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Education, Learning and the Mind: Cognitive Neuroeducation (CNE)

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A presentation delivered September 27 to the 2015 NeuroELT Brain Days International Conference, Kyoto, Japan, introducing CNE (Cognitive Neuroeducation), a new, noninvasive, nonpharmacological modality for intervention in cognitive and behavioral disorder with the promise of full recovery therefrom.

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Education, Learning and the Mind: Cognitive Neuroeducation (CNE)

  1. 1. EDUCATION, LEARNING AND THE MIND: COGNITIVE NEUROEDUCATION (CNE) A Presentation Delivered September 27 to the 2015 NeuroELT Brain Days International Conference, Kyoto, Japan By Spencer M. Robinson Executive Director and Chief of Research and Development Center for Applied Social Neuroscience (CASN)
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION This presentation introduces CNE (Cognitive Neuroeducation), a new, noninvasive, nonpharmacological modality for intervention in cognitive and behavioral disorder with the promise of full recovery therefrom. 2
  3. 3. As will be demonstrated in this presentation, cognition, behavior and learning may be understood as essentially interdependent terms referring to the basic interlocked mechanisms of the human social brain, and therefore CNE may be defined as a program for optimizing positive learning outcomes that enhance cognition in the formation of well-attuned, socially integrated, self-actualizing and confident, independent behavior. 3
  4. 4. CNE is unique in that it is the only modality in the fields of learning and mental health that is strictly tied to how the brain actually works within a tightly constructed, exhaustively comprehensive model of the mind as formed exclusively from rigorous hermeneutic and phenomenological analysis. To explain CNE, its theories and principles, it is first necessary to outline a model of human behavior based on the evolution of the human brain and the unique relationship between the human brain and human behavior in comparison with behavioral formation in all other taxa. To explore this relationship we begin by introducing some initial definitions. 4
  5. 5. Some Initial Definitions: • The term “human” will be used herein to refer exclusively to the anatomically modern human (AMH), identified by the trinomial Homo sapiens sapiens, constituting the genus, species, and subspecies of the taxon. • Taxon = A single designated type of organism that constitutes a distinctive identity within the system of organism classification, such as Homo sapiens sapiens. The plural of taxon is taxa. 5
  6. 6. • Trinomial = The identification of an organism by designated genus + species + subspecies. • Binomial = The identification of an organism by designated genus + species. • Genotype = The genetic makeup (as distinguished from physical appearance) of an organism encoded by the combination of alleles on individual chromosomes, a particular combination determining a specific trait. 6
  7. 7. • Allele = One member of a pair (or any of the series) of genes occupying a specific spot on a chromosome (called locus) that controls the same trait. • Phenotype = The composite of an organism's observable characteristics or traits, such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, phenology, behavior, and products of behavior – the physical and behavioral expression of an organism’s genetic makeup dependent upon which genes are dominant and on the interaction between genes and environment. 7
  8. 8. • Phenology = The response to the relationship between season and climate in the cycles of plant and animal life such as flowering, breeding, migration, etc. • Operant behavior, as defined herein, refers to human voluntary, incidentally learned, internally driven behavioral reactions as opposed to involuntary, externally coerced and/or purposefully manipulated conditioned responses, and thus as used herein does not align with the meaning of “operant” as used in the Skinnerian concept of “operant conditioning.” Unless otherwise indicated, all references to human behavior herein pertain exclusively to operant behavior. 8
  9. 9. • Phylogeny = the evolutionary branching process by which organisms evolve through differentiation into groups of immediate and more distant relationships, each group distinguished by a unique combination of morphological and behavioral features. • Clade = a distinct phylogenetic branch, from living or most recent genus or genera back through a clear, direct lineage to the single, earliest ancestral binomial form – a taxonomic group of organisms classified together on the basis of homologous features traced to a common ancestor. 9
  10. 10. • The human clade, as defined herein, constitutes the subtribe Hominina, consisting of the single genus of Homo, whose ancestral forms have been purported to include H. habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, archaic H. sapiens and H. sapiens idaltu, to name some of the more prominent fossil discoveries. A number of fossil genera in the subtribe of Australopithecina have been suggested to be ancestral to the human clade, such as Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Ardipithecus, Sahelanthopus, Orrorin, and Kenyanthropus, but there is no definitive argument on the classification of many of the fossil forms and the composition of the human clade. Homo sapiens sapiens is the single extant member of the subtribe Hominina. 10
  11. 11. The tribe Hominini consists of the three subtribes of 1) Hominina, consisting of the single genus Homo; 2) Panina, consisting of the single genus Pan; and 3) Australopithecina, which consists of several extinct genera. 11
  12. 12. Genera Subtribe Hominina •Homo Subtribe Panina •Pan Subtribe Australopithecina •† Paranthropus •† Australopithecus •† Sahelanthropus •† Orrorin •† Ardipithecus •† Kenyanthropus Scientific Classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Primates Suborder: Haplorhini Family: Hominidae Subfamily: Homininae Tribe: Hominini 12
  13. 13. Subfamily HOMININAE Tribe HOMININI GORILLINI Subtribe Hominina Panina Australopithecina Genus Homo Pan* Paranthropus Gorilla Australopithecus Sahelanthropus Orrorin Ardipithecus Kenyanthropus *Consisting of two species of chimpanzee 13
  14. 14. The Social Brain: A Unique Evolutionary Development of the Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) • Many animal forms share some common characteristics, and taxa grouped in the same superfamily, family, subfamily, tribe, subtribe and genus, respectively, share closer and closer characteristics. What is critical in understanding human behavior in the achievement of balanced and optimum functioning within the unique conditions of human life, is to clearly define the essence as opposed to the details of that uniqueness. Bearing in mind that many taxa share many basic characteristics, the quality and degree of different properties vary dramatically across taxa, forming quite different modes by which distinct taxa interact with their respective environments. 14
  15. 15. • While many taxa are behaviorally oriented toward a community or social structure, with biologically hardwired, preprogrammed role- specific differentiation such as in ant and wasp colonies and bee hives, or by a general rudimentary cognitive tendency toward forming small hierarchical social groups, such as in chimpanzee or gorilla groups, only one taxon has evolved a unique social brain inherently biologically encoded in the self-construction of the cognitive configuration and interpretation of self and individual experience within the framework of defined social roles and the construction of complex layers of social organization. That taxon is Homo sapiens sapiens, distinguished from all other taxa by its unique social brain. 15
  16. 16. Evolutionary Path of Social Brain: From Fixed Action Patterns to Pseudo-Fixed Action Patterns and Learned Response • H. sapiens sapiens (AMH), distinct from all other extant animal taxa, is not biologically preprogrammed for specialized physiological and behavioral adaptation to a discrete habitat. • Other taxa vs. AMH: Fixed action patterns (also known as innate releasing mechanisms or modal action patterns, and commonly referred to as “instincts”) vs. AMH pseudo-fixed action patterns and learned responses through socialization, reasoning, curiosity, creativity and invention. 16
  17. 17. Pseudo-Fixed Action Patterns • Acute stress response (fight-or-flight response), attachment/bonding response, mating response, tend-and-befriend response, etc. • Central mechanism of basic behavioral propensities = affective properties embedded within pseudo-fixed action patterns; e.g., fear, anger, rage, hate and violence in the acute stress response; love, compassion, empathy, concern, and selfless, protective loyalty in the attachment/bonding response and the tend- and befriend response, etc. 17
  18. 18. Learned vs. Preprogrammed Behavior • Unlike hardwired automated mechanisms of fixed action patterns, human pseudo-fixed action patterns may be overridden by learning/experience and are mediated by individual genotype and phenotype and affective profile. • While the predisposition of affect is an innate biological determinant of human behavior, the individual capacity for, and/or particular nature of, affective reaction is mediated by genotype and phenotype to the extent that each individual possesses a unique basic affective profile. 18
  19. 19. • An inextricable component of experience [i.e., an integral component of the ideas/images/ conceptions associated with the particular objectifications (concrete or abstract) of discrete types or classifications of external stimuli], individual affective reaction is highly malleable, and is learned or modified through experience. 19
  20. 20. • Because, normatively, all human reaction to external stimuli contains an affective component to greater or lesser degree (no matter how subtle), in the context of operant behavior the affective aspect of experience may place a positive or negative cast on any experience, and in highly emotive reactions, can completely override rational constructions of cause-and-effect relationships or logical connections in the learning process. Affective state plays a pivotal role in shaping how and what we learn, and, consequently, how we understand our world and react to it. 20
  21. 21. • The pseudo-fixed action pattern of curiosity, or inquisitiveness, is the driving force of exploration, imagination, discovery and invention necessary for adaptation to different habitats by obtaining knowledge about, and making innovative use of, natural resources in the manipulation of the environment to meet basic human needs. • Because we are not physically fine-tuned to any particular habitat, we have to manipulate our environment to maintain our lives. By creatively transforming natural resources into shelter, clothing and tools for hunting, fishing, food gathering and food preparation and for defense against predators and foes, we are able to sustain ourselves in any livable habitat. 21
  22. 22. • Curiosity, or inquisitiveness, as a vehicle of adaptation, is consequently the major vehicle of learning. Curiosity, or inquisitiveness, an innate, essential and powerful motivator of human behavior, may be seen as a major driving force in all normative, operant human behavior. 22
  23. 23. • Through curiosity and imagination, this innate behavioral orientation toward discovery and adaptation has enabled humans to survive in a variety of habitats without being restricted to any single narrowly defined habitat or ecosystem, and, with the capacity to learn an endless variety of adaptive strategies, has enabled humans – by exploitation of all available resources and the flexibility to adjust to environmental changes – to successfully compete with animals that though much more biologically attuned to any specific habitat, are nevertheless restricted to rigidly fixed adaptations and thereby are highly vulnerable to environmental change. 23
