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cognition
How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting trends
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The Death of “Near Death”: Even If Heaven Is Real, You Aren’t Seeing It | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

The Death of “Near Death”: Even If Heaven Is Real, You Aren’t Seeing It | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | cognition | Scoop.it

Why would the brain react to death (or even imagined death) in such a way? Well, death is a scary thing. Scientific accounts of the NDE characterize it as the body’s psychological and physiological response mechanism to such fear, producing chemicals in the brain that calm the individual while inducing euphoric sensations to reduce trauma.

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Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution

Origins of Us: Human Anatomy and Evolution | cognition | Scoop.it

We are all members of a very special species. Whilst our anatomy and physiology is undoubtedly that of an ape, we have done things that no other ape can do, and become the most successful ape on the planet. Today, our global population numbers almost seven billion; we survive and thrive everywhere from the tropics to the Arctic.
So just what is it that makes us so special? In some ways we are so similar to our closest cousins, chimpanzees, but it’s also clear that we are a world apart. But we can understand ourselves, how we got to where we are today, by going back into our deep past, to the time when we were just another African ape. And then tracing the small changes that over time, and unpredictably, led to us becoming human.
The answers to the question of ‘what makes us human?’ lie buried in the ground in the form of fossils and traces of our ancestors, but also lie deep within the form and function of our bodies.

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Reasoning Is Sharper in a Foreign Language: Scientific American

Reasoning Is Sharper in a Foreign Language: Scientific American | cognition | Scoop.it
We might be least rational about money in our native tongues...

 

“When people use a foreign language, their decisions tend to be less biased, more analytic, more systematic, because the foreign language provides psychological distance,”

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Sarah Blaffer Hrdy - Mothers and Others

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy presents a new vision of human evolution and to argue that our capacity to understand, engage and empathise with each other stems from our status as a cooperatively parenting species.

 

 

NB: Due to copyright issues, the RSA has substituted other images for those actually used in the lecture. 

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How to Create a Mind

How to Create a Mind | cognition | Scoop.it

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential – and often controversial – futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization-reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.
Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.
Certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books of the year, How to Create a Mind is sure to take its place alongside Kurzweil’s previous classics.

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What makes us intelligent?

What makes us intelligent? | cognition | Scoop.it

The mind relies on the world as a better record than memory, and usually that's a good assumption.

 

As a result, philosophers have suggested that the mind is designed to spread itself out over the environment. So much so that, they suggest, the thinking is really happening in the environment as much as it is happening in our brains. The philosopher Andy Clark called humans "natural born cyborgs", beings with minds that naturally incorporate new tools, ideas and abilities. From Clark's perspective, the route to a solution is not the issue – having the right tools really does mean you know the answers, just as much as already knowing the answer

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Scientists Probe Human Nature--and Discover We Are Good, After All: Scientific American

Scientists Probe Human Nature--and Discover We Are Good, After All: Scientific American | cognition | Scoop.it
Recent studies find our first impulses are selfless...

 

A new set of studies provides compelling data allowing us to analyze human nature not through a philosopher’s kaleidoscope or a TV producer’s camera, but through the clear lens of science. These studies were carried out by a diverse group of researchers from Harvard and Yale—a developmental psychologist with a background in evolutionary game theory, a moral philosopher-turned-psychologist, and a biologist-cum-mathematician—interested in the same essential question: whether our automatic impulse—our first instinct—is to act selfishly or cooperatively.

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Imaging Conflict Resolution | Conversation | Edge

Imaging Conflict Resolution | Conversation | Edge | cognition | Scoop.it

The advantage of neuroscience is being able to look under the hood and see the mechanisms that actually create the thoughts and the behaviors that create and perpetuate conflict. Seems like it ought to be useful. That's the question that I'm asking myself right now, can science in general, or neuroscience in particular, be used to understand what drives conflict, what prevents reconciliation, why some interventions work for some people some of the time, and how to make and evaluate better ones.

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The Authority of Ideas

The Authority of Ideas | cognition | Scoop.it

What will historians say about us 250 years from now? Larry Summers, former Harvard University president and economic adviser to President Obama, asks this question in a thought-provoking eSeminar about the evolution of ideas and the critical importance of education in an increasingly multi-faceted world.
This will be a moment in history when the world evolved from a world governed by the idea of authority to a world governed by the authority of ideas, says Summers. Then he tells you how to be a part of the next great revolution.

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From Quanta to Qualia: The Mystery of Reality (Part 4) - Huffington Post (blog)

From Quanta to Qualia: The Mystery of Reality (Part 4) - Huffington Post (blog) | cognition | Scoop.it
From Quanta to Qualia: The Mystery of Reality (Part 4)Huffington Post (blog)This is the concept of a living cosmos that did not need to evolve to produce life on Earth. Rather ...

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Social Media Explained by Donuts

Social Media Explained by Donuts | cognition | Scoop.it

Photo by douglaswray http://instagram.com/p/nm695/#


Via Joyce Valenza, Ann Vega, Kalani Kirk Hausman, Susan Davis Cushing
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Visual Storytelling: A New Series from Column Five

Visual Storytelling: A New Series from Column Five | cognition | Scoop.it
Visual thinking can be applied to anything. The way we think about things visually is a matter of perspective. And perspective is the source of all great storytelling.

