Understanding causal structure is a central task of human cognition. Causal learning underpins the development of our concepts and categories, our intuitive theories, and our capacities for planning, imagination and inference. During the last few years, there has been an interdisciplinary revolution in our understanding of learning and reasoning: Researchers in philosophy, psychology, and computation have discovered new mechanisms for learning the causal structure of the world. This new work provides a rigorous, formal basis for theory theories of concepts (...) and cognitive development, and moreover, the causal learning mechanisms it has uncovered go dramatically beyond the traditional mechanisms of both nativist theories, such as modularity theories, and empiricist ones, such as association or connectionism. (shrink)
The result is a one-dimensional, economistic and bleakly utilitarian conception of the educational task.In Mindfulness and Learning: Celebrating the Affective Dimension of Education, Terry Hyland advances the thesis that education stands in ...
The proverb “chalepa ta kala” (“fine things are difficult”) is invoked in three dialogues in the Platonic corpus: Hippias Major, Cratylus and Republic. In this paper, I argue that the context in which the proverb arises reveals Socrates’ considerable pedagogical dexterity as he uses the proverb to rebuke his interlocutor in one dialogue but to encourage his interlocutors in another. In the third, he gauges his interlocutors’ mention of the proverb to be indicative of their preparedness for a more difficult (...) philosophical trial. What emerges in the study of these three Platonic dialogues is that Socrates believes that how he and others describe learning makes a tangible difference in philosophical investigation. (shrink)
On the centennial of the death of William James (1842-1910), I approached faculty members at eighteen major theological centers of learning requesting them to identify the twelve most important books in the field of the psychology of religion written between James' 1902 classic The Varieties of Religious Experience up to Peter Homan's 1970 Theology After Freud. The request was for each faculty member (by agreement to remain anonymous) to identify the twelve books during that time period (1902-1970) which, in (...) their opinion, constituted major contributions to the development of the discipline of psychology of religion. By mutual agreement, James was credited with being the purported founder of the psychology of religion and Homans the quintessential culmination of the discipline's respectability. Though obviously subjective, the survey did register a consensus of scholars teaching in the field and what follows is a critical assessment of the merits of those books which they selected. (shrink)
The thesis of this bk is that the brain is innately constructed to initiate behaviors likely to promote the survival of the species & to sensitize sensory systems to stimuli required for those behaviors. Intended for behavioral & brain scientists.
Critical consideration is given the empirical evidence for psychological models of religious development, its supposed relationship to other domains of psychological development, and especially, moral development. Significant problems with stage conceptions in these models augur a fundamental rethinking of religious development as a construct in developmental psychology. Model of Hierarchical Complexity has demonstrable promise for enabling greater precision in constructs and methods. This may resolve some central problems and advance research in the field.
We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared intentionality. Participation in such activities requires not only especially powerful forms of intention reading and cultural learning, but also a unique motivation to share psychological states with others and unique forms of cognitive representation for doing so. The result of participating in these activities is species-unique forms of cultural cognition and (...) evolution, enabling everything from the creation and use of linguistic symbols to the construction of social norms and individual beliefs to the establishment of social institutions. In support of this proposal we argue and present evidence that great apes (and some children with autism) understand the basics of intentional action, but they still do not participate in activities involving joint intentions and attention (shared intentionality). Human children's skills of shared intentionality develop gradually during the first 14 months of life as two ontogenetic pathways intertwine: (1) the general ape line of understanding others as animate, goal-directed, and intentional agents; and (2) a species-unique motivation to share emotions, experience, and activities with other persons. The developmental outcome is children's ability to construct dialogic cognitive representations, which enable them to participate in earnest in the collectivity that is human cognition. Key Words: collaboration; cooperation; cultural learning; culture; evolutionary psychology; intentions; shared intentionality; social cognition; social learning; theory of mind; joint attention. (shrink)
Several theories claim that dreaming is a random by-product of REM sleep physiology and that it does not serve any natural function. Phenomenal dream content, however, is not as disorganized as such views imply. The form and content of dreams is not random but organized and selective: during dreaming, the brain constructs a complex model of the world in which certain types of elements, when compared to waking life, are underrepresented whereas others are over represented. Furthermore, dream content is consistently (...) and powerfully modulated by certain types of waking experiences. On the basis of this evidence, I put forward the hypothesis that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events, and to rehearse threat perception and threat avoidance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we need to consider the original evolutionary context of dreaming and the possible traces it has left in the dream content of the present human population. In the ancestral environment human life was short and full of threats. Any behavioral advantage in dealing with highly dangerous events would have increased the probability of reproductive success. A dream-production mechanism that tends to select threatening waking events and simulate them over and over again in various combinations would have been valuable for the development and maintenance of threat-avoidance skills. Empirical evidence from normative dream content, children's dreams, recurrent dreams, nightmares, post traumatic dreams, and the dreams of hunter-gatherers indicates that our dream-production mechanisms are in fact specialized in the simulation of threatening events, and thus provides support to the threat simulation hypothesis of the function of dreaming. Key Words: dream content; dream function; evolution of consciousness; evolutionary psychology; fear; implicit learning; nightmares; rehearsal; REM; sleep; threat perception. (shrink)
