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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.223) 10 Conclusion
Source:
The Measure of Madness
Author(s):

Philip Gerrans

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.003.0010

This book has highlighted differences between delusional and normal cognition in order to explain the relationship between neurobiological and personal/psychological levels of functioning based on the idea that the human brain implements a hierarchy of cognitive processes. An accurate description of cognitive architecture allows us to see how and why manipulations and interventions at different levels produce predictable changes at other levels. The book has argued that the way to apply this architectural framework is via theoretical definition of delusions as arising when default cognitive processing, unsupervised by decontextualized processing, is monopolized by hypersalient information. This definition, which makes no use of normative notions like belief and rationality, proprietary to the personal level, allows us to explain the patterns of thought and behavior characteristic of delusion as well as the similarities and differences between delusions and other related states such as dreams and entrenched biases in default thinking. The book closes by returning to the example of the Capgras delusion in order to show how the kind of explanation it is advancing might work.

Keywords:   delusion, cognition, cognitive architecture, cognitive processing, decontextualized processing, hypersalient information, dreams, default thinking, Capgras delusion

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