Evidence does not support the claim that observers universally recognize basic emotions from signals on the face. The percentage of observers who matched the face with the predicted emotion (matching score) is not universal, but varies with culture and language. Matching scores are also inflated by the commonly used methods: within-subject design; posed, exaggerated facial expressions (devoid of context); multiple examples of each type of expression; and a response format that funnels a variety of interpretations into one word specified by (...) the experimenter. Without these methodological aids, matching scores are modest and subject to various explanations. (shrink)
Autism continues to fascinate researchers because it is both debilitating in its effects and complex in its nature and origins. The prevalent theory is that autism is primarily characterised by difficulties in understanding mental concepts, but the contributors to this book present new and compelling arguments for an alternative theory. Their research points strongly to the idea that autism is primarily a disorder of "executive functions", those involved in the control of action and thought. As such, the book provides a (...) new and controversial perspective on this important question. (shrink)
Episodic memory is usually regarded in a Conceptualist light, in the sense of its being dependent upon the grasp of concepts directly relevant to the act of episodic recollection itself, such as a concept of past times and of the self as an experiencer. Given this view, its development is typically timed as being in the early school-age years. We present a minimalist, Non-Conceptualist approach in opposition to this view, but one that also exists in clear contrast to the kind (...) of minimalism espoused by Clayton and Dickinson with regard to memory in food-caching birds. While emphasising the nonconceptual elements of episodic memory we also insist on the essentially phenomenological nature of the memory. We propose the third year of life as a plausible onset period. Our view is rooted in Kantian assumptions about the spatiotemporal content of experience and about the synthetic unity of experience—and thus of re-experience. We answer two objections to this position. (shrink)
Assessing children's episodic future thinking by having them select items for future use may be assessing their functional reasoning about the future rather than their future episodic thinking. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, we capitalised on the fact that episodic cognition necessarily has a spatial format (Clayton & Russell, 2009; Hassabis & Maguire, 2007). Accordingly, we asked children of 3, 4, and 5 to chose items they would need to play a game (blow football) from the opposite side (...) of the table on which they had never before played. The crucial item was the box that was needed by children to reach the table from the other side. Over four experiments, we demonstrated that, while children of 3 perform poorly on future questions and children of 5 generally perform quite well, children of 4 years find a question about what they themselves will need to play in the future harder to answer than a similar question posed about another child. We suggest that this result is due to the 'growth error' of over-applying newly-developed Level 2 perspective-taking skills (Flavell et al., 1981), which encourages the selection of non-functional items. The data are discussed in terms of perspective-taking abilities in children and of the neural correlates of episodic cognition, navigation, and theory of mind. (shrink)
Izard (2010) did not seek a descriptive definition of emotion—one that describes the concept as it is used by ordinary folk. Instead, he surveyed scientists’ prescriptive definitions—ones that prescribe how the concept should be used in theories of emotion. That survey showed a lack of agreement today and thus raised doubts about emotion as a useful scientific concept.
This article explores the idea that Core Affect provides the emotional quality to any conscious state. Core Affect is the neurophysiological state always accessible as simply feeling good or bad, energized or enervated, even if it is not always the focus of attention. Core Affect, alone or more typically combined with other psychological processes, is found in the experiences of feeling, mood and emotion, including the subjective experiences of fear, anger and other so-called basic emotions which are commonly thought to (...) be raw, primitive, and universal. (shrink)
Language development is one of the major battle grounds within the humanities and sciences. This book presents, for the first time, an impartial account of the three dominant theories of language development. Written to be accessible for those within developmental psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, the book provides the reader with the information they need in order make up their own mind about this much debated issue.
