Michael Gazzaniga
SOCIAL BRAIN (Basic, 1985)

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(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The American neurophysiologist Michael Gazzaniga, a disciple of Roger Sperry (the psychologist commonly associated with the discovery of the "split brain", the psychologist who strongly argued that "form precedes function", that the brain develops under genetic control) has shown with neurophysiological experiments that the brain has a modular organization, whereby many independent systems work in parallel. Split-brain surgery has proved that the human brain is made of at least two brains (the two hemispheres). Gazzaniga simply extends that idea. Many minds coexist in a confederation. Our behavior is due to the activity of these modules (similar in a sense to Freud's unconscious), rather than to conscious decisions. A special module, the "interpreter", located in the left hemisphere, provides explanations for our behavior. Beliefs are created by the interaction of the interpreter with the other modules. Behavior determines our beliefs. It is only by behaving that we conceptualize our selves, that we build a theory of our psychological state (in particular, beliefs). Beliefs are one of the goals of the left hemispheres, and of the human brain in general, because they help us do without experimenting all the time. Ultimately, mebtal life (the life of the interpreter) is the reconstruction of the independent operations of many brain systems.
Gazzaniga looks for evidence of his theory in neurophysiology, archaeology and anthropology.
Humans are more of a sociological entity than a single unified psychological entity. The human brain is social.

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