Not only our pleasure, our joy and our laughter but our sorrow, pain, grief and tears arise from the brain, and brain alone. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said that twenty-five centuries ago, in a day when feelings were imagined to arise from so-called ‘body humors’ – blood, bile and phlegm.1 He was giving preeminence to a real body part, not some unverified belief. Hippocrates was so far ahead of his time! Medicine should be proud.2
Biological science since has gone far. Darwin formulated evolution 150 years ago. Some hundred years later Watson and Crick modelled the structure of DNA, heredity’s information carrying molecule. Next, the genetic code was cracked and the mechanism of hereditary could be truly understood.3 Now, genetics is being applied to the structure and functions of the enormously complex human brain.ii In fact, the new neuroscience has gone so far as to extrapolate the brainy nature of things as the be-all and end-all of almost all things human. Increasingly over the last few years, fed by evolution, genetics and imaging technology,4 some neuroscientists claim that the brain, its circuits and chemistry, preordains, explains and drives such ‘ineffable’ qualities as love and empathy, consciousness, creativity, even free will and morality.iii One must ask: Are not these the ‘mysterious’ qualities traditionally meta-analyzed by wise philosophers? Or issues categorically documented by the social scientists? Or sung on by poets and writ by lawyers? Regardless, an emerging biophysical perspective on origins, meaning and purpose is gaining ground fast. This fashionable trend is toward a total and possibly unwarranted scientific reductionism. May things, perhaps, have gone too far too soon? Leaders in the humanities, historians, philosophers, literary people, while intuitively supportive of the civilizing impact of the social human environment through learning experience, tend to express an aura of being off balance.iv The renowned British philosopher Roger Scrutin puts it this way, “We find ourselves in the middle of another tense debate, in which it is not religion, but liberal values, which seem to be challenged by the theory of evolution.”v That veiled ‘call’ to debate partly prompted this article. But, my intent is not to get embroiled in a senseless, disputatious nature-nurture exchange. I prefer balance. So, we shall examine issues such as social dilemmas and disputes in order to render them, whenever possible, into solvable humanistic problems. To start, let us define nature and nurture.
Nature refers to all the biological underpinnings of reproduction, growth and development, organ system structure and function (including that of the brain).
Nurture means all of the ongoing social inputs (the family, education, work, play, art, music, the whole cultural milieu) that shape humans in real life. Operationally, the way people affect each other by the message character of their actions, the way they confirm or disconfirm, inspire or drive one another crazy,vi is the core of a relatively new discipline, Communication Theory.
That said, we can deal with the pseudo-issue of evolution versus liberal values or nature versus nurture. What Scrutin alludes to seems to me less a debate than a litany of fait accompli complaints of the whining ‘ain’t-it-awful’ sort, messages sent out by stalemated humanists and aimed inadvertently at their own impotence in addressing neurobiology’s seemingly overwhelming successes. For, it’s not a simple case of either/or. Nor is it how much of each. It is more sophisticated than that. It is looking at how nature and nurture interact with each other – and affect each other – and when. ‘When’ means at what point in here-and-now present time. ‘When’ also encompasses the transfer of knowledge over historical time (as distinct from epochally long evolutionary time). To facilitate this goal, I’d like to offer a critical new tool to help the nonplussed humanist or any social scientist, for that matter, to resolve or decide (and maybe ultimately solve) nature-nurture controversies. In the offing, I hope to expand the understanding of the well-enthroned neuroscientists by showing that this tool is the very mechanism that mediates – actually ensures the delivery of all messages – between the social environment and ones brain. This new tool is communication. Its focus is relationship. Its technology is control and feedback, or cybernetics. Finally, to put it immodestly, this conceptual tool is the rational social counterpart to the genetic code!
