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Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior

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Explanation, Discovery, and Conceptual Change

Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuroscientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes.

Thagard develops cognitive perspectives on the nature of explanation, mental models, theory choice, and resistance to scientific change, considering disbelief in climate change as a case study. He presents a series of studies that describe the psychological and neural processes that have led to breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology. He shows how discoveries of new theories and explanations lead to conceptual change, with examples from biology, psychology, and medicine. Finally, he shows how the cognitive science of science can integrate descriptive and normative concerns; and he considers the neural underpinnings of certain scientific concepts.

Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems. In Signals and Boundaries, John Holland argues that understanding the origin of the intricate signal/border hierarchies of these systems is the key to answering such questions. He develops an overarching framework for comparing and steering cas through the mechanisms that generate their signal/boundary hierarchies.

Holland lays out a path for developing the framework that emphasizes agents, niches, theory, and mathematical models. He discusses, among other topics, theory construction; signal-processing agents; networks as representations of signal/boundary interaction; adaptation; recombination and reproduction; the use of tagged urn models (adapted from elementary probability theory) to represent boundary hierarchies; finitely generated systems as a way to tie the models examined into a single framework; the framework itself, illustrated by a simple finitely generated version of the development of a multi-celled organism; and Markov processes.

Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science

This book presents the framework for a new, comprehensive approach to cognitive science. The proposed paradigm, enaction, offers an alternative to cognitive science's classical, first-generation Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). Enaction, first articulated by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in The Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 1991), breaks from CTM’s formalisms of information processing and symbolic representations to view cognition as grounded in the sensorimotor dynamics of the interactions between a living organism and its environment. A living organism enacts the world it lives in; its embodied action in the world constitutes its perception and thereby grounds its cognition. Enaction offers a range of perspectives on this exciting new approach to embodied cognitive science.

Some chapters offer manifestos for the enaction paradigm; others address specific areas of research, including artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, neuroscience, language, phenomenology, and culture and cognition. Three themes emerge as testimony to the originality and specificity of enaction as a paradigm: the relation between first-person lived experience and third-person natural science; the ambition to provide an encompassing framework applicable at levels from the cell to society; and the difficulties of reflexivity. Taken together, the chapters offer nothing less than the framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science.

Contributors: Renaud Barbaras, Didier Bottineau, Giovanna Colombetti, Diego Cosmelli, Hanne De Jaegher, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo. Andreas K. Engel, Olivier Gapenne, Véronique Havelange, Edwin Hutchins, Michel Le Van Quyen, Rafael E. Núñez, Marieke Rohde, Benny Shanon, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Adam Sheya, Linda B. Smith, John Stewart, Evan Thompson

From Bench to Bedside
Edited by Jean Decety

There are many reasons for scholars to investigate empathy. Empathy plays a crucial role in human social interaction at all stages of life; it is thought to help motivate positive social behavior, inhibit aggression, and provide the affective and motivational bases for moral development; it is a necessary component of psychotherapy and patient-physician interactions. This volume covers a wide range of topics in empathy theory, research, and applications, helping to integrate perspectives as varied as anthropology and neuroscience. The contributors discuss the evolution of empathy within the mammalian brain and the development of empathy in infants and children; the relationships among empathy, social behavior, compassion, and altruism; the neural underpinnings of empathy; cognitive versus emotional empathy in clinical practice; and the cost of empathy.

Taken together, the contributions significantly broaden the interdisciplinary scope of empathy studies, reporting on current knowledge of the evolutionary, social, developmental, cognitive, and neurobiological aspects of empathy and linking this capacity to human communication, including in clinical practice and medical education.

Native Science, Western Science, and Science Education

The answers to scientific questions depend on who’s asking, because the questions asked and the answers sought reflect the cultural values and orientations of the questioner. These values and orientations are most often those of Western science. In Who’s Asking?, Douglas Medin and Megan Bang argue that despite the widely held view that science is objective, value-neutral, and acultural, scientists do not shed their cultures at the laboratory or classroom door; their practices reflect their values, belief systems, and worldviews. Medin and Bang argue further that scientist diversity—the participation of researchers and educators with different cultural orientations—provides new perspectives and leads to more effective science and better science education.

Medin and Bang compare Native American and European American orientations toward the natural world and apply these findings to science education. The European American model, they find, sees humans as separated from nature; the Native American model sees humans as part of a natural ecosystem. Medin and Bang then report on the development of ecologically oriented and community-based science education programs on the Menominee reservation in Wisconsin and at the American Indian Center of Chicago. Medin and Bang’s novel argument for scientist diversity also has important implications for questions of minority underrepresentation in science.

