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ISSN 1805-7225





The Basic Forms of Learning and Thinking

prof. MUDr. J. Faber, DrSc. Prague, 2014

Any medical treatment should be combined with psychotherapy. Frequently, we provide it rather unwittingly through our “good advice”. But it should be more systematic and targeted. During the session, electroencephalographic biofeedback (EEG BF), or the use of feedback and EEG for anxiety, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity or epilepsy treatment, should be also accompanied by verbal contact of therapist and patient.

This article will deal with the following categories: learning, memory, and thinking and speech. First topic will deal with learning and memory because they are two sides of the same coin. These two complex concepts are of fundamental importance. Despite all the efforts, these concepts are not fully explored. Therefore, some views of this issue are will be introduced.

Learning and memory

Psychophysiology of memory can operate with the concepts internal and external mechanisms, physiological and pathological forms. Thus there are four possible categories of learning and memory: internal physiological, external physiological, internal pathological and external pathological.

Internal physiological mechanisms of memory subsist in thalamocortical reverberating system (TCRS), septo-hippocampal system (SHS), which is basically the main part of limbic system (LS), and in the activity of ponto cerebellar nuclei and pathways during REM sleep (see fig. 1). For these assertions a number of experimental and clinical evidence is known, e.g. pre- and postnatal insufficiency of REM is often associated with oligophrenia, dementia, or epilepsy. These mechanisms are genetically defined; not only people but also all mammals have these mechanisms well developed since birth. Briefly, we are talking about the developmental influence of nature.

External physiological mechanisms subsist in the dyadic relation with mother from birth, i.e. in the “secure attachment” and also in upbringing and education that follows – briefly talking, in “cultural genesis”. It is thus the external influence of family, community and school – the nurture.

Internal pathological mechanisms of learning and memory are inherent, e.g. Down’s syndrome, or presenile and senile degenerative processes, e.g. Pick’s disease or Alzheimer’s dementia. These mechanisms also include congenital degenerative diseases such as Wilson’s disease with following symptoms: epilepsy, hyperkinesis, and dementia caused by copper accumulation based on lack of the protein carrier called ceruloplasmine.

Very interesting is Moffit’s research (2002) which establishes deficiency of X chromosome at some male delinquents. This organelle defines not only gender, but also a number of enzymes, e.g. monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Lack of these inhibitors can cause hyperdopaminergia that leads to increased aggressiveness. Women have two X chromosomes, men have only one. The X chromosome at males is paired with relatively small Y chromosome that defines male gender. Therefore, women have the possibility to compensate the first imperfect X chromosome by the second X chromosome from the other parent. One of the X chromosomes is most probably normal. Moffit found out that this genetic deficiency is not enough for criminal career. It is still necessary to fully experience unfortunate youth with many psychotraumas; only then this latent anetic and aggressive psychopathic nature may manifest. Life is very complicated and fate probably depends on interaction of many factors, natural and social (nature and nurture).


Volume 2 Issue 4/2013 Full text pdf

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