Why do many autistic people develop outstanding abilities in domains like drawing, music, computation, and reading? What aspects of autism predispose some to talent? This book explores the origin and prevalence of exceptional talent, its basis in the brain, the current theories, and the representation of talent and autism in biography and fiction.
Typical theory of mind tasks assess children’s ability to attribute a false belief in order to predict or explain an action. According to these standard tasks, young children do not represent the independent (mistaken) beliefs of others until the fourth year—yet long before this, children are able to track speakers’ intentions in order to learn new words. Might communication be a privileged domain for theory of mind? In the present study we explored pre‐schoolers’ ability to track a false belief in (...) order to acquire a novel word. A puppet labeled a novel object in a false belief condition (contents of a box had been switched without her knowledge), and a true belief condition (contents switched in her presence). Children were significantly better at tracking the puppet’s false belief in the word‐learning task than in a standard false belief test. Possible reasons for this advantage are discussed, and the suggestion made that representation of mental states may emerge precociously in the service of communication. (shrink)
Autism provides a model for exploring the nature of self‐consciousness: self‐consciousness requires the ability to reflect on mental states, and autism is a disorder with a specific impairment in the neurocognitive mechanism underlying this ability. Experimental studies of normal and abnormal development suggest that the abilities to attribute mental states to self and to others are closely related. Thus inability to pass standard ‘theory of mind’ tests, which refer to others’ false beliefs, may imply lack of self‐consciousness. Individuals who persistently (...) fail these tests may, in the extreme, be unable to reflect on their intentions or to anticipate their own actions. In contrast, individuals with high‐functioning autism or Asperger syndrome often possess a late‐acquired, explicit theory of mind, which appears to be the result of effortful learning. An experimental study with three people with Asperger syndrome suggested that level of performance on standard theory of mind tasks was strongly related to the ability to engage in introspection. Qualitative differences in the introspections of high‐functioning people with autism are also reflected in autobiographical accounts which may give a glimpse of what it is like to be autistic. (shrink)
We consider the evolutionary plausibility of Osiurak and Reynaud's arguments. We argue that technical reasoning is not quite the magic bullet that O&R assume, and instead propose a co-evolutionary account of the interplay between technical reasoning and social learning, with language emerging as a vital issue neglected in O&R's account.
We challenge the notion that differences in spatial ability are the best or only explanation for observed sex differences in mathematical word problems. We suggest two ideas from the study of autism: sex differences in theory of mind and in central coherence.
This commentary focuses on evidence from autism concerning the relation between metacognition and mindreading. We support Carruthers' rejection of models 1 (independent systems) and 3 (metacognition before mindreading), and provide evidence to strengthen his critique. However, we also present evidence from autism that we believe supports model 2 (one mechanism, two modes of access) over model 4 (mindreading is prior).
Growing evidence, as presented by Jaswal & Akhtar, indicates that social motivation is not universally reduced in autism. Here, we evaluate and extend this argument in light of recent evidence of “compensation” in autism. We thereby argue that autistic “compensators” – exhibiting neurotypical behaviour despite persistent difficulties in social cognition – indicate intact or potentially heightened social motivation in autism.
