VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality
3. A Complementary Brain and Thought Process
Friederici, Angela and Kai Alter. Lateralization of Auditory Language Functions: A Dynamic Dual Pathway Model. Brain and Language. 89/2, 2004. We refer in 2018 to a prior entry by MPI Cognitive Neuroscience neuropsychologists as an original posting of these now well documented left ventral and right dorsal areas and streams. Their popular What (separate detail - seeds, words), and Where/Why (integral field - forest, meaning) terms define another evidential way that human, and creaturely brains are distinguished by archetypal complements. See also The Language Network in Current Opinion in Neurobiology (23/250, 2013), and White Matter Pathways for Prosodic Structure Building in Brain and Language (183/1, 2018) which each have A. Friederici as a coauthor.
Spoken language comprehension requires the coordination of different subprocesses in time. After the initial acoustic analysis the system has to extract segmental information such as phonemes, syntactic elements and lexical-semantic elements as well as suprasegmental information such as accentuation and intonational phrases, i.e., prosody. According to the dynamic dual pathway model of auditory language comprehension syntactic and semantic information are primarily processed in a left hemispheric temporo-frontal pathway whereas sentence level prosody is processed in a right hemispheric temporo-frontal pathway. The observed interaction between syntactic and prosodic information during auditory sentence comprehension is attributed to dynamic interactions between the two hemispheres. (Abstract)
Funnell, Margaret. The Interpreting Hemispheres. Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia, et al, eds. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Mind. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010. A Dartmouth College neuropsychologist, and former doctoral student of Michael Gazzaniga, contributes a cogent chapter to this volume about his work. With Stephen Kosslyn below, and others, a new clarity is lately reached with regard to our dual but complementary brain. In this case, to prior proposals of a left side “interpreter” with a fine focus is added a right counterpart that importantly weighs in with a relational, contextual view.
Although the left hemisphere is clearly capable of sophisticated visual processing – after all, reading is predominantly a left-hemisphere function, we found that it represents spatial information relatively crudely compared to the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is vastly superior to the left in a variety of visuospatial tasks, including mirror image discrimination, simple perceptual discriminations, such as orientation, vernier-offset, and size discrimination, and in temporal discrimination. These studies led Paul Corballis to theorize a right-hemisphere interpreter that complements Mike Gazzaniga left-hemisphere interpreter. Whereas the left-hemisphere interpreter makes sense of the congnitive and linguistic world, the right-hemisphere interpreter makes sense of the visuospatial world, with both making inferences and filling missing information about their specialized domain. (74-75)
Furtak, Marcin, et al. The Forest, the Trees, or Both? Hierarchy and Interactions between Gist and Object Processing during Perception of Real-world Scenes. Cognition. Vol. 221, April, 2022. Into this year, Polish Academy of Sciences and Tel Aviv University neuropsychologists can draw upon their own research along with a review of past 21st century work to an extent that they can presently reach a strong conclusion. Taken together, these studies join our results in supporting the global to local accounts, suggesting that gist (field) is processed more readily, and earlier, than objects. (5) As reported across the website, a temporal sequence appears to go on for both evolution and an entity. A sighted occasion is viewed by way of these dual archetypal modes, whereby a contextual scene is perceived first, after which item details are noticed and situated.
The global-to-local theories of perception assume that the gist of a scene is computed early and automatically, whereas recognition of objects occurs at a later stage, requires attentional resources, and is primed by the representation of whole. To test these views, we investigated the sequence of gist- and object-recognition. We generally found that backgrounds were classified more accurately than foreground objects, while wider fields influenced object recognition. Thus these findings support global-to-local theories, implying that gists are more readily seen than details, and at an earlier stage. (Abstract excerpt)
Gabora, Liane and Diederik Aerts. A Model of the Emergence and Evolution of Integrated Worldviews. Journal of Mathematical Psychology. 53/5, 2009. University of British Columbia, and Free University of Brussels, scientists provide another vista upon the ascendant passage of a cerebral complementarity from early, integral “associative” phases to a later “analytical” fine-focus. Not only do these archetypal modes grace our modern minds, their sequential heritage can be reconstructed and traced in similar fashion to ancient evolutionary origins. As noted below, “It is widely believed that there are two forms of thought,…” which, as found to pervade every corner and crux of space and time, they attest to, in a human genesis universe, the evidential occasion and consequence of its reciprocal genetic code. However today may its latest cultural manifestation be associated with, to beneficial advantage, our bilateral earthkind?
