View Full Version : "The Problem with Neuroscience. . ."


Amtram
09-02-13, 01:21 PM
From The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/the-problem-with-the-neuroscience-backlash.html?printable=true&currentPage=all) (print link no ads) comes a balanced critique based on “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience,” by Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld. Of particular interest, given some of the conversations here, is this paragraph:

But the idea that the mind is separate from the brain no longer makes sense. They are simply different ways of describing the same thing. To talk about the brain is to talk about physiology, neurons, receptors, and neurotransmitters; to talk about the mind is to talk about thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotions, and desires. As an old and elegant phrase puts it, “The mind is what the brain does.”

The author suggests, and I think rightly, that we use different disciplines and the appropriate ones for what we are studying. Neuroscience, as a physiological discipline, is necessary and appropriate for learning about the brain and its function.

ginniebean
09-02-13, 01:36 PM
I don't subscribe the the brain "is" the mind entirely. I aso don't think science can say anything with authority about our interior world of thoughts and emotions. The only authority of my interior experience and world is myself. I have observed and conducted many of my own experiments about my interior self and have found very objective things about myself. These may not apply to others.

I am skeptical ofi scientific pronouncements of authority in domains that can't be studied using the scientific method. Religion, philosophy, art, etc.. defy the scientific method. Many scientists and fans of science denounce what it cannot understand.

What makes 'sense' to a materialist may not make the least bit of sense to someone who investigates the subjective interior world which makes up more than half of our lives.

The backlash against neuroscience is fueled by fear, and it is foolish imo. We'll suffer for it. I prefer to balance science and wisdom, and I think it's something of a lost art.

daveddd
09-02-13, 01:42 PM
this seems to be the stance barkley has in his newest book

not at all a backlash, but a critique of neuroscience taking the "self" out of EFs

which imo was a very important part of the book

there is some neuroscience in mental health that i thought went to far in that manner

but most of the better stuff seems to explain the perceptual roles in mental illness it has

SB_UK
09-02-13, 03:05 PM
science needs researchers who study the mind every bit as much as it needs researchers who study the brain. Our aim should not be to pick the brain over the mind, or vice versa, but to build stronger bridges between our understandings of the two.

Neurological conditions are studied at the level of brain.
Psychological conditions are studied at the level of mind.

The psych- researcher doesn't need the neuro- researcher.
The neuro- researcher doesn't need the psych- researcher.

Sometimes psych- will affect neuro-
Sometimes neuro- will affect psych-

- but the fundamental causal basis to psych- condition is in psych- without need for neuro- and the fundamental causative basis to neuro- condition is in neuro- without need for psych-.

The only reason that neuro- dominates over psych- is that it's so much easier to work with stuff you can prod.

SB_UK
09-02-13, 03:07 PM
I don't subscribe the the brain "is" the mind entirely. I aso don't think science can say anything with authority about our interior world of thoughts and emotions. The only authority of my interior experience and world is myself. I have observed and conducted many of my own experiments about my interior self and have found very objective things about myself. These may not apply to others.

I am skeptical ofi scientific pronouncements of authority in domains that can't be studied using the scientific method. Religion, philosophy, art, etc.. defy the scientific method. Many scientists and fans of science denounce what it cannot understand.

What makes 'sense' to a materialist may not make the least bit of sense to someone who investigates the subjective interior world which makes up more than half of our lives.

The backlash against neuroscience is fueled by fear, and it is foolish imo. We'll suffer for it. I prefer to balance science and wisdom, and I think it's something of a lost art.

Word perfect.

Amtram
09-02-13, 03:39 PM
Ginnie, that's essentially the point the authors of the book were making, and the point the author of the piece was complaining about being misrepresented. The common dismissal of neuroscience being pointed out is that people expect it to explain things that aren't neuroscience. This misunderstanding causes them to both inflate the possibilities of neuroscientific research (making claims that the research itself doesn't even make in the first place) and assert that neuroscience is "wrong" when it doesn't produce the results that it didn't purport to produce in the first place.

The problem isn't that neuroscience isn't producing psychological or psychiatric information, but that people expect it to in the first place.

mildadhd
09-02-13, 03:51 PM
Affective Neuroscience uses Brain Research, as apposed to only neuroscience and/or psychology.


One major difference is vocabulary.


