Cigarette smoking and other addictive behaviors are among the main preventable risk factors for several severe and potentially fatal diseases. It has been argued that addictive behavior is controlled by an automatic-implicit cognitive system and by a reflective-explicit cognitive system, that operate in parallel to jointly drive human behavior. The present study addresses the formation of implicit attitudes towards smoking in both smokers and non-smokers, using a Go/NoGo association task, and behavioral and electroencephalographic measures. The GNAT assesses, via quantifying participants’ (...) reaction times, the strength of association between a target category and either pole of an evaluative dimension. EEG analysis is performed to determine the temporal course of the event-related potential components underlying Go/NoGo decisions and implicit attitude formation. Both smokers and non-smokers showed prolonged reaction times to smoking-related pictures when the pictures were coupled with positive evaluative words. This indicates negative implicit attitudes towards smoking in both groups alike at the time point of the behavioral response. However, only the non-smokers, not the smokers, were found to show a delay of the N200 component in the incongruent condition. This is interpreted as reflecting ambivalent or even positive implicit attitudes towards smoking in the smoker group at the time point of the N200. Our study thus provides evidence for the hypothesis that implicit attitudes are subject to changes within several hundred milliseconds after stimulus presentation, and can be altered in the course of their formation. (shrink)
This paper is about the relationship between actuality and potentiality. Two paradigms are considered: Leibnizian possible worlds, which is rooted in classical physics; and the consistent histories quantum theory of Griffiths, Gell-Mann, Hartle, and Omnès. I explore an interesting connection between these two paradigms. The analysis goes beyond a comparison of classical and quantum physics to consider how modern physics might be integrated into a more comprehensive view of the world, in the spirit of Leibniz’s own philosophy.
The recent article by R. P. Saller on Roman dowry in the Principate makes some interesting and important suggestions about the function of dowry and its role in the devolution of property. I am in broad agreement with a good deal of what he says, and would not dispute his views that dowry was, as shown by the requirement of collatio dotis, regarded as in a sense part of a woman's patrimony, and that the rules for the recovery of dowry (...) show that the purpose of giving dowry was not held to rest on one single principle, but included provision both for the expenses of the wife's maintenance during marriage and for a possible remarriage after divorce or widowhood. However, his remarks on both points need some qualification and amplification. Briefly, I hope to show that the oddities and anomalies noticed by Saller in the rules governing the recovery of dowry at the end of a marriage are apparent rather than real, since these rules rest, not on conflicting views about the purpose of dowry, but on the fact that the husband had full legal ownership of the dowry during marriage, together with the right of the wife or her pater to an actio rei uxoriae for recovery of dowry; that the rules for collatio dotis applied only if the woman herself chose to claim a share in her father's estate on intestacy beyond the amount of her dowry; that the use of the dowry for the wife's support was an equitable, rather than a legal, requirement. (shrink)