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Toward a functional contextualist neuroscience – s ome considerations. ACBS WC8 Reno June 22nd 2010. Benjamin Schoendorff MSc benjamin.schoendorff@gmail.com. Aim of talk. Look at some cool studies

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toward a functional contextualist neuroscience s ome considerations

Toward a functionalcontextualist neuroscience –someconsiderations

ACBS WC8 Reno June 22nd 2010

Benjamin Schoendorff MScbenjamin.schoendorff@gmail.com

aim of talk
Aim of talk

Look at some cool studies

Propose a possible way forward for neuroscience that could help better integration with a functional contextualistperspective

Hide my vast ignorance of the subject

goal of a functional contextualist neuroscience
Goal of a functional contextualist neuroscience

Prediction and influence of behavior

Precision, depth and scope

Give non-reductive accounts across levels (psychological/neurobiological)

Criteria:

  • Consistency across levels
  • Clinical utility
  • Process-based

(Fletcher, Hayes, Schoendorff 2010)

words of caution for funkycons
Words of caution for funkycons…

Neuroscientists tend to look for :

  • The neural basis of [social] cognition.
  • brain areas that are responsible for [empathy]
  • representations [of others’ pain]

I like to think of the brain as a muscle

act processes
ACT processes

Acceptance

Defusion

Present moment

Self-as-context

Values

Committed action

  • Mid-level terms
    • Mapping onto clinically relevant processes
    • Contextually defined
    • Largely interacting
  • As yet no neuroscience studies of ACT processes
  • But interesting studies nonetheless…
mindfulness and neuroscience
Mindfulness and neuroscience

Lots of studies…

  • But mindfulness topographically (meditation)rather than functionally defined
  • No point-to-point mapping of the four ACT mindfulness processes:

Acceptance

Defusion

Present moment

Self-as-context

Values

Committed action

attentional effects
Attentional effects

3 months meditation retreatAttentional blink paradigm

E

E

G

G

G

G

Z

Z

Z

Z

A

A

N

N

3

3

Q

Q

P

P

W

G

Q

2

W

Q

more plasticity
More plasticity
  • Increased cortical thickness in Anterior Insula(Lazar 2005, Hölzel 2008)
  • Activation of insulaconsistent acrossstudies (eg: Farb et al.2007)
main findings
Main findings
  • Meditation activates and strengthens
    • Attentional networks and performance
    • Insula
clinical relevance
Clinical relevance?

Meditation is good?

  • Is that for neuroscience to validate?
  • What brain activations/plastic changes correlate with clinically relevant change?

Perhaps insular habituationto interoceptive stimulireduces avoidance and anxiety? Contrast with exposure therapy?

m editation on the brain
Meditation on the brain…

Are topographically different forms of meditation functionally similar ?

Are topographically similarforms of meditationfunctionally different ?

What are the clinicallyrelevant brain activations ?

 More clinical relevance

empathy in context
Empathy in context

Empathy (pain, disgust, taste, touch) Anterior Cingulate, Secondary somatosensory cortex, Anterior insula

Perspective-taking :

Medial prefrontal cortex, Temporal pole, Superior temporal sulcus, Temporal junction

(Hein & Singer. 2008)

empathy and social cognition
Empathy and social cognition
  • affective state (excludes perspective-taking)
  • isomorphic to another person’s state (excludes sympathy)
  • elicited by observation or imagination of another’s affective state (excludes self-observation)
  • one knows that the other person is the source of one’s own affective state (excludes contagion) (deVignemont & Singer 2005)
empathy in context1
Empathy in context

Automatic or contextual response?

Empathy pathways activation modulated by : sex of observer, attention, intensity of painful stimulus, affective link between observer and sufferer, rationale for pain (de Vignemont & Singer 06) or even whether observer is vegetarian/omnivorous (Betti et al. 2009)

What of RFT-designed experiments…

empathy in context2
Empathy in context

Omnivore Vegetarian Vegan

Likelyplastic

Values-sensitive

(Fillippiet al. 2010)

empathy in context synchrony
Empathy in context - synchrony
  • ‘Empathic resonance’ in the shape of γ-band coherence in SI and MI cortices when observing painful stimulation of another’s hand (Betti et al 2009)
  • So role of networks rather than areas…
  • Wider brain context (Lutz et al. 2008)
compassion and admiration
Compassion and admiration
  • The first values-driven neuroscientific study?(Immordino-Yang et al. 2009)
  • Compassion for social pain
  • Admiration for moral virtue
  • Empathy for physical pain
  • Admiration for physical skill
a cool study for act
A cool study for ACT
  • AV/CSP produced more activation in regions involved in homeostatic regulation : ACC, AI, HT
  • AS/CPP produced more activation in regions related to the musculoskeletal system : PI, LPC (inc SMG) SPL

(Immordino-Yang et al. 2009)

role of tpj and mpfc
Role of TPJ and mPFC
  • Central role in social cognition processes: Intentionality, ToM,
  • Integration of non-simultaneous perceptions (relational framing?)

(Immordino-Yang et al. 2009)

(Overwalle 2009)

rft and neuroscience
RFT and neuroscience

(Yoro et al. 2009)

Work on equivalence classes

Reflexivity vs Equivalence (arbitrarily derived from previous training)

  • Early component matching effect on reflexivity, late component equivalence matching effect P3
  • Dn300 fronto-central
    • parieto occipital
  • dN400 fronto-parietal for equivalence

Unrelated equivalence

Unrelated reflexivity

tentative conclusions
Tentative conclusions

Functions of contextual neuroscience ?

Consistency across level

eg: experiential avoidance and left hemishphere in avoiding unpleasant images (Cochrane et al 2008)

Perhaps more interesting to look from point of view of RFT processes

Clinical utility ?