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cognition
How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting stuff
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Digital doppelgangers: Building an army of you - tech - 15 August 2012 - New Scientist

Digital doppelgangers: Building an army of you - tech - 15 August 2012 - New Scientist | cognition | Scoop.it

One morning in Tokyo, Alex Schwartzkopf furrows his brow as he evaluates a grant proposal. At the same time, Alex Schwartzkopf is thousands of kilometres away in Virginia, chatting with a colleague. A knock at the door causes them to look up. Alex Schwartzkopf walks in.

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Homo Sapiens: Who Are We?

Homo Sapiens: Who Are We? | cognition | Scoop.it
This is an attempt to make a small scale science documentary on human evolution. Human evolution is a dynamic subject which is constantly being updated. Black Ryder Films tried to present timely information.
The latest news is that the anatomy of three new fossils (from Koobi Fora in northern Kenya), including a face, lends support to the hypothesis that there were at least two parallel lineages early in the evolutionary history of our own genus, Homo.
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Why We Believe Our Own Lies

Why We Believe Our Own Lies | cognition | Scoop.it

Leon Festinger was an American social psychologist, responsible for the development of the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, which suggests that when people are persuaded to say things and to behave in ways that are inconsistent with their beliefs, an uncomfortable psychological tension is aroused. This tension will lead people to change their beliefs to fit their actual behavior, rather than the other way around, as originally thought.

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Inequality: Why egalitarian societies died out - opinion - 30 July 2012 - New Scientist

FOR 5000 years, humans have grown accustomed to living in societies dominated by the privileged few. But it wasn't always this way. For tens of thousands of years, egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies were widespread. And as a large body of anthropological research shows, long before we organised ourselves into hierarchies of wealth, social status and power, these groups rigorously enforced norms that prevented any individual or group from acquiring more status, authority or resources than others.*

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Mina Bissell: Experiments that point to a new understanding of cancer | Video on TED.com

TED Talks For decades, researcher Mina Bissell pursued a revolutionary idea -- that a cancer cell doesn't automatically become a tumor, but rather, depends on surrounding cells (its microenvironment) for cues on how to develop.
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Graphing the history of philosophy

Graphing the history of philosophy | cognition | Scoop.it

Each philosopher is a node in the network and the lines between them (or edges in the terminology of graph theory) represents lines of influence. The node and text are sized according to the number of connections. The algorithm that visualises the graph also tends to put the better connected nodes in the centre of the diagram so we the most influential philosophers, in large text, clustered in the centre. It all seems about right with the major figures in the western philosophical tradition taking the centre stage. (I need to also add the direction of influence with a arrow head – something I’ve not got round to yet.) A shortcoming however is that this evaluation only takes into account direct lines of influence. Indirect influence via another person in the network does not enter into it. This probably explains why Descartes is smaller than you’d think.

It gets more interesting when we use Gephi to identify communities (or modules) within the network. Roughly speaking it identifies groups of nodes which are more connected with each other than with nodes in other groups. Philosophy has many traditions and schools so a good test would be whether the algorithm picks them out.


Via Martin Daumiller
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An interview with Harry Collins » American Scientist

An interview with Harry Collins » American Scientist | cognition | Scoop.it

I found I wanted to work out how to value expertise without going back to the bad old days where anyone in a white coat was treated as an authority on anything scientific or technological. We have to solve the very hard problem of reconstructing the value of science when we know it can't deliver the certainty that people want. Studying expertise may do the trick.

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Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus - life - 06 February 2012 - New Scientist

Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus - life - 06 February 2012 - New Scientist | cognition | Scoop.it
Whether you want to smash a forehand like Federer, or just be an Xbox hero, there is a shocking short cut to getting the brain of an expert, says Sally...

 

...The first is an intense and focused absorption that makes you lose all sense of time. The second is what is known as autotelicity, the sense that the activity you are engaged in is rewarding for its own sake. The third is finding the "sweet spot", a feeling that your skills are perfectly matched to the task at hand, leaving you neither frustrated nor bored. And finally, flow is characterised by automaticity, the sense that "the piano is playing itself", for example.

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Authors@Google: Gary Marcus

Are we noble in reason? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind -- think duct tape, not supercomputer -- that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature.

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The False Allure Of Group Selection | Conversation | Edge

The False Allure Of Group Selection | Conversation | Edge | cognition | Scoop.it

"I am often asked whether I agree with the new group selectionists, and the questioners are always surprised when I say I do not. After all, group selection sounds like a reasonable extension of evolutionary theory and a plausible explanation of the social nature of humans. Also, the group selectionists tend to declare victory, and write as if their theory has already superseded a narrow, reductionist dogma that selection acts only at the level of genes. In this essay, I'll explain why I think that this reasonableness is an illusion. The more carefully you think about group selection, the less sense it makes, and the more poorly it fits the facts of human psychology and history."

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The City as an Ecosystem

The City as an Ecosystem | cognition | Scoop.it

Cities cannot be meaningfully recognized by their parts – they function as whole – and their character is emergent being co-authored by its communities. Cities are being robbed of their relationship to people and reduced into modular, meaningless items.

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Tribute to Ray Bradbury: Our Best Science Fiction Videos | The Conference Channel Blog

Tribute to Ray Bradbury: Our Best Science Fiction Videos | The Conference Channel Blog | cognition | Scoop.it
The great science fiction writer Ray Bradbury has died at the age of 91. His breadth of work defined the genre: The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, The Golden Apples of the Sun, Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

“By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream,” wrote Gerald Jonas in the New York Times.

