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The Neural Basis Of Human Belief Systems

Author: Frank Krueger
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 1136234985
Size: 72.61 MB
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Is the everyday understanding of belief susceptible to scientific investigation? Belief is one of the most commonly used, yet unexplained terms in neuroscience. Beliefs can be seen as forms of mental representations and one of the building blocks of our conscious thoughts. This book provides an interdisciplinary overview of what we currently know about the neural basis of human belief systems, and how different belief systems are implemented in the human brain. The chapters in this volume explain how the neural correlates of beliefs mediate a range of explicit and implicit behaviours ranging from moral decision making, to the practice of religion. Drawing inferences from philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, religion, and cognitive neuroscience, the book has important implications for understanding how different belief systems are implemented in the human brain, and outlines the directions which research on the cognitive neuroscience of beliefs should take in the future. The Neural Basis of Human Belief Systems will be of great interest to researchers in the fields of psychology, philosophy, psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience.

The Neural Basis Of Human Belief Systems

Author: Frank Krueger
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 1136234977
Size: 46.77 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
View: 298
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Is the everyday understanding of belief susceptible to scientific investigation? Belief is one of the most commonly used, yet unexplained terms in neuroscience. Beliefs can be seen as forms of mental representations and one of the building blocks of our conscious thoughts. This book provides an interdisciplinary overview of what we currently know about the neural basis of human belief systems, and how different belief systems are implemented in the human brain. The chapters in this volume explain how the neural correlates of beliefs mediate a range of explicit and implicit behaviours ranging from moral decision making, to the practice of religion. Drawing inferences from philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, religion, and cognitive neuroscience, the book has important implications for understanding how different belief systems are implemented in the human brain, and outlines the directions which research on the cognitive neuroscience of beliefs should take in the future. The Neural Basis of Human Belief Systems will be of great interest to researchers in the fields of psychology, philosophy, psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience.

Why God Won T Go Away

Author: Andrew Newberg, M.D.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0307493156
Size: 46.64 MB
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Why have we humans always longed to connect with something larger than ourselves? Why does consciousness inevitably involve us in a spiritual quest? Why, in short, won't God go away? Theologians, philosophers, and psychologists have debated this question through the ages, arriving at a range of contradictory and ultimately unprovable answers. But in this brilliant, groundbreaking new book, researchers Andrew Newberg and Eugene d'Aquili offer an explanation that is at once profoundly simple and scientifically precise: the religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain. Newberg and d'Aquili base this revolutionary conclusion on a long-term investigation of brain function and behavior as well as studies they conducted using high-tech imaging techniques to examine the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns at prayer. What they discovered was that intensely focused spiritual contemplation triggers an alteration in the activity of the brain that leads us to perceive transcendent religious experiences as solid and tangibly real. In other words, the sensation that Buddhists call "oneness with the universe" and the Franciscans attribute to the palpable presence of God is not a delusion or a manifestation of wishful thinking but rather a chain of neurological events that can be objectively observed, recorded, and actually photographed. The inescapable conclusion is that God is hard-wired into the human brain. In Why God Won't Go Away, Newberg and d'Aquili document their pioneering explorations in the field of neurotheology, an emerging discipline dedicated to understanding the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain. Along the way, they delve into such essential questions as whether humans are biologically compelled to make myths; what is the evolutionary connection between religious ecstasy and sexual orgasm; what do Near Death Experiences reveal about the nature of spiritual phenomena; and how does ritual create its own neurological environment. As their journey unfolds, Newberg and d'Aquili realize that a single, overarching question lies at the heart of their pursuit: Is religion merely a product of biology or has the human brain been mysteriously endowed with the unique capacity to reach and know God? Blending cutting-edge science with illuminating insights into the nature of consciousness and spirituality, Why God Won't Go Away bridges faith and reason, mysticism and empirical data. The neurological basis of how the brain identifies the "real" is nothing short of miraculous. This fascinating, eye-opening book dares to explore both the miracle and the biology of our enduring relationship with God. From the Hardcover edition.