  24. 24. • Evolution is driven by the survival of the species, and in human evolution particular propensities and capacities in the biological makeup of the individual through the diversity of genotype and phenotype are essential for evolutionary survival in the maintenance of the widest possible range of adaptive strategies and the most heterogeneous gene pool for the greatest effective evolutionary selection. 24
  25. 25. • Through a highly diverse gene pool, the human phenotype extends over a vast range of potential individual behavioral and affective profiles. • Individual propensities uniquely mediate the way in which an individual responds to either basic needs or external stimuli, so that, while all humans share basic biologically innate predispositions of both perception and action, each individual possesses a distinct genotype and phenotype that uniquely shapes intricate characteristic “styles” or “flavors” of perception and action. 25
  26. 26. • Different propensities for behavior and different experiences lead to different individual interests, aptitudes and orientations and attractions in life, which lead to divisions of labor, skill specialization and role playing in a group structure constituting the foundations of society. • Insufficiently equipped to compete with other animal taxa for survival on an individual basis, humans evolved to rely on the competitive edge of cooperative behavior in groups. 26
  27. 27. Cooperation: The Key to Human Survival • By cooperative behavior facilitated by language, which led to both higher-order reasoning and tool-making flexibility to manipulate their environment, humans were able to out-strategize, out-plan, out- maneuver, and simply out-think their taxonomic rivals for survival. 27
  28. 28. • Human groups also competed with each other for survival in a particular habitat or region, so that social cohesiveness, role and skill diversification and skill expertise within a group leading to more specialized supportive social structures became the keys to group survival that pushed evolutionary determinants toward the human tendency for more sophisticated, intricate and complex social organization. 28
  29. 29. • So-called “morality” evolved as a condition of group survivability. • Such so-called human “virtues” as courage, love, compassion, forgiveness, charity, mercy, consideration, honesty, honor, selflessness, steadfastness, loyalty, self- sacrifice, etc., are not simply moral codes of religious convictions or social ideals, but, like reason and rationality, are natural tendencies embedded within the pseudo-fixed action patterns and cognitive constructions of the human social brain that are designed to solidify group cohesiveness and effectiveness in maximization of the competiveness of a group – the greater these qualities among its members the stronger the group; conversely, the degree to which they are lacking among the members of a group (be it a mating pair, a family, a band, etc.), the less a group is able to work together effectively and benefit from the interrelationships of its members. 29
  30. 30. • For basic survival, 1) learning became the central operating principle of the human social brain; 2) curiosity or inquisitiveness in response to novelty became the driving force of learning, 3) logic and reason became the principal method of understanding, 4) and affective state became the mechanism arbitrating the balance between understanding and action. 30
  31. 31. Formation of the Human Social Brain • The advantages of cooperative behavior could only be effectively realized through the development of the community structure. • Human evolution became increasingly orientated toward social behavior and the social brain through which the neurophysiology of an acute social consciousness began to emerge. 31
  32. 32. Behavioral Precepts of the Social Brain The social brain developed as a neurophysiological system driving a behavioral tendency toward the construction and maintenance of community structures consisting of complex, intricate social interactions within multilayered strata of differentially organized social formations, each defined by specific rules of conduct, constructs of meaning and prevailing frames of reference in entities evolving from such units as family, dyad, group, and to such constructions as tribes, ethnicities, religions and cultures and the development of superstructures such as city, state, nation, and civilization. 32
  33. 33. Human Experience as Social Phenomena Since the social brain, and therefore, the mind (the mind herein defined as a quality or abstraction derived from the sum total of the effects of the interlocking mechanisms within the brain) is organized in terms of patterned conceptualizations of social formations, it follows then, that all experience of the world, and, consequently, all learning, is interpreted, shaped, and internalized through an overarching social framework. 33
  34. 34. Learning: The Central Operating Principle of the Social Brain • Since all learning is acquired through experience, that is, by information from the world around us incidentally gathered through the unfolding of life in a society, and through the experience of learning a subject or trade intentionally studied as a selective response to one’s unique phenotype and the options of one’s circumstances, we may define learning as experience and experience as learning. 34
  35. 35. • Experience is defined herein as the process of the differential recognition and registration of all sensory or extrasensory stimuli – that which one sees, hears, feels, smells, tastes or thinks about, consciously or subliminally (e.g., dreams). • Since we are not prewired for explicit behavior in a fixed habitat, but rather learn complex rules of behavior adaptable to any livable habitat and the myriad social contexts that may be formed in response to the conditions of any particular livable habitat; learning may be seen then as the central operating principle of the social brain acquired for evolutionary survival. 35
  36. 36. Learning as Social Interaction Everything we learn takes place in a social context. From birth and throughout our lives, our interactions with others shape our understanding of the world. Learning occurs as parents talk with their children, as children play together, and as teachers instruct and assist students. Though learning progresses through biologically determined stages, it is the social environments that determine how and what we learn. 36
  37. 37. Learning as Socialization and Development 37
  38. 38. • Learning takes place through our interactions and communication with others. Even as we sit reading a novel by ourselves we interact with the author, the social and cultural context of the novel and in thinking about the story within the context of our own situation and social values. • Learning and development take place in the interactions children have with peers as well as with teachers and other adults. These social interactions develop language – which supports thinking – and they provide feedback and assistance that support ongoing learning. In a variety of ways these social interactions form the basis of the understandings that are internalized in the individual as cognitive constructs or schemata. 38
  39. 39. • A cognitive construct is defined herein as an individual’s unique organization of the total set of patterns, relationships, associations, connections, impressions and feelings, interpretations and conceptual syntheses and implications that is internalized and encoded in the mind as a reaction to discrete experiences and which influences the perception and understanding of new experience. 39
  40. 40. • The cognitive schemata is defined herein as the complete set of cognitive constructs and all the intertwining interactions between them unique to each individual as encoded through the individual’s life experiences. • The term “subliminal” is defined herein as a cognitive condition operating below the threshold of, and inaccessible to, articulate awareness; i.e., a level of cognitive processing inaccessible to a conscious attention. 40
  41. 41. Components of Learning Learning represents everything that we have experienced and the way we have internalized the experiences, constituting all the knowledge and skills that we have gained, all the impressions of the events of our life that we have stored and are able to recall, and all the different feelings and ideas that we have about the world and the people we know and everything that we can imagine. 41
  42. 42. • From this understanding of learning we can say that learning, knowledge, understanding, memory, thinking, and our attitudes about life and the world are all different perspectives of the same phenomenon. • The equation of what defines each of us as a unique individual, a distinct personality, the sum total of who each of us is, may then be understood as genotype + learning = phenotype (i.e., self). 42
  43. 43. Genotype and Phenotype vs. Behavior Human phenotype is not a static condition but an ongoing dynamic of the effects of environment (i.e., experience) on genetic expression. Though innate biological propensities of unique genotype lead to basic highly individualistic “styles” or “flavors” of individual perception and action, the built-in malleability of the human social brain, as a fundamental product of human evolution, may override such basic genetic behavioral characteristics to the extent that other, even very different, behavioral styles of social interaction are internalized to either more readily accommodate or block out social communication in reaction to the prevailing social context. 43
  44. 44. The Mechanism of Learning • Both sense-given impressions of external stimuli and self-generated stimuli from the internal reconfiguration of impressions form distinctive patterns of neuronal interconnectivity in the brain representing basic subliminal conceptualizations by which thought frameworks are molded and experiences are cognitively codified. • This process entails the systematization of the collection of internalizations of reactions to all the distinct stimuli that constitute an individual’s total experience in the formation of a fundamental conceptual schemata at the subliminal level of understanding. 44
  45. 45. • From the internalized collection and systematization of the aggregate of the immediate reactions to distinct stimuli, patterns of relationships are constructed (i.e., cognitive conceptualizations of experience are formed). This process is known as “apperception.” 45
  46. 46. Apperception • Apperception refers to the mechanism by which new experience is assimilated into, and transformed by, the residuum of past experience of the individual to form a new whole. 46
  47. 47. • In apperception new experience is understood or interpreted through the lens of previous experience and the perspective formed from that previous experience, but also the new experience, however transformed, becomes part of the aggregate of experience of the individual and adds new information to the aggregate, thereby altering perspective, by which the new experience transforms the residuum of the individual’s life experience; the new experience being both transformed and transforming. 47
  48. 48. Neuroplasticity • Neuroplasticity is the principal neurophysiological mechanism of the human brain through which apperception occurs. • In the context of learning as the mechanism that drives human cognitive construction, neuroplasticity is defined as the biologically inherent and ongoing process of macrostructural changes in the human brain that occur throughout life as a result of 1) normal brain maturation in prenatal and postnatal development and later cycles of exuberant synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning; and 2) the subsequent effect of everyday sensory and extrasensory stimuli as shaped by environmental influences and apperception, exclusive of neurodevelopmental disorders and tissue degradation due to lesions, pathological processes of progressive neurodegeneration (including the neuronal atrophy of aging), and brain impact injuries. 48
