Archive for the ‘Cognition’ Category
Every year for more than a decade, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman has been asking the era’s greatest thinkers a single annual question, designed to illuminate some important aspect of how we understand the world. In 2010, he asked how the Internet is changing the way we think. In 2011, with the help of psycholinguist Steven Pinker and legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman, he posed an even grander question: What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? The answers, featuring a wealth of influential scientists, authors, and thought-architects, were recently released in This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking – a formidable anthology of short essays by 151 of our time’s biggest thinkers on subjects as diverse as the power of networks, cognitive humility, the paradoxes of daydreaming, information flow, collective intelligence, and a dizzying, mind-expanding range in between. Together, they construct a powerful toolkit of meta-cognition — a new way to think about thinking itself.
Cognitive loss and brain degeneration currently affect millions of adults, and the number will increase, given the population of aging baby boomers. Today, nearly 20 percent of people age 65 or older suffer from mild cognitive impairment and 10 percent have dementia.
UCLA scientists previously developed a brain-imaging tool to help assess the neurological changes associated with these conditions. The UCLA team now reports in the February issue of the journal Archives of Neurology that the brain-scan technique effectively tracked and predicted cognitive decline over a two-year period.
Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found. Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents’ income, education and the overall amount of parent language input.
“The children who played with puzzles performed better than those who did not, on tasks that assessed their ability to rotate and translate shapes,” said psychologist Susan Levine, a leading expert on mathematics development in young children.
The received wisdom amongst scientifically-minded psychologists is that Freud is passé – a sad case of theoretical speculation gone wild. There is something right about this bleak assessment, but there is also more than a little wrong with it. Compare it with the view of Freud offered by Clark Glymour, a noted philosopher of science, in a paper entitled “Freud’s androids.” “Freud’s writings contain a philosophy of mind,” writes Glymour in a paper, “and indeed a philosophy of mind that addresses many of the issues about the mental that nowadays concern philosophers and ought to concern psychologists.”
“Freud’s thinking about the issues in philosophy of mind is often better than much of what goes on in contemporary philosophy, and it is sometimes ad good as the best. Some of this is dated, of course, by the limits of Freud’s scientific knowledge, but even when Freud had the wrong answer to a question, or refused to give an answer, he knew what the question was. And when he was deeply wrong, it was often for reasons that still make parts of cognitive psychology wrong.”
This book offers the reader an engrossing and coherent introduction to what neuroscience can tell us about cognitive development through experience, and its implications for education. Stating that educational change is underway and that the time is ripe to recognize that the primary objective of education is to understand human learning and that all other objectives depend on achieving this understanding, James Zull challenges the reader to focus on this purpose, first for her or himself, and then for those for whose learning they are responsible. In this work presents cognitive development as a journey taken by the brain, from an organ of organized cells, blood vessels, and chemicals at birth, through its shaping by experience and environment into potentially to the most powerful and exquisite force in the universe, the human mind. Zull begins his journey with sensory-motor learning, and how that leads to discovery, and discovery to emotion. He then describes how deeper learning develops, how symbolic systems such as language and numbers emerge as tools for thought, how memory builds a knowledge base, and how memory is then used to create ideas and solve problems. Along the way he prompts us to think of new ways to shape educational experiences from early in life through adulthood, informed by the insight that metacognition lies at the root of all learning. At a time when we can expect to change jobs and careers frequently during our lifetime, when technology is changing society at break-neck speed, and we have instant access to almost infinite information and opinion, he argues that self-knowledge, awareness of how and why we think as we do, and the ability to adapt and learn, are critical to our survival as individuals; and that the transformation of education, in the light of all this and what neuroscience can tell us, is a key element in future development of healthy and productive societies
It has been said that creative intelligence is the ability to invent goals, projects, and plans-in other words, we might say, to invent the future. A reasonable assumption is that the creative process consists of the formation of new cognits (brain circuits) , that is, new network representations in the cortex. These representations result mostly from divergent thinking as opposed to convert thinking. Convergent thinking consists of inductive and deductive reasoning, which converge towards logical inferences and the solution of problems. Divergent thinking, on the other hand, is free of logical constraints, autonomous and to some extent free-floating, reliant on the imagination, and minimally anchored in the immediate reality. Creative cognits emerge mainly from divergent thinking ….
