Neural systems, construction systems, and construing

Mancuso, James C. (mancusoj@capital.net)
Fri, 04 Dec 1998 22:48:56 -0500

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Greetings:

Tony Downing has taken the time to offer a long and thoughtful comment
on the linkage of neurological functions and psychological
functions.... I will attempt to reciprocate by commenting on his
comments.... I feel obligated to do so, because I have been adding my
heat to these interchanges. My comments will be shown in italics....

================

Although the contents of cognitions, and the mechanisms in which they
are
embodied, do normally belong to two different domains of discourse, they

can interconnect in several ways, and sometimes it is vital that we
bring
them together.
I think my point about the Capgras syndrome shows one way
in which these different levels of discoursse do need to interact.
If the neurological model of the Capgras syndrome proposed by Prof. Andy

Young is right (Young et al., 1993), British J. Pychiatry, 162, 695-8),
then the normal neural mechanisms of face recognition, voice
recognition,
etc. let the Capgras sufferer get almost all the way in recognising some

significant other person, but specific damage within their brain
prevents
this being linked to relevant social information about the person who
is
being recognised. This presents the sufferer with a paradox: they
recognise who the person seems to be, but they don't get that click of
recognition that goes along with linking this recognition to the
knowledge
that this really is their wife, their mother, or whoever it really is.
As
Stone & Young (1997) proposed, (Mind & Language 12: 327-364), there are
several ways that the sufferer might construe this. One way is to jump
to
the conclusion that they are an imposter - and this usually requires
subsidiary suppositions which amount to paranoia. Another way is to
conclude that one has oneself died, and that that is why everything
feels
so strange. Another way - among others - would be to bring in knowledge
of
the proposed neurological explanation and recognise that one's brain
damage
does lead to apparently paradoxical experiences.

Your description provides an excellent example of the complications
that must be explained when one attempts to bring together "Two
different domains of discourse."
I will try to describe how I construe the example you have given. Let
me accept your assumption that some kind of the specific damage
underlies what we see as in the unusual, troublesome behavior of the
person who would be diagnosed as having the "Capgras syndrome." (Though
I reserve the right to be skeptical, until that time that you can show
me the site of the lesion, and that such lesions do produce the
processing difficulties you describe.) I will assume as well that the
person can be said to have at a physiological/anatomical condition that
differs from that of a what might be called the "normal" person
You have nicely described a situation which, I believe exemplifies the
state affairs that accompanies unusual behavior associated with some
kind of physiological/anatomical anomaly.
I will take you at your word; the "sufferer" makes some effort to
derive a validatable construction under conditions of radical
alterations in the processing of sensory inputs (associated with the
physical condition). You describe this very nicely.
You also clearly point out that the main problem that the quote
sufferer" must face is that of assembling a useful construction of this
very situation. You suggest two series of constructions which the
person might assemble -- two ways which would be lead to troublesome,
unwanted behavior. You also suggest a third way of deriving a
construction that might be useful (and less troublesome) to explain the
seriously altered conditions of construing the self. Your suggest that
the sufferer might adopt the neurological explanation and that in that
way he would be able to build construction s that would take into
account the altered state of the sensory processes.

Now even if the particular explanation proposed by Young et al. is not
quite correct, we do know that, in at least those Capgras cases where
the
symptoms directly follow the occurrence of brain injury, some kind of
brain
damage is producing the cognitive dilemma that the sufferer finds
themselves in. The sufferer then needs to construe the changes in
his/her self construction processes. That is one very obvious way in
which the output of one domain of knowledge (neurology, a
hardware fault in the brain) produces faulty cognitions which belong in
another domain of knowledge (cognitive psychology). The faulty
cognitions
do not make sense in the usual way - but of course the sufferer has to
make
what sense they can of it.

Here I have a bit of a problem coping with your text. What are "faulty
cognitions," and where do faulty cognitions enter into the discussion
that you have so far provided.. What is the "usual way," of making
sense of the situations for which the sufferers use "faulty cognitions?"
To what to do you refer when you speak of "cognitions?" When you speak
of cognitions, are you speaking of the faulty sensory input conditions,
or are you speaking of the failed attempt to derive a validatable
construction to integrate the inputs. I would need to understand what
you mean before trying to explain, using the kind of the PCP I would
use, what might underlie the production of unwanted behavior.
If I have followed your description, I would say that the problem
which would evolve from the situation, as you clearly indicate, is not
from the physical condition, but from the effort to build a validatable
construction -- using an existing construct system -- under input
conditions are considerably it altered. The problem comes not from the
physical condition, but from the effort to use an existing construct
system to build a useful construction of the unusual inputs. In your
own example, you suggest an alternative construction that might "work."
I doubt that I could have been given a better example of how PCP
explanation could provide very adequate framing of the situation, taking
into account the altered input conditions that are created by the
altered anatomical/physiological conditions.