  49. 49. • In the context of learning and apperception as the mechanisms that drive human cognitive construction, neuroplasticity may be fundamentally understood as constantly changing patterns of neuronal interconnectivity; i.e., neuronal network modeling and remodeling (NNMR) – including network extension – through synaptic strength modulation (SSM) involving the mechanisms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in conjunction with synaptic blooming and pruning (synaptogenesis and synaptic removal). • Synaptic strength is modulated by a multitude of conditions that affect presynaptic neuronal activation readiness and firing strength, consisting of homosynaptic plasticity, heterosynaptic plasticity and the interconnection of other processes that vary the timing and strength of the firing of neighboring neurons or the timing relationship between pre- and postsynaptic neuronal pair firing (including STDP – spike timing dependent plasticity, as well as synaptic scaling and various combinations of other factors). 49
  50. 50. The Neuron and Chemical Synapse Structures in the Human Brain 50
  51. 51. 51
  52. 52. 52
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. Chemical Synapse 54
  55. 55. • The synaptic blooming and pruning process consists of synaptogenesis (the formation of new synapses) and synaptic pruning (the elimination of redundant synapses). Both synaptogenesis (i.e., synaptic blooming) and synaptic pruning normally occur throughout an individual’s life, but at two important junctures there is an explosion of both synaptic blooming and pruning (exuberant synaptogenesis followed by extensive elimination of excess synapses) necessary as an inherent part of the process of human brain development. These junctures are early childhood and again in early adolescence (the exact ages highly variable between individuals and different parts of the brain). 55
  56. 56. • Synaptic blooming and pruning is the process by which new synapses are generated in the brain and selected synapses eliminated to allow neurons to 1) strengthen or weaken existing connections, and 2) make new connections with other neurons in either modifying or forming new or more extensive or complex patterns of neuronal interconnections. 56
  57. 57. • The ongoing process of synaptic blooming and pruning maintains a regulated homeostasis through a basic overall synaptic quantity in the brain (although there is some evidence that there is a natural, gradual loss of synaptic quantity throughout later adulthood) and fine-tunes neuronal networks by eliminating redundant (weak or little-used) synaptic connections to prevent extraneous neurocircuit noise and maximize the efficiency of neuronal transmission. The synaptic bloom-and-prune process is an important component of the fundamental neurophysiological process by which learning occurs through apperception; the internalization of the learning dependent on the environment in which the learning occurs through the cellular mechanisms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). 57
  58. 58. Long-Term Potentiation and Long-Term Depression • Long-term potentiation (LTP) is defined as the development of a long-lasting synaptic strength or vitality between a pair of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons as a product of the interactivity of the pair. The opposite of LTP is long-term depression (LTD), which produces a long-lasting decrease in synaptic strength between a pair of neurons. LTP and LTD are processes by which chemical synapses are able to change their strength, constituting a principal cellular mechanism of learning, as memories (i.e., experience) are encoded by the modification of the strength of synaptic connections that form changing patterns of neuronal interconnections. 58
  59. 59. • LTP is understood as the mechanism of the principle described as “cells that fire together wire together,” based on Hebbian theory developed in 1949 by Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb (Hebb 1949) that rather than forming new neurons (neurogenesis), memories are formed (that is, experiences are encoded) by strengthening the connections (the synaptic interfaces) between existing neurons to improve the effectiveness of their communication. By the processes of both metabolic changes and the growing of new connections (i.e., new synaptic interfaces), neurons enhance their ability to communicate. Hebb DO (1949). The organization of behavior. New York, NY: Wiley & Sons. 59
  60. 60. • In basic Hebbian theory, the persistence or repetition of a reverberatory activity tends to induce lasting cellular changes that add to its stability, for example, when an axon of cell A is contributory in exciting the axon of cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, growth processes and metabolic changes are generated in one or both cells such that A’s efficiency in firing B (that is, the strength of the synaptic connection between A and B) is increased, leading to a longer potentiation of cell A when firing cell B. 60
  61. 61. • Though there are several types of long-term potentiation, they can basically be divided into Hebbian and non-Hebbian types. Hebbian LTP requires simultaneous pre- and postsynaptic depolarization for its induction, as opposed to Non-Hebbian LTP which is induced without simultaneity of depolarization. • A special type of Non-Hebbian LTP, known as anti-Hebbian LTP, requires simultaneous presynaptic depolarization and relative postsynaptic hyperpolarization for its induction. 61
  62. 62. • Low levels of activation of an excitatory pathway can produce what is known as long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission in many areas of the brain. Hebbian LTD is induced by a minimum level of postsynaptic depolarization and simultaneous increase in the intracellular calcium concentration at the postsynaptic neuron. Alternatively, LTD can be initiated at inactive synapses if the calcium concentration is raised to the minimum required level by heterosynaptic activation, or if the extracellular concentration is raised. These alternative conditions capable of causing LTD differ from the Hebbian rule, and instead depend on modulated as opposed to potentiated activity. 62
  63. 63. • There are two basic mechanizations of long- term depression: 1) homosynaptic LTD, which is directly input-specific, and 2) heterosynaptic LTD, which results from a modulated rather than potentiated effect. • In homosynaptic LTD the activity in an individual neuron alters the efficiency of the synaptic connection between that neuron (the presynaptic neuron) and its target (the postsynaptic neuron) where the synaptic connection is typically weakened as a result of a low frequency of potentiation or an extended period of no potentiation in the presynaptic neuron. 63
  64. 64. • In heterosynaptic LTD the activity of a particular neuron (a modulatory neuron or interneuron) results in changes in the strength of the synaptic connection between another pair of neurons through the release of neuromodulators that effect the efficacy of the synapse of the other pair of neurons. The weakening of the synaptic connection between the other pair of neurons is independent of the activity of the presynaptic or postsynaptic neuron of the pair. This type of LTD is referred to as a process of modulatory input-dependent plasticity. 64
  65. 65. • Neuromodulators (in particular, serotonin and dopamine) differ from classical neurotransmitters. Typically, neuromodulators do not directly generate electrical responses in target neurons. Rather, the release of neuromodulators often alters the efficacy of neurotransmission in nearby chemical synapses. Furthermore, the impact of neuromodulators is often quite long lasting in comparison to classical neurotransmitters. 65
  66. 66. 66 A. B. C. A to B = homosynaptic response, but in changing the synaptic strength between C and B, the stimulation at A also results in a modulated heterosynaptic response between C and B.
  67. 67. 67 A distinct type of heterosynaptic plasticity is modulatory input- dependent plasticity.
  68. 68. • LTD is an important process that features in selectively weakening specific synapses in order to make constructive use of the selective strengthening process of LTP. This is necessary for two vital reasons. • In the first, if synapses were allowed to continue increasing in strength and all synapses reached maximum strength with no mechanism for reducing synaptic strength, no new information could be encoded, since synaptic strength modulation is an indispensable element in the process by which new experience and new learning are registered in the brain. 68
  69. 69. • In the second, if all synapses were permanent, regardless of lack of efficiency or use, not only would the number of synapses reach a ceiling level very early in a person’s life, preventing the generation of any new neuronal connections, but also neurocircuit efficiency would be highly compromised by a diffusion of synaptic noise created by the extraneous or irrelevant synapses that, through inactivity resulting from the changing circumstances of life, lost their usefulness in a specific neuronal connection. 69
  70. 70. • What this means is that, for a person to continue to perceive and assimilate new experiences throughout the person’s life when the actual number of synapses are kept at a relatively stable count (with perhaps some natural reduction) throughout adult life (at a maximum estimate of 500 trillion), superfluous synapses are eliminated both to prevent neurocircuit noise and to make room for new synaptic connections in recognition of, and reaction to, ongoing new environmental stimuli and the continuing experiences of life and learning, as the generation of new synapses (both in increasing the connective strength between a pair of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons, and in the construction of new interconnections of neuronal circuits) is an essential component of the process by which new experience and new learning are registered in the brain. 70
  71. 71. • One of the essential components of the critical synaptic elimination process is synaptic pruning by microglial cells in conjunction with the mechanism of long-term depression that weakens the less used, redundant and ineffectual synapses and marks the ineffective synapses for elimination through the macrophagic action of microglia in response to the constant monitoring of the condition of synaptic connections. Synapses that have been weakened by the process of LTD are sensed by the monitoring microglial cells and are engulfed and digested by the microglia. 71
  72. 72. • Another mechanism providing regulatory synaptic pruning in the brain constituting the life-long learning process has been referred to as small-scale axon terminal arbor pruning, reflecting the position that synaptic pruning is basically a mechanism of disengagement of axon terminals from synaptic connections, which may include the processes of axon degeneration, axon shedding or axon retraction; however the particular molecular process remains unclear with a number of new studies implicating, as previously described, phagocytosis by microglial cells as an integral process of both developmental and ongoing homeostatic synaptic pruning in the brain (Tremblay et al. 2011; Paolicelli et al. 2011: Yong 2014; Wake et al. 2013; Hughes 2012; Ji et al. 2013). Hughes V (2012). Microglia: The constant gardeners. Nature 485(7400): 570-2. Ji K, Miyauchi J & Tsrika SE (2013). Microglia: An active player in the regulation of synaptic activity. Neural Plasticity 2013. Article ID 627325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/627325. Paolicelli RC, Bolasco G, Pagani F, Maggi L, Scianni M, Panzanelli P, Giustetto M, Ferriera TA, Guiducci E, Dumas L, Ragozzino D & Gross CT (2011). Synaptic pruning by microglia is necessary for normal brain development. Science 333(6048): 1456-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1202529. Tremblay M-È, Stevens B, Sierra A, Wake H, Bessis A & Nimmerjahn A (2011). The role of microglia in the healthy brain. Journal of Neuroscience 31(45): 16064-69. Wake H, Moorhouse AJ, Miyamoto A & Nabekura J (2013). Microglia: Actively surveying and shaping neuronal circuit structure and function. Trends in Neuroscience 36(4): 209-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2012.11.007. Yong E (2014). Pruning synapses improves brain connections. The Scientist. www.the- scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/39055/title/Pruning-Synapses-Improves-Brain-Connections/. 72
