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Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

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This critical history of research on acquired language deficits (aphasias) demonstrates the usefulness of linguistic analysis of aphasic syndrome for neuropsychology, linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Drawing on new empirical studies, Grodzinsky concludes that the use of grammatical tools for the description of the aphasias is critical. The selective nature of these deficits offers a novel view into the inner workings of our language faculty and the mechanisms that support it.

In contrast to other proposals that the left anterior cerebral cortex is crucial for all syntactic capacity, Grodzinsky's discoveries support his theory that this region is necessary for only a small component of the human language faculty. On this basis he provides a detailed explanation for many aphasic phenomena—including a number of puzzling cross-linguistic aphasia differences—and uses aphasic data to evaluate competing linguistic theories.

Theoretical Perspectives on Language Deficits is included in the series Biology of Language and Cognition, edited by John P. Marshall. A Bradford Book.

Selected Research

Constraint logic programming, the notion of computing with partial information, is becoming recognized as a way of dramatically improving on the current generation of programming languages. This collection presents the best of current work on all aspects of constraint logic programming languages, from theory through language implementation.

Beginning in the mid-1980s constraint logic programming became a powerful and essential theoretical concept whose first practical application was the development of efficient programming languages based on Prolog. Benhamou and Colmerauer have taken care to illustrate the strong links between current research and existing CLP languages. The first part of the book focuses on significant theoretical studies that propose general models for constraint programming, and the two following parts develop current ideas on themes derived from these languages (numerical constraints, Booleans, and other finite domains). The concluding part on CLP language design gathers work on original constraints and on top-level implementation.

Toward a Social History of Soviet Psychology

What function can a science of psychology serve in a utopian society whose ideological foundations already contain a theory of human nature? This is the question that has dominated the history of Soviet psychology—a history that Alex Kozulin decodes in this book.

Following an introduction that discusses the problems of deciphering the real content of scientific work produced in an ideological context, the author reviews the work and the fate of the first four generations of Soviet psychologists: those who came of age before the Revolution, during the heady days of the 1920s, in the midst of the Stalin era, and the most recent, contemporary generation.

Six case studies provide a better understanding of the ideas and methods of Soviet psychology: the careers of Ivan Pavlov and Vladimir Bekhterev; the roots of non-Pavlovian psychophysiology in the work of Nikolai Bernstein; the ups and downs of the concept of the unconscious; the origins of Lev Vygotsky's epistemological theories; Pavel Blonsky and the development of Soviet educational psychology; and the effects of de-Stalinization in educational psychology and other areas.

These six original essays focus on a potentially important aspect of evolutionary biology, the possible causal role of phenotypic behavior in evolution. Balancing theory with actual or potential empiricism, they provide the first full examination of this topic.

Plotkin's opening chapter outlines the "conceptual minefields" that the contributors attempt to negotiate: What is an adequate theory of evolution? What is behavior and is it possible to maintain a distinction between behavior and other attributes of the phenotype? is all, or only a special subset, of behavior both a cause and a consequence of evolution? And what do the theoretical issues mean in empirical terms? He concludes that any attempt to understand the causal role of behavior in evolution requires a more complicated theoretical structure than that of orthodox neoDarwinism, a conceptualization of behavior as a distinctive set of phenotypic attributes, and the accumulation of more data.

David L. Hull (Northwestern University) provides an alternative account of the evolutionary process by developing a hierarchy of replicators-interactors-lineages to replace the traditional one of genes-organisms-species. Robert N. Brandon (Duke University) also posits hierarchy as an appropriate architecture for the theoretical complexity needed to support an examination of the role of behavior in evolution. F. J. Odling-Smee (Brunei University) outlines a theoretical structure to encompass the behavior of phenotypes, concentrating on the unrestricted definition of behavior (everything that an animal does).

The remaining chapters are as much concerned with evidence as with theory. Plotkin concentrates on a restricted definition of behavior (behavior that is a product of choosing intelligence), reviewing our empirical knowledge of how learning might influence evolution. R.I.M. Dunbar (University College, London) uses empirical studies of vertebrate social behavior to deal with the question of how the social systems, especially of primates, might have a causal role in species evolution.

A Bradford Book

A Prolegomenon

Building a person has been an elusive goal in artificial intelligence. This failure, John Pollock argues, is because the problems involved are essentially philosophical; what is needed for the construction of a person is a physical system that mimics human rationality. Pollock describes an exciting theory of rationality and its partial implementation in OSCAR, a computer system whose descendants will literally be persons.

