Determining how we use our body to support cognition represents an important part of understanding the embodied and embedded nature of cognition. In the present investigation, we pursue this question in the context of a common perceptual task. Specifically, we report a series of experiments investigating head tilt (i.e., external normalization) as a strategy in letter naming and reading stimuli that are upright or rotated. We demonstrate that the frequency of this natural behavior is modulated by the cost of stimulus (...) rotation on performance. In addition, we demonstrate that external normalization can benefit performance. All of the results are consistent with the notion that external normalization represents a form of cognitive offloading and that effort is an important factor in the decision to adopt an internal or external strategy. (shrink)
It is well known that the difference in performance between valid and invalid trials in the covert orienting paradigm increases as the proportion of valid trials increases. This proportion valid effect is widely assumed to reflect “strategic” control over the distribution of attention. In the present experiments we determine if this effect results from an explicit strategy or implicit learning by probing participant’s awareness of the proportion of valid trials. Results support the idea that the proportion valid effect in the (...) covert orienting paradigm reflects implicit learning not an explicit strategy. (shrink)
Chica and Bartolemeo : The proportion valid effect in covert orienting: Strategic control or implicit learning? Consciousness and Cognition,19, 443–444.) agree that our results . The proportion valid effect in covert orienting: Strategic control or implicit learning? Consciousness and Cognition,19, 432–442.) are consistent with an implicit learning account of the proportion valid effect. Nevertheless, they raise two general issues that an explicit strategy might be operative in other contexts and that orienting in response to implicit knowledge is endogenous. In our (...) response, we address each of these issues and further discuss the concepts of endogenous orienting and cognitive control. (shrink)
The phenomenon of perceptual persistence after the motion stops in shape-from-motion displays was used to study the influence of prior knowledge on the maintenance of a percept in awareness. In SFM displays an object composed of discontinuous line segments are embedded in a background of randomly oriented lines. The object only becomes perceptible when the line segments that compose the object and the lines that compose the background move in counterphase. Critically, once the movement of the line segments stops, the (...) percept of the object persists for a short period of time. In the present study, perceptual persistence for digits exceeded that reported for nonsense shapes composed of the same line segments. This result is taken as evidence that the processes involved in the persistence of SFM, and therefore sustained perception, are sensitive to top-down influences. (shrink)
Individuals frequently make use of the body and environment when engaged in a cognitive task. For example, individuals will often spontaneously physically rotate when faced with rotated objects, such as an array of words, to putatively offload the performance costs associated with stimulus rotation. We looked to further examine this idea by independently manipulating the costs associated with both word rotation and array frame rotation. Surprisingly, we found that individuals’ patterns of spontaneous physical rotations did not follow patterns of performance (...) costs or benefits associated with being physically rotated, findings difficult to reconcile with existing theories of strategy selection involving external resources. Individuals’ subjective ratings of perceived benefits, rather, provided an excellent match to the patterns of physical rotations, suggesting that the critical variable when deciding on-the-fly whether to incorporate an external resource is the participant's metacognitive beliefs regarding expected performance or the effort required for each approach. Implications for metacognition's future in theories of cognitive offloading are discussed. (shrink)
Two experiments investigated the role that mental set plays in reading aloud using the task choice procedure developed by Besner and Care [Besner, D., & Care, S. . A paradigm for exploring what the mind does while deciding what it should do. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57, 311–320]. Subjects were presented with a word, and asked to either read it aloud or decide whether it appeared in upper/lower case. Task information, in the form of a brief auditory cue, appeared (...) 750 ms before the word, or at the same time as the word. Experiment 1 yielded evidence consistent with the claim that at least some pre-lexical processing can be carried out in parallel with decoding the task cue . Experiment 2 provided evidence that such processing is restricted to pre-lexical levels . These data suggest that a task set is a necessary preliminary to lexical processing when reading aloud. (shrink)
Kant und die Alternativen Heiner F. Klemme Manfred Kühn, Dieter Schönecker. H . Klemme / M. Kühn / D. Schönecker (Hg.) Moralische Motivation Kant und die Alternativen Meiner KANT-FORSCHUNGEN Begründet von Reinhard Brandt und ...
Different explanations of color vision favor different philosophical positions: Computational vision is more compatible with objectivism (the color is in the object), psychophysics and neurophysiology with subjectivism (the color is in the head). Comparative research suggests that an explanation of color must be both experientialist (unlike objectivism) and ecological (unlike subjectivism). Computational vision's emphasis on optimally prespecified features of the environment (i.e., distal properties, independent of the sensory-motor capacities of the animal) is unsatisfactory. Conceiving of visual perception instead as the (...) visual guidance of activity in an environment that is determined largely by that very activity suggests new directions for research. (shrink)
Advances in technology are bringing greater insight into the mind, raising a host of privacy concerns. However, the basic psychological mechanisms underlying the perception of privacy violations are poorly understood. Here, we explore the relation between the perception of privacy violations and access to information related to one’s “self.” In two studies using demographically diverse samples, we find that privacy violations resulting from various monitoring technologies are mediated by the extent to which the monitoring is thought to provide access to (...) self-relevant information, and generally neuromonitoring did not rate among the more invasive monitoring types. However, brain monitoring was judged to be more of a privacy violation when described as providing access to self-relevant information than when no such access was possible, and control participants did not judge the invasiveness of neuromonitoring any differently than those told it provided no access to self-relevant information. (shrink)
This talk, delivered at De l''autopoièse à la neurophénoménologie: un hommage à Francisco Varela; from autopoiesis to neurophenomenology: a tribute to Francisco Varela, June 18–20, at the Sorbonne in Paris, explicates several links between Varela''s neurophenomenology and his biological concept of autopoiesis.
