RE: Getting OT a bit...RE: A look at where consciousness lies in the brain

From: Vincent Campbell (VCampbell@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Thu 28 Aug 2003 - 11:32:28 GMT

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    Sorry that should be Marc Hauser's 'Wild Minds'.

    Vincent

    > ----------
    > From: Vincent Campbell
    > Reply To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
    > Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 1:49 PM
    > To: 'memetics@mmu.ac.uk'
    > Subject: RE: Getting OT a bit...RE: A look at where consciousness
    > lies in the brain
    >
    > Don't know enough about this from the empirical point of view to comment
    > authoritatively, but isn't it the case that below a certain age children
    > don't recognise themselves in a mirror- so one can deduce that the
    > "correct"
    > response to one's image indicates the extent of self-awareness.
    >
    > Beyond that, e.g. the nature of self-awareness that say a chimp has
    > compared
    > to a human, goes back to that Nagel thing about what it's like to be a
    > bat-
    > essentially and fundamentally we can't know.
    >
    > I'd recommend reading Marc Hauser's 'Animal Minds' which is all about
    > animal
    > intelligence, awareness etc. etc. (from one of the leading researchers in
    > the field), for more on this.
    >
    > Of course for humans recognition of self is important because its
    > corollate
    > is recognition of other, and with that comes empathy and the ability to
    > infer motives, desires in others etc. and change our behaviour
    > accordingly.
    >
    > Vincent
    >
    > > ----------
    > > From: Chris Taylor
    > > Reply To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
    > > Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 11:03 AM
    > > To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
    > > Subject: Re: Getting OT a bit...RE: A look at where consciousness
    > > lies in the brain
    > >
    > > There's that experiment where the subject (chimp?) has a spot marked on
    > > their head while unconscious, then when they return to the mirror they
    > > use the image to go staight for the spot on their own head. Now you're
    > > right, that is indistinguishable from, say, thinking that the mirror
    > > image is more of a status monitor than a reflection of a self, just in
    > > the style of a chimp rather than a dashboard iyswim, but I think the
    > > issue is how easily an animal realises that it is at the very least
    > > closely reflective (unavoidable pun) of itself - a functional model of
    > > self would speed this to the point where it is almost qualitatively
    > > different from, say, a dog or a teenager.
    > >
    > > It must be a fairly tenuous thing anyway, this 'belief' in mirrors,
    > > because I (and a zillion fiction writers) can never quite shake the
    > > feeling that it isn't me, and my world, at all, and at any moment it
    > > could deviate (Alice thru the LG, that John Carpenter film Prince of
    > > Darkness [inter about a million alia]).
    > >
    > > Cheers, Chris.
    > >
    > > Virginia Bowen wrote:
    > >
    > > > Question for the academics out there: Does the ability to recognize
    > > > one's mirror image really show self-awareness, or only the ability to
    > > > recognize that one is looking into a thing that reflects? As a
    > > > layperson, it just seems to me that mirror-image recognition doesn't
    > > > really show us anything about self-awareness, only about exposure or
    > not
    > > > to mirrors. I have personal anecdotes about animals that eventually
    > > > realize that the image is not another animal and quit fighting with it
    > > > after a time. Just curious about the academic stance on this.
    > > >
    > > > Virginia
    > > >
    > > > -----Original Message-----
    > > > From: fmb-majordomo@mmu.ac.uk [mailto:fmb-majordomo@mmu.ac.uk] On
    > Behalf
    > > > Of Wade T. Smith
    > > > Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2003 6:41 AM
    > > > To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
    > > > Subject: Fwd: A look at where consciousness lies in the brain
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > BOOK REVIEW
    > > > A look at where consciousness lies in the brain
    > > >
    > > > By Laurence Schorsch, Globe Correspondent, 8/5/2003
    > > >
    > > > http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/217/science/
    > > > A_look_at_where_consciousness_lies_in_the_brainP.shtml
    > > >
    > > > When you look at yourself in the mirror each morning, you may be
    > > > surprised by how disheveled you look, but you're never surprised by a
    >
    > > > face you don't recognize as your own.
    > > >
    > > > Most animals, though, have no such self-recognition, and if presented
    >
    > > > with their image in a mirror, will usually view it as another animal.
    >
    > > > This ability to know our own reflection is called mirror-recognition,
    >
    > > > and it's the dominant theme of a new book, ''The Face in the Mirror,''
    >