Let’s briefly re-conceptualize nature and nurture in terms of 1) information-carrying mechanism, 2) main organ involved and 3) process. In nature it’s DNA, the gonads and sex. With nurture it’s 1) SIC or social information-communication, 2) the peripheral sense organs, brain-mind (perception & feeling, memory & thinking) and 3) acting through the process of verbal and nonverbal communication. Thus…
One of the brain’s main purposes is to pick up and process input from the human environment. In this sense it is less an end-product of evolution than a most crucial byproduct. Furthermore (good news for philosophers), what comes in from the outside (social-cultural-historical information) is every bit as important as what is long predetermined by evolution. This paper will show, introduce, exactly how social learning and the transmission of culture occurs. If we are going to try to be even a bit rigorous in the social sphere, which has a ‘little-to-no’ rigour reputation, a good working knowledge of the Theory of Communication is quite essential. To get a grasp on the grammar5 of communication, let’s jump right in and have a cursory look at some of what really goes on between people – just two people to begin.
First, one cannot not communicate. If you and I know each other and I’m giving you the silent treatment, even my silence is a message. An unclear, vague message to be sure, but a message just the same. We hope that when people are talking together their messages are clear if not necessarily concise. In short and in general, communication of a sort is always going on between people who are awake and aware of each other. One cannot not communicate. Most important!
Second, message sent is not necessarily message received. Let’s imagine that you and I are skiing together down a steep mountain slope in back country. Fast! Wind is whistling past our ears. I’m in front, leading, and suddenly spot a crevasse ahead. I shout out a last second warning and swoop to a fast stop. You swerve on by and … later in the hospital … we have strong clear words. The fact is, there are so many ways (auditory, visual and touch channels to name just three) that a message can be distorted or thwarted between sender and receiver – including even international diplomats – that it’s a wonder there are not more wars than there already are.
Third, communication is always at two simultaneous levels: 1) in words, ie speech or written, along with 2) various facial expressions, gestures, etc. Consider, “I love you,” said with limpid eyes and a smile. The words carry my thoughts while the nonverbal-kinesic accompaniment will signal my attendant feeling about the truth of what I’m saying. The verbal component is the main message while the nonverbal analogical expression of emotion is a higher level, secondary metamessage or message about the main message.
The picture shows pathological communication with an acting-out teen. Imagine that I send out the exact same words with tensely hunched shoulders and a snarl. Feelings of tender love and caring are totally incompatible with the digital words. The point is, when metamessage and main message are in disharmony, real trouble between any two people may be afoot.6
Fourth, communication is cybernetically controlled, rather circular than linear. Let’s look at what happens in a common everyday occurrence: You and I are walking briskly toward each other in the hallway at work. As we pass, you pleasantly say hello and I nod and smile back; then we continue on without stopping or turning. This is normal, perfectly functional interpersonal communication. It is two way, forth and back, circular or cyclical. Your hello forms the first, stimulus, side of the circle. My smiling nod forms the second, response, half. My response is also a reinforcement to your initiative. Hence this short exchange contains a cybernetic control mechanism, a characteristic of all communication.
Just think what might happen if I hadn’t nodded back to you – at best you would have felt perplexed or at worst miffed or even paranoidal. Most communication consists of lengthier circular sequences with punctuation. All people (as shown below) also assume relational stances – egalitarian (H=W symmetrical) or authoritarian (H/W or W/H complementary) – that can shape persistent patterns of action at both the personal level and, amazingly, even between nation states. Very important stuff.
And fifth, information-communication is based on the second law of thermodynamics rather than on the first: entropy factors more than energy physics are involved. We’ll stop this simple introduction to pragmatic Communication Theory right there for now.
I conceptualized, explored and confirmed these premises over several decades in several medical-psychiatric settings. My general practise with ‘normal’ people balanced off marital-family work with upset, ‘abnormal’ children. My goal from the outset was to translate the language of psychology, or what is surmised to happen inside just one person’s head (insight), into mechanisms that display and explain what goes on between people (outsight). And vice versa, from outside in as well as inside out. Several clinical varieties of communication style in dyadic and triangular setups were noted and duly published.viiviiiixx Similar wider, enmeshing patterns of social information-communication (SIC) affecting individuals were also noted in and between various institutions: schools, workplaces, social agencies, recreational, legal-correctional facilities, etc., as well as between family group members and multiple significant outsiders.xi Notably, specific extrapolations were made that can rationally explain serious events, escalating or at impasse, between nation states no less!xiixiii
Social Information Communication (SIC) – the key to our understanding of social-environmental input – is an infant-hybrid of three distinct, related branches of knowledge: 1) Computational Science, 2) the Second Law of Thermodynamics and 3) Information Theory (IT). Out of IT comes pragmatic Communication Theory (CT), the basis of SIC. Certain critical aspects of CT, especially its cybernetic control, require computational concepts. But we’ll come to all of that in due course by gentle steps.