The basic 7 Primary Emotion Systems theory "starts" from the foundation of the mind and brain, (subconscious)

where 7 Executive Function Systems theory "starts", from the top down. (conscious)


So far the general idea of the Secondary and Tertiary processes don't seem to differ in general, execept for theories involving the SEEKING SYSTEM (Affective Neuroscience)

which seems to replace the older theory of REWARD/PUNISHMENT Thoeries based on newer research data.


The 7 Executive Function Theory seems to ignore the fact that Executive Function first develops from the ground up, and is built around the 7 primary emotional systems? (If I understand correctly)


[...]

The Brain Biologically is the same in all humans.

What makes us different is our minds (experiences)



Peripheral


MOD NOTE: This post has been edited, but a full version of the post is available in a new thread discussing Affective Neuroscience and Early Development in ADHD containing the post and some responses to it. (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150296)

SB_UK
09-02-13, 03:58 PM
The Brain Biologically is the same in all humans.

What makes us different is our minds (experiences)


2 identical computers - one running MS Office and the other running Sun Office.

It's ? impossible ? to tell which is running what without switching the computer on and looking at the screen.

We can tell which is running what - without opening the computer up and examining its innards.

And if we open up the 2 computers which're behaving entirely differently - they'll appear identical on the inside.


The Brain Biologically is the same in all humans.

mildadhd
09-02-13, 04:35 PM
I think we agree.

Humans are all programmed genetically to have the same brain.


If it is was possible for all humans, to all have the exact same experiences,

all humans would have the exact same mind (and brain)


In real life, individual differences in brain, are the different experiences over time. (mind)

(Including generations)(wobble effect ?)




Peripheral

Amtram
09-02-13, 04:40 PM
The human brain is biologically the same just as the human face is biologically the same.

There is a set of parts that is expected to be part of every face, but those parts are slightly different in every person, and some people are born with a different set of parts entirely.

Same thing with the brain.

Neuroscience studies the brain, because there are variations in the set of parts, and each part does something specific. If you're looking at the mind, neuroscience isn't going to give you any information except what the brain might be doing while the mind is working.

mildadhd
09-02-13, 05:11 PM
The human brain is biologically the same just as the human face is biologically the same.

There is a set of parts that is expected to be part of every face, but those parts are slightly different in every person, and some people are born with a different set of parts entirely.

Same thing with the brain.

Neuroscience studies the brain, because there are variations in the set of parts, and each part does something specific. If you're looking at the mind, neuroscience isn't going to give you any information except what the brain might be doing while the mind is working.



Could you be more specific?

The term MindBrain is used in Affective Neuroscience.

There is no ignoring the Mind, in Affective Neuroscience.

The 7 primary emotional systems are found in the brain and are biological "parts"

, just like the nose and the ears, face parts, etc...


7 Primary Emotions are real, physical systems in the brain. (part of autonomic nervous system)


Affective Neuroscience does brain research and other things to help get over the hurdles that neuroimmaging alone can't help solve.



A whole picture approach.


Neurology is psychological.

Affective Neuroscience is very psychological.


Peripheral

mildadhd
09-02-13, 05:31 PM
Amtram,

Are you including Affective Neuroscience in your opinions?

If you are, I totally disagree.

Affective Neuroscience has helped me enormously in promoting my own mindfulness/awareness of "self".

Understanding where emotions come from in the brain and how they work, definitely helps understand how executive function develops and operates.

Peripheral

Amtram
09-02-13, 07:47 PM
Affective neuroscience is a brain-based approach to understanding the mind, somewhere between Neuroscience (a wholly brain-based science) and Psychiatry (a brain-based approach to treatment of mind disorders.) Psychology is a mind-based approach to mind.

All of these operate under the assumption that the mind is a function of the brain, rather than a separate entity. Mind being thoughts, emotions, memory, and behaviors. Not only do they have different approaches to answering questions, but they don't always even ask the same questions.

This is actually a good thing, this specialization. Once you make a category so broad that it's trying to answer several questions at once, you make it useless.

So the problem with neuroscience isn't with neuroscience, but with what people think it can do (which is usually what they want it to do rather than what it actually does.)

qinkin
09-02-13, 08:21 PM
A whole picture approach.


Neurology is psychological.

Affective Neuroscience is very psychological.


Peripheral


I've never seen anything which tells me there is lopsided domination going on between the various fields of cognitive sciences and such.


Affective neuroscience is a brain-based approach to understanding the mind, somewhere between Neuroscience (a wholly brain-based science) and Psychiatry (a brain-based approach to treatment of mind disorders.) Psychology is a mind-based approach to mind.



