Marr's seminal work laid out a program of research by specifying key questions for cognitive science at different levels of analysis. Because dynamic systems theory focuses on time and interdependence of components, DST research programs come to very different conclusions regarding the nature of cognitive change. We review a specific DST approach to cognitive-level processes: dynamic field theory. We review research applying DFT to several cognitive-level processes: object permanence, naming hierarchical categories, and inferring intent, that demonstrate the difference in understanding (...) of behavior and cognition that results from a DST perspective. These point to a central challenge for cognitive science research as defined by Marr—emergence. We argue that appreciating emergence raises questions about the utility of computational-level analyses and opens the door to insights concerning the origin of novel forms of behavior and thought. We contend this is one of the most fundamental questions about cognition and behavior. (shrink)
Human cooperation is highly unusual. We live in large groups composed mostly of non-relatives. Evolutionists have proposed a number of explanations for this pattern, including cultural group selection and extensions of more general processes such as reciprocity, kin selection, and multi-level selection acting on genes. Evolutionary processes are consilient; they affect several different empirical domains, such as patterns of behavior and the proximal drivers of that behavior. In this target article, we sketch the evidence from five domains that bear on (...) the explanatory adequacy of cultural group selection and competing hypotheses to explain human cooperation. Does cultural transmission constitute an inheritance system that can evolve in a Darwinian fashion? Are the norms that underpin institutions among the cultural traits so transmitted? Do we observe sufficient variation at the level of groups of considerable size for group selection to be a plausible process? Do human groups compete, and do success and failure in competition depend upon cultural variation? Do we observe adaptations for cooperation in humans that most plausibly arose by cultural group selection? If the answer to one of these questions is “no,” then we must look to other hypotheses. We present evidence, including quantitative evidence, that the answer to all of the questions is “yes” and argue that we must take the cultural group selection hypothesis seriously. If culturally transmitted systems of rules that limit individual deviance organize cooperation in human societies, then it is not clear that any extant alternative to cultural group selection can be a complete explanation. (shrink)
This book is unique in presenting evidence on development across the lifespan across multiple levels of description. The authors use a well-defined disorder - Williams syndrome, to explore the impact of genes, brain development, behaviour, as well as the individual's environment on development.
Though better recognized for its immediate endeavors in human embryo research, the Carnegie Department of Embryology also employed a breeding colony of rhesus macaques for the purposes of studying human reproduction. This essay follows the course of the first enterprise in maintaining a primate colony for laboratory research and the overlapping scientific, social, and political circumstances that tolerated and cultivated the colony's continued operation from 1925 until 1971. Despite a new-found priority for reproductive sciences in the United States, by the (...) early 1920s an unfertilized human ovum had not yet been seen and even the timing of ovulation remained unresolved. Progress would require an organized research approach that could extend beyond the limitations of working with scant and inherently restrictive human subjects or with common lab mammals like mice. In response, the Department of Embryology, under the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW), instituted a novel methodology using a particular primate species as a surrogate in studying normal human reproductive physiology. Over more than 40 years the monkey colony followed an unpremeditated trajectory that would contribute fundamentally to discoveries in human reproduction, early embryo development, reliable birth control methods, and to the establishment of the rhesus macaque as a common model organism. (shrink)
Though better recognized for its immediate endeavors in human embryo research, the Carnegie Department of Embryology also employed a breeding colony of rhesus macaques for the purposes of studying human reproduction. This essay follows the course of the first enterprise in maintaining a primate colony for laboratory research and the overlapping scientific, social, and political circumstances that tolerated and cultivated the colony’s continued operation from 1925 until 1971. Despite a new-found priority for reproductive sciences in the United States, by the (...) early 1920s an unfertilized human ovum had not yet been seen and even the timing of ovulation remained unresolved. Progress would require an organized research approach that could extend beyond the limitations of working with scant and inherently restrictive human subjects or with common lab mammals like mice. In response, the Department of Embryology, under the Carnegie Institution of Washington, instituted a novel methodology using a particular primate species as a surrogate in studying normal human reproductive physiology. Over more than 40 years the monkey colony followed an unpremeditated trajectory that would contribute fundamentally to discoveries in human reproduction, early embryo development, reliable birth control methods, and to the establishment of the rhesus macaque as a common model organism. (shrink)
This article explores the way the distinction between enhancement and therapy has been used in Catholic bioethics to assess the moral character of technologies that developments in genetics and neuroscience have made possible. The purpose of drawing lines between therapy and enhancement is typically to claim that the former is always ethically justified and the latter is morally suspect, if not altogether impermissible. The author connects the enhancement versus therapy distinction to concepts of human nature that ground it and examines (...) the function of the distinction in these theological anthropologies. She argues that the distinction is insufficient for making decisions regarding use of neurotechnologies. Catholic ethicists thus need to explore alternative methods to begin the essential project of developing neuroethics. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 15.1 : 63–72. (shrink)
The traditional approaches to encourage gamers to exercise have been two-fold: incorporating in-game incentives and designing games that are based on exercise. We discuss the drawbacks of these approaches and introduce two new design constructs: facilitative and rememberative. A facilitative design introduces external interaction mechanisms that reward physical exertion with an increase of control over the utility and entertainment value of a game. The rememberative approach leverages "ambient" design artifacts embedded into the gaming experience reminding the gamer to exercise. We (...) propose to explore the use of these design constructs in existing games and discuss two prototypes based on them. (shrink)
