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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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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

The Default Mode Network

The Default Mode Network

(p.67) 4 The Default Mode Network
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the default mode network (DMN) and its role in delusion. It considers the nature of default processing, its neural substrate, cognitive properties, and role in the cognitive hierarchy. It explains how the DMN evolved to produce narrative fragments that enable mental time travel: the simulation of episodes of a subject's life to enable planning, deliberation, and reflection. The representations produced by the default system are essentially indexical: they provide a first-person perspective on information in virtue of their dependence on circuitry involved in motivational and emotional processes. It also discusses decontextualized processing and how it supervises default processing, allowing subjective narratives to be revised to fit reality. It shows that, in a delusional mind, this level of supervision is unavailable or compromised, leaving the subject at the mercy of his/her default system. Finally, the chapter explores delusion as a “mixed mode” of the DMN, along with the correlation between the first-person perspective and decontextualization.

Keywords:   default mode network, delusion, cognitive hierarchy, mental time travel, decontextualized processing, default processing, supervision, mixed mode, first-person perspective, decontextualization

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