Many theories of complex cognitive-motor skill learning are built on the notion that basic cognitive processes group actions into easy-to-perform sequences. The present work examines predictions derived from laboratory-based studies of motor chunking and motor preparation using data collected from the real-time strategy video game StarCraft 2. We examined 996,163 action sequences in the telemetry data of 3,317 players across seven levels of skill. As predicted, the latency to the first action is delayed relative to the other actions in the (...) group. Other predictions, inspired by the memory drum theory of Henry and Rogers, received only weak support. (shrink)
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)
I propose to examine the possible relevance of phenomenological method to the consideration of another approach to philosophy which is usually thought of as the descendant of a tradition of thought quite alien to it. This second approach I shall call “the anti-linguistic method.” The name constitutes a terminological safeguard against the dangerous step of ascribing a definite methodological view to the Wittgenstein of the Investigations, although the anti-linguistic method seems to me to be close to what Wittgenstein’s method would (...) have been, had he allowed himself to talk of a method instead of employing the elaborate philosophical conceit of “therapy.” By the method of phenomenology I understand Husserl’s method of “reduction,” which I shall summarize later. Initially I must characterize the method which I shall take to be the distinctive mark of anti-linguistic philosophy. (shrink)
Various social animal species have been noted to inhibit aggressive attacks when a conspecific displays submission cues. Blair (1993) has suggested that humans possess a functionally similar mechanism which mediates the suppression of aggression in the context of distress cues. He has suggested that this mechanism is a prerequisite for the development of the moral/conventional distinction; the consistently observed distinction in subject's judgments between moral and conventional transgressions. Psychopaths may lack this violence inhibitor. A causal model is developed showing (...) how the lack of this mechanism would explain the core behavioural symptoms associated with the psychopathic disorder. A prediction of such a causal model would be that psychopaths should fail to make the moral/conventional distinction. This prediction was confirmed. The implication of this finding for other theories of morality is discussed. (shrink)
This study investigated the performance of boys with psychopathic tendencies and comparison boys, aged 9 to 17 years, on two tasks believed to be sensitive to amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex func- tioning. Fifty-one boys were divided into two groups according to the Psychopathy Screening Device (PSD, P. J. Frick & R. D. Hare, in press) and presented with two tasks. The tasks were the gambling task (A. Bechara, A. R. Damasio, H. Damasio, & S. W. Anderson, 1994) and the Intradimensional/ (...) Extradimensional (ID/ED) shift task (R. Dias, T. W. Robbins, & A. C. Roberts, 1996). The boys with psychopathic tendencies showed impaired performance on the gambling task. However, there were no group differences on the ID/ED task either for response reversal or extradimensional set shifting. The implications of these results for models of psychopathy are discussed. (shrink)
This study investigates the performance of psychopathic individuals on tasks believed to be sensitive to dorsolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) functioning. Psychopathic and non-psychopathic individuals, as defined by the Hare psychopathy checklist revised (PCL-R) [Hare, The Hare psychopathy checklist revised, Toronto, Ontario: Multi-Health Systems, 1991] completed a gambling task [Cognition 50 (1994) 7] and the intradimensional/extradimensional (ID/ED) shift task [Nature 380 (1996) 69]. On the gambling task, psychopathic participants showed a global tendency to choose disadvantageously. Specifically, they showed an (...) impaired ability to show learning over the course of the task. On the ID/ED task, the performance of psychopathic individuals was not significantly different from incarcerated controls on attentional set-shifting, but significant impairments were found on response reversal. These results are interpreted with reference to an OFC and amygdala dysfunction explanation of psychopathy. (shrink)
Abstract The effect of inducing negative, positive or neutral affect on the recall of moral and conventional transgressions and positive moral and conventional acts was examined. It was found that inducing negative affect was associated with higher recall of moral transgressions while inducing positive affect was associated with higher recall of positive moral acts. Affect induction condition did not have a significant effect on the recall of the conventional transgressions or positive acts. The results are interpreted within the Violence Inhibition (...) Mechanism model of moral development (Blair, 1995) and by reference to a new, hypothesised system, the Smiling Reward Response. (shrink)
This book considers some of the problems of a logical nature about reference which have troubled contemporary philosophers--particularly problems about existence, identity, and definite descriptions. It deals with five philosophers who have been especially concerned with these logical problems: Meinong, Frege, Russell, Strawson, and Quine. The pivotal chapters concern Russell's theory of descriptions and Strawson's well-known critique of that theory in his paper "On Referring." According to Linsky, some of Strawson's criticisms of Russell hit their mark; but not all (...) of them do, because Russell and Strawson turn out to have "compatible views about different subjects". Strawson is concerned with certain uses of words, Russell with propositions of certain kinds. Linsky's arguments on these matters are challenging precisely because they turn some of Strawson's own assumptions against him. But Strawsonians would surely want to carry the argument beyond this book by demanding a more thorough defense of the usefulness of introducing propositions into philosophical analysis as Russell does. Other noteworthy discussions of the book concern the consequences of Frege's semantics, substitutivity and impure reference in the chapter on Quine, and a discussion of extensionality and descriptions.--R. H. K. (shrink)
