Re: DIPLOMACY: Memetic Morphing

Patrick Wilken (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 13:26:44 +1100

>Anders Sandberg:
>It is interesting, but I'm not completely buying just this
>article. What the article seems to say is that psychological abuse
>causes changes in mental state and brain activation similar to
>temporal lobe epilepsy. This is another good reason to limit
>psychological abuse, of course, but what isn't shown is that there is
>structural damage, just functional damage. The difference is small,
>but relevant when it comes to repairing it.


I am interested what distinction you make between functional and structural changes in the brain.

Even if cells are not killed, given that long-term abuse clearly causes significant functional changes in people isn't this evidence for structural change?

I guess I am understand 'structural change' differently from you. As I see it any functional difference must be reflected in a structural difference (though some of these structural states may be more or less amenable to change), but not all structural changes necessarily involve functional changes (i.e. functional states are supervenient on structural states).

So accepting that abuse victims differ functionally from the rest of the population necessarily implies that they have structural differences as well. What is interesting for me in this study is to use knowledge of the functional state (symptoms of abuse) to explore what certain structural states in the brain do and so perhaps offer help.

Does this sound right? Or have I missed something?

best, patrick

Patrick Wilken          
Editor:     PSYCHE: An International Journal of Research on Consciousness
Secretary:      The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness