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Neurodynamic models of brain in psychiatry

  • Author(s): Freeman, Walter J, III
  • et al.

The history of brain theory is described in terms of three kinds of theory of perception. The most widely used kind sees perception as dependent on passive inflow from the environment of information that is used to make and process representations of objects and events. A second kind views perception as an active search for information that is inherent in the environment and is extracted by tuned resonances in brain circuits. A third kind holds that perception works by the creation of information through chaotic dynamics by forming hypotheses about the environment, through which learning takes place. Experimental evidence for creative dynamics in brains is briefly sketched. The explanation is offered that brains, being finite systems, work this way in order to cope with the infinite complexity of the world. All that brains can know is the hypotheses they construct and the results of testing them by acting into the environment, and learning by assimilation from the sensory consequences of their actions. The process is described as intentionality. It works through the action-perception-assimilation cycle. The cost of this solution to the problem of infinite complexity by hypothesis testing is the progressive isolation of individuals, as they accumulate their unique experiences through which their personalities form. Socialization and the acquisition of shared knowledge requires the emergence of new personality structure by self-organization through chaotic dissolution of existing the structure, as a prelude to the creation of new traits, habits, and values. Dissolution works in a crisis situation by regression to earlier stages of development, from which a fresh start can be made. A state of malleability emerges in the depth of crisis, in which compassionate companions through loving care can invite cooperative actions. joint actions support the growth of a new lifestyle based on trust. Socialization requires neurochemical mechanisms of affiliation and bonding that evolved through the requirements of parental care of altricial off spring in mammalian reproduction. These mechanisms are invoked by means of behavioral techniques from cultural evolution. The dynamics, neural mechanisms, behavioral signs, methods of induction, and therapeutic utility of dissolution should be known by therapists. Lack of recognition and understanding may cause failure to use brief windows of opportunity to instill long-term relief of psychic pain by restructuring intentionality in distressed patients.

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