According to this, psychology takes many forms, including the brain based. I think the specialties are good for reasons related to economics and efficiency.

http://psychology.about.com/od/branchesofpsycholog1/tp/branches-of-psychology.htm


The psych- researcher doesn't need the neuro- researcher.
The neuro- researcher doesn't need the psych- researcher.

I don't think that is the case.

Psychology tends to be eclectic, drawing on knowledge from other fields to help explain and understand psychological phenomena. Additionally, psychologists make extensive use of the three modes of inference that were identified by C. S. Peirce: deduction, induction, and abduction (hypothesis generation). While often employing deductive–nomological reasoning, they also rely on inductive reasoning to generate explanations. For example, evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, that is, as the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology#Research_methods

Amtram
09-02-13, 09:32 PM
Brainwashed: Neuroscience and Its Perversions (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/brainwashed-neuroscience-and-its-perversions/)on Science-Based Medicine, by Harriet Hall, explores this a little further. Emotional processes are a perfect example of the fallacy that the authors and the article in the OP are trying to point out.

Peripheral, you're making the very mistake that the authors of the book complain about. Neuroscience has nothing to do with any of this. Neuroscience does not examine emotional processes but physical ones. Questions about what neuroscience doesn't address are irrelevant in judging the value and use of neuroscience.

qinkin
09-02-13, 10:56 PM
Neuroscience has nothing to do with any of this. Neuroscience does not examine emotional processes but physical ones. Questions about what neuroscience doesn't address are irrelevant in judging the value and use of neuroscience.


Amtram, I think you are mistaken about your articles. Neuroimaging is not neuroscience. Actually the blog is about fanatic hype or unrealistic expectations concerning neuroimaging, not neuroscience as a whole.

The brain is a wondrous thing: “…the three pound universe between our ears has more connections than there are stars in the Milky Way.” Trying to understand how it works and how it generates conscious awareness and subjective feelings is a daunting task. Neuroimaging is one of the tools we are using to study it. Unfortunately, people get so enthusiastic about its possibilities that they are constantly tempted to read more into the images than is really there. This has given rise to a new phrenology that interprets our mental characteristics with pretty colored pictures. We are easily impressed by pictures; after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.


I'm very confident in my observation. Not once did they mention neuroscience as the subject, nor at all in the paragraph.


Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system.[1] Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine and allied disciplines, philosophy, physics, and psychology. It also exerts influence on other fields, such as neuroeducation[2] and neurolaw. The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience

Interdisciplinary is in its definition. If anyone has more well sourced and robust information, please share.

ginniebean
09-02-13, 11:20 PM
Ginnie, that's essentially the point the authors of the book were making, and the point the author of the piece was complaining about being misrepresented. The common dismissal of neuroscience being pointed out is that people expect it to explain things that aren't neuroscience. This misunderstanding causes them to both inflate the possibilities of neuroscientific research (making claims that the research itself doesn't even make in the first place) and assert that neuroscience is "wrong" when it doesn't produce the results that it didn't purport to produce in the first place.

The problem isn't that neuroscience isn't producing psychological or psychiatric information, but that people expect it to in the first place.

I agree, I've seen far too often people denouncing neuroscience because of what it can't do and doesn't claim to do. I did note in the article the author stating that the "Brain is the mind" and wanted to point out that even tho for her and many others, it's the only explanation that makes sense, it's not the only explanation that can make sense.

I suspect there are some people doing windups on this forum and will say black if one person says white and vice versa.

The simple fact is that medical science has vastly improved the quality of our lives. Those improvements can continue with more research.

ginniebean
09-02-13, 11:22 PM
Neurological conditions are studied at the level of brain.
Psychological conditions are studied at the level of mind.

The psych- researcher doesn't need the neuro- researcher.
The neuro- researcher doesn't need the psych- researcher.

Sometimes psych- will affect neuro-
Sometimes neuro- will affect psych-

- but the fundamental causal basis to psych- condition is in psych- without need for neuro- and the fundamental causative basis to neuro- condition is in neuro- without need for psych-.

The only reason that neuro- dominates over psych- is that it's so much easier to work with stuff you can prod.

Just to be fair, there are a lot of psychologists out there who are utterly imcompetent and so flakey they could be in a macaroon!

ginniebean
09-02-13, 11:28 PM
O really? Do you read a lot of books on spirituality?

Do you need to know and why?