    > > > by Julian Paul Keenan with Gordon G. Gallup Jr. and Dean Falk.
    > > >
    > > > In 1970, Gallup, then an assistant professor of psychology at Tulane
    > > > University, published a seminal paper on self-recognition in primates,
    >
    > > > describing a simple test he devised to prove chimpanzees could
    > > > recognize themselves in a mirror. Chimps previously exposed to mirrors
    >
    > > > were anesthetized, and an odorless mark was put on their brow. When
    > the
    > > >
    > > > chimps were reintroduced to the mirror, they immediately noticed the
    > > > change, often rubbing the marks with their hands. This elegant test
    > > > clearly demonstrated that the animals knew the chimps in the mirrors
    > > > were images of themselves.
    > > >
    > > > Gallup's mirror test immediately was tried on other primates. Monkeys
    >
    > > > failed, orangutans passed, and surprisingly, gorillas -- closest to
    > > > humans after chimps -- usually failed. For humans, the question wasn't
    >
    > > > whether we could pass the test, but when? For most children,
    > > > mirror-recognition occurs at around 18 months.
    > > >
    > > > Keenan, a neurologist and director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging
    > > > Laboratory at Montclair State University in New Jersey, contends that
    >
    > > > mirror recognition is a key to understanding consciousness. Once
    > > > animals are able to recognize themselves, they can begin to view their
    >
    > > > world in a different way. ''If self-awareness is intimately tied to
    > > > understanding one's own thoughts,'' he writes, ''then, we might
    > assume,
    > > >
    > > > self-awareness may give rise to the ability to reflect on the thoughts
    >
    > > > of others.''
    > > >
    > > > The ability to attribute thought to others is essential to empathy, as
    >
    > > > well as the ability to feel resentment, pride, envy, embarrassment,
    > > > guilt, and to lie and deceive. Though this may sound like a list of
    > > > deadly sins, it's also the list of skills essential for interacting
    > > > intelligently with others, or within a group or culture.
    > > >
    > > > Much of the book is taken up with the search of where consciousness
    > > > lies in the brain, and detailed descriptions of dozens of experiments
    >
    > > > are given. But, as Keenan writes, ''With all the available evidence,
    > > > the precise location of the self in the brain remains elusive. In
    > > > almost all studies on self-awareness, the right hemisphere is
    > > > implicated.'' Unfortunately, pages and pages of repetitive,
    > > > inconclusive experiments make dreary, frustrating reading.
    > > >
    > > > The idea that our identity as a unique and complex individual may
    > > > simply reside in a chunk of brain tissue is a staggering thought, but
    >
    > > > Keenan doesn't spend too much time examining the implications of this
    >
    > > > concept. He tries to liven things up in the manner of Oliver Sacks
    > with
    > > >
    > > > bizarre but enlightening stories of patients with brain disorders.
    > > > Sadly, these are mostly short and unengaging, and are usually
    > > > introduced to show that consciousness is located in the right
    > > > hemisphere.
    > > >
    > > > If you're interested in neurology, and don't mind reading what is
    > often
    > > >
    > > > no more than a digest of clinical and animal studies, you'll no doubt
    >
    > > > find the book enjoyable. There's plenty of background on brain anatomy
    >
    > > > and imaging techniques, but if you're looking for the big picture, and
    >
    > > > want a basic primer on human consciousness, you'll want to take your
    > > > brain elsewhere.
    > > >
    > > > The Face in the Mirror: The Search for the Origins of Consciousness By
    > > > Julian Paul Keenan with Gordon G. Gallup Jr. and Dean Falk Ecco, 278
    > > > pages; $24.95
    > > >
    > > > This story ran on page D2 of the Boston Globe on 8/5/2003. CCopyright
    > > > 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > ===============================================================
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    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > ===============================================================
    > > > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > > > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > > > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > > > see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
    > > >
    > >
    > > --
    > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > > Chris Taylor (chris@bioinf.man.ac.uk)
    > > http://pedro.man.ac.uk/ ™people™chris
    > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > >
    > >
    > > ===============================================================
    > > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > > see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
    > >
    > >
    >
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
    >
    >

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