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Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing
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Neuroscience: Myths, Metaphors and Marketing

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Presentation given to the Annual NLPtCA Conference 2012: We may be called 'neuro'-linguistic psychotherapists, but how much does neurological research influence how we work with a client? How much has …

Presentation given to the Annual NLPtCA Conference 2012: We may be called 'neuro'-linguistic psychotherapists, but how much does neurological research influence how we work with a client? How much has science discovered about our neurology that is applicable to working psychologically? Do we know when we are committing logical level errors by reading too much into the research? And can we distinguish psychological-map from neural-territory? I will explore how much is myth, metaphor and marketing – and how much it matters.

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    • 1. NeuroscienceMyths, Metaphors and Marketing. James Lawley NLPtCA Conference 2012 www.cleanlanguange.co.uk 1
    • 2. Policy StatementI admire the scope, scale and achievement of neuroscience.This talk is not intended to diminish the work of anyneuroscientist or psychotherapist.My aim is to help us distinguish between: – quality neuroscience and inferences drawn therefromand – what Raymond Tallis calls “Neuromania”. James Lawley 2
    • 3. 50+ Books I’ve read on neurology, the brain and the mind: Bateson, G., 1972, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine. Bateson, G., 1988, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, Bantam. Bateson, G. & Bateson, M.C., 1988, Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred, Bantum. Bateson, G., 1991, A Sacred Unity: Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Harper Collins. Begley, S., 2009, The Plastic Mind: New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves, Constable. Blackmore, S., 2000, The Meme Machine, Oxford University Press. Bloom, P. 2004 Descartes Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human, Arrow. Calvin, W.H., 1996, The Cerebral Code: Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind, MIT Press. Capra, F., 1996, The Web of Life: A New Synthesis of Mind and Matter, Harper Collins. Chalmers, D.J, 1996 The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Oxford University Press. Claxton, G., 1997, Hare Brain Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less, Fourth Estate. Claxton, G., 2006. The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious, Abacus. Cytowic, R.E., 1993/2003, The Man Who Tasted Shapes, MIT Press. Damasio, A., 2006. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, Vintage. Damasio, A., 2003, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain, Harcourt. Damasio, A., 2000. The Feeling Of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness New ed., Vintage. Dennett, D.C., 1993, Consciousness Explained, Penguin. Dennett, D.C., 2004, Freedom Evolves, Penguin. Doidge, N., 2008, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Penguin. Donald, M., 2001, A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness, Norton. Dreyfus, H.L. & Dreyfus, S.E., 1988, Mind over Machine: The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer, Free Press. Edelman, G.M., 1992, Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind, Basic Books, Basic Books. Edelman, G.M. & Tononi, G., 2000, The Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination, Basic Books. Freeman, W., 2000 How Brains Make Up Their Minds, Phoenix Hauser, M. D., 2007 Moral Minds: The Nature of Right and Wrong, Harper Perennial. Hofstadter, D., 2008, I Am A Strange Loop, Basic Books. Huppert, F.A., Baylis, N. & Keverne, B., (eds) 2005, The Science of Well-Being, Oxford University Press. Jaynes, J., 1990, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Hougton Mifflin. Kandel, E.R., 2007. In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, Norton LeDoux, J., 1999. The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life Maturana, H.R. & Varela, F.J., 1992, The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding, Shambala. McGilchrist, I., The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, Yale University Press. Minsky, M., 2006, The Emotion Machine: Common Sense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind, Simon & Schuster Montague, R., 2006. Why Choose this Book?: How We Make Decisions, Dutton. Penrose, R., 1996. Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness, Oxford University Press. Pinker, S., 1998. How The Mind Works, The Softback Preview. Pinker, S., 2007, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Allen Lane. Plotkin, H., 2003, The Imagined World Made Real: Towards A Natural Science of Culture, Penguin. Ramachandran, V.S. & Blakeslee, S., 1999. Phantoms in the Brain: Human Nature and the Architecture of the Mind, Fourth Estate. Robertson, I., 2000, Mind Sculpture: Your Brain’s Untapped Potential, Bantum. Rose, S., (ed) 1999, From Brains to Consciousness?: Essays on the New Sciences of the Mind, Penguin Rose, S., 2006, The 21st Century Brain: Explaining, Mending and Manipulating the Mind, Vintage. Searle, J.R., 1997, The Mystery of Consciousness, Granta. Seung, S., 2012, Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, Allen Lane. Sacks, O., 1986. The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Picador. Sacks, O, 1995. An Anthropologist on Mars, Picador. Solso, R.L., & Massaro, D.W., 1995, The Science of the Mind: 2001 and Beyond, Oxford University Press. Tallis, R, 2011. Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, Acumen. Varela, F.J. & Thompson, E. & Rosch, E., 1993, The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, MIT Press. Zeman, A., 2002. Consciousness: a Users Guide, Yale University.
