at 1:29 PM

1 comments:

Sarah N said…
Concerning the issue of musical associations, I find this to be a very perplexing topic. It is always amazing to me how two similarly trained musicians can conjure up such opposite mental imagery about the same musical passage. But I think the same thing can happen with language. In rehearsals with my group I often try to explain what I want to convey with the music using words. I used to find that this didn’t work often enough to be helpful, and I wanted to understand why.
Probing deeper, I found that even words that seem to be the most simple and straightforward can have very different connotations for people based on personal experience, or education, or any number of reasons. For example, take the word ‘interesting’. I’ve worked with those who consider ‘interesting’ to be complimentary when referring to someone’s playing. It means that you have created interest, that your playing is not boring, it has ideas. But there are others that consider the word ‘interesting’ to be a very negative comment in regards to playing, often because certain teachers have used this word when they don’t think a student has played well but they don’t want to openly insult the student.
One of the hardest things about playing in an ensemble is developing a musical and verbal language that you all share and understand. Experiences like these make me think that mental associations, whether musical or otherwise, are always extremely personal, and one must always investigate to find out what someone really thinks or feels or hears.
December 20, 2011 7:52 PM
Categories: Enquiries & Speculations, Stroke and Its Aftermath | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

NeuroScience: The Decline of Civilization’s Right Brain

The Decline of Civilization’s Right Brain: Animated

October 24th, 2011

[In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA's free public events programme. To view the full lecture, go to

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUHxC4wiWk]

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The mind, they say, is a house divided: The right hemisphere of the brain is predominantly intuitive; the left, predominantly rational.

In his recent book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, the British psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist looks at the evolution of Western Civilization through a neuropsychological prism. In McGilchrist’s view our left hemisphere has, over the past four centuries, progressively pushed aside our right hemisphere. “My belief,” McGilchrist told The Morning News last year, “is that it has now taken over our self-understanding, for a variety of reasons, and is leading us all down the road to ruin.”

McGilchrist is quick to point out that the old left-brain, right-brain clichés of the 1960s and 1970s were greatly oversimplified. Recent research has shown that both sides of the brain are deeply involved in functions such as reason and emotion. But the dichotomy is still useful, McGilchrist says, and should not be abandoned.

“The right hemisphere gives sustained, broad, open, vigilant alertness, whereas the left hemisphere gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail,” McGilchrist says in a new RSA Animate feature (see above). “People who lose their right hemispheres have a pathological narrowing of the window of attention.”  McGilchrist sees this narrowing process occurring at the societal level. The left brain, he argues, conceives of the world as a set of decontextualized, static, material, abstract things, whereas the right brain holistically embraces a world of evolving, spiritual, empathic, concrete beings.

Both hemispheres are necessary, McGilchrist says in the Morning News interview, “but one is more fundamentally important than the other, and sees more than the other, even though there are some things that it must not get involved with, if it is to maintain its broader, more complete–in essence more truthful–vision. This is the right hemisphere, which, as I demonstrate from the neuropsychological literature, literally sees more, and grounds the understanding of the left hemisphere–an understanding which must ultimately be re-integreted with the right hemisphere, if it is not to lead to error. The left hemisphere is extraordinarily valuable as an intermediate, but not as a final authority.”

McGilchrist is not without his critics. The British philosopher A.C. Grayling writes in the Literary Review, “Unfortunately, if one accepts the logic of his argument that our Western civilisation has declined from a right-hemisphere to a left-hemisphere dispensation, we do not have to imagine what the former would be like, because history itself tells us: in it most of us would be superstitious and ignorant peasants working a strip farm that we would never leave from cradle to grave, under the thumb of slightly more left-hemispheric bullies in the form of the local baron and priest.”

After The Master and His Emissary was published, McGilchrist discovered a quotation attributed to Albert Einstein that he felt neatly supported his thesis. He uses this quote at the end of his RSA talk: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” But did Einstein actually say that? The Internet is awash with dubious Einstein quotations, and we were unable to locate the original source of this one. If any reader can verify its authenticity (by citing the original text, speech or conversation) please leave a note in our comments section. Meanwhile, you can watch McGilchrist’s entire half-hour RSA lecture here.

via Brain Pickings

The Taxi Dog asks:  The thirst for such information is astounding!  What “need” is this?

