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Nature Versus Nurture

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Instinctively Knowledgeable - or maybe not?

 

This section is about how both Our Givens and What We Learn can be modified by new learning or reprogramming, and how far it is possible to go.

 

 

 

A. Nature and Nurture - How do they construct our perception of the world?

 

Introduction

I wrote this article a few years ago, but it is as relevant today as when it was written. I also tweaked it a bit so it serves its purpose better on the internet.

The aim of the article is to examine how we perceive as human beings, and is broken into two streams: Our Givens (Nature), and What We Learn (Nurture). Both have a major impact on how we perceive the world, and what we know is happening in it.

The definition I used for perception is from the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it as: "A result of perceiving; a mental image, a conception (of a person or thing)."

The purpose of Part One is to show how we are influenced by Our Givens. Our brain is partly composed of ancient elements which control our body functions and emotions. Bolted on to the more ancient parts are the more recent cortex, and neocortex.

Thus it is necessary to give the reader an idea why the need for a brain arose in the first place, and a little of its history. Following this is an explanation of how these more ancient elements still affect us in the way we think.

Age in both young and old is touched upon, because this too, alters how we view the world. A baby does not perceive the way an adult can, because its brain is not sufficiently developed. An aged person, due to a combination of factors such as experience and perhaps degeneration, will perceive the world in yet another way. Education it is surmised here, should take account of the developmental stages of the brain. These together comprise the "Our Givens" or "Nature"’ part of this dissertation.

The aim of Part Two is to show that we have a "perceptual set" which is built up from a number of internal and external factors that alter our perception in certain ways. This is the What We Learn (Nurture) aspect, or the part of us that sits on top of the inherited Our Givens (Nature) side. In essence, the aim of this section to show how our mental constructs alter our conceptions or expectations, and thus our thought processes.

Finally, in conclusion, an argument is made that if we are unaware of perceptions at a subliminal level and how they affect us, then what are what we might call "free perceptions"? Are we able to think totally free of our perceptual set? How are our thought patterns affected? This idea is then developed a little further leaving a door open for ESP; though in practice I would think that so-called ESP is just a stage further down the same road as subliminal perceptions.

 

Part One

1. Why did the need for a brain arise?

Life started around 3800 million years ago with single celled organisms, some of which still exist today. Some, such as amoeba, are able to move towards food and light etc, even though they have no nervous system, though their response to their environment is very limited. Next came multi-celled organisms, such as sponges, which again had no nervous system. The next forms of life, such as jellyfish, were the first ones to have specialised nerve cells.

While science now recognises that plants and lower organisms have responses such as sensitivity to light, able to move towards food, and even a form of hearing (New Scientist: Plants may be able to hear others), the brain developed so that the organism can move from place to place. It enables an organism to control its response to the world (Susan Greenfield - The Human Mind Explained). The brain is in effect the control centre that organises and controls movement in order that the organism can, for example, more effectively find food, or a more hospitable environment. An example of the necessity of having a brain, or not, is amply demonstrated in one small creature: The Ascidian:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500 million years ago, or so, animals similar to our present day segmented worms developed a cerebral ganglion – a cluster of nerve cells in its head, and a ventral nerve cord. This was the first primitive brain. True separate brain areas came with early fish such as Dartmuthia, about 440 million years ago. Only animals with a head have a true brain, this is because animals move forward and generally have their sense organs at the front. The brain needs to have short connections to these organs for quick responses, and is thus situated close to them.

The brain evolved outwards in successive layers. Its ancestry can even today be traced back to the brain stem, the brain's most primitive feature at the centre; to the modern cerebrum with its highly developed cortex on the outside. Our brain and nervous system have very much the same layout as other vertebrates from which they are derived. All vertebrates have a CNS (Central Nervous System) that consists of the brain, which includes the cerebellum, the cerebrum, and the spinal cord. The human brain is a product of gradual evolution, and contains within it the older “brains” from its distant past. Like the brains of all other vertebrates, it has been created by adaptation to changing conditions over millions of years.

