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Five Constraints on Predicting Behavior$
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Jerome Kagan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036528

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036528.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Five Constraints on Predicting Behavior

Jerome Kagan

The MIT Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the five constraints on the ability to predict mental or behavioral outcomes based on brain data. Some psychologists and neuroscientists fail to attribute sufficient power to the context of observation. The subject's expectations comprise a second constraint on inferences. Meanwhile, a large number of investigators studying brain–behavior relations resist Niels Bohr's insight that the validity of every conclusion depends on its source of evidence. One reason why brain and psychological data yield conclusions with differing validities is that some brain measures are subject to the effects of bodily processes that exert minimal effects on many psychological observations. The last constraint to be considered is the practice of borrowing predicates whose meanings and validities originated in psychological measures gathered on human subjects and applying them to brain patterns, or to animals.

Keywords:   behavioral outcomes, brain data, context, brain–behavior relations, psychological data, brain measures, bodily processes, psychological observations, psychological measures

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