Although most aspects of world and self-consciousness are inherently subjective, neuroscience studies in humans and non-human animals provide correlational and causative indices of specific links between brain activity and representation of the self and the world. In this article we review neuroanatomic, neurophysiological and neuropsychological data supporting the hypothesis that different levels of self and world representation in vertebrates rely upon i) a 'basal' subcortical system that includes brainstem, hypothalamus and central thalamic nuclei and that may underpin the primary (or (...) anoetic) consciousness likely present in all vertebrates; and ii) a forebrain system that include the medial and lateral structures of the cerebral hemispheres and may sustain the most sophisticated forms of consciousness (e.g. noetic (knowledge based) and autonoetic, reflective knowledge). We posit a mutual, bidirectional functional influence between these two major brain circuits. We conclude that basic aspects of consciousness like primary self and core self (based on anoetic and noetic consciousness) are present in many species of vertebrates and that, even self-consciousness (autonoetic consciousness) does not seem to be a prerogative of humans and of some non-human primates but may, to a certain extent, be present in some other mammals and birds. (shrink)
In this quantitative meta-analysis, we used the activation likelihood estimation approach to address the effects of linguistic distance between first and second languages on language-related brain activations. In particular, we investigated how L2-related networks may change in response to linguistic distance from L1. Thus, we examined L2 brain activations in two groups of participants with English as L2 and either a European language or Chinese as L1. We further explored the modulatory effect of age of appropriation and proficiency of L2. (...) We found that, irrespective of L1-L2 distance—and to an extent—irrespective of L2 proficiency, L2 recruits brain areas supporting higher-order cognitive functions, although with group-specific differences. The Chinese group also selectively activated the parietal lobe, but this did not occur in the subgroup with high L2 proficiency. These preliminary results highlight the relevance of linguistic distance and call for future research to generalize findings to other language pairs and shed further light on the interaction between linguistic distance, AoA, and proficiency of L2. (shrink)
Biological and Neuroscientific Foundations of Philosophy is an authoritative text addressing both academicians and students, and proposes an integrated and holistic view of scientific study and presents a new paradigm by which to study philosophy. It highlights, in a systematic and sufficiently simple manner, the fundamental role of neuroscience, neuropsychology and biology within philosophical reflection.
The present work introduces the neuropsychological paradigm as a new approach to studying ancient literature. In the first part of the article, an epistemological framework for the proper use of neuropsychology in relation to ancient literature is presented. The article then discusses neuropsychological methods of studying different human experiences and dimensions already addressed by ancient literatures. The experiences of human encounters with gods among ancient cultures are first considered, through the contributions of Julian Jaynes and Eric R. Dodds. The concepts (...) of right and left in the Bible, and that of soul are then discussed. Ecstatic experience in Paul of Tarsus is also presented, with a particular focus on glossolalia. Neuroscientific differences between mindful and unitive meditative practices are then described referring to ancient Buddhist literature, and finally a brief description of dreams in ancient Greek literature is proposed. Neuropsychology variously enables a more profound understanding of themes characterizing human experiences that ancient literature has already explored; these investigations prove that the collaboration of neuroscience and humanistic studies can return fruitful and interesting results. (shrink)