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Challenges when studying the brain

1. Explain the driving force behind self-organization in Perruchet and Vinter's model. Is this force plausible? Provide opinion and support.

2. What challenges face researchers as they study the brain? Which of these challenges poses the biggest obstacle? Discuss positive and negative issues that could arise from further research and discovery into the brain and its function.

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Explain the driving force behind self-organization in Perruchet and Vinter's model. Is this force plausible? Provide opinion and support.

The issue is not uncommon. The authors want to use the unconsciousness as a measurable variable when considering human action and motivation. This has long been considered impossible, since the very fact that it is not "in" consciousness makes it immeasurable. Yet, it stands to reason that the subconscious is a part of our motivation and action, serving as a "background" of sorts, and thus, its contribution can be measured.

The problem, as the authors state, is that this "background" function of the subconscious is not done in time. It is done in a non-discursive way: it is immediate and not according to steps, like in a syllogism. If one is to consider this background measurable and turned into a scientific variable, then the phrase becomes "cognitive unconscious." This might be a contradiction in terms, but that's precisely the question. So they argue that:

1. The subconscious does function in a way that contributes in a real way to our motivation and action.
2. If #1 is true, then this is a measurable variable.
3. If #1 is true, then this suggests that cognition need not be conscious.
4. The subconscious generates information that is meaningful and usable by both the human subject and the researcher (Vinter and Perruchet, 2004, cf pps 298-299).

The two authors call themselves "mentalists." This refers to a form of understanding of cognition that assumes that a) #1 above is NOT true, and b) that while our representations might be generated by the subconscious, it is not significant in terms of our grasp of these representations (Vinter and Perruchet, 2004). The authors need not even use the word "subconscious" in this context, since the Kanitan would say that our a priori categories serve to generate representation. In a sense, these categories are subconscious, but only in the sense that they are a necessary framework for any representation at all.

"Of course" the authors say, our representations are created by ...

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The solution discusses the challenges when studying the brain.

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