    • 4. EXERCISE1. Name a piece of neurological research that has influenced the way you do therapy.2. What do you do differently with your clients as a result of the research?
    • 5. Watch first two minutes of video :http://www.schoolsworld.tv/node/2887
    • 6. A connectome isthe totality of connections between the neurons in a nervous system.
    • 7. A connectome ofC. elegans roundworm 1 mm in length 302 neurons.
    • 8. What do you make of this quote from aleading psychotherapist?:“The role of the psychotherapist is brought into anew light through the implications of workingwith psychoneuroimmunology.... Validating the client’s model of the world andnegative feelings, the therapist enablesneurotransmitters associated with the negativestate to be released from the subcortex and theexisting neural networks activated.” 8
    • 9. And this one?:“As soon as the client accesses the future-oriented state, theneurological potential is then created for change to happen. Solution-oriented therapy ... ensures that the client firesthe neurological pathway a number of times in therapy,making it easier to re-access once the session has ended. ...This process reinforces the ‘not problem’ state, againreinforcing positive neurological patterning.At this next session, we both noted that he could more easilymove towards future-oriented thinking ... This was evidencethat the neurological re-patterning that we had done in theprevious week had started to work.”
    • 10. Does changing one prefix change the meaning?:“As soon as the client accesses the future-oriented state, theneurological potential is then created for change to happen.psycho Solution-oriented therapy ... ensures that the client firesthe psycho neurological pathway a number of times in therapy,making it easier to re-access once the session has ended. ...This process reinforces the ‘not problem’ state, againreinforcing positive psycho neurological patterning.At this next session, we both noted that he could more easilymove towards future-oriented thinking ... This was evidencethat the psycho neurological re-patterning that we had done in theprevious week had started to work.”
    • 11. “Your prefrontal cortex is the biological seat of yourconscious interactions with the world. It’s the part of yourbrain central to thinking things through. ... Gettingeverything ‘just right’ for the prefrontal cortex is whatEmily needs to learns to do, to get on top of the extrainformation she is juggling in her new job.”David Rock, Your Brain at Work p. 6 “A question I ask my clients all time is:What does your brain need right now to move forward?”David Rock, A Brain-Based Approach to Coaching, International Journal of Coaching in Organizations 2006 4(2)What do you think Emily and other clients makeof this question?
    • 12. “[Neuro-talk] is often accompanied by a picture of a brain scan, that fast-acting solvent of critical faculties.” Matthew Crawford ‘The Limits of Neuro-Talk’
    • 13. BRAIN IMAGINING TECHNIQUESCAT "" Computed axial tomographyDOT" " Diffuse optical tomographyEEG" " ElectroencephalographyEROS" Event-related optical signalMEG"" MagnetoencephalographyMRI" " Magnetic resonance imaging (structural)" " " fMRI"" Functional MRI" " " dMRI" Diffusion MRINIRS" Near infrared spectroscopyPET "" Positron emission tomographySPECT" Single-photon emission computed tomography
    • 14. Can you guess what experience this brain scan is showing ?
