William Uttal, PhD
There is nothing more exciting than the mind/brain problem" according to Dr. William Uttal, author of Mind and Brain: A Critical Appraisal of Cognitive Neuroscience. In the latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 83) I talked with Dr. Uttal about why he feels that brain imaging can not solve this mystery.
First, there is the problem that brain imaging represents the wrong level of analysis because every spot you see on a brain scan actaully represents thousands of neurons. This means that the activity and interaction between individual neurons has been lost. Then there is the problem of reproducibility, with divergent results between studies.
The evidence is accumulating that "much of the brain responds to any stimulus, and every area of the brain participates in multiple functions." This means that asking where a given function occurs may be the wrong question.
BSP 83 represents an on-going discussion of these issues, so I have included links to related episodes in the show notes.
- Uttal, W. R. (2011) Mind and Brain: A Critical Appraisal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
- Uttal, W. R. (2009) Neuroscience in the Courtroom: What Every Lawyer Should Know About the Mind and the Brain.
- Ihnen, S. K. Z., Church, J. A.. Petersen, S. E., & Schlaggar, B.L. (2009) Lack of generalizability of sex difference in the fMRI Bold Activity associated with language processes in adults. NeuroImage, 45, 1020-1032.
- Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2005). "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False". PLoS Medicine 2 (8): e124.
- BSP 46: How fMRI works.
- BSP 78: Discussion of Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines---and How It Will Change Our Lives, by Miguel Nicolelis.
- BSP 79: Interview with Miguel Nicolelis.
- BSP 82: Discussion of Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain, by Michael S. Gazzaniga.
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