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)
East Asians have been found to reason in relatively holistic fashion and Americans in relatively analytic fashion. It has been proposed that these cognitive differences are the result of social practices that encourage interdependence for Asians and independence for Americans. If so, cognitive differences might be found even across regions that are geographically close. We compared performance on a categorization task of relatively interdependent southern Italians and relatively independent northern Italians and found the former to reason in a (...) more holistic fashion than the latter. Furthermore, as it has been argued that working class social practices encourage interdependence and middle class practices encourage independence, we anticipated that working class participants might reason in a more holistic fashion than middle class participants. This is what we found – at least for southern Italy. (shrink)
High-order constructs such as intelligence result from the interaction of numerous processing systems, one of which is language. However, in determining the role of language in intelligence, attention must be paid to evidence from lesion studies and, in particular, evidence of dissociation of functions where high-order cognition can be demonstrated in face of profound aphasia.
Research on surprise relevant to the cognitive-evolutionary model of surprise proposed by Meyer, Reisenzein, and Schützwohl is reviewed. The majority of the assumptions of the model are found empirically supported. Surprise is evoked by unexpected events and its intensity is determined by the degree if schema-discrepancy, whereas the novelty and the valence of the eliciting events probably do not have an independent effect. Unexpected events cause an automatic interruption of ongoing mental processes that is followed by an attentional shift (...) and attentional binding to the events, which is often followed by causal and other event analysis processes and by schema revision. The facial expression of surprise postulated by evolutionary emotion psychologists has been found to occur rarely in surprise, for as yet unknown reasons. A physiological orienting response marked by skin conductance increase, heart rate deceleration, and pupil dilation has been observed to occur regularly in the standard version of the repetition-change paradigm of surprise induction, but the specificity of these reactions as indicators of surprise is controversial. There is indirect evidence for the assumption that the feeling of surprise consists of the direct awareness of the schema-discrepancy signal, but this feeling, or at least the self-report of surprise, is also influenced by experienced interference. In contrast, facial feedback probably does contribute substantially to the feeling of surprise and the evidence for the hypothesis that surprise is affected by the difficulty of explaining an unexpected event is, in our view, inconclusive. Regardless of how the surprise feeling is constituted, there is evidence that it has both motivational and informational effects. Finally, the prediction failure implied by unexpected events sometimes causes a negative feeling, but there is no convincing evidence that this is always the case, and we argue that even if it were so, this would not be a sufficient reason for regarding this feeling as a component, rather than as an effect of surprise. (shrink)
Presents results of free‐recall experiments conducted in France, Gabon and Nepal, to test predictions of a cognitive model of religious concepts. The world over, these concepts include violations of conceptual expectations at the level of domain knowledge (e.g., about ‘animal’ or ‘artifact’ or ‘person’) rather than at the basic level. In five studies we used narratives to test the hypothesis that domain‐level violations are recalled better than other conceptual associations. These studies used material constructed in the same way as (...) religious concepts, but not used in religions familiar to the subjects. Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed a distinctiveness effect for such material. Experiment 3 shows that recall also depends on the possibility to generate inferences from violations of domain expectations. Replications in Gabon (Exp. 4) and Nepal (Exp. 5) showed that recall for domain‐level violations is better than for violations of basic‐level expectations. Overall sensitivity to violations is similar in different cultures and produces similar recall effects, despite differences in commitment to religious belief, in the range of local religious concepts or in their mode of transmission. However, differences between Gabon and Nepal results suggest that familiarity with some types of domain‐level violations may paradoxically make other types more salient. These results suggest that recall effects may account for the recurrent features found in religious concepts from different cultures. (shrink)