The title of this work evokes suspicion: how can Soll aim at one "part"--metaphysics--of a philosophy such as Hegel's? How would one go about introducing only Hegel's metaphysics? One might, with some validity, go about discussing Hegel's metaphysics ; but how would one, assuming his reader's general unfamiliarity with Hegel, introduce his "metaphysics," and that alone? Alas, one's worst fears are soon realized: the opening sentence reads, "Hegel's method is best approached by asking what he was trying to accomplish with (...) it." Bifurcation. The operant supposition which guides the work is that Hegel "has" a method with which he attempts to "do" various things. This view is utterly un-Hegelian, as even a cursory reading of the introduction to the Logic, to cite only one source, illustrates. No guide to Hegel is going to be useful that clouds this fundamental point. The whole texture of Hegel's integrated and integrative system is never rescued. Soll's presentation approaches, and treats of, Hegel from the standpoint of pedestrian philosophizing, leaning heavily on the collected tradition to make distinctions in a glib and altogether external way. From his starting point, Soll proceeds, drawing on a handful of secondary sources, to deliver an extended series of facile, shotgun commentaries: but if one already has the ability to adjudge which of them find their mark, he does not need the book in the first place. The primary problem a book of this kind faces is the perhaps insuperable difficulty of creating a suitable "introduction" to Hegel's thought. And to be fair, one might say that most of the shortcomings of Soll's book are attributable to this problem. Where does one start, if not where Hegel did; and whither does one proceed, except in the direction Hegel did? One should either attempt to go that path, or elect not to go at all. It is too easy to lose one's way in so dense a forest.--R. J. G. (shrink)
The United States is at a crossroad in its treatment of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, which deals with reorganization of bankrupt organizations. It is vital that the issues surrounding the debate be properly framed. This paper attempts to do just that by reviewing the evolution of bankruptcy law, assessing the impact of Chapter 11 leniency on societal stakeholders, considering bankruptcy as a strategic option, and addressing the ethical and societal issues that arise from the use of Chapter 11 (...) to avoid massive litigation or to abrogate labor contracts. Serious threats to the underlying fibers of the American system of enterprise are exposed and an assessment of these threats is offered. (shrink)
Psychopaths continue to be demonised by the media and estimates suggest that a disturbing percentage of the population has psychopathic tendencies. This timely and controversial new book summarises what we already know about psychopathy and antisocial behavior and puts forward a new case for its cause - with far-reaching implications. Presents the scientific facts of psychopathy and antisocial behavior. Addresses key questions, such as: What is psychopathy? Are there psychopaths amongst us? What is wrong with psychopaths? Is psychopathy due to (...) nature or nurture? And can we treat psychopaths? Reveals the authors' ground-breaking research into whether an underlying abnormality in brain development leaves psychopaths with an inability to feel emotion or fear. The resulting theory could lead to early diagnosis and revolutionize the way society, the media and the state both views and contends with the psychopaths in our midst. (shrink)
Empathy is a lay term that is becoming increasingly viewed as a unitary function within the field of cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, a selective review of the empathy literature is provided. It is argued from this literature that empathy is not a unitary system but rather a loose collection of partially dissociable neurocognitive systems. In particular, three main divisions can be made: cognitive empathy , motor empathy, and emotional empathy. The two main psychiatric disorders associated with empathic dysfunction are (...) considered: autism and psychopathy. It is argued that individuals with autism show difficulties with cognitive and motor empathy but less clear difficulties with respect to emotional empathy. In contrast, individuals with psychopathy show clear difficulties with a specific form of emotional empathy but no indications of impairment with cognitive and motor empathy. (shrink)
Psychopathy is a developmental disorder associated with specific forms of emotional dysfunction and an increased risk for both frustration-based reactive aggression and goal-directed instrumental antisocial behavior. While the full behavioral manifestation of the disorder is under considerable social influence, the basis of this disorder appears to be genetic. At the neural level, individuals with psychopathy show atypical responding within the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Moreover, the roles of the amygdala in stimulus-reinforcement learning and responding to emotional expressions and vmPFC (...) in the representation of reinforcement expectancies are compromised. The implications of these functional impairments for responsibility are discussed. (shrink)
