Friday, December 4, 2009

Dichotomy of Mind

Dichotomy of Mind

In doing research for my just completed book on innovation (available as an audio book at ) I looked into a number of interesting studies of what is going on in the brain, to gain insight into how it is we created knowledge and solve problems. One thing that struck me is that the field of Psychology has lock-in.

Aristotle postulated a view of psychology that describes two minds. One is the logical mind where reasoning takes place. The other is the alogical or emotional mind where feelings and desires reside. Much of psychology still subscribes to this view. The next big leap in psychology and neuroscience may well come from abandoning this view. We’ve evidence to suggest that the functions we describe as reasoning and those that we describe as emotions have the same foundations.

In the field there seems to be a competition between cognitive psychology and neuroscience to describe what’s at work in the human mind. The methods used represent the difference, that one observes behavior and looks for environmental causes and emotional triggers for understanding the behavior. The other looks into the mechanics of the brain to describe what is going on in terms of functions and electro-chemical interactions.

Perhaps neurology offers the best of both. “Neurology is an essential part of the enterprise because it provides both important behavioral data on human subjects and hypothesizes connections between specific brain structures and behavior.”

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