• Timo Andreas Lehmann Kvamme
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Throughout the centuries, humans have aspired to comprehend and control the inner workings of the mind and brain. Neurofeedback is the process of influencing physiological brain activity by making a person aware of it in real-time, thereby allowing self-regulation. Neurofeedback has been gaining momentum as a viable treatment option for several mental disorders and as a practical methodology for researchers to alter brain function in the attempts to induce particular states of mind.
The purpose of the present master’s thesis is to investigate whether neurofeedback holds a potential to inform about mind-brain causal relationships. The thesis assumes the ontology of mind and brain to be the same process seen through different epistemologies and in doing so seeks to investigate whether neurofeedback can trace any causal codetermining mind-brain relationships. In keeping with this focus the thesis delves into the underlying principles of neurofeedback and the two competing theoretical accounts of the “conditioning-and-repair” model and “skill-acquisition” model for the therapeutic causal effects of neurofeedback. Here, the two models explanatory power and competing assumptions about the causal mechanism of neurofeedback in altering brain activity and by extension mental states is discussed. Taking offset in an empirical investigation into the neurophysiological basis of language learning efficiency the thesis generates hypotheses that reflects on the models accounts of causal inference through neurofeedback.
In facing up to the question of what the potential neurofeedback holds for investigating mind-brain causality the thesis suggests several key favorable aspects, such as the it’s ability to manipulate brain activity as the independent variable and measure the effect on states of mind. Moreover, neurofeedback provides a method for creating evolving experimental paradigms that can identify unpredicted mind-brain relationships and eliminate competing causal hypotheses. Yet, neurofeedback also has several limitations in inferring causality, in particular strict unidirectional causality and a susceptibility to arguments pointing to a third cause of the mind-brain relationship. Here, it is argued that the advantages and limitations are amplified and attenuated respectively when neurofeedback is coupled with other methodological approaches.
The thesis culminates with a new view on causal inference, one in which scientific investigations enables causal accounts to gradually increase on a continuum of likelihood rather than being either causal or non-causal in an absolutely sense whilst still recognizing the unique potential of neurofeedback to investigate mind-brain causal relationships.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2016
Antal sider79


ID: 234424452