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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 158-168

What The Cognitive Neurosciences Mean To Me

São Paulo State University (UNESP) - Institute of Biosciences - 18618-000 - Botucatu - SP, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Alfredo Pereira Jr
Dept. Educação – Instituto Biociências – UNESP – Campus Rubião Jr. –Botucatu – São Paulo - 18618-000
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1229.32160

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Cognitive Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary area of research that combines measurement of brain activity (mostly by means of neuroimaging) with a simultaneous performance of cognitive tasks by human subjects. These investigations have been successful in the task of connecting the sciences of the brain (Neurosciences) and the sciences of the mind (Cognitive Sciences). Advances on this kind of research provide a map of localization of cognitive functions in the human brain. Do these results help us to understand how mind relates to the brain? In my view, the results obtained by the Cognitive Neurosciences lead to new investigations in the domain of Molecular Neurobiology, aimed at discovering biophysical mechanisms that generate the activity measured by neuroimaging instruments. In this context, I argue that the understanding of how ionic/molecular processes support cognition and consciousness cannot be made by means of the standard reductionist explanations. Knowledge of ionic/molecular mechanisms can contribute to our understanding of the human mind as long as we assume an alternative form of explanation, based on psycho-physical similarities, together with an ontological view of mentality and spirituality as embedded in physical nature (and not outside nature, as frequently assumed in western culture).

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