The various departments of communication studies in universities bear little direct resemblance to what we are dealing with. They are largely devoted to the form and content of theatre, the media, advertising, public relations, propaganda and topics of that sort. We shall need a bit more background in order to get to where we are going. In the broadest of terms, our social information communication (SIC) studies consist of three related but usually separated (sometimes mutually isolated) categories:
SEMANTICS has to do with the meaning of communication. General Semantics, a branch of philosophy, was built around ‘meanings’ in the early twentieth century. It pretty well died out. Philosophy’s symbolic logic may also be categorized here for convenience. Marshall McLuhan’s seminal ideas on media (the medium is the message) and especially changing social meanings (role now precedes goal) are very important. As noted, modern university departments of ‘communication studies’ deal with some kinds of meaning and method and may also be subsumed here.
SYNTACTICS deals with the technical aspects of information transmission. It deals with channel capacities, coding, and interference by ‘noise,’ etc. This rather esoteric branch of Communication Theory was studied and formalized mathematically by Claude Shannon as Information Theory.7 IT is used in telephony and was a step leading to modern computer science, of which Boolean logic and binary coding are basic.8
PRAGMATICS is the practical social aspect of human communication that marital-family workers and other clinicians will be most interested in. It is minute-to-minute and action-oriented. As it can describe and explain all human interactions, from what goes on between two or three people, those in the family and small groups, and on up to nations, pragmatic CT is very special. It also can account for what transpires over historical time – the transmission of culture and knowledge. So, historians and philosophers, please perk up and take heed.
The couple is a little principality that votes its own laws and is constantly in danger of falling into despotism or anarchy.xiv
How is that philosophical assertion on marriage, or any two-person setup, rationalized, particularized and generalized? The prototypical two-person relationship (or dyad) is that between a mother and her baby. The mother is caring and the dependent baby is cared for. The communication stance is, like mountain and valley, complementary. (Of note, the first and most terrible anomaly I ever came across was where unspoken complaints and suppressed feelings can cause a mother to get badly depressed and end her child’s life in the ‘homicide-suicide complex.’)xv To continue, normal lifelong developmental drift is toward a symmetrically egalitarian stance – with testing, ups and downs, during adolescence.
We’ll now look at other anomalous variants and some general dyadic truths.
If agreement cannot be reached and disagreement isn’t tolerated ‘debate’ may deteriorate to ad hominum put-downs (disconfirmation) and attendant anger-rage. Egalitarian disputes with a touch of competitive colouring thus tend to rapidly escalate, spiral up out of cybernetic control, to the point of violence, even murder. (What Marital Disputes and Barroom Brawls Have in Common, published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, illustrates and explains intrinsic interpersonal pathology and outlines easy prevention and practical remedies.)xvi The symmetrical stance is commonly prone to such runaways. In stark contrast, however, two people who get locked into a one-up one-down (or complementary) stance tend to grind down into a rigidity that is perpetually reinforced. The outcome may be sadomasochism and the like. A major generalization:
Well-functioning relationships have smooth-working parametric switch-functions that enable timely alternations between symmetry and complementarity as conditions of competence or power change.
It is noteworthy that international disputes may be analogous to two-person anomalies. The Cold War, an escalating arms race, was a symmetrical runaway barely controlled by a MAD switch function of mutually assured destruction. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a complementary grind-down (a gruesome twosome, clinically). It can be mathematically described as an infinitely oscillating series.9
For hundreds of years science has been preoccupied with the very distant (the stars) and the very small (atoms). The very immediate – human relationship – has been overlooked. Watzlawickxvii10
That’s an eyeopening observation! We’ll now examine critical three-person situations. Human triangles, while often stubborn, are inherently fragile or unstable – except for one very special kind. Two loving spouses and their mutually adored and protected baby is the most nurturing and basic of all triangles. It is functional, very sound.
