Although research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training have not been fully explored. We examined whether brief meditation training affects cognition and mood when compared to an active control group. After four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were assessed with measures of mood, verbal fluency, visual coding, and working memory. Both interventions (...) were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators. (shrink)
The current paper synthesizes theory and data from the field of life history (LH) evolution to advance a new developmental theory of variation in human LH strategies. The theory posits that clusters of correlated LH traits (e.g., timing of puberty, age at sexual debut and first birth, parental investment strategies) lie on a slow-to-fast continuum; that harshness (externally caused levels of morbidity-mortality) and unpredictability (spatial-temporal variation in harshness) are the most fundamental environmental influences on the evolution and development of LH (...) strategies; and that these influences depend on population densities and related levels of intraspecific competition and resource scarcity, on age schedules of mortality, on the sensitivity of morbidity-mortality to the organism’s resource-allocation decisions, and on the extent to which environmental fluctuations affect individuals versus populations over short versus long timescales. These interrelated factors operate at evolutionary and developmental levels and should be distinguished because they exert distinctive effects on LH traits and are hierarchically operative in terms of primacy of influence. Although converging lines of evidence support core assumptions of the theory, many questions remain unanswered. This review demonstrates the value of applying a multilevel evolutionary-developmental approach to the analysis of a central feature of human phenotypic variation: LH strategy. (shrink)
Organizations constitute morally-complex environments, requiring organization members to possess levels of moral courage sufficient to promote their ethical action, while refraining from unethical actions when faced with temptations or pressures. Using a sample drawn from a military context, we explored the antecedents and consequences of moral courage. Results from this four-month field study demonstrated that authentic leadership was positively related to followers’ displays of moral courage. Further, followers’ moral courage fully mediated the effects of authentic leadership on followers’ ethical and (...) pro-social behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications for further integrating the work on moral courage, authentic leadership and ethics are discussed. (shrink)
In this commentary on Harnad's "Grounding Symbols in the Analog World with Neural Nets: A Hybrid Model," the issues of symbol grounding and analog (continuous) computation are separated, it is argued that symbol graounding is as important an issue for analog cognitive models as for digital (discrete) models. The similarities and differences between continuous and discrete computation are discussed, as well as the grounding of continuous representations. A continuous analog of the Chinese Room is presented.
The central claim of computationalism is generally taken to be that the brain is a computer, and that any computer implementing the appropriate program would ipso facto have a mind. In this paper I argue for the following propositions: (1) The central claim of computationalism is not about computers, a concept too imprecise for a scientific claim of this sort, but is about physical calculi (instantiated discrete formal systems). (2) In matters of formality, interpretability, and so forth, analog computation and (...) digital computation are not essentially different, and so arguments such as Searle''s hold or not as well for one as for the other. (3) Whether or not a biological system (such as the brain) is computational is a scientific matter of fact. (4) A substantive scientific question for cognitive science is whether cognition is better modeled by discrete representations or by continuous representations. (5) Cognitive science and AI need a theoretical construct that is the continuous analog of a calculus. The discussion of these propositions will illuminate several terminology traps, in which it''s all too easy to become ensnared. (shrink)
Because terms like “wealth” and “poverty” derive their meaning from the normative cultural values within which they occur, any application of New Testament texts which fails to take cultural differences seriously can only misrepresent those texts.
A revitalized practice of natural philosophy can help people to live a better life and promote a flourishing ecosystem. Such a philosophy is natural in two senses. First, it is natural by seeking to understand the whole of nature, including mental phenomena. Thus, a comprehensive natural philosophy should address the phenomena of sentience by embracing first- and second-person methods of investigation. Moreover, to expand our understanding of the world, natural philosophy should embrace a full panoply of explanations, similar to Aristotle’s (...) four causes. Second, such a philosophy is natural by being grounded in human nature, taking full account of human capacities and limitations. Future natural philosophers should also make use of all human capacities, including emotion and intuition, as well as reason and perception, to investigate nature. Finally, since the majority of our brain’s activities are unconscious, natural philosophy should explore the unconscious mind with the aim of deepening our relation with the rest of nature and of enhancing well-being. (shrink)
Victorian physics meets industrial capitalism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9554-0 Authors Bruce J. Hunt, History Department, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B7000, Austin, TX 78712-0220, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
New branches of social science primarily engaging the “internet revolution” are appearing alongside mainstream research and journals such as Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking are providing social scientists with an outlet of peer-reviewed research. HPS scholars will find new methodologies and the relation of technology to social science of particularly interest. Social scientists are becoming increasingly interested in virtual realities (see Milburn (Spontaneous Generations 2008, 63)) and are declaring time spent “in-game” ethnographic research. William Sims Bainbridge boasts 2300+ hours (approximately (...) 96 days) of ethnographic research into a virtual world he calls “The Warcraft Civilization.” Blizzard Entertainment reported in a December 2008 press release that World of Warcraft (WoW), its extraordinarily successful 2004 massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) comprised 11.5 million subscribers worldwide . In order to accommodate player demand, Blizzard uses hundreds of servers, artfully called realms, each running an instance of WoW for subscribers to play on. There are four types of realms: normal or player-versus-environment (PvE) realms, player-versus-player (PvP) realms, role-playing (RP) realms, and role-playing player-versus-player (RP-PvP) realms. The most popular realms are PvE and PvP; players on RP and RP-PvP realms are meant to “live” in WoW and therefore must adhere to role-playing policies such as remaining “in-character” of the avatar they have selected. (shrink)