    • 15. An image of the brain of Nan Wise,who volunteered to have an orgasm while inside an fMRI
    • 16. • Technical Problems with fMRI‣ Measures oxygen in the blood as a proxy for brain activity. Millions of neurons have to be activated for a change in blood flow to be detected.‣ Neuronal activity lasts milliseconds while detected changes in blood flow lag by 2-10 seconds.‣ Brain is changing all the time – somewhere is always ‘lit up’.‣ Images made up of voxels, each representing at best 10,000+ neurons.‣ Each scan has 50,000 data points; thousands of scans in a study means many millions of comparisons. Massively complex analysis required – 7 million lines of code.‣ A big problem is false positives – thousands of published studies conducted without corrections for false positives.‣ Some researchers pick out the ‘best’ results.‣ Spurious ‘brain activity’ related to non-existent tasks found with standard settings on the most popular fMRI analysis software.
    • 17. talflfunctions to particular brain these increases ow rises. Doubts about whether regions. Critics that they become images introduces other cave- The 1970s also brought the fi rst functional feel that fMRI actual neuronal networked or dis- ats. Researchers must choose among and adjust show correspond to overlooks the activity have been imaging technology— scans designed to answered by several studies tying blood fl empha- many different algorithms tois structured but how it tributed nature of the brain’s workings, ow di- not just how the brain extract an accurate sizing localized activity when it is the communi- functions. Positron emission tomography (PET) cation among regions that is most critical to men- measures increases in blood flow associated with tal function. neuronal activity, giving a sense of which neu- “This is a very gross technique,” says critic rons may be processing information. A subject Steven Faux , who heads the psychology depart- is injected with radioactive elements that tag ment at Drake University. “It’s like a blurry pho- molecules such as glucose that are delivered to to — better than no photo but still blurry, with the brain by blood. The tags emit positrons and real limitations that are too often overlooked. reveal the relative rates at which cells consume It’s very easy to overextend [the value of] this the glucose, a marker of which cells are active technology.” during mental processes. The scans are captivat- Many fMRI practitioners seem bewildered ing, but there are a number of drawbacks. Sub- that this powerful new tool has created contro- jects worry about taking in radioactive material; versy. “It is a huge surprise to me how big this the process requires the better part of an hour issue has become,” says Marcus E. Raichle, a for a scan; and the images provide a rather broad Washington University neurologist who has re- temporal resolution of 60 seconds (meaning it rectly to neuron signaling, including recent ani- image, compensating along the way for varia- mal models that used probes to match the firing tions in skull and brain configuration, movementFunctional MRI of individual neurons to the heightened flow seen of subjects in the scanner, noise in the data, andscans of six in fMRI scans. so on. This “chain of inferences,” as a recent Na-people who Yet the link is decidedly rough. Abigail A. ture Neuroscience article called it, offers muchtook the same Baird, a Dartmouth College psychologist who opportunity for error.spatial memory uses fMRI to study brain changes during adoles- Finally, most fMRI studies use univariatetest show how cence, puts it succinctly: “Hemodynamic re- processing, which critics say shortchanges thevaried brain sponse is a sloppy thing.” For starters, neuronal distributed nature of neurodynamics. The charg-activation pat- action takes milliseconds, whereas the blood es rise because univariate (literally “one vari-terns can be. surge follows by two to six seconds; a detected able”) algorithms consider the data coming inScientists must increase in blood flow therefore might be “feed- from each voxel during a scan as one sum, whichdesign fMRI ex- ing” more than one operation. In addition, be- makes it impossible to know how the activity inperiments care- cause each voxel encompasses thousands of neu- a particular voxel accrued (all at once, for in-fully to avoid rons, thousands or even millions may have to fi re stance, or in several pulses) or how it related se-misleading to significantly light up a region; it is as if an quentially with activity in other voxels. Univar-conclusions. entire section of a stadium had to shout to be iate processing does see all the parts working— heard. thus the multiple areas lit up in most images — but searched brain it is possible for more than two Meanwhile scanning that in some cases a not in a way that shows how one the blood flow to an takes that long to measure area follows or decades. Functional MRI scans largeresolutionpeoplecubic of for a nuancedsix to nine who area) and a spatial millimeters six of understanding — Vague Precision of what is happening. 