Categories: Arts & Letters, Enquiries & Speculations, Movies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

NeuroScience: Another View Of Politics

Carole Jahme writes for The Guardian, and has a master’s degree in evolutionary psychology and is the author of Beauty and the Beast: Woman, Ape and Evolution. In 2004 she won the Wellcome Trust’s Award for Communication of Science to the Public. She is a fellow of the RSA

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Socialists and conservatives may be born not made

What hope is there of rational debate if our political affiliations are biologically determined?Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

Biological instincts come to the fore during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA

About a year after being appointed speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow announced that he wanted to reform the traditionally abrasive weekly prime minister’s questions to foster more civilised debate. But new research from the University of Nebraska on the psychology of political persuasions suggests that confrontation between the political right and left is here to stay.

The research published online last week by the Royal Society indicates that where you put your cross on the ballot paper on polling day is, at least in part, instinctive. In other words, socialists and conservatives may be born not made.

Emotions in mammals are fuelled by the brain’s evolutionarily ancient “appetitive” (desire for food and attachment) and “aversive” (defensive) systems. The appetitive system promotes social cohesion whereas aversive mechanisms drive autonomous survival. These mechanisms can be categorised as approach or avoidant responses: we approach what gives us pleasure (such as food or social contact) and we avoid things we know will harm us (such as faeces or predators).

We are all found somewhere on the approach-avoidant spectrum. Highly social people enjoy novel experiences and meeting strangers and will have a higher than average approach score, whereas others may feel aggression, suspicion and anxiety when confronted with surprises and strangers.

The new research suggests that these physiological and cognitive variations are likely to correlate with political preference. The study found that people at the appetitive end of the spectrum are more likely to vote for left-wing parties and want money spent on free public art events, whereas those at the aversive end of the spectrum are more likely to vote conservative and want tighter border controls.

This research builds on earlier evidence of correlations between empathetic traits/moral values and political affiliation, and correlations between threat/disgust reflexes and political affiliation. Those scoring higher on disgust/threat indexes are more likely to score lower on empathy and vote conservative, whereas those scoring higher on maximising equality and minimising harm are more likely to score higher in empathy and be left wing.

Sex differences are also highlighted by these measures, with females (or males with higher than average levels of empathy) more likely than average males to overcome their feelings of disgust or threat and vote left wing.

The team at the University of Nebraska have undertaken several studies over the past few years examining the relationship between personality and political bias. In the latest study they tested whether right-wing participants experienced relatively increased skin conductance (they sweated more, a measure of psychological or physiological arousal) when viewing aversive images (an open wound, a toilet with faeces on it, someone held at gunpoint or a car accident). They also tested whether left wingers experienced increased relative skin conductance when exposed to appetitive images (a bunny rabbit, puppy, a sunset).

The results showed those with right-wing beliefs had a relatively increased response to disgust and threat, whereas those who vote left-of-centre had a relatively increased response to pleasurable images.

The research team hypothesised that if pictures of famous politicians (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton and George W Bush) were shown to their subjects, those who were politically right-of-centre would exhibit a greater aversive reaction to ideologically dissimilar politicians, whereas those who were left-of-centre would exhibit a greater appetitive response (in relative terms) when viewing left-of-centre politicians. This was indeed the case.

This suggests that left-wing people are relatively more responsive to appetitive than aversive stimuli and that people who are right-of-centre are more responsive to aversive stimuli. Put another way, conservatives are more responsive to negative stimuli whereas those on the left are more responsive to positive stimuli.

The implication is that the same stimuli will evoke polarised responses depending on where you are on the aversive-appetitive spectrum. These different reactions to shared experiences will mean those of politically opposing viewpoints will automatically judge the other as wrong, and no amount of arguing in the House of Commons can change that.

A further, significant finding from this research is that right-wing people give over more time and increased attention to things they find aversive, in spite of their greater physiological response to those stimuli. For example, a far-right wing person may find homosexuality disgusting and may become angered by the notion of same-sex relationships, but they may devote time to pursuing their object of disgust. This new research suggests the rigidity and intolerance of right-wing people to nonconformity might be vehemently expressed because these people are obsessively intolerant of things they find different and aversive.