... In what way do those things defy science? Philosophy is integrated into scientific method, so I think you are confused.

Ah, I apologise for any confusion, I meant defy the use of scientific method. I'm not confused but it appears I confused you. Unless you have found a way for the scientific method to quantify the art in a poem?


Just a small note, it can help to have a bit of charity when you write to people, mistakes can easily happen, people use shorthands and other things that they later have to clarify. Good will works wonders.

janiew
09-03-13, 12:15 AM
Brain = body = spirit = brain... Refrain.

daveddd
09-03-13, 05:18 AM
Brainwashed: Neuroscience and Its Perversions (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/brainwashed-neuroscience-and-its-perversions/)on Science-Based Medicine, by Harriet Hall, explores this a little further. Emotional processes are a perfect example of the fallacy that the authors and the article in the OP are trying to point out.

Peripheral, you're making the very mistake that the authors of the book complain about. Neuroscience has nothing to do with any of this. Neuroscience does not examine emotional processes but physical ones. Questions about what neuroscience doesn't address are irrelevant in judging the value and use of neuroscience.

im pretty sure primary emotions are processed at an unconscious level through the nervous system

one imaging test ive seen replicated several times is the amygala empathy test, based off subliminal faces

it shows biases in different disorders

i may be wrong, i dont get into it much

Amtram
09-03-13, 10:42 AM
Amtram, I think you are mistaken about your articles. Neuroimaging is not neuroscience. Actually the blog is about fanatic hype or unrealistic expectations concerning neuroimaging, not neuroscience as a whole.



Good point, qinkin - I think I was absorbing too much information from all the different comment sources and putting that into the discussion. This book has been approached from many angles by many different science writers, and I've shared only a couple of articles out of all the ones I've read.

It's other science journalists and scientists who have essentially expanded upon the subject. Since misrepresentation of scientific findings in the media is something that's a hot-button issue for me, I'm expanding too much on this. Thanks for pointing that out - maybe I'll spring for the book and get straight to the source.

The imaging study aspect of it is definitely addressed in the last article by Dr. Hall. At the end, she points out Daniel Amen as an example of the misuse of neuroimaging. If people don't understand what a test does, and what information it provides, they're easily persuaded by an authoritative voice that it's more useful than it really is.

They get disproportionately excited by findings that produce impressive numbers and/or pictures. Yes, a lot of these imaging methods provide great understanding and have tremendous potential, but they're tiny pieces of a much larger puzzle. . .scientific breakthroughs are not the same as scientific results. Results from breakthroughs take much longer to realize than the general public thinks.

Amtram
09-03-13, 10:48 AM
I did note in the article the author stating that the "Brain is the mind" and wanted to point out that even tho for her and many others, it's the only explanation that makes sense, it's not the only explanation that can make sense.

It's the only explanation that can be explored by science. Science deals with observable phenomena that manifest in and/or affect the natural world. If there are any non-natural, supernatural, or immaterial things in existence, they are not within the realm of science, because they can't be examined using the scientific method.

I suspect there are some people doing windups on this forum and will say black if one person says white and vice versa.

I would say that's pretty much a certainty.

The simple fact is that medical science has vastly improved the quality of our lives. Those improvements can continue with more research.

And research leads to more research. We will never know everything there is to know, because nothing stops changing. There will never be a shortage of questions to explore.

Amtram
09-03-13, 10:53 AM
Amtram,

Are you including Affective Neuroscience in your opinions?

If you are, I totally disagree.



No, I'm not. I'm including only the information addressed in the cited articles. Any opinion on Affective Neuroscience is off-topic, because the articles are addressing popular misconceptions people hold about the information provided by neuroimaging studies. I would be happy to discuss Affective Neuroscience on a different thread if you wanted me to contribute my opinions there.

Amtram
09-03-13, 10:58 AM
im pretty sure primary emotions are processed at an unconscious level through the nervous system

one imaging test ive seen replicated several times is the amygala empathy test, based off subliminal faces

it shows biases in different disorders

i may be wrong, i dont get into it much

Yes, but all the neuroimaging does is show what switches are being thrown. I make no secret of the fact that I believe that all the mind is contained in the brain, but I am not under the illusion that studying the brain alone will give us the information we need to know about qualitative manifestations of the mind.

Living creatures aren't machines. We can learn a lot by looking at the more mechanical processes of life, but we can't see everything just by looking on the insides.

