By Michael L. Anderson
The machine analogy of the brain has been as extensively followed in modern cognitive neuroscience as was once the analogy of the mind as a set of organs in phrenology. simply because the phrenologist may insist that every organ needs to have its specific functionality, so modern cognitive neuroscience is dedicated to the idea that every mind area should have its basic computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to accomplish a completely post-phrenological technological know-how of the mind, we have to re-examine this dedication and devise another, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of psychological functionality.
Anderson contends that the cognitive roles performed by means of every one zone of the mind are hugely a number of, reflecting assorted neural partnerships proven below diverse situations. He proposes quantifying the sensible houses of neural assemblies by way of their dispositional traits particularly than their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale matters, and drawing on proof from embodied cognition, Anderson develops an image of considering rooted within the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving capability for iterated interplay with the area. He argues that the multidimensional method of the mind he describes bargains a more robust healthy for those findings, and a extra promising highway towards a unified technology of minded organisms.
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Additional info for After phrenology : neural reuse and the interactive brain
Planning is like locomotion because it inherits the structure of the existing domain via neural overlap, but planning also overlaps with the neural implementation base of locomotion to the degree that it has functional requirements similar to those of locomotion. The suggestion here is not that planning or communication or any other cognitive function has some predetermined Platonic structure that entirely reverses the causal direction typically supposed by conceptual metaphor theory. Rather, the idea is to point out the need to be open to a more iterative story, whereby a cognitive function finds its “neural niche” (Iriki & Sakura 2008) in a process codetermined by the functional characteristics of existing resources and the unfolding functional requirements of the emerging capacity (Deacon 1997; see also chapters 2 and 3).
What I do think is that conceptual metaphors and modal concepts as well as other kinds of cognitively relevant simulations are all examples of a much larger phenomenon of borrowed cognition, driven largely by neural reuse. The borrowing of spatial resources for number storage revealed by the SNARC effect (Dehaene et al. 1993), the use of gesturing in learning (Goldin-Meadow 2003), and the use of a common brain region for both finger and magnitude representation (Anderson & Penner-Wilger 2013; Penner-Wilger & Anderson 2008; Zago et al.
In fact, this same finding suggests that although sensorimotor experience can be crucial to the development of numerical cognition, insofar as it helps establish the functional structure of the brain regions used in both domains, the crucial experience need not be of using the fingers to do mathematics. Exercises that improve the sensory acuity of finger representations could be expected to improve performance on certain numerical tasks without the further requirement that the actual fingers be used in a mathematical context.
After phrenology : neural reuse and the interactive brain by Michael L. Anderson