It is proposed that the ability of humans to flourish in diverse environments and evolve complex cultures reflects the following two underlying cognitive transitions. The transition from the coarse-grained associative memory of Homo habilis to the fine-grained memory of Homo erectus enabled limited representational redescription of perceptually similar episodes, abstraction, and analytic thought, the last of which is modeled as the formation of states and of lattices of properties and contexts for concepts. The transition to the modern mind of Homo sapiens is proposed to have resulted from onset of the capacity to spontaneously and temporarily shift to an associative mode of thought conducive to interaction amongst seemingly disparate concepts, modeled as the forging of conjunctions resulting in states of entanglement. The fruits of associative thought became ingredients for analytic thought, and vice versa. The ratio of associative pathways to concepts surpassed a percolation threshold resulting in the emergence of a self-modifying, integrated internal model of the world, or worldview. (Abstract, 434)
Gazzaniga, Michael. Cerebral Specialization and Interhemispheric Communication. Brain. 123/7, 2000. The renowned neuroscientist, presently (2010) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, makes a case that a distinguishing trait of human cognition, in an evolutionary train, is a relatively larger corpus callosum, an interbridging bundle of fibers that serve to connect the left and right hemispheres.
Gibbon, Dafydd. The Future of Prosody: It’s About Time. arXiv:1804.09543. A posting of a keynote to the Speech Prosody 2018 conference in Ponzan, Poland, see below. The emeritus Bielefeld University, Germany linguist adds a temporal aspect which covers discourse, personal, social, historical, and evolutionary phases for this rhythmic complement to good communication. Into the 21st century it is being realized that along with syntax and grammar verbiage, another mutual mode of analog, gestural and facial (body language) is necessary for full, meaningful conveyance. See also Rhythm Zone Theory: Speech Rhythms are Physical After All by DG and Xuewei Lin at 1902.01267.
Prosody is usually defined in terms of the three distinct but interacting domains of pitch, intensity and duration patterning, or, more generally, as phonological and phonetic properties of 'suprasegmentals', speech segments which are larger than consonants and vowels. Rather than taking this approach, the concept of multiple time domains for prosody processing is taken up, and methods of time domain analysis are discussed: annotation mining with timing dispersion measures, time tree induction, oscillator models in phonology and phonetics, and finally the use of the Amplitude Envelope Modulation Spectrum (AEMS). While pitch tracking is a central issue in prosodic analysis, here amplitude envelope demodulation and frequency zones in the long time-domain spectra of the demodulated envelope are of interest. (Abstract)
Glatzeder, Britt. Two Modes of Thinking: Evidence from Cross-Cultural Psychology. Han, Shihui and Ernst Poppel, eds.. Culture and Neural Frames of Cognition and Communication. Berlin: Springer, 2011. The Parimenides Center philosopher and publication director notes dual process schools which join on an evolutionary scale an earlier holistic, slower mode with a later rapid, linguistic focus. A viewer may variously attend to either pond or fish. From a 2010 vista, history’s resolve then ought to be a palliative, vital individual and global complementarity.
The long history of the study of human thought is shaped by a dichotomy of two different views of the nature of thinking: the logical, analytical, rule-following thinking on the one hand, and the intuitive, and holistic, experiential thinking on the other. Recently, a lot of empirical evidence has been accumulated for the dual mode view of thinking. In this chapter, I shall highlight some of this evidence and interpret findings in cross-cultural research on thinking in order to better understand and train holistic thinking, which has been neglected in our logocentric Western culture. The underlying claim is that thinking draws on both modes and that, instead of prioritizing one of the two, we are challenged to develop both concerted expert analytical thinking and expert intuitive–holistic thinking and to master their interplay. (Abstract, 233)
Glezerman, Tatyana and Victoria Balkoski. Language, Thought and the Brain. New York: Kluwer Academic, 1999. Cognition and speech involve reciprocal activities of an analytic left side and a synthetic right, which is reflected in their neural substrates.