As learning is not linear, but circularly reinforced, the baby at the nexus gets a head-start in life. The other eternal triangle, of marital unfaithfulness, has been around for ages. Yet another: All of us may have felt the ‘odd-man-out’ effect – being on the outside edge of a trio in which the other two are doing all of the talking. That unpleasant experience exemplifies another important basic principle:
Triangles have the propensity to range from enhancing to noxious in effect. Intimate communication exchanges can only involve two people at any one point in time; otherwise it’s a lecture.
In this connection and as a statement to counter the ubiquitous nature versus nurture fallacy, it is very important to note that each child in any kind of family is always subtended by its own individual social environment as shown below. Rarely, if ever, can anything be all genetic or all social – simply a timely mixture of both nature and nurture.
The next triangle is basic in its structure and its lessons. The Split Field Relayer System (SF:RS), the major external source of anxiety, is a key communication triangle that demonstrates a phase-1 bridge between dyads and noxious social enmeshment. Discovered and intensively studied during the 1960’s it was published to considerable acclaim in 1972.xviii
In the SF:RS a mother (M) and father (F) are in quietly hostile disagreement (+ / -) with each other. They no longer are talking about some key issues that are also important to their child. Such a two-person covert conflict is termed a split social field. Obviously it breaks the first CT premise: one cannot not communicate. While failing to speak directly with one another, each parent separately does so in pseudoalliance with their dependent child, who in turn exaggerates and covertly relays the adverse message on to the other parent (arrows). Back and forth it goes. It perversely entraps all three of the actors with a coercive metamessage – “be silent about this mess.” This paradoxical injunction or ‘bind’ is most noxious. The SF:RS induces structured anxiety in the child-relayer who is depicted with hair standing on end and labelled with a big ‘A’ for anxiety. Next, in cryptic format, are the relevant formal details of CT premise 3 which has to do with simple contradictions and noxious paradoxes.
3. HUMAN INFORMATION COMMUNICATION (IC) IS MULTIDIMENSIONAL.
Social IC is at two parallel levels: 1) A main content message and 2) A contextual relational metamessage. The relational component may be emotional (I love you.), command (Come! Listen! Go!), or plea (Help!?). Content and relational levels are simultaneously present. Either level may be primary.
SIC is comprised of two message modes: 1) Digital (verbal speech or writing) and 2) Analog (kinesic-nonverbal). The digital mode is cortical-intellectual. Cognitive science is most interested in it. The nonverbal-kinesic mode is of old-brain or limbic origin, hence relational-emotional as tone of voice, facial expression, body posture, gestures. Cognitive science is having difficulty coming to grips with emotional expression.
Primary information messages and their relational metamessages may or may not correspond harmoniously. Thus, congruent harmony, while usual, is not assured; contradictions and paradoxes (binds) occur. Perverse binds may adversely affect one or all of thinking, feeling, and acting. Such communication dysfunctions are extremely noxious.
Next we’ll see a notable phase-2 bridge to the wider social environment that explains much of human networks – how a social network, consisting of many people, works. A differentiation of the steps from what happens inside the head of just one person (monadic, ie 1:1 intrapsychic)11 to what goes on between two (dyadic, ie marital couple) or three (triangular, ie core family group) has important clinical impact. But the leap from what goes on between three people to what goes on between many begins to convey how cultural factors factor in. Understanding it is crucial. The next diagram illustrates what happens when a child (or anyone, anyplace for that matter) is caught at the nexus of increasing numbers of enmeshed split field triangles. Here’s how it goes…
Clinical anxiety converts to visible hyperactivity when a child is caught in more than one SF:RS. This easily occurs when a parent is at covert odds with, say, a teacher – or any other person outside the immediate family who is also significant to the particular child. Suppose, a child whose parents are separated, is in temporary protective care … then, as the number of care-giving power persons (P) increases, so does the number of potential split social fields between them (1, 2, 3…n). For a child at the nexus, the intensity of hyperactivity goes up – as the original induced anxiety diminishes! – in proportion to the number of entrapping split fields. Write in hyperactivity with a large ‘H!’xix This augmented setup, involving a few to numerous noxious triangles, is termed Multiple Split Fields (or MSFs).