  73. 73. • Synaptic pruning in brain development has also been attributed to two main mechanisms, synapse disassembly and process elimination. – Synapse disassembly has been defined as an extremely dynamic process of the removal of only a small subpopulation of synaptic connections that is to large degree common throughout the developing nervous system. In synapse disassembly synapses relatively stronger than neighboring competing synapses that input to an identical target seem to diminish in size and shift position to usurp that of the competitive input, the stronger synapse maintaining its innervation of the target with the weaker input both disassembling its synapse and withdrawing its short arbors. 73
  74. 74. – Process elimination is a phenomenon that occurs in the regressive stages of development and consists of both the small-scale pruning of dendrites in the neocortex, and the large-scale pruning of long axon collaterals of layer V cortical projections that can reach millimeters in length. It has been suggested that developmental process elimination can involve a number of different cellular mechanisms ranging from retraction to degeneration with considerable variability across the different regions of the nervous system. 74
  75. 75. • In addition to all the various mechanisms of synaptic pruning discussed above, it has also been determined that astrocytes play an indispensable role, not only in synaptic pruning in the brain but also in synaptogenesis and LTP (see for example Ota, Zanetta & Hallock 2015; Chung et al. 2013, Tasdemir-Yalmaz & Freeman 2015, Clarke & Barres 2013), and are therefore critical to synaptic strength modulation in the brain. Chung WS, Clarke LE, Wang GX, Stafford BK, Sher A, Chakraborty C, Joung J, Foo LC, Thompson A, Chen C, Smith SJ & Barres BA (2013). Astrocytes mediate synapse elimination through MEGF10 and MERTK pathways. Nature 504(7480): 394-400. doi: 10.1038/nature12776. Clarke LE & Barres BA (2013). Emerging roles of astrocytes in neural circuit development. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 14(5): 311-21. doi: 10.1038/nrn3484. Ota Y, Zanetta AT & Hallock RM (2013). The role of astrocytes in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Neural Plasticity 2013. Article ID 185463. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/185463. Tasdemir-Yalmaz OE & Freeman MR (2015). Astrocytes engage unique molecular programs to engulf pruned neuronal debris from distinct subsets of neurons. Genes and Development 28(1): 20-33. doi:10.1101/gad.229518.113. 75
  76. 76. • In all the previous discussion of synaptic strength modulation in the brain and latterly synaptic pruning in regulating relative neuronal connective strength, we have considered the chemical synapse exclusively; however, recent studies have identified that a different type of synapse in the brain, the electrical synapse, plays a pivotal role in modulating neuronal activation readiness and firing strength. 76
  77. 77. 77 Structure and function of gap junctions at electrical synapses. Gap junctions consist of hexameric complexes formed by the coming together of subunits called connexons, which are present in both the pre- and postsynaptic membranes. The pores of the channels connect to one another, creating electrical continuity between the two cells. Electrical Synapse
  78. 78. 78 At electrical synapses, gap junctions between pre- and postsynaptic membranes permit current to flow passively through intercellular channels. This current flow changes the postsynaptic membrane potential, initiating (or in some instances inhibiting) the generation of postsynaptic action potentials.
  79. 79. • Studies have shown that not only do chemical synapses modulate electrical synapses (see for example Smith & Pereda 2003) but that electrical synapses are critical for chemical synapse function (see for example Lieff 2014) and are subject to both long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) like chemical synapses (see for example Haas, Zavala & Landisman 2011; and Wang, Neely & Landisman 2015) that effect the excitability of the postsynaptic neuron. Haas JS, Zavala B & Landisman CE (2011). Activity-dependent long-term depression of electrical synapses. Science 334(6054): 389–93. doi: 10.1126/science.1207502. Lieff J (2014). Electrical synapses are critical for chemical synapse function. jonlieffmd.com/blog/electrical-synapses-are-critical-for-chemical-synapse- function#comment-1565109975. Smith M & Pereda AE (2003). Chemical synaptic activity modulates nearby electrical synapses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(8): 4849-54. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0734299100. Wang Z, Neely R & Landisman CE (2015). Activation of group I and group II metabotropic glutamate receptors causes LTD and LTP of electrical synapses in the rat thalamic reticular nucleus. Journal of Neuroscience 35(19): 7616-25. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3688-14.2015. 79
  80. 80. • It has been estimated that a single neuron in the human brain can have up to 20,000 synapses (one type of neuron, the Purkinje cell in the cerebellum, may have as many as 170-200 thousand synapses as determined in rat studies – see for example Napper and Harvey 1988) and that there are typically somewhere on the order of 86 billion neurons in the adult human brain, with the maximum number of synapses in the adult human brain estimated at between 150-500 trillion. With the interminable complexity of incalculable combinations and permutations of all the interactions of synaptogenesis, synaptic pruning, LTP/LTD, synaptic scaling, chemical and electrical synapse reciprocal interplay, and the multitudinous synaptic input and output of a single neuron in interconnection with a vast array of other neurons, it is clear that patterns of neuronal interconnections in the human brain are practically infinite, constantly changing, and that each macrostructural change is the mechanism of neurophysiological representation of the perception and internalization of an element of a new experience, thought, or memory, all the elements associated with each experience interlinked by specific patterns of neuronal interconnectivity constituting the process of apperception expressed through the ceaseless neuroplasticity of the human brain. Napper RMA & Harvey RJ (1988). Number of parallel fiber synapses on an individual Purkinje cell in the cerebellum of the rat. Journal of Comparative Neurology 274(2): 168-77. Published online 9 Oct. 2004: doi: 10.1002/cne.902740204. 80
  81. 81. • However vast the above estimated numbers of synaptic connections in the brain, they may pale in magnitude to the true complexity of the brain’s interconnections. A new study has discovered synaptic connectivity never before seen. Introducing innovative 3D color-coded brain imaging at nanoscale resolution using a new automated tape-based serial electron microscopy technique, the study provided a detailed analysis of the connectivity between excitatory axons and spines in a mouse’s brain which suggests that axons are more likely to innervate multiple spines of the same dendrite than expected by chance encounters based on overlap, revealing that the complexity of the brain is much more than what had ever been imagined (Kasthuri et al. 2015). In the study the researchers found that the sheer magnitude of neuronal connections that make up the brain imposed a huge challenge – one that made the authors question whether the finished product (i.e., their new imaging technique) even justified its use, concluding that their effort “lays bare the magnitude of the problem confronting neuroscientists who seek to understand the brain.” Noting that the degree of almost incomprehensible complexity they discovered was observed in a mouse’s brain and considering that a human brain has far more neuronal complexity, the resistance of the human brain to revealing its deep secrets is clearly demonstrated in its almost-impossible-to-understand, and, perhaps, truly-impossible-to- understand intricacies. Kasthuri N, Hayworth KJ, Berger DR, Schalek RL, Conchello JA, Knowles-Barley S, Lee D, Vázquez- Reina A, Kaynig V, Jones TR, Roberts M, Morgan JL, Tapia JC, Seung HS, Roncal WG, Vogelstein JT, Burns R, Sussman DL, Priebe CE, Pfister H & Lichtman JW (2015). Saturated reconstruction of a volume of neocortex. Cell 162(3):648-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.054. 81
  82. 82. • Although many of the details of the molecular mechanisms involved in the macrostructural processes of synaptic strength modulation including synaptic pruning and other macrostructural processes that contribute to neuroplasticity in the human brain remain unclear, as do the details of the ways in which those processes interact with each other, and whether or not the incredible complexity of the human brain will remain forever impenetrable, one thing is clear; that the principal macrostructural mechanisms involved in the neuroplasticity of the human brain directly affected by learning and experience are sufficiently understood to 1) shape positive, self- actualizing behavior, 2) intervene in and enable recovery from cognitive and behavioral disorder, and 3) effectuate positive learning realization. 82
  83. 83. • At the gross macrostructural level of the human brain, neuroplasticity is predominantly a function of synaptic strength modulation through synaptic blooming and pruning by the interaction of LTP and LTD. Through LTP, and LTD, selected synapses are persistently strengthened, or weakened, respectively, based on neurocircuit activity. A persistent weakening leads to the elimination of the synapse by the triggering of synaptic pruning. Synapse elimination (pruning) allows the formation of new synapses with no superfluous synapses, maintaining homeostasis (a relatively stable synaptic count) and finely tuned neurocircuit integrity.83
  84. 84. • A strengthened synapse provides a long- lasting, efficient connection between a pair of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons for tightly-coupled neurocircuit integration necessary for deep internalization of an experience and the formation of well-defined cognitive constructs enabling comprehensive understanding and long-lasting learning. 84
  85. 85. • By both changing relative synaptic strength through the selective strengthening and weakening of synapses, which produces different neurocircuit interactions, and by the elimination of weakened synapses through the triggering of synaptic pruning, enabling synaptogenesis and the variability of the number of synapses innervating a specific neuronal connection as well as the formation of new neuronal connections, the interaction of LTP and LTD is the principal mechanism for changing the patterns of neuronal interconnections in the human brain. 85
  86. 86. • This ceaseless changing of patterns of neuronal interconnections in the human brain is defined as neuroplasticity and represents the constant reaction, impression and internalization of discrete experiences of an individual throughout every moment of the individual’s life. Neuroplasticity through the interaction of LTP and LTD is the mechanism of knowing about and understanding the world around us and by which all learning occurs. 86
  87. 87. • Every single change (no matter how minute) in the gross macrostructural pattern of neuronal interconnections in the brain represents the perception, impression and internalization of an element or elements of a new experience – something newly learned, newly understood, an idea newly formed or reformed or seen from a different perspective, new information added to what was already known or a whole way of thinking abandoned from a new insight. Every experience is a new experience no matter how many times the same sound has been heard, the same sight seen, the same vista of the backyard revisited, each time it is a new experience transformed by all the minute experiences and subtle changes of perception and new associations acquired since the last moment the vista or sound was experienced. 87
