About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2811-2816
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain


J.C. McDermott

Antioch University (UNITED STATES)
This paper will explore the origins of the influences that led to the formation of the democratic system of government that characterizes the political infrastructure of the United States of America. It explores the interest in self-determination that is often fought for with potential personal loss for many people and nations. Increasingly more cultures seem interested in living in societies where self-determination defines the governance structure. Is a model of self-determination a kind of natural model that fits comfortably with the natural ability and skills of our brains? The purpose of these explorations is to explore these topics and encourage further study to determine if in fact self-determination is the most compatible governing process for the modern brain.

Sen (1999) has argued that regardless of an individual’s economic well-being, the denial of the opportunity to take part in public affairs and decision making has a negative influence on the well-being of an individual. This need for self-determination seems to be part of our human nature. The desire for cultural autonomy is one of the oldest forms of political motivation known to history, and the right to national self-determination is the principal modern form of its recognition (Freeman, 2010). For many in the world freedom requires a democratic process of some sort so that individuals can achieve a level of self-determination. Elgin (1993) presents a model of what he calls "conscious democracy”. This model describes a democracy as having a consciousness, not unlike what some brain researchers argue is true about the brain.
A conscious democracy pays attention. Just as the evolution of consciousness is highly adaptive for an individual, so, too, is an evolving consciousness highly enabling for entire civilizations. The following are some of the important enabling qualities of a reflective society and conscious democracy:
Where are the parallels? If the work of the Prefrontal Cortex is analogous to that of the conductor of a sophisticated orchestra, the coordinating functions are quite complex and intricate. With increasingly sophisticated imaging tools available to researcher a more advanced sense of the capacities of the brain is emerging. Perhaps a comparison to conscious democracy will also emerge.
Executive function is another recently formulated neuropsychological concept. An executor is charged with responsibilities, such as surveying information, imposing organization, formulating plans, setting goals, keeping track of changing circumstances, and even anticipating numerous possibilities and modifying goals and plans accordingly. In neuropsychological studies, executive functions have been shown to be very different from general intelligence and memory. The executive functions are a diverse, but related and overlapping, set of skills.
author = {McDermott, J.C.},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2811-2816}}
AU - J.C. McDermott
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 2811
EP - 2816
ER -
J.C. McDermott (2013) CONSCIOUS DEMOCRACY AND THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 2811-2816.