Criminologists have long acknowledged the link between a number of cognitive deficits, including low intelligence and impulsivity, and crime. A new wave of research has demonstrated that pharmacological intervention can restore or improve cognitive function, particularly executive function, and restore neural plasticity. Such restoration and improvement can allow for easier acquisition of new skills and as a result, presents significant possibilities for the criminal justice system. For example, studies have shown that supplements of Omega-3, a fatty acid commonly found in (...) food such as tuna, can decrease frequency of violent incidents in an incarcerated population. Research has also begun to explore the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to reduce impulsivity in some violent offenders. However, there are significant legal and ethical implications when moving from dietary supplements to prescription pharmaceuticals and medical devices for cognitive intervention. This paper will explore the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of pharmacological intervention on prisoners as an effort to reduce crime and recidivism. (shrink)
A two-systems model of moral judgment proposed by Joshua Greene holds that deontological moral judgments (those based on simple rules concerning action) are often primary and intuitive, and these intuitive judgments must be overridden by reflection in order to yield utilitarian (consequence-based) responses. For example, one dilemma asks whether it is right to push a man onto a track in order to stop a trolley that is heading for five others. Those who favor pushing, the utilitarian response, usually take longer (...) to respond than those who oppose pushing. Greene's model assumes an asymmetry between the processes leading to different responses. We consider an alternative model based on the assumption of symmetric conflict between two response tendencies. By this model, moral dilemmas differ in the "difficulty" of giving a utilitarian response and subjects differ in the "ability" (tendency) to give such responses. (We could just as easily define ability in terms of deontological responses, as the model treats the responses symmetrically.) We thus make an analogy between moral dilemmas and tests of cognitive ability, and we apply the Rasch model, developed for the latter, to estimate the ability-difficulty difference for each dilemma for each subject. We apply this approach to five data sets collected for other purposes by three of the co-authors. Response time (RT), including yes and no responses, is longest when difficulty and ability match, because the subject is indifferent between the two responses, which also have the same RT at this point. When we consider yes/no responses, RT is longest when the model predicts that the response is improbable. Subjects with low ability take longer on the "easier" dilemmas, and vice versa. (shrink)
Obtaining informed consent is a cornerstone of biomedical research, yet participants comprehension of presented information is often low. The most effective interventions to improve understanding rates have not been identified.
The human face conveys a myriad of social meanings within an overlapping array of features. Herein, we examine such features within the context of gender-emotion stereotypes. First we detail the pervasive set of gender-emotion expectations known to exist. We then review new research revealing that gender cues and emotion expression often share physical properties that represent a confound of overlapping features characteristic of low versus high facial maturity/dominance. As such, gender-related facial appearance and facial expression of emotions often share social (...) meaning and physical resemblance. Thus, stereotypic and phenotypic information conveyed by the face are intertwined—sometimes confounded, sometimes clashing. We discuss implications of this work for gender-emotion stereotypes, as well as for emotion and face processing more generally. (shrink)
Precision testing of the quantum electrodynamics (QED) and the standard model provides some of the most secure knowledge in the history of physics. These tests can also be used to constrain and search for new physics going beyond the standard model. We examine the evidential structure of relationships between theoretical predictions from QED, precision measurements of these phenomena, and the indirect determination of the fine structure constant. We argue that "pure QED" is no longer sufficient to predict the electron's anomalous (...) magnetic moment, and that standard model effects are needed. The details relevant to low-energy QED are robust against future theory change. (shrink)
What is the primary function of consciousness in the nervous system? The answer to this question remains enigmatic, not so much because of a lack of relevant data, but because of the lack of a conceptual framework with which to interpret the data. To this end, we have developed Passive Frame Theory, an internally coherent framework that, from an action-based perspective, synthesizes empirically supported hypotheses from diverse fields of investigation. The theory proposes that the primary function of consciousness is well-circumscribed, (...) serving the 'somatic nervous system[. For this system, consciousness serves as a frame that constrains and directs skeletal muscle output, thereby yielding adaptive behavior. The mechanism by which consciousness achieves this is more counterintuitive, passive, and “low level” than the kinds of functions that theorists have previously attributed to consciousness. Passive frame theory begins to illuminate (a) what consciousness contributes to nervous function, (b) how consciousness achieves this function, and (c) the neuroanatomical substrates of conscious processes. Our untraditional, action-based perspective focuses on olfaction instead of on vision and is 'descriptive' (describing the products of nature as they evolved to be) rather than 'normative' (construing processes in terms of how they should function). Passive frame theory begins to isolate the neuroanatomical, cognitive-mechanistic, and representational (e.g., conscious contents) processes associated with consciousness. (shrink)
The separation of church and state in the USA and the critical role of disestablishment in the political doctrines of that country is no indication of a secular polity. In fact, the separation of church and state as developed in 18th century American political thought was itself a religious doctrine and rested on the unique religious beliefs of certain Protestant Churches there. One consequence of this particular mode of accommodating religion has meant that the challenge of pluralism and difference in (...) the United States of America is met, most often, by liberal indifference. Differences are trivialized, aethetisized and, more critically, privatized. They are shielded from public scrutiny and conceptualized as irrelevant to public concern. This is an increasingly inadequate response to the challenge of difference and the plurality of the human experience. Challenges to contemporary modes of accommodating religious and ethnic pluralism are necessitating the formulation of new sets of answers which are not based on such Protestant or post-Protestant assumptions. (shrink)
In this provocative new work of social philosophy, Seligman evaluates modernity's wager, namely, the gambit to liberate the modern individual from external social and religious norms by supplanting them with the rational self as its own ...