 

 

2. How the brain developed in layers, and size

Fish, such as Dartmuthia, first developed a tube to carry nerves from distant parts of their bodies, to a central focal point. Initially, there was just a bulge on top of the spine. Later, the nerves organised themselves into specialised bundles or modules. Some of these became sensitive to molecules, and thus formed the basis of smell. Others became sensitive to light, and later formed eyes. These in the fish brain were connected to that clump we know as the cerebellum. This collection formed the reptilian brain, which supposedly is mechanical and unconscious, and in our own brain still controls the automatic functions. These basic parts form part of our brain in the three-tiered system that has developed since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later, the limbic system, known as the mammalian brain developed. Emotions are generated here, but we as humans do not experience them directly as being conscious, but emotions instead impinge on consciousness. They affect our thought patterns and their outcomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The modern human brain

During mammalian evolution, the development of a thin matrix of cells was triggered by the sense modules, whose shape allowed for only a small increase in size, yet allowed many neural connections to be made.

This convoluted mass that we call the cortex, is from which consciousness emerged. Some mammals, eventually to become human, developed an even larger cortex, the cerebellum being pushed back by this development to the position it now occupies.

Emotions and most of our many appetites and urges are generated in the limbic system which (usually) helps us to survive. The brain stem is the most ancient part of the brain, which evolved more than 500 million years ago, and resembles the reptiles brain of today. It regulates the vegetative processes of the body, such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Also, clumps of cells in the brain stem determine the brains general level of awareness as a whole. I.e. it acts as a sort of regulator. For example, if there is danger, the senses become heightened in response.

 

 

3. How our perception is influenced by the different brain structures

The fact is that the brain functions as a whole rather than piecemeal. Problems are created when a certain section is under, or over functional; thus throwing out the balance. Indeed, much research on the operation of the brain is carried out on patients whose brain has been damaged, or is dysfunctional in some way. This helps in our understanding of the normal modes of operation.

The hindbrain along with the midbrain constitute the reptilian brain. The cerebellum, like the cerebrum, consists of two hemispheres attached to the rest of the hindbrain by three bundles of nerve fibres. It is a motor region concerned with subconscious skeletal movements involved in posture and balance. The cerebellum is essential for smooth precise movements, such as typing, writing, or playing a piano. Other parts of the hindbrain control reflexes and vital functions, such as heartbeat, breathing etc. For our purposes though, the reptilian brain’s control of our levels of awareness is of importance as to how much of the world we perceive at any one time.

The limbic system (mammalian brain) is essentially in control of our emotions. We can to an extent control our emotions, but there are more connections running up from the limbic system to the cortex, than the other way around, frequently putting emotions in the driving seat. A study was made of a man called Elliott by neurologist Antonio Damasio (A.R. Damasio - 1995). Elliott had a fast growing tumour in an area near the front of his brain. An operation was carried out, but unfortunately, a large piece of surrounding tissue also had to be removed, and in the process this removed his capacity to feel emotion.

Damasio described him as: “…always controlled, always describing scenes as a dispassionate, uninvolved spectator. Nowhere was there a sense of his own suffering….He was not inhibiting the expression of internal emotional resonance of hushing inner turmoil. He simply did not have any inner turmoil to hush.” This might not seem so bad, when a modern society deems we should always try to keep a cool head. But Elliott was referred back to Damasio because he was unable to function efficiently in almost any capacity. He had the same IQ as before, his memory was OK, as were his powers of calculation and deduction.

Yet his problem was that he found it hard to make the simplest decision, or to be single-minded enough to pursue a plan through to its logical conclusion. He spent his days at work either deciding what to do, or attended diligently to unimportant tasks, while important tasks went unheeded. After he lost his job, he went bankrupt after throwing himself into one wild enterprise after another. Following exhaustive tests, it was found that Elliott just did not register emotion, and because of this, he could not weigh up or evaluate one thing over another.

When he had to make a decisive decision, he could generate all the required responses, but no single one of them felt “right” more than any other. So, he could not choose between them. This disassociation between knowing and feeling was caused by a severance of some of the neuronal connections between the frontal cortex, where emotions are consciously registered, and the limbic system where they are unconsciously generated. Without feedback from our bodies, emotions are indistinguishable from thoughts. (Rita Carter – Mapping the Mind ).

We tend to think of the cortex as being the “human” part of the brain, but in fact the cortex forms a major part the brain in all vertebrates. As the diagram below shows, the cortex is mostly concerned with sensory processing, motor functions, and association (combining the different inputs).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The areas of the human brain

Further information can be found in many good textbooks, such as: "Body and Self" by George Bloch PhD.

 

4. Development and ageing of the human brain throughout a lifetime

The stage of brain development can also affect our perception. For example, an infant because it's neural connections have not developed to the stage of an adult, will perceive the world in a different way to a person with later development. An elderly person will yet again perceive the world differently due to factors including experience, atrophy, and possibly degeneration. Brain development, ageing, and learning are all intimately tied together.

