Previous research into human traits has reached impressive consensus regarding at least some traits, but recent evidence suggests these to be genetically heterogeneous. This is problematic for theories of the neurobiology of human traits. Future research should more closely integrate genetic, behavioral, and psychometric research to arrive at biologically validated measurement instruments, which may be better used to understand the mediating role of these traits in the association between genetic variants and complex behaviors.
Researchers have long suspected that grapheme-color synaesthesia is useful, but research on its utility has so far focused primarily on episodic memory and perceptual discrimination. Here we ask whether it can be harnessed during rule-based Category learning. Participants learned through trial and error to classify grapheme pairs that were organized into categories on the basis of their associated synaesthetic colors. The performance of synaesthetes was similar to non-synaesthetes viewing graphemes that were physically colored in the same way. Specifically, synaesthetes learned (...) to categorize stimuli effectively, they were able to transfer this learning to novel stimuli, and they falsely recognized grapheme-pair foils, all like non-synaesthetes viewing colored graphemes. These findings demonstrate that synaesthesia can be exploited when learning the kind of material taught in many classroom settings. (shrink)
Cultural effects can influence the results of causal genetic analyses, such as Mendelian randomisation, but the potential influences of culture on genotype–phenotype associations are not currently well understood. Different genetic variants could be associated with different phenotypes in different populations, or culture could confound or influence the direction of the association between genotypes and phenotypes in different populations.
We agree that conceptualisation is key in understanding the brain basis of emotion. We argue that by conflating facial emotion recognition with subjective emotion experience, Lindquist et al. understate the importance of biological predisposition in emotion. We use examples from the anxiety disorders to illustrate the distinction between these two phenomena, emphasising the importance of both emotional hardware and contextual learning.
The belief that damaging an object may harm the individual to which the object relates is common among adults. We explored whether arousal following the destruction of a photograph of a loved partner is greater than that following the destruction of a photograph of a stranger, and whether this response is greater than when a photograph representing a non-person sentimental attachment is destroyed, using a measure of skin conductance response. Long-term supporters of a football team, who were also in a (...) long-term relationship, showed increased arousal when asked to destroy a photograph of their partner, but not a photograph of their team, even though both elicited equivalent ratings of emotional attachment. This may be because football teams are conceptualized differently from individuals. Future studies should address whether destruction of symbols that represent the enduring nature of the team elicit more emotional distress than photograph. (shrink)
Although Marcuse has been lavishly praised and severely condemned, he has been almost totally neglected by academic philosophers. One would have thought that MacIntyre was the ideal philosopher to write an intelligent critique of Marcuse. MacIntyre's own interests in Freud, Marx, and social theory center about the issues that have preoccupied Marcuse. Despite the claim to present Marcuse's views and then to criticize them, MacIntyre has written a stinging polemic. Marcuse is charged with being mistaken in all his key positions. (...) He fails to understand Hegel, Marx, Freud. His account of the ills of contemporary technological society is misguided. His positive program is contemptuous and dangerous. He is guilty of furthering the corruption of our language. Typical of MacIntyre's prose is his final sentence, "The philosophy of the Young Hegelians, fragments of Marxism and revised chunks of Freud's metapsychology: out of these materials Marcuse has produced a theory that, like so many of its predecessors, invokes the great names of freedom and reason while betraying their substance at every important point." On the basis of MacIntyre's reading of Marcuse it is hard to imagine that he is anything more than a bungling idiot. There is plenty to criticize in Marcuse, but MacIntyre's polemic backfires. The best and most effective critique is based on understanding, but despite appearances there is little attempt here to take Marcuse seriously. This is a pity because both Marcuse's thought and MacIntyre's important criticisms tend to get lost in all this lively prose.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 A.D., is renowned for his just rule and long frontier wars. But his lasting fame rests on his Meditations, a bedside book of reflections and self-admonitions written during his last years, that provide unique insights into the mind of an ancient ruler and contain many passages of pungent epigram and poetic imagery. This study is designed to make the Meditations more accessible to the modern reader. Rutherford carefully explains the historical and (...) philosophical background, charts the main themes and tendencies of Marcus's thought, and relates stylistic detail to the intellectual and moral outlook of the author. His goal is to define Marcus's aims, attitudes, and styles more precisely and restore his work to the position it held in the past, that of a spiritual classic which can be read and enjoyed by people who are not professional scholars. (shrink)
For the philosopher Ivan Illich, society became a set of systems rather than a group of people. As such, society depersonalizes life and brings the need for open non-systematized spaces where people can act and interact outside their typical roles. On the other hand, an absence of formal structures may simply open spaces for the informal reproduction of society’s already well-established structures. Given this conjuncture, can systems be designed to foster personal expression? The answer I found in cybernetics is self-organization, (...) a process of adaptation to a context that can grow different organizations depending on what this context provides. This implies that personal expression is a concern in society’s emergent organizations, calling for meta planning to design the context of some of society’s self-organization processes. The cybernetician Gordon Pask argued that depersonalization follows from non-conversational communications, like the ones that develop in large committees. In response, Pask’s fellow cybernetician Stafford Beer proposed a meeting protocol called Team Syntegrity allowing large groups to subdivide into small integrated discussion groups. While Beer’s work has been extensively discussed in existent literature, this article presents the results of four experiments conducted by using variations of Beer’s protocol to understand both the ease with which it can be adapted to different situations, and the implications of its conversational structure on personal expression. The experiment’s realization demonstrates that the protocol’s preparation is laborious and hard to adapt in a timely manner in situations where participant numbers fluctuate. Automation of these processes, however, offers possibilities to use the approach in loosely organized groups. Automation can also help choosing the most appropriate protocol for particular situations through the manipulation of its configuration. Despite difficulties, the protocol offers promise for different purposes, encouraging personal expression in a way that reverberates with others’ personal perspectives. (shrink)
This edited volume will be of interest to specialists in the history of early modern philosophy and in the history and philosophy of science. It contains ten chapters related to the themes of experimental philosophy, speculative philosophy, and the relationships of both to religion. Most of the book considers these themes in the thought of six early modern philosophers, with a chapter for each of the following: Bacon, Boyle, Cavendish, Hobbes, Locke, and Newton. The remaining chapters focus upon these themes (...) by looking at particular debates or more broadly by considering contexts beyond those of the six aforementioned philosophers. The level of attention to detail by the authors in this book regarding how... (shrink)
A person's values are what that person regards as or thinks important; a society's values are what that society regards as important. A society's values are expressed in laws and legislatively enacted policies, in its mores, social habits, and positive morality. Any body's values—an individual person's or a society's—are subject to change, and in our time especially. An individual manifests his or her values in expressions of approval or disapproval, of admiration or disdain, by seeking or avoidance behaviour, and by (...) his or her characteristic activities. What one values one seeks for or tries to maintain. Sometimes attaining it leads to unexpected enlightenment—that isn't what one wanted after all. But a person's values are discovered most significantly in a reflective way by becoming aware of what one is willing to give up to attain or maintain one's values. This is the price one is willing to pay for it, and values are occasionally, and in the money and stock markets always, expressed in terms of price. This can be significant or it can be misleading; it depends on how it is interpreted. Not everything has a monetary equivalent, despite the attempts of the law to provide recovery for damages in monetary terms, and despite the cynical maxim, ‘Everyone has his price’. (shrink)