I don't see how PCP can decline to encompass
that construing. I don't see how PCP can hope to do so helpfully if it
declines to accept that, sometimes, brains do malfunction and thereby
produce mental states that do not make the usual kind of sense.

Again, I have difficulty convincing myself that I understand what you
mean by "mental states." Are you suggesting that the unwanted
construction is to be regarded as a "mental state?"
As a PCP theorist, attempting to use the explanations that I suggest
in my previous comments, I would feel uncomfortable if you construed my
efforts as declining to "accept that brains do misfunction." Indeed,
they certainly do.
As you yourself indicate, the behaviors that follow from a particular
brain dysfunction cannot be predicted. You yourself give examples of
the kinds of constructions -- which I believed to be the precursors to
behavior -- that might result from this brain dysfunction. Keep in
mind, that you yourself indicated that the constructions result from an
effort to come up with validatable constructions to account for the
altered inputs. It's the unusual constructions that count.
What I am saying is that the brain dysfunction, itself, does not
produce the unwanted behavior. It is the effort by the person to
develop a validatable set of constructions under conditions of altered
brain function, that leads to unwanted constructions and the behavior
that follows. Where is the "mental state" in all of this. Do you mean
that the unusual constructions are the "mental state?" The
misfunctioning brain did not PRODUCE the unusual constructions. The
misfunctioning brain messed up the inputs, and the person needed to come
up with a set of constructions by which to "make sense" of the messed up
inputs. You affirm this point when you allow that the person might
adopt a neurological explanation that is less troublesome!!
I regard this as a very, very important point. When people speak of
"schizophrenia" they seem to intend to use this term to speak of the
specific kinds of behaviors (symptoms???)) that result from an assumed
anatomical/physiological condition. In the example you gave, you
hypothesized a very specific kind of dysfunction. Note, the said
dysfunction did not affect the person's speech (apparently), his ability
to walk, and to make his way around in his world in other areas. Can a
diagnostician propose a physiological anatomical condition that would
produce similar results among the people called schizophrenic?
Again, referring to your example, do you think it would be possible to
have the "schizophrenic" develop suitable, acceptable constructions upon
his/her being told that his/her unacceptable constructions derived from
improper dopamine functioning? Think how effective that might be, if it
were possible!! No more "psychotropic drugs, etc. And, how about
depressives. Let's run an experiment. Tell them that their depression
comes from blocked upper, metastasis of the lower renal channels of the
left kidney. Would that be as effective of telling a Cargas syndrome
person that his problems derive from some kind of messed up neurology?
I doubt it. The depressive derives his troublesome constructions as a
way of helping him/her to construe some kind of input.. What is the
input that he/she is trying to construe???? Personal failure, according
to a set of standards that his social surround has built into his
personal construct system????? Perhaps the inputs derive from a change
in potassium (or whatever) levels that he/she interprets as "being
tired." "I always feel tired because I HAVE a depression!!!" (You see, I
would not exclude anatomical/physiological considerations. But, from my
perspective, those parameters did not CAUSE the depression.
Experiencing depression is just that EXPERIENCING DEPRESSION; that is
CONSTRUING THE SELF AS DEPRESSED. Will drugs help? Perhaps for some
people who EXPERIENCE DEPRESSION on account of altered inputs due to
some kind of physical condition. But, does everyone who EXPERIENCES
DEPRESSION use that construction to account for an altered biological
state??) |

All this is obvious to anyone who is willing to integrate the science of

personal constructs with the rest of psychology.

I couldn't agree more! If one is going to talk about the effects of
anatomical/physiological functioning and behavior, he/she needs to be
able to integrate what we know about cognitive psychology to
neurological explanations. Similarly no one should talk about cognitive
processes without having a reasonable understanding, based on the most
up-to-date literature, on how a neurological system functions.

The issue is indeed, as
Massimo Gilberto says, illuminating for the fundamental philosophy of
PCP.
It raises again the issue of whether this science should be conceived of
as
PCP (an entire psychology, sufficient on its own, disdaining all other
psychology as error) or PCT, a body of theory which fits within and
around
various parts of a wider science.
Abnormal and/or paradoxical cognitions that arise because of abnormal
neurological functioning are not rare. If we drink too much wine, we
know,
in general terms, that our confidence in our driving ability is impaired

and yet our sense of confidence in our driving ability tends to be
enhanced.