Brain development begins early after conception. By seven weeks, the general areas of the brain - hindbrain, cerebellum, mid- and forebrain are clearly formed; the spinal cord has also become distinct. Among the first parts to form is the medulla, which deals with mechanical body functions, and life support, such as heartbeat. Initially, the cerebrum lags behind. By six months, the cerebral cortex is the fastest developing area of the brain, and is starting to show typical convolutions, practically missing up until now. By full term (nine months) the baby's brain is much like an adults in proportion, the huge cerebral cortex obscuring the midbrain (Susan Greenfield – The Human Mind Explained).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various stages of brain growth in the foetus

However, the baby's brain initially has connections within it that an adults brain does not. There are for example, connections between the auditory and visual cortices, and others between the retina and a part of the thalamus that processes sound. It is now thought that this may give the infant the experience of “seeing” sounds and “hearing” colours, a condition that sometimes lingers into adulthood by the name of synaesthesia, which can also be any of the senses “mixed up” though the most usual condition for synaesthetes is the crossing of vision and hearing. Interestingly, most synaesthetes enjoy their condition, and would not wish to be without it (Daily Mail).

Babies often show dramatic emotion, but the areas of the brain responsible for the conscious experiences of emotions are not yet “wired up", and so babies emotions are thought to be unconscious. By about six months after birth, more parts of the brain come “online” due to increasing myelinization (the nerve cells developing a protective insulating sheath) (J M Tanner - 1989). The parietal cortex starts working fairly early on, which makes babies intuitively aware of fundamental spatial qualities in the world. Once this part the brain is working, babies find games such as “peek-a-boo” endlessly intriguing, because babies do not understand that faces cannot really disappear behind hands. The adult parts of the brain that enable them to understand why, have not yet developed.

The frontal lobes come online at about six months, bringing with them the first glimmerings of cognition. By twelve months, the child is gaining control over the drives of the limbic system - a child offered two toys would make a choice, and not try to have both. At about eighteen months, the language areas become active. Wernickes area (which confers understanding) matures before Broca's area (which produces speech), which means a child can understand speech before it can speak.

Around this time also, myelinization is getting under way in the prefrontal lobes. This is when children develop self-consciousness. They can now understand that the reflection in a mirror is themselves and not another baby. This is now thought to be the beginning of the “I” concept. This process of myelinization continues until late teens or early twenties. It is only then that this part of the brain is fully “wired up”, and makes us truly human (Mind Sculpture - Prof. Ian Robertson).

Other brain areas can take many years to mature. The reticular formation for example, which plays a major part in maintaining attention, only becomes fully myelinated at or after puberty, which explains why pre pubescent children have short attention spans (Rita Carter – Mapping the Mind). Thus in the late teens, the brain is still adapting and reorganising itself, but the rate at which does so, begins to slow. Learning becomes more difficult and lengthy. It is estimated that our ability to learn and remember new information can decline by as much as 50 per cent between the ages of 25 and 75. By the time we are 70, the brain on average has lost about five per cent of its weight (about 70 grams) though we can compensate due to greater experience. (Susan Greenfield – The Human Mind Explained).

Age dulls memory - but not all types equally. Older people can for example learn new facts quite well even compared to younger people. But what they frequently find hard is remembering where or when they got these facts. However, the ageing brain compensates for its losses. As brain cells die, the surviving cells send out longer and longer dendrites (connections) to other surviving cells. The same compensating scenario also happens in diseases such as Parkinson's disease (Mind Sculpture - Prof. Ian Robertson).

A group of researchers studied brain cells taken from people in their Fifties and Seventies and found that the average length of dendrites was greater in seventy year olds than in fifty year olds. (S. Buell and P. Coleman -1979). This was interpreted as the brain's response to a loss of neurones. Thus, the elderly because of their experiences, and the way they learn and retain information differently, have different perceptions of the world. It is now known for example, that ageism affects an individuals view of how he/she should behave, a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

 

Part Two

Perception is very much a moving target, in that what we perceive is always in relation to our environment. Thus, in a laboratory in steady state conditions where nothing much alters, our perceptions will work one way; but in crossing a busy street, they will function in another. This is because we have those three brains within us competing to control our actions, the outcome depending on which needs need to be satisfied at that particular time. For example, when the stomach is empty, the automatic reptilian brain intrudes into consciousness, and says “I am hungry”. When we see a tiger, our fear kicks in, and we take evasive action; this is our emotional mammalian brain at work. When we read a textbook, our prefrontal lobes work in an analytical, calculating essentially human way. This is the Our Givens or “nature” side of being human.

