Brain, or Mind-Brain?

The mind — perception, thought, emotion, goals, attention, intention, motor control etc. – is the whole point of the brain. Without a mind what use would a brain be? The main function of the brain is to enable the mind’s expression.

Brain models which ignore the mind make no sense IMO because they leave out that which makes the brain interesting and useful in the first place. It makes little sense to model “voluntary movement” without modeling “movement perception (of one’s body & what it is acting on), movement intention, related emotions and intentional states while moving,” etc.

Further, if you want to model the brain in a practical way – to enhance an applied neuroscience project for example — you’ll need to get more specific. The details of the mind are critical. For example, to model “movement intention” for a motor neuroprosthetic, you’ll need to model “reach for a cup,” “fearful feelings during reaching,” and thoughts such as “careful” and “don’t knock the cup over.”

The mind is currently the invisible elephant in the room in applied neuroscience. But the good news is we can not only recognize it, but learn to harness its power! It all starts with the idea that the mind is the key to understanding the brain.

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