I hope that you won't mind my failing to accept your proposition that
"we know" that our sense of confidence in our driving ability tends to
be enhanced. It depends on one's construction system, doesn't it? My
observations lead me to believe that people who construe their selves as
rough/tough/macho types tend to demonstrate a higher level of confidence
about their competence while under the influence than do some of my more
nerdy associates!!!

Let's hope we construe the situation at the time in a way that is
dominated by our well-learned knowledge that after plentiful wine
consumption, judgement is unreliable. If we gaze at a waterfall for a
long
time, and look away at the surrounding trees, they seem, paradoxically,
to
be drifting upwards, yet staying in the same place.

Yes, constructions of body position develop extremely early life, and
they are applied quite "unconsciously," so that alterations of "standard
combinations" of inputs can lead to some very confusing constructions
(in that they are not validated by the continued flow of inputs). The
point is, again, that we very rapidly produce constructions that will
work. Again, the issue is not whether our "a motion sensor cells" are
functioning improperly, it is the matter of attempting to apply a
long-existing construct system to altered conditions of input (which
originate in retinal cells) that leads to the confusion. We also know,
that if the confusion persists, some very dire consequences do obtain.
That is why NASA is spending so much money trying to understand space
sickness. It is not pleasant to be in a space capsules with someone
whose construct system is useless for processing inputs patterns
lacking the inputs which we receive as we orient our bodies (in our
earth-bound state) to gravitational forces. They have a tendency to
vomit all over the equipment.

Elementary psychology
textbooks give a good explanation in terms of adaptation of certain
motion-detecting cells relatively early in the visual pathways. How
many
people have spent time in a green tent and emerged to think, at first,
that
the world has gone pink?

******* Again, a simple "hardware" explanation in terms
of visual adaptation leads us to a correct construing of the situation.
****

This sentence provided the main motivation for me to take so much of my
time to try to respond to your posting. I simply cannot understand how
you can talk about a "simple 'hardware' explanation." SIMPLE,
indeed!!!! Do you want to use that term????
ALL of the examples you give involve complex construction processes.
Our ability to read it, to walk about in our environment, to drive our
automobiles, etc. depends on the utility of a complex construction
system which we use to construe space through processing the inputs that
allow us to orient ourselves in spatial relationships. Having some
familiarity with all the studies on spatial orientation one should
surely be cautious about speaking of spatial construction systems by
using language such as "simple 'hardware' explanation."

You will need to be tolerant of my rather strong statement about what
one should regard as "construing."
At the same time, I will make an equally strong statement about anyone
who would say that developing a construction is "merely a matter of
perceiving what is out there" without some understanding of the possible
limits on our construing that are placed on us by our biology.

With a little neuroscientific knowledge, we can experience these
illusions
with pleasant interest, rather than with alarm or paranoia.

And, I would claim on the basis of my knowledge of the ways in which
people build construction systems, that one had better add a great deal
of"psychoscientific knowledge" about construct systems (available in
hundreds of volumes on cognitive processes) to that "little
neuroscientific knowledge" before attempting to offer to me an
explanation of illusions!!!!

Our success in our everyday construing of the effects of fatigue, drugs,

on our nervous system

which can create inputs which some people construe as

dizziness and,

which

some people

construe as

suicidal depression, surely depends on a
willingness to allow to neuroscience part of the explanation of what's
going on. This doesn't demean the importance of PCP, the science of
construing.

This has been an interesting discussion thread, I think, but trying to
make
PCP explain everything has led some contributors to dismiss some
people's
coping with their depression through knowledge of the brain mechanisms
of
mood as _merely_ avoiding their personal responsibility, and has,
mistakenly, had to cast many honest and humane psychiatrists as
thought-police.

When someone counters my position by claiming that I am asserting that
people who construe themselves are depressed are "merely" avoiding their
responsibility by "merely" construing their self as depressed, I ask
them to consider the possibility that my critic construe his/her self
as male/female because they are "merely" avoiding a transgender
identity. Thus, tomorrow morning my critic should begin to act out the
gender identity he/she is avoiding. (Sorry if that sounds obtuse!)

