TEST is a novel taxonomy of knowledge representations based on three distinct hierarchically organized representational features: Tropism, Embodiment, and Situatedness. Tropic representational features reflect constraints of the physical world on the agent's ability to form, reactivate, and enrich embodied (i.e., resulting from the agent's bodily constraints) conceptual representations embedded in situated contexts. The proposed hierarchy entails that representations can, in principle, have tropic features without necessarily having situated and/or embodied features. On the other hand, representations that are situated and/or embodied (...) are likely to be simultaneously tropic. Hence, although we propose tropism as the most general term, the hierarchical relationship between embodiment and situatedness is more on a par, such that the dominance of one component over the other relies on the distinction between offline storage versus online generation as well as on representation-specific properties. (shrink)
Psychodynamic conflicts form an important construct to understand the genesis and maintenance of mental disorders. Conflict-related themes should therefore provoke strong reactions on the behavioral, physiological and neural level. We confronted N=18 healthy subjects with a vast array of sentences describing typical psychodynamic conflict themes in the fMRI scanner and let them associate spontaneously in reaction. The overt associations were then analyzed according to psychoanalytic theory and the system of operationalized psychodynamic diagnosis (OPD) and used as a genuinely psychodynamic indicator, (...) whether each potentially conflict-related sentence actually touched a conflict theme of the individual. Behavioral, physiological and neural reactions were compared between those subjects with an “apparent conflict” and those with “absent conflicts”. The first group reported stronger agreement with the conflict-related sentences, more negative valence in reaction, had higher levels of skin conductance reactivity and exhibited stronger activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, amongst other functions involved in emotion processing and conflict-monitoring. In conjunction, we interpret this activity as a possible correlate of subjects’ inherent reactions and regulatory processes evoked by conflict themes. This study makes a point for the fruitfulness of the neuropsychoanalytic endeavor by using free association, the classical technique most commonly used in psychoanalysis, to investigate aspects of conflict processing in neuroimaging. (shrink)
Naturally occurring memory processes show features which are difficult to investigate by conventional cognitive neuroscience paradigms. Distortions of memory for problematic contents are described both by psychoanalysis (internal conflicts) and research on post-traumatic stress disorder (external traumata). Typically, declarative memory for these contents is impaired – possibly due to repression in the case of internal conflicts or due to dissociation in the case of external traumata – but they continue to exert an unconscious pathological influence: neurotic symptoms or psychosomatic disorders (...) after repression or flashbacks and intrusions in post-traumatic stress disorder after dissociation. Several experimental paradigms aim at investigating repression in healthy control subjects. We argue that these paradigms do not adequately operationalize the clinical process of repression, because they rely on an intentional inhibition of random stimuli (suppression). Furthermore, these paradigms ignore that memory distortions due to repression or dissociation are most accurately characterized by a lack of self-referential processing, resulting in an impaired integration of these contents into the self. This aspect of repression and dissociation cannot be captured by the concept of memory as a storage device which is usually employed in the cognitive neurosciences. It can only be assessed within the framework of a constructivist memory concept, according to which successful memory involves a reconstruction of experiences such that they fit into a representation of the self. We suggest several experimental paradigms that allow for the investigation of the neural correlates of repressed memories and trauma-induced memory distortions based on a constructivist memory concept. (shrink)
: Hundreds of thousands of students in introductory human sexuality classes read textbooks whose covert ideology reinforces dominant heteronormative narratives of sexual dimorphism, male hegemony, and heteronormativity. As such, the process of scientific discovery that proposes to provide description of existing sexual practices, identities, and physiologies instead succeeds in cultural prescription. This essay provides a feminist, queer content analysis of such textbooks to illuminate their implicit narratives and provide suggestions for writing more feminist, queer-friendly texts.
Concerns about climate change, urban air pollution and dependence on unstable and expensive supplies of foreign oil have led policy-makers and researchers to investigate alternatives to conventional petroleum-fuelled internal-combustion-engine vehicles in transportation. Because vehicles that get some or all of their power from an electric drivetrain can have low or even zero emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and urban air pollutants, and can consume little or no petroleum, there is considerable interest in developing and evaluating advanced electric vehicles (EVs), including (...) pure battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles. To help researchers and policy-makers assess the potential of EVs to mitigate climate change and reduce petroleum use, this paper discusses the technology of EVs, the infrastructure needed for their development, impacts on emissions of GHGs, petroleum use, materials use, lifetime costs, consumer acceptance and policy considerations. (shrink)
The socioeconomic and ethnic characteristics of parents are some of the most important correlates of adverse health outcomes in childhood. However, the relationships between ethnic, economic, and behavioral factors and the health outcomes responsible for this pervasive finding have not been specified in child health epidemiology. The general objective of this paper is to propose a theoretical approach to the study of maternal behaviors and child health in diverse ethnic and socioeconomic environments. The specific aims are: (a) to describe a (...) causal pathway between the utility that women obtain through work outside the home and through child care and disease hazard rates in childhood using an optimization model; (b) to specify the influence of ethnic and socioeconomic factors on model constraints; (c) to use the model as a tool to learn about how different combinations of maternal wage labor and child care time might influence child health outcomes in diverse social contexts; (d) to identify parameters that will require measurement in future research; (e) to discuss research strategies that will enable us to obtain these measurements; and (f) to discuss the implications of the model for biostatistical modeling and public health intervention. Optimization models are powerful heuristic tools for understanding how ethnic, environmental, family, and personal characteristics can place important constraints on both the quality and quantity of care that women can provide to their children. They provide a quantitative appreciation for the difficult trade-offs that most women face between working in order to purchase basic goods that children cannot do without (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, health insurance), and increasing offspring well-being through child care (e.g., training in social skills, affection, protection from environmental hazards, help with homework). (shrink)
In diesem Artikel geht es um die Beziehungen zwischen der von Jürgen Habermas entwickelten Diskursethik und den Studierendenseminaren, die der Ulmer Arbeitskreis „Ethik in der Medizin“ veranstaltet. Zunächst erfolgt eine Darstellung der Kernaussagen der philosophischen Diskursethik. Sie liefert eine formale Argumentationsprozedur, mit der es möglich ist, die Legitimität strittig gewordener Normen im Diskurs zu prüfen. Anschließend wird das in Ulm von Baitsch und Sponholz entwickelte Modell der Seminare „Ethische Entscheidungskonflikte im ärztlichen Alltag“ vorgestellt. Da sich die Ulmer Seminare unter anderem (...) auf die Diskursethik als theoretischen Hintergrund berufen, werden die Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede beider Konzepte untersucht. Der Hauptunterschied ist der zwischen einem Begründungs- und einem Anwendungsdiskurs. Gemeinsam sind den Ansätzen die grundsätzlich kognitivistische Einstellung und die „Spielregeln“ des Diskurses. (shrink)