Processes Of Believing The Acquisition Maintenance And Change In Creditions

Author: Hans-Ferdinand Angel
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319509241
Size: 79.49 MB
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This volume answers the question: Why do we believe what we believe? It examines current research on the concept of beliefs, and the development in our understanding of the process of believing. It takes into account empirical findings in the field of neuroscience regarding the processes that underlie beliefs, and discusses the notion that beyond the interactive exploratory analysis of sensory information from the complex outside world, humans engage in an evaluative analysis by which they attribute personal meaning and relevance to the probabilistic representations of objects and events. Beliefs exert a strong influence on behaviour, decision-making, and identifying and solving problems. Despite their importance, beliefs have until recently not been at the centre of scientific interest. In fact, “belief” is an ill-defined phenomenon. From a transdisciplinary perspective the actual approaches to understanding belief seem incompatible as they attempt to highlight such different topics as “belief – religion”, “belief – spirituality”, “belief – faith”, “belief – knowledge”, “belief – attitude”, “belief – disbelief”, “belief – illusion”, and “believing – brain function”. This situation contradicts the idea that belief is close to pathological phenomena and that it should be eliminated from scientific discussions. Rather, believing is fundamental for understanding the many problems of every-day life. In fact, the book shows that beliefs are relevant for politics, international affairs, economy, law, or religions also in modern societies. This book presents the increasing scientific interest in beliefs and believing, and reflects the change in focus from the content aspect of belief towards the fluid nature of believing.

Mindreaders

Author: Ian Apperly
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 1136846719
Size: 72.51 MB
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Theory of mind, or "mindreading" as it is termed in this book, is the ability to think about beliefs, desires, knowledge and intentions. It has been studied extensively by developmental and comparative psychologists and more recently by neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists. This book is the first to draw together these diverse findings in an account of the cognitive basis of "theory of mind", and establishes the systematic study of these abilities in adults as a new field of enquiry. Apperly focuses on perceptions, knowledge and beliefs as paradigm cases of mindreading, and uses this as a basis from which more general lessons can be drawn. The book argues that an account of the cognitive basis of mindreading is necessary for making sense of findings from neuroscience and developmental and comparative psychology, as well as for understanding how mindreading fits more broadly into the cognitive system. It questions standard philosophical accounts of mindreading, and suggests a move away from the notion that it consists simply of having a "theory of mind". This unique study into the cognitive basis of mindreading will be ideal reading for academics and advanced students from the diverse disciplines that have studied theory of mind in particular, and social cognition more generally.

Mirror Neuron Systems

Author: Jaime A. Pineda
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781597454797
Size: 37.58 MB
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The aim of this book is to bring together social scientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, neuropsychologists and others to promote a dialogue about the variety of processes involved in social cognition, as well as the relevance of mirroring neural systems to those processes. Social cognition is a broad discipline that encompasses many issues not yet adequately addressed by neurobiologists. Yet, it is a strong belief that framing these issues in terms of the neural basis of social cognition, especially within an evolutionary perspective, can be a very fruitful strategy. This book includes some of the leading thinkers in the nascent field of mirroring processes and reflects the authors’ attempts to till common ground from a variety of perspectives. The book raises contrary views and addresses some of the most vexing yet core questions in the field – providing the basis for extended discussion among interested readers and laying down guidelines for future research. It has been argued that interaction with members of one’s own social group enhances cognitive development in primates and especially humans (Barrett & Henzi, 2005). Byrne and Whiten (1988), Donald (1991), and others have speculated that abilities such as cooperation, deception, and imitation led to increasingly complex social interactions among primates resulting in a tremendous expansion of the cerebral cortex. The evolutionary significance of an imitation capability in primates is matched by its ontological consequences.

