The representation of physics problems in relation to the organization of physics knowledge is investigated in experts and novices. Four experiments examine the existence of problem categories as a basis for representation; differences in the categories used by experts and novices; differences in the knowledge associated with the categories; and features in the problems that contribute to problem categorization and representation. Results from sorting tasks and protocols reveal that experts and novices begin their problem representations with specifiably different problem categories, (...) and completion of the representations depends on the knowledge associated with the categories. For, the experts initially abstract physics principles to approach and solve a problem representation, whereas novices base their representation and approaches on the problem's literal features. (shrink)
A unifying theory of general anesthetic-induced unconsciousness must explain the common mechanism through which various anesthetic agents produce unconsciousness. Functional-brain-imaging data obtained from 11 volunteers during general anesthesia showed specific suppression of regional thalamic and midbrain reticular formation activity across two different commonly used volatile agents. These findings are discussed in relation to findings from sleep neurophysiology and the implications of this work for consciousness research. It is hypothesized that the essential common neurophysiologic mechanism underlying anesthetic-induced unconsciousness is, as with (...) sleep-induced unconsciousness, a hyperpolarization block of thalamocortical neurons. A model of anesthetic-induced unconsciousness is introduced to explain how the plethora of effects anesthetics have on cellular functioning ultimately all converge on a single neuroanatomic/neurophysiologic system, thus providing for a unitary physiologic theory of narcosis related to consciousness. (shrink)
Ontological and methodological constraints on a theory of cognition that would generalize across species are identified. Within these constraints, ecological arguments for animal-environment mutuality and reciprocity and the necessary specificity of structured energy distributions to environmental facts are developed as counterpoints to the classical doctrines of animal-environment dualism and intractable nonspecificity. Implications of and for a cognitive theory consistent with Gibson's programme of ecological psychology are identified and contrasted with contemporary cognitivism.