The Brain and the Book - Session 10


  • March 20. How Did You Become You (2)? Identity from inside. And we will be looking at learning and memory.
    1. Identity from inside. Sense of self.
      1. Gazzaniga, Nature's Mind, pp. 120-137. Handout
      2. Damasio, Feeling of What Happens, pp. 15-26, 174, 175. Handout. Our error! We handed out the wrong selection.
    2. Learning and Memory
      1. Bownds, Biology of Mind, (My error - repeated Ch. 10) ch. 12, pp. 285-311.
      2. Blakeslee, "Brain-Updating Machinery." Handout
      3. Pally, "Memory." Handout
      4. Pally, "How Brain Development is Shaped." Handout

    3. March 20. How Did You Become You (2)? Identity from inside. And we will be looking at learning and memory.
      1. Identity from inside. Sense of self.
        1. Gazzaniga, Nature's Mind, pp. 120-137. Handout. "Selecting for Mind," pp. 112-137.
          1. Spelke & Leslie are big-time child observers. 118-119. Kids develop sense of other minds, can cheat, understand others' deceiving. Part of primate social order.
          2. What is "the interpreter"? p. 124. Logic? Evaluation? Judgments of causality? Is Gazz supplying a cause for an unknown effect? What he desccribes are very like early psac experiments with hypnosis.
          3. He sez rt brain does not do causal relations.
          4. 134.4 At this pt he's describing a Lichtenstein- Holland identity from outside.
          5. Summary on 136-7. Always look for summaries.

        2. Damasio, Feeling of What Happens, pp. 15-26, 174, 175. Handout. Handout. Our error! We handed out the wrong selection. A mix of csness fm inside and fm outside. Look at 174-175. The core of his arg (no pun intended). Self is like our identity observed from outside (roughly!). Csness is identity from inside.

        3. Bownds, Biology of Mind, ch. 12, pp. 285-311. Very much csness from inside. He seems almost preoccupied. Ucs. factors?
          1. 286.9. Lakoff's self and subject. Lakoff sez our metaphors for self distinguish subject vs. "self." "I (subj) think I (self) will go to the movies." Steve Martin watching SNL. The homunculus problem. Bownds describes on 291. Isn't this what the body-mind problem is all about?
          2. 290.4 Flashing numbers--in the neuropsychologists' experiments, nary an implication that there might be psychoanalytic unconscious functioning!

      2. Learning and Memory

        1. Blakeslee, "Brain-Updating Machinery"
          1. Basically she talks about unreliability of memory coz of reconstruction. Paradoxically, the more you remember a thing the less reliable your memory is. But how about the rewriting of the brain that took place when you had the memory? Is it possible you can be traumatized and misremember the trauma but still be traumatized? I should think so.
          2. How does this relate to lit? Movie classes unable to recall.

        2. Pally, "Memory". Note Bownds 140 has convenient list: 6 systems of memory. Ask yourself as you go along, ask yourself which are involved in seeing a movie, reading a novel, listening to a poem or play, reading a short lyric, etc.

          1. Iconic memory. Largely physiological.

          2. Working memory: prefrontal cx.

          3. Long-term memory. Her idea of repression: 1225a1: emotions (fear, shame) saying, I-emotion don't want this retrieved. Two large types of long-term memory:

            1. Explicit or declarative memory. Medial temporal lobe. Locate that on your brain pix.
              1. semantic is cortical memory for info, data
              2. episodic (personal experiences) involves:
                1. spatial context via hippocampus
                2. temporal via prefrontal cx
                3. source memory via pf cx (via prefrontal cortex)
              3. encoding of both types takes place in prefrontal cx. Various things enhance encoding:
                1. novelty
                2. emotional intensity (but stress hormones work by inverted U--too much and you have affect block)
                3. personal relevance
              4. retrieval.
                1. cues are emotional or sensory similarities. Cp. SF's definition of "wish"
                2. it is a reconstructive process in which the hippocampus brings together separate sensory memories.
                3. Note tt repression may take place at the retrieval stage

            2. Implicit memory. It is not csly processed
              1. priming: preconscious cues
                1. involves pre-semantic pcptual centers in posterior sensory cx
                2. operates separately in each sensory modality. In the auditory mode, does prenatal mother's voice prime for later mother's voice?
                3. What is the role of priming in literature? Foreshadowing.
              2. procedural memory. Involves motor skills. How to win at tennis, golf.
                1. Verbal behaviors can become motor behaviors: the oft-repeated academic lecture. Actor's parts?
                2. Is this where character/identity resides?
              3. emotional memory.
                1. conditioning.
                2. fear experiences from amygdala are long- lasting
                3. 1230b9. possible explanation of childhood amnesia. Cp. psac explanation: oedipal trauma. SF's oedipus cplx
                4. 1231a5-7. the inverted U pattern again.

          4. Pally talks therapy mostly in re trauma
            1. Does insight cure? Fisher&Greenberg say no. How do you test? Milton Berle's descrip of analysis.
            2. How wld verbalization help? Establish pf cx control?

        3. Pally, "How Brain Development is Shaped". This is mostly a summary of stuff you've already had. Is it all clear? Now is the time . . .
          1. 590a5. Re-entry--you need to understand it. "Higher" groupings re-organize lower groupings.
          2. 591a2. Schore. Folly of cutting down funds for pre- kindergarten.
          3. 591b4. Key terms: habituation; sensitization; the inverted U curve.
          4. 592a4. Mammalian brains in groups of mammals: pack and herd animals.
          5. 592a7. Purest Schore - Lichtenstein - Holland. Reunion behavior leading to experiences of joy in earliest phase.
          6. 592b3. Learn terms "agonist" "antagonist" struggle for / against
          7. 593a1. Attachments to parents: SF: superego is parent- in-the-brain.
          8. 593a2. SF: the reality principle. Not fully established until late adolescence. Criminals up to age 30.
          9. 593b2. Free association as "putting it into words."


    4. March 27. What Is an Audience? What Is Genre? We will be discussing our imitative, interpersonal selves.
      1. Cialdini, "The Science of Persuasion." Handout
      2. Fadiga et al., "Visuomotor neurons." Handout
      3. Rizzolatti et al., "Language within our grasp." Handout
      4. Brothers, Friday's Footprint, "The Brain's Social Specialization," "The Editor Speaks," "The Shift to a Social Perspective," "Talking Faces," chs. 3-6, 31-99. Handout
      5. Holland, "The Willing Suspension of Disbelief." Online
        Willing, I. Psychodynamics
        Willing, II. Neuroscience
        Willing, III. Neuro-psychoanalytic
        DEFT