Learning and Emotion: A Biological Synthesis - Vol. 1

Learning and Emotion: A Biological Synthesis - Vol. 1

Learning and Emotion: A Biological Synthesis - Vol. 1

Learning and Emotion: A Biological Synthesis - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This work elaborates my conviction that an understanding of the biological basis of our behavior is essential for an adequate view of the nature of learning processes. As Schneirla (1966) put it, considerations of probable evolutionary relationships in mechanisms underlying behavior are fundamental guides for those investigating such behaviors. A knowledge of the organization and functioning of the nervous system, and of how that system evolved in response to the demands imposed for survival, is of particular significance in this context. It is this system that organizes and controls our behavior.

The views of such people as Lashley, Harlow, and Hebb who argued for unity of process between behavior (mind) and neural function, played a significant part in shaping my thinking. In this regard, a statement of Lashley's at the conclusion of his paper on "Cerebral Organization and Behavior" intrigued me when I first read it and has lived with me ever since. Lashley (1958) said:

Mind is a complex organization, held together by interaction of processes and by the time scales of memory, centered about the body image. It has no distinguishing features other than its organization. The mental phenomena must be subjected to an analysis as complete and detailed as that which is being made of neural activities. Only as progress is made in such an analysis, and as the picture of the brain's activities is completed, will it be possible to make significant correlations between the two organized systems. Meanwhile, there is no logical or empirical reason for denying the possibility that the correlation may eventually show a complete identity of the two organizations. (p. 18)

During the past 25 years this question of the relationship between the two systems has been of particular interest to me. Over that period I have come to . . .

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