Jim
Mancuso

--
James C. Mancuso        Dept. of Psychology
15 Oakwood Place        University at Albany
Delmar, NY 12054        1400 Washington Ave.
Tel: (518)439-4416      Albany, NY 12222
               Mailto:mancusoj@capital.net
           http://www.capital.net/~mancusoj
A website dedicated to a personal view of Per-
sonal Construct Psychology

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<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> Greetings:

 Tony Downing has taken the time to offer a long and thoughtful comment on the linkage of neurological functions and psychological functions....  I will attempt to reciprocate by commenting on his comments....  I feel obligated to do so, because I have been adding my heat to these interchanges. My comments will be shown in italics....

================

Although the contents of cognitions, and the mechanisms in which they are
embodied, do normally belong to two different domains of discourse, they
can interconnect in several ways, and sometimes it is vital that we bring
them together.
I think my point about the Capgras syndrome shows one way
in which these different levels of discoursse do need to interact.
If the neurological model of the Capgras syndrome proposed by Prof. Andy
Young is right (Young et al., 1993), British J. Pychiatry, 162, 695-8),
then the normal neural mechanisms of face recognition, voice recognition,
etc. let the Capgras sufferer get almost all the way in recognising some
significant other person, but specific damage within their brain prevents
this being linked to relevant social information about the  person who is
being recognised.  This presents the sufferer with a paradox: they
recognise who the person seems to be, but they don't get that click of
recognition that goes along with linking this recognition to the knowledge
that this really is their wife, their mother, or whoever it really is.  As
Stone & Young (1997) proposed, (Mind & Language 12: 327-364), there are
several ways that the sufferer might construe this. One way is to jump to
the conclusion that they are an imposter - and this usually requires
subsidiary suppositions which amount to paranoia.  Another way is to
conclude that one has oneself died, and that that is why everything feels
so strange.  Another way - among others - would be to bring in knowledge of
the proposed neurological explanation and recognise that one's brain damage
does lead to apparently paradoxical experiences.

 Your description provides an excellent  example of the complications that must be explained when one attempts to bring together "Two different domains of discourse."
 I will try to describe how I construe the example you have given.  Let me accept your assumption that some kind of the specific damage underlies what we see as in the unusual, troublesome behavior of the person who would be diagnosed as having the "Capgras syndrome." (Though I reserve the right to be skeptical, until that time that you can show me the site of the lesion, and that such lesions do produce the processing difficulties you describe.)   I will assume as well that the person can be said to have at a physiological/anatomical condition that differs from that of a what might be called the "normal" person
 You have nicely described a situation which, I believe exemplifies the state affairs that accompanies unusual behavior associated with some kind of physiological/anatomical anomaly.
 I will take you at your word; the "sufferer" makes some effort to derive a validatable construction under conditions of radical alterations in the processing of sensory inputs (associated with the physical condition).  You describe this very nicely.
 You also clearly point out that the main problem that  the quote sufferer" must face is that of assembling a useful construction of this very situation.  You suggest two series of constructions which the person might assemble  -- two ways which would be lead to troublesome, unwanted behavior.  You also suggest a third way of deriving a construction that might be useful (and less troublesome) to explain the seriously altered conditions of construing the self.  Your suggest that the sufferer might adopt the neurological explanation and that in that way he would be able to build construction s that would take into account the altered state of the sensory processes.

 Now even if the particular explanation proposed by Young et al. is not
quite correct, we do know that, in at least those Capgras cases where the
symptoms directly follow the occurrence of brain injury, some kind of brain
damage is producing the cognitive dilemma that the sufferer finds themselves in.  The sufferer then needs to construe the changes in his/her self construction processes.  That is one very obvious way in which the output of one domain of knowledge (neurology, a
hardware fault in the brain) produces faulty cognitions which belong in
another domain of knowledge (cognitive psychology).  The faulty cognitions
do not make sense in the usual way - but of course the sufferer has to make
what sense they can of it.

Here I have a bit of a problem coping with your text.  What are "faulty cognitions," and where do faulty cognitions enter into the discussion that you have so far provided..  What is the "usual way," of making sense of the situations for which the sufferers use "faulty cognitions?" To what to do you refer when you speak of "cognitions?"  When you speak of cognitions, are you speaking of the faulty sensory input conditions, or are you speaking of the failed attempt to derive a validatable construction to integrate the inputs.  I would need to understand what you mean before trying to explain, using the kind of the PCP I would use, what might underlie the production of unwanted behavior.
  If I have followed your description, I would say that the problem which would evolve from the situation, as you clearly indicate, is not from the physical condition, but from the effort to build a validatable construction -- using an existing construct system -- under input conditions are considerably it altered.  The problem comes not from the physical condition, but from the effort to  use an existing construct system to build a useful construction of the unusual inputs.  In your own example, you suggest an alternative construction that might "work."  I doubt that I could have been given a better example of how PCP explanation could provide very adequate framing of the situation, taking into account the altered input conditions that are created by the altered anatomical/physiological conditions.