The importance of being ambiguous -- Interlude : ambiguity, order and the deity -- Notation and its limits -- Interlude : the Israelite red heifer and the edge of power in China -- Ritual and the rhythms of ambiguity -- Interlude : crossing the boundaries of empathy -- Shared experience -- Interlude : experience and multiplicity.
ABSTRACT In Power Without Knowledge, Jeffrey Friedman contends that ideational complexity can stymie social-scientific understanding and prevent the reliable predictive knowledge required of a well-functioning technocracy. However, even this somewhat pessimistic outlook may understate the problem. Ideational complexity has both cognitive and phenomenal dimensions, each of which poses unique dilemmas. Further, due to its methodological individualism, Friedman’s vision may neglect emergent layers of knowledge produced through social interaction, creating yet another source of unknowns. Given these two factors, social science should (...) embrace a pluralism regarding levels of analysis. This would recognize the multifaceted limitations on social-science knowledge production, furthering epistemic humility about the potential role of social science in technocratic policymaking. (shrink)
Religious beliefs, including those about an afterlife and omniscient spiritual beings, vary across cultures. We theorize that such variations may be predictably linked to ecological variations, just as differences in mating strategies covary with resource distribution. Perhaps beliefs in a soul or afterlife are more common when resources are unpredictable, and life is brutal and short.
Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) correctly claim that religion reduces emotions related to existential concerns. Our response adds to their argument by focusing on religious differences in the importance of emotion, and on other emotions that may be involved in religion. We believe that the important differences among religions make it difficult to have one theory to account for all religions.
Issues of nature conservation, and socio-cultural movement called ecologism, are vivid becouse o f it’s many controvertions and actual validity in terms o f sustainable development. This paper presents contemporary motives o f preserving the nature, scientific ways of it’s realization, and chosen issues o f so called „ecological spirituality”. Reflection on the abilities and perils of science and spirituality, with reference to philosophy and practical conservation activity, will be led. Finally, there will be an attemption to answer the question (...) about relation between nature preservation, science and ecological spirituality, and to define the spiritual condition and trends in contemporary ecologism. (shrink)
In this article, I develop an understanding of ritual and of sincerity as two ideal-typical modes of framing human action. I focus on the dangers of what I term the sincere model because it is so strongly counter-intuitive to the way we usually understand the world, the moral imperatives of action and the framing of our intersubjective universe. I will begin, however, with some brief remarks on ritual — not as a discrete realm of human endeavor, usually identified with ‘religious’ (...) ritual (though inclusive of religious ritual), but rather as a particular modality of understanding action that is essential to the constitution of both social and individual selves and without which a shared world would not be possible. (shrink)
The Spiral Discovery Method was originally proposed as a cognitive artifact for dealing with black-box models that are dependent on multiple inputs with nonlinear and/or multiplicative interaction effects. Besides directly helping to identify functional patterns in such systems, SDM also simplifies their control through its characteristic spiral structure. In this paper, a neural network-based formulation of SDM is proposed together with a set of automatic update rules that makes it suitable for both semiautomated and automated forms of optimization. The behavior (...) of the generalized SDM model, referred to as the Spiral Discovery Network, and its applicability to nondifferentiable nonconvex optimization problems are elucidated through simulation. Based on the simulation, the case is made that its applicability would be worth investigating in all areas where the default approach of gradient-based backpropagation is used today. (shrink)
This paper explores the temporal dimension of risks associated with the production, trade and consumption of food. The paper operates at many levels of substantive and theoretical analysis: it focuses on problems for understanding and action that arise from the invisibility of the hazards, explores the effects of those hazards on consumers and sets out the differences in risks that are faced by farmers, processors, traders and consumers. With its emphasis on that which tends to be disattended in conventional social (...) science analysis – the temporal and the invisible – the paper has implications for social theory at the level of ontology and epistemology. It concludes with reflections on the role of social theory in such contemporary timescapes of risk. (shrink)
Relational reasoning is a complex form of human cognition involving the evaluation of relations between mental representations of information. Prior studies have modified stimulus properties of relational reasoning problems and examined differences in difficulty between different problem types. While subsets of these stimulus properties have been addressed in separate studies, there has not been a comprehensive study, to our knowledge, which investigates all of these properties in the same set of stimuli. This investigative gap has resulted in different findings across (...) studies which vary in task design, making it challenging to determine what stimulus properties make relational reasoning—and the putative formation of mental models underlying reasoning—difficult. In this article, we present the Multidimensional Relational Reasoning Task, a task which systematically varied an array of stimulus properties within a single set of relational reasoning problems. Using a mixed-effects framework, we demonstrate that reasoning problems containing a greater number of the premises as well as multidimensional relations led to greater task difficulty. The MRRT has been made publicly available for use in future research, along with normative data regarding the relative difficulty of each problem. (shrink)