In his book, The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich argues that the conception of the human being can be built on the foundation of neuroscience, cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and the central insights of modern Darwinism (3). Therefore, understanding the human being requires more than one perspective. The reason for this argument is the complexity of human beings: they have the mental aspect, the physical aspect, the affective aspect and the spiritual aspect. All these elements combine in the formation of a complete human being. This paper describes the concept of the human being that develops from the philosophy of the mind with reference to a book titled Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience.
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As already mentioned, the human being has different components that work together: psychological, physical, affective and spiritual components. In the psychological dimension of human beings, the mind develops as time passes. The more they interact with their environment and other people, the more they become aware of the realities of life. This situation is a result of the storage of all the experiences that one goes through in the mind and retrieving them later when decision-making requires them. This process is what people consider as learning because it entails a change in the state of mind of an individual (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7).
All the occurrences that human beings encounter go to the implicit memory when not in use. However, sensory experiences retrieve them back to the declarative memory (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). In this context, every activity that an individual goes through in one stage of life goes into the implicit memory. Remembering such occurrences is, usually, possible due to the functions of the episodic memory. This memory is responsible for bringing back episodes of all past experiences (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). In other words, sensory experiences remind individuals about events that happened a long time ago. Usually, events similar to those that happened in the past make it possible for people to remember everything as they saw it.
The psychological concept of the human being is responsible for the beliefs that many human beings have in life. For example, some people believe that they get sick when they eat certain types of food. Such beliefs are very common. However, the problem is, usually, in the mind of the victims of this problem (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). Getting sick after eating a type of food might have occurred once or twice only by coincidence. The problem begins when the victim associates the sickness with the food he or she ate. This notion goes to the individual’s mind, making him or her sick whenever he or she sees the food (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). Therefore, the sickness does not result from the food but from an individual’s mind.
The other thing whose understanding may require the knowledge of the psychological concept of the human being is forgetting and remembering. The writer of Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience emphasizes that remembering an event requires a retrieval cue, which is an event similar to what the individual experienced or witnessed in the past (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). This argument depends on the belief that occurrences that are difficult to remember are not lost. According to its proponents, such occurrences are only suppressed (Brown 18). For example, if a man was involved in an accident while growing up, he is likely to forget all the painful experiences he suffered, but whenever he passes the spot where the accident occurred, he remembers it, or in some extreme cases, feels the pain. Therefore, seeing the spot where the accident took place serves as a retrieval cue.
The same explanation also applies to the belief among some people that they get sick whenever they eat certain foods. In this case, the food serves as retrieval cues to the victims’ past experiences (Brown 18). Since they became ill on one or two occasions after eating the food, seeing it will always remind them of the illnesses they suffered after eating the food (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 10). Therefore, memories of the food are enough to make them sick. Nonetheless, the writer warns against overdependence on memory because it is not always reliable. According to the writer, human beings are prone to false memories (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). The author defines false memories as occurrences that an individual believes happened yet they never happened. People who experience false memories narrate stories they think happened a long time ago (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). Due to the possibility of the occurrence of false memories, psychologists advise people not to over-depend on memory. Therefore, human beings should be selective whenever remembering is required to avoid using false memories in important issues.
The concept of the long-term and short-term memory is also one of the components of the psychological dimension of the human being. These categories of memory are complementary in the sense that the long-term memory depends on the short term memory for data (Brown 17). The process begins with sensation, where the five senses collect both iconic and echoic stimuli. They then send them to the short-term memory for processing before moving to the long-term memory (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). The process of sending information from the short-term memory to the long-term memory entails rehearsal, which ensures that the individual does not forget any aspect of the occurrences (“Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” par. 7). It is easier to forget events stored in the short-term memory compared to those stored in the long-term memory. However, remembering some information stored in the long-term memory may require a retrieval cue.
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In summary, the psychological dimension of the human being is a critical factor in human life. It is responsible for essential functions. Such functions include remembering, forgetting and beliefs. The human mind develops just as the physical and emotional aspects. The more individuals interact with people and other things in their environment, the more knowledgeable they become. With regard to forgetting and remembering, the short-term and the long-term memories are actively involved. The short-term memory sends the information it collects from the five senses to the long-term memory. People remember the things they store in the long-term memory more efficiently compared to those they store in the short-term memory. Both painful and good experiences move into people’s long-term memories, making them remember their experiences whenever there is a retrieval cue. Psychologists also argue that some of the memories are false. Some people may claim to have remembered some events only to realize that they never happened.
Brown, Carol. Cognitive Psychology. London: SAGE Publications, 2007. Print.
Stanovich, Keith. The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin. Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 2004. Print.