October 04, 2007

From Erik E. Santiso:

Re: Built-in brain “templates” may clue tots to threats (Sept. 18): I read your article with interest, but I was a bit surprised to see some statements like:

- A “venerable philosophical notion” holds that newborns’ brains are “blank slates”.

- This is part of a larger body of “new” research into this kind of phenomenon.

Now, I know that the views of experimental and behavioral psychology have been extremely prevalent in the US for a long time. This is probably due in part to a (in my opinion, mistaken) belief that the methods of the early psychoanalysts like Freud and Jung were not “scientific”. However, the idea of inherited behavioral traits is not new, and it is certainly not against any venerable philosophical notion - it was introduced about half a century ago by Jung. He has been repeatedly dismissed, unfortunately, by some in the scientific community mainly because of his acceptance that spirituality and other “anti-scientific” ideas are an inherent part of the human psyche (a conclusion that, ironically, was obtained by applying the scientific method), and his ideas are too often forgotten by people in the science community. Anyway, I’m happy to see that experimental psychologists are finally coming to the same conclusions that Jung came to about 50 years ago, but I would like to see him be recognized for coming up with those ideas in the first place.


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