Neurofeedback

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The following paper is an inquiry into my experience with neurofeedback (NFB), through the different problems and questions it raises regarding the old problem of body-mind and object-subject dichotomy, ending in a tentative attempt at applying Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy and notion of the individuation process to the study of the mind and the self, through brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in general and NFB in particular. In a sense, this can be said to fit well with Simondon’s work, where “an object of scientific study becomes the a subject for philosophical reflection”. The Object – Neurofeedback NFB, also called neurotherapy, is procedure aimed at inducing neuroplasticity (Which can be defined as any process “involving some form of active or dynamic modification of neural properties resulting from the altered input”) by way of connecting the subject into a closed feedback system which, in various ways, is designed to maintain a specific section of the brain between a certain range of wave lengths. It has applications in areas such as medical use (treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions, like substance abuse, ADHD and epilepsy), therapy (emotional regulation), self-improvement (in golf or archery), research and even art. An offshoot of biofeedback, which helps gain better control over muscles, the NFB procedure differs from it by the fact that it does not necessitate a volitional action in response to the real-time input fed to the user, but also works without the subject’s active involvement, though there are types of NFB in which the patient is active. The two different types are sometimes referred to as passive and active NFB, respectively. The device I used, called the 2EB Clinical System and manufact... ... middle of paper ... ...ram, Ranganatha; Blefari, Maria Laura; Kollias, Spyros; Birbaumer, Niels; Stephan, Klaas Enno; Luft, Andreas; Gassert, Roger, “Neurofeedback-mediated self-regulation of the dopaminergic midbrain”, NeuroImage 83 (2013): pp. 817–25. Turner, Fred, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (The University of Chicago Press, 2006). Varela, Francisco J., “Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem”, Journal of consciousness studies 3(4) (1996): pp. 330–49. Virno, Paolo, “Angels and the general intellect: individuation in Duns Scotus and Gilbert Simondon”, Parrhesia 7 (2009): pp. 58–67. Wiener, Norbert, Cybernetics: Or control and communication in the animal and the machine (Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Pr, c 1961).

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