After Phrenology: Neural Reuse And The Interactive Brain

Hardcover | December 12, 2014

byMichael L. Anderson

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The computer analogy of the mind has been as widely adopted in contemporary cognitive neuroscience as was the analogy of the brain as a collection of organs in phrenology. Just as the phrenologist would insist that each organ must have its particular function, so contemporary cognitive neuroscience is committed to the notion that each brain region must have its fundamental computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to achieve a fully post-phrenological science of the brain, we need to reassess this commitment and devise an alternate, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of mental function.

Anderson contends that the cognitive roles played by each region of the brain are highly various, reflecting different neural partnerships established under different circumstances. He proposes quantifying the functional properties of neural assemblies in terms of their dispositional tendencies rather than their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale issues, and drawing on evidence from embodied cognition, Anderson develops a picture of thinking rooted in the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving capacity for iterated interaction with the world. He argues that the multidimensional approach to the brain he describes offers a much better fit for these findings, and a more promising road toward a unified science of minded organisms.

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The computer analogy of the mind has been as widely adopted in contemporary cognitive neuroscience as was the analogy of the brain as a collection of organs in phrenology. Just as the phrenologist would insist that each organ must have its particular function, so contemporary cognitive neuroscience is committed to the notion that each ...

Michael L. Anderson is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.88 inPublished:December 12, 2014Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262028107

ISBN - 13:9780262028103

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After Phrenology by Michael L. Anderson is a unique and thought-provoking contribution to the current debate on how cognition interfaces with the environment and how we can move scientific studies of the brain forward. His theory of 'neural reuse' is a proposal for how we may re-frame the debate and fills in some of the gaps that exist now when we communicate about the mind, the brain, and the environment.