Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on intelligence and behavior, especially focusing on how information is represented, processed, and transformed (in faculties such as perception, language, memory, reasoning, and emotion) within nervous systems (human or other animal) and machines (e.g. computers). Cognitive science consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. The fundamental concept of cognitive science is "that thinking can best be understood in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures." Wikipedia (en)
Within the Flow Machines project we organize a workshop about "creativity and universal features in language and music".
This workshop will gather prominent specialists in mathematical physics, linguistics and computer science. During 2.5, days we will seek for possible convergence between different viewpoints on these fascinating issues.
WHEN: 18-20 June 2014
WHERE: Central Tower, Last Floor, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 place Jussieu 75252 - Paris
Due to recent advances in synthetic biology and artificial life, the origin of life is currently a hot topic of research. We review the literature and argue that the two traditionally competing replicator-first and metabolism-first approaches are merging into one integrated theory of individuation and evolution. We contribute to the maturation of this more inclusive approach by highlighting some problematic assumptions that still lead to an ximpoverished conception of the phenomenon of life. In particular, we argue that the new consensus has so far failed to consider the relevance of intermediate time scales. We propose that an adequate theory of life must account for the fact that all living beings are situated in at least four distinct time scales, which are typically associated with metabolism, motility, development, and evolution. In this view, self-movement, adaptive behavior, and morphological changes could have already been present at the origin of life. In order to illustrate this possibility, we analyze a minimal model of lifelike phenomena, namely, of precarious, individuated, dissipative structures that can be found in simple reaction-diffusion systems. Based on our analysis, we suggest that processes on intermediate time scales could have already been operative in prebiotic systems. They may have facilitated and constrained changes occurring in the faster- and slower-paced time scales of chemical self-individuation and evolution by natural selection, respectively.
In the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities.
The human connectome has been widely studied over the past decade. A principal finding is that it can be decomposed into communities of densely interconnected brain regions. Past studies have often used single-scale modularity measures in order to infer the connectome's community structure, possibly overlooking interesting structure at other organizational scales. In this report, we used the partition stability framework, which defines communities in terms of a Markov process (random walk), to infer the connectome's multi-scale community structure. Comparing the community structure to observed resting-state functional connectivity revealed communities across a broad range of scales that were closely related to functional connectivity. This result suggests a mapping between communities in structural networks, models of influence-spreading and diffusion, and brain function. It further suggests that the spread of influence among brain regions may not be limited to a single characteristic scale.
Multi-scale community organization of the human structural connectome and its relationship with resting-state functional connectivity RICHARD F. BETZEL, ALESSANDRA GRIFFA, ANDREA AVENA-KOENIGSBERGER, JOAQUÍN GOÑI, JEAN-PHILIPPE THIRAN, PATRIC HAGMANN, OLAF SPORNS Network Science , Volume 1 , Issue 03 , December 2013, pp 353 - 373 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/nws.2013.19
The signatories of this declaration call upon nation states to take action. Intelligence agencies must be subjected to transparency and accountability. People must be free from blanket mass surveillance conducted by intelligence agencies from their own or foreign countries. States must effectively protect everyone's fundamental rights and freedoms, and particularly everyone's privacy.
If you are an academic and you would like to sign the declaration, please email info (at) academicsagainstsurveillance.net with your name, academic function and university in the subject line.
Conveying scientific content with accuracy and fluency takes practice and requires deep understanding of the concepts being conveyed. This depth of knowledge comes from internalizing information and constructing it into a form that is unique and coherent to the individual. Often in science classrooms there is little or no opportunity for students to practice this type of thinking, activities that we believe are fundamental to effective science communication. This article describes the use of haiku – a 17 syllable poem – as a means for students to convey neurobiological concepts in a succinct manner by forcing them to focus on the most salient features of the observed processes. In our assignments haiku writing was successfully paired with explanations of the students’ thought processes (Addiction course) or the scientific evidence to support claims (Neurodegenerative Disease course). We provide examples of student haiku and explanations as evidence of the power of this approach. The coupling of poetry and prose together create rich, accurate descriptions of scientific phenomena by encouraging higher-order thinking. Poetry writing can thus be used across the curriculum to forge comprehension of complex ideas in any discipline and to bridge the arts and the sciences.
We frame the question of what kind of subjective experience a brain simulation would have in contrast to a biological brain. We discuss the brain prosthesis thought experiment. We evaluate how the experience of the brain simulation might differ from the biological, according to a number of hypotheses about experience and the properties of simulation. Then, we identify finer questions relating to the original inquiry, and answer them from both a general physicalist, and panexperientialist perspective.
Where does morality come from -- physically, in the brain? In this talk neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it "the moral molecule") is responsible for trust, empathy, and other feelings that help build a stable society.
Early psychiatry investigated dreams to understand psychopathologies. Contemporary psychiatry, which neglects dreams, has been criticized for lack of objectivity. In search of quantitative insight into the structure of psychotic speech, we investigated speech graph attributes (SGA) in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder type I, and non-psychotic controls as they reported waking and dream contents. Schizophrenic subjects spoke with reduced connectivity, in tight correlation with negative and cognitive symptoms measured by standard psychometric scales. Bipolar and control subjects were undistinguishable by waking reports, but in dream reports bipolar subjects showed significantly less connectivity. Dream-related SGA outperformed psychometric scores or waking-related data for group sorting. Altogether, the results indicate that online and offline processing, the two most fundamental modes of brain operation, produce nearly opposite effects on recollections: While dreaming exposes differences in the mnemonic records across individuals, waking dampens distinctions. The results also demonstrate the feasibility of the differential diagnosis of psychosis based on the analysis of dream graphs, pointing to a fast, low-cost and language-invariant tool for psychiatric diagnosis and the objective search for biomarkers. The Freudian notion that “dreams are the royal road to the unconscious” is clinically useful, after all.
Emotions are often felt in the body, and somatosensory feedback has been proposed to trigger conscious emotional experiences. Here we reveal maps of bodily sensations associated with different emotions using a unique topographical self-report method. In five experiments, participants (n = 701) were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions. They were asked to color the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing while viewing each stimulus. Different emotions were consistently associated with statistically separable bodily sensation maps across experiments. These maps were concordant across West European and East Asian samples. Statistical classifiers distinguished emotion-specific activation maps accurately, confirming independence of topographies across emotions. We propose that emotions are represented in the somatosensory system as culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions.
We present the experimental structure of the book Il film delle emozioni (‘The movie of emotions’, 2007), which makes an attempt at using a narrative structure for communicating the most recent scientific knowledge relative to the functioning of the brain (the amygdala) and, particularly, to emotion management. This book can be defined as an essay on emotions in the form of a novel. The book is borderline literature that mixes registers and genres: the novel, an autobiography, a scientific paper about emotions, a diary, an emotional trainer, rich of link and bibliographic references, but also a manual on how to live. The book structure is composite: is not divided in chapters, but is a digital miscellany, made up of a variety of materials (i.e., computer files). A feature of the novel is that its structure is not causal, instead it is conceived and realized to convey the novel’s themes and some scientific findings and theories, whose some examples will be given.
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