An Invitation to Behavior Analysts: Review of in Search of Memory: The Emergence of A New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel

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This fascinating autobiography and multifaceted case history in neuroscience research is accessible to laymen and potentially instructive to working scientists. Kandel takes the reader through his thought processes as he describes experiments that led to some of the past decades' major neuroscience discoveries (some highlights of which are summarized in the review's Appendix), and eventually to his Nobel Prize. The review analyzes some of the terminological and conceptual issues that have often inhibited communication between behavior analysts and neuroscientists, with special attention to some of Bennett and Hacker's admonitions viewed from the perspective of language evolution and linguistics. The review then discusses opportunities for behavior analysts to collaborate with neuroscientists by applying behavioral contingency analysis to help specify the independent variables of neuroscience experiments described by Kandel. Finally, it examines Kandel's provocative heuristics for locating important research problems, and the lessons that can be gleaned from the book regarding the attributes of potentially great achievers.

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  • Francis Mechner

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