The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into all aspects of life poses unique ethical challenges as our modern societies become increasingly dependent on the flawless operation of these technologies. As we increasingly entrust our privacy, our well-being and our lives to an ever greater number of computers we need to look more closely at the risks and ethical implications of these developments. By emphasising the vulnerability of software and the practice of professional software developers, we want to make (...) clear the ethical aspects of producing potentially flawed software. This paper outlines some of the vulnerabilities associated with software systems and identifies a number of social and organisational factors affecting software developers and contributing to these vulnerabilities. Scott A. Snook’s theory of practical drift is used as the basis for our analysis. We show that this theory, originally developed to explain the failure of a military organisation, can be used to understand how professional software developers “drift away” from procedures and processes designed to ensure quality and prevent software vulnerability. Based on interviews with software developers in two Norwegian companies we identify two areas where social factors compel software developers to drift away from a global set of rules constituting software development processes and methods. Issues of pleasure and control and difference in mental models contribute to an uncoupling from established practices designed to guarantee the reliability of software and thus diminish its vulnerability. (shrink)
Human cognition and action are intentional and goal-directed, and explaining how they are controlled is one of the most important tasks of the cognitive sciences. After half a century of benign neglect this task is enjoying increased attention. Unfortunately, however, current theorizing about control in general, and the role of consciousness for/in control in particular, suffers from major conceptual flaws that lead to confusion regarding the following distinctions: (i) automatic and unintentional processes, (ii) exogenous control and disturbance (in a control-theoretical (...) sense) of endogenous control, (iii) conscious control and conscious access to control, and (iv) personal and systems levels of analysis and explanation. Only if these flaws are overcome will a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between consciousness and control emerge. (shrink)
This is the first book to explore the cognitive science of effortless attention and action. Attention and action are generally understood to require effort, and the expectation is that under normal circumstances effort increases to meet rising demand. Sometimes, however, attention and action seem to flow effortlessly despite high demand. Effortless attention and action have been documented across a range of normal activities--from rock climbing to chess playing--and yet fundamental questions about the cognitive science of effortlessness have gone largely unasked. (...) -/- This book draws from the disciplines of cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, behavioral psychology, genetics, philosophy, and cross-cultural studies. Starting from the premise that the phenomena of effortless attention and action provide an opportunity to test current models of attention and action, leading researchers from around the world examine topics including effort as a cognitive resource, the role of effort in decision making, the neurophysiology of effortless attention and action, the role of automaticity in effortless action, expert performance in effortless action, and the neurophysiology and benefits of attentional training. -/- Contributors: Joshua M. Ackerman, James H. Austin, John A. Bargh, Roy F. Baumeister, Sian L. Beilock, Chris Blais, Matthew M. Botvinick, Brian Bruya, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Marci S. DeCaro, Arne Dietrich, Yuri Dormashev, László Harmat, Bernhard Hommel, Rebecca Lewthwaite, Örjan de Manzano, Joseph T. McGuire, Brian P. Meier, Arlen C. Moller, Jeanne Nakamura, Evgeny N. Osin, Michael I. Posner, Mary K. Rothbart, M. R. Rueda, Brandon J. Schmeichel, Edward Slingerland, Oliver Stoll, Yiyuan Tang, Töres Theorell, Fredrik Ullén, Robert D. Wall, Gabriele Wulf. (shrink)
Traditional approaches to human information processing tend to deal with perception and action planning in isolation, so that an adequate account of the perception-action interface is still missing. On the perceptual side, the dominant cognitive view largely underestimates, and thus fails to account for, the impact of action-related processes on both the processing of perceptual information and on perceptual learning. On the action side, most approaches conceive of action planning as a mere continuation of stimulus processing, thus failing to account (...) for the goal-directedness of even the simplest reaction in an experimental task. We propose a new framework for a more adequate theoretical treatment of perception and action planning, in which perceptual contents and action plans are coded in a common representational medium by feature codes with distal reference. Perceived events (perceptions) and to-be-produced events (actions) are equally represented by integrated, task-tuned networks of feature codes – cognitive structures we call event codes. We give an overview of evidence from a wide variety of empirical domains, such as spatial stimulus-response compatibility, sensorimotor synchronization, and ideomotor action, showing that our main assumptions are well supported by the data. Key Words: action planning; binding; common coding; event coding; feature integration; perception; perception-action interface. (shrink)
