Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance

Paul Marsden (
Fri, 11 Sep 1998 14:18:27 +0100

From: "Paul Marsden" <>
To: "memetics" <>
Subject: Re: On Gatherer's behaviourist stance
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 14:18:27 +0100

Bill Said

>Talking to oneself is certainly observable.

It all depends on what you mean by talking to oneself. Can thinking be
correlated to electro-chemical activity in the brain? Yes of course. Are
specific thoughts themselves represented by specific electrochemical
patterns (the language of thought, say mentalese) in the brain? Of course
not, because there is no one in there to read them, - thoughts are
functional and not essential patterns.

>Further, a good deal of cognitive psychology has been done using something
called protocol
>analysis. A person is asked to perform some cognitive task and to do it
>"thinking out loud" as much as possible. They're tape recorded or even
>and their words are transcribed and analysed for clues about how they go
>solving the problem.

As far as I was aware, protocol analysis is used to build *functional*
models of problem-solving activity, and cog psych. does not confuse this
with specific physiochemical representations in the brain. Introspection
does not reveal anything about the real goings on in my head, I have no
privileged access to what is really occurring in my brain, protocol analysis
just reveals functional and not essential activity.

Paul Marsden
Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences
University of Sussex
tel/fax (44) (0) 117 974 1279

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