In developing the philosophical superstructure for this bold undertaking, Pollock defends the conception of man as an intelligent machine and argues that mental states are physical states and persons are physical objects as described in the fable of Oscar, the self conscious machine.

Pollock brings a unique blend of philosophy and artificial intelligence to bear on the vexing problem of how to construct a physical system that thinks, is self conscious, has desires, fears, intentions, and a full range of mental states. He brings together an impressive array of technical work in philosophy to drive theory construction in AI. The result is described in his final chapter on "cognitive carpentry."

A Bradford Book

Edited by Edmond Wright

Many philosophers and cognitive scientists dismiss the notion of qualia, sensory experiences that are internal to the brain. Leading opponents of qualia (and of Indirect Realism, the philosophical position that has qualia as a central tenet) include Michael Tye, Daniel Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and even Frank Jackson, a former supporter. Qualiaphiles apparently face the difficulty of establishing philosophical contact with the real when their access to it is seen by qualiaphobes to be second-hand and, worse, hidden behind a "veil of sensation"—a position that would slide easily into relativism and solipsism, presenting an ethical dilemma. In The Case for Qualia, proponents of qualia defend the Indirect Realist position and mount detailed counterarguments against opposing views.

The book first presents philosophical defenses, with arguments propounding, variously, a new argument from illusion, a sense-datum theory, dualism, "qualia realism," qualia as the "cement" of the experiential world, and "subjective physicalism." Three scientific defenses follow, discussing color, heat, and the link between the external object and the internal representation. Finally, specific criticisms of opposing views include discussions of the Churchlands' "neurophilosophy," answers to Frank Jackson's abandonment of qualia (one of which is titled, in a reference to Jackson’s famous thought experiment, "Why Frank Should Not Have Jilted Mary"), and refutations of Transparency Theory.

Contributors: Torin Alter, Michel Bitbol, Harold I. Brown, Mark Crooks, George Graham, C.L. Hardin, Terence E. Horgan, Robert J. Howell, Amy Kind, E.J. Lowe, Riccardo Manzotti, Barry Maund, Martine Nida-Rümelin, John O'Dea, Isabelle Peschard, Matjaž Potrc, Diana Raffman, Howard Robinson, William S. Robinson, John R. Smythies, Edmond Wright Edmond Wright is the editor of New Representationalisms: Essays in the Philosophy of Perception and the author of Narrative, Perception, Language, and Faith.

Decision Making, the Human Mind, and Implications for Institutions

Conscious control enables human decision makers to override routines, to exercise willpower, to find innovative solutions, to learn by instruction, to decide collectively, and to justify their choices. These and many more advantages, however, come at a price: the ability to process information consciously is severely limited and conscious decision makers are liable to hundreds of biases. Measured against the norms of rational choice theory, conscious decision makers perform poorly. But if people forego conscious control, in appropriate tasks, they perform surprisingly better: they handle vast amounts of information; they update prior information; they find appropriate solutions to ill-defined problems.

This inaugural Strüngmann Forum Report explores the human ability to make decisions, consciously as well as without conscious control. It explores decision-making strategies, including deliberate and intuitive; explicit and implicit; processing information serially and in parallel, with a general-purpose apparatus, or with task-specific neural subsystems. The analysis is at four levels—neural, psychological, evolutionary, and institutional—and the discussion is extended to the definition of social problems and the design of better institutional interventions. The results presented differ greatly from what could be expected under standard rational choice theory and deviate even more from the alternate behavioral view of institutions. New challenges emerge (for example, the issue of free will) and some purported social problems almost disappear if one adopts a more adequate model of human decision making.

