THE PLEASURE AREAS: A New Theory of Behavior by H. J. Campbell

THE PLEASURE AREAS: A New Theory of Behavior

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Since Campbell, a neurophysiologist and behaviorist who has spent many years in the laboratory, says that some of his ideas have already been assimilated in other fields, it is just as difficult to say how ""new"" they are as it is to establish their validity unless you are a scientist working in this area. Anything that is alive, versus inanimate, functions on the principle of pleasure-seeking as a focal point of behavior which is also that of this text; be it rats or rabbits, the sluggish crocodile or the mobile monkey, we can see how the pleasure areas are activated and the pattern of stimulation-reception-reaction established. All of them are situated in the limbic system of the brain but what seems to differentiate the human from the subhuman is the tertiary area of the cortex; the thinking pleasure area is here. Obviously this must be taken further -- into the interaction of brain and environment and the importance of the right (always so dangerous a word) direction and control on to the ""preferred neural pathways."" And when Campbell does go further, he becomes involved in questions which may seem right to some and wrong to others -- denying the existence of the ""psyche"" and the ""soul"" and jettisoning some of our institutions, e.g., as man thinks more logically, he needs God less, ""luckily for the future."" Some of this does seem purely scientific or impurely mechanistic: ""unless we accept that our personalities, our hopes and fears, our likes and dislikes, are but external representations of electrical activity in our brains, we are unlikely to attain freedom."" There is something immanent in all of us which mistrusts the flick of the switch. But there's a lot more to be said. It will, and it should be interesting.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Delacorte