 I don't see how PCP can decline to encompass
that construing.  I don't see how PCP can hope to do so helpfully if it
declines to accept that, sometimes, brains do malfunction and thereby
produce mental states that do not make the usual kind of sense.

  Again, I have difficulty convincing myself that I understand what you mean by "mental states."  Are you suggesting that the unwanted construction is to be regarded as a "mental state?"
  As a PCP theorist, attempting to use the explanations that I suggest in my previous comments, I would feel uncomfortable if you construed my efforts as declining to "accept that brains do misfunction."  Indeed, they certainly do.
  As you yourself indicate, the behaviors that follow from a particular brain dysfunction cannot be predicted.  You yourself give examples of the kinds of constructions -- which I believed to be the precursors to behavior -- that might result  from this brain dysfunction. Keep in mind, that you yourself indicated that the constructions result from an effort to come up with validatable constructions to account for the altered inputs.  It's the unusual constructions that count.
  What I am saying is that the brain dysfunction, itself, does not produce the unwanted behavior.  It is the effort by the person to develop a validatable set of constructions under conditions of altered brain function, that leads to unwanted constructions and the behavior that follows. Where is the "mental state" in all of this.  Do you mean that the unusual constructions are the "mental state?" The misfunctioning brain did not PRODUCE the unusual constructions. The misfunctioning brain messed up the inputs, and the person needed to come up with a set of constructions by which to "make sense" of the messed up inputs. You affirm  this point when you allow that the person might adopt a neurological explanation that is less troublesome!!
 I  regard this as a very,  very important point.  When people speak of "schizophrenia" they seem to intend to use this term to speak of the specific kinds of behaviors (symptoms???)) that result from an assumed anatomical/physiological condition.  In the example you gave, you hypothesized a very specific kind of dysfunction.  Note, the said dysfunction did not affect the person's speech (apparently), his ability to walk, and to make his way around in his world in other areas.  Can a diagnostician propose  a physiological anatomical condition that would produce similar results among the people called schizophrenic?
  Again, referring to your example, do you think it would be possible to have the "schizophrenic" develop suitable, acceptable constructions upon his/her being told that his/her unacceptable constructions derived from improper dopamine functioning? Think how effective that might be, if it were possible!!  No more "psychotropic drugs, etc.  And, how about depressives.  Let's run an experiment.  Tell them that their depression comes from blocked upper, metastasis of the lower renal channels of the left kidney.  Would that be as effective of telling a Cargas syndrome person that his problems derive from some kind of messed up neurology?
I doubt it.  The depressive derives his troublesome constructions as a way of helping him/her to construe some kind of input..  What is the input that he/she is trying to construe???? Personal failure, according to a set of standards that his social surround has built into his personal construct system?????  Perhaps the inputs derive from a change in potassium (or whatever) levels that he/she interprets as "being tired." "I always feel tired because I HAVE a depression!!!" (You see, I would not exclude anatomical/physiological considerations. But, from my perspective, those parameters did not CAUSE the depression.  Experiencing depression is just that EXPERIENCING DEPRESSION; that is CONSTRUING THE SELF AS DEPRESSED.  Will drugs help?  Perhaps for some people who EXPERIENCE DEPRESSION on account of altered inputs due to some kind of physical condition. But, does everyone who EXPERIENCES DEPRESSION use that construction to account for an altered biological state??) |

All this is obvious to anyone who is willing to integrate the science of
personal constructs with the rest of psychology.

  I couldn't agree more!  If one is going to talk about the effects of anatomical/physiological functioning and behavior, he/she needs to be able to integrate what we know about cognitive psychology to neurological explanations.  Similarly no one should talk about cognitive processes without having a reasonable  understanding, based on the most up-to-date literature, on how a neurological system functions.

 The issue is indeed, as
Massimo Gilberto says, illuminating for the fundamental philosophy of PCP.
It raises again the issue of whether this science should be conceived of as
PCP (an entire psychology, sufficient on its own, disdaining all other
psychology as error) or PCT, a body of theory which fits within and around
various parts of a wider science.
Abnormal and/or paradoxical cognitions that arise because of abnormal
neurological functioning are not rare.  If we drink too much wine, we know,
in general terms, that our confidence in our driving ability is impaired
and yet our sense of confidence in our driving ability tends to be
enhanced.

