Archive for the ‘Biology of cognition’ Category
Young children think like researchers but lose the feel for the scientific method as they age.
Since the 1990s studies have shown that children think scientifically—making predictions, carrying out mini experiments, reaching conclusions and revising their initial hypotheses in light of new evidence. But while children can play in a way that lets them ascertain cause and effect, and even though they have a rudimentary sense of probability (eight-month-olds are surprised if you reach into a bowl containing four times as many blue marbles as white ones and randomly scoop out a fistful of white ones), it was not clear whether they have an implicit grasp of a key strategy of experimental science: that by isolating variables and testing each independently, you can gain information.
Autopoiesis, Structural Coupling and Cognition: A history of these and other notions in the biology of cognition
My intent in this essay is to reflect on the history of some biological notions such as autopoiesis, structural coupling, and cognition, that I have developed since the early 1960’s as a result of my work on visual perception and the organization of the living. No doubt I shall repeat things that I have said in other publications (Maturana & Varela, 1980, 1988), and I shall present notions that once they are said appear as obvious truisms. Moreover, I shall refine or expand the meaning of such notions, or even modify them. Yet, in any case, the reader is not invited to attend to the truisms, or to what seems to be obvious, rather he or she is invited to attend to the consequences that those notions entail for the understanding of cognition as a biological process. After all, explanations or demonstrations always become self evident once they are understood and accepted, and the purpose of this essay is the expansion of understanding in all dimensions of human existence.