With our new Visual Storytelling series, we use information design and data visualization to bring a new perspective to the stories of everyday life. Some pieces will be serious, some humorous, but the aim is to provide a new way of telling stories that we can all relate to...


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Shyam Sankar: The rise of human-computer cooperation | Video on TED.com

Brute computing force alone can’t solve the world’s problems.


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Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The future will not be cool

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The future will not be cool | cognition | Scoop.it
Close your eyes and try to imagine your future surroundings in, say, five, 10 or 25 years. Odds are your imagination will produce new things in it, things we call innovation, improvements, killer technologies and other inelegant and hackneyed words from the business jargon. These common concepts concerning innovation, we will see, are not just offensive aesthetically, but they are nonsense both empirically and philosophically.

Why? Odds are that your imagination will be adding things to the present world. I am sorry, but this approach is exactly backward: the way to do it rigorously is to take away from the future, reduce from it, simply, things that do not belong to the coming times.

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Poor Us: an animated history - Why Poverty

Poor Us: an animated history - Why Poverty | cognition | Scoop.it
Amazing documentaries about poverty. Stories that encourage people to start asking questions about poverty. Watch the films and add your voice to the debate.
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Aldous Huxley interview-1958 (FULL)

A rare 1958 interview from the author of "Brave New World" Thank you for watching.
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Raising Darwin’s Consciousness: Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on the Evolutionary Lessons of Motherhood | The Primate Diaries, Scientific American Blog Network

Raising Darwin’s Consciousness: Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on the Evolutionary Lessons of Motherhood | The Primate Diaries, Scientific American Blog Network | cognition | Scoop.it

The recent approach her work has taken with Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding offers nothing less than a reorientation of what it means to be human. If, as Hrdy proposes, we are a species that has thrived as a result of cooperative breeding–a childrearing strategy in which a network of individuals helps to raise a healthy child–it challenges many of the individualist assumptions that Western society is based on, particularly in the United States. How we can shift our society to reemphasize community will be the project that this generation will grapple with. Fortunately, there are scholars like Hrdy to offer their insight so that we won’t feel all alone while we do.

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Collective Intelligence | Conversation | Edge

Collective Intelligence | Conversation | Edge | cognition | Scoop.it

THOMAS W. MALONE is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. He was also the founding director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science and one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century".

Pretty much everything I'm doing now falls under the broad umbrella that I'd call collective intelligence. What does collective intelligence mean? It's important to realize that intelligence is not just something that happens inside individual brains. It also arises with groups of individuals. In fact, I'd define collective intelligence as groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent. By that definition, of course, collective intelligence has been around for a very long time. Families, companies, countries, and armies: those are all examples of groups of people working together in ways that at least sometimes seem intelligent.


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How HiveMind’s Will Wright plans to crowdsource your happiness (interview) | Transmedia: Storytelling for the Digital Age

How HiveMind’s Will Wright plans to crowdsource your happiness (interview) | Transmedia: Storytelling for the Digital Age | cognition | Scoop.it
Will Wright’s games from SimCity to The Sims have sold more than 100 million units. That’s why people are paying attention to his new startup and game idea, HiveMind...

Via Anthea Foyer, AAEEBL
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How Long Will a Lie Last? New Study Finds That False Memories Linger for Years | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

How Long Will a Lie Last? New Study Finds That False Memories Linger for Years | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | cognition | Scoop.it

True memories fade and false ones appear.

The advantage of neuroscience is being able to look under the hood and see the mechanisms that actually create the thoughts and the behaviors that create and perpetuate conflict. Seems like it ought to be useful. That's the question that I'm asking myself right now, can science in general, or neuroscience in particular, be used to understand what drives conflict, what prevents reconciliation, why some interventions work for some people some of the time, and how to make and evaluate better ones.

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Neurologist Probes the Mind for Clues to End Conflicts: Scientific American

Neurologist Probes the Mind for Clues to End Conflicts: Scientific American | cognition | Scoop.it
Could neuroscience hold the key to breaking down psychological barriers between groups in conflict?
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The Psychology of Everything

The Psychology of Everything | cognition | Scoop.it

Give Paul Bloom one hour, and he’ll teach you “the psychology of everything,” illustrating some of the most fundamental elements of human nature through case studies about compassion, racism, and sex.
He discusses some of the biggest questions in the nature versus nurture debate, including “Are we hard-wired to care about others?”
Bloom points out why stereotyping can be both detrimental and beneficial, and he even explains what the porn preference of monkeys tells us about our own sexual choosiness, or lack thereof.
After the hour is up you’ll understand why Bloom calls psychology, because of its cross-disciplinary nature, “the perfect liberal arts major.”

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Rolling Jubilee

Rolling Jubilee | cognition | Scoop.it
A bailout of the people, by the people. We legally buy debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, we abolish it.
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Isaac Asimov on Bill Moyers World of Ideas pt 1

1988 Interview with Isaac Asimov by Bill Moyers - about learning, computers, religion, population growth, the universe..
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Asimov on the future of having access to knowledge from one's home computer.
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60 Second Adventures

60 Second Adventures | cognition | Scoop.it
A short look at different adventures in thought, economics and religion. Can a cat be both alive and dead? Can a computer think?
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