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2000 - Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Winter and Spring

Bartlett’s Schema Theory and Modern Accounts of Learning and Remembering
Asghar Iran-Nejad and Adam Winsler, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 5–36, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Although Bartlett’s (1932) schema theory has been highly influential in modern cognitive psychology, it has often been misunderstood. This paper (a) discusses Bartlett’s schema theory along with modern schema theories, (b) argues that the problems in the interpretation of Bartlett’s writing arise because his theory is fundamentally different from modern schema theories, (c) shows that Bartlett’s theory, but not modern schema theories, can be explained in terms of the brain’s constructive and self-regulatory processes, and (d) discusses such a brain-based theory of learning and remembering in the context of recent developments in biofunctional cognition.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Educational Psychology Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: airannej@bamaed.ua.edu

Bartlett, Functionalism, and Modern Schema Theories
William F. Brewer, University of Illinois at Urbana&endash;Champaign
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 37–44, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

This commentary concludes that Bartlett took a functional approach to psychological theory. He hypothesized that schemata are active, holistic, unconscious, and show emergent properties. He provided no mechanism for going from episodic instances to a holistic schema or for the long-term retention of information in memory. Modern schema theories reject Bartlett’s holism and interpret his hypothesis that schemata are active in terms of the active nature of top-down processes in memory and perception. Modern schema theories use the construct of instantiation to account for memory of specific schema-related information and also postulate unconscious, generic memory structures to account for the impact of old knowledge on human cognitive processing.

Requests for reprints should be sent to William F. Brewer, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 E. Daniel Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820. Email: w-brewer@uiuc.edu

Sources of Internal Self-Regulation with a Focus on Language Learning
Yasushi Kawai, Hokkaido University
Rebecca L. Oxford, Teachers College, Columbia University
Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 45–60, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

The notion that learners have active control over their own learning has stimulated extensive research on the role of language learning strategies. Much of this research has been conducted traditionally in the context of the computer-inspired information processing theory and constructivism. These cognitive theories share the view that one and only one source of internal control regulates learning processes such as attention. The single-source theory tends to be reductionistic and favors sequential strategies for dealing with discrete knowledge structures and skills. Empirical evidence, on the other hand, indicates that the type of learning that is essential for the development of communicative competence must be holistic, contextual, and naturalistic and requires the simultaneous operation of more than one kind of internal self-regulation. This paper discusses a biofunctional theory of multisource internal self-regulation that focuses on the dynamic self-regulatory role of biofunctional subsystems of the nervous system. Dynamic self-regulation is nonexecutive, unintentional, and effort-free in nature. As such, it is viewed as the primary source of internal self-regulation in natural contexts and an essential prerequisite for active self-regulation. Active self-regulation, on the other hand, tends to occur to the extent that the context in which the individual functions ensures the involvement of dynamic self-regulation. The interaction between active and dynamic self-regulation is essential for effective language learning to take place.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Educational Psychology Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: airannej@bamed.ua.edu

Response to “Sources of Internal Self-Regulation with a Focus on Language Learning”
Susan R. Schapiro, University at Buffalo, SUNY
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 61–66, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

In an attempt to understand the relationship between dynamic self-regulation and active self-regulation, this response follows the models used in Kawai, Oxford, and Iran-Nejad’s (2000) article pertaining to active self-regulation with an eye to seeing where the dynamic self-regulation fits in. The authors claim that dynamic self-regulation is a prerequisite for active self-regulation. The response takes issue with that claim, suggesting that dynamic self-regulation is more a catalyst for effective active self-regulation. The difference becomes important in relation to the questions of whether dynamic self-regulation is, in fact, the primary driver in academic achievement and if, in turn, it can be learned. Reference to a recent study answers both questions positively.