In tribute to this literary icon, we’ve gathered a few of our best videos on science fiction. Enjoy!

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Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree | Video on TED.com

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

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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.

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What is the “New Thinking” about Human Cognitive Evolution ...

What is the “New Thinking” about Human Cognitive Evolution ... | cognition | Scoop.it
In 2011, a conference convened to discuss what they labeled as the “New Thinking” (NT) about human cognitive evolution. The NT challenges many tenets of how evolutionary psychology has been pursued over the last ...

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danijel drnić's comment, March 2, 2013 5:01 PM
About neuroplasticity. Let's take one story with main character in it one ancient man. And by the accident he was felt in wild river. But he falls down on plank and survived. What happens next is he just think over it as he somehow manage to survive by staying on that log. What we can see from this storey. In modern day, modern human will think well I could build a boat from this log, or I will make book shells, or comfy chair, but ancient man was just in let's say plan B. The plan B was telling him 'I has to stay on this log !', so he did. Same would happen if we put the cat on floating plank, result would be the same. When we talk about plasticity I think on other things that hap pend in our brains. If we take one example I was suggested ones to my math teacher that if we think for the ball as the cube we can extract squares from it and turn it back to ball. That is real plasticity means. Our imagination provides us with that talent. So I don't like neuroplasticity in terms for close cognitions mechanisms but something more older and i builded in us. We have make a mistake ones upon a time, long long time ago. We start to draw things and talk about them. That was a big mistake.
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Selfish Sheep Seek the Center - ScienceNOW

Selfish Sheep Seek the Center - ScienceNOW | cognition | Scoop.it
Selfish Sheep Seek the Center - ScienceNOW...

Via Elliot Brown
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What Is Life? A 21st Century Perspective | Conversation | Edge

What Is Life? A 21st Century Perspective | Conversation | Edge | cognition | Scoop.it

J. CRAIG VENTER: I was asked earlier whether the goal is to dissect what Schrödinger had spoken and written, or to present the new summary, and I always like to be forward-looking, so I won't give you a history lesson except for very briefly. I will present our findings on first on reading the genetic code, and then learning to synthesize and write the genetic code, and as many of you know, we synthesized an entire genome, booted it up to create an entirely new synthetic cell where every protein in the cell was based on the synthetic DNA code.

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Benjamin's Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Richard Kazis

Benjamin's Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Richard Kazis | cognition | Scoop.it

“Marx says that revolutions are the locomotives of world history. But the situation may be quite different. Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake.”
—Walter Benjamin, fragment from The Arcades

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How You Feel What Another Body Feels: Scientific American

How You Feel What Another Body Feels: Scientific American | cognition | Scoop.it

When a friend hits her thumb with a hammer, you don't have to put much effort into imagining how this feels. You know it immediately. You will probably tense up, your "Ouch!" may arise even quicker than your friend's, and chances are that you will feel a little pain yourself.

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What Happens When We Turn the World's Most Famous Robot Test on Ourselves?

What Happens When We Turn the World's Most Famous Robot Test on Ourselves? | cognition | Scoop.it
For years the Turing Test has been used to compare humans with computers. Now sociologists are using it to compare humans with each other.

Via Alessandro Cerboni
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The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains | cognition | Scoop.it

"All observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar” [Benjamin Whorf] (...) The crucial point is that everything that we see in the right half of our vision is processed in the left hemisphere of our brain, and everything we see in the left half is processed by the right hemisphere. And for most of us, the left brain is stronger at processing language. So perhaps the language savvy half of our brain is helping us out. (...)

 

Among those who were the fastest at identifying the odd color, English speakers showed no left brain / right brain distinction, whereas Korean speakers did. It’s plausible that their left brain was attuned to the distinction between yeondu and chorok. (...)

Language is somehow enhancing your left brain’s ability to discern different colors with different names. Cultural forces alter our perception in ever so subtle a way, by gently tugging our visual leanings in different directions. (...)

 

As infant brains are rewiring themselves to absorb our visual language, the seat of categorical processing jumps hemispheres from the right brain to the left. And it stays here throughout adulthood. Their brains are furiously re-categorizing the world, until mysteriously, something finally clicks into place."


Via Amira
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Schematic processing and the Limits of Human Cognition

Schematic processing and the Limits of Human Cognition | cognition | Scoop.it
Schematic information processing is a tactic humans have evolved that relies on our information storage strengths, and sidesteps our processing weaknesses. Human beings store information in cognitive "structures" known ...

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Neuroskeptic: Kids Today Are Not Inattentive

Neuroskeptic: Kids Today Are Not Inattentive | cognition | Scoop.it

More debunking of the digital-natives-have-damaged-attention-spans hype -- Howard

 

"There's no evidence that children today are less attentive or more distractible than kids in the past, according to research just published by a team of Pennsylvania psychologists: Long-Term Temporal Stability of Measured Inattention and Impulsivity in Typical and Referred Children."


Via Howard Rheingold
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With Science, New Portrait of the Cave Artist

With Science, New Portrait of the Cave Artist | cognition | Scoop.it
Paintings on cave walls in northwestern Spain are far older than previously thought — some of them more than 40,000 years old, scientists said, raising a possibility that Neanderthals were the artists.
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