Parkinson's disease patients receiving dopaminergic treatment may experience bursts of creativity. Although this phenomenon is sometimes recognized among patients and their clinicians, the association between dopamine replacement therapy in PD patients and creativity remains underexplored. It is unclear, for instance, whether DRT affects creativity through convergent or divergent thinking, idea generation, or a general lack of inhibition. It is also unclear whether DRT only augments pre-existing creative attributes or generates creativity de novo. Here, we tested a group of PD patients (...) when “on” and “off” dopaminergic treatment on a series of tests of creative problem-solving, and related their performance to a group of matched healthy controls as well as to their pre-PD creative skills and measures of inhibition/impulsivity. Results did not provide strong evidence that DRT improved creative thinking in PD patients. Rather, PD patients “on” medication showed less flexibility in divergent thinking, generated fewer ideas via insight, and showed worse performance in convergent thinking overall than healthy controls. Pre-PD creative skills predicted enhanced flexibility and fluency in divergent thinking when PD patients were “on” medication. However, results on convergent thinking were mixed. Finally, PD patients who exhibited deficits in a measure of inhibitory control showed weaker convergent thinking while “on” medication, supporting previous evidence on the importance of inhibitory control in creative problem-solving. Altogether, results do not support the hypothesis that DRT promotes creative thinking in PD. We speculate that bursts of artistic production in PD are perhaps conflated with creativity due to lay conceptions of creativity. (shrink)
Coregulation refers to the process by which relationship partners form a dyadic emotional system involving an oscillating pattern of affective arousal and dampening that dynamically maintains an optimal emotional state. Coregulation may represent an important form of interpersonal emotion regulation, but confusion exists in the literature due to a lack of precision in the usage of the term. We propose an operational definition for coregulation as a bidirectional linkage of oscillating emotional channels between partners, which contributes to emotional stability for (...) both partners. We propose several distinctions and raise unanswered questions that will need to be addressed in order to understand the relevance of coregulation for well-being in adulthood. (shrink)
The impact on researchers of working with sensitive data is often not considered by ethics committees when approving research proposals. We conducted interviews with eight research assistants processing clinical notes on emergency department presentations for deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts during a suicide prevention trial. Common experiences of working with the data included feeling unprepared for the level of detail in the records, being drawn deeply into individual stories, emotional exhaustion from the cumulative exposure to the data over long periods (...) of time while working alone, and experiencing a heightened awareness of the fragility of life and the need for safety. The research assistants also reported on some of the strategies they had developed to cope with the sensitive nature of the data and the demands of the work. The ethical implications for suicide research reliant on non-clinically trained researchers exploring sensitive data are considered. These include the need for research l... (shrink)
Women who are abused by their male intimate partners incur many costs, ranging in severity from fleeting physical pain to death. Previous research has linked the presence of children sired by a woman’s previous partner to increased risk of woman abuse and to increased risk of femicide. The current research extends this work by securing data from samples of 111 unabused women, 111 less severely abused women, 128 more severely abused women, and 26 victims of intimate partner femicide from the (...) Chicago Women’s Health Risk Study to document an ordinal trend in the risk of experiencing more severe forms of violence for women who have children in the household sired by a previous partner. The discussion addresses two potential explanations for this trend and highlights directions for future research. (shrink)
It is unclear how children learn labels for multiple overlapping categories such as “Labrador,” “dog,” and “animal.” Xu and Tenenbaum suggested that learners infer correct meanings with the help of Bayesian inference. They instantiated these claims in a Bayesian model, which they tested with preschoolers and adults. Here, we report data testing a developmental prediction of the Bayesian model—that more knowledge should lead to narrower category inferences when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars. Two experiments did not support this prediction. Children (...) with more category knowledge showed broader generalization when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars, compared to less knowledgeable children and adults. This implies a U-shaped developmental trend. The Bayesian model was not able to account for these data, even with inputs that reflected the similarity judgments of children. We discuss implications for the Bayesian model, including a combined Bayesian/morphological knowledge account that could explain the demonstrated U-shaped trend. (shrink)
Using medical advances to enhance human athletic, aesthetic, and cognitive performance, rather than to treat disease, has been controversial. Little is known about physicians? experiences, views, and attitudes in this regard. We surveyed a national sample of physicians to determine how often they prescribe enhancements, their views on using medicine for enhancement, and whether they would be willing to prescribe a series of potential interventions that might be considered enhancements. We find that many physicians occasionally prescribe enhancements, but doctors hold (...) nuanced and ambiguous views of these issues. Most express concerns about the potential effects of enhancements on social equity, yet many also believe specific enhancements that are safe and effective should be available but not covered by insurance. These apparently contradictory views might reflect inherent tensions between the values of equity and liberty, which could make crafting coherent social policies on medical enhancements challenging. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of American Journal of Bioethics for the following free supplemental resource(s): An additional table (Table 5) referred to on p. 5]. (shrink)
Deception sometimes results in nonconsensual sex. A recent body of literature diagnoses such violations as invalidating consent: the agreement is not morally transformative, which is why the sexual contact is a rights violation. We pursue a different explanation for the wrongs in question: there is valid consent, but it is not consent to the sex act that happened. Semantic conventions play a key role in distinguishing deceptions that result in nonconsensual sex (like stealth condom removal) from those that don’t (like (...) white lies). Our framework is also applicable to more controversial cases, like those implicated in so-called “gender fraud” complaints. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson (2000) makes a strong prima facie case for the identification of a subject's total evidence with the subject's total knowledge (E = K). However, as Brian Weatherson (Ms) has observed, there are intuitively problematic consequences of E = K. In this article, I'll offer a contextualist implementation of E = K that provides the resources to respond to Weatherson's argument; the result will be a novel approach to knowledge and evidence that is suggestive of an unexplored contextualist approach (...) to basic knowledge. (shrink)
According to Jones & Love (J&L), Bayesian theories are too often isolated from other theories and behavioral processes. Here, we highlight examples of two types of isolation from the field of word learning. Specifically, Bayesian theories ignore emergence, critical to development theory, and have not probed the behavioral details of several key phenomena, such as the effect.