  88. 88. • Every thought or contemplation is a new experience represented by a change in the pattern of interconnections in the brain. Every human experience is represented by a unique pattern of neuronal interconnections in the brain. Every experience is a learning experience by which some understanding is arrived at through interpretation of the experience, but in the effort to interpret one’s experiences misinterpretation can arise, leading to misunderstanding which may lead to behavioral and cognitive impairment. 88
  89. 89. • Although there are non-Hebbian as well as Hebbian types of LTP and LTD, both LTP and LTD basically operate on the Hebbian principle of “neurons that fire together wire together;” that is, the “use it or lose it” principle, which means that persistent reverberatory action in the repeated firing of a presynaptic neuron in the firing of a postsynaptic neuron bonds the pre- and postsynaptic neurons together in a tightly- coupled, strong communication channel; whereas infrequency or lack of reverberatory action between a pre- and postsynaptic neuron weakens the bond between them, reducing the efficiency for communication across that neuron pair, with continuing weakening leading to the elimination of the synaptic connection between them. 89
  90. 90. • In achieving positive-directed learning and behavioral outcomes, this “use it or lose it” phenomena can be stimulated in individuals to simultaneously induce coherent, affirmative learning and behavior and eliminate negative or faulty learning and ineffectual or self-detrimental behavior, and, through positive- directed learning with intact neuroplasticity, restore cognitive potency across a broad range of conditions of cognitive impairment. The key to effecting positive- directed learning, self-actualizing behavior and effective cognitive functioning is the enriched environment which stimulates LTP in positive learning experiences, simultaneously stimulating LTD in weakening and eliminating the patterns of neuronal interconnections constituting negative cognitive constructs of detrimental behavior and impaired cognitive coherency. 90
  91. 91. • The enriched environment contains strong, affirmative, stimulating, deep, constantly reinforced learning experiences that trigger persistent reverbatory action in neuronal connections, and through such continually reinforced action effecting a change of thought patterns, weakens the reverbatory action of neuronal interconnections representing previous faulty learning and the attendant ineffectual or detrimental cognitive constructs through lack of excitatory action as excitatory action is dominated by the affirmative learning and newly configured thought patterns constantly reinforced by the positive-directed learning. 91
  92. 92. Neuroplasticity, Apperception and Memory • Neurophysiologically the internalization of new experience through apperception is the process of variable enhancement and reduction of the strength of existing neuronal connections by which new patterns of connectivity are formed. Conversely, the conscious recall of particular experiences and the subliminal access to the aggregate of past experience that occurs in apperception through which new experience is mediated and interpreted, are manifested through the activation of the patterns of neuronal circuit interconnections generated in the internalization of those experiences as modified by any new experience and learning. 92
  93. 93. • From this understanding we can clearly equate learning, cognition, understanding, knowledge and memory as indistinguishable, inextricable components of the mechanism of apperception – apperception, learning, understanding, cognition, knowledge, and memory simply interchangeable terms for the same process – each thought, idea, feeling, memory, etc., simply a unique pattern of neuronal interconnectivity. • For example, memory is not simply the recall of the recording of details of stimuli, phenomena or events experienced, but the recall of the internalization of that experience in accordance with preexisting cognitive schemata that interpret the experience and ascribe an emotive impression to the experience, selectively emphasizing some details and de-emphasizing others. 93
  94. 94. • The process of remembering is not just a question of first making an accurate record in the mind of the information we receive or the events we experience and then simply recalling the experience or event, but the fitting of the new information or new experiences into the knowledge and understanding of the world already stored in the interconnected neuronal networks of the brain, creating a new narrative that makes sense of the new information in conjunction with what we already know and the perceptions that we have formed about the world (i.e., a modification of the interconnected neuronal networks in the brain creating a new, unique pattern of interconnections). 94
  95. 95. • Recording an event, information, experience, etc., as a memory, is not simply recording a full representation of everything connected with the experience and all the sensory information that we have seen, heard, felt, and/or smelled or tasted and how we may have acted in any particular experience, but only those aspects that we have focused on, some details given more emphasis, others less, and still others not noticed or recorded at all, depending upon our emotional state in our understanding or response to the experience and our interest in the experience itself and the details of which it is comprised. We do not record an event per se, but only our impression of it. 95
  96. 96. • All our stored information, the aggregate of all past experience, is changed – enhanced or distorted – modified to some degree by the information of each new experience, at the same time the aggregate of all past experience, that is, the cognitive schemata or residuum of all experience, is always present but not conscious, as consciousness (i.e., articulate awareness) is a manifestation of intention or directedness towards something, a deliberate recall of specific data, events, interactions with specific people, etc., therefore, the vast proportion of our cognitive schemata remains subliminal, operating below conscious (articulately aware) recognition, but always active and shaping our thoughts, emotions, intentions, motivations, etc. 96
  97. 97. • Individual consciousness therefore may be defined as a selective, directed access of discrete components within the multilevel continuum of the sum total of the cognitive schemata of the mind in the reaction to and interaction with sensory and extrasensory stimuli as shaped by internal phenomena (i.e., what we have learned and how we have learned it through our experience – how one learns determines what one learns and what one learns determines how one behaves). Consciousness then is an intentional, constantly varying manifestation of learning formed from, and directed by, the sum total of cognitive schemata derived through apperception. 97
  98. 98. • The innumerable internal and external sensory inputs or experiences that are ceaselessly being processed into patterns of information by the brain to form impressions and build associational constructs, mental images and schemas and personal knowledge databases, are so vast and complex, that they would swamp and totally overwhelm the articulately aware or conscious mind. If such interminably complex and intertwining substratum activities were conscious, all attention would be totally absorbed in analyzing how each and every stimulus is related to every other stimulus and how such relationships are processed and internalized — and we would starve to death dwelling on the sensations and impressions of being hungry rather than forming a broad perception of the world that would enable our interaction with that world to obtain the nourishment needed to sustain life. The vast proportion of human functioning and understanding then is subliminal and inaccessible to articulate awareness or “consciousness.” 98
  99. 99. • Individual worldview, and indeed, personality itself, is based on our own unique disposition of genotype – the mechanisms of the sense organs for vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste and other intricate physiological functioning including neuronal activity and all other physical and biological properties that affect to what extent we are able to perceive various stimuli – and how such stimuli are processed and internalized into levels of awareness and intellectual proclivities; that, together, make each of us unique in our abilities, motivations, desires, styles of communication, emotional responsiveness, etc. Our essence is composed of phenotype-worldview-personality with a constant interaction with our internal and external environment in an ongoing dynamic at a substratum below the level of articulate awareness that, accumulatively, modifies or remolds our phenotype- worldview-personality. 99
  100. 100. • Cognition, composed of innumerable cognitive constructs which in turn are composed of innumerable highly subtle, complex, dynamic interactions beyond the power of the mind to intelligibly connect in any holistic conscious configuration (that is, in its entirety, is beyond directly accessible articulate awareness), is experienced by articulate awareness only in inner-cognitive- driven selective “chunks” of limited directedness, which we refer to as “consciousness.” 100
  101. 101. • Even these “chunks” of directedness, or consciousness, are experienced only as highly confined, thin, surface concretizations or conceptualizations, whereby the overwhelming extent of the vast complex of the underlying cognitive schemata driving the direction of attention of articulate awareness, beyond vocabulary and articulation to discriminate in all its complexities and intricate subtleties and paradoxes of feelings and impressions, remains elusive to the scrutiny and understanding of the individual. 101
  102. 102. • Cognition: Defined herein as the unique patterns of connections, associations, relationships and reasoning by which the individual recognizes, categorizes and internalizes the constituents of her or his environment and forms a self identity. Cognition constitutes the processes by which the individual applies meaning to all that she or he senses and feels from her or his environment and internally constructs within her or his mind, and the schemata derived therefrom. Cognition is a predominantly subliminal process experienced in articulate awareness only in fleeting, ever-changing surface “chunks” of consciousness. • Mind: Defined herein as the consolidation of cognition; the unique collective sets of cognitive constructs and the interrelationships thereof (i.e., the individual’s unique cognitive schemata) and the behavioral effects of that cognitive schemata. The mind is an abstraction of the effects of the collective sum of all the interlocked mechanisms of the neurophysiological actions of the patterns of neurocircuit interconnections in the brain. Like cognition, the mind is a predominantly subliminal quality experienced in articulate awareness only in fleeting, ever-changing surface “chunks” of consciousness. 102
  103. 103. • Behavior: Defined herein as the expression of the mind in interaction with self and the external environment. • Consciousness: Defined herein as an ever- changing moment-to-moment peak of articulate awareness into a narrow window of a minute portion of the surface of the total configuration of experiences, impressions and intentions unique to each individual as encoded in the cognitive schemata of the mind. • Subliminal: The state of cognitive functioning that both generates and consists of the cognitive schemata and remains below the threshold of articulate awareness, that though directs conscious behavior, is not accessible to consciousness. 103
  104. 104. • From these definitions, the terms cognitive schemata, cognition, mind and behavior are all part of what is fundamentally a single phenomenon, the terms simply referring to slightly different perspectives and/or manifestations of that phenomenon, with “consciousness” or articulate awareness a limited condition of this phenomenon. Additionally, we can understand a cognitive construct as simply any single set of conceptual components formed from various experiences and undergoing constant transformation in interaction with each of the different accumulative cognitive constructs continually formed from different experiences, that collectively constitute the cognitive schemata. 104
