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1985 - Volume 6, Number 4, Autumn

Retarded Development: The Evolutionary Mechanism Underlying the Emergence of the Human Capacity for Language
Sonia Ragir, College of Staten Island
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 451-468, ISSN 0271-0137
The emergence of the human capacity for language depends upon a profound slowing of the rate of human growth and maturation. The human infant matures more slowly than other apes. Motoric helplessness and an elaboration of vocal patterns of communication between infant and adult become the parameters within which the cortex matures. Changes in neural development, functioning and structure are inevitable given the changed conditions of growth. At least three major changes mark the context of infant development: the length of time during which neural development and maturation proceed; the nature of the mother-infant interaction during the prolonged period of juvenile dependency; and the size and complexity of the group into which the infant is integrated. The present paper explores the possibility that the human capacity for language emerges early in hominid evolution. However, I argue that a critical level of social complexity is necessary for the elaboration of this capacity into language and culture. Language emerges to reflect and schematize the patterns of an intangible social interaction.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Sonia Ragir, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Staten Island, City University of New York, 715 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island, New York 10301.

Awareness I: The Natural Ecology of Subjective Experience And the Mind-Brain Problem Revisited
Mark W. Ketterer, Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 469-514, ISSN 0271-0137
The purpose of the present paper is to review methodology, phenomena, principles and strategies germane to the empirical study of the subjective world as it exists during day-to-day life. Advances in neurobiological technology and the growing consensus in the behavioral and brain sciences on a dual-aspect monist position. (Russell, 1921) for the mind-brain problem are making the “black box” increasingly available to examination. The primary determinants of entry of psychoneural events to the subjective field appear to be: the structure of the nervous system; the figure-ground phenomenon in attention; and overlearning/automatization.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Mark W. Ketterer, Ph.D., Center for Behavioral Medicine, Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, 2345 Southwest Blvd., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74107.

Preserved and Impaired Information Processing Systems in Human Bitemporal Amnesiacs and their Infrahuman Analogues: Role of Hippocampectomy
Paulette Donovan Gage, University of Maine at Orono
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 515-552, ISSN 0271-0137
An information processing model is proposed to account for the dissociation of amnesia and spared learning capacity in hippocampectomized organisms, including human bitemporal amnesiacs and their animal analogues. According to the model, the hippocampus is critically involved in an integrative cognitive process termed chunking, which mediates propositional learning, complex conditioning, and cognitive mapping. Hippocampectomy selectively impairs the chunking process, leaving intact pre-operatively consolidated information, and also hierarchical perceptual and motor systems. The proposed models of these latter systems account for hippocampectomized amnesiacs’ spared capacity for associative learning and skill acquisition.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Paulette D. Gage, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maine at Orono, Orono Maine 04469.

A Critique of Three Conceptions of Mental Illness
W. Miller Brown, Trinity College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 553-576, ISSN 0271-0137
This is an essay on the nature of mental illness. It begins with a discussion of some issues related to mind-body dualism and the reviews of Thomas Szasz. Following this brief discussion, I consider three approaches to understanding mental illness which focus on the concepts of abnormality, suffering, and disability. The paper concludes with an interpretation of the social or ideological aspects of ascription of such concepts, especially those relating to disability.

Requests for reprints should be sent to W. Miller Brown, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut 06106.

The Subjective Character of Experience
Paul G. Muscari, State University College of New York at Glen Falls
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 577-598, ISSN 0271-0137

Thomas Nagel’s efforts have come to symbolize the heartfelt resistance to a scientific orthodoxy that would demystify our everyday interpretation of behavior by viewing mind and consciousness as simple surface manifestations of micro-physical structures. Although I think that Nagel is quite right in his belief that physical facts and subpersonal levels of explanation cannot completely represent the inner side of life, what I argue is that the perspective that Nagel would have us adopt does not really fare much better-that Nagel’s argument for subjectivity is so loosely knit that it in no way presents a serious threat to physicalist dogma. Even more damaging, Nagel’s inattention to the depth and range of conscious processes, as well as to processes which are systematically linked to consciousness (e.g., how memory works), only ends up making the subject of consciousness a series of primitive experiences while reducing its status to a position that is not that far removed from the scientific perspective he tends to hold suspect.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Paul G. Muscari, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, State University College of New York, Glens Falls New York 12801.