Behavioural flexibility is often treated as the gold standard of evidence for more sophisticated or complex forms of animal cognition, such as planning, metacognition and mindreading. However, the evidential link between behavioural flexibility and complex cognition has not been explicitly or systematically defended. Such a defence is particularly pressing because observed flexible behaviours can frequently be explained by putatively simpler cognitive mechanisms. This leaves complex cognition hypotheses open to ‘deflationary’ challenges that are accorded greater evidential weight precisely because (...) they offer putatively simpler explanations of equal explanatory power. This paper challenges the blanket preference for simpler explanations, and shows that once this preference is dispensed with, and the full spectrum of evidence—including evolutionary, ecological and phylogenetic data—is accorded its proper weight, an argument in support of the prevailing assumption that behavioural flexibility can serve as evidence for complex cognitive mechanisms may begin to take shape. An adaptive model of cognitive-behavioural evolution is proposed, according to which the existence of convergent trait–environment clusters in phylogenetically disparate lineages may serve as evidence for the same trait–environment clusters in other lineages. This, in turn, could permit inferences of cognitive complexity in cases of experimental underdetermination, thereby placing the common view that behavioural flexibility can serve as evidence for complex cognition on firmer grounds. (shrink)
Cognitive theorists routinely disagree about the evidence supporting claims in cognitive science. Here, we first argue that some disagreements about evidence in cognitive science are about the evidence available to be drawn upon by cognitive theorists. Then, we show that one’s explanation of why this first kind of disagreement obtains will cohere with one’s theory of evidence. We argue that the best explanation for why cognitive theorists disagree in this way is (...) because their evidence is what they rationally grant. Finally, we explain why our view does not lead to a pernicious kind of relativism in cognitive science. (shrink)
We argue that cognitive empathy and other instances of mental state attribution are a byproduct of self-awareness. Evidence is brought to bear on this proposition from comparative psychology, early child development, neuropsychology, and abnormal behavior.
It is no secret that scientists argue. They argue about theories. But even more, they argue about the evidence for theories. Is the evidence itself trustworthy? This is a bit surprising from the perspective of traditional empiricist accounts of scientific methodology according to which the evidence for scientific theories stems from observation, especially observation with the naked eye. These accounts portray the testing of scientific theories as a matter of comparing the predictions of the theory with the (...) data generated by these observations, which are taken to provide an objective link to reality. (shrink)
_Abstract_: Fueled by the rapid development of neuroscientific tools and techniques, some scholars consider the shift from traditional cognitive psychology toward cognitive neuroscience to be a _revolution_ (most notably Boone and Piccinini). However, the term “revolution” in philosophy of science can easily be construed as involving a paradigm shift in the sense of Kuhn’s _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_. Is a Kuhnian account sound in the case at hand? To answer this question, we consider heuristic indicators of two (...) features of paradigm shifts: the incommensurability of ontologies; and a gap between scientific communities. Based on our evidence, we argue that no revolution has occurred (at least, not yet). _Keywords_: Cognitive Neuroscience; Cognitive Psychology; Philosophy of Science; Thomas Kuhn; Scientometrics _La “rivoluzione delle neuroscienze cognitive” non è una rivoluzione (in senso kuhniano). Evidenze scientometriche _ _Riassunto_:_ _Complice il rapido sviluppo di strumenti e tecniche in neuroscienze, alcuni studiosi (in particolare Boone e Piccinini) intendono il passaggio dalla psicologia cognitiva classica alla neuroscienza cognitiva nei termini di una _rivoluzione_. Tuttavia, il termine ‘rivoluzione’ in filosofia della scienza è strettamente associato alla nozione di successione di paradigmi esposta da Kuhn ne _La struttura delle rivoluzioni scientifiche_. Obiettivo di questo lavoro è capire se effettivamente la concezione kuhniana offra una corretta descrizione di questa dinamica storica. In particolare, prenderemo in esame due indicatori euristici delle rivoluzioni kuhniane: l’incommensurabilità ontologica trai due paradigmi e la diversa composizione demografica delle comunità scientifiche. Sulla base delle evidenze scientometriche che prenderemo in esame, affermeremo che non è avvenuta nessuna rivoluzione (almeno per ora). _Parole chiave_: Neuroscienze cognitive; Psicologia cognitiva; Filosofia della scienza; Thomas Kuhn; Scientometria. (shrink)