  105. 105. Social Integration, Cognition and Behavior • Through the process of evolution, by which the human brain developed as a social brain, whereby all learning and behavior is constructed within the ongoing mechanism of socialization and all experience and understanding is internalized in a social context, behavior is a product of, and response to, social integration or lack thereof. All psychological problems, i.e., all behavioral or cognitive problems, may then be said to present as social integration problems – and since socialization and human behavior are learned and not prewired, all behavioral or cognitive problems (exclusive of pathological processes of organ dysfunction) are, in effect, learning problems. 105
  106. 106. • Succinctly, since behavior is the expression of the mind in interaction with self and the external environment, and the mind is the consolidation of cognition, any outward (i.e., observable within a social context) behavioral problem is in fact a cognitive problem and vice versa, the two terms are completely interchangeable and translate into a problem of social integration, which in turn translates into a problem of learning. Learning is the process by which social integration is achieved, and social integration defines the extent to which cognition and behavior are effectively adjusted for positive interaction with one’s environment. 106
  107. 107. Social Integration Problems • Social integration problems are divided into two distinct types: 1) degradation of cognitive resources, and 2) faulty learning or distorted cognitive schemata. • Degradation of cognitive resources constitutes an impairment of core cognitive capacity which may be manifested in one or more of the basic categories of observable gross behavior that include attention, memory, problem solving and social sense, whereby the dysfunction in any one or in various combinations of two or more of these categories undermines the ability to logically assess and socially interact appropriately to the social context. 107
  108. 108. • The categories of so-called observable gross behavior, consisting of “attention,” “memory,” “problem solving” and “social sense,” are useful and necessary for understanding different abilities that may be observed in individuals and in addressing cognitive deficits that may be presented within any one or more of those behavioral domains; however, such behavioral domains are hypothetical constructs distinguished by the context in which the behavior is observed in accordance with the modal conventions of culture, society and community and the prevailing definitions of particular human actions and responses. We do not know what is really in the individual’s mind and what is behind the behavior that we think we see, assume and interpret. It could be that an individual’s seeming inattention is a natural response to the distraction of a profound and continuing grief at the loss of a loved one and has nothing to do with any real degradation of cognitive resources but a normal situational response to a shattering experience that requires time to heal, or the result of a preoccupation with the unique opportunity of a new business venture that requires very careful planning and precise implementation for success, distracting attention away from other concerns. 108
  109. 109. • All observed gross behavior is a result of interminably complex cognitive processing that directs particular interactions with self and the environment based on life history, personality, life plan, and reaction in accordance with the perceived effect of, or social opportunity presented in, each situation. Cognition is an inherently interactive process, forming cognitive constructs from the associations and perceived relationships of the stimuli constituting a particular experience and extrapolating situation-dependent conceptualizations in the interplay among the accumulative, constantly modified cognitive constructs continually formed from every experience. Cognition cannot be divided into distinct components or types of behavioral outcomes, as it is a mechanism of massively complex, continuous interaction. Therefore, observed gross behavior, a product of cognition, is driven by a complex interaction of cognitive constructs that cannot be defined by simplistic, shallow categories. Every behavioral outcome is the expression of a unique cognitive interplay. What may appear, or assumed, on the surface, to be similar actions, are actually expressions of what may be entirely different and even incompatible cognitive constructions, conceptualizations or personal meanings. 109
  110. 110. • Observable gross behavior (that is, what we think we see in another’s actions or responses as defined by sociocultural “norms”) are simple, surface manifestations of cognition, a facility that is indivisible into discrete components as all aspects of cognition are integrated, inextricable elements of any aspect of cognition. • Such observable actions of attention, memory, problem solving and social sense are merely constructs of each other, the interpreted manifestations of the unified process of basic cognition – a neurophysiological construction of highly integrated interconnectivity of neuronal circuits that span the entire brain and react to all stimuli (external and internal; i.e., apperception, including the new cognitive orientation formed from the internal reconfiguration of conceptual frameworks) by the modification of synaptic connections – but by no means do such observed actions convey the intertwining conceptual frameworks which initiated them. • While observable gross behavior consists of socioculturally defined hypothetical constructs that are blind to the underlying cognitive formulations that drive the behavior, unique to each individual and each self-perceived situation of the individual, the observed repetition of apparent difficulties in attention, memory, problem solving and/or social sense in different tasks and contexts are important in discovering and diagnosing a deficit in cognitive functioning impeding the individual’s ability to interact effectively with her or his environment. 110
  111. 111. • Faulty learning or distorted cognitive schemata refers to problematic thinking and behavior that disturbs an individual’s self- fulfillment in the effective conception and negotiation of her or his environment in the establishment and achievement of appropriate individual goals and in meeting social responsibilities, regardless of the state of her or his cognitive resources. • The degradation of cognitive resources and faulty learning are not mutually exclusive and an individual with a social integration problem can have both conditions to lesser or greater degree. 111
  112. 112. • Generally, those that exhibit a degradation of core cognitive resources will also have faulty (usually underdeveloped) cognitive schemata; whereas many individuals with faulty or distorted cognitive schemata may have fully functional and vibrant cognitive resources, but prolonged presentation of distorted cognitive schemata or extreme distortion of cognitive schemata often leads to a degradation of core cognitive resources. 112
  113. 113. Social Integration, Learning and the Enriched Environment • All operant behavior, including social integration, is learned. • All learning takes place in a social context and all positive, lasting learning takes place in an “enriched” environment (or, in negative learning, in an impoverished environment – “impoverished” referring to a lack of sufficient positive stimuli or experiences, including lack of social interaction and lack of, or inappropriate, social or interpersonal bonding). • An enriched environment is one that has constancy, maintains a bonding group dynamic, provides challenging but not overambitious eclectic learning experiences and is positive, reinforcing, stimulating, rewarding, encouraging, supportive, and full of possibilities. 113
  114. 114. • As new thought patterns and cognitive constructs emerge from engaged, affirmative, self-fulfilling learning experiences within the enriched environment, both the depth and breadth of the individual’s cognitive core is exercised, strengthened and continually expanded through the introduction of new ideas, ways of thinking, frameworks of knowledge and understanding that open up ever-multiplying doors of possibilities. The richness of experience of bonding with and developing respect for and appreciation of others and the joy of belonging and acceptance in group identity and sharing discovery and feelings opens up the individual’s self-conceptualization and the possibilities of being. Learning becomes easier, and the challenges of learning fun, eagerly awaited, new adventures in the absorbing mystery of life and the universe. 114
  115. 115. • The constancy of the socially infused, deeply engaged learning experiences within the enriched environment and the numerous reexamination of concepts and facts through the exercise of the consideration of many different points of view within widely ranging eclectic subject matter and topics within a subject and highly imaginative “what if” scenarios within each topic, the presynaptic and postsynaptic connection between neuron pairs comprising the pattern of neuronal interconnections representing a concept or facts and its associations are repeatedly and persistently activated triggering LTP for durable and efficacious synaptic interconnectivity and long-lived internalization of concepts and facts and the development of powerful, highly comprehensive and penetrating cognitive formulations composed of wide and deep associations. 115
  116. 116. • The cognitive constructs formed from the new learning within the enriched environment are continually strengthened by LTP and become dominant cognitive constructs undermining the relevance of old, detrimental or negative cognitive constructs, whereby the presynaptic and postsynaptic connection between neuron pairs comprising the pattern of neuronal interconnections representing a negative cognitive construct are less activated as the negative cognitive construct more and more fades from ongoing thought patterns, triggering LTD that weakens and finally triggers the elimination of the synaptic connection between the neuron pairs comprising the pattern of neuronal interconnections representing the negative cognitive construct, entirely purging the negative cognitive construct. 116
  117. 117. Psychopathology: What is a “Psychological Problem” or “Behavioral Disorder?” • A psychological problem or behavioral disorder is defined as a significant recurring departure from the established expectations of perception-response in social encounters within the prevailing milieu of one’s society such that the ability to achieve self-actualizing, positive, sustainable, realistic life goals is inhibited. • Such a departure is also defined as a cognitive deficit since it represents impaired cognitive schemata that go against or are counter to the “common sense” of the internalized age-appropriate socialization of behavioral “norms” instilled through the fundamental operational mechanisms of the social brain. 117
  118. 118. • This departure from the common sense “norm” (i.e., impaired social integration) may be due to either 1) impoverished or faulty learning (a disruptive or aberrant socialization process resulting in distorted cognitive schemata) or 2) a basic degradation of neurocognitive resources (constituting the fundamental core cognitive capacities, such as the ability to recognize or understand common social cues, the ability to apply logical reasoning to different situations or the ability to interpret symbolic relationships in acquiring basic language skills, etc.), or both. 118
