Neurodualism : People Assume that the Brain Affects the Mind more than the Mind Affects the Brain

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Valtonen , J , Ahn , W & Cimpian , A 2021 , ' Neurodualism : People Assume that the Brain Affects the Mind more than the Mind Affects the Brain ' , Cognitive Science , vol. 45 , no. 9 , 13034 .

Title: Neurodualism : People Assume that the Brain Affects the Mind more than the Mind Affects the Brain
Author: Valtonen, Jussi; Ahn, Woo-kyoung; Cimpian, Andrei
Contributor organization: Medicum
Department of Psychology and Logopedics
Date: 2021-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 36
Belongs to series: Cognitive Science
ISSN: 0364-0213
Abstract: People commonly think of the mind and the brain as distinct entities that interact, a view known as dualism. At the same time, the public widely acknowledges that science attributes all mental phenomena to the workings of a material brain, a view at odds with dualism. How do people reconcile these conflicting perspectives? We propose that people distort claims about the brain from the wider culture to fit their dualist belief that minds and brains are distinct, interacting entities: Exposure to cultural discourse about the brain as the physical basis for the mind prompts people to posit that mind–brain interactions are asymmetric, such that the brain is able to affect the mind more than vice versa. We term this hybrid intuitive theory neurodualism. Five studies involving both thought experiments and naturalistic scenarios provided evidence of neurodualism among laypeople and, to some extent, even practicing psychotherapists. For example, lay participants reported that “a change in a person's brain” is accompanied by “a change in the person's mind” more often than vice versa. Similarly, when asked to imagine that “future scientists were able to alter exactly 25% of a person's brain,” participants reported larger corresponding changes in the person's mind than in the opposite direction. Participants also showed a similarly asymmetric pattern favoring the brain over the mind in naturalistic scenarios. By uncovering people's intuitive theories of the mind–brain relation, the results provide insights into societal phenomena such as the allure of neuroscience and common misperceptions of mental health treatments.
Subject: BELIEFS
Intuitive theories
Mental disorders
Mind-body dualism
515 Psychology
611 Philosophy
3124 Neurology and psychiatry
3112 Neurosciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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