Cognitive psychophysiology is an interdisciplinary field overlapping psychology and physiology in which efforts are made to solve the classical problem of "mind" through modern electronic technology. The primary thesis is that mental processes are generated when selective bodily systems interact and that they can be directly studied with sufficiently sensitive equipment. The bodily systems include the receptors (eyes, ears, etc.), central nervous system (principally the brain), skeletal musculature, autonomic system (the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, etc.), and their neural interconnections. The field's interdisciplinary nature is exemplified by the presence of researchers from psychology, physiology, medicine, and biomedical engineering.
Approaches to the problem of mind, dating from the time of ancient philosophers, may be summarily classified as either dualistic or monistic. Traditionally, dualistic positions have been the most popular, even as they are today in everyday thinking. The basic assumption of dualism is that there are two kinds of entities in the world, those of a physical (material) and those of a mental (nonmaterial) nature; furthermore, in dualism only physical events are knowable by science. Monism, however, holds that the universe consists of only one kind of entity. The principal monistic position is that of strict materialism, which holds that there are only physical phenomena in the universe. According to materialistic monism, therefore, mental processes are physical phenomena generated within the body and can therefore be directly observed through scientific technology.
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