By Gerald M. Edelman
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Extra info for Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind
The 18 The Matter of the Mind brain might be said to be in touch more with itself than with anything else. As mentioned, the major meansof connection is the synapse,a specializedstructure in which electrical activity passed down the axon of the presynapticneuron (figure 3-2) leads to the release of a chemical (called a neurotransmitter) that in tum induces electrical activity in the postsynaptic neuron. As is suggested in the figure, the strength or efficacy of synapses can be changed-presynaptically by changesin the amount and the delivery of transmitter,and postsynaptically by the alteration of the chemical state of receptors and ion channels,the units on the postsynaptic side that bind transmittersand let ions carrying electrical charge (such as calcium ions) through to the inside of the cell.
Notice selection against increases in the fitness bodies. individual and his behavior. What we need to understand are the rules connecting the ways in which genes are sorted and expressedwith the ways in which genes lead to changesin the phenotype (figure 5-3). This is a formidable tash one that is only partly completed. While Darwin did not grasp the correct genetic mechanisms,he got the principle right. He understood,for example,that phenotypic resemblances between the emotional expressionsof certain animalsand those of human beings were likely.
Eventually,the extremeposition the study of stimulus-response that the only scientific study possible in psychology was the "-"rguj study-of behavior. As enunciatedby Iohn Watson, behaviorism left consciousness,introspective reports, and the like outside the pale. The fiercest latter-day advocate of this position was B. F. Skinner, who extensively urplor"d- the phenomunonoi operant conditioning. This behavior is then reinforcedby repeatedreward') Many tefined chains of behavior were analyzedusing behavioral techniques.