behavioral neurochemistry the neuroanatomical blsis of certain specific

Behavioral neurochemistry the neuroanatomical blsis

This preview shows page 56 - 58 out of 83 pages.

behavioral neurochemistry, the neuroanatomical blsis of certain specific learning problems, and the relationship of this knowledge to diagnosis and treatment are introduced. During the 1960s and through the early 1970s, research and writing about behaviorism (under the rubrics of behavior modification, behavior therapy, applied behavior analysis, and Skinnerian psychology, among others) dominated the public view and to a lesser, but still surprising de- gree the professional view of psychology and its practice. Research into brain-behavior relations (the field of neuropsychology) and the biological bases of behavior was viewed less favorably than at any previous time, and biological and related medical models of behavior and psychopathol- ogy were often viewed with open hostility. Nevertheless, research into the biology of human behavior continued, and publication of basic and clinical research in neuropsychology explod- ed during the 1970s. While behaviorists were arguing that the brain was best treated as a "black box" unrelated to learning, neuropsychologists were busy demonstrating the importance and the validity of the oppos- ing argument. Because of space limitations, I have chosen to highlight only some ar- eas of particular relevance to the clinical and consulting practice of school psychologists. The brain remains and indeed grows in its importance to psychology. I. is not a passive participant in the learning process but a generative organ, taking an active role in the construction of reality. This bit of knowledge alone, often proffered over the last centenary but re- cently buttressed by considerable research (e.g., Wittrock 1980), makes the brain a crucial point of study in understanding and treating psycho- pathological disorders, whether they are learning or behavior disorders, and in fat ]itating optimal levels of normal development. Indeed, as the 54
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understanding of the brain and related biological bases of behavior in- creases, with the exception of certain specific disease processes the boundaries among psychology, psychiatry, and neurology become less and less distinct. There is another clear reason to become knowledgeable and to keep abreast of knowledge in the biology of behavior, even for those whose major focus might be antithetical to the much maligned medical model: diagnostic and treatment processes require flexibility and adaptability. Children, even more so than adults, come to us with disorders of devel- opment, learning, and behavior that differ in cause to lesser and greater degrees, no matter the similarity of symptomatology. Each child presents a unique set of experiences tied to the interaction of his or her unique genetic composition and individual experience of environment. Some of these disorders are amenable to routine treatment, but few unfortunate- ly. The complexity of children, amplified by their uniqueness, dictates that we must be willing to view them from a variety of perspectives and humble enough to adopt diagnostic and treatment approaches that work for the individual child. It will not always be the same model for a given
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