Theories of collective intentions must distinguish genuinely collective intentions from coincidentally harmonized ones. Two apparently equally apt ways of doing so are the ‘neo-reductionism’ of Bacharach (2006) and Gold and Sugden (2007a) and the ‘non-reductionism’ of Searle (1990, 1995). Here, we present findings from theoretical linguistics that show that we is not a cognitive primitive, but is composed of notions of I and grouphood. The ramifications of this finding on the structure both of grammatical and lexical systems suggests that (...) an understanding of collective intentionality does not require a primitive we-intention, but the notion of grouphood implicit in team reasoning, coupled with the individual concept I. This, we argue, supports neo-reductionism but poses difficulties for non-reductionism. (shrink)
This introductory chapter attempts to clarify the philosophical, empirical, and theoretical bases on which a cognitive neuroscience approach to consciousness can be founded. We isolate three major empirical observations that any theory of consciousness should incorporate, namely (1) a considerable amount of processing is possible without consciousness, (2) attention is a prerequisite of consciousness, and (3) consciousness is required for some specific cognitive tasks, including those that require durable information maintenance, novel combinations of operations, or the spontaneous generation (...) of intentional behavior. We then propose a theoretical framework that synthesizes those facts: the hypothesis of a global neuronal workspace. This framework postulates that, at any given time, many modular cerebral networks are active in parallel and process information in an unconscious manner. An information becomes conscious, however, if the neural population that represents it is mobilized by top-down attentional amplification into a brain-scale state of coherent activity that involves many neurons distributed throughout the brain. The long-distance connectivity of these `workspace neurons' can, when they are active for a minimal duration, make the information available to a variety of processes including perceptual categorization, long-term memorization, evaluation, and intentional action. We postulate that this global availability of information through the workspace is what we subjectively experience as a conscious state. A complete theory of consciousness should explain why some cognitive and cerebral representations can be permanently or temporarily inaccessible to consciousness, what is the range of possible conscious contents, how they map onto specific cerebral circuits, and whether a generic neuronal mechanism underlies all of them. We confront the workspace model with those issues and identify novel experimental predictions. Neurophysiological, anatomical, and brain-imaging data strongly argue for a major role of prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, and the areas that connect to them, in creating the postulated brain-scale workspace. (shrink)
Many epistemologists endorse a view I call “evidence essentialism:” if e is evidence of h, for some agent at some time, then necessarily, e is evidence of h, for any agent at any time. I argue that such a view is only plausible if we ignore cognitive diversity among epistemic agents, i.e., the fact that different agents have different—sometimes radically different—cognitive skills, abilities, and proclivities. Instead, cognitive diversity shows that evidential relations are contingent and (...) relative to cognizers. This is especially obvious in extreme cases and in connection with epistemic defeat, but it is also very plausibly true of ordinary agents, and regarding prima facie justification. (shrink)
Taking as a point of departure Maturana’s model of cognition, and combining it with his own general approach to the law, which he calls “Legal Constructivism”, the author analyzes the complex dynamics of judicial proof in terms of explaining how judges cognitively process the evidence put forward by the parties during a trial.The author advances the view that judges, just as scientists do, belong to a certain cognitive community, that is, to a certain judicial cognitive community. The (...) main cognitive activities of its members are a combination of cognitive structure-matching procedures and operational closures which are both regulated by the community’s autopoietic rules.Under his analysis, evidence is a cognitive construct. Its symbolic significance and weight is determined by how it fits within the context of a partic- ular set of relations between elements such as the type of disputing parties, the type of claims and arguments made by them, and so forth.Determining if a factual assertion can be considered proven or not under the author’s model is the result of a cognitive operational closure that amounts to take into consideration the dialogical and defeasible carácter of legal argumentation.Resumen:Tomando como punto de partida el modelo del fenómeno de la cognición de Humberto Maturana, y combinándolo con su propia propuesta teórica acerca de cómo entender al derecho (a la que denomina “Constructivismo Jurídico”), el autor analiza la compleja dinámica de la prueba judicial en términos de la manera en que la evidencia que las partes aducen en un juicio es cognitivamente procesada por los jueces.El autor sostiene que, tal como sucede con los científicos, los jueces pertenecen a