  119. 119. • Social integration may be defined as the ability to assess and react appropriately to the social cues constituting a specific social context and the ability to form a realistic, practical, sustainable, positive life plan consistent with the mores and values of one’s overarching culture and society. • Social cues consist of: 1) the unspoken rules and decorum of a specific social context (i.e., the roles, expectations, and style and content of discourse tacitly agreed to by the discourse participants as an inherent structure of the group dynamic or formal social etiquette, or in response to the personality and situation of the other in a dyadic encounter); and 2) cognizance of a) the individual steps in achieving the goals of one’s realistic, practical, sustainable, positive life plan; b) the relevance of the particular social encounter to those steps; and c) a consideration of the most effective means in furthering one’s life goals through the particular social encounter. 119
  120. 120. • Social cues may be understood then as consisting of two major components: 1) the clues that reveal the rules and expectations of one’s behavior from the perspectives of the other(s) in a given social context; and 2) the clues that reveal how the social encounter is relevant to one’s own perspective relative to one’s life goals, and the behavior one should adopt in the encounter to achieve those goals. • In the latter, even though the perspective reflects highly personal goals, those goals are socially based, referring to what one wants to get out of life, i.e., one’s self-defined position or role of interaction in society, and therefore constitutes an essential component of social cues. The social relevance of any encounter is equally dependent on both one’s own perspective in the larger context of life goals and in one’s immediate situation, and, on the perspective of the larger context and immediate situation of those one is interacting with. 120
  121. 121. Common Sense • Social integration is the principal organizing framework of the social brain through which experience is codified, and is therefore the defining component of human behavior. • Social integration may be likened to what in the vernacular is termed “common sense:” an inherent complex of cognitive processes that seamlessly interact in the perception of our world and our place in it as learned and formulated through the mechanism of socialization. 121
  122. 122. • Common sense may be understood as the inherent ability to recognize the relationships and behavioral cues presented by different social situations and to react (consistent with a positive and realistic life plan) appropriately to the perspective(s) of the particular individual or individuals with whom one is socially interacting by intuitively (automatically) homing in on the common knowledge, culture, and common expectations of one’s environment, society or community as ingrained through the process of socialization. 122
  123. 123. Social Integration, the Group Dynamic and Cognitive Neuroeducation (CNE) • Humankind has been evolutionarily directed to live in a social environment, with a principal tendency toward sophisticated social structures consisting of societies composed of a hierarchy of overlapping nested groups, each constituting specific cultural and social norms under the umbrella of the general cultural and social norms of the encapsulating society. 123
  124. 124. • The well-being and quality of life of the individual depends on the cognitive skills to effectively negotiate social interaction in meeting the demands of the individual’s social environment. • Beyond pure social adaptation, the human being is a psychologically complex being that neurotypically requires different levels of interaction with other human beings to meet basic psychological needs. 124
  125. 125. • We are defined as individuals, as unique personalities, by the psychological needs unique to each individual, and the unique manner by which each individual interacts with society (that is, with other human beings within culturally and socially determined rules and norms) to meet those needs. • We are social animals and the way we learn, and consequently, what we learn and how we interact socially, defines who we are as unique individuals, that is, who each of us is as a distinct person that is distinguished from every other person now living, that ever lived, or ever will live. 125
  126. 126. • Our personality, our uniqueness as an individual, is manifested through social consciousness; i.e., social integration. • Social integration has been referred to as “social intelligence,” and defined as the practical, tacit or crystallized intelligence that enables ordinary individuals to achieve and maintain rewarding relationships and to secure meaningful life goals. It underlies what is popularly referred to as “common sense.” 126
  127. 127. • The regulation of affect is pivotal to the formation and maintenance of social relationships. Affect not only informs and directs reasoning, but may also block it. With this understanding, “emotional intelligence” has now been recognized as an integral component of social integration. 127
  128. 128. • The rules and expected conduct in social relations are differentially defined through a hierarchy of social groupings, from family, dyad, workplace, ethnic and religious circles, and professional, educational, recreational and special-interest clubs, associations, organizations and institutions; to community, city, district, nation, society, culture and civilization. • Although normatively conforming to the general rules and behavioral expectations of the larger umbrellas of civilization, culture, society, nation, district, city and community, social relations are actually experienced more directly, intensely, consistently and personally in small group settings, as outside of small groups person- to-person encounters are more random, fleeting, and superficial, particularly so in the massed automated anonymity of modern urbanized daily life; hence, social rules and relations are more directly defined and reinforced in interpersonal interactions within the group dynamic in small group settings. 128
  129. 129. • Since social relations are defined by groups, social integration is developed through the individual’s interaction within each distinct group to which the individual belongs, particularly through the formation of a shared understanding regarding common themes. It is the group dynamic in social/learning activities that forms the vehicle by which both social integration and learning is enhanced in CNE with its emphasis on perspective taking. 129
  130. 130. • Perspective taking consists of the ability and custom to go beyond spontaneous, initial surface impressions and apply a thoughtful appraisal and a honed proficiency in recognizing and interpreting social cues that explain another person’s thinking, feeling and behavior from that person’s perception of her or his own situation in a particular social encounter. • Perspective taking involves the development of respect for, understanding of, and empathy with, other individuals by putting oneself in the other person’s place and reflecting how one her/himself would act and feel in that place. 130
  131. 131. • An important component of perspective taking is social context appraisal, the balanced assessment of social contexts and circumstances which account for an individual’s behavior in a particular social encounter. • While the context of the individual is always essential for understanding individual behavior, in the group dynamic social context appraisal transcends individual behavior, extending to the culturally transmitted “norms” of the group. • In the group dynamic, perspective taking must take into account both the personal context and the social context defined by the group “norms” and the individual’s role or position within the group. 131
  132. 132. • Another essential component of perspective taking is affective engagement. It is precisely one’s own emotional state that influences the perception of another’s emotional state and determines the selection and processing of personally relevant social information; either effectively picking out the essential information and its implications within the particular social encounter, or completely missing or distorting that information to one’s own detriment. • An individual’s feelings are a principal determinant of behavior in any social situation, and it is imperative to understand another’s feelings in order to understand that person’s behavior and likely response in any social interaction as a clue to one’s own behavior in a particular social encounter. However, it is impossible to understand the affective state of another unless one’s own affective response is appropriately well harmonized with one’s personal situation relative to the context of any particular experience. In order to correctly understand another’s feelings, one has to consistently experience their own appropriate emotional reactions. A lack of affect can be no less self-destructive and socially disruptive as uncontrolled, inappropriate emotional outbursts. 132
  133. 133. • A major part of perspective taking then, is the realization of the individual’s own emotional capacity by learning to engage experiences deeply through commitment and the full giving of oneself to the experience with introspection, reflection, sharing and attachment. • By putting oneself totally into the experience as an integral part of the experience, the individual learns involvement and concern; and learns to fully relate to the experience and to others – to feel, to empathize and to bond. 133
  134. 134. • Perspective taking, including social context appraisal, appreciation of one’s own and another’s affect, reflection on past interpersonal experiences, and the development of a shared understanding, are the foundation stones of the learning environment implemented within the CNE program. 134
  135. 135. The Group Dynamic and CNE • CNE is essentially a learning program whereby learning is self-defined from within each participant through the experience of group interaction and self-reflection that effectively energizes or restarts the inherent cognitive developmental process of social integration needed to acquire the cognitive competencies that support a personally meaningful and rewarding life. In CNE the participant learns to THINK AND FEEL, as opposed to either simple rote memorization, the accumulation of loosely connected facts, or learning pure MECHANICAL BEHAVIOR. 135
  136. 136. • CNE consists of a learning environment by which social consciousness, learning and self- integration are internalized through 1) instruction, assignments and feedback from observation, discussion and reflection; 2) participation in the group dynamic and its formalized and unsaid rules and expectations; 3) the consideration of the perspective of the other in the group interrelationships; and 4) the naturally evolving bonding and identification with the group and the individual connections forged with its fellow members. 136
  137. 137. • The CNE group structure provides a socializing experience in a nurturing, supportive, reassuring atmosphere in which anxiety and pressure to perform/participate and conform is minimized through a gentle orientation to the group process through participation in entertaining activities that incorporate interactive expression, leading to a growing sense of belonging to, and identifying with, the group and a growing self-confidence in expressing oneself and being socially accepted. 137
  138. 138. • In being included and expected to equally contribute her/his own thoughts and perceptions to every part of the group process as an integral member of the group, each member begins to understand that every member of the group, including her/himself, is critical to the group, without whom the group dynamic is substantively changed. 138
  139. 139. • Any sense of pressure or anxiety of fully participating in the group is gradually eliminated as each member comes to visualize her/himself as part of the working group, and her or his input and participation is not distinct from the group and not judged by it or its rules, but rather an inextricable component of the group, its process and its unique dynamic. The member identifies her/himself as part of the group, her/his self-identity becoming interlinked with the group identity. 139
