A neuroanatomical investigation of belief and doubt A NEUROANATOMICAL INVESTIGATION OF BELIEF AND DOUBT Title and Department ________________________________ Date A NEUROANATOMICAL INVESTIGATION OF BELIEF AND DOUBT
Erik Asp, Erik Asp, Erik Asp, Steven Anderson
Philosophical and scientific investigations into the nature of belief and knowledge are ancient, extending back to the beginnings of rational thought. It is not until the last few decades that we have been able to peer into and examine the organ of belief, the brain. Neuroanatomical perspectives have begun to address the long-standing questions of epistemology by identifying specific neural regions that are critical for the formation and evaluations of beliefs. Here, a novel neuroanatomical
... l of belief and doubt is presented, where post-rolandic association cortices are critical for the formation of beliefs and the prefrontal cortex is necessary for the doubt and evaluation process. Abstract Approved:________________________________ Thesis Supervisor ________________________________ _____________________________________ Diana Cates ii To my parents iii A man is but the product of his beliefs, what he believes, he becomes. Mohandas Gandhi Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe. Euripides, -Helen,‖ Euripides II: Four Tragedies (412 BC) iv ACKNOWLDEGMENTS First, I would like to thank my family for their everlasting love and encouragement throughout my many years of education. This dissertation represents a culmination of the nurturing environment they created, and I am extremely grateful that they developed and encouraged my curiosity of the world. As a young child, my dad would enthrall me with the peculiarities of the mind, such as its ability to go into a hypnotic trance. I was raptured by the thought that I was not in control. Who or what is? This question, along with other similar questions I raised as a child listening to my dad, are still undiscovered and lie at the very heart of neuroscience and philosophy of mind. What makes me, me? The spark of curiosity fostered by my parents long ago still burns brightly. Second, I would not be where I am today without my mentor, Dr. Daniel Tranel, who took a chance on me four years ago. He gave me independence rarely seen in graduate students yet was quick to critique ancillary and untenable ideas. Dr. Tranel allowed me to explore my ideas unfettered and gave directed guidance which ultimately focused and empirically tested them. Quite simply, the False Tagging Theory would not exist without him. Thank you Dan, for all you have done for me.