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The brain and communication are basic for clinical human sciences.

  • Gardner, R Jr
Published Article
The British journal of medical psychology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1998
71 ( Pt 4)
PMID: 9875958


This article focuses on basic concepts modelled on medical science for the human sciences. This reformulates problems experienced by people who consult counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other human science clinicians as located in the brain. These troubles can be described as difficulties in social life and human communication, on the one hand, and as varied brain physiology, on the other. These problems and their solutions are not traditionally biological but restrictive views of biology need modification as the brain is obviously the central organ for not only the medical specialities of neurology and psychiatry but for all professionals concerned with social interactions. The human genome determines the brain of each person: each such brain constitutes the latest iteration of ancestral genomes that include species precursor to humans and primates, extending back to unicellular life forms. The genome that determines the human brain confers remarkable flexibility or learning potential. Yet many factors influence what is learned and experienced. Understanding this entails comparing and contrasting humans and non-humans. The genomes of chimpanzees and gorillas differ little from that of humans so most basic plans determining behaviour must be shared. Yet contrasted to these animals, the human brain is three times greater in mass and the human cerebral cortex has four times more area. This increased brain correlated with more social interaction; humans are the story-telling animal, producing, consuming and otherwise using small and large tales intensely and incessantly. But do communicational features resemble each other across species? Commnunicational propensity states in humans compare to those of non-humans. So do those of normal people and psychiatric patients. Psychiatry's efforts at systematic description and nosology provided guidelines to the ethology of ancient but still active communicational propensity states called PSALICs (Gardner, 1988). This double acronym refers to their normal function and prehuman origins; they are defined from a three-legged base in that each exists in psychiatric patients, normal people and non-human animals. This article describes the following psalics: alpha, audience, in-group omega, mating, nurturant, nurturance-eliciting, out-group omega and spacing-avoidant. The article describes psalics' varied expression in people. This basic science formulation and an across-species comparisons approach has implications for treating patients and clients.


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