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Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2006;108(10):1009-28.

[Novel advances in neuropsychology--forward to the "deconstruction" of psychiatry].

[Article in Japanese]

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The International Center/Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University.


Neuropsychology has recently become a science which deals not only with instrumental disorders (e.g., aphasia, apraxia, and agnosia), but also with impairments of interpersonal relationships (e.g., emotional cognitions, social decision making, and understanding others), and many important paradigms are already provided. We could enumerate several representative instances: (1)application of the "theory of mind" to autistic or related disorders (-->"reasoning of psychological state of others"), (2) neuropsychological studies on the "social brain" concerning emotional recognition or social recognition (-->"amygdale, orbitofrontal cortex, and medial ventral frontal cortex"), (3) identifying related cerebral areas (-->"superior temporal sulcus") to detect eye or body movements of others, (4) discovering the mirror neuron and mirror systems in monkeys and humans (-->"imitation of the behavior of others in the brain"), and (5) intracerebral processes which may occur precedent to conscious intention (-->"consciousness as post-hoc phenomena"). These novel paradigms might lead us to the "deconstruction" of psychiatry. We believe that the fundamental assignments of neuropsychology should inquire into "cognitive representation", "conscious representation", and "cerebral representation" about the inner processes of human activities. As these assignments would be almost the same for the psychiatric symptoms, we do not have any necessity to fundamentally distinguish psychiatric and neuropsychologial symptoms. These two kinds of signs will be attributed finally to the same dimension. The specificity of psychiatry resides in "conscious representation" and its cerebral foundations. We reconsidered the "Theory of Neural Group Selection" proposed by Edelman and the excellent experimental results on the relationship between intention and movements reported by Libet, et al.. All these results strongly indicate the absolute necessity to reconsider conscious causality and psychogenesis. Finally, we have presented two main neuropsychological hypotheses on the manifestation mechanism of Capgras syndrome. These are the "mirror impairment of prosopagnosia" hypothesis and the "self-other confusion resulting from right hemisphere dysfunction" hypothesis. We insisted on the importance of the right cerebral predominance hypothesis about self-other understanding processes and also the absolute necessity to shake ourselves free from language dependent consciousness theory. Common specificity in neuropsychology and psychiatry should be converged to, and symbolized by the novel concept of sociality, which is characterized for instance by emotional cognition or social decision making supported by the social brain and by shared cerebral representations for self-other understanding and consciousness processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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