Request for reprints should be sent to Susan R. Schapiro, Ph.D., Methods of Inquiry Program, Ellicott Complex, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14261

Knowledge, Self-Regulation, and the Brain&endash;Mind Cycle of Reflection
Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 67–88, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

The structure of everyday language implies that knowledge is an object. Like an object, it can be acquired, lost, stored, retrieved, and used. Anything that might be done to an external object could also be done to knowledge. Using concepts from the emerging field of biofunctional cognition, this paper discusses an alternative to the everyday-language framework of knowledge. The central idea is that the biological subsystems that comprise the physical nervous system have the capacity to create in us a live, as opposed to pre-recorded, experience that might be described as intuitive self-awareness. In its various manifestations, this ongoing intuitive self-awareness is what we recognize as the knowledge inside us. There is no storage of knowledge of any kind. Intuitive self-awareness is in a perpetual state of re-creation and change. It serves as a private language with which the individual interacts directly (or nonsymbolically) with the subsystems of his/her own nervous system. This is the primary function of intuitive self-awareness &emdash; serving as the vehicle for the private communication between the individual and the individual’s nervous system. Intuitive self-awareness has also come to serve, through evolutionary symbolic adaptation, as the foundation for the public language that the individual uses to communicate with other individuals. This is the secondary function of the intuitive self-awareness &emdash; to serve as the vehicle for public communication within social groups in which the individual lives. In this function, intuitive self-awareness externalizes to manifest itself in the form of an indirect (or symbolic) code system for public communication. The nonsymbolic and symbolic forms of knowledge enable the organism to extend its internal world to encompass the external world in both its totality and detail.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Educational Psychology Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: airannej@bamaed.ua.edu

Keep the Solution, Broaden the Problem: Commentary on “Knowledge, Self-Regulation, and the Brain–Mind Cycle of Reflection”
Richard S. Prawat, Michigan State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 89–96, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

In response to Iran-Nejad’s (2000) article (“Knowledge, Self-Regulation, and the Brain–Mind Cycle of Reflection”), I urge him to consider broadening the problem as he defines it. The difficulty psychologists face in reconciling the conscious process of symbol manipulation with the unconscious process of coming to understand is part of a larger problem, I argue: that of body versus mind, perception versus conception. I examine the advantages of recasting Iran-Nejad’s problem in this way. High on the list is the fact that the suggested approach connects his work to earlier ground-breaking work by Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Richard S. Prawat, Ph.D., Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, 449 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824–1034.

The Biofunctional Theory of Knowledge and Ecologically Informed Educational Research
George G. Hruby, University of Georgia, Athens
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 97–104, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

In this commentary I compare Iran-Nejad’s (2000) biofunctional theory of knowledge and self-regulation with the ecological psychology of James Gibson and his admirers. Gibson’s work is currently being reappraised by some educational researchers within sociocultural and situativist theoretical frames in the hopes of establishing a more comprehensive theory of cognition and human behavior. I maintain that ecological psychology alone is not up to that task, but that Iran-Nejad’s biofunctional theory may well fill the bill.

Requests for reprints should be sent to George G. Hruby, President and Program Chair of the American Educational Research Association’s Brain and Education Special Interest Group, Department of Reading Education, 309 Aderhold Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602–7125.

Rethinking the Origin of Morality and Moral Development
Stacey Alldredge, Emmanuel College
W. Pitt Derryberry, Michael Crowson, and Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 105–128, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

This article discusses moral development in light of recent advances in biofunctional cognition. We begin by discussing moral development from three contemporary approaches, namely, the cognitive-developmental, narrative, and educational perspectives. Clearly, these perspectives have changed substantially our understanding of moral development. However, they also share the limitation that they have each focused on some aspect of moral development in isolation. To try to unify what is already known without losing sight of the holistic essence of morality, one must address moral development through the lens of a perspective that can integrate cognitive, social, educational, and other aspects of morality. This paper argues that the biofunctional approach offers such a perspective. This means that we must let go of our focus on the abstract puzzle of the structural organization of moral knowledge and reasoning in favor of an emphasis toward the ultimate goal of understanding how the biofunctional system is also inherently a moral system. Through further understanding of the functioning of the biofunctional system, researchers and practitioners may be in a better position to ensure continued consideration of the complex and holistic nature of moral development.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Stacey Alldredge, Psychology Department, Emmanuel College, P. O. Box 129, Franklin Springs, Georgia 30639, or to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Educational Psychology Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: airannej@bamaed.ua.edu