This study investigates the ability of individuals with psychopathy to perform passive avoidance learning and whether this ability is modulated by level of reinforcement/punishment. Nineteen psychopathic and 21 comparison individuals, as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised (Hare, 1991), were given a passive avoidance task with a graded reinforcement schedule. Response to each rewarding number gained a point reward specific to that number (i.e., 1, 700, 1400 or 2000 points). Response to each punishing number lost a point punishment specific (...) to that number (i.e., the loss of 1, 700, 1400 or 2000 points). In line with predictions, individuals with psychopathy made more passive avoidance errors than the comparison individuals. In addition, while the performance of both groups was modulated by level of reward, only the performance of the comparison population was modulated by level of punishment. The results are interpreted with reference to a computational account of the emotional learning impairment in individuals with psychopathy. (shrink)
Recent interest in emotion as the basis for moral development began with work involving individuals with psychopathic tendencies, and a recent paper with this population has allowed fresh insights (Glenn, Iyer, Graham, Koleva, & Haidt, 2009). Two main conclusions suggested by this paper are: (i) that systems involved in different forms of morality can be differentiated; and (ii) that systems involved in justice reasoning likely include amygdala and/or ventromedial prefrontal cortex, even if the specifics of their functional contribution to justice (...) development remain unidentified. (shrink)
Decety (2011) considers the cognitive neuroscience of empathy and, in particular, his three-component model of empathic responding. His position is highly influential with its emotional awareness/understanding and emotional regulation components representing clear extensions of previous theorizing on empathy. In this brief commentary, I will critically consider the third of his components: affective arousal. In particular, I will consider the implications of the literature to the proposed computations, based on perception—action coupling, that underlie this component of his model. I will suggest (...) that perception—action coupling does not underlie affective arousal but rather that this is mediated by far more simple mechanisms of emotional arousal based on conditioning. (shrink)
We question whether empathy is mediated by a unitary circuit. We argue that recent neuroimaging data indicate dissociable neural responses for different facial expressions as well as for representing others' mental states (Theory of Mind, TOM). We also argue that the general empathy disorder considered characteristic of autism and psychopathy is not general but specific for each disorder.
Spatial asymmetries are an intriguing feature of directed attention. Recent observations indicate an influence of temperament upon the direction of these asymmetries. It is unknown whether this influence generalises to visual orienting behaviour. The aim of the current study was therefore to explore the relationship between temperament and measures of spatial orienting as a function of target hemifield. An exogenous cueing task was administered to 92 healthy participants. Temperament was assessed using Carver and White's (1994) Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural (...) Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales. Individuals with high sensitivity to punishment and low sensitivity to reward showed a leftward asymmetry of directed attention when there was no informative spatial cue provided. This asymmetry was not present when targets were preceded by spatial cues that were either valid or invalid. The findings support the notion that individual variations in temperament influence spatial asymmetries in visual orienting, but only when lateral targets are preceded by a non-directional (neutral) cue. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric asymmetries and dopamine activity. (shrink)
The current study examined whether Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits, a core component of psychopathy, modulate neural responses of participants engaged in a social exchange game. In this task, participants were offered an allocation of money and then given the chance to punish the offerer. Twenty youth participated and responses to both offers and the participant’s punishment (or not) of these offers were examined. Increasingly unfair offers were associated with increased dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) activity but this responsiveness was not modulated (...) by CU traits. Increasing punishment of unfair offers was associated with increased dACC and anterior insula activity and this activity was modulated by CU traits. Higher CU trait participants showed a weaker association between activity and punishment level. These data suggest that CU traits are associated with appropriate expectations of other individual’s normative behavior but weaker representations of such information when guiding behavior of the self. (shrink)
Youths with disruptive behavior disorders and psychopathic traits showed reduced amygdala responses to fearful expressions under low attentional load but no indications of increased recruitment of regions implicated in top- down attentional control. These findings suggest that the emotional deficit observed in youths with disruptive behavior disorders and psychopathic traits is primary and not secondary to increased top- down attention to nonemotional stimulus features.
We make three suggestions with regard to Mealey's work. First, her lack of a cognitive analysis of the sociopath results in underspecified mappings between sociobiology and behavior. Second, the developmental literature indicates that Mealey's implicit assumption, that moral socialisation is achieved through punishment, is invalid. Third, we advance the use of causal modelling to map the developmental relationships between biology, cognition, and behaviour.
We make two suggestions with regard to Depue & Collins's target article. First, regarding the functioning of MOC13, we provide data indicating that, contrary to D&C's apparent position, this structure is not necessary for instrumental conditioning. Second, we suggest that D&C's approach would be advanced by reference to formal computational theory, in particular the work of Grossberg. We suggest that an integration of Grossberg 's and D&C's models can provide a more complete account of extraversion.