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    The organisation of mind

    Shallice, T. and Cooper, Richard P. (2011) The organisation of mind. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199579242.

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    Neuroscience research relevant to cognitive processes has grown dramatically in the past two decades, largely due to the increasing availability of sophisticated technologies such as those used in neuroimaging. This growth has led to great advances in our understanding of the brain bases of cognitive processes, but in our view this progress is being undermined by a stance which tends to ignore or consider as irrelevant the cognitive level of analysis. This threat comes in two forms. From below, there is a reductionist view which suggests that explanation can proceed without cognitive-level concepts, and moreover that such concepts are in themselves misleading. From above, there is a view that central cognition is non-modular or non-decomposable, and that brain-based approaches are irrelevant. Our aim in this book is to refute the philosophical positions implicit in both of these views. Thus the title The Organisation of Mind, deliberately echoes Hebb’s (1949) groundbreaking monograph The Organization of Behavior. We do not presume that our book will have the longevity of Hebb’s or that it resolves the mysteries of mind, but it does aim to embody a position on the state and future direction of cognitive neuroscience together with a hypothesis concerning mind and its organisation. This book is not intended to be a standard cognitive neuroscience text. It certainly does not cover all areas that would be relevant in such a text. Thus, our concern is primarily with higher-level aspects of mind and not with “early” perceptual processes or “late” motor processes. Similarly we do not consider emotion, development, social cognition or the cognitive functions of neurotransmitter systems or the many and varied interactions between each of these and cognitive processing. Even on topics and methods we do cover we are selective. Instead we aim to address in some detail the basic theoretical and methodological disputes on the topics we treat. At a more basic level, we assume a working knowledge of brain anatomy. Readers unsure of details in this area are advised to consult other sources, such as are available on the net. Our intended audience is academics and graduate research students in cognitive neuroscience and related disciplines such as cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuropsychology, systems and behavioural neuroscience, and philosophy of mind. Conceptually the book consists of three sections. The opening chapters present the historical and methodological foundations of cognitive neuroscience. The emphasis throughout is on the relation between the computational methods of cognitive science, the patient-based methods of cognitive neuropsychology and the brain-imaging methods of contemporary neuroscience. At issue is the question of how these sets of methods may advance our understanding of mind. It is argued that both sets of empirical methods have substantial limitations, but also that these limitations may be ameliorated if theoretical inferences are supported both by evidence grounded in both neuropsychology and neuroimaging. This argument is illustrated in the central and closing chapters. In the second part, we discuss three distinct fundamental concepts arising from a computational view of mind, namely representation, buffers or short-term stores, and operations on representations. It is argued that together these provide the foundations for routine or automatised processing. The final chapters are then concerned with systems that may bias such routine processing in non-routine situations and additional systems required by such biasing, such as episodic memory and the systems involved in consciousness and thinking. We are grateful to many people for their assistance during the many years that this project has taken to complete, particularly Fabio Campanella and Rosalyn Lawrence. Versions of individual chapters were read by Fergus Craik, Cristiano Crescentini, Karalyn Patterson, Alessandro Treves, Antonio Vallesi and Elizabeth Warrington. Their criticisms have helped to greatly improve the text. Most of all we are grateful to Maria and Tracy to whom the book is dedicated. Without their encouragement, support and tolerance of the inordinate time taken, the project would have never reached fruition.


    Item Type: Book
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Rick Cooper
    Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2013 08:49
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:06


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