27 Brain imaging began with an early 20th-cen- spatial fMRI can scan a brain test took the same In contrast, memory cross sec- w w w. s c i a m m i n d .c o m COPYRIGHT 2005 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC. sconsin–Milwaukee tury method called pneumoencephalography, a tion in less than two seconds, enabling it to mod- dangerous procedure in which the skull’s cere- el most of the brain in one to two minutes. It can brospinal fluid was replaced with air to show the work at spatial resolutions as fi ne as two to three brain more clearly on x-ray. The angiograph, de- cubic millimeters, although in practice it usually veloped in the 1920s, produced improved results collects information in voxels (a term that merg-
    • 18. • Question ...What do you make of thesefMRI test-retest correlationsfor subjects engaged in sixsessions of the same activityconducted over a period of sixweeks?0.56 0.75 0.000.42 0.69 0.25Mean = 0.45 Jian Kong et. al., Test-retest study of fMRI signal change evoked by electro-acupuncture stimulation, Neuroimage. 2007 February 1; 34(3): 1171–1181.
    • 19. These subjects engaged in a simple finger-tapping task and yet thecorrelations ranged between 0 and 0.76 – imagine the subjectswere doing something useful!A review of papers published in top-ranking journals, includingScience, concluded: “A disturbingly large and quite prominent segment of fMRI scan research on emotion, personality and social cognition is using seriously defective research methods and producing a profusion of numbers that should not be believed.”Edward Vul1, Christine Harris, Piotr Winkielman and Harold Pashler, ‘Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies ofEmotion, Personality, and Social Cognition’ Perspectives on Psychological Science, May 2009 vol. 4 no. 3 274-290.
    • 20. Example of a neuro-imaging research methodology‣ The subject was placed in a fMRI scanner.‣ Subject was shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations with a specified emotional valence.‣ The subject was asked to determine what emotion one of the individuals in the photo must have been experiencing.‣ Each photo was presented for 10 seconds followed by 12 seconds of rest. A total of 15 photos were displayed.‣ Total scan time was 5.5 minutes.
    • 21. This is the brain scan of the subject
    • 22. “By complete, random chance, we found some voxels thatwere significant ... [even though] the salmon was notalive at the time of scanning.” Craig Bennett, neuroscientist, University of California
    • 23. “An fMRI study has shown thatmen’s amygdalas light up when they view Ferraris” What is wrong with this statement?
    • 24. “An fMRI study demonstrated heightened activity in theamygdala’s of Democrats and Republicans watching videosof John Kerry and George W. Bush, concludingthe volunteers were actively trying to dislike the opposition”. What is wrong with this statement?
    • 25. • Design flaws in fMRI studies‣ Less activity in frontal lobes and more in the amygdala of adolescents than adults looking at black-and-white photographs of faces of frightened middle-aged people. But in a much less widely reported follow-up study using colour photographs, adolescent subjects scored much like adults.‣ Over 30 studies found physiological markers of ADHD in children but failed to control for the effects of their subjects’ Ritalin use.
    • 26. • And guess what ...University students told of fictitious studies such as“watching television improves maths ability”judged results to be more scientific and believablewhen presented in the form of brain scansrather than in charts or words.
    • 27. • Conceptual Problems with MRI‣ Parts of the brain appear again and again, serving different functions.‣ The same cognitive functions show up in different regions of the brain.‣ MRI are blind to the connectional anatomy of the human brain.‣ Activities subjects do are necessarily isolated and simple compared to the everyday actions of humans.‣ Conclusions subject to a long ‘chain of inferences’.‣ Often a confusion between correlation, causation and identity.‣ Results are extended way beyond their remit, e.g. Neuroarthistory by John Onians. Professor Emeritus of World Art at the University of East Anglia. Time Magazine ran a “Guide to the Neuroscience of Shopping”
    • 28. !=>!!=>!!!=>
    • 29. <= !<= !!<= !!!<= !!!!