Participants were required to switch among randomly ordered tasks, and instructional cues were used to indicate which task to execute. In Experiments 1 and 2, the participants indicated their readiness for the task switch before they received the target stimulus; thus, each trial was associated with two primary dependent measures: (1) readiness time and (2) target reaction time. Slow readiness responses and instructions emphasizing high readiness were paradoxically accompanied by slow target reaction time. Moreover, the effect of task switching on (...) readiness time was an order of magnitude smaller then the (objectively estimated) duration required for task preparation (Experiment 3). The results strongly suggest that participants have little conscious awareness of their preparedness and challenge commonly accepted assumptions concerning the role of consciousness in cognitive control. (shrink)
Conceptual knowledge is acquired through recurrent experiences, by extracting statistical regularities at different levels of granularity. At a fine level, patterns of feature co-occurrence are categorized into objects. At a coarser level, patterns of concept co-occurrence are categorized into contexts. We present and test CONCAT, a connectionist model that simultaneously learns to categorize objects and contexts. The model contains two hierarchically organized CALM modules (Murre, Phaf, & Wolters, 1992). The first module, the Object Module, forms object representations based on co-occurrences (...) between features. These representations are used as input for the second module, the Context Module, which categorizes contexts based on object co-occurrences. Feedback connections from the Context Module to the Object Module send activation from the active context to those objects that frequently occur within this context. We demonstrate that context feedback contributes to the successful categorization of objects, especially when bottom-up feature information is degraded or ambiguous. (shrink)
Although we agree with Hommel et al. that perception and action refer to one another, we disagree that they do so via a code. Gibson (1966; 1979) attempted to frame perception-action as a field phenomenon rather than as a particle phenomenon. From such a perspective, perception and action are adjoint, mutually interacting through an information field, and codes are unnecessary.
Hommel et al. propose that high-level perception and action planning share a common representational domain, which facilitates the control of intentional actions. On the surface, this point of view appears quite different from an alternative account that suggests that “action” and “perception” are functionally and neurologically dissociable processes. But it is difficult to reconcile these apparently different perspectives, because Hommel et al. do not clearly specify what they mean by “perception” and “action planning.” With respect to the visual control of (...) action, a distinction must be made between conscious visual perception and unconscious visuomotor processing. Hommel et al. must also distinguish between the what and how aspects of action planning, that is, planning what to do versus planning how to do it. (shrink)
Understanding the mechanisms and the time and spatial evolution of penumbra following an ischemic stroke is crucially important for developing therapeutics aimed at preventing this area from evolving towards infarction. To help in integrating the available data, we decided to build a formal model. We first collected and categorised the major available evidence from animal models and human observations and summarized this knowledge in a flow-chart with the potential key components of an evolving stroke. Components were grouped in ten sub-models (...) that could be modelled and tested independently: the sub-models of tissue reactions, ionic movements, oedema development, glutamate excitotoxicity, spreading depression, NO synthesis, inflammation, necrosis, apoptosis, and reperfusion. Then, we figured out markers, identified mediators and chose the level of complexity to model these sub-models. We first applied this integrative approach to build a model based on cytotoxic oedema development following a stroke. Although this model includes only three sub-models and would need to integrate more mechanisms in each of these sub-models, the characteristics and the time and spatial evolution of penumbra obtained by simulation are qualitatively and, to some extent, quantitatively consistent with those observed using medical imaging after a permanent occlusion or after an occlusion followed by a reperfusion. (shrink)
Hommel et al. propose that action planning and perception utilize common resources. This implies perception should have intention-relative content. Data supporting this implication are presented. These findings challenge the notion of perception as “seeing.” An alternative is suggested (i.e., perception as distal control) that may provide a means of integrating representational and ecological approaches to the study of organism-environment coordination.
