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)
A UCLA researcher says science shows that as people earn more money, they become more individualistic and less community oriented. As a result, they seem to donate less of their time and money, proportionally, than poorer people.
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-mindedimmersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one's emotions.
Flow has many of the same characteristics as (the positive aspects of) hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in such universally glowing terms. For examples, some cases of spending "too much" time playing video games, or of getting side-tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of the assignment in general. In some cases, hyperfocus can "grab" a person, perhaps causing him to appear unfocused or to start several projects, but complete few.
Computational Creativity (also known as Artificial Creativity, Mechanical Creativity and Creative Computation) is a multidisciplinary endeavour that is located at the intersection of the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Philosophy and the Arts.
Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways. Cognitive biases can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics.
Although the reality of these biases is confirmed by replicable research, there are often controversies about how to classify these biases or how to explain them. Some are effects of information-processing rules (i.e. mental shortcuts), called heuristics, that the brain uses to produce decisions or judgments. Such effects are called cognitive biases. Biases in judgment or decision-making can also result from motivation, such as when beliefs are distorted by wishful thinking. Some biases have a variety of cognitive ("cold") or motivational ("hot") explanations. Both effects can be present at the same time.
There are also controversies as to whether some of these biases count as truly irrational or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. This kind of confirmation bias has been argued to be an example of social skill: a way to establish a connection with the other person.
Viewing empathy as a choice, I think, reframes the science of this phenomenon. Psychologists tend to focus on people’s ability to empathize—for instance, measuring how people measure on traits such as emotional intelligence. On this view, some people are simply good at reading others, and some are not. I call this the “Roddenberry Hypothesis” because it is embedded in the character structure of Star Trek, The Next Generation (indisputably the best television show of all time). TNG’s cast includes Deanna Troi—a Betazoid known throughout the galaxy for sharing and understanding others’ feelings—and Data—an android who can no more empathize than you or I can jump tall buildings. Scientists long shared Roddenberry’s assumption that empathy is (1) automatic, and (2) stable. Increasingly, I believe that a more important trait is not how good a person is at empathizing, but how motivated they are to engage with others in the first place.
There has been much speculation about the future of humanity in the face of super-humanly intelligent machines. Most of the dystopian scenarios seem to be driven by plain fear that entities arise that could be smarter and stronger than us. After all, how are we supposed to know which goals the machines will be driven by? Is it possible to have “friendly” AI? If we attempt to turn them off, will they care? Would they care about their own survival in the first place?
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent belief in an impending apocalypse. Festinger subsequently (1957) published a book called A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in which he outlines the theory. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. Cognitive dissonance is the distressing mental state that people feel when they "find themselves doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold." A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction," which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.
Participants from left to right: Jean-François Gariépy, John Kubie, Kenneth S. Kosik, Leanne Boucher and Steven Miller.
"1:20" The importance of evolution. "2:53" What is an animal? "8:41" What is the difference between a colony and an animal? "13:29" The Cambrian explosion. "16:29" The diversity of non-bilaterians. "21:34" The rudiments of a nervous system. "28:24" Genes related to the synapse are already present in sponges. "32:52" In situ hybridization reveals the RNA produced from genes. "41:42" A highly-conserved protein. "53:07" Genes turned on and off together during development. "1:09:31" How nervous systems opened a new ecological niche for animals.
In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
The brain performs its canonical task — learning — by tweaking its myriad connections according to a secret set of rules. To unlock these secrets, scientists 30 years ago began developing computer models that try to replicate the learning process. Now, a growing number of experiments are revealing that these models behave strikingly similar to actual brains when performing certain tasks. Researchers say the similarities suggest a basic correspondence between the brains’ and computers’ underlying learning algorithms.
Formal Theory of Creativity & Fun & Intrinsic Motivation (1990-2010) by Jürgen Schmidhuber
Since 1990 JS has built curious, creative agents that may be viewed as simple artificial scientists & artists with an intrinsic desire to explore the world by continually inventing new experiments. They never stop generating novel & surprising stuff, and consist of two learning modules: (A) an adaptive predictor or compressor or model of the growing data history as the agent is interacting with its environment, and (B) a general reinforcement learner (RL) selecting the actions that shape the history. The learning progress of (A) can be precisely measured and is the agent's fun: the intrinsic reward of (B). That is, (B) is motivated to learn to invent interesting things that (A) does not yet know but can easily learn. To maximize future expected reward, in the absence of external reward such as food, (B) learns more and more complex behaviors that yield initially surprising (but eventually boring) novel patterns that make (A) quickly improve. Many papers on this since 1990 can be found here - key papers include those of 1991, 1995, 1997(2002), 2006, 2007, 2011 (see also bottom of this page). The agents embody a simple, but general, formal theory of fun & creativity explaining essential aspects of human or non-human intelligence, including selective attention, science, art, music, humor
For many scientists studying empathy, this is the million-dollar question. Is empathy fixed, or can scientists offer ways to increase it? This is especially critical in domains where empathy is often lacking, such as our increasingly polarized political arena or (if memory serves) middle school. Interestingly, evidence that empathy can change comes from a recent study bleakly demonstrating that college students’ self-reported empathy has plummeted over the last 40 years. The good news is that what goes down can also come up: if empathy is malleable, there should be ways to systematically increase it. But how?
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