How then, does our perception get altered by the "What We Learn" or “nurtured” side? This is known as our “perceptual set”, which essentially means we are “primed” to respond better to some things rather than others, most usually by expectation. Neisser (1976) brought together research on perceptual set using research on visual search, and on selective attention to challenge the idea that we filter out unwanted material. He argues that we actively choose what we want to attend to. He theorised that our perceptual processes form a continuous cyclic process anticipating likely events in the perceptual world, and scanning to see if these expectations are supported, and then modifying our expectations in the light of the perceptual information we receive. His theory is that we do not just receive factual information, but it is not just expectation either. He says our anticipatory schema means we tend to notice what we expect, but because it is the unpredictable external world we are scanning, we still remain open to the unexpected. Neisser saw this perceptual cycle forming the basis for all cognition. Cognition is an active, selective process, and not just a passive receiving and processing of information (U. Neisser. - Cognition and Reality - 1976).

The environment can prepare us for certain types of sensory experiences in frequently a subtle fashion. In this study to find at what level we perceive sounds, students were engaged in an experiment to see at what threshold they could hear a tone of 1000 Hertz - a steady tone typical of a higher pitched whistle. Some of the intensities given were so low none of the subjects reported hearing them. Others were set so high that all subjects heard them perfectly. Most were somewhere in between. The subjects were told to report any tone at all, and were told some would be barely audible, and may be at different frequencies.

During the course of the experiment, different tones were occasionally substituted for the standard 1000 Hertz one. Very few subjects reported the substituted tones though they were usually at audible intensities. Even after the experiment, when the substituted tones were pointed out, half the subjects still could not hear them, and needed the experimenter to draw attention to them by humming. When the subject heard the tones, it appeared to them is if they had been suddenly switched on. Some subjects even claimed the experimenter had just done this.

What had happened was that a “set” had been established on the basis of the standard 1000 Hertz tone, so the subjects were only prepared for that frequency, so could not hear the other tones. (R. L. Isaacson - 1966).

Bruner (1955) conducted a different experiment for which two groups of people were chosen. One group were shown pictures of capital letters, while the others were shown pictures of numbers. Both groups were then shown a figure that looked like this:

 

 

 

then asked to report what they saw. The “number” group saw the number 13, while the “letter” group saw the letter B. Their previous experiences had developed an expectancy (perceptual set) that the stimulus figure would be of similar types to that previously shown to each group. (Beginning Psychology – M. Hardy et al 1999).

“Set” too is important for receiving advertising messages; advertisers taking this into account when placing advertisements. Mathur and Chattopadhyay (1991) selected two adverts, and sections from two TV programmes and showed them to research participants. One of the adverts and one programme were designed to produce a happy mood in the viewer, while the other two were designed to produce a more sombre mood. The viewers each saw one of the four possible advert/program combinations, and then answered a questionnaire to see how much they recalled, and measured their mood.

Mathur and Chattopadhyay found the mood induced by the TV programme had a significant effect on how people looked at, and remembered the advert. Those viewing “happy” programme recalled more of the advert than those viewing the “sombre” programme. Another factor they found important was the mood created by other adverts in the same time slot. For example, public service adverts against drinking and driving, are deliberately designed to create a sombre mood, and unsurprisingly, they are thus placed at the end of an advertising slot.

Neisser's model above is not just about expectation - because we are also influenced by real information. To illustrate, Gibbons and Kassin (1976) carried out a study of 176 undergraduates, who were asked to evaluate artwork supposedly painted by either mentally retarded, or non retarded children. A factor that Gibbons and Kassin found important was the value judgement also depended on the quality of work. When the work was good, the judgement value did not change if they were told that child was retarded or not. If however, that work is considered to be of poor quality, the evaluation was still reasonable when told it was produced by a non retarded person. However, if they were told it was from retarded children, the evaluation was very negative. This study suggests the nature of the work itself influenced how it was perceived. Expectations only came into play when the work was perceived to be of a poor standard (Psychology, Theory and Application - 1994).

All the above represent an attraction, or sensitivity to a stimulus, but what about the reverse? Can certain stimuli be blocked from reaching consciousness? This is known as perceptual defence. The idea here is that in order to put up a defence, first you must perceive the stimulus. There is a temptation here to equate “attention” with “consciousness” because there appears to be a possibility that we are not conscious of at least some of the information to which we attend, and upon which we act.