Essays in Honor of J.E.R. Staddon
Edited by Nancy K. Innis

John Staddon has devoted his long and distinguished career to the study of the adaptive function and mechanisms of learning. He did his graduate work at the famous Skinner Lab at Harvard in the early 1960s (supervised by Richard Herrnstein, who did his doctoral work with B. F. Skinner), but his work can be characterized as theoretical behaviorism. Staddon, now at Duke University, believes that experimental analysis is never enough to make sense of behavior and that “theoretical imagination” is also required. Staddon’s theoretical imagination has distinguished his work over the years and has influenced the field. Staddon is not afraid to deviate from the norm: when psychologists were maintaining their distance from behavioral psychology, Staddon was promoting optimality theories. Optimality theories in psychology are now commonplace. In this volume, Staddon’s colleagues and former students discuss topics that have been important in his work: behavioral ability and choice, memory, time and models (the subject of his work at Harvard), and behaviorism. They also reflect on Staddon’s influence on their own work and the evolution of their thinking on these topics. ContributorsGiulio Bolacchi, Daniel T. Cerutti, Mircea Ioan Chelaru, J. Mark Cleaveland, Robert H. I. Dale, Rebecca A. Dixon, Valentin Dragoi, Stephen Gray, Jennifer J. Higa, John M. Horner, Nancy K. Innis, Mandar S. Jog, Richard Keen, John E. Kello, Eric Macaux, Armando Machado, John C. Malone, Jr., Kazuchika Manabe, Susan R. Perry, Alliston K. ReidNancy K. Innis was Professor of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario. J. E. R. Staddon supervised her Ph.D. work at Duke University.

An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving

In order to solve problems, humans are able to synthesize apparently unrelated concepts, take advantage of serendipitous opportunities, hypothesize, invent, and engage in other similarly abstract and creative activities, primarily through the use of their visual systems. In Scenario Visualization, Robert Arp offers an evolutionary account of the unique human ability to solve nonroutine vision-related problems. He argues that by the close of the Pleistocene epoch, humans evolved a conscious creative problem-solving capacity, which he terms scenario visualization, that enabled them to outlive other hominid species and populate the planet. Arp shows that the evidence for scenario visualization—by which images are selected, integrated, and then transformed and projected into visual scenarios—can be found in the kinds of complex tools our hominid ancestors invented in order to survive in the ever-changing environments of the Pleistocene world.

Arp also argues that this conscious capacity shares an analogous affinity with neurobiological processes of selectivity and integration in the visual system, and that similar processes can be found in the activities of organisms in general. The evolution of these processes, he writes, helps account for the modern-day conscious ability of humans to use visual information to solve nonroutine problems creatively in their environments. Arp’s account of scenario visualization and its emergence in evolutionary history suggests an answer to two basic questions asked by philosophers and biologists concerning human nature: why we are unique; and how we got that way.

Robert Arp is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Center for Biomedical Ontology. His areas of specialization include philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind. He is the author of numerous articles and the forthcoming An Integrated Approach to the Philosophy of Mind.

The Dangers of Happiness

I, like you, drive too much. I buy too much—of which I keep too much and also throw too much away. I overindulge my children, and myself. Directly as well as indirectly I use too much water, energy, air and space. My existence, in short, costs the planet more than it can afford. This is not some handed-down moral stricture, nor any sort of guilty self-flagellation, but a simple recognition of fact. The consequences are obvious, and near enough now to see the warts on their noses. For my own future, as well as my children's, I must change. And yet—this is what's weird—I, like you, can't. Cannot abandon comfort, convenience and pleasure for the sake of abstract knowledge. Can't stop doing it. This is interesting.

It's interesting because we think we are so rational, so intelligent, and yet we behave, both individually and as a herd, in such unintelligent ways. That's what drove this book into being.

—from Blubberland

Welcome to Blubberland—a world of quadruple-garaged mansions, vast malls, gated communities, stretch limos, and posh resorts. Blubberland is a place, but it is also a state of mind: we expect to be happy (trophy house, SUV in the driveway, home entertainment system, pension fund, cosmetic surgery), but in fact we've grown increasingly bloated, bored, and miserable. In Blubberland, award-winning critic Elizabeth Farrelly looks at our "superfluous superfluity," our huge eco-footprint, and asks why we find it so hard to abandon habits we know to be destructive. Why can't we build human-scale cities, design meaningful public spaces, eat reasonable meals, and stop assaulting nature?

Farrelly, trained as an architect, begins this story with architecture, urban sprawl, and housing, but she does not end there. She also looks at "affluenza," childhood asthma, diabetes, addiction, beauty, ugliness, narcissism, climate change, mega-churches, big box retailers, sustainability, depression, anorexia, and the links that collect all of these issues under the same roof—the roof, as it were, of the McMansion. As "big" becomes more and more pervasive, and success is seen in increasingly measurable and material terms, the goal of happiness jeopardizes our survival. Blubberland is a smart, thoughtful, and stylish argument for turning things around.

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