Bio · Human-ities · Philosophy · Science · Theory

SPLIT BRAIN, SPLIT VIEWS

1) Given that the brain consists in a mass of connections, whose power depends on the number and complexity of those connections, why is it divided? Or is that just random, and we should give up trying to find a pattern which make sense in terms of evolutionary advantage? (Animal ethologists have already found that asymmetry is an evolutionary advantage, and some of the reasons why – I take those into account in the book.) 
2) Is it logical or just a prejudice to dismiss the idea that there are significant hemisphere differences? 
3) If it is logical, why? If it is not logical, should we not all be interested in what sort of difference this might be? 
4) If not, why not? If so, what sort of difference would he himself suggest? 
5) Failing any suggestion of his own, why is he opposed to others making suggestions? 
6) Since it is in the nature of a general question that the answer will be general, what sort of criticism is it that an answer that has been offered is general in nature (though highly specific in its unfolding of the many aspects of cerebral function involved, of the implications for the phenomenological world, and in the data that are adduced)? 
7) It is in the nature of generalisations that they are general. It is also almost always the case that there will be exceptions. Does that mean that no generalisations should ever be attempted for fear of being called generalisations or because there are exceptions? 
8) I have never tried to hide the difficulties surrounding generalisations. My book is replete with caveats, qualifications, and admonitions to the reader. Does either KM or Ray Tallis think they have said anything substantial by calling a generalisation ‘sweeping’? What kind of generalisation is not, other than one that is qualified?

Excerpt from a response from Kenan Malik to Iain McGilchrist. Read it HERE

Kenan Malik is an Indian-born English writer, lecturer and broadcaster, trained in neurobiology and the history of science.

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist, doctor, writer, and former Oxford literary scholar. McGilchrist came to prominence after the publication of his book The Master and His Emissary, subtitled The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

Thinking Clearly About Personality Disorders

For years they have lived as orphans and outliers, a colony of misfit characters on their own island: the bizarre one and the needy one, the untrusting and the crooked, the grandiose and the cowardly.

Their customs and rituals are as captivating as any tribe’s, and at least as mystifying. Every mental anthropologist who has visited their world seems to walk away with a different story, a new model to explain those strange behaviors.

This weekend the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association will vote on whether to adopt a new diagnostic system for some of the most serious, and striking, syndromes in medicine: personality disorders.

Personality disorders occupy a troublesome niche in psychiatry. The 10 recognized syndromes are fairly well represented on the self-help shelves of bookstores and include such well-known types as narcissistic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, as well as dependent and histrionic personalities.

Excerpt from an article written by BENEDICT CAREY at NYT. Continue HERE

Art/Aesthetics · Education · Events · Performativity · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Individual ecstasies: the revelatory experience conference

On March 23rd London will host a unique conference on the neuroscience, psychiatry and interpretation of revelatory visionary experiences.

Mental health professionals frequently encounter people who report experiences of God or supernatural beings speaking or acting through them to reveal important truths. In some cases it is difficult to know to what extent such experiences are best explained as ‘illness’, or represent experiences which are accepted and valued within a person’s religious or cultural context. Indeed, revelatory experiences form a key part of the formation and development of major world religions through figures such as prophets, visionaries, and yogins, as well as in the religious practice of shamans and others in traditional smaller scale societies. Why are revelatory experiences and related altered states of consciousness so common across cultures and history? What neural and other processes cause them? When should they be thought of as due to mental illness, as opposed to culturally accepted religious experience? And what value should or can be placed upon them? In this one day conference leading scholars from neuroscience, psychiatry, theology and religious studies, history and anthropology gather to present recent findings, and debate with each other and the audience about these fundamental aspects of human experience.

Who should attend: This one day interdisciplinary conference will be useful to academic psychologists, neuroscientists and humanities scholars interested in understanding the possibilities for interdisciplinary understanding of complex human behavior; as well as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and any professionals whose work requires them to make sense of the relations between culture, religion, and mental health.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Quinton Deeley, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London, and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, SLAM

Professor Stephen Pattison, Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Practice at the University of Birmingham

Dr Mitul Mehta, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London

Dr Eamonn Walsh, Post doctoral Researcher, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London

Professor Chris Rowland, Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture from Oxford

Professor Roland Littlewood, Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry at University College London

Professor David Oakley, University College London
The Very Rev Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral San Fransisco

Dr Piers Vitebsky, Head of Anthropology and Russian Arctic Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Professor Geoffrey Samuel, Religious Studies, University of Cardiff

Click HERE for more Info. Image source