    • 30. I M AG E S C O U R T E S Y O F PA U L T H O M P S O N , K I R A L E E H AYA S H I A N D A R T H U R T O G A U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a , L o s A n g e l e s A N D N I T I N G O G TAY, J AY G I E D D A N D J U D I T H R A P O P O R T N a t i o n a l I n s t i t u t e o f M e n t a l H e a l t h Age 8 Age 12 Age 5 >0.5 - - - - - - 0.4 - - - - - - - 0.3 - - - - - - - 0.2 - -- - - - - 0.1 - - - - -- - - 0.0 - Gray matter Age 16 Age 20 volumefMRI is gradually replaced or overgrown with white matter between ages 5sequenceAshows how gray or Functional MRI can map shows composition withmatter is gradually replaced matter sequence the brain’s how grey exquisite clarity. This and 21. defense attorney could ostensibly use such with white matter between of a violent crime not 21. overgrown information to ask that a teenager convicted ages 5 and be sentenced as an adult since his cognitive capacity is not as fully developed. NOTE: This statement refers to physical changes rather then mental acts.
    • 31. EXERCISE - Look around the room [Lead group through exercise in changing attention.]There is nothing in neuroscience that can remotely explain what you all just did so easily.
    • 32. “The majority of neuroimaging studies I come across are so flawed, either due to design or statistical errors, they add virtually nothing to my knowledge.” Daniel BorPhD in cognitive neuroscience, Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge University. Now at Sackler Centre For Consciousness Science, University of Sussex.
    • 33. How can a layperson know what is a believable MRI study?1. Our default attitude should be skepticism.2. Go to blogs written by scientists.3. Get answers to these questions: ✓ Are the stats properly corrected for multiple tests? ✓ Are the results replicated elsewhere? ✓ If activation areas are linked to a given function, are any other functions previously linked to these brain regions? ✓ Are there any plausible alternative interpretations of the results?
    • 34. Neuroscience Myths
    • 35. What percentage of Wilder Penfield’s patientsexperienced spontaneous memories when heinserted an electrode into their brain? Watch one minute video: 1891 - 1976 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNdM9JhTPJw
    • 36. 1 in 20 and contemporary surgeons have found itdifficult to replicate some of Penfield’s results. Raymond Tallis, Aping Mankind (2011, p. 93)
    • 37. “... allow us to grasp the minds of others not throughconceptual reasoning but through direct simulation.”  Giacomo Rizzolatti, co-discover of mirror neurons in macaque monkeys (New York Times, 10 Jan 2006, ‘Cells That Read Minds’) "... the driving force behind the great leap forward in human evolution." V.S. Ramachandran (2000)
    • 38. Except that, most evidence for mirror neurons in humans is indirect. “Mirror neurons have not been demonstrated unequivocally in humans” Raymond Tallis, Aping Mankind (2011, p. 190)“fMRI’s resolution is not fine enough to distinguish whether the neurons firing are mirror neurons or just motor cortexneurons, which fire both when we think about an action and when we actually perform an action.”  Marco Iacoboni, a mirror neuron expert at the University of California, quoted in Monkey See, Monkey Dont by Nikhil Swaminathan February 3, 2011 Scientific American Mind 38
    • 39. NeuroplasticityIn the 1960s Mark Rosenzweigshowed there were changes in thebrains of laboratory rats that wereraised in enriched or impoverishedenvironments.An enriched cage slightlyenlarged the cortex on average andthe rats performed better onproblem solving tests. 1922 – 2009This was the first demonstrationthat experience causes the brainstructure to change. 39
    • 40. London taxi drivers have anenlarged right posteriorhippocampus, which is the regionof the cortex thought to be involvedin navigation.In musicians, the cerebellum islarger and certain cortical regionsare thicker.Bilinguals have a thicker cortex inthe lower part of the left parietallobe.