The Neural Basis Of Free Will

Author: Peter Tse
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262019108
Size: 51.26 MB
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The issues of mental causation, consciousness, and free will have vexed philosopherssince Plato. In this book, Peter Tse examines these unresolved issues from a neuroscientificperspective. In contrast with philosophers who use logic rather than data to argue whether mentalcausation or consciousness can exist given unproven first assumptions, Tse proposes that we insteadlisten to what neurons have to say. Because the brain must already embody a solution to themind--body problem, why not focus on how the brain actually realizes mental causation? Tse draws on exciting recent neuroscientific data concerning how informationalcausation is realized in physical causation at the level of NMDA receptors, synapses, dendrites,neurons, and neuronal circuits. He argues that a particular kind of strong free will and "downward"mental causation are realized in rapid synaptic plasticity. Recent neurophysiological breakthroughsreveal that neurons function as criterial assessors of their inputs, which then change the criteriathat will make other neurons fire in the future. Such informational causation cannot change thephysical basis of information realized in the present, but it can change the physical basis ofinformation that may be realized in the immediate future. This gets around the standard argumentagainst free will centered on the impossibility of self-causation. Tse explores the ways that mentalcausation and qualia might be realized in this kind of neuronal and associatedinformation-processing architecture, and considers the psychological and philosophical implicationsof having such an architecture realized in our brains.

Affective Neuroscience

Author: Jaak Panksepp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198025672
Size: 40.99 MB
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Some investigators have argued that emotions, especially animal emotions, are illusory concepts outside the realm of scientific inquiry. However, with advances in neurobiology and neuroscience, researchers are demonstrating that this position is wrong as they move closer to a lasting understanding of the biology and psychology of emotion. In Affective Neuroscience, Jaak Panksepp provides the most up-to-date information about the brain-operating systems that organize the fundamental emotional tendencies of all mammals. Presenting complex material in a readable manner, the book offers a comprehensive summary of the fundamental neural sources of human and animal feelings, as well as a conceptual framework for studying emotional systems of the brain. Panksepp approaches emotions from the perspective of basic emotion theory but does not fail to address the complex issues raised by constructionist approaches. These issues include relations to human consciousness and the psychiatric implications of this knowledge. The book includes chapters on sleep and arousal, pleasure and fear systems, the sources of rage and anger, and the neural control of sexuality, as well as the more subtle emotions related to maternal care, social loss, and playfulness. Representing a synthetic integration of vast amounts of neurobehavioral knowledge, including relevant neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry, this book will be one of the most important contributions to understanding the biology of emotions since Darwins The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

The Myth Of Mirror Neurons The Real Neuroscience Of Communication And Cognition

Author: Gregory Hickok
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393244164
Size: 14.35 MB
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An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology. In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain. Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation—a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds? The Myth of Mirror Neurons not only delivers an instructive tale about the course of scientific progress—from discovery to theory to revision—but also provides deep insights into the organization and function of the human brain and the nature of communication and cognition.

Neuroimaging Personality Social Cognition And Character

Author: John R Absher
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128011661
Size: 31.64 MB
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Neuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character covers the science of combining brain imaging with other analytical techniques for use in understanding cognition, behavior, consciousness, memory, language, visual perception, emotional control, and other human attributes. Multidimensional brain imaging research has led to a greater understanding of character traits such as honesty, generosity, truthfulness, and foresight previously unachieved by quantitative mapping. This book summarizes the latest brain imaging research pertaining to character with structural and functional human brain imaging in both normal individuals and those with brain disease or disorder, including psychiatric disorders. By reviewing and synthesizing the latest structural and functional brain imaging research related to character, this book situates itself into the larger framework of cognitive neuroscience, psychiatric neuroimaging, related fields of research, and a wide range of academic fields, such as politics, psychology, medicine, education, law, and religion. Provides a novel innovative reference on the emerging use of neuroimaging to reveal the biological substrates of character, such as optimism, honesty, generosity, and others Features chapters from leading physicians and researchers in the field Contains full-color text that includes both an overview of multiple disciplines and a detailed review of modern neuroimaging tools as they are applied to study human character Presents an integrative volume with far-reaching implications for guiding future imaging research in the social, psychological and medical sciences, and for applying these findings to a wide range of non-clinical disciplines such as law, politics, and religion Connects brain structure and function to human character and integrates modern neuroimaging techniques and other research methods for this purpose