PSYC211 Lecture 1 - January 9, 2012
• The brain vs. the heart:
• Brain is object of awesome power and a mystery
• Mystery lies in that it controls almost all human functions
• Some Ancient Greeks believed differently. For example, Empedocies and the
Chinese believed that the heart was where one’s emotions and thoughts resided
• Aristotle believed the heart was the place where thought took place
• The heart hypothesis has left a mark: love being symbolized by love, cupid,
“heartless”, “oh my blood boils”. Although not accepted scientiﬁcally, it did leave
• What role does the mind play:
• “Mind is the function of the brain” - true or false?
• Does it control the nervous system?
• Is it part of the nervous system?
• Is it a physical entity?
• Is it a spirit?
• This is the crock of the mind-body problem. How is the physical brain related to the
• Two main approaches to the Mind-Body Problem:
• Monism: The mind and brain are the same thing; the mind is a phenomenon of the
working of the nervous system (i.e. the brain)
• Dualism: The mind and brain (and body) are treated as separate; they are
fundamentally different. Religion played a great part
• Leonardo Da Vinci found ‘sensus comunis’ (common sense). Was found to be
false, but helped start understanding that brain controlled behaviour
• Rene Descartes: Mind-Body Interaction:
• Descartes believed that:
• Bodies were mechanistic
• Mind decided movements of the machine
• The body responded reﬂexively
• The mind interacted with the brain via the pineal body
• Animals do not have minds
• If one gets burned, they move because of reﬂex, not because of the mind