Amtram
09-03-13, 11:02 AM
OK, I have ordered the kindle edition of the book. If there's anything of particular interest, I'll share it here.

mildadhd
09-03-13, 11:02 AM
im pretty sure primary emotions are processed at an unconscious level through the nervous system

one imaging test ive seen replicated several times is the amygala empathy test, based off subliminal faces

it shows biases in different disorders

i may be wrong, i dont get into it much


Thanks Again Daveddd,

If I reword the title of this thread to "The limits of Neuroscience-imaging...",

helps me understand my interpretation of the OP link.

It is right to say that Neuro-imaging is limited, in measuring the subcortical brain function.

Brain Science (like the methods used in Affective Neuroscience) are required,

because neuro-imaging does not detect changes in the subcortical areas, nearly as well as it detects changes in higher cortical brain function.

I am not saying that neuro-imaging is not important, only that to understand, the lower subcortical areas better, Brain Science must be used.

Peripheral

daveddd
09-03-13, 11:45 AM
Yes, but all the neuroimaging does is show what switches are being thrown. I make no secret of the fact that I believe that all the mind is contained in the brain, but I am not under the illusion that studying the brain alone will give us the information we need to know about qualitative manifestations of the mind.

Living creatures aren't machines. We can learn a lot by looking at the more mechanical processes of life, but we can't see everything just by looking on the insides.

I pretty much agree

But it seems to measure things that can be dispositions

And maybe give some reasons. Why things are happening

Amtram
09-03-13, 12:03 PM
It gives more information about how things are happening than why, unless it's exploring a particular defect or deficiency. It's very narrowly specific more often than not, but people tend to like big, broad explanations and solutions.

daveddd
09-03-13, 12:49 PM
It gives more information about how things are happening than why, unless it's exploring a particular defect or deficiency. It's very narrowly specific more often than not, but people tend to like big, broad explanations and solutions.

Some people think the hyperarousal is part of the why. And inborn

I don't think neurology explains psychology at all. Just a useful contribution

mildadhd
09-03-13, 01:36 PM
Some people think the hyperarousal is part of the why. And inborn

I don't think neurology explains psychology at all. Just a useful contribution


If you don't think studying the Autonomic Nervous System is important/helpful in understanding the psychology of hyperarousal and ADD?

I totally disagree.

I will start a new thread because Amtram thinks I am off topic, and this is her thread.







Peripheral

Amtram
09-03-13, 01:54 PM
Because, as qinkin pointed out, "the problem" refers to overreactions to the findings of neuroimaging.

mildadhd
09-03-13, 02:33 PM
Because, as qinkin pointed out, "the problem" refers to overreactions to the findings of neuroimaging.

Yes, I agree, understand.

So Affective Neuroscience has found ways around the neuroimaging/overreaction "problems",

by doing Brain Research in addition to neuroimaging and any other helpful tools that help see the over all picture best,

avoiding the dilemma and over reaction, being discussed in the OP.




Peripheral

SB_UK
09-03-13, 03:35 PM
I don't subscribe the the brain "is" the mind entirely.

I've looked at the most detailed atlases of brains from all species.

The mind (language,abstract thinking,concept of time etc) only occurs in man.

If the mind were contained within brain - because of the incredible resolution that we've mapped the human versus many other brains
- we'd have found it by now.

Considering how significant the mind is - if contained within the brain - it's to be expected that it'd be pretty obvious (neuroanatomically) versus other species if it was encoded at the neural level.

What's interesting is how very small a network card can be relative to the computer itself - and how such a small thing can completely transform an otherwise fairly dull thing from writing vogon prose into a 24/7 social occasion.

Amtram
09-03-13, 03:51 PM
Language exists in many species besides man. Abstract thinking and concepts of time have been demonstrated in other primates. Elephants, many sea mammals, even birds and bees communicate using languages of varying complexity.

You're speaking of "the mind" as if it were a single, separate organ within the brain. If it were, then yes, we would have found it by now. However, since it's not, it's no surprise that we haven't.

ginniebean
09-03-13, 04:31 PM
What's interesting is how very small a network card can be relative to the computer itself - and how such a small thing can completely transform an otherwise fairly dull thing from writing vogon prose into a 24/7 social occasion.


HAHAHAHAHAHAH

:D

You've described formatory apparatus to a tee.