McGinnies (1949) carried out a study in which he measured with a tachistoscope (a device for use in showing visual stimuli, such as pictures, letters, or words, for an extremely brief period), people's response to “taboo” words, and words without emotional meaning. He showed that “taboo” words had to be presented at a higher threshold before reaching the conscious level. He argued that this is due to perceptual defence. Because the “taboo” words were rude or frightening, and might cause anxiety, they were “screened out”, unless the level was set higher than for unemotional words. (Beginning Psychology - M. Hardy et al).

If we now have a threshold at which certain desirable things become conscious, and undesirable things have a different threshold, then this begs the question: what is this threshold, and how does the mechanism of rejecting something undesirable from consciousness work? Clearly, in order to reject something, we must first of all know about it. This suggests a form of pre-processing taking place before we become conscious of it. This means in effect some sort of subliminal perception, or delayed filtering, before things arrive at consciousness. In fact, as you might expect from the tone of this article, there is evidence from studies that show both.

Lazarus and McCleary (1951) performed a study to demonstrate subliminal perception, or in their words, “a super discriminating unconscious”. In their experiment, a random series of ten nonsense syllables (eg NYJ, XIC, MOC) were presented to a subject. With five of them, an electric shock was given. Eventually, after some repetition an electrical skin response occurred to the “shocked” syllables, but not to the “unshocked” syllables. Next, they presented the same syllables at below the threshold level in their tachistoscope and found the GSR (galvanic skin response) still changed, even though the subjects couldn't consciously read the syllables (Beginning Psychology - M. Hardy et al).

An Internet article entitled: “When perception becomes conscious” by Max Velmans, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, provides details of preconscious processing. The article concentrates on preconscious information becoming conscious. The article can be summarised as follows: “Experiments by Libet and others (Libet, Wright, Fenstein, and Pearl -1979) suggest that: "consciousness of input does not arise until at least 200 milliseconds after stimuli arrive at the cortical surface. And: "on the grounds that one cannot prevent a stimulus entering consciousness after it has done so, they concluded that at least 200 milliseconds of processing are required to produce neural conditions adequate to support consciousness".

The article goes further in explaining how the brain compensates for the mismatch, and the timing and perception of arriving stimuli. To quote from their conclusions: "When does perception become conscious?......only once analysis is complete, and attended to information is sufficiently well integrated to be disseminated throughout the brain". And: "in what sense does perception become conscious? Only in the sense that analysis of input can result in a conscious experience. Consciousness of familiar stimuli, rather than entering into input analysis, appears to follow it......" (Libet et al). This important article was also printed in the British Journal of psychology 90(4),543-566.

Referring to the last point above, there is a phenomenon called “change blindness”. Because we take in only minimal information, and construct the rest in our heads, we sometimes will not notice quite major changes in what we see or hear. The changing auditory tones above was an example of that; here are two more:

In 1999, Daniel Simons along with Christopher Chabris at Harvard, "showed people a videotape of a basketball game, and asked them to count the passes made by one or other team. After about 45 seconds, a man dressed in a gorilla suit walked slowly across the scene, passing between the players. Although he was visible for five seconds, 40 per cent of the viewers failed to notice him. When the tape was played again, and they were simply asked to watch it - they saw him easily. Not surprisingly, some found it hard to believe it was the same tape (New Scientist, 18th November 2000).

Also from the same article; another experiment was made in which a stranger stops to ask you directions. As you are talking, two men pass between you carrying a door, which conceals the substitution of the stranger with another person with a completely different physical appearance and clothing. Half of all participants failed to notice the change despite having looked at the stranger for around a minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simons who also carried out this experiment says "What was relevant was that he (the stranger) was a certain person in a certain location addressing them with a certain query". In other words, we take in only sufficient data to deal with the problem in hand. The rest either does not get noticed, or does not rise as far as consciousness.

 

 

Conclusion

The physiology of the brain greatly affects us in the way we think. We have seen from the examples given that emotions influence our perceptions very strongly, and that conversely, our perceptions cannot influence our emotions as much. This leads to the conclusion which fits in with current thinking that to a large extent, we are ruled by our emotions (neural connections are denser from the limbic system to the cortex, but less in reverse). The fact that we can make any decisions at all, is because they carry emotional weight. It also explains why we have difficulty controlling basic emotions such as anger, mood swings and the sex drive. Quite simply, they are hard wired in. In fact, the conclusion must be that we see everything through an emotional haze to a greater or lesser degree depending on the individual.