Philosophical interest in introspection has a long and storied history, but only recently – with the 'scientific turn' in philosophy of mind – have philosophers sought to ground their accounts of introspection in psychological data. In particular, there is growing awareness of how evidence from clinical and developmental psychology might be brought to bear on long-standing debates about the architecture of introspection, especially in the form of apparent dissociations between introspection and third-person mental-state attribution. It is less often noticed that (...) this evidence needs to be interpreted with due sensitivity to distinctions between different types of introspection, for example, introspection of propositional attitudes vs. introspection of phenomenally conscious states. As contemporary debates about the machinery of introspection – and debates about mindreading in general – move forward, these distinctions are likely to figure more prominently. Author Recommends: Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith, 22–38. Defends a sophisticated form of the theory-theory of introspection, according to which we come to know at least some of our mental states by reasoning from an innate folk-psychological theory. Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind, 39–63. Introduces and defends the idea of introspection as 'displaced perception'. Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading, 223–57. Defends a version of the 'inner sense' view of introspection in which mental state types are classified via their neural properties, and mental contents are classified via 'redeployment'. Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 : 1–14. A noted psychologist defends a version of the theory-theory of introspection, citing evidence of developmental symmetries between first-person and third-person mental-state attribution. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies, 53–67. Develops the idea of ascent routines – the rough analog of 'displaced perception' for the introspection of propositional attitudes. Uta Frith and Francesca Happé, 'Theory of Mind and Self-Consciousness: What Is It Like to Be Autistic?'Mind and Language 14 : 1–14. Appeals to evidence from autism to motivate the idea that first-person and third-person mental-state attribution have a common basis. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding other Minds, 150–99. Presents a comprehensive critique of leading theories of introspection, then introduces and defends the authors' preferred alternative, the 'monitoring mechanism' account. Jesse Prinz, 'The Fractionation of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 40–57. Develops the idea that introspection admits of several varieties. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 129–43. Defends a hybrid view of introspection for propositional attitudes, according to which both theoretic inference and monitoring play a role. Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Theory-theory Alison Gopnik, 'How We Read Our Own Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 : 1–14. Peter Carruthers, 'Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defense of Theory-Theory', in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers and P. K. Smith, 22–38. Week 2: Displaced perception and semantic ascent Fred Dretske, 'Introspection', in Naturalizing the Mind, 39–63. Robert Gordon, 'Simulation without Introspection or Inference from Me to You', in Mental Simulation: Evaluations and Applications, eds. T. Stone and M. Davies, 53–67. Week 3: Monitoring theory Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich, 'Reading One's Own Mind', in Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-awareness, and Understanding Other Minds, 150–99. Week 4: Hybrid approaches Alvin Goldman, 'Self-Attribution', in Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading, 223–57. Philip Robbins, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You: Theory of Mind and the Machinery of Introspection', Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 : 129–43. Focus Questions:1. What distinguishes 'inside access' from 'outside access' views of introspection?2. To what extent is the theory-theoretic approach to introspection wedded to the idea that first-person and third-person mindreading are mechanistically symmetric capacities?3. What reasons are there for distinguishing between different types of introspection, and why might those taxonomic distinctions matter for theory construction in this area?4. In what sense, if any, are personality traits introspectible?5. Debates about third-person mindreading have revolved around the relative merits of theory-theory and simulation theory, whereas debates about introspection have taken a slightly different focus. For example, no one has defended a simulation-theoretic account of introspection. Why might that be? (shrink)
A cavallo tra i due concili di Costanza e Basilea, che hanno fortemente influito sul giudizio della Chiesa in relazione alle donne visionarie, si staglia la figura di Francesca Bussa dei Ponziani. Le visioni politiche di Francesca rappresentano un fulgido esempio di come i modelli brigidini e cateriniani siano stati ripresi e rimodellati su un nuovo, mutato contesto storico. La sua consolidata autorità le consentì di ammonire a più riprese papa Eugenio IV riguardo alla sua partecipazione al concilio (...) di Basilea, intervenendo attivamente nello scenario religioso e politico romano. (shrink)