High scores in aversive behaviour also correlate with autistic spectrum disorders, narcissism and socio- and psychopathologies. People with a diagnosis along these lines also suffer increased perceptions of threat and sensations of disgust when compared to the average. More men than women exhibit these pathologies.

It should be noted that the research only included participants with ideological convictions – it did not measure the behaviour of floating voters.

The research team hope that a greater social tolerance will emerge from public acceptance that our political outlook is in part biologically determined. Because if our individual cognitive and physiological systems mean we experience the world in fundamentally different ways, this helps to explain why people support different political parties when facing the same social problems.

But this research also suggests that when David Cameron and his ministers sit in the House of Commons and look over at the faces of the opposition they are more likely to experience a sense of threat and disgust than their political rivals do when looking back at them. It is going to be far harder for conservatives to bury the hatchet and cooperate for the good of the country than it is for the exasperated socialists on the other side of the chamber.

Categories: Circuses, Enquiries & Speculations | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

NeuroScience: Anticipation And Feeling In Literature – 2

http://cogprints.org/40/1/NEUROLIT.htm#Oatley

How is it that readers can sense a direction, a possible future meaning, from a given sentence?

This is the basic question of the neuroscience of literature.  David S. Maill, http://www.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/ University of Wales, currently at the University of Alberta, CA,has studied in this area for decades.

“What are its causes, and what are the inferential processes that are initiated? How does the sense of a whole arise, and from what aspects of a text? And what is the relation between these two levels of response, the local and the global? These prospective aspects of response have not generally received much consideration from psychologists: models of response have proposed solutions drawn from non-literary fields (usually cognitive science) that underestimate the nature of the problem.

For example, the concept of macro-structure proposed by Kintsch and Van Dijk (1978) seems inadequate as a representation of the kinds of overall understanding at which readers of literary texts aim. Similarly, the discourse structure described by Hobbs (1990) takes no account of the poetic features of literary texts that delight and surprise their readers (see Beers [1987] and Miall and Kuiken [1994a], for some critical discussion of theories of this kind). Moreover, studies in the cognitive tradition have also tended to blur distinctions between literary and non-literary texts, and have provided no purchase on the individual differences between readers or on the personal and often feeling-rich meanings evoked during literary reading (cf. Zwaan, 1993, p. 162-7).”

“We do not wait until reaching the end of a text before beginning to entertain ideas about what the text means!

Various aspects of the text, semantic, stylistic, and narrative, provide suggestions upon which a reader is likely to build his or her own anticipations.

This can be demonstrated by a brief analysis of the following passage, taken from the opening of a short story by Virginia Woolf, “Together and Apart” (Woolf, 1944/1982):

Mrs Dalloway introduced them, saying you will like him. The conversation began some minutes before anything was said, for both Mr Serle and Miss Anning looked at the sky and in both of their minds the sky went on pouring its meaning though very differently . . .

The narrative situation at the outset seems to involve a social gathering, such as a party. From the second phrase, “you will like him,” we are likely to infer, perhaps without noticing it, that there will be a bias towards the point of view of the female character (which is confirmed by the remaining part of the long second sentence that I have not quoted). The opening phrase of the next sentence, “The conversation began,” picks up an obvious expectation that the characters will begin talking, but then thwarts it by stating that nothing was said. What kind of non-verbal conversation are these characters holding? We may already be predicting something like rapport or sympathy, especially as we have been told that she “will like him.” In the next phrase we discover that the meeting appears to be out of doors, and for many readers the reference to the effect of the sky might momentarily evoke a romantic aura; however, the appended phrase, “though very differently,” could be taken to undermine this. So far, then, a narrative situation has been invoked, in which a woman meets a man with whom she may feel an immediate sympathy: already, readers may be anticipating a romantic scenario. The stylistic features can be construed to support this, given the metaphors of a conversation without words and the sky that “pours” meaning. At the same time, hints of a possible distance between the characters could also be read into the same metaphors, for which the phrase “very differently” provides evidence. Perhaps these are two characters who will in some way fail to relate to each other.”