The ‘hard problem’ is hard because of the special epistemological status of consciousness, which does not, however, preclude its scientific investigation. Data from phenomenologically trained observers can be combined with neurological investigations to establish the relation between experience and neurodynamics. Although experience cannot be reduced to physical phenomena, parallel phenomenological and neurological analyses allow the structure of experience to be related to the structure of the brain. Such an analysis suggests a theoretical entity, an elementary unit of experience, the protophenomenon, (...) which corresponds to an activity site in the brain. The structure of experience is determined by connections between these activity sites; the connections correspond to temporal patterns among the elementary units of experience, which can be expressed mathematically. This theoretical framework illuminates several issues, including degrees of consciousness, nonbiological consciousness, sensory inversions, unity of consciousness and the unconscious mind. (shrink)
The principal problem of consciousness is how brain processes cause subjective awareness. Since this problem involves subjectivity, ordinary scientific methods, applicable only to objective phenomena, cannot be used. Instead, by parallel application of phenomenological and scientific methods, we may establish a correspondence between the subjective and the objective. This correspondence is effected by the construction of a theoretical entity, essentially an elementary unit of consciousness, the intensity of which corresponds to electrochemical activity in a synapse. Dendritic networks correspond to causal (...) dependencies between these subjective units. Therefore, the structure of conscious experience is derived from synaptic connectivity. This parallel phenomenal/neural analysis provides a framework for the investigation of a number of problems, including sensory inversions, the unity of consciousness, and the nature of nonhuman consciousness. (shrink)
Based on results from evolutionary psychology, we discuss important functions that can be served by consciousness in autonomous robots. These include deliberately controlled action, conscious awareness, self-awareness, metacognition, and ego consciousness. We distinguish intrinsic intentionality from consciousness, but argue it is also important to understanding robot cognition. Finally, we explore the Hard Problem for robots from the perspective of the theory of protophenomena.
The authors provide this addendum to the following article to provide corrections to the results reported and further explanation of the structural equation modeling techniques utilized: Sean T. Hannah, Bruce J. Avolio, and Fred O. Walumbwa, “The Relationships between Authentic Leadership, Moral Courage, and Ethical and Pro-Social Behaviors,” Business Ethics Quarterly 21:4 : 555–78.
Traditional forms of farming, herding, and fishing are remarkably adapted to African conditions but these traditional approaches are being overtaken by modern pressures, particularly population growth. According to a report published by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), a nonpartisan analytical support agency of the U. S. Congress, one promising way to help African farmers and herders would be for development assistance organizations to focus more attention on the various forms of low-resource agriculture that predominate in Africa.In keeping with OTA's (...) mission and primary audience, “Enhancing Agriculture in Africa: A Role for U. S. Development Assistance” (1988) is a policy-oriented synthesis of available technical information. The report provides Congress with a range of options that, if pursued, could help Africans enhance agriculture, increase their food security, and improve their lives.This paper is drawn from the larger OTA report, and it focuses on the role technology might play in enhancing low-resource agriculture. Readers should see the full assessment (OTA, 1988) for more information on policy considerations; the specific technologies mentioned; or a complete list of advisory panel members, workshops and participants, and commissioned papers.OTA's report comes at a critical time: for a variety of reasons—ranging from changing values to increased budget constraints—U. S. foreign assistance policy is undergoing a fundamental reevaluation. This review of the potential of low-resource agriculture, and options the United States might pursue to enhance this approach, was intended to aid in this reevaluation. (shrink)
The worldview emerging from neurophenomenology is consistent with the phenomenological insights obtained by Neoplatonic theurgical operations. For example, gods and daimons are phenomenologically equivalent to the archetypes and complexes investigated in Jungian psychology and explicated by evolutionary psychology. Jung understood the unconscious mind and physical reality to have a common root in an unus mundus. Parallel reductions in the phenomenological and neurological domain imply elementary constituents of consciousness associated with simple physical systems, that is, natural processes experienced both externally and (...) internally. Analysis reveals they have both an eternal formal structure and a material substrate that allows the formal structure to evolve in time with both phenomenal and physical aspects. Since all physical processes fit this description, a form of panpsychism is implied. These developments can inform our understanding of the Forms, the World Soul, and individual souls in Neoplatonism. (shrink)
En s’appuyant sur les résultats de la psychologie évolutionniste, nous examinons les différentes fonctions importantes que puisse remplir la conscience dans les robots autonomes : action contrôlée, prise de conscience, conscience de soi, métacognition, conscience du moi. Nous distinguons l’intentionnalité intrinsèque de la conscience, mais soutenons également l’importance de la compréhension de la cognition robotique. Enfin, nous étudions le « Hard Problem » concernant les robots, c’est-à-dire la question de savoir s’ils peuvent connaître une prise de conscience subjective, dans une (...) perspective de la théorie du protophénomène. (shrink)
For all animals, color is an indicator of the substance and state of objects, for which purpose reflectance is just one among many relevant optical properties. This broader meaning of color is confirmed by linguistic evidence. Rather than reducing color to a simple physical property, it is more realistic to embrace its full phenomenology.