    • 41. However ... “[Rosenzweig] did not prove that it was the thickening thatcaused the improvement in the intelligence. We can only say that cortical thickening with learning are correlated.Furthermore, the correlation is weak, revealed only by averages over groups. Cortical thickening is not a reliable predictor of learning in individuals.” Sebastian Seung Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. (2012, p. 25) Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT.
    • 42. Minds differ because neural networks differ.Personality, IQ and memories are encoded in neural networks.“Although this theory has been around for a long time,neuroscientists still don’t know if it’s true. These ideas maysound powerful, but there’s a catch: they have never been subjectedto conclusive experimental tests ... because neuroscientists havelacked good techniques for mapping the connections betweenneurons”Sebastian Seung (2012)Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. p. xiv-xxProfessor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT.
    • 43. Yes, but ...“Although this theory has been around for a long time,neuroscientists still don’t know if it’s true. These ideasmay sound powerful, but there’s a catch: they have neverbeen subjected to conclusive experimental tests ... becauseneuroscientists have lacked good techniques for mappingthe connections between neurons”Sebastian SeungConnectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. (2012, p. xiv-xx)
    • 44. Thinking leading to NeuromaniaMixing Logical Levels “There is only one sort of stuff, namely matter – the physical stuff of physics, chemistry and physiology – and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. MIND BRAIN In short, the mind is the brain ... We can (in principle!) account for every mental CELLS phenomenon using physical principles, laws and raw materials.” MATTER Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained, p. 33
    • 45. Thinking leading to NeuromaniaMixing metaphors “Nervous systems are information-processing machines.” Patricia Churchland, Neurophilosophy. “The brain can now be described as an incredibly powerful microprocessor, the mother of all motherboards.” Dr Vinoth Ramachandra “Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” John McCarthy Metaphor Metaphor
    • 46. Thinking leading to NeuromaniaMixing metaphors “Nervous systems are information-processing machines.” Patricia Churchland, Neurophilosophy. “The brain can now be described as an incredibly powerful microprocessor, the mother of all motherboards.” Dr Vinoth Ramachandra “Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” John McCarthy Metaphor Metaphor
    • 47. Thinking leading to NeuromaniaAnthropomorphising Animating the material world with human characteristics, e.g. the brain doesn’t: calculate, signal, decide, detect, process, notice, trick, fool or deceive us, light up, represents, or store (and nor do computers!) “When the reptilian brain takes over the frontal cortex shuts down.” “The amygdala stops talking to the hypothalamus.” “Anti-anxiety molecules”
    • 48. Thinking leading to NeuromaniaUnwitting metonymy‣ Mistaking a part for the whole. e.g. Nobel prize winner Eric Kandel claimed he could capture “memory in a dish”. Localising a distributed, massively interconnected, small-world network (<3 degrees of separation). “The brain - thats my second most favourite organ!” Woody Allen
    • 49. The truth is ...“As a neuroscientist myself, I have come to know firsthand[the] feeling of dread [when] I speak to the public about thestate of our field. My audience [is] curious about brains thatmalfunction or excel, but even the humdrum lacksexplanation.Every day we recall the past, perceive the present, and imaginethe future. How do our brains accomplish these feats?It’s safe to say that nobody really knows.”Sebastian Seung
    • 50. "To map the human brain at the cellular level, were talkingabout 1m petabytes of information. Most people think thatis more than the digital content of the world right now.Id settle for a mouse brain, but were not even ready to dothat. Were still working on how to do one cubic millimetre.""Sooner or later humans are going to have to confront thefact that we dont know how the brain works."Jeff Lichtman, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard Universityquoted in The Guardian. 7 May 2012.
    • 51. “Fifty years of research shows thatwe don’t understand what neural networks are doing.” Dr. Michael Harré, Principle Investigator at Large, Centre for the Mind, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney
    • 52. “There is no science of the individual” Aristotle

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