“Within a few seconds a range of complementary but also contradictory responses has become possible. While some of the inferences that are made may be confirmed or not confirmed quickly (as happens with the inference of point of view), others may not be satisfied so soon: the reader may need to keep in play several possible meanings that will have a bearing not only on the outcome of the story (the narrative dimension) but also on what it means (the point of the story, or its theme). The reader must, in other words, assess the strength of the different implications, such as those presented in the second sentence, in the light of subsequent evidence, and decide which offer the best fit to the story as a whole. In fact, the failure of relationship is the implication that the story will emphasize. (A study of readers’ responses to this story found that readers tended to shift from a romantic interpretation at the beginning of the story to one involving isolation or inability to communicate: Miall, 1989a.)”

“Woolf’s story is not particularly unusual as a literary text in posing such problems, except perhaps in being unusually compact. The problem, from the perspective of reader response theory, is to account for the processes by which local details, of the kind we have been describing, project the larger meanings. In what form are such anticipations made, and what control processes do readers use to evaluate and monitor their anticipations?”

“Two reader response theorists who discuss the experience of reading in this way are Stanley Fish and Wolfgang Iser. In “Affective Stylistics” Fish (1980) argued persuasively for the significance of the experience of the reader during reading. The extraction of a “correct” final meaning for a text is not the only reading activity in which we should be interested. Fish pointed in particular to a range of syntactical devices by which readers are led to expect meanings that are then contradicted. At the sentence level, Fish would, for example, recognize the shift in meaning of “conversation” in Woolf’s second sentence as a significant strategy from the reader’s perspective. He proposed that “the temporary adoption of these inappropriate strategies is itself a response to the strategy of an author; and the resulting mistakes are part of the experience provided by that author’s language and therefore part of its meaning” (p. 47). Iser (1978) has offered a comparable account of reading, based primarily on concepts drawn from phenomenology and gestalt psychology. The “gaps” or “blanks” in a text (such as the possible contradiction we noticed in the Woolf passage) require readers’ acts of “ideation” and the building of a schema adequate to the text as a whole. Neither Fish nor Iser, however, have undertaken to develop their models in psychological terms; nor have they attempted to test them empirically with readers (and Fish has not continued to develop his model).”

“A part of Iser’s argument is the contention that fiction texts differ from expository texts in terms of the mental processes required for understanding them. An expository text refers to a given object, thus the range of possible meanings of each sentence must continually be narrowed down to make reference precise. During a fictional text “the very connectibility broken up by the blanks tends to become multifarious. It opens up an increasing number of possibilities, so that the combination of schemata entails selective decisions on the part of the reader.” (1978, p. 184). In effect, an expository text refers to an object that is specified with increasing precision; a fictional text refers forward to a schema that the reader must bring into being. The two reading processes may roughly be described as retrospective and prospective. An empirical comparison of readers’ activities during the reading of an essay or a fictional text by Olson, Mack, and Duffy (1981) showed that while few anticipations were made during the reading of essays, anticipations were characteristic of the response to stories. Readers of essays appear to be engaged in building a model of the text: “Each new element in the essay is related to earlier elements. There is little anticipation of what is coming up, except at the most general level.” In contrast, the reader of a story “is looking ahead, trying to anticipate where the story is going. Except at the beginning, where an overall hypothesis is being developed, the story reader tends to relate each sentence to the general hypotheses and predictions that have been developed” (p. 311).”

“The different orientations are described in the Olson et al. study as retrospective and prospective. Unlike this report, however, accounts of literary reading proposed by psychologists have more frequently tended to embody retrospective models, based on discourse theory or schema theory (e.g., Hobbs, 1990; Simon, 1994). While such theories have been notably successful in accounting for some of the processes of comprehension, given relatively simple prose or stories, the key role of the anticipatory processes of the kind required by literary texts is largely invisible to such models. The difficulty of studying the anticipatory aspects of reading, and the lack of constructive thought about this problem on the part of cognitive scientists, points to the strategy offered in this article. As a way of posing more explicitly and in more detail what specific problems face the literary reader in the anticipatory domain, and to enrich theoretical understanding of reader response, the present focus will be on a neuropsychological model of reading.”