.
I'm pretty sure tho, that neuro-imaging is not meant for this particuar endeavour so it may be good to start a topic about it elsewhere. I'm up for it in debates if you are :)

qinkin
09-03-13, 05:35 PM
Ah, I apologise for any confusion, I meant defy the use of scientific method. I'm not confused but it appears I confused you. Unless you have found a way for the scientific method to quantify the art in a poem?


Well you can quantify it through studying the date it was written, the health records of the author, the number of syllables, the number of words, adjectives, and such couldn't you? Also measuring the response of readers and such. I could think of more but I'll stop there as it's almost too simple to think of how art can be a topic of science (come to think of it, I'm pretty sure it already is in some fields). I think even religion has been quantified to some extent and in certain ways , scientifically for some time now.

Emile Durkheim (probably the most singularly well known person when it comes to functionalist perspective (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_functionalism)) comes to mind. So again, I think the question of "in which ways do these things defy science?" is an important one to reconsider.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elementary_Forms_of_the_Religious_Life

The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (French: Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse), published by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in 1912, is a book that analyzes religion as a social phenomenon. Durkheim attributes the development of religion to the emotional security attained through communal living.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Durkheim#Suicide

In Suicide (1897), Durkheim explores the differing suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics, arguing that stronger social control among Catholics results in lower suicide rates. According to Durkheim, Catholic society has normal levels of integration while Protestant society has low levels. Overall, Durkheim treated suicide as a social fact, explaining variations in its rate on a macro level, considering society-scale phenomena such as lack of connections between people (group attachment) and lack of regulations of behavior, rather than individuals' feelings and motivations.[39][58]


This stuff is very out of date, but in general, Durkheim is an important figure even today in the mainstream of classrooms. I'm sure there are other examples of people, but this will do for making the point.

Sociology of religion is the study of the beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of both quantitative methods (surveys, polls, demographic and census analysis) and qualitative approaches such as participant observation, interviewing, and analysis of archival, historical and documentary materials.[1]

Modern academic sociology began with the analysis of religion in Émile Durkheim's 1897 study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, a foundational work of social research which served to distinguish sociology from other disciplines, such as psychology. The works of Karl Marx and Max Weber emphasized the relationship between religion and the economic or social structure of society. Contemporary debates have centered on issues such as secularization, civil religion, and the cohesiveness of religion in the context of globalization and multiculturalism. The contemporary sociology of religion may also encompass the sociology of irreligion (for instance, in the analysis of secular humanist belief systems).

Sociology of religion is distinguished from the philosophy of religion in that it does not set out to assess the validity of religious beliefs. The process of comparing multiple conflicting dogmas may require what Peter L. Berger has described as inherent "methodological atheism".[2] Whereas the sociology of religion broadly differs from theology in assuming indifference to the supernatural, theorists tend to acknowledge socio-cultural reification of religious practice.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_religion

ana futura
09-03-13, 06:59 PM
The mind (language,abstract thinking,concept of time etc) only occurs in man.


This isn't really true. There are many animals with language systems and concepts of time. Abstract thought, who knows? Primates other than us appear to be capable of it. Just because we might appear to be the most "advanced" does not mean we are the only creatures with a "mind".

Edit: I see that I am repeating what Amtram already said. Oh well, it needs to be repeated.

Amtram
09-03-13, 07:42 PM
Elephants respond to the mirror test just fine.

Animals have also shown an ability to understand human language and use it to express emotions.

So if what SB_UK said is true, and none of this shows up in any of the voluminous number of brain scans he's seen, then it's a piece of evidence that supports the original premise - that the value of brain scans is inflated beyond their usefulness, and we need to understand what they really do rather than speculate about what their findings could maybe possibly perhaps mean if we imagine they can do more than they really do.

Amtram
09-04-13, 10:10 AM
Well, I started reading the book last night, got through the introduction (and all the footnotes. . .) and it's a pretty detailed and yet straightforward read. They cover many of the misinterpretations and misuses of neuroimaging data, and it all seems to come (so far) from people not understanding that neuroimaging measures brain activity, not actual thought or emotion. Also from not understanding statistics, or representative or composite images from neuroimaging studies, or a whole bunch of other things. Like science.

"Neurolaw" and "Neuromarketing" are covered later in the book. There should be some gems of information when I get to that part.

Lunacie
09-04-13, 11:54 AM
The OP was about how neuroscience is misrepresented to explain things
that it doesn't really explain and then decried as valid science because it
doesn't do those things.

daveddd
09-04-13, 12:18 PM
To be fair there are bad neuroscientists too

I've seen some wacky theory's thrown out there


Maybe it gives people hope that all their emotional issues are a chemical imbalance

Don't be to hard on them

Amtram
09-04-13, 01:14 PM
OK, here's something to give you an idea of what the thread is about. . .

