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A Global Workspace perspective on mental disorders

By Rodrick Wallace


Recent developments in Global Workspace theory suggest that human consciousness can suffer interpenetrating dysfunctions of mutual and reciprocal interaction with embedding environments which will have early onset and often insidiously staged developmental progression, possibly according to a cancer model. A simple rate distortion argument implies that, if an external information source is pathogenic, then sufficient exposure to it is sure to write a sufficiently accurate image of it on mind and body in a punctuated manner so as to initiate or promote simililarly progressively punctuated developmental disorder. There can, thus, be no simple, reductionist brain chemical 'bug in the program' whose 'fix' can fully correct the problem. On the contrary, the growth of an individual over the life course, and the inevitable contact with a toxic physical, social, or cultural environment, can be expected to initiate developmental problems which will become more intrusive over time, most obviously according to some damage accumulation model, but likely according to far more subtle, highly punctuated, schemes analogous to tumorigenesis. The key intervention, at the population level, is clearly to limit such exposures, a question of proper environmental sanitation, in a large sense, a matter of social justice which has long been understood to be determined almost entirely by the interactions of cultural trajectory, group power relations, and economic structure, with public policy. Intervention at the individual level appears limited to triggering or extending periods of remission, as is the case with most cancers

Topics: Developmental Psychology
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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