This commentary focuses on Hommel et al.'s inferences on action planning. It discusses the relevance of anticipated extrinsic movement effects for action control, the problems of a feature-based representation of actions, and the necessity of the acquisition of conditional movement-effect associations.
Religions commonly are taken to provide general orientation in leading one's life. We develop here the idea that religions also may have a much more concrete guidance function in providing systematic decision biases in the face of cognitive-control dilemmas. In particular, we assume that the selective reward that religious belief systems provide for rule-conforming behavior induces systematic biases in cognitive-control parameters that are functional in producing the wanted behavior. These biases serve as default values under uncertainty and affect performance in (...) any task that shares cognitive-control operations with the religiously motivated rule-conforming behavior the biases were originally developed for. Such biases therefore can be unraveled and objectified by means of rather simple tasks that are relatively well understood with regard to the cognitive mechanisms they draw on. (shrink)
Word recognition is the Petri dish of the cognitive sciences. The processes hypothesized to govern naming, identifying and evaluating words have shaped this field since its origin in the 1970s. Techniques to measure lexical processing are not just the back-bone of the typical experimental psychology laboratory, but are now routinely used by cognitive neuroscientists to study brain processing and increasingly by social and clinical psychologists (Eder, Hommel, and De Houwer 2007). Models developed to explain lexical processing have also aspired to (...) be statements about the nature of human cognition (e.g., connectionist models, Plaut, McClelland, Seidenberg, and Patterson 1996). Words were convenient objects to study for cognitive psychologists because they are welldefined and their nature as alphabetic strings was a good fit to analysis with the computer programming languages of the 1970s and 1980s which excelled at string manipulation. But are words actually the privileged unit of mental representation and processing that all of this scientific attention makes them out to be? Like a growing number of other language researchers, our answer is no (see, e.g., (Bybee and Hopper 2001; Wray 2002). We propose that the mental representations for lexical structures form a continuum, from word combinations which have fossilized into single units (nightclub) to those that both exist as independent units and yet have bonds, varying in tightness, with the words with which they frequently co-occur (Harris 1998). The first line of support for this view is the simple observation that fluent speakers easily recognize the familiarity and cohesive quality of word combinations in their language. Examples in English include common noun compounds (last year, brand new), verb phrases (cut down, get a hold of, faced with) and other multi-word expressions such as common sayings and references to cultural concepts (saved by the bell, speed of light; Jackendoff 1995).. (shrink)
The purpose of the article is to encourage (and in certain ways to initiate) an intellectual debate on how business schools can meet the intellectual challenge resulting from the financial crisis. We argue that this will involve questioning the traditional paradigms of management research, will require broadening the intellectual foundation of business school activities, and will trigger revision processes to incorporate the derived learning points into degree and non-degree programs. European business schools have to cope with these challenges during a (...) phase of intense financial pressures, which may create the temptation of adopting myopic development strategies. The points made in this article may appear to be explicitly prescriptive, but they should be taken as an attempt to foster an open debate on the issues vital for the future development of the business school sector. (shrink)
The theory of event coding by Hommel et al. proposes that feature binding is a central component of action planning. To evaluate the binding hypothesis, we consider findings from studies of action-perception interference and bimanual movements. We argue that although binding of action features may be a valuable concept, interference from partial feature overlap does not provide a parsimonious account for the observed phenomena.
