Logos & Episteme

Volume 3, Issue 1, 2012

Dana Maria Bichescu-Burian
Pages 27-41

The Significance of Combining First-Person and Third-Person Data in Neurosciences: An Example of Great Clinical Relevance

Both perspectives, the one of the first and the one of the third person and their interrelation are necessary for the progress of consciousness research. This progress presupposes the systematic and productive collaboration between philosophy and neuroscience and cognitive science. While the philosophy of mind deals with working out clear conceptual implications and argumentative coherency in this area and critically follows the state of the art in this regard, the mission of neuro- and cognitive sciences is to develop and employ useful methods for the approach of the main problems of consciousness. I discuss this necessity by the example of research on implicit and explicit memory processes. Implicit and explicit memory processes are essential for the understanding and treating several psychological and neurological disorders. Among these, memory deficits play a crucial role in stress-related disorders, such as PTSD, dissociative disorders, and borderline personality disorders. Criticism has been exercised with regard to neglect of subjective experience in the research of memory processes, as well as the inadequate application of the concept of consciousness, usually leading to confusion. However, a step forward has already been taken in the research of memory processes. For example, the psychotraumatology research provided important advances in understanding the undelying distorsions in implicit and explicit memory procesess by employing combined assessments of both first-person and third-person data. Such multimodal research approaches delivered an exemplary model for the scientific investigation of mental processes and disorders and their neuronal substrates.