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Department of Cognitive Science

Cognitive psychology does not reduce to neuroscience

Lincoln J. Colling (lincoln.colling@maccs.mq.edu.au)
Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University
Reece P. Roberts (r.roberts@auckland.ac.nz)
Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland

Abstract

Contemporary scientific investigations of the mind have increasingly looked towards the brain in order to explain intelligent behavior. This is most evident with the rise of cognitive neuro-imaging. This approach has, however, been met with mixed reactions. On the one hand, classical cognitive scientists - in the computationalist-functionalist tradition - have argued that cognitive neuro-imaging does not, and cannot, answer questions about the cognitive mechanisms that are responsible for creating intelligent behavior; it is limited to questions about neural function or the neural basis of cognition. On the other hand, there are those who argue that an understanding of intelligent behavior can only be gained through study of the brain. We suggest that both views are misguided. We will present a third option: That neuroscience, properly used, can be employed in the development of cognitive theory, but that cognitive science does not reduce to neuroscience, because intelligent behavior can only be understood by studying how the brain interacts with the body and the brain-body with the environment.

Citation details for this article:

Colling, L., Roberts, R. (2010). Cognitive psychology does not reduce to neuroscience. In W. Christensen, E. Schier, and J. Sutton (Eds.), ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science (pp. 41-48). Sydney: Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science.

DOI: 10.5096/ASCS20097
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