Remember those neuroimaging studies not too long ago in which the researchers were able to assemble images from fMRI that were incredibly close to what the test subjects were looking at at the time? It was pretty cool, right?

What it did - show that an object that was seen through the eyes lit up certain areas of the brain so that a rough image of the object could be assembled from the neuroimaging.

Did it claim to read thoughts? No, but reporters said that it did, and people believed it.

Did it suggest that it could be used to record dreams? No, but journalists pushed questions until they could say that some scientist somewhere (who wasn't part of the research team) said that maybe it could, and headlines everywhere trumpeted this new breakthrough in understanding dreams.

Did it interpret or even measure emotional response to the objects? No, but popular buzz was that you'd be able to use this to read people's emotions with fMRI.

Again, the problem with neuroscience is people thinking it does things that it simply does not do.

ginniebean
09-04-13, 01:33 PM
I was under the impression that this topic was discussing NEUROIMAGING andvarious exaggerations of what it can and cannot do.

Any thoughts on neuroimaging as it relates to the article in the OP?

Is this problem of marketers or a press that looks for scandal and contrived it?

mildadhd
09-04-13, 02:30 PM
Amtram,

Do you find the title of this thread misleading?



In my opinion,

the thread should be titled what is... the problem with Neuro-imaging.

I'm interested in all data that is available.

It would bother me to know there are different ways of measuring the brain,

and I did not consider the sum of the different ways that I know, before making unequivocal claims.

Especially in discussion about problems about measuring the brain.

When there are different ways of measuring the brain,

that would help the OP dilemma of measuring the brain .



The problem with neuroimaging is that it can't measure the whole brain.

Psychology has the same problem as neuroimaging.

They can't measure the subcortical brain well.

Brain research must be done in addition.

Brain research is another way to measure the brain.

And can help solve some of the problems that psychology and neuroimaging have in the OP discussion.


Like it was pointed out already, the problem is not with the neurologist, the problem is with the measuring limits of neuroimaging.

The higher cortical areas are not the only part of the brain.

Neuroimaging can measure the higher cortical areas, so the OP must be discussing subcortical areas of the brain, that neuroimagining can't measure.

Peripheral

daveddd
09-04-13, 02:49 PM
Ok I guess I did misinterpret.

I assumed it meant the flipping of the brains reaction to emotions , to emotions being reactions to the physical brain


Do you believe the general public is mainly the culprit here

Because I do seem to come across studies Poor and obscure ones that attempt to claim what you say they can't. And I agree they are usually ridiculous and lazy

So is it bottom rung researchers misleading the public

Or the publics imagination gone wild?

Amtram
09-04-13, 04:35 PM
Aaaand. . .why is this relevant to ADHD? Because one of the biggest problems we have is public perception of the non-existence of ADHD. For this reason, many studies have used neuroimaging to test for brain differences that would demonstrate reliably what causes it. However, because of the complexity of ADHD and the fact that we won't necessarily find the "cause" in an image, it's actually to our disadvantage that the general public thinks these images have miraculous powers.

Amtram
09-05-13, 02:06 PM
In fact, "it can't be disproven" is usually clear evidence that something is wrong, since all science must be falsifiable.

I was thinking about a couple of things while I was reading the book. While the authors were explaining some of the particulars why extrapolating information from brain scans confounds the findings, I was trying to think of an analogy that wouldn't require an anatomy lesson.

They pointed out that while there are some areas that provide specific functions, there are none that do just one thing. Neuroimaging will show activity in response to a stimulus, but that doesn't tell us about what the emotional or behavioral response actually is that derives from that response. A positive response to a stimulus can be nearly identical to a negative response, so simply showing that the brain "lights up" when exposed to something doesn't reveal how a person perceives or feels or acts.

Imagine studying the hand. You look at a person hitting another with a closed fist, and conclude that a closed fist is indicative of anger. (The press goes wild, and it's all over the internet!) However, we know that the fist is closed to fist bump and playfully punch a friend who just told a bad joke. It's also like that when pulling a lever or tugging the string of an overhead light or playing rock-paper-scissors. But word gets out that a closed fist is indicative of anger, and it becomes a "fact" by spreading it as a "scientific breakthrough."

