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Why the mind is not in the head

Why the mind is not in the head | cognition | Scoop.it
FastTFriend's insight:

Though written almost 20 years ago, still beautifully put:

 

"Slowly the cards turned into considering that the basis of mind is the body in coupled action, that is, the sensory-motor circuits establish the organism as viable in situated contexts. Form this perspective the brain appears as a dynamical process (and not a syntactic one) of real time variables with a rich self-organizing capacity (and not a representational machinery). So in this sense the mind is not in the head since it is roots in the body as a whole and also in the extended environment where the organism finds itself.
Beyond embodied enaction, recent work with young children and monkeys (1995-) has re-discovered the profound importance of the coupling with other conspecifics. This means that the constitution of a mind is always concurrent with the extended presence of other minds in a network. Thus, beyond embodied enaction there is also generative enaction, a trend that points to the beginnings of a science or interbeing, the future for a proper understanding of the necessary unity of mind and nature."

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cognition
How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting stuff
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The purpose of life is to be a nobody

The purpose of life is to be a nobody | cognition | Scoop.it
We all experience the world like we are at the center of reality.

We think and we feel in relation to how our senses absorb information and how this information mingles with our personal memories. The subjective perception created by these interactions provides the illusion of importance.

We forget that this perception only exists in our minds and that everyone near us is walking around under exactly the same psychological mindset.

In truth, we’re just one of billions, and over the course of history, everything about us is insignificant. Even people like Newton and Einstein, who we revere for their contributions to humanity, are only slightly less insignificant.

Our universe contains one septillion stars (a one followed by 24 zeroes) and a lot of these stars contain many, many more modes of dust that we call planets. If any of us ceased to exist tomorrow, little would change beyond the subjective emotional states of the people in our immediate circles.

Earth would continue its orbit, and the laws of physics would remain in tact. We’re nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy.

Many of us don’t like hearing this. It conflicts with the story our mind tells.

Via Wildcat2030
FastTFriend's insight:
Excellent! "The surest way to be unfilled is to walk around like you hold some sort of a privileged position in the universe. It’s not only a completely false and harmful illusion, but it also overlooks the fringe benefits of being a nobody".
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Openness to Experience: The Gates of the Mind

Openness to Experience: The Gates of the Mind | cognition | Scoop.it
People who are “open to experience” literally see the world differently
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These studies show that open people are less susceptible to the psychological “blind spots” that help us pare back the complexity of the world. And research shows that this characterization is more than a metaphor: Open people literally see things differently in terms of basic visual perception.
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Preserving the Right to Cognitive Liberty

Preserving the Right to Cognitive Liberty | cognition | Scoop.it
A new type of brain-imaging technology could expose—even change—our private thoughts
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The idea of the human mind as the domain of absolute protection from external intrusion has persisted for centuries. Today, however, this presumption might no longer hold. Sophisticated neuroimaging machines and brain-computer interfaces detect the electrical activity of neurons, enabling us to decode and even alter the nervous system signals that accompany mental processes. Whereas these advances have a great potential for research and medicine, they pose a fundamental ethical, legal and social challenge: determining whether or under what conditions it is legitimate to gain access to or interfere with another person's neural activity.
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A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts

A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts | cognition | Scoop.it
New math shows how, contrary to conventional scientific wisdom, conscious beings and other macroscopic entities might have greater influence over the future

Via Xaos
FastTFriend's insight:
Tononi argues that this special “integrated information” corresponds to the unified, integrated state that we experience as subjective awareness. Integrated information theory has gained prominence in the last few years, even as debates have ensued about whether it is an accurate and sufficient proxy for consciousness. But when Hoel first got to Madison in 2010, only the two of them were working on it there.
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Your Sense of Smell Is More Powerful Than You Think

Your Sense of Smell Is More Powerful Than You Think | cognition | Scoop.it
Humans have a centuries-old reputation as poor smellers. Though we can see more colours than the average mammal, our noses are simply no match for the questing snouts of rabbits and hounds.

Sure, the aromas of coffee and pie are great. But intelligent humans outgrew the need to sniff our way through life. Or so the thinking went.

In a review published Thursday in the journal Science, John McGann, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, argued that this is a flawed perception dating back to the 19th century.

He blamed pioneering French anatomist Paul Broca, who wrote that, given the comparatively small olfactory organs in the primate brain, "it is no longer the sense of smell that guides the animal."

As for smelling in apes, humans included, "All that exceeded the needs of this humble function became useless."

Broca was hunting for the part of the brain that gave humans free will, McGann said, to separate us from animals. At the time, too, the Catholic Church in France was criticising Broca's work at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris.

"He's under pressure for humans to be special," McGann said. "He's under pressure for humans to be different."

Via Wildcat2030
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The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel

The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel | cognition | Scoop.it
Debunking the myth of a superhuman artificial intelligence: Hyper-intelligent algorithms are not going to take over the world for these five reasons.

