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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 23

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: William Treurniet <wtreurniet.nul>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 13:21:13 -0400
Archived: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 07:07:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary


>From: Cathy Reason<Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto<post.nul>
>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 12:26:27 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison<cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To:<post.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:56:18 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

><snip>

>>There is no such thing as red or blue light. There is a field of
>>energy composed of electric and magnetic vectors propagating at
>>right angles through space, of a frequency (rate of vibration)
>>that causes the brain to create the experience of red or blue.
>>There is no red or blue color anywhere in the electromagnetic
>>field itself.

>Now I think you're confusing the mechanisms of perception with
>the phenomenology. And it's true that the phenomenology of
>perception is something we don't really understand - hence the
>notorious "hard problem" of consciousness. It's also true that
>some people believe the same sort of functional approaches we
>use to understand the mechanisms of perception should also work
>on the phenomenology. I don't agree with this and believe it
>leads to all sorts of conceptual confusion, so to that extent, I
>think you have a point.

>But when it comes to the mechanisms of perception, what we
>really want to know is whether those mechanisms are reliable
>enough to extract from the world the information we need to
>survive in it. And that is pretty much guaranteed by natural
>selection.

>>What psychology does when it proceeds from this premise is no
>>different from what other fields of science do when they proceed
>>from a premise that they view as valid (having been well
>>established) in their field.

>It's true that all sciences involves assumptions. But in most
>sciences, these assumptions are stated explicitly and always
>subject to revision and test. It's true this doesn't always
>happen the way it's supposed to. The difference is that in
>psychology it hardly ever happens the way it's supposed to.

I think I'm finally starting to see in the last paragraph some
of what Cathy is getting at. Many psychology experiments are
designed based on a particular underlying model. The models have
progressed from a telephone switchboard analogy, to a computer
software analogy, to an analogy with networks having strange
attractor dynamics. Unfortunately, experimenters have often
behaved as if each model were true and not just an analogy.

Early on, a node in the telephone switchboard model would be a
single neuron standing, for example, for one's grandmother,
hence the 'grandmother cell'. In the computer software model,
grandmother would be represented in a box of the schematic
diagram as a list of properties in a grandmother schema. It's
not entirely clear how this box mapped onto the physiology of
the brain. Later, in the network model, grandmother would be
represented by the state of a large population of cells and
their interconnections. In each case, the model was taken from
fields outside of psychology and was assumed to underlie how the
brain worked.

Ideally, if the brain's functions are to be explained at the
physiological level, it should be in terms of what is known
about the brain's physiology. Neural network models are a step
in this direction, but they are typically too simplistic, and
modelers bring over concepts from mathematics and engineering
only because they can. If the brain's functions are to be
understood symbolically, then a model based on what we know
about symbols would be appropriate. This seems to be what Jung
and his ilk were all about. Incidentally, such differences in
level of analysis may be adding some degree of confusion to the
overall picture.

A psychological theory of F.W.H. Myers published around 1900 is
very clear in assuming that the contents of conscious awareness
is a small part of a large sea of mostly unconscious
information. The mind implements filters that allow more or less
of this information into awareness. This theory has been
resurrected by Kelly et al. (2007) in "Irreducible Mind: Toward
a Psychology for the 21st Century". Maybe this is a sign that
psychology is getting back on track. Myers' theory lost traction
against the push of behaviourism probably because it assumed a
mind-body dualism. But such dualism is obvious based on
phenomenological arguments, so it has to be part of a
comprehensive theory of psychology.

I used a version of Myers' theory in an article on another topic
at

http://www.treurniet.ca/psi/narcolepsy.htm

Figure 1 in the article shows a schematic diagram of a dualistic
mind-brain model where the brain is the interface between the
physical world and the mind. The mind is also connected to a
non-material information field where personal and transpersonal
information is stored. If the transpersonal information is
accessible to all minds, we can account for shared archetypal
experiences, including those reported by people abducted by
fairies or ETs.


William




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