Rethinking the cognitive revolution from a neural perspective: how overuse/misuse of the term 'cognition' and the neglect of affective controls in behavioral neuroscience could be delaying progress in understanding the BrainMind.
ABSTRACT Words such as cognition, motivation and emotion powerfully guide theory development and the overall aims and goals of behavioral neuroscience research. Once such concepts are accepted generally as natural aspects of the brain, their influence can be pervasive and long lasting. Importantly, the choice of conceptual terms used to describe and study mental/neural functions can also constrain research by forcing the results into seemingly useful 'conceptual' categories that have no discrete reality in the brain. Since the popularly named 'cognitive revolution' in psychological science came to fruition in the early 1970s, the term cognitive or cognition has been perhaps the most widely used conceptual term in behavioral neuroscience. These terms, similar to other conceptual terms, have potential value if utilized appropriately. We argue that recently the term cognition has been both overused and misused. This has led to problems in developing a usable shared definition for the term and to promotion of possible misdirections in research within behavioral neuroscience. In addition, we argue that cognitive-guided research influenced primarily by top-down (cortical toward subcortical) perspectives without concurrent non-cognitive modes of bottom-up developmental thinking, could hinder progress in the search for new treatments and medications for psychiatric illnesses and neurobehavioral disorders. Overall, linkages of animal research insights to human psychology may be better served by bottom-up (subcortical to cortical) affective and motivational 'state-control' perspectives, simply because the lower networks of the brain are foundational for the construction of higher 'information-processing' aspects of mind. Moving forward, rapidly expanding new techniques and creative methods in neuroscience along with more accurate brain concepts, may help guide the development of new therapeutics and hopefully more accurate ways to describe and explain brain-behavior relationships.
- SourceAvailable from: Sarah E Morris[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Current diagnostic systems for mental disorders were established before the tools of neuroscience were available, and although they have improved the reliability of psychiatric classification, progress toward the discovery of disease etiologies and novel approaches to treatment and prevention may benefit from alternative conceptualizations of mental disorders. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative is the centerpiece of NIMH's effort to achieve its strategic goal of developing new methods to classify mental disorders for research purposes. The RDoC matrix provides a research framework that encourages investigators to reorient their research perspective by taking a dimensional approach to the study of the genetic, neural, and behavioral features of mental disorders, RDoCs integrative approach includes cognition along with social processes, arousal/regulatory systems, and negative and positive valence systems as the major domains, because these neurobehavioral systems have all evolved to serve the motivational and adaptive needs of the organism. With its focus on neural circuits informed by the growing evidence of the neurodevelopmental nature of many disorders and its capacity to capture the patterns of co-occurrence of behaviors and symptoms, the RDoC approach holds promise to advance our understanding of the nature of mental disorders.Dialogues in clinical neuroscience. 03/2012; 14(1):29-37.
Dataset: Morris RDoC DCNS 2012
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ABSTRACT: This paper posits that the brain evolved for the control of action rather than for the development of cognition per se. We note that the terms commonly used to describe brain-behavior relationships define, and in many ways limit, how we conceptualize and investigate them and may therefore constrain the questions we ask and the utility of the "answers" we generate. Many constructs are so nonspecific and over-inclusive as to be scientifically meaningless. "Executive function" is one such term in common usage. As the construct is increasingly focal in neuroscience research, defining it clearly is critical. We propose a definition that places executive function within a model of continuous sensorimotor interaction with the environment. We posit that control of behavior is the essence of "executive function," and we explore the evolutionary advantage conferred by being able to anticipate and control behavior with both implicit and explicit mechanisms. We focus on the cerebellum's critical role in these control processes. We then hypothesize about the ways in which procedural (skill) learning contributes to the acquisition of declarative (semantic) knowledge. We hypothesize how these systems might interact in the process of grounding knowledge in sensorimotor anticipation, thereby directly linking movement to thought and "embodied cognition." We close with a discussion of ways in which the cerebellum instructs frontal systems how to think ahead by providing anticipatory control mechanisms, and we briefly review this model's potential applications.The Cerebellum 11/2011; 11(2):505-25. · 2.60 Impact Factor