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‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality

‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality | cognition | Scoop.it
Here’s what happens. You are lying on an operating table, fully conscious, but rendered otherwise insensible, otherwise incapable of movement. A humanoid machine appears at your side, bowing to its task with ceremonial formality. With a brisk sequence of motions, the machine removes a large panel of bone from the rear of your cranium, before carefully laying its fingers, fine and delicate as a spider’s legs, on the viscid surface of your brain. You may be experiencing some misgivings about the procedure at this point. Put them aside, if you can.

You’re in pretty deep with this thing; there’s no backing out now. With their high-resolution microscopic receptors, the machine fingers scan the chemical structure of your brain, transferring the data to a powerful computer on the other side of the operating table. They are sinking further into your cerebral matter now, these fingers, scanning deeper and deeper layers of neurons, building a three-dimensional map of their endlessly complex interrelations, all the while creating code to model this activity in the computer’s hardware. As the work proceeds, another mechanical appendage – less delicate, less careful – removes the scanned material to a biological waste container for later disposal. This is material you will no longer be needing.

At some point, you become aware that you are no longer present in your body. You observe – with sadness, or horror, or detached curiosity – the diminishing spasms of that body on the operating table, the last useless convulsions of a discontinued meat.

Via Wildcat2030
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nukem777's curator insight, March 26, 10:28 PM

Worth the read, more worth the meditation

fairmath's comment, March 27, 12:29 AM
amazing
nukem777's curator insight, April 1, 11:00 AM

ReeeDicuL0us...

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The problem with facts

The problem with facts | cognition | Scoop.it
Tim Harford on how today’s politicians deal with inconvenient truths
FastTFriend's insight:
Facts rarely stand up for themselves — they need someone to make us care about them, to make us curious. That’s what Rosling did. And faced with the apocalyptic possibility of a world where the facts don’t matter, that is the example we must follow.
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The Purpose of Sleep is to Forget

The Purpose of Sleep is to Forget | cognition | Scoop.it
A pair of papers published on Thursday in the journal Science offer evidence for another notion: We sleep to forget some of the things we learn each day.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, CORTEX MAG
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The Philosophy of Westworld

The Philosophy of Westworld | cognition | Scoop.it
Metaphysics, consciousness studies and gnostic traps converge in this HBO hit.

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On the dark history of intelligence as domination – Stephen Cave | Aeon Essays

On the dark history of intelligence as domination – Stephen Cave | Aeon Essays | cognition | Scoop.it
Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots

Via Xaos
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Why upgrading your brain could make you less human – Michael Bess | Aeon Ideas

Within the lifetimes of most children today, bioenhancement is likely to become a basic feature of human society. Personalised pharmaceuticals will enable us to modify our bodies and minds in powerful and precise ways, with far fewer side-effects than today’s drugs. New brain-machine interfaces will improve our memory and cognition, extend our senses, and confer direct control over an array of semi-intelligent gadgets. Genetic and epigenetic modification will allow us to change our physical appearance and capabilities, as well as to tweak some of the more intangible aspects of our being such as emotion, creativity or sociability.

Do you find these ideas disquieting? One of the more insidious effects of such self-editing is that it will blur the boundary between persons and things. The reason is simple: bioenhancements are products. They require machines, chemicals, tools and techniques that develop over time. They become obsolete after a number of years. They are likely to be available for purchase on the open market. Some will be better than others, and more expensive than others. Some – like cars or jewellery or your house – will confer a greater or lesser degree of prestige.
But if we’re not careful, we ignore the fact that these ‘products’ are altering key aspects of a human being’s selfhood. Without realising it, we drift into an instrumental mode of thought, which would reduce a person to the sum total of her modified or unmodified traits. We could lose sight of the individual’s intrinsic value and dignity, and start comparing people as if they were used vehicles in a car lot.

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Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ – Abeba Birhane | Aeon Ideas

Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ – Abeba Birhane | Aeon Ideas | cognition | Scoop.it
According to Ubuntu philosophy, which has its origins in ancient Africa, a newborn baby is not a person. People are born without ‘ena’, or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through interactions and experiences over time. So the ‘self’/‘other
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The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images | cognition | Scoop.it
*This post is part of an online book about Silicon Valley’s Political endgame. See all available chapters here. Cerf suffered a torrent of criticism in the media for suggesting that privacy is…
FastTFriend's insight:
most interesting: 
Early Christian saints pioneered the modern concept of privacy: seclusion. The Christian Bible popularized the idea that morality was not just the outcome of an evil deed, but the intent to cause harm; this novel coupling of intent and morality led the most devout followers (monks) to remove themselves from society and focus obsessively on battling their inner demons free from the distractions of civilization. 