comunidades cognitivas. Sólo que, en su caso, se trata de comunidades cognitivas judiciales. La principal actividad cognitiva de estas comunidades consiste en una combinación de acoplamientos estructurales y clausura de operaciones cognitivas, las cuales son guiadas por las reglas autopoiéticas de la comunidad en cuestión.En el modelo del autor, la evidencia es un constructo cognitivo, cuyo significado simbólico y peso están determinados por la manera en que la evidencia encaja en un contexto particular de relaciones entre varias clases de elementos, como el tipo de partes en conflicto, el tipo de pretensiones, el tipo de argumentos que ofrecen, etcétera.Determinar si una proposición fáctica puede considerarse probada o no es el resultado de una clausura de operaciones cognitivas, la cual implica tomar en cuenta el carácter dialógico y derrotable de la argumentación jurídica. (shrink)
In this paper we review the literature on social learning mechanisms in the domestic chick, focusing largely on work from our own laboratories. The domestic chicken is a social-living bird that searches for food in flocks, avoids predators by following warnings from other flock members, and forms (stable) social hierarchies. All of these behaviors develop throughout ontogeny, largely during the very early stages post-hatch. Newly hatched chicks appear to have predispositions to orient towards and to pay greatest attention to the (...) biologically relevant characteristics of their immediate environment (i.e. to conspecifics: the mother bird and/or fellow hatchlings) from which they may subsequently learn. In addition, the chick has a lateralized brain; left and right hemispheres being specialized for certain behavioral functions and responses, and it appears that such behavioral lateralization is also transposed onto certain social learning situations, which will also be considered. Keywords: social learning; social cognition; chick; brain asymmetry. (shrink)
Theories of collective intentions must distinguish genuinely collective intentions from coincidentally harmonized ones. Two apparently equally apt ways of doing so are the ‘neo‐reductionism’ of Bacharach (2006) and Gold and Sugden (2007a) and the ‘non‐reductionism’ of Searle (1990, 1995). Here, we present findings from theoretical linguistics that show that we is not a cognitive primitive, but is composed of notions of I and grouphood. The ramifications of this finding on the structure both of grammatical and lexical systems suggests that (...) an understanding of collective intentionality does not require a primitive we‐intention, but the notion of grouphood implicit in team reasoning, coupled with the individual concept I. This, we argue, supports neo‐reductionism but poses difficulties for non‐reductionism. (shrink)
Krifka (The origin of topic/comment structure, of predication, and of focusation in asymmetric bimanual coordination, 2006, Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (ISIS): Working Papers of SFB 632 08: 61–96, 2007b) suggests that asymmetric bimanual coordination and ultimately the evolution of lateralization in humans may be the cognitive basis of linguistic topic-comment structure and foreground-background structures in general. As asymmetric bimanual constructions abound in sign languages and are also found in their possible precursors, cospeech gesture and homesign, sign languages may (...) serve as a test ground for the hypothesis. Asymmetric bimanual constructions are indeed used for differentiating foreground and background in sign languages, but some of these constructions are derived from indexical gestures, not manipulation, i.e., they draw on visual attention. Signed topics may be marked by nonmanual features derived from signals of visual attention, and the defining feature of signed topics is eye contact with the addressee, needed to establish a communicative common ground. There, thus, seems to be not one embodied origin of topic-comment structures, but several. Finally, signed topic-comment structure demonstrates how attention shifts in the course of the entire structure, thereby explaining how topics can be described alternately as foreground (e.g., Talmy, Attention phenomena, Oxford University Press, 2007: 265) and background (Jacobs, Linguistics 39: 641–681, 2001). (shrink)
The trouble of proving the effects of participation lies in the mismatch between three aspects of ownership: physical, legal and psychological. In our interdisciplinary systemic model of ownership, we propose 10 relationships related to ownership/participation from: „A is a part of B” - greatest involvement to „A does not know about B” - the least involvement. „A” and „B” may take different values of: a person, an institution, a community, a group, an object. Once formalized we can view the studies (...) in participation from one, system theory point of view, and formulate hypotheses related to many aspects of ownership. A multilevel analysis with multiple measures of both participation and effectiveness from two data sets has supported the proposed model. (shrink)