The clinical concept also, in principal, applies to essentially normal adults, even sober diplomats, maneuvering in a very complex and contradictory world. In a symmetrical, egalitarian cultural context, socially induced anxiety underlies nonconformity and usually drives vigorous conformity. In dominant, oppressive regimes, the conformity may become submission – stultified or petrified.
* * *
I’ve provided an outline of how people connect with the social-cultural-historical environment, step by step, through communication mechanisms. The connection works in both directions – in, to the brain’s senses and out, from the brain’s effectors (voicebox etc.). The body and brain are there to interact with and learn from the environment. And then the brain makes its own inner changes as needed! It’s not all from genes up; it’s also from the social environment – from outside in.
My demonstration of Communication Theory and social information-communication is derived from clinical rather than purely academic social studies. That should not be a drawback, however, for communication of the pragmatic sort can be nicely applied as a conceptual tool in any social situation.
In sharp contrast to biological information transfer via the ‘immortal’ chemical DNA, social information-communication (or SIC) is essentially ‘wireless.’ SIC acts ephemerally, in the here-and-now, between people. Apart from smell there’s no chemical to sniff. In lieu of perfect transmission and a total clutching memory, the relentless drift toward entropy can, hypothetically, dissipate any here-and-now-immediate information. But a biologically well-organized person with a well-functioning brain can oppose, hold back, the chaos of entropy for a lifetime. (Somewhere in the genome there must be an explanation for that!?) Regardless, any person embedded, or better enmeshed, in any powerful social network is constantly and continuously apprised of and held to its culture and its morality through SIC. Not through genes! For the person is bombarded with billions of bits of social-cultural information, all the time, every second – a coagulum of cacophanous communication that sticks. On the other hand, across relatively brief historical time, SIC acts almost like DNA in genes – in an effectively ‘permanent’ way – in the form of books and renewable electronic archives.
SIC has a type of ‘grammar’ (akin to real gradeschool grammer) that resides largely unthought-of behind everyday speech and action. That is to say, SIC’s basic premises are a subtle codex as to what actually goes on between people outside of their ready awareness. In that light, one purpose of this paper was to heighten the reader’s awareness of social information-communication (SIC) and pragmatic Communication Theory (CT). That done, we can neatly tweak the SIC concept and employ it as a valid tool with which to rationally demonstrate – and verify – the vast ongoing influence that the social environment exerts not only upon a child’s early development but also over its entire lifetime. I think too that philosophers and historians may be able to borrow the concept and apply it to currently controversial ideas around consciousness, free will and the like. I also would think that it goes without saying that Communication Theory (and SIC) should be sociology’s basic science.
Nurture is every bit as important as nature. We all really knew that intuitively. It’s just hard to buck the excess bio-credibility of over-extrapolated fMRI evidence. Now we can so by using SIC. To reiterate, SIC is the how of nurture more than the what. So, knowing that, we can evermore assert – and rationally, rather than intuitively, support – more of ‘soft’ social theory. So there we have it. Now what all can we do with it? On that note I’ll end.
William Hogg MD
March 22, 2012
1Many doctors and almost all of Western society, wrapped up in a whopping ‘illusion of validity,’ believed in this ancient humoral doctrine right on up through much of the nineteenth century.
2The brain is a slow juicy biological ‘supercomputer’ (of genetic origin) based in carbon electro-chemistry with maximum nerve path speeds of 100 m/sec, whereas modern everyday computers are based in silicon and fast electro-magnetism with potential speeds approaching that of light. The author’s cutaway drawing shows the several parts and pathways underlying thought, memory, emotion and autonomic functions: CG cingulate gyrus, CC corpus callosum, T thalamus, HT hypothalamus, M mammillary body, S septum, FC frontal cortex, MFB medial forebrain bundle, H hippocampus, CER cerebellum, A amygdala, P pituitary gland, RF reticular formation, V4 fourth ventricle, MO medulla oblongata. Anatomical terminology in and of itself certainly trumps psychology! That being said, we’ll leave neuroanatomy behind.
