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Meaningless brain imaging; meaningfully interpreted

Posted on February 11, 2013 by James Kohl.

Q: Why Do People Think and Behave Differently? 7 February, 2013
Differences in the physical connections of the brain are at the root of what make people think and behave differently from one another.

My comment:
Now that we know changes in the microRNA/messenger RNA balance drive the development of the brain and behavior, brain imaging study results may soon be meaningfully interpreted in the context of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior in adaptively evolved invertebrates and vertebrates. People, like other animals, do not all like the same people or the same food.

Meaningful interpretations of cause and effect will link nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution to ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in species from microbes to man. The interpretations will establish the fact that “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.”

Ultimately, this will be clear to all:  People think and behave differently because adaptive evolution ensures no individual of any species is subjected to precisely the same nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled constraints on epigenesis (e.g., de novo protein synthesis) and epigenentically-modulated epistasis during a lifetime of activity-dependent odor-associated brain development. Meanwhile, although they’re not really meaningful, brain imaging pictures tell a convincing story about something involved in cause and effect, and the story-line links something to differences in our thoughts and behavior.

That’s easy to understand, but meaningless. As Panksepp (2010) said: “My feeling is that the social brain has many levels. If you don’t understand the foundational level, then you can do brain imaging until you’re blue in the face, but you still will not understand the process at a deep causal level.” If someone tells us that the differences in the physical connections are the proximate cause of the differences in behavior, it’s easy to understand and absolutely meaningless.

I don’t understand why anyone would prefer something easy to understand to something that could, with a little effort, be meaningfully interpreted. It’s like admitting “I’m too lazy to look beyond what’s easily understood.” However, I don’t understand why others don’t understand that adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. The concept of the epigenetic tweaking of immense gene networks is so simple that the failure to understand it suggests the lack of understanding is due to both laziness and genetically predisposed stupidity, or stupidity that’s somehow acquired.

Have you somehow acquired that stupidity? Does brain imaging suggest to you anything that can be meaningfully interpreted?



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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