“The focus of the discussion will thus be on anticipation, and its role in the constructive process by which a reader interprets details in a text and works towards an understanding of a text as a whole. However, several of the neuropsychological studies that will be mentioned point to the role of feelings and emotions in creating and supporting the anticipatory function. Feelings, it will be suggested, probably play the central role in initiating and directing the interpretive activities involved in such complex activities as reading. A glance at recent accounts by psychologists shows that the anticipatory role of feeling in this respect has not received much consideration (e.g., Frijda, 1986; Oatley, 1992; but see Aylwin, 1985, pp. 136-7), although it was recognized by various authors in the last two centuries, such as Coleridge and William James. This points to the need for a systematic investigation of what the neuropsychological research suggests, in order that the hypotheses it provides can be brought to the domains of both psychology and reader response studies for elaboration and testing.”

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Categories: -- Bread, Enquiries & Speculations, The Act of Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NeuroScience: Anticipation and Feeling in Literary Response

Poetics, 1995, 23, 275-29 

http://cogprints.org/40/1/NEUROLIT.htm8

Anticipation and feeling are taken to be significant components of the process of literary reading, although cognitive theories of reading have tended to neglect them.

How does the brain make sense of its neurological inputs in order to make sentence make sense?  This is the first of two posts from David S. Miall, Department of English, University of Alberta, in which he expounds on the Neuroscience of literature.

“Recent neuropsychological research is described that casts light on these processes: the paper focuses on the integrative functions of the prefrontal cortex responsible for anticipation and on the contribution of feeling to the functions of the right cerebral hemisphere.”

It shows how feelings appear to play a central role in initiating and directing the interpretive activities involved in such complex activities as reading.

“In particular, a key feature of literary texts that captures and directs response is foregrounding, that is, distinctive stylistic features: these defamiliarize and arouse feeling. Such responses are likely to be mediated by the right hemisphere, which is specialized to process novelty. An analysis of the neuropsychological mechanisms implicated in response to foregrounding suggests how readers discriminate among competing interpretive possibilities, and how other important elements of literary response such as imagery, memory, and self-referential themes and concerns are recruited.”

“Several studies are cited indicating that response to various characteristic components of literary texts is mediated by this hemisphere, including the prosodic aspects of foregrounding, figurative language, and narrative structure. This hemisphere also provides the context for elaborating and contextualizing negative feelings, a process related to Aristotle’s notion of catharsis. It is argued that the neuropsychological evidence sketched in this paper provides a more reliable basis for future theoretical and empirical studies of literary reading.”

The article is comprehensive and goes on for several pages.  In the last installment, below, I’ll summarize the findings and conclusions.    The link to the entire article is included.

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Categories: -- Bread, Enquiries & Speculations, The Act of Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Neuroscience: Are You Too Sensitive?

Do you take things too personally? Overanalyze the situation? Feel defensive? Then you are almost certainly among the group classified as Highly Sensitive People.

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“Dr. Aron earned her M.A. from York University in Toronto in clincial psychology and her Ph.D. at Pacifica Graduate Institute in clinical depth psychology as well as interning at the C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco. Besides beginning the study of the innate temperament trait of high sensitivity in 1991, she, along with her husband Dr. Arthur Aron, are two of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships. They are also pioneers in studying both sensitivity and love using functional magnetic resonance imaging. She maintains a small psychotherapy practice in Mill Valley and San Francisco.”
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A highly sensitive person (HSP) is a person having the innate trait of high psychological sensitivity (or innate sensitiveness as Carl Jung originally coined it). According to Elaine N. Aron and colleagues as well as other researchers, highly sensitive people, who comprise about a fifth of the population, may process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly due to a biological difference in their nervous systems.[1]
Categories: Enquiries & Speculations, Hypo-mania, Practicing Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

NeuroScience: Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology

Working with children with autistic spectrum disorder: Psychoanalysis and neurobiology.

A Dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology

Categories: Enquiries & Speculations, Hypo-mania, Medical Issues, Practicing Psychotherapy, Stroke and Its Aftermath | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Neuropsychological Dilemma

In response to my previous post, the leader of the seminar,  sends me this…

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I think it may well go better (and easier) if you start with an outline of issues the are relevant to neuroplasticity and living in the modern world.  One was alluded to in yesterday’s discussion: do we need to learn in the same way now that computers and the internet have developed to such an extent.

Another might be how we might use our new knowledge of the way the brain changes and functions to change the way people deal with (and here you can choose any number of political or social issues.)

Or, perhaps, more on neuroplasticity as applied to education, treatment of veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, or maybe inter-community conflicts. 