3…for modern biologists. Gregor Mendel, an isolated monk, in the nineteenth century, through pollination studies of peas, formulated the Mendelian laws of heredity which are easier for the layman to understand than GC-AT genome coding.
4…and warped by overstimulated cognitive theorists over-extrapolating from fMRI’s?
5Grammar, hidden rules, hypotheses? The next five points are really an introduction to the basic premises of pragmatic Communication Theory.
6It happens more than can be imagined. Consider, where the metamessage is in this message: “I done that real good, eh? Yeah LOL!” Now, isn’t that a very direct communication of poor word usage and bad grammar of the real sort, perhaps even communicating ones lower social status if not necessarily educational level.
7Freud and the intrapsychic psychologists borrowed from energy physics to explain mind, but they were wrong. Entropy is where it’s at. Back in the 1930’s, Shannon looked into thermodynamics and entropy at the Bell labs where he studied channel capacities and static (noise) in telephone cables. He singlehandedly worked out the mathematics of Information Theory. Of course it’s perfectly obvious how his work can be applied to the long nerve ‘cables’ running from head to toe in humans. (But, to my knowledge neurology has ignored it.) It’s less obvious how Shannon’s IT and entropy work may apply to interpersonal communication. But it does. – messages are subject to entropy (organization & chaos) more than raw energy transfer. And channels between people are wireless; that is the key – speech as conveyed by sound is totally wireless. At around the same time that Shannon was doing his seminal work, Alan Turing (England) and Norbert Weiner (USA), both also mathematicians, pioneered Computational Science which led on to the computer revolution.
8For convenience, Pavlov’s physiological conditioning (& Learning Theory in psychology) might be included here also.
9In my opinion, diplomats and statesman-politicians would be well rewarded if they were to study, investigate and carefully apply some pragmatic Communication Theory.
10The idea was capitalized upon by a remarkably open and fresh clinical research group at Palo Alto. Members of this pioneering group were Jurgen Ruesch, Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, Virginia Satir, Don Jackson et al. They tried to introduce Communication Theory, the essence of nurture in human relationships, into psychiatry during the mid-1900’s. But, that unique application all too soon fizzled out. This unfortunate event came about for several reasons: one was the fact that CT’s source was outside the ordinary realms of both mainline science and medicine; another was the increasing focus upon genetics and brain chemistry which tended to starve research into the social factors thought to be steering human actions; and finally, the odd propensity of clinical psychology and psychiatry to espouse unsubstantiated and often wild mind-based theories, did no good for the strange but rational approach to human behaviour through CT. The advent of fashionable Transactional Analysis, a clinically effective but circular and airtight interpersonal method, created by Eric Berne, stole the day. Many front-line workers still use it. But enough of this nostalgic reflection upon what might have been. Let’s cut to the chase.
11During the first half of the twentieth century psychology was all mind and no brain – brainless. Theories of the mind, all virtually without factual evidence, abounded. The old brain-mind duality had not been resolved (as M=fB?). Nowadays, beyond the first decade of the twenty-first century, it seems that the trend of research in academic cognitive psychology and practical clinical neuropsychiatry are entirely about the physical brain – and at times almost mindless.
iThe author comes from a medical perspective (MD, Western 1957). Early on, I was a professor at McMaster University (child & family psychiatry) & SUNYAB (community psychiatry, biostatistics & epidemiology, and family medicine). In the 1960’s I became interested in information-communication (a la Shannon, Bateson, McLuhan et al). My academic and research interests have focused upon translating and explaining hypothetical psychological events in demonstrable terms of social mechanisms as they affect marriages and the family – and children. (Perhaps even international conflicts!?) My entire career has combined general medical practise and child and family psychiatry as a means of maintaining a grasp on ‘normal.’ Literary output has been small but seminal in such journals as Psychiatry (The Split Field Relayer System as a Factor in the Etiology of Anxiety), Journal of American College of Forensic Psychiatry (What Marital Disputes and Barroom Brawls Have in Common, Mothers Who Murder Their Children), Canadian Medical Association Journal (Do-It-Yourself Stereophonic Stethoscope). At age 80 I’m now retired and am putting together a few books: More Belongs to Marriage than Four Legs in a Bed (or, making marriage work), A Lifetime of Delivering Child Psychiatry (three models: preventive, hospital, private) and Cracking the Family Code. For fun I write on knol (http://knol.google.com/k/william-f-hogg-md/-/3ga0u5203tyhc/0?hd=ns#knols). All of knol will be on Annotum by May 2012. Finally, I must confess that that brain cutaway at the top of this article is a concession and ‘hook’ to neuroscientists and the new breed of cognitive psychologists who should, along with humanists and social scientists, become intimately aware of social information-communication (SIC).