 In 1215, the influential Fourth Council Of Lateran (the “Great Council”) declared that confessions should be mandatory for the masses. This mighty stroke of Catholic power instantly extended the concept of internal morality to much of Europe.
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Humans enter a Vulcan-like mind meld when conversing

In the Star Trek universe, Vulcans would sometimes bust out one of their most impressive abilities: the mind meld. In this maneuver, the Vulcan would form a mental bond with someone else, and the two would sync up to the point that they basically shared one consciousness. Researchers at the Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL) in Spain have now shown that humans do something a bit similar – just by having a conversation.

While the team there didn't quite uncover our latent psychic abilities, they did discover that when two people hold a conversation, their brain waves synchronize.

To carry out its research, the team placed pairs of people on either side of an opaque partition and had them hold a scripted conversation. The people in the study were strangers to each other and they were all same-sex pairs. They also took turns as both the listener and the speaker.

All the participants were connected to electroencephalography (EEG) machines which monitored the electrical activity of their brains through electrodes placed on their scalps. Sure enough, once the conversation began, the researchers were able to see that the pair's brainwaves fell in synch. The effect was so pronounced, in fact, that the researchers say they can now actually tell if two people are communicating simply by looking at their EEG results.

"To be able to know if two people are talking between themselves, and even what they are talking about, based solely on their brain activity is something truly marvelous," said team member Jon Andoni Duñabeitia. "Now we can explore new applications, which are highly useful in special communicative contexts, such as in the case of people who have difficulties with communication."

Via Wildcat2030
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 22, 7:54 PM

Science fiction is becoming science fact. The "Vulcan mind meld" may be true.


Russell Roberts


Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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The Benefits of Talking to Yourself

The Benefits of Talking to Yourself | cognition | Scoop.it

A stranger approached me at a grocery store. “Do you need help finding something?” he asked. At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant. Then the realization kicked in: I was talking out loud, to myself, in public. It was a habit I’d grown so comfortable with that I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

The fairly common habit of talking aloud to yourself is what psychologists call external self-talk. And although self-talk is sometimes looked at as just an eccentric quirk, research has found that it can influence behavior and cognition.

“Language provides us with this tool to gain distance from our own experiences when we’re reflecting on our lives. And that’s really why it’s useful,” said Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

When we talk to ourselves we’re trying to see things more objectively, Mr. Kross said, so it matters how you talk to yourself. The two types of self-talk you’re likely most familiar with are instructional self-talk, like talking yourself through a task, and motivational self-talk, like telling yourself, “I can do this.” It might be corny, but motivating yourself out loud can work.
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One study published in Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences researched the effects of both motivational and instructional self-talk on subjects playing basketball. It found that players passed the basketball faster when they motivated themselves through the task out loud.


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Consciousness is not a thing, but a process of inference – Karl Friston | Aeon Essays

Consciousness is not a thing, but a process of inference – Karl Friston | Aeon Essays | cognition | Scoop.it
The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures
FastTFriend's insight:
"I have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfils."
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The Kekulé Problem - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus

The Kekulé Problem - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus | cognition | Scoop.it

Cormac McCarthy is best known to the world as a writer of novels. These include Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road. At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and thought of in complementary terms. An aficionado on subjects ranging from the history of mathematics, philosophical arguments relating to the status of quantum mechanics as a causal theory, comparative evidence bearing on non-human intelligence, and the nature of the conscious and unconscious mind. At SFI we have been searching for the expression of these scientific interests in his novels and we maintain a furtive tally of their covert manifestations and demonstrations in his prose. …


Via Alessandro Cerboni
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The Cognitive Upside of Aging

The Cognitive Upside of Aging | cognition | Scoop.it
Big Data involving thousands and thousands of participants is enabling researchers to track the development of different cognitive skills across the lifespan with increasing accuracy. And the results of these studies bring light to some surprising — and perhaps heartening — findings about the aging brain.
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Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming | cognition | Scoop.it
A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens

Via Xaos
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We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.
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In Hospital ICUs, AI Could Predict Which Patients Are Likely to Die

In Hospital ICUs, AI Could Predict Which Patients Are Likely to Die | cognition | Scoop.it
Hospitals have an understandable goal for their intensive care units: to reduce “dead in bed” events.  

Via THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
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How will it alter staff's decision making?
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Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?

Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? | cognition | Scoop.it
We are in the middle of a technological upheaval that will transform the way society is organized. We must make the right decisions now
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The Function of Reason | Edge.org

The Function of Reason | Edge.org | cognition | Scoop.it
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Contrary to the standard view of reason as a capacity that enhances the individual in his or her cognitive capacities—the standard image is of Rodin’s "Thinker," thinking on his own and discovering new ideas—what we say now is that the basic functions of reason are social.
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On shared false memories: what lies behind the Mandela effect – Caitlin Aamodt | Aeon Ideas

Would you trust a memory that felt as real as all your other memories, and if other people confirmed that they remembered it too? What if the memory turned out to be false? This scenario was named the ‘Mandela effect’ by the self-describe
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