Since the BBS article in which Premack and Woodruff (1978) asked “Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?,” it has been repeatedly claimed that there is observational and experimental evidence that apes have mental state concepts, such as “want” and “know.” Unlike research on the development of theory of mind in childhood, however, no substantial progress has been made through this work with nonhuman primates. A survey of empirical studies of imitation, self-recognition, social relationships, deception, role-taking, and perspective-taking suggests (...) that in every case where nonhuman primate behavior has been interpreted as a sign of theory of mind, it could instead have occurred by chance or as a product of nonmentalistic processes such as associative learning or inferences based on nonmental categories. Arguments to the effect that, in spite of this, the theory of mind hypothesis should be accepted because it is more parsimonious than alternatives or because it is supported by convergent evidence are not compelling. Such arguments are based on unsupportable assumptions about the role of parsimony in science and either ignore the requirement that convergent evidence proceed from independent assumptions, or fail to show that it supports the theory of mind hypothesis over nonmentalist alternatives. Progress in research on theory of mind requires experimental procedures that can distinguish the theory of mind hypothesis from nonmentalist alternatives. A procedure that may have this potential is proposed. It uses conditional discrimination training and transfer tests to determine whether chimpanzees have the concept “see.” Commentators are invited to identify flaws in the procedure and to suggest alternatives. Key Words: apes; associative learning; concepts; convergence; deception; evolution of intelligence; folk psychology; imitation; mental state attribution; monkeys; parsimony; perspective-taking; primates; role-taking; self-recognition; social cognition; social intelligence; theory of mind. (shrink)
This volume brings together a distinguished, international list of scholars to explore the role of the learner's intention in knowledge change. Traditional views of knowledge reconstruction placed the impetus for thought change outside the learner's control. The teacher, instructional methods, materials, and activities were identified as the seat of change. Recent perspectives on learning, however, suggest that the learner can play an active, indeed, intentional role in the process of knowledge restructuring. This volume explores this new, innovative view of conceptual (...) change learning using original contributions drawn from renowned scholars in a variety of disciplines. The volume is intended for scholars or advanced students studying knowledge acquisition and change, including educational psychology, developmental psychology, science education, cognitive science, learning science, instructional psychology, and instructional and curriculum studies. (shrink)
The achievement of intentional learning is a powerful paradigm for the objectives and methods of the teaching of philosophy. This paradigm sees the objectives and methods of such teaching as based not simply on the mastery of content, but as rooted in attempts to shape the various affective and cognitive factors that influence students’ learning efforts. The goal of such pedagogy is to foster an intentional learning orientation, one characterized by self-awareness, active monitoring of the learning process, and a desire (...) for publicly certified expertise. I provide a number of examples of philosophy-specific teaching strategies that follow this paradigm. (shrink)
Ethical instruction is critical for trainee accountants. Various teaching methods, both active and passive, are normally utilised when teaching accounting ethics. However, students’ learning styles are rarely assessed. This study evaluates the learning styles of accounting students and assesses the interaction of teaching methods and learning styles in an ethics instruction environment. The ethical attitudes and preferred learning styles of a cohort (137) of final year accounting students were evaluated pre-instruction. They were then subject to three different teaching methods while (...) studying ethics during an auditing course. When ethical attitudes and preferred learning styles were re-assessed post-instruction, the teaching methods were found to have influenced active learners more than passive ones. Furthermore, when learning styles matched teaching methods used, usefulness was assessed as high but when learning styles and teaching methods differed, usefulness deteriorated significantly. Students displayed a preference for passive learning styles, despite being so advanced in their education. The implications are that instructors should consider learning styles before deciding on appropriate teaching methods, in accounting ethics environments. (shrink)
Taking a Foucauldian framework as its point of departure, this paper discusses how transnational discourses of knowledge and learning operate in the profession of computer engineering and form a certain logic through which modes of being an engineer are regulated. Both the knowledge domain of computer engineering and its related labour market is heavily internationalised and characterised by a general focus on universalism and standardisation. Moreover, rapid shifts in technologies and institutional arrangements contribute to an embracement of more wide-ranging discourses (...) related to lifelong learning and the enterprising self. Thus, dominant discourses of knowledge and learning within this profession reflect processes of globalisation and take a transnational character. The paper discusses how the discourses in play constitute mechanisms of governmentality that present certain expectations to professionals and shape their energies, efforts and desires in certain directions. In order to be influential, however, the discourses depend on individuals who take up the subject positions offered and enact them in locally relevant and partially creative ways. Thus, careful analyses of the discourses in specific knowledge communities, as well as of their interrelated subject positions, may enhance our understanding of the more epistemic dimensions of globalisation and how these come to influence the imaginations of individuals as ‘citizens of the world.’. (shrink)