iiOne notable researcher, Vilayanur Ramachandran MD PhD, author of The Tell-Tale Brian & Adventures in behavioural neurology – or – what neurology can tell us about human nature, modestly confines his claims on proper evidence. See: http://edge.org/conversation/adventures_behavioral_neurology
iiiGottlieb, Anthony. Neurones vs Free Will, Intelligent Life, March/April 2012. This author, by use of clever and pointed analogies, effectively (almost) decries the excessive claims of fMRI-neuroscience. The problem is, like others, he offers no effective countervailing social tool to support his thesis.
ivArts & Letters Daily: from the chronicles of higher education, a selection of books and articles dealing with philosophy, aesthetics, literature, language, ideas, criticism, culture, history, art, trends, breakthroughs… http://www.aldaily.com/ My observation, as I daily read Arts & Letters, is that all too many humanists seem increasingly nonplussed by the current crescendo of unbalanced claims by neuroscientists on behalf evolution and brain-mind. It’s as if humankind has little or no free will, empathy has no social roots, morality is predetermined, etc. I could have cited a flood of perplexed articles. Some humanists literally scream in dismay. None know how to remedy their unpleasant situation. My paper shows how.
vScruton, Roger. Nature, nurture and liberal values. Prospect Magazine UK 25 January 2012. Noted modern philosopher. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Scruton
viWatzlawick, Paul PhD. An Anthology of Human Communication, Science and Behaviour Books, Palo Alto. This notable sentence is gratefully attributed to the philosopher author.
viiHogg, William. The Split Field: Relayer System as a factor in the etiology of anxiety: A study of 48 cases. Psychiatry: Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Processes, 1972.
viiiHogg, WF MD & JE Northman PhD. The Resonating Parental Bind and Delinquency. Family Therapy Vol 6, 1979.
ixHogg, William. Mothers Who Murder Their Children. American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry (AJFP), Vol 25, 2004.
xHogg, William. What Marital Disputes and Barroom Brawls Have in Common. AJFP, Vol 28, 2007.
xiHogg, William. Socially Induced Hyperactivity (SIH) in Children – introducing a major new etiologic concept and drug-free treatment approach. At this point, published only on Google knol, on Annotum May 2012.
xiiSystems: See Hogg, William. http://knol.google.com/k/integrating-life-science-systems# At mid 20th century a General Systems Theory (GST) was postulated as a means of unifying all of science, from astronomy & physics through biology to psychology and on to the social sciences of sociology, cultural anthropology. Mathematical formulas and patterns in one area were seen as applicable in others. Literal analogies were sought for and treasured. A focus on the interfaces of various disciplines was promoted, as each interface, it was thought, merited study in its own right. Many isolated and frustrated social scientists, psychologists, physiologists and pseudo-philosophical engineers quickly leaped aboard the GST bandwagon, bringing with them a hodgepodge of subjects including concepts of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, open and closed systems, cybernetics, communication and information theories! GST as a bona fide unifying theory for all of science was certainly stretching it, but, the subjects that gained a connection with it were altogether another matter.
xiiiPatterns: See Hogg, William. http://knol.google.com/k/picturing-patterns-of-interaction# Visual models of complicated psychosocial mechanisms not only help us better recall clinical patterns but also are an important step towards the rigorous scientific portrayal and understanding of otherwise obscure concepts.
xivBruckner, Pascal. Quoted by R. Fulford, in an article, Love Continues to Tear Us Apart, National Post, March 2012. http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/03/13/fulford-love-continues-to-tear-us-apart/
xvii Ibid vi.
xviii Ibid vii.