Theory versus biological facts: Mental modules and models for behavior

In a model combining the measurement of data coming from many individual nerve cells with sophisticated optical, genetic and electrophysiological techniques, olfactory bulb neurons extract relevant information from multi-sensory input. (Blumhagen et al., in press) recently showed that neurons in the zebrafish cortex use a filter to tune in specifically on those parts of neuronal conversations that allow the precise identity of an odor.

Nerve cells in other brain areas apply other filters. It is now more certain the vertebrate brain uses sophisticated arrays of similar filters to ensure that all neurons receive appropriate messages. These sophisticated arrays of filters appear to play an important role in the perception and memory of odors and other stimuli. ~ adapted from Neuronal filters for broadband information transmission in the brain.

Perception and memory are functions of messaging among neurons in the brain’s neural networks, which are linked to hormones and behavior.  However, compared to messages delivered directly to the olfactory bulb, non-olfactory/pheromonal sensory stimuli from the environment of animal species does not appear to directly activate any hormone response associated with behavior. This absence of direct linkage indicates that the sophisticated arrays of filters suspected to be important to the perception and memory of other stimuli, are less important to behavior than is the filtering by the olfactory bulb.

If “mental modules” evolved to become more important to human behavior than is the direct link from odors to the olfactory bulb in the mammalian brain, a “mental module” associated with visual input might have evolved to become more important to human behavior than is the pathway from olfactory input to gene activation in cells of tissue in the organ of the organ system most important to human behavior (i.e., the brain). If not, the “mental modules” theory can only be another misleading misrepresentation of biological facts.

If, as it appears to be, the “mental modules” theory is simply another joke originating from cartoon Darwinists, evolutionary theorists who do not get the joke will continue to promote the “mental modules” theory as one that is important to the understanding of evolved human behaviors. Others who understand the difference between theory and biological facts linked to the evolution of human behavior can continue to laugh at the silly evolutionary theorists until all funding for their ridiculous theories is eliminated from grant consideration. Then we can cry with them, if we have evolved a “mental module” either for sympathy, or empathy, that is.

I have not yet read the manuscript, however, and it may indicate something not indicated in the news version, which might somehow support the evolutionary theory of “mental modules.” This is, however, altogether unlikely, and I wanted to post this notice to my blog in case others are interested in following up on the latest information available from scientists.

Blumhagen, F., Zhu, P., Shum, J., Scharer, Y.-P. Z., Yaksi, E., Deisseroth, K., et al. (in press). Neuronal filtering of multiplexed odour representations. Nature, advance online publication.


About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society