What aspects of experience can functional neuroimaging be expected to reveal?

Andrew C. Papanicolaou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The success of functional neuroimaging methods in picturing distinct cerebral activation profiles for different psychological functions has led many specialists and many more non-specialists to speculate that it will soon be possible for neuroimaging experts to sit in front of the screen of a functional brain imaging device and "read" in the changing patterns of brain activity, displayed there in real-time, what the person whose brain is imaged is experiencing from one moment to the next. This apparently reasonable scenario presupposes that each concrete experience is associated with a distinct and unique brain activity pattern, and that these patterns are, at least in principle, discernible through functional neuroimaging. It will be argued that, for reasons of an epistemological order, even if the first assumption was true, that pattern could not be discernible, and therefore readable, even with ideal neuroimaging devices. It will also be argued that the only epistemologically, therefore, in principle, also technically feasible feat is to discern and decipher patterns of the brain activity corresponding not to concrete experiences, but to types or "kinds" of experiences, that is, to general concepts. Moreover, it will be shown that we could, in principle, discern only such patterns for the very same reason that we can know objectively only concepts, that is, the invariant features common to sets of concrete, fleeting and unrepeatable single experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

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Functional Neuroimaging
Brain
Neuroimaging
Equipment and Supplies
Psychology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

What aspects of experience can functional neuroimaging be expected to reveal? / Papanicolaou, Andrew C.

In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 64, No. 1, 01.04.2007, p. 101-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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