Book Reviews

Human Learning
Book Author: Thomas H. Leahey and Richard J. Harris. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1985
Reviewed by Stanley S. Pliskoff, University of Maine at Orono
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 599-602, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] When is a book on human learning not exactly a book on human learning? When the book is the one under consideration, Human Learning by Thomas H. Leahey and Richard J. Harris (Virginia Commonwealth and Kansas State Universities, respectively). The authors have placed human learning in a very broad context, and for that reason the book departs considerably from what one would expect in the “typical” text. The context of the discussion is biology: behavior is interpreted in biological terms and should be understood as the result of a complex interaction between genetic and environmental variables. Further, behavior evolves, as does the organism, according to natural selection. The context is explicated with considerable sophistication-the obvious traps are analyzed for the student at various places in the book. Fine distinctions, so important in introducing the student to the biological (evolutionary) point of view, are drawn with skill. Excellent illustrations abound in every chapter; extended examples are presented as boxed-off text. I was concerned that the feature might prove distracting, but it did not.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Stanley S. Pliskoff, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04409.

Great Hatred, Little Room: The Irish Historical Novel
Book Author: James M. Cahalan. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1983
Reviewed by Stephen E. Connelly, Indiana State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 603-606, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Northern Ireland’s usual state of uneasiness detonates with distressing regularity. Explosions of “great hatred” — perpetual conflagrations fueled by tribal fanaticism, intense nationalism, loyalty to a proud heritage, staunch religious faith, or whatever label one’s loyalties or one’s historical perspective affixes to the “troubles” — rarely make sense to outsiders, the non-Irish who, unfamiliar with Ireland’s complex history, are apt to view the strife as a sectarian anachronism more appropriate to the Reformation than the twentieth century.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809.

Child Custody Evaluations: A Practical Guide
Book Author: Diane Skafte. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 1985
Reviewed by Valarie A. Bailey, Child Protective Services, Vigo County, Indiana
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 607-608, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] For such emotion-laden and sober subject matter, the author writes in an interesting, understandable and sometimes refreshingly witty style. Her great depth of knowledge and experience in the subject area are obvious from the outset, but are conveyed in a delightfully non-pedantic fashion.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Valarie A. Bailey, A.C.S.W., Child Protective Services, Vigo County Courthouse, Terre Haute, Indiana 47808

Marital Myths
Book Author: Arnold A. Lazarus. San Luis Obispo, California: Impact Publishers, 1985
Reviewed by Eoin St. John, Physical Therapy Systems
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 609-610, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The thesis of Arnold A. Lazarus’s Marital Myths is “most people don’t know how to be married.” Included in “most people” are “many marriage counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health practitioners.” Certainly the skyrocketing divorce rate over the last two decades supports Lazarus’s view, for even as marriage counseling has intensified and increased greatly, it has done little to slow the mushrooming phenomenon of disintegrating marriages. Over fifty percent of those entering into marriage today will be divorced eventually. Lazarus suggests that a major reason for this is that far too many people enter into marriage with “impossible dreams and unrealistic expectations.” The two dozen marital myths he discusses represent many of these disastrous illusions.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Eoin St. John, 12939 Westmere, Houston, Texas 77077

AIDS: The Mystery and the Solution
Book Author: Alan Cantwell, Jr., M.D. Los Angeles, California: Aries Rising Press, 1985
Reviewed by Raymond C. Russ, University of Maine at Orono
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Autumn, 1985, Vol. 6, No. 4, Pages 611-612, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Perhaps nowhere is the ruling paradigm more ensconced under an impenetrable umbrella of social, political, and financial concerns than in medical science. The fact that alternative paradigms meet not only with little receptivity but with outright hostility and antagonism demonstrates the non-dialectical and rigidly linear ontology that has evolved in medicine. Thus, when from within this superstructure of medical society, a practitioner presents alternative views (if not alternative paradigms) that run strictly counter to accepted medical lore, we may expect a range of responses varying from surprise, to skepticism, to repression. Dr. Alan Cantwell, Jr., while not really offering an alternative paradigm, does offer an alternative etiology for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Citing published medical literature to support his argument, Cantwell posits the existence of saphrophytic bacteria as possible etiologic agents in patients with AIDS and possibly Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). Cantwell goes a step further in stating that AIDS may be similar to KS as well as to Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), insofar as all three may merely be symptoms of such “fast acting” bacteria. In short, AIDS may not be the disease but the symptom.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Raymond C. Russ, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469

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