Modern anatomical data regarding cortical connections have tended to support the concept ‘two hemispheres - two cognitive styles.’ For example, in the right hemisphere the dendritic overlap among cortical columns is greater than in the left hemisphere, allowing for the possibility of more joint (synchronous) responses, which may correspond to a more ‘holistic processing’ style. The much greater center-center distance between columns in the left hemisphere is consistent with a better segregation of input and more independence in the left. (22)
Grimshaw, Gina. Integration and Interference in the Cerebral Hemispheres. Brain and Cognition. 36/2, 1998. A further contribution to confirm the characteristic left and right brain propensities.
…the left hemisphere performs computations that extract local features (or high spatial frequencies), while the right hemisphere performs computations on the stimuli that are relevant to global form (or low spatial frequencies). At some point, local and global analyses are integrated to produce a unified precept. (109)
Grossberg, Stephen. A Half Century of Progress Towards a Unified Neural Theory of Mind and Brain. Kozma, Robert, et al, eds. Artificial Intelligence in the Age of Neural Networks and Brain Computing. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press, 2018. The veteran Boston University neuroscientist and original theorist of this whole BI and AI revolution reviews his 50 year project (search) to theoretically and conceptually explain how our bilaterally complex brains proceed to envision, quantify, consider, think, learn, and effectively act in dynamic social and natural environments. The invited chapter is fully available on the author’s publication page. See herein his major paper Towards Solving the Hard Problem of Consciousness a year earlier in Neural Networks (87/38, 2017), along with Iain McGilchrist 2019. We include 3 quotes to convey its essence and message.
This article surveys some of the main design principles, mechanisms, circuits, and architectures that have been discovered during a half century of systematic research aimed at developing a unified theory that links mind and brain, and shows how psychological functions arise as emergent properties of brain mechanisms. This project advanced in stages by way of revolutionary computational paradigms like Complementary Computing and Laminar Computing that constrain the kind of unified theory that can describe the autonomous adaptive intelligence that emerges from advanced brains. Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, is one of the core models that has been discovered in this way. ART is not, however, a “theory of everything” if only because, due to Complementary Computing, different matching and learning laws tend to support perception and cognition on the one hand, and spatial representation and action on the other. (Abstract excerpt)
Conscious Mind, Resonant Brain: How Each Brain Makes a Mind.
New York: Oxford University Press,
The octogenarian Boston University poly-neuroscientist was often asked to write a summary work about his luminous studies (search). As a result, this large format, illustrated, 700 page volume proceeds to substantiate and explain his Complementary Computation theory of dynamic cerebral processes and cognitive features. As the quotes describe, into the 21st century and 2020s a vital finding can now be established. Our human neural facility, awareness and responsive behavior is distinguished by a double basis of opposite but reciprocal functions and qualities. One version is the What/Where model of object view and spatial place, which draws on dual cortical streams. Another instance, of course, is our hemispheric halves with their archetypal contrast of dot/connect, node/link, the litany goes all the way to male and female compete/cooperate aspects.
The work embodies a revolutionary Principia of Mind that clarifies how autonomous adaptive intelligence is achieved. Because brains embody a universal developmental code, further insights emerge about shared law in living cells from primitive to complex and onto how networks of interacting cells support developmental and learning processes in all species. These novel brain design principles of complementarity, uncertainty, and resonance are then traced to the physical world with which our brains ceaselessly interact, and which enable our brains to incrementally learn to understand those laws, thereby enabling humans to understand the world scientifically. (Publisher)
Grossberg, Stephen. The Complementary Brain: Unifying Brain Dynamics and Modularity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 4/6, 2000. A pervasive reciprocity amongst neural activities such as gestalt ‘boundary completion’ and detailed ‘surface filling-in,’ which then mirrors the extant physical realm, is described.
This article reviews evidence that the brain’s processing streams compute complementary properties. Each stream’s properties are related to those of a complementary stream in the way that two pieces of a puzzle fit together. It is also suggested how the mechanisms that enable each stream to compute one set of properties prevent it from computing a complementary set of properties….I suggest that the concept of pairs of complementary processes brings new precision to the idea that both functional specialization and functional integration occur in the brain. (234) According to this view, the organization of the brain obeys principles of uncertainty and complementarity, as does the physical world with which brains interact (and of which they form a part). I suggest that these principles reflect each brain’s role as a self-organizing measuring device in and of the world. (235)