Is the next frontier in neuroscience a ‘decade of the mind’?

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Brain Theory: Essays in Critical Neurophilosophy

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014. In 2007, ten world-renowned neuroscientists, including James Albus, George Bekey, John Holland, Nancy Kanwisher, Jeffrey Krichmar, Mortimer Mishkin, Dharmendra Modha, Marcus Raichle, Gordon Shepherd, and Giulio Tononi advocated in a letter published in Science for “a major national research initiative called ‘A Decade of the Mind’" (Albus et al. 2007, 1321). Their contention was that, despite the successes of the Decade of the Brain, “a fundamental understanding of how the brain gives rise to the mind [was] still lacking” (ibid.). They identified four areas of research to be the focus of this new decade including: (1) healing mental disorders; (2) understanding “aspects of mind believed to be uniquely human” including “the notion of self, rational thought processes, theory of mind, language and higher order consciousness”; (3) “enriching the mind through education”; and (4) “modeling the mind by means of computational models and artificial intelligence” (ibid.). The proposed decade was to be “transdisciplinary and multiagency in its approach," incorporating insights from neuroscience, medicine, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, robotics, systems biology, cultural anthropology and social science (ibid.).


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