It's neither. In fact, the authors warn:

Whenever a newspaper headline proclaims, "Brain Scans Show . . .," the reader should entertain some healthy skepticism.

Amtram
09-06-13, 11:56 AM
Now, see, I do think that this discussion can be associated with the original topic, because it all relates back to misunderstanding and misattribution by people who don't understand what a science does (and the profit motive of people who want to take advantage of that misunderstanding. . .)

Each discipline has its place.

There are physical things that the brain does. Neuroimaging shows the structure of the brain, so we can see damages and differences. It also shows activity, by tracking signalling in a couple of different ways (fMRI looks at oxygen supply, because different levels of oxygen make the blood show up differently on the scans.) It looks strictly at brain structure and function, and is useful as a diagnostic tool for damages, or as a supportive tool for studies that are looking at correlations between observable states and the brain itself.

Neuroimaging is a tool used by several disciplines. It is not, by itself, Neuroscience.

Neuroscience incorporates imaging, genetic testing and engineering in lab animals, neurochemical testing and engineering in lab animals, and the study of injuries to or alterations in brain structure, just to scratch the surface. It's a direct study of the brain and how it works. While it incorporates observing behaviors, emotions, and symptoms, it looks directly to the brain for information about their possible sources.

Neuroscience gives us our best information about injuries to and diseases of the brain, and has made a good deal of progress in searching for the origins of symptoms of various mental/psychiatric/behavioral/developmental disorders as well. Some research focuses on what outside influences cause changes in the brain, while some focuses on what in the brain causes some observable behavioral manifestation.

Psychiatry focuses on the study of abnormal behavior and emotional disturbances that indicate mental illness. It takes relevant findings from Neuroscience research, and incorporates it into its own research that looks at specific conditions and how to treat them. It takes relevant findings from psychology to evaluate what symptoms a patient has that distinguish a disorder from a state that can be addressed without pharmaceuticals (in a best-case scenario, natch. . .)

Psychiatry used to, at least in the United States, include psychotherapy, but eventually the degree of knowledge required to do both was too broad. Currently, here, Psychiatry requires some knowledge of Psychology, but its primary goal is diagnosis and treatment of brain-based symptoms.

Psychology is focused on thoughts, emotions, memories, and behaviors - what is scientifically considered "the mind." It studies the interaction between humans and their environment and experiences. It does not require specialized knowledge of the brain itself, although a Psychologist with an MD will have had to take courses in brain anatomy and function.

Psychology is a science, but not what is considered a "hard science" because human experience is difficult to narrow down to singular causes and effects. Most often, it addresses behaviors and how they might have arisen in the individual, and how to address the origins of those behaviors. Psychotherapy involves looking into the thoughts, emotions, and memories, isolating the behaviors, and trying to alter one or both to reinforce more positive actions and thoughts.

Each specialty is well-equipped to answer certain questions, and less qualified to answer questions that belong to a different sphere of study.

The problem initially introduced by the book is conclusions being drawn from Neuroimaging that realistically belong in the realm of Psychology. All the intermediate disciplines are skipped over in the pursuit of a story that grabs. If we know what each discipline does, we are less likely to jump to this kind of inappropriate conclusion.

namazu
09-06-13, 12:16 PM
MODERATOR NOTE: I've reviewed the thread and moved some posts around to ensure that the thread remains focused on the article mentioned in the OP and closely-related discussion.


A couple of sub-threads have been spawned for interesting discussions that can be continued elsewhere:

- Brain Research & Early Brain Development in ADHD (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150296)

- Tardive Dyskinesia (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150295)


(In lieu of individual PMs to members affected by this: I apologize in advance for any and all posts that may have altered or lost in the course of the review process. If you have a specific concern about a post that's gone missing, or one that was ham-handedly edited, please contact me and I'll see what I can do.)



Please keep this thread focused on how findings from neuroimaging are characterized, used, and misused by journalists and the lay public, as discussed in the article linked in the OP.

sarahsweets
09-06-13, 03:08 PM
not to derail but I have adhesions along my dudodendum and vasal nerve damage. None of these issues come up on imaging tests.

Amtram
09-07-13, 10:25 AM
The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/opinion/sunday/the-new-science-of-mind.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0&pagewanted=print) has an article on this now, as well. It points out that while we have growing evidence of the biological origins of mental disorders, brain scans are not sufficient to discover them. It also points out the usefulness of combining the knowledge of different treatment approaches because the cause and effect between brain and environment goes both ways.