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Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

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Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation

Some neurological patients exhibit a striking tendency to confabulate—to construct false answers to a question while genuinely believing that they are telling the truth. A stroke victim, for example, will describe in detail a conference he attended over the weekend when in fact he has not left the hospital. Normal people, too, sometimes have a tendency to confabulate; rather than admitting "I don't know," some people will make up an answer or an explanation and express it with complete conviction.

In Rationality and Logic, Robert Hanna argues that logic is intrinsically psychological and that human psychology is intrinsically logical. He claims that logic is cognitively constructed by rational animals (including humans) and that rational animals are essentially logical animals.

Mechanisms and Applications of Emotional Cognition

Contrary to standard assumptions, reasoning is often an emotional process. Emotions can have good effects, as when a scientist gets excited about a line of research and pursues it successfully despite criticism. But emotions can also distort reasoning, as when a juror ignores evidence of guilt just because the accused seems like a nice guy.

The Case for a Science of Human Behavior

During the Dark Ages, the progress of Western civilization virtually stopped. The knowledge gained by the scholars of the classical age was lost; for nearly 600 years, life was governed by superstitions and fears fueled by ignorance. In this outspoken and forthright book, Lee McIntyre argues that today we are in a new Dark Age--that we are as ignorant of the causes of human behavior as people centuries ago were of the causes of such natural phenomena as disease, famine, and eclipses.

In this groundbreaking book, Jonathan Waskan challenges cognitive science’s dominant model of mental representation and proposes a novel, well-devised alternative. The traditional view in the cognitive sciences uses a linguistic (propositional) model of mental representation. This logic-based model of cognition informs and constrains both the classical tradition of artificial intelligence and modeling in the connectionist tradition.

A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis

Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) helps researchers understand how cognitive skills and strategies make it possible for people to act effectively and get things done. CTA can yield information people need—employers faced with personnel issues, market researchers who want to understand the thought processes of consumers, trainers and others who design instructional systems, health care professionals who want to apply lessons learned from errors and accidents, systems analysts developing user specifications, and many other professionals.

The evolution of cognitive neuroscience has been spurred by the development of increasingly sophisticated investigative techniques to study human cognition. In Methods in Mind, experts examine the wide variety of tools available to cognitive neuroscientists, paying particular attention to the ways in which different methods can be integrated to strengthen empirical findings and how innovative uses for established techniques can be developed. The book will be a uniquely valuable resource for the researcher seeking to expand his or her repertoire of investigative techniques.

A Neural Theory of Language

In From Molecule to Metaphor, Jerome Feldman proposes a theory of language and thought that treats language not as an abstract symbol system but as a human biological ability that can be studied as a function of the brain, as vision and motor control are studied. This theory, he writes, is a "bridging theory" that works from extensive knowledge at two ends of a causal chain to explicate the links between.

Science tries to understand human action from two perspectives, the cognitive and the volitional. The volitional approach, in contrast to the more dominant "outside-in" studies of cognition, looks at actions from the inside out, examining how actions are formed and informed by internal conditions. In Disorders of Volition, scholars from a range of disciplines seek to advance our understanding of the processes supporting voluntary action by addressing conditions in which the will is impaired.

Data Structures and Applications

In Coherence and Natural Language, Florian Wolf and Edward Gibson specify and evaluate criteria for descriptively adequate data structures for representing discourse coherence. They test the influence of discourse structure on pronoun processing, evaluate different approaches for determining the relative importance of document segments, and propose a new coherence-based algorithm to accomplish this task.

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