Recent work on the early development of episodic memory in my laboratory has been fuelled by the following assumption: if episodic memory is re-experiential memory then Kant’s analysis of the spatiotemporal nature of experience should constrain and positively influence theories of episodic memory development. The idea is that re-experiential memory will “inherit” these spatiotemporal features. On the basis of this assumption, Russell and Hanna (Mind and Language 27(1):29–54, 2012) proposed that (a) the spatial element of re-experience is egocentric and (b) (...) that the temporal element of re-experiencing involves order/simultaneity. The first of these assumptions is immediately problematic for two reasons. In the first place, if we assume that early episodic recall mediated by processing in the hippocampus, then (a) is clearly in tension with the fact that spatial coding in the hippocampus is allocentric/environment-centred. Second, two of our own recent experiments (described here) show that when only egocentric cues are available in a What/When/Where episodic memory task it is not possible to distinguish young children’s performance from semantic memory. I argue that this tension should be resolved by recognising that the egocentric coding of the original experience as being of an objective scene relies upon allocentric representations and these are preserved in re-experiential memory, allowing a recollection of the objective nature of the scene on which one takes a subjective view. (shrink)
The ascription of intentional states to the self involves knowledge, or at least claims to knowledge. Armed with the working definition of knowledge as 'the ability to do things, or refrain from doing things, or believe, or want, or doubt things, for reasons that are facts' [Hyman, J. Philos. Quart. 49:432—451], I sketch a simple competence model of acting and believing from knowledge and when knowledge is defeated by un-experienced changes of state. The model takes the form of three concentric (...) circles. The 'periphery' is analogous to Fodor's [(1983), The modularity of mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA] input systems. The 'core' contains copies of peripheral representations, and between these representations there is executive competition. At the 'nucleus', operations are performed on the core representations of, at least, negation and recursion. I argue that this provides a fruitful way in which to conceptualise why theory-of-mind tasks challenge pre-school children, how some degree of first-person authority is mental state attribution is possible, and how executive inhibition is achieved. (shrink)
Comment on an article by Peter Zachar An account of emotion must include categories and dimensions. Categories because humans categorize reality, and a person's categorization of their own state influences aspects of that state. Dimensions because humans are always in some state of Core Affect, which varies by degree along dimensions of valence and activation . In Psychological Construction, Core Affect and a host of other "components" are separate on-going processes, always in some pattern. Occasionally the pattern resembles a prototype (...) of a category of emotion sufficiently to count as an instance of that category. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
I distinguish between being cognisant and being able to perform intelligent operations. The former, but not the latter, minimally involves the capacity to make adequate judgements about one's relation to objects in the environment. The referential nature of cognisance entails that the mental states of cognisant systems must be inter-related holistically, such that an individual thought becomes possible because of its relation to a system of potential thoughts. I use Gareth Evans' 'Generality Constraint' as a means of describing how the (...) reference and holism of mental states in cognisant systems are mutually dependent. Next, I describe attempts to deny the relevance of holism and reference by positing a mentalese. These attempts fail because the meanings of symbols are under determined, with there being no principled means of distinguishing between the mental tokening of a symbol and its disambiguation. I argue that the connectionist meta-theory does not encounter this problem because it is able to encompass the holism of the mental. Recent attempts to show that symbol processing theories of thought must be preferred to connectionist theories do not work. Despite appearances to the contrary, the Generality Constraint favours connectionist not symbol-processing theories. (shrink)
Abstract In the first part of this essay (Russell, 1988a) I argued that ?cognisance? (roughly: a subject's knowledge of his relation to the physical world as an experiencer of it) cannot be explained in terms of a syntactic theory of mind, due to the ?referential? and ?holistic? nature of this knowledge. The syntactic account of the higher mental functions is immediately intelligible to us due to its derivation from computer technology, so this would not appear to be a happy result (...) for scientific psychology. In this paper I outline a strategy for developing a scientific psychology of cognisance, beginning from the assumption that such a theory should have a similar status to Chomsky's competence theory of human grammar, whilst diverging from Chomsky on the question of how such a theory should be answerable to data. Most of the paper is taken up with illustrating the way in which Jean Piaget's theory of mental development in humans is at least a first approximation to such a theory. (shrink)