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2001 - Volume 22, Number 2, Spring

The Split-Brain Debate Revisited: On the Importance of Language and Self-Recognition for Right Hemispheric Consciousness

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 2001, Volume 22, Number 2, Pages 107–118, ISSN 0271–0137

In this commentary I use recent empirical evidence and theoretical analyses concerning the importance of language and the meaning of self-recognition to reevaluate the claim that the right mute hemisphere in commissurotomized patients possesses a full consciousness. Preliminary data indicate that inner speech is deeply linked to self-awareness; also, four hypotheses concerning the crucial role inner speech plays in self-focus are presented. The legitimacy of self-recognition as a strong operationalization of self-awareness in the right hemisphere is also questioned on the basis that it might rather tap a preexisting body awareness having little to do with an access to mental events. I conclude with the formulation of an alternative interpretation of commissurotomy according to which split-brain patients exhibit two uneven streams of self-awareness — a “complete” one in the left hemisphere and a “primitive” one in the right hemisphere.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Alain Morin, Ph.D., 823 Nouvelle-Orléans, Ste-Foy, Québec, G1X 3J4 Canada.

The Case for Intrinsic Theory: VI. Incompatibilities Within the Stream of Consciousness

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 2001, Volume 22, Number 2, Pages 119–146, ISSN 0271–0137

In The Varieties of Religious Experience, James explores in some depth, among much else, a kind of dividedness that can exist within the stream of consciousness — “the divided self.” This condition of the stream consists in crucial part of a phenomenological heterogeneity, inconsistency, discordance, or division of which disapproving notice is taken subjectively. The pertinent discordance exists among states of consciousness that comprise the same stream, is evident directly to inner awareness, and is not necessarily a matter of positing or inferring the existence of a second stream of consciousness or an unconscious mental life. Typically, intrinsic theorists of inner awareness — or the immediate awareness we all have of at least some of our own mental-occurrence instances — disagree with appendage theorists concerning, inter alia, what the firsthand evidence reveals about inner awareness. I proffer in the present article an hypothesis that should help to explain why the first-person reports of appendage theorists contradict intrinsic theory with regard to inner awareness. My hypothesis derives from James’s discussion in Varieties of the not uncommon divided-self phenomenon.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California, 95616–8686. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu.

Apart from Genetics: What Makes Monozygotic Twins Similar?

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 2001, Volume 22, Number 2, Pages 147–160, ISSN 0271–0137

Identical (monozygotic) twins have attracted special attention for the study of behavior genetics. Some of the assumptions and results of these studies are reviewed with special attention given to the natural experiment of identical twins adopted by different families. However, the correlation for any behavior between the adopted twins of a monozygotic pair is affected by their common prenatal environment as well as by the pervasive similarity of the two adoptive environments. The genetic contribution to complex social phenomena, but also to physical characteristics such as height, is usually overestimated. Both for adopted and unadopted twins differential effects of cultural, family, and prenatal environments, and the correlated experiences of twins and their physical appearance affect their development. Taxonomies and samples of environments need to be examined in order to be able to estimate the genetic contributions to behavioral traits.

Requests for reprints should be sent to George Mandler, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093–0109. E-mail: gmandler@ucsd.edu

The Concept of Mental Illness: An Analysis of Four Pivotal Issues

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 2001, Volume 22, Number 2, Pages 161–178, ISSN 0271–0137

The concept of mental illness is explored through an examination of four key foundational issues. These are (1) the notion of the “mental” as it relates to psychopathology; (2) the concept of illness; (3) the relationship of mental illness to concepts of function and malfunction; and (4) sociocultural dimensions of psychopathology. The problematic status of the concept of mental illness is investigated through locating it within the various discourses of biomedicine, psychology, law, and sociology and by explicating and relating the philosophical underpinnings of those discourses.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert L. Woolfolk, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Green Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544–1010.

Is Crime in the Genes? A Critical Review of Twin and Adoption Studies of Criminality and Antisocial Behavior

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 2001, Volume 22, Number 2, Pages 179–218, ISSN 0271–0137

This paper performs a critical review of twin and adoption studies looking at possible genetic factors in criminal and antisocial behavior. While most modern researchers acknowledge that family studies are unable to separate possible genetic and environmental influences, it is argued here that twin studies are similarly unable to disentangle these influences. The twin method of monozygotic–dizygotic comparison is predicated on the assumption that both types of twins share equal environments, and it is argued here that this assumption is false. Adoption studies have been promoted as a better way of separating genetic and environmental influences. However, there is good reason to believe that adoption studies of criminal and antisocial behavior were confounded by selective placement factors. In addition, these studies suffered from bias and serious methodological errors. In spite of these problems, no adoption researcher claimed to have found evidence of a genetic predisposition for violent crime. It is concluded that the weight of the evidence from family, twin, and adoption studies does not support a genetic basis for any type of criminal or antisocial behavior. The historical background of genetic theories of criminality is also discussed.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jay Joseph, Psy.D., 2625 Alcatraz Avenue, #328, Berkeley, California, 94705. Email: jayjoseph2@aol.com


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