Both children and adults predict the content of upcoming language, suggesting that prediction is useful for learning as well as processing. We present an alternative model which can explain prediction behaviour as a by-product of language learning. We suggest that a consideration of language acquisition places important constraints on Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) theory.
Could there be genuinely novel colours — that is, visual qualities having a hue that bears a resemblance relation to red, green, yellow, and blue, yet is neither reddish, nor greenish, nor yellowish, nor blueish?1 And if there could be such colours, what would it be like to see them? How would the colours look? In his article,"Epiphenomenal Qualia,"2 Frank Jackson presents a philosophical thought experiment that raises these questions . Jackson asks us to imagine a perceiver named Fred who (...) is like us except that he has the ability to see a hue we cannot see. Jackson's question is: "What is the new colour or colours like?"3 Jackson argues that all the physical information about Fred, including the physiology of his brain and visual system, and his dispositions to behaviour, would not enable us to answer this question. The totality of physical information would still leave out something about Fred's experience, namely, what the extra hue is like from the subjective perspective of Fred. And if at some point we became able to see this extra hue , we would learn something that we did not know as a result of having all the physical information about Fred: We would learn how the extra hue looks and thereby learn just what it was that made Fred's experience different from ours. Jackson calls his argument "the knowledge argument." In his view, the argument is similar to Thomas Nagel's in his article "What is it Like to Be a Bat?,"4 but both its point and ultimate conclusion are different. Nagel argues that facts about what conscious experience is like for some creature are essentially connected to the subjective perspective of the creature. The problem that Nagel poses is, how could such facts be revealed in anything objective and physical about the creature? How could the objective characterization indicate what it is like to be the creature ? The point of Jackson's argument, however, is not that we would not know what it is like to be Fred even if we knew everything physical about him ; it is rather that there is still something we do not know about Fred's experience — a property that it has — even when we have all the physical information about him: We do not know how the extra hue that Fred sees looks to Fred, and so we do not know all that there is to know about how Fred's experience of seeing the extra hue differs from his experience of seeing red, green, yellow, and blue.5 Jackson's conclusion is also stronger than Nagel's. (shrink)
Several writers have argued for the implausibility of there being naturalistic explanations of mystical experience. These writers recognize that the evidential significance of mystical experiences for theism depends upon whether explanations that exclude supernatural agency can be discounted; but they seem unaware of some of the best scientific work done in this area. Part I of the present paper introduces the theory of I. M. Lewis, an anthropologist, and tests it against the case of St Teresa. I use Teresa because (...) of her prominence, and because we have considerable biographical data for her. I conclude that Lewis's approach, suitably supplemented, is strikingly successful in explaining this case. (shrink)
We argue that human rights are best conceived as norms arising from a fiduciary relationship that exists between states and the citizens and noncitizens subject to their power. These norms draw on a Kantian conception of moral personhood, protecting agents from instrumentalization and domination. They do not, however, exist in the abstract as timeless natural rights. Instead, they are correlates of the state's fiduciary duty to provide equal security under the rule of law, a duty that flows from the state's (...) institutional assumption of irresistible sovereign powers. (shrink)
In Part I of this paper, I took up a challenge posed by Alston , Wainwright , Yandell , and other theists who hold the rather natural view that mystical experiences provide perceptual contact with God, roughly on a par with the access sense experience affords to the natural world. These theists recognize, at the same time, that the plausibility of this view would be significantly compromised by the possibility of scientifically explaining mystical experiences – especially if a scientific explanation (...) were incompatible with, ruled out, or made unlikely the supposition that God has anything special to do with the occurrences of these experiences. (shrink)
A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of the mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, (...) we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate--either in the waking state or in a lucid dream--we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives. (shrink)
Colour fascinates all of us, and scientists and philosophers have sought to understand the true nature of colour vision for many years. In recent times, investigations into colour vision have been one of the main success stories of cognitive science, for each discipline within the field - neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, and philosophy - has contributed significantly to our understanding of colour. Evan Thompson's book is a major contribution to this interdisciplinary project. Colour Vision provides (...) an accessible review of the current scientific and philosophical discussions of colour vision. Thompson steers a course between the subjective and objective positions on colour, arguing for a relational account. This account develops a novel `ecological' approach to colour vision in cognitive science and the philosophy of perception. It is vital reading for all cognitive scientists and philosophers whose interests touch upon this central area. (shrink)
This paper explores some of the differences between the enactive approach in cognitive science and the extended mind thesis. We review the key enactive concepts of autonomy and sense-making . We then focus on the following issues: (1) the debate between internalism and externalism about cognitive processes; (2) the relation between cognition and emotion; (3) the status of the body; and (4) the difference between ‘incorporation’ and mere ‘extension’ in the body-mind-environment relation.
Both mindreading and stereotyping are forms of social cognition that play a pervasive role in our everyday lives, yet too little attention has been paid to the question of how these two processes are related. This paper offers a theory of the influence of stereotyping on mental-state attribution that draws on hierarchical predictive coding accounts of action prediction. It is argued that the key to understanding the relation between stereotyping and mindreading lies in the fact that stereotypes centrally involve character-trait (...) attributions, which play a systematic role in the action–prediction hierarchy. On this view, when we apply a stereotype to an individual, we rapidly attribute to her a cluster of generic character traits on the basis of her perceived social group membership. These traits are then used to make inferences about that individual’s likely beliefs and desires, which in turn inform inferences about her behavior. (shrink)