Models of Moral Development
Stephen J. Thoma, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 129–136, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

This paper discusses the Alldredge, Derryberry, Crowson, and Iran-Nejad (2000) biofunctional model of morality. It first notes that Alldredge et al. join many others who question the orthodox Kohlbergian model of moral development, especially with regard to the singular focus on moral cognition and relatively little attention to moral behavior. Then, to provide a context for the biofunctional model, the Alldredge et al. approach to model building is contrasted with other recent descriptions of moral functioning. Finally, the paper discusses the potential of the biofunctional model to stimulate empirical work.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Stephen J. Thoma, Ph.D., 205 Child Development Center, Box 870158, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487.

A Nonlinear, GA-optimized, Fuzzy Logic System for the Evaluation of Multisource Biofunctional Intelligence
Abdollah Homaifar, Vijayarangan Copalan, and Lynn Dismuke, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 137–148, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Using the genetic algorithm (GA) and fuzzy logic, this study presents a nonlinear approach to the evaluation of biofunctional intelligence. According to the biofunctional model, intelligence may be viewed as a multisource phenomenon resulting in part from the interaction of learning processes and sources of self-regulation. Learning processes (i.e., attention, inquiry, closure, combination, information creation) are regulated by three sources of control (external, active, dynamic), producing three subprocesses for each learning process. This paper examines the role of five such subprocesses as contributors to intelligence. Fuzzy logic captures the fuzzy nature of human intelligence with GA providing a method for determining and optimizing the contribution of these learning subprocesses.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Abdollah Homaifar, Ph.D., Department of Electrical Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina 27411.

Commentary on: “A Nonlinear, GA-optimized, Fuzzy Logic System for the Evaluation of Multisource Biofunctional Intelligence”
Gerry Dozier, Auburn University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 149–152, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Biofunctional artificial intelligence is an interesting and effective approach that lies between the two extremes of symbolic (top-down) and subsymbolic (bottom-up) artificial intelligence. It offers the best of these hitherto separate worlds and integrates them through a comprehensive perspective on brain functioning. Homaifar, Copalan, Dismuke, and Iran-Nejad (2000) use the biofunctional approach to simulate two multisource intelligence evaluation systems. Their preliminary work inspires a number of new research extensions and directions.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Gerry Dozier, Ph.D., Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, 107 Dunstan Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849–5347.

The Nature of Distributed Learning and Remembering
Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
Abdollah Homaifar, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 153–184, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Researchers have held different views on what role the nervous system should play in the study of psychological phenomena. By far, the most informative line of research in the area has been conducted by Lashley whose work has opened our eyes to the possibility that learning and remembering are unexplainable in terms of the storage and retrieval of specific traces. However, with this exception, the twentieth century is likely to be remembered as an era during which the brain has been considered irrelevant for the study of the mind. This has certainly been the case with the research following the computer-inspired cognitive revolution. Perhaps the most revealing indication of the degree of reluctance to embrace the brain in the study of the mind can be found in the so-called brain-inspired connectionism that purports to use the brain as a metaphor, and not as the literal foundation it really is, for the structure of cognition. Focusing on the topics of learning and remembering, this paper discusses the role of the brain in the research of Lashley, brain-inspired connectionism, and the emerging field of biofunctional cognition. The hope is to illustrate, through biofunctional cognition, the productive nature of basing psychological thinking on the foundation of a comprehensive theory of the functioning of the nervous system.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph.D., Educational Psychology Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: airannej@bamaed.ua.edu

Commentary on “The Nature of Distributed Learning and Remembering”
Edward W. Tunstel, Jr., Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 185–188, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

This exposition (Iran-Nejad and Homaifar, 2000) offers a compelling argument for biofunctional cognition, which suggests that functional properties of the brain, as inferred from empirical findings, be used as a basis for examining the nature of distributed learning and remembering (DLR). Undoubtedly, cognitive models that are compatible with observed phenomena will contribute to a more complete understanding of the nature of DLR. Notwithstanding the contrasts and incompatibilities between connectionist and biofunctional models stressed by the authors, we can learn from each class of models. The issue of how to realize the latter to enable empirical investigations still remains to be addressed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Edward W. Tunstel, Jr., Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109.

