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Models and Neural Bases of the Believing Process

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DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2015.51002    3,269 Downloads   3,979 Views   Citations


Departing from the long debates on the role of faith/belief, recent interdisciplinary research has turned to characterize the features of the psychophysical processes underlying believing. Here we review recent cognitive neuroscience models of the believing process and propose a conceptual framework that integrates current theoretical and empiric knowledge about the processes of believing. There are theories that elegantly explain believing as a self-organization process of cognitive and emotional elements. Adding to the component of self-organized belief representation, dual-component models assume a belief evaluation component, which is probably supported by the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and explains the stability of the belief despite the changing environment. Borrowing an idea from the neural models for the mental representation of action or situation, inclusion of both perceptive and action informations as the construct of belief representation allows the intimate relationship between a specific belief and a specific range of behaviour. Furthermore, inclusion of the personal value or affective information in the representation explains the deep impact of one’s emotional and physical state on the believing process. For associating perception, action, and value in a representation, the medial frontal cortex (MFC) may play a key role. Recent neuro-cognitive models of self-cognition explain the developmental origin of such a representation and the hierarchically nested structure of three levels of complexity in the representations: basic physical level, interpersonal level, and higher social level. The integrated model provides a comprehensive perspective of the believing process which suggests the importance and future directions of this interdisciplinary approach.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Sugiura, M. , Seitz, R. and Angel, H. (2015) Models and Neural Bases of the Believing Process. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 5, 12-23. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2015.51002.


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