Read also: Cortex and mind: unifying cognition
This book presents a unique synthesis of the current neuroscience of cognition by one of the world’s authorities in the field. The guiding principle to this synthesis is the tenet that the entirety of our knowledge is encoded by relations, and thus by connections, in neuronal networks of our cerebral cortex. Cognitive networks develop by experience on a base of widely dispersed modular cell assemblies representing elementary sensations and movements. As they develop cognitive networks organize themselves hierarchically by order of complexity or abstraction of their content. Because networks intersect profusely, sharing commong nodes, a neuronal assembly anywhere in the cortex can be part of many networks, and therefore many items of knowledge. All cognitive functions consist of neural transactions within and between cognitive networks. After reviewing the neurobiology and architecture of cortical networks (also named cognits), the author undertakes a systematic study of cortical dynamics in each of the major cognitive functions–perception, memory, attention, language, and intelligence….
Too much memory, attention or willpower, instead of making us into uber-geeks, might drive us the way of the wooly mammoth. Our gift as a species—what brought us on an evolutionary track from the Flintstones to Steve Jobs — relates to our capacity to allocate just enough cognitive resources to the task at hand to get the job done.
Most of today’s cognitive enhancers improve our ability to focus—but most benefits accrue to those with attention deficits. They allow the child with ADHD to learn the multiplication tables, but for those with average attention spans or better, these drugs can sometimes usher in comic mishaps.
We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know. Most of the time, [trying to judge the validity of our own judgements] is not worth doing. But when the stakes are high, my guess is that asking for the advice of other people is better than criticising yourself, because other people are more likely – if they’re intelligent and knowledgeable – to understand your motives and your needs.
I’m not a great believer in self-help. The role of my book is to educate gossip, to make people more sophisticated in the way they think about the decisions and judgments of other people, which is easy and pleasant to do. If we have a society in which people had a richer language in which to talk about these issues, I think it would have an indirect effect on people’s decisions, because we constantly anticipate the gossip of others.
Written by two leading experts in the field, this book takes a unique thematic approach to introduce concepts of cognitive neurosciences, guiding students along a clear path to understand the latest findings whether or not they have a background in neuroscience. New to this edition are Frontiers in Cognitive Neuroscience text boxes; each one focuses on a leading researcher and their topic of expertise. There is a new chapter on Genes and Molecules of Cognition, and all other chapters have been thoroughly revised, based on the most recent discoveries. New edition of a very successful textbook completely revised to reflect new advances, and feedback from adopters and students. A textbook with an easy-to-understand thematic approach: in a way that is clear for students from a variety of academic backgrounds, the text introduces concepts such as working memory, selective attention, and social cognition. A step-by-step guide for introducing students to brain anatomy: color graphics have been carefully selected to illustrate all points and the research explained. Beautifully clear artist’s drawings are used to ‘build a brain‘ from top to bottom, simplifying the layout of the brain. For students: An easy-to-read, complete introduction to mind-brain science: all chapters begin from mind-brain functions and build a coherent picture of their brain basis. A single, widely accepted functional framework is used to capture the major phenomena. Learning Aids include a student support site with study guides and exercises, a new Mini-Atlas of the Brain and a full Glossary of technical terms and their definitions. Richly illustrated with hundreds of carefully selected color graphics to enhance understanding.
Cognitive neuroscience proposes that the quality of an external object is always already projected onto that object by the neuronal activity of the brain. What cognitive neuroscience lacks is a historical context, likewise what cultural studies lacks is an organic basis. An interaction between psychoanalysis, linguistics, philosophy, cultural studies, and cognitive neuroscience can break out of the closure of the humanities and give birth to the link which has come to be considered missing, between nature and nurture, organic and inorganic, empirical and conceptual, epistemological and ontological, transcendental and immanent, the objective and the subjective.