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Learning As Self-organization

Book Description

A year before his death, B.F. Skinner wrote that "There are two unavoidable gaps in any behavioral account: one between the stimulating action of the environment and the response of the organism and one between consequences and the resulting change in behavior. Only brain science can fill those gaps. In doing so, it completes the account; it does not give a different account of the same thing." This declaration ended the epoch of radical behaviorism to the extent that it was based on the doctrine of the "empty organism," the doctrine that a behavioral science must be constructed purely on its own level of investigation. However, Skinner was not completely correct in his assessment. Brain science on its own can no more fill the gaps than can single level behavioral science. It is the relation between data and formulations developed in the brain and the behavioral sciences that is needed.

This volume is the result of The Fourth Appalachian Conference on Behavioral Neurodynamics, the first three of which were aimed at filling Skinner's first gap. Taking the series in a new direction, the aim of the fourth and subsequent conferences is to explore the second of the gaps in the behavioral account noted by Skinner. The aim of this conference was to explore the aphorism: The motivation for learning is self organization. In keeping with this aim and in the spirit of previous events, this conference's mission was to acquaint scientists working in one discipline with the work going on in other disciplines that is relevant to both. As a result, it brought together those who are making advances on the behavioral level -- mainly working in the tradition of operant conditioning -- and those working with brains -- mainly amygdala, hippocampus, and far frontal cortex.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Keynote
    1. Innate Bases of Learning
  8. I. The Behavioral Level: Learning
    1. 1. Respondents, Operants, and Emergents
    2. 2. Analysis of Behavioral Selection by Consequences and Its Potential: Contributions to Understanding Brain-Behavior Relations
    3. 3. Mechanics of the Animate
    4. 4. The Response Dimension
    5. 5. Nonlinear Phenomena in Learning Processes
    6. 6. The Attractor of the Intentional Learning System
  9. II. The Network Level: Self-Organization
    1. 7. The Three Languages of the Brain: Quantum, Reorganizational, And Associative
    2. 8. Automatic Formation of Wavelet- and Gabor-Type Filters in an Adaptive-Subspace SOM
    3. 9. Democratic Reinforcement: Learning via Self-Organization
    4. 10. Biological Plausibility of Synaptic Associative Memory Models
    5. 11. Learning in the Brain: An Engineering Interpretation
  10. III. The Neural Systems Level: Process
    1. 12. Morphogenesis and Mental Process
    2. 13. Topographically Different Regional Networks Impose Structural Limitations on Both Sexes in Early Postnatal Development
    3. 14. Brain Regions Associated With Retrieval of Structurally Coherent Visual Information
    4. 15. Conscious Recollection and the Human Hippocampal Formation: Evidence from Positron Emmission Tomography
    5. 16. An Exploration of the Neural Bases of Memory Representations of Reward and Context
    6. 17. Emotion and the Self-Organization of Semantic Memory
  11. IV. The Social Level: The Organization of Self in Society
    1. 18. Learning and Unlearning in the Formation of Social Bonds
    2. 19. Language as an Instrument for Self Reorganization
    3. 20. Self-Organization and the Social Collective
  12. V. The Transcendental Level: Self-Organization on a Grand Scale
    1. 21. Reflections in Clouded Mirrors: Selfhood in Animals and Machines
    2. 22. Chance, Choice, and Consciousness: A Causal Quantum Theory of the Mind/Brain
    3. 23. Mind and Matter: Aspects of the Implicate Order Described Through Algebra
  13. Afterword
  14. List of Authors Cited