  140. 140. • Though instructionally based, with guided rules of participation, the learning environment of CNE does not indoctrinate or impose a rigid prescription of social behavior, but sets an example of social decorum through the group-generated “norms” by which sensitivity to, and understanding of, social context, perspective taking and affective engagement takes place, whereby the basic tenets conducive to rich, rewarding social interaction may be gleaned, generalized, modeled and logically applied to the myriad contexts of real-world social encounters. 140
  141. 141. • In the group dynamic the participant practices verbalizing and expressing clear thinking and observes and learns from the other group members who variously perform appropriately or inappropriately in their responses, and successfully execute or struggle in the performance of their roles or assignments. • The group members are praised for their successes and supported and encouraged when struggling. • It is important that every small improvement be noted and applauded as it demonstrates progress, and by continual progress, one small step at a time, the road to successful endeavor becomes clear and the participant gains satisfaction and confidence in her/his accomplishments and learns to realize that through her/his own determined efforts and diligence, the sky’s the limit, that task and subject mastery and the world of opportunity lie open to conquest, awaiting her/his challenge. 141
  142. 142. • The group experience provides a nonthreatening vehicle to acquire and strengthen basic cognitive capacities and social skills essential for the development of effective and rewarding social integration, such as how to make and complete an intelligible statement, how to ask questions or give one’s opinion appropriately and sensitively, how to agree and tactfully, constructively disagree, and how to become an interested, active, attentive, concerned, compassionate and empathetic listener. 142
  143. 143. • All group activities are designed to 1) keep members focused on a task; 2) instruct and reinforce how to communicate and use language in a socially appropriate and relevant manner; 3) instruct and reinforce how to give and receive constructive feedback about how a fellow member performs a designated activity; 4) instruct and reinforce how to best utilize and benefit from group feedback, and 5) instruct and reinforce how to tailor one’s responses to the particular nature or characteristics of a given situation. 143
  144. 144. • Through the group process the participant practices giving support and acting empathetically and understanding someone else’s feelings in different situations (i.e., perspective taking) within the “living theatre” of the group with its different members and their different personalities and problems –– learning through instruction, experiences, interaction, cooperation, teamwork, feedback, discussions and exchanges of opinions, and the freeing up and development of the participant’s own affective responsiveness and thinking though situations and contexts; learning not by strict rules, rote memory or conditioned behavior, but by the natural “incidental” or implicit learning that characterizes the learning acquired by the experiences of living a normal life in the real world within the familiarity, support, security and reinforcement of the group, developing strong, durable cognitive constructs and social values that equip the individual to effectively integrate into and weather and defend against the chaos and pressures of the real world at large. 144
  145. 145. • In the CNE program, all learning and activities are integral to the group dynamic and develop as a group process, with the experiences of the program uniquely internalized by each individual participant, being both simultaneously shared and highly personal, as each individual participant develops her/his own viewpoint of life and understanding of her/himself. 145
  146. 146. The Basics of CNE • CNE is an intrinsic framework that maintains an enriched environment for exercising the social brain in effecting optimum levels of cognition and learning realization in reaching positive, balanced, self-actualizing behavioral outcomes and mastery of academic subjects. 146
  147. 147. • The enriched environment, as previously defined, consists of constancy, the maintenance of a bonding group dynamic, challenging but not overly ambitious eclectic learning experiences and a positive, reinforcing, stimulating, rewarding, encouraging, supportive ambience with a strong infusion of eager anticipation full of possibilities. 147
  148. 148. • A large part of the enriched environment is embodied within the CNE group dynamic. • The CNE group dynamic provides constancy: – Every activity and learning experience is structured through the group dynamic consisting of 1) stable group composition and expectancy, familiarity and a sense of welcoming belonging and congeniality; and 2) group support and the responsibility invested in each member to fully and effectively contribute to interdependent learning from each other while collectively encouraging independent growth through ongoing interactive dialog, constructive feedback and the emphasis on self-challenge. The group dynamic instills the collective sense of “all for one and one for all.” 148
  149. 149. • The CNE group dynamic instills bonding: – Bonding is a natural and desired outcome of an effectively congealed, nurturing group dynamic that evolves from a growing familiarity with the group; the unique input and participation of each member of the group and the expectation thereof; the unique interaction between the group members; the dependence on group feedback; the growing personal identification with the group; the deep satisfaction of sharing and being a part of the learning, growth and development of each of the members of the group and the sense of connection in the members’ efforts and involvement with one’s own growth and development; and the special connection that arises out of the discovery of a deeper compatibility with one or more particular members of the group. 149
  150. 150. • Much of the positive, reinforcing, encouraging and supportive ambiance of the CNE enriched environment is created and maintained by the CNE group dynamic by the following means: – Positive social interaction and behavioral “norms” (i.e., such that are conducive to harmonious and effective group interaction and individual self- actualization), rather than defined as strict rules, become mutually established and expected by all the group members in the engagement of the group process to foster stress-free, courteous, respectful, articulate and content-rich dialog. Through the internalization of these mutual group expectations, each member gleans the protocols and social cues that govern appropriate social behavior; the group interaction both establishing and reinforcing positive and appropriate social behavior and an open, responsive, curious, conscientious mindset. 150
  151. 151. – The CNE group dynamic stresses individual self- expression and full participation in the group as an inextricable member of the group. An evolving identification with the group that parallels a growing self-confidence and sense of importance as an essential component of the group, and the growing sense of responsibility to provide input and constructive feedback to each member’s participation in an activity or execution of an assignment, lead to greater motivation to participate more effectively in both the group process and learning activities of CNE that in turn fosters encouragement of one’s own efforts in encouraging and participating in the growth of the self-actualization of the other members of the group. 151
  152. 152. – Every CNE activity is structured through and evolves around the group dynamic. The CNE group dynamic and every CNE activity is in essence a fluid, ongoing dialog consisting of the inherent components of 1) an assignment connected with a group activity (which may simply be a discussion of the impressions of one’s experience of the activity) that, depending on the type of assignment, is presented to the group at large either individually or in small teams, and 2) a general commentary (i.e., group discussion and dialog) evaluating each presentation of the assignment. • In evaluating the presentations emphasis is placed on the approach to the assignment, the execution of the assignment, the fluidity of teamwork and equality of individual contribution, and the quality of the content and articulation of the points in each presentation. Individual participation in all group activities (including the evaluation of the presentations) is also evaluated. All commentary is evaluated by relevance and helpfulness through the perspicacity and articulation of 1) appropriate praise in the recognition of the strengths of dialog input, especially praise in noted areas of improvement, 2) informative responses, and 3) the distillation of, and constructive tips for, particular areas in need of improvement. 152
  153. 153. • The group dialog provides the avenue for the principal function of group feedback, the key to both group integration and individual growth within the group. It is through feedback that social cues and social expectation are constructively assimilated and that both cognition and social skills are enhanced, and encouragement and support are both given and received. • CNE group feedback is designed to prevent unhelpful, uninformative or impersonal responses such as “he did well.” The goal of CNE group feedback is to directly and personally address each individual and promote more elaborated, articulate commentary providing meaningful and constructive evaluation that stimulates thoughtful, relevant and sensitive discourse. 153
  154. 154. • Rather than an impersonal exercise of criticism or vacuous compliments, CNE group feedback is an exercise in honing 1) true engagement and empathy with each individual of the group and the group as a whole; 2) analytical skills and discernment in picking out fellow members’ strong points, weak points and improvements in the different areas of participation in the group; 3) attentive, engaged listening; 4) articulate, thoughtful response; 5) tactful, constructive and supportive criticism in the helpful consideration of others; and 6) clear thinking and effective communication. By both tactful, constructive criticism of weak points and recognition and praise of improvement, effort and particular excellence, group feedback is both a central mechanism of support, encouragement and motivation within the CNE enriched environment and is a primary tool for promoting essential cognitive capacities, affective involvement, learning realization, language and social skills and positive behavioral orientation. 154
  155. 155. • Participation within the CNE group structure through group commentary and feedback, while establishing and reinforcing group values and rules of interaction, rather than enforcing any conformity of personality, actually is a powerful vehicle of self- discovery and development of individuality. By observing the differences in each individual member of the group and interacting with them; sharing thoughts, opinions and experiences and developing a deeper understanding of each member; one begins to recognize not only the differences between each of the members of the group, but also between each member and oneself; such recognition informing a clearer recognition of one’s own individuality, of who one is, and, in learning to appreciate the different personalities of the group and welcoming each’s individual perspectives and ways of thinking, each’s humor, warmth, and unique contributions to the group, one begins to better understand and appreciate one’s own uniqueness and individuality and a growing sense of self and self-confidence emerges. Since we are social beings with social brains, our personalities are formed from the way each of us uniquely interacts with other people within the commonly agreed rules of social conduct. 155
  • Ramoon

    Jan. 27, 2018

A presentation delivered September 27 to the 2015 NeuroELT Brain Days International Conference, Kyoto, Japan, introducing CNE (Cognitive Neuroeducation), a new, noninvasive, nonpharmacological modality for intervention in cognitive and behavioral disorder with the promise of full recovery therefrom.

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