I think if you can develop a draft outline listing a few areas of interest to you, finding the right references will be much easier, I think, and also it will be easier for me to help you without necessarily dealing with areas not of particular interest to you.

Give it a try and let me know.  [signed]

Well…what’s that supposed to mean?  “…go better (and easier)”  Better for whom?  Easier?  Does he think I need MORE help because I’m handicapped?  @#$%$ him!  I don’t need no pity!  Or am I being ungracious?

And what about this:  “…listing a few areas of interest to you, finding the right references will be much easier”  Isn’t that exactly what I AM doing!  ???

This is so confusing to me!  “Also it will be easier [?]… for me[?]…. to help you[?],… without necessarily dealing with areas not of particular interest to you.”  Huh?  I’m interested in LEARNING [!], you dolt, haven’t you noticed…we’re in a school!

Why do I have to do all this translating?  I need to control my frustration.  But why can’t people just say what they mean?  Do I need this all by myself? 

Geeeesh!!!  Give  –  Me  –  A  –  Break!

Categories: Enquiries & Speculations, Medical Issues, Other, Stroke and Its Aftermath | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Research Prompts: Cultural Studies Of Mind And Brain

This is the coursework I’m assigned to present in April, 2012.  You know about me and public speaking.  And aphasia!  Last time I got away with minimal effort; and grace.  This time I will ACE the sucker!!

I had to decide between concluding our discussion on neuro-plasticity  or  adding a new discussion topic.   Other discussants are focusing on what I consider important, but uninteresting facts.  I’m more interested in enlarging the reach of the field of neuro-psych.  Here’s my list of topic headings.  Any input?

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mind and brain – https://www.google.com/search?q=mind+and+brain&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

beauty – https://www.google.com/search?q=neuropsychology+of+art&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&source=hp&q=neuropsychology+of+beauty&psj=1&oq=neuropsychology+of+beauty&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=367582l376294l2l380360l11l9l2l4l4l1l463l946l2-2.0.1l3l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

art – https://www.google.com/search?q=neuropsychology+of+art&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

poetry – https://www.google.com/search?q=self+awareness+ib+neuropsychology&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=McF&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&source=hp&q=neuropsychology+in+poetry&psj=1&oq=neuropsychology+in+poetry&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=332802l350126l0l354210l28l13l0l4l4l2l2213l6670l2-6.7-1.1.1l9l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

mathematics – http://freedownload.is/ppt/the-neuropsychology-of-mathematics-123960.html

knowledge – https://www.google.com/search?q=neuropsychology+of+art&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&source=hp&q=neuropsychology+of+knowledge&psj=1&oq=neuropsychology+of+knowledge&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=10573l18953l0l21922l10l10l0l7l0l0l640l1155l2-2.5-1l3l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

remember your self – http://www65.homepage.villanova.edu/patrick.markey/art10.pdf

music – https://www.google.com/search?q=neuropsychology+of+art&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&source=hp&q=neuropsychology+of+music&psj=1&oq=neuropsychology+of+&aq=8&aqi=p-p2g8&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=31675l31675l1l45455l1l1l1l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

self-awareness – https://www.google.com/search?q=self+awareness+ib+neuropsychology&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=EcF&pwst=1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=X&psj=1&ei=7_cnT4GID4mSiAKiuq2iAQ&ved=0CB4QvwUoAQ&q=self+awareness+in+neuropsychology&spell=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

Medically Unexplained Symptoms and Neuro-psychological Assessment – http://130.88.242.202/medicine/Aspergillus/articlesoverflow/15512927.pdf

how the brain treats the “sacred values” – http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/137889703.htm

soul/brain – lhttps://www.google.com/search?q=mind+and+brain&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=soul+brain&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=nws&psj=1&ei=z5wnT9zNBabe2AWfwazRAg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=5&ved=0CAwQ_AUoBA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=fd7383ffd6cf4dd5&biw=1024&bih=588

nuero-psychological culture – https://www.google.com/search?q=neuropsychology+of+culture&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=ugp&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&prmdo=1&tbm=blg&source=hp&q=neuropsychological+culture&psj=1&oq=neuropsychological+culture&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=0l0l0l35595384l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0&prmdo=1&fp=1&biw=1024&bih=588&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&cad=b

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Categories: Enquiries & Speculations | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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