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The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. William James

Neurology and Semantics

October 24th, 2013 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychology | No Comments » | 57 views | Print this Article

by Robert DePaolo

Abstract

A previous article by this writer on brain function involved a discussion of how learning occurs in the acquisition phase, i.e. by a parallel, neural signaling, imitative mechanism. Here the discussion revolves around access to and retrieval of memories and responses, with an emphasis on language functions. More specifically, the assumption is made that the connectivity and relationships among sounds, words and grammar can provide indicators on how the brain processes information and consolidates memory. It is proposed that language skills such as retrieval, cognition and comprehension operate in a way analogous to the flow of energy from high to low resistance, i.e. along a psychophysical “path of least resistance” both between cortex and limbic system and within various neural circuits in the brain.

Signals among the Living…

While researchers and theoreticians such as Chomsky (1998) Pinker (1994) Luria (1966) and Whorf (1942) have written eloquently about the origin and nature of human language, settling in on a neurologically-based description has been difficult. That is due in part to a lack of technology that would enable us to trace the interaction among pathways as language responses are being formulated. It is also due in part to anthropocentric ideas on the distinction between human language and the communicative behaviors of other creatures.

Some distinctions are obvious. The human brain is more complex and therefore so is our language. The chimp, with a brain of roughly 14 ounces has about 15 distinct vocalizations, (i.e a phonetic vocabulary) that it uses to communicate with fellow troop members. The human brain weighs between 35-65 ounces so it stands to reason that our cortically-driven, enhanced capacity to parse and inter-connect sounds would be much greater. The ability to differentiate between and among sounds is every bit as important as being able to produce them through the fortuitously situated human larynx and hyoid bone.

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Autism and the Closure Response: A Discussion of Brain Evolution and Future Treatments

October 3rd, 2013 by Robert DePaolo | Posted in Psychology | No Comments » | 178 views | Print this Article

By Robert DePaolo

Abstract

This article discusses the phenomenon of closure seeking as a mechanism for modulating brain arousal, superimposing structure on the aversive, chaotic dispersion of brain activity and how that process might have influenced the evolution of human language and of mind itself. This concept of mind is used to explain certain behavioral and developmental features of autism.

Internal/External Evolution

One ostensible drawback of Darwin’s theory of natural selection is that it focuses almost exclusively on the interaction between organisms and the environment. That is clearly an important aspect of evolution, particularly in a biological sense, since all creatures must adapt to the climate, terrain, food resources and the competition arising within its ecology.

Yet there is another side to evolution, which is perhaps more in the domain of physics than biology; specifically that all organisms are also systems that can only remain functional and intact through internal biochemical, intra-cellular and intercellular regulatory configurations and interactions. The second law of thermodynamics mandates that all system will ultimately be prone to entropy, but also that the duration of their existence depends in large part on the capacity of their sub-parts to operate in integrative, complementary fashion so that each organ system and each component of singular organ systems are in sync. In simple terms, the organism must have an effective noise-reducing capacity, i.e. a functional means of assuring that messages sent between brain and heart, brain and lungs, hormones and various muscles and bones are not blurred – irrespective of what’s going on in the outside world.

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