MĂDĂLINA DIACONU, Tasten, Riechen, Schmecken. Eine Ästhetik der anästhesierten Sinne, 2005 ; SILVIA STOLLER, VERONICA VASTERLING,LINDA FISHER, Feministische Phänomenologie und Hermeneutik, 2005 ; KARL SCHUHMANN, Karl Schuhmann: Selected Papers on Phenomenology. Edited by CEES LEIJENHORST and PIET STEENBAKKERS, 2004 ; HIROSHI GOTO, Der Begriff der Person in der PhänomenologieHusserls. Ein Interpretationsversuch der Husserlschen Phänomenologie als Ethik im Hinblick auf den Begriff der Habitualität, 2004 ; GÜNTER FIGAL, Lebensverstricktheit und Abstandsnahme. „Verhalten zu sich“ im Anschluss an Heidegger, Kierkegaard und Hegel, 2001 (...) ; JACQUES DERRIDA, Le toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy, 2000. (shrink)
Following the revival in the last decades of the concept of “organism”, scholarly literature in philosophy of science has shown growing historical interest in the theory of Immanuel Kant, one of the “fathers” of the concept of self-organisation. Yet some recent theoretical developments suggest that self-organisation alone cannot fully account for the all-important dimension of autonomy of the living. Autonomy appears to also have a genuine “interactive” dimension, which concerns the organism’s functional interactions with the environment and does not simply (...) derive from its internal organisation. Against this background, we focus on a family of natural philosophical approaches that historically have already strongly taken in account this aspect of autonomy, notably going beyond Kant’s perspective on self-organisation. We thus review Hegel, Plessner, and Jonas’ different perspectives on living beings, focussing in particular on four points: the distinction between organic and inorganic, the theory of biological organisation, the processuality of the living, and the “boundary” between inside and outside, through which the organism establishes its relationship to the environment. We, then, compare the three perspectives on these four points, and finally address the question of what advantages their contribution present—especially compared to Kant’s theory—with respect to the topic of organism’s autonomy. This could help—we hope—to better understand what is at the stake still today. (shrink)
Way-finding (WF) is the ability to move around efficiently and find the way from a starting point to a destination. It is a component of spatial navigation, a coordinate and goal-directed movement of one’s self through the environment. In the present study, the relationship between WF tasks (route tracing and shortcut finding) and individual factors were explored with the hypothesis that WF tasks would be predicted by different types of cognitive, affective, motivational variables and personality factors. A group of 116 (...) university students (88 F.) was conducted along a route in a virtual environment and then asked first to trace the same route again, and then to find a shortcut between the start and end points. Several instruments assessing visuospatial working memory, mental rotation ability, self-efficacy, spatial anxiety, positive attitude to exploring, and personality traits were administered. The results showed that a latent spatial ability factor (measured with the visuospatial working memory and mental rotations tests) - controlled for gender - predicted route-tracing performance, while self-report measures of anxiety, efficacy, and pleasure in exploring, and some personality traits were more likely to predict shortcut-finding performance. We concluded that both personality and cognitive abilities affect WF performance, but differently, depending on the requirements of the task. (shrink)
Background The increasing incidence of people affected by overweight or obesity is a significant health problem. The knowledge of the factors which influences the inappropriate eating behaviours causing excessive body fat is an essential goal for the research. In fact, overweight and obesity are significant risk factors for many health diseases, such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, etc. Recently, many studies have focused on the relationship between body weight and cognitive processes. Objectives This systematic review is aimed to investigate the existence (...) and the nature of the relationship between excessive body weight (overweight/obesity) and executive functions, analysing cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in order to verify the evidence of a possible causality between these variables. Methods The review was carried out according to the PRISMA-Statement, through systematic searches in the scientific databases PubMed, Medline, PsychInfo, and PsycArticles. The studies selected examined performance on executive tasks by participants with overweight or obesity, aged between 5 and 70 years. Studies examining eating disorders or obesity resulting from other medical problems were excluded. Furthermore, the results of studies using a cross-sectional design and those using a longitudinal one were separately investigated. Results Sixty-three cross-sectional studies and twenty-eight longitudinal studies that met our inclusion and exclusion criteria were analysed. The results confirmed the presence of a relation between executive functions and overweight/obesity, although the directionality of this relation was not clear; nor did any single executive function emerge as being more involved than others in this relation. Despite this, there was evidence of a reciprocal influence between executive functions and overweight/obesity. Conclusions This systematic review underlines the presence of a relationship between executive functions and overweight/obesity. Moreover, it seems to suggest a bidirectional trend in this relationship that could be the cause of the failure of interventions for weight reduction. The results of this review highlight the importance of a theoretical model able to consider all the main variables of interest, with the aim to structuring integrated approaches to solve the overweight/obesity problems. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article considers Michel Foucault's theories of ethical speech and militant life in the context of Occupy Wall Street's encampments in Zuccotti Park. Focusing on the encampments and the production and circulation of resources to meet bodily needs, the article concludes that occupation was a self-inflicted form of precarity as well as an extension of an already existing vulnerability, a living that is at once a form of social death. I read the occupations as a mode of militant life, (...) which is to say, that which enacts precarity while at the same time transforming it into the object of radical speech. (shrink)
Criminal liability for acts committed by AI systems has recently become a hot legal topic. This paper includes three different contributions. The first contribution is an analysis of the extent to which an AI system can satisfy the requirements for criminal liability: accomplishing an actus reus, having the corresponding mens rea, possessing the cognitive capacities needed for responsibility. The second contribution is a discussion of criminal activity accomplished by an AI entity, with reference to a recent case involving an online (...) bot, the Random Darknet Shopper. This discussion will provide the context for the analysis of commonalities and differences between criminal activities by humans and by artificial systems. The third contribution concerns the evaluation of different ways of addressing criminal activities by AI systems in a regulatory perspective. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to investigate Nishida Kitarō’s way of philosophizing in the light of the concept of “transition” in order to deepen our understanding of both Nishida’s philosophy and our thinking about and in transitions, using the concept of “boundary” or “border” (Grenze) as a catalyst. For that purpose, we focus on Nishida’s essay “Place” (「場所」), passing through different parts of the text as if through successive gates on a path of transition between one place and the (...) next, until we reach the final place of “absolute nothingness.” Dwelling on this place, we turn our attention to its internal structure and try to depict it along the outlines of a boundary, following the movements taking place in Nishida’s essay. The second part proposes an interpretation of the place of nothingness as an interminable practice of boundary-crossing that doesn’t come to a halt in a final, all-encompassing place, but dynamically situates itself on countless intersecting planes. After a more or less abstract analysis of the concept of “boundary,” we will apply and concretize this approach by using the example of the skin. To this end, we expose five main features of the skin as boundary: permeability, enclosure, excessiveness, interstitiality and reciprocal self-formation. (shrink)
Low-income environments have been associated with greater levels of impulsive behavior, which contribute to the higher debt and obesity rates that further perpetuate current wealth and health disparities. In this commentary, we describe how this might be explained by an appeal to “incentive hope” and the motivational drive toward consumption triggered by the future uncertainty these groups face.
In health communication, metaphor can be considered as a reasoning device to let people understand an abstract concept in terms of a concrete one (Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Bowdle and Gentner 2005). Both the positive and negative communicative effects of metaphors have been largely pointed out in a variety of medical fields, from oncology (Semino et al. 2016, 2018) to mental health (Frezza and Zoccolotti 2019). The use of metaphors in vaccine communication has been less considered, though it might be (...) crucial to let people understand vaccination as an important collective health phenomenon. A previous study (Scherer et al. 2015) focused on the communicative effects of conventional metaphors for vaccination, but not specifically on novel metaphors deliberately used to explain the concept of population immunity in vaccination. We hypothesized that metaphors used to explain vaccination as a collective phenomenon could improve the communicative aims of pro-vaccination texts in many respects, ranging from understandability to trust in expertise. We designed a study to test the hypothesis: two groups of participants were presented with a text about vaccination as a collective phenomenon, described in either literal or metaphorical terms. They were asked to evaluate the text on different communicative aspects from both an individual and a collective point of view. The results confirmed the hypothesis that metaphor is an effective reasoning device and that it also enhances the overall communicative effects of the message, in terms of understandability, persuasion, feeling of control over the health situation, trust in expertise, and uptake of experts’ advice. However, the results show that this effect is significantly nuanced in the individual vs. collective response type. (shrink)