First, we discuss issues raised with respect to the Theory of Event Coding (TEC)'s scope, that is, its limitations and possible extensions. Then, we address the issue of specificity, that is, the widespread concern that TEC is too unspecified and, therefore, too vague in a number of important respects. Finally, we elaborate on our views about TEC's relations to other important frameworks and approaches in the field like stages models, ecological approaches, and the two-visual-pathways model. Footnotes1 We acknowledge the precedence (...) of both Freud¹s Instincts and Their Vicissitudes (1915) and Neisser¹s Stimulus Information and Its Vicissitudes (a term Neisser borrowed from Freud for his monograph “Cognitive psychology,” 1967). (shrink)
The integration of perceived events with appropriate action usually requires more flexibility to result in adaptive responses than Hommel et al. report in their selective review. The need for hierarchies of function that can intervene and the existence of diverse mediating brain mechanisms can be illustrated by the non-adaptive expression in psychiatric illness of negative priming, blocking, and affective responses.
The Theory of Event Coding (TEC) presented in Hommel et al.'s target article provides a useful heuristic framework for stimulating research. Although the authors present TEC as providing a more integrated view of perception and action than classical information processing, TEC is restricted to the stage often called response selection and shares many features with existing theories.
Hommel et al. (2001) try to explain the emergence of distal representations by an evolutionary account which includes their theory of event coding. A closer look at the way the terms “distal representations” and “representations of events” are defined reveals, however, that their hypothesis of a common code for perceived and to-be-produced events is in fact superfluous. Moreover, it shows that they mix up empirical facts with conceptual/definitional facts in the second assumption of their explanation.
In the standard Simon task, participants carry out spatially defined responses to non-spatial stimulus attributes. Responses are typically faster when stimulus location and response location correspond. This effect disappears when a participant responds to only one of the two stimuli and reappears when another person carries out the other response. This social Simon effect has been considered as providing an index for action co-representation. Here, we investigated whether joint-action effects in a social Simon task involve mechanisms of action co-representation, as (...) measured by the amount of incorporation of another person’s action. We combined an auditory social Simon task with a manipulation of the sense of ownership of another person’s hand (Rubber Hand Illusion). If the social Simon effect is established by action co-representation, then the incorporation of the other person’s hand into one’s own body representation should increase the social Simon effect (synchronous > asynchronous stroking). However, we found the social Simon effect to be smaller in the synchronous as compared to the asynchronous stroking condition (Experiment 1), suggesting that the social Simon effect reflects the separation of spatial action events rather than the integration of the other person’s action. This effect is independent of the active involvement (Experiment 2) and the presence of another person (Experiment 3). These findings suggest that the ‘social’ Simon effect is not really social in nature but is established when an interaction partner produces events that serve as a spatial reference for one’s own actions. (shrink)
This article reviews evidence suggesting that the cause of approach and avoidance behavior lies not so much in the presence (i.e., the stimulus) but, rather, in the behavior’s anticipated future consequences (i.e., the goal): Approach is motivated by the goal to produce a desired consequence or end-state, while avoidance is motivated by the goal to prevent an undesired consequence or end-state. However, even though approach and avoidance are controlled by goals rather than stimuli, affective stimuli can influence action control by (...) priming associated goals. An integrative ideomotor model of approach and avoidance is presented and discussed. (shrink)
Humans integrate the features of perceived events and of action plans into episodic event files. Here we investigated whether children (9-10 years), younger adults (20-31 years), and older adults (64-76 years) differ in the flexibility of managing (creating and updating) event files. Relative to young adults, performance in children and older adults was more hampered by partial mismatches between present and previous stimulus-response relations, suggesting less efficient updating of episodic stimulus-response representations in childhood and old age. Results are discussed in (...) relation to changes in cortical neurochemistry during maturation and senescence. (shrink)
Hommel et al. emphasize that the Theory of Event Coding (TEC)'s utility is not its ability to be a new theory of cognition, but its ability to engender new thinking about new and old problems. In this commentary we use the TEC to re-examine a long-standing discrepancy in the attention literature.