 I hope that you won't mind my failing to accept your proposition that "we know" that our sense of confidence in our driving ability tends to be enhanced. It depends on one's construction system, doesn't it? My observations lead me to believe that people who construe their selves as rough/tough/macho types tend to demonstrate a higher level of confidence about their competence while under the influence than do some of my more nerdy associates!!!

Let's hope we construe the situation at the time in a way that is
dominated by our well-learned knowledge that after plentiful wine
consumption, judgement is unreliable.  If we gaze at a waterfall for a long
time, and look away at the surrounding trees, they seem, paradoxically, to
be drifting upwards, yet staying in the same place.

Yes, constructions of body position develop extremely early life, and they are applied quite "unconsciously," so that alterations of "standard combinations" of inputs can lead to some very confusing constructions (in that they are not validated by the continued flow of inputs).  The point is, again, that we very rapidly produce constructions that will work.  Again, the issue is not whether our "a motion sensor cells" are functioning improperly, it is the matter of attempting to apply a long-existing construct system to altered conditions of input (which originate in retinal cells) that leads to the confusion.  We also know, that if the confusion persists, some very dire consequences do obtain.  That is why NASA is spending so much money trying to understand space sickness.  It is not pleasant to be in a space capsules with someone whose construct system is useless for  processing  inputs patterns lacking the inputs  which we receive as we orient our bodies (in our earth-bound state) to gravitational forces. They have a tendency to vomit all over the equipment.

 Elementary psychology
textbooks give a good explanation in terms of adaptation of certain
motion-detecting cells relatively early in the visual pathways.  How many
people have spent time in a green tent and emerged to think, at first, that
the world has gone pink?

*******  Again, a simple "hardware" explanation in terms
of visual adaptation leads us to a correct construing of the situation. ****

 This sentence provided the main motivation for me to take so much of my time  to try to respond to your posting.  I simply cannot understand how you can talk about a "simple 'hardware'  explanation."  SIMPLE, indeed!!!!  Do you want to use that term????
 ALL of the examples you give involve complex construction processes.  Our ability to read it, to walk about in our environment, to drive our automobiles, etc. depends on the utility of a complex construction system which we use to construe space through processing the inputs that allow us to orient ourselves in spatial relationships.  Having some familiarity with all the studies on spatial orientation one should surely be cautious about speaking of spatial construction systems by using language such as "simple 'hardware' explanation."

  You will need to be tolerant of my rather strong statement about what one should regard as "construing."
  At the same time, I will make an equally strong statement about anyone who would say that developing a construction is "merely a matter of perceiving what is out there" without some understanding of the possible limits on our construing that are placed on us by our biology.

With a little neuroscientific knowledge, we can experience these illusions
with pleasant interest, rather than with alarm or paranoia.

And, I would claim on the basis of my knowledge of the ways in which people build construction systems, that one had better add a great deal of"psychoscientific knowledge" about construct systems (available in hundreds of volumes on cognitive processes) to that "little neuroscientific knowledge" before attempting to offer to me an explanation of  illusions!!!!

Our success in our everyday construing of the effects of fatigue, drugs,

on our nervous system

which can create inputs which some people construe as

dizziness and,

which

some people

construe as

 suicidal depression, surely depends on a
willingness to allow to neuroscience part of the explanation of what's
going on.  This doesn't demean the importance of PCP, the science of
construing.

This has been an interesting discussion thread, I think, but trying to make
PCP explain everything has led some contributors to dismiss some people's
coping with their depression through knowledge of the brain mechanisms of
mood as _merely_ avoiding their personal responsibility, and has,
mistakenly, had to cast many honest and humane psychiatrists as
thought-police.

When someone counters my position by claiming that I am asserting that people who construe themselves are depressed are "merely" avoiding their responsibility by "merely" construing their self as depressed, I ask them to consider the possibility that my critic construe his/her self  as male/female because they are "merely" avoiding a transgender identity.  Thus, tomorrow morning my critic should begin to act out the gender identity he/she is avoiding. (Sorry if that sounds obtuse!)

                                                                    Jim Mancuso

--
James C. Mancuso        Dept. of Psychology
15 Oakwood Place        University at Albany
Delmar, NY 12054        1400 Washington Ave.
Tel: (518)439-4416      Albany, NY 12222
               Mailto:mancusoj@capital.net
           http://www.capital.net/~mancusoj
A website dedicated to a personal view of Per-
sonal Construct Psychology
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