The Brain Between Two Paradigms: Can Biofunctionalism Join Wisdom Intuitions to Analytic Science?
Eleanor Rosch, University of California, Berkeley
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 189–204, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Biofunctionalism appears to be a pioneering effort to formulate a portrait of the body&endash;mind which acknowledges intuitions we have about human functioning that go beyond the analytic approach of the cognitive sciences but that can yet remain within the worldview and methods of the analytic portrait. The intuitions are (identified as): wholeness, interdependent causality, present temporality, effortless action, realness, panoramic knowing, and value. Such themes are most fully developed in the meditative and contemplative traditions of the world. Biofunctionalism is evaluated both in terms of how well it instantiates those themes and in terms of its ability to generate explanations and predictions within the scientific context.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Eleanor Rosch, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, 3210 Tolman Hall MC 1650, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720–1650.

Knowledge Acquisition and Education
Merlin C. Wittrock, University of California, Los Angeles
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 205–212, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Since antiquity, theories of knowledge have had fundamental impacts on understanding the design of the conditions of learning and teaching. As represented in this special issue, these theories may be divided into structural, functional, and biofunctional. Structural models have contributed to knowledge about the organization of information stored in memory. Functional models have contributed to our understanding of how learning occurs and how it can be facilitated. Functional and biofunctional approaches have much in common but differ in their assumptions about the nature of the role of biology in learning. All three types of theories complement one another. This paper focuses on the potential contributions of functional models, including the biofunctional model, to the design of the conditions of learning and teaching.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Merlin C. Wittrock, Ph.D., Graduate School of Education, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095.

Issues in Self-Regulation Theory and Research
Paul R. Pintrich, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 213–220, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

Three general problems in self-regulation theory and research are discussed in terms of their application to the model of biofunctional cognition. The three problems are: (1) the development of a tractable conceptual foundation and consistent nomenclature for discussing self-regulation, (2) clarification of the structures or components of self-regulation, and (3) clarification of the processes of self-regulation. These issues are discussed in terms of how they apply to the model of dynamic self-regulation as represented in the articles for this special issue. It is suggested that the model of dynamic self-regulation, as well as all models of self-regulation, can be improved by serious theoretical and empirical attention to these issues.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Paul R. Pintrich, Ph.D., 1406 SEB, Combined Program in Education and Psychology, 610 East University Street, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109. Email: pintrich@umich.edu

Heeding Prawat and Hruby: Toward an Articulation Between Biofunctional and Postmodern Theories of Human Experience
Jerry Rosiek and Asghar Iran-Nejad, University of Alabama
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter and Spring 2000, Volume 21, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 221–234, ISSN 0271–0137, ISBN 0–930195–11–6

In this essay, Rosiek and Iran-Nejad embrace the advice of Prawat (2000) and Hruby (2000) to explore the possibility of an interdisciplinary articulation between biofunctionalist psychological theory and postmodern socio-cultural theory. Whereas postmodernists interpret the social production of understanding as a function of the nature of language and symbols — things external to the human organism — biofunctional theory views understanding, in both its individual and social manifestation, as the immediate accomplishment of bodily systems — things internal to the human organism. Selected affinities between these two apparently different traditions of thought are examined, starting with Wittgenstein. This exploration is extended to continental philosophy and social science — including phenomenology, Heideggerian existentialism, structuralism, and contemporary postmodernism. Specific places are identified where: (1) the integration of theoretical frameworks seems possible; (2) collaboration at the level of empirical research seems possible; and (3) the philosophy of John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce will be of assistance in accomplishing this articulation. Following this, significant remaining disciplinary divergences are acknowledged and examined, but are not found to preclude the value of continuing in this exploration.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jerry Rosiek, Ph.D., Educational Research Program, College of Education, University of Alabama, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487–0231. Email: jrosiek@bamaed.ua.edu


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