Thursday, September 21, 2006

What I forgot to say at the conference

As you can see from the picture, I am moving too fast! The main theme of my brief talk was that the ability to study (and therefore to understand better) the brain has moved stuttering research in new territory. This is also the main theme of my blog. What I forgot to do is to explain why.

Ten years ago, you could formulate nearly every type of theory: a left-right conflict in the brain, the amygdala is overactive, the motor coding doesnt work well, and so on. Actually, my favourite theory is that little demon (probably female) getting drunk on occasionally tripping on the pathways that deliver the go-speak signal to the motor cortex. It is very different nowadays: If you support a theory, you need to explain all the new experimental evidence, for example:
  1. Can your theory explain the genetic component?
  2. If your theory focuses on a specific brain region, why doesnt it show up in brain imaging scans?
  3. Why does this drug reduce stuttering?
So finally at last, you cannot just go about and say anything you like. You can still go and write about it, but you can no longer claim that you are doing research or science.

That is the real progress that is being made. It is still some way of, but theory building getting more constructive due to experimental constraints.

1 comment:

Hugo said...

In other words, finally we can apply the scientific principle called Ockham's razor to the hypotheses that intend to explain the stutter, that is:
"A plurality (of reasons) should not be posited without necessity" [William de Ockham (1285-1349)].

Now, there is a filter.

Em outras palavras, finalmente podemos agora aplicar o princípio científico da navalha de Ockham às hipóteses que pretendem explicar a gagueira, ou seja:
"Uma pluralidade (de razões) não deve ser invocada sem que haja necessidade" [William de Ockham (1285-1349)].
Agora, há um filtro.