The paper presents some speculations on the loss of voluntary responses and operant learning in long-term paralysis in human patients and curarized rats. Based on a reformulation of the ideomotor thinking hypothesis already described in the 19th century, we present evidence that instrumentally learned responses and intentional cognitive processes extinguish as a consequence of long-term complete paralysis in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Preliminary data collected with ALS patients during extended and complete paralysis suggest semantic classical conditioning of brain activity as the only remaining communication possibility in those states.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology