Category Archives: Uncategorized

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

The Journal of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience is here and it’s open access. This Wikipedia article gives a good overview of this developing field.  And here‘s a Psychology Today article applying it to healthy adult development.  From the latter:

“The first guiding principle is that it is necessary to ‘quiet the limbic system’ (van der Kolk et al., 2005) to help emerging adults achieve a greater sense of safety. Quieting techniques facilitate attachments by promoting self-soothing and regulation. This is especially relevant when challenges are associated with trauma, anxiety disorders, and emotional/self-inhibitio­n. Emotional and cognitive learning cannot take place in a state of fear. This also includes protecting the brain from the neurotoxic effects of excess alcohol and substances, lack of sleep or nutrition, and the distorting effects of untreated psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or psychosis.

“The second guiding principle is the belief that it is essential to support the psycho-neurobiological development of a coherent self, an organized self, and a self-regulated self (Schore, 2008; Siegel, 1999; Gedo & Goldberg, 1973). This principle puts an emphasis on the processes of self-informed agency, self-directed empowerment, and an adaptive balance of vulnerability, collaboration, and boundaries for self-protection. This second pillar emphasizes the self-actualizing and motivational patterns of the developing individual.

“The third and last precept is drawn from neurocognitive modes of decision-making (Noel et al., 2006); therapeutic experiences of processing and problem-solving through emotional states of activation that occur in real-time within meaningful relationships are essential for achieving growth and change. Such experiences exercise and grow the networking between the limbic system and pre-frontal cortex which are naturally primed to sprout through emerging adulthood. Using mindfulness techniques such as “Reaction & Reflection,” while in relation, promote neurocognitive growth and, in turn, facilitate the further development of mindfulness, cognitive and executive functions, and competent self-governance.”

Consciousness is not a thing

Interesting article by Karl Friston, the Wellcome principal research fellow and scientific director at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging and professor of neurology at University College London.

“I’m compelled to treat consciousness as a process to be understood, not as a thing to be defined. Simply put, my argument is that consciousness is nothing more and nothing less than a natural process such as evolution or the weather. My favourite trick to illustrate the notion of consciousness as a process is to replace the word ‘consciousness’ with ‘evolution’ – and see if the question still makes sense. For example, the question What is consciousness for? becomes What is evolution for? Scientifically speaking, of course, we know that evolution is not for anything. It doesn’t perform a function or have reasons for doing what it does – it’s an unfolding process that can be understood only on its own terms. Since we are all the product of evolution, the same would seem to hold for consciousness and the self.”

Collective Enlightenment Through Postmetaphysical Eyes

The paper can be found here. The abstract follows:

Enlightenment has had broadly different definitions is the East and West. In the East it is seen as an individual accessing meditative states that transcend the world of form in a metaphysical reality. In the West it is more about individual development to abstract reasoning, which can accurately represent empirical reality but is itself an a priori, metaphysical capacity. Enlightenment in either case is based on metaphysical individual achievements. However the postmetaphysical turn has questioned such premises, instead contextualizing both meditative states and abstract reasoning within broader socio-cultural contexts. Enlightenment itself has thereby been redefined within this orientation and is seen more as a collective endeavor that is collaboratively enacted.

Intelligence and rationality are not strongly correlated

A NY Times article reports on research conducted by Keith Stanovich and others that (a) finds intelligence and rationality are different qualities, (b) they are only weakly positively correlated, and (c) one’s rationality can be improved through targeted training but not one’s intelligence. Moreover, Stanovich proposed a rationality quotient (RQ) and that standardized tests be devised to assess one’s RQ.

Read more: Clever Fools: Why a High IQ Doesn’t Mean You’re Smart

First BMCAI discussion a great success!

Ten energetic folks met last night at Albuquerque’s North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center to discuss the malleability of memory and its implications. Research findings increasingly indicate that our memories are not explicit copies of the events they represent.

Research increasingly indicates that our memories are not explicit, unchanging recordings. Sensory-perceptual processes filter what is initially stored. Each time you recall a memory, it is modified. Counterintuitively, frequently recalled memories—especially those we compare with others’ tellings and media representations—change over time.

Resources we had reviewed before the discussion included the following:

Videos

Articles

The following questions guided our discussion:

  • Are there memorable events you and others experienced when you were young that the others remember significantly differently than you do? Is your memory more accurate (less biased or altered) than theirs?
  • Have you ever encountered evidence that one of your long-held memories was inaccurate? Can you share an example?
  • What, if any, evolutionary value might there be to having a highly malleable memory?
  • If illusory memories are so common, what implications might there be for
    – criminal justice, eye-witness testimonies, etc.?
    – personal relationships?
    – self-perception (of current vs remembered selves, for example)