Robert Ornstein in his book “The Evolution of Consciousness” goes a stage further. He states that we have a “squadron of simpletons” in our heads. These are simple minds that shift in and out of gear, as our automatic and emotional needs require. Each “mind” serves an evolutionary purpose, and makes us perceive and do things in a way that enables us to survive. His book is about becoming aware of these simpletons, how they affect our lives, and thus learning how to control them, so becoming freer of biological influences.

If we can see that the ancient parts of the brain control our emotions and thus our thoughts, it is but one small step to applying this knowledge to educating adults and children. We know how certain parts of the brain influence our perceptions, and to a certain extent, how to develop or hinder them. See “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman for example.

It is now understood which parts of the brain come “online” at which times. A child previously thought of as “stupid”, might just be a late developer in a certain area of the brain. Training could be adapted to help the areas lagging behind. It is well known how children suddenly grasp the idea for a topic - this is probably due to the myelinization in that part the brain now being complete.

Neisser saw a perceptual cycle where we process events, first scanned to see if the expectations are supported, then modifying expectations as needed. My own view is that I think our perceptions do work in this way to some degree, though it seems to be difficult to account for the “tones” study above and others, as well as accounting for subliminal perception in this model.

Bruner and others, along with Isaacson’s work, have shown us how expectations can “lead” us both aurally and visually. Mathur and Chattopadhyay show how our mood and receptiveness can be controlled in advertising. McGinnies, Lazarus and McCleary were all working in a similar area trying to find the threshold of perception.

What can be made of all this? It would seem that we do not in fact have the free will we think we have. A whole gamut of stimuli have been shown to have sometimes quite dramatic effects on our perception.

The conclusion must be that in order to perceive freely and therefore think clearly, we have to become aware of the Our Givens factors that influence us right up into consciousness, in order to mitigate or lessen their effects on us. Then also, it is important to understand how what we learn consciously, or unconsciously, influences us. I would go so far as to surmise that in our natural untrained state with it's emotional haze, and the erroneous concepts we have learnt over time, that we have in fact virtually no free perception, and thus hardly any free will at all.

Julian Hadlow

 

 

Bibliography

 

George Bloch, PhD: Body and Self : Elements of Human Biology, Behavior and Health. W. Kaufmann inc. 1985
S. Buell and P. Coleman: Dendritic growth in the aged human brain and failure of growth in senile dementia. Science 206. 1979. pg: 854 – 6
Rita Carter: Mapping the Mind. Phoenix Press. 1998
A.R. Damasio: Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human brain. London, Picador. 1995
Susan Greenfield: The Human Mind Explained. Cassell. 1996
Malcolm Hardy and Steven Heyes: Beginning Psychology - A comprehensive introduction to Psychology. Oxford. 1999
R. L. Isaacson et al: Psychology – The science of Behavior. Harper International. 1966
Libet.B; Wright Jr, EW; Fenstein.B; and Pearl D.K: Subjective referral of the timing for a conscious experience: A functional role for the somatosensory specific projection system in man. Brain 102. 1979. pg: 193-224
U. Neisser: Cognition and Reality. W. H. Freeman and Co. 1976
Daily Mail: Good Health case book. pg: 17. April 17, 2001
New Scientist: 18th November 2000. pg: 30-32
Robert Ornstein: Evolution of Consciousness. Prentice Hall Press. 1991
Psychology: Theory and Application. Chapman and Hall. 1994
Prof. Ian Robertson: Mind Sculpture. Bantam Press. 1999
Daniel J. Simons and Daniel T. Levin: Failure to detect changes to people during real-world interaction. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Vol. 4 pg: 644 - 1998
J M Tanner: Foetus into Man: physical growth from conception to maturity. Ware - Castlemead Productions. 1989
Max Velmans: Department of psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

 

Here Steven Pinker on bigthink.com talks about his own upbringing, and the influences that shaped his life:

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YouTube - Laurence Gonzales On Homo Sapiens Stupidity

 


YouTube: Dr Money And The Boy with No Penis

 

The Institute For HeartMath carries out research into the heart-brain relationship. The findings show that we must take the heart, along with its neurons and connections to the brain into account when considering how we make decisions. Obviously, the emotions are considerably influenced by heart activity:

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