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Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 1516-4446On-line version ISSN 1809-452X

Abstract

MOREIRA-ALMEIDA, Alexander; ARAUJO, Saulo de F.  and  CLONINGER, C. Robert. The presentation of the mind-brain problem in leading psychiatry journals. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2018, vol.40, n.3, pp.335-342.  Epub Feb 01, 2018. ISSN 1516-4446.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2017-2342.

Objective:

The mind-brain problem (MBP) has marked implications for psychiatry, but has been poorly discussed in the psychiatric literature. This paper evaluates the presentation of the MBP in the three leading general psychiatry journals during the last 20 years.

Methods:

Systematic review of articles on the MBP published in the three general psychiatry journals with the highest impact factor from 1995 to 2015. The content of these articles was analyzed and discussed in the light of contemporary debates on the MBP.

Results:

Twenty-three papers, usually written by prestigious authors, explicitly discussed the MBP and received many citations (mean = 130). The two main categories were critiques of dualism and defenses of physicalism (mind as a brain product). These papers revealed several misrepresentations of theoretical positions and lacked relevant contemporary literature. Without further discussion or evidence, they presented the MBP as solved, dualism as an old-fashioned or superstitious idea, and physicalism as the only rational and empirically confirmed option.

Conclusion:

The MBP has not been properly presented and discussed in the three leading psychiatric journals in the last 20 years. The few articles on the topic have been highly cited, but reveal misrepresentations and lack of careful philosophical discussion, as well as a strong bias against dualism and toward a materialist/physicalist approach to psychiatry.

Keywords : Body-mind relations; psychiatry; philosophy; neurosciences; neuropsychiatry.

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