The Future of Psychology: Connecting Mind to Brain

Boston College, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
Perspectives on Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.89). 07/2009; 4(4):326-339. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01134.x
Source: PubMed


Psychological states such as thoughts and feelings are real. Brain states are real. The problem is that the two are not real in the same way, creating the mind-brain correspondence problem. In this article, I present a possible solution to this problem that involves two suggestions. First, complex psychological states such as emotion and cognition an be thought of as constructed events that can be causally reduced to a set of more basic, psychologically primitive ingredients that are more clearly respected by the brain. Second, complex psychological categories like emotion and cognition are the phenomena that require explanation in psychology, and, therefore, they cannot be abandoned by science. Describing the content and structure of these categories is a necessary and valuable scientific activity.Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.-Einstein & Infeld (1938, p. 33)The cardinal passions of our life, anger, love, fear, hate, hope, and the most comprehensive divisions of our intellectual activity, to remember, expect, think, know, dream (and he goes on to say, feel) are the only facts of a subjective order…-James (1890, p. 195).

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    • "Also, again, motivated by technological advances, BE is likely to incorporate advances in techniques designed to measure the neuropsychological underpinnings of choice behaviour. Neuroscience and neuroeconomics already adopt the principle that a deeper understanding of any behavior requires consilience across neuroscience and psychology (Barrett, 2009), and across neuroscience and economics (Camerer & Loewenstein, 2004; Camerer & Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2005). This is likely to continue given the Human Brain Mapping project [a US project set to begin in 2014 involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), and the National Science Foundation (NSF)]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The addition of “behavioral” to economics has given rise to a highly successful field of research. But, is it just a fashionable new trend or is it here to stay? More to the point, how does it differ from its close relative psychology? To answer these questions, the present article considers what behavioral economics is, and where it started, with the aim of trying to forecast what the status of it will be in the future. In forecasting where behavioral economics might be heading, the argument proposed here is that the best clues can be found in psychological research. If, as has been proposed here, behavioral economics partners research trends in psychology, then the futures of both will almost certainly be moving in the same direction. Both are beginning to, and will start to rely on online tools/mobile phone applications to collect richer data revealing dynamic tends over long time horizons, and as technology continues to facilitate ways of looking at group behaviour online, then larger scale studies examining interactions amongst multiple groups of people will become the norm rather than the exception. More specifically this article speculates on the future research focus of researchers in behavioral economics and the extent to which this will overlap with psychological research on judgment and decision-making.
    Psychology 07/2015; 06(6):1114. DOI:10.4236/psych.2015.69109
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    • "Lisa Feldman Barrett makes an interesting case for these elementary features of behaviour. She advocates reducing behaviours or emotions into basic, psychological primitives (Feltman Barrett, 2009). If we want to improve the baking of bread it is not helpful to make slices of bread to study how we can improve it. "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychopharmacology has had some bad publicity lately. Frankly, there have been some major problems along the way in developing new effective drugs for psychiatric disorders. After a prolonged period of high investments but low success rates, big pharmaceutical companies seem to retract their activities in the psychopharmacology field. Yet, the burden of mental disorders is likely to keep on growing in the next decades. In this position paper, we focus on drug development for depression and anxiety disorders, to narrow the scope of the assay. We describe the current situation of the psychopharmacology field, and analyse some of the methods and paradigms that have brought us here, but which should perhaps change to bring us even further. In addition, some of the factors contributing to the current stagnation in psychopharmacology are discussed. Finally, we suggest a number of changes that could lead to a more rational strategy for central nervous system drug development and which may circumvent some of the pitfalls leading to "me too" approaches. Central to the suggested changes, is the notion that mental disorders do not lead to several symptoms, but a network of causally related symptoms convolutes into a mental disorder. We call upon academia to put these changes in the early phases of drug development into effect. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    European journal of pharmacology 03/2015; 759. DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.03.020 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    • "The psychological language (visuospatial processes, labeling processes, output lexicon of speech) represents an obstacle to acquire more accurate psychological words because it carries sediment of ancient philosophical language that comes from the requirements of the faculties of the soul (Mora, 2001). The Canadian psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett (2009) made a call to a new language consisting of psychological primitives. She promotes the metaphor of psychological primitives as ingredients in a cooking recipe. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this article, Executive Functions (EFs) have been analyzed as a metaphor of brain activity. A new metaphor is proposed: EFs as activation of scenarios or virtual machines. This proposal will be sustained with explanations, and experimental data. The EFs concept transcends the information produced by classical cognitive capacities, such as attention and memory. By “transcending” us ethymologicaly understand, something behind or above the scene, and into neurocognitive domain means that it is a superordinate entity. Then, that EFs are superordinate implies they are on a different level, regarding the aforementioned cognitive abilities, but: how does this phenomenon occur? We present evidenceto sustain that the EFs most appropriate metaphor is 'the generation of virtual machines'. Evidence and benefits of using this new EFs metaphor will be presented together with the richness of relationships generated by the cognitive activity illuminated by this metaphor: the closeness with the concepts of self emotional regulation, effortful control, temperament and personality will becleared; as well as the cultural influence of the “Executive” metaphor has been highlighted.
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