Sentence repetition tasks have been extensively employed to assess bilingual children’s linguistic and cognitive resources. The present study examined whether monoliterate bilingual children differ from their monolingual peers in SR accuracy and cognitive tasks, and investigated links between vocabulary, updating, verbal and visuospatial working memory and SR performance in the same children. Participants were two groups of 35 children, 8–12 years of age: one group consisted of Albanian-Greek monoliterate bilingual children and the other of Greek monolingual children attending (...) a monolingual-Greek educational setting. The findings demonstrate that the two groups performed similarly in the grammaticality scores of the SR. However, monolinguals outperformed the monoliterate bilinguals in SR accuracy, as well as in the visuospatial working memory and updating tasks. The findings did not indicate any bilingual advantage in cognitive performance. The results also demonstrate that updating and visuospatial working memory significantly predicted monolingual children’s SR accuracy scores, whereas Greek vocabulary predicted the performance of our monoliterate bilingual children in the same task. We attribute this outcome to the fact that monoliterate bilingual children do not rely on their fluid cognitive resources to perform the task, but instead rely on language proficiency while performing the SR. (shrink)
The presumption that navigation requires a cognitive map leads to its conception as an abstract computational problem. Instead of loading the question in favor of an inquiry into the metric structure and evolutionary origin of cognitive maps, the task should first be to establish that a map-like representation actually is operative in real animals navigating real environments.
A computational modeling approach was used to test one possible explanation for the limited capacity of the subitizing phenomenon. Most existing models of this phenomenon associate the subitizing span with an assumed structural limitation of the human information processing system. In contrast, we show how this limit might emerge as the combinatorics of the space of enumeration problems interacts with the human cognitive architecture in the context of an enumeration task. Subitizing‐like behavior was generated in two different models of (...) enumeration, one based on the ACT‐R cognitive architecture and the other based on the principles of parallel distributed processing (PDP). Our results provide good qualitative fits to results obtained in a variety of empirical studies. (shrink)
We examine Carruthers’ proposal that sentences in logical form serve to create flexibility within central system modularity, enabling the combination of information from different modalities. We discuss evidence from aphasia and the neurobiology of input-output systems. This work suggests that there exists considerable capacity for interdomain cognitive processing without language mediation. Other challenges for a logical form account are noted.
It is suggested that the impetus to generate models is probably the most fundamental point of connection between mysticism and psychology. In their concern with the relation between ‘unseen’ realms and the ‘seen’, mystical maps parallel cognitive models of the relation between ‘unconscious’ and ‘conscious’ processes. The map or model constitutes an explanation employing terms current within the respective canon. The case of language mysticism is examined to illustrate the premise that cognitive models may benefit from an understanding (...) of the kinds of experiences gained, and explanatory concepts advanced, within mystical traditions. Language mysticism is of particular interest on account of the central role thought to be played by language in relation to self and the individual's construction of reality. The discussion focuses on traditions of language mysticism within Judaism, in which emphasis is placed on the deconstruction of language into primary elements and the overarching significance of the divine Name. Analysis of the detailed techniques used suggests ways in which multiple associations to any given word/concept were consciously explored in an altered state. It appears that these mystics were consciously engaging with what are normally preconscious cognitive processes, whereby schematic associations to sensory images or thoughts are activated. The testimony from their writings implies that these mystics experienced distortions of the sense of self , which may suggest that, in the normal state, ‘I’ is constructed in relation to the preconscious system of associations. Moreover, an important feature of Hebrew language mysticism is its emphasis on embodiment -- specific associations were deemed to exist between the letters and each structure of the body. Implications, first, for the relationship between language and self, and, second, for the role of embodiment in relation to self are discussed. The importance of the continual emphasis on the Name of God throughout the linguistic practices may have provided a means for effectively replacing the cognitive indexing function hypothesized here to be normally played by ‘I’ with a more transpersonal cognitive index, especially in relation to memory. (shrink)