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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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Attributing Psychological Properties to Brain Profiles

Attributing Psychological Properties to Brain Profiles

(p.139) 6 Attributing Psychological Properties to Brain Profiles
Five Constraints on Predicting Behavior

Jerome Kagan

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on the constraints of attributing psychological properties to brain profiles. The constraint on the validity of inferences based on one source of evidence bears directly on the neuroscientist's habit of describing brain profiles with words whose meaning and validity originated in psychological data. This practice deserves careful scrutiny because animals or humans are the presumed agents in sentences containing terms describing the psychological processes of perception, memory, intention, feeling, emotion, reasoning, or action. These terms take on novel meanings in sentences in which neuronal activity is the noun. However, the practice of using psychological predicates—such as compute, regulate, or synthesize—to describe brain profiles remains popular because neuroscientists do not have a rich biological vocabulary for the diverse brain profiles that occur in response to incentives.

Keywords:   psychological properties, brain profiles, neuroscientists, psychological data, psychological processes, neuronal activity, psychological predicates, biological vocabulary

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