Mind body debate overview
The mind and the body are seen by some psychologists to be seperate entities, meaning they should be studied seperately. Others believe in the existence of both, and think that they should be studied together, as one will have influences on the other.
This theory has three subparts: cartesian dualism, epiphenolmenolgy, and interactionism. This theory supports the idea that both the mind and the body should both be studied as they both exist.
Cartesian dualism states that the mind controls the body. That is to say that behaviours shown are a result of the processes in the mind. It says that it is our consciousness that controls things such as what we think, our feelings and our emotions. In terms of dualism, our mental states are private, and cannot be seen by others through things such as MRI scans. The mind has an intenation- it has a goal to reach, while the body does not as it is only physical, and this results in the mind having control over the body.
Epiphenomenolgy states that the body has control over the mind. Epiphenomenologists believe in the existence of the mind, but they do not study it. One example which highlights this is the topic of schizophrenia. In some schizophrenics there is an excess of the number of dopamine receptors, which can lead to hallucinations. This shows that a problem in the body can influence the working of the mind.
Interactionism states that the mind and the body both exist and they are both equal. This means that a problem in one directly affects the other. Their causal powers are each other. This means that as there is a connection between the two, if that connection is broken then we cannot function properly.
This can be seen in the case of Clive Wearing. He had memory loss as a result of the cold sore virus. The fact that he had damage to his memory states physically, meant that he was unable to input a memory. This inability to input a memory can in turn lead to damaged memory states, thus showing how the mind and the body influence each other.
Monism is made up by mentalism and materialism. It states that either one or the other of the mind and the body must be studied, and they cannot be studied together.
Mentalism states that the mind only should be studied. Our own experience is central, and we are all unique and have different experiences of things. Because of this, the ways that we interpret the world are different. This can be described as metaphysical, and strongly supports a humanistic point of view.
Materialis states that only the body should be studied, meaning it takes a behaviourist point of view. One study was carried out by Watson, who looked at the possible link between thought and the movement of the vocal chords. He deduced that thoughts area subtle movement of the vocal chords which are too small to be heard. He said that we make a physical response to needs.
One argument against materialism was made by Smith who said that in terms of toekn economy criminals will be less aggressive in order to be rewarded with sweets and cigarettes.