Synesthesia in Art and Science

What is does it mean to hear music in colors, to taste voices, to see each letter of the alphabet as a different color? These uncommon sensory experiences are examples of synesthesia, when two or more senses cooperate in perception. Once dismissed as imagination or delusion, metaphor or drug-induced hallucination, the experience of synesthesia has now been documented by scans of synesthetes' brains that show "crosstalk" between areas of the brain that do not normally communicate. In The Hidden Sense, Cretien van Campen explores synesthesia from both artistic and scientific perspectives, looking at accounts of individual experiences, examples of synesthesia in visual art, music, and literature, and recent neurological research.

Van Campen reports that some studies define synesthesia as a brain impairment, a short circuit between two different areas. But synesthetes cannot imagine perceiving in any other way; many claim that synesthesia helps them in daily life. Van Campen investigates just what the function of synesthesia might be and what it might tell us about our own sensory perceptions. He examines the experiences of individual synesthetes—from Patrick, who sees music as images and finds the most beautiful ones spring from the music of Prince, to the schoolgirl Sylvia, who is surprised to learn that not everyone sees the alphabet in colors as she does. And he finds suggestions of synesthesia in the work of Scriabin, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Nabokov, Poe, and Baudelaire. What is synesthesia? It is not, van Campen concludes, an audiovisual performance, a literary technique, an artistic trend, or a metaphor. It is, perhaps, our hidden sense—a way to think visually; a key to our own sensitivity.

An Intermediate Phenotype Approach

Although there is scientific consensus that genetic factors play a substantial role in an individual's vulnerability to drug or alcohol addiction, specific genetic variables linked to risk or resilience remain elusive. Understanding how genetic factors contribute to addiction may require focusing on intermediary mechanisms, or intermediate phenotypes, that connect genetic variation and risk for addiction. This book offers a comprehensive review of this mechanistic-centered approach and the most promising intermediate phenotypes identified in empirical research.

The contributors first consider the most established findings in the field, including variability in drug metabolism, brain electrophysiological profiles, and subjective reactions to direct drug effects; they go on to review highly promising areas such as expectancies, attentional processing, and behavioral economic variables; and finally, they investigate more exploratory approaches, including the differential susceptibility hypothesis and epigenetic modifications. Taken together, the chapters offer a macro-level testing of the hypothesis that these alternative, mechanistic phenotypes can advance the understanding of genetic influences on addiction. The book will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in a range of disciplines, including behavioral genetics, psychology, pharmacology, neuroscience, and sociology.

Contributors: John Acker, Steven R.H. Beach, Gene H. Brody, Angela D. Bryan, Megan J. Chenoweth, Danielle M. Dick, Eske D. Derks, Mary-Anne Enoch, Meg Gerrard, Frederick X. Gibbons, Thomas E. Gladwin, Mark S. Goldman, Marcus Heilig, Kent E. Hutchison, Hollis C. Karoly, Steven M. Kogan, Man Kit Lei, Susan Luczak, James MacKillop, Renee E. Magnan, Leah M. Mayo, Marcus R. Munafò, Daria Orlowska, Abraham A. Palmer, Danielle Pandika, Clarissa C. Parker, Robert A. Philibert, Lara A. Ray, Richard R. Reich, Ronald L. Simons, Courtney J. Stevens, Rachel E. Thayer, Rachel F. Tyndale, Tamara L. Wall, Reinout W. Wiers, Michael Windle, Harriet de Wit

Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind

In The Feeling Body, Giovanna Colombetti takes ideas from the enactive approach developed over the last twenty years in cognitive science and philosophy of mind and applies them for the first time to affective science—the study of emotions, moods, and feelings. She argues that enactivism entails a view of cognition as not just embodied but also intrinsically affective, and she elaborates on the implications of this claim for the study of emotion in psychology and neuroscience.

In the course of her discussion, Colombetti focuses on long-debated issues in affective science, including the notion of basic emotions, the nature of appraisal and its relationship to bodily arousal, the place of bodily feelings in emotion experience, the neurophysiological study of emotion experience, and the bodily nature of our encounters with others. Drawing on enactivist tools such as dynamical systems theory, the notion of the lived body, neurophenomenology, and phenomenological accounts of empathy, Colombetti advances a novel approach to these traditional issues that does justice to their complexity. Doing so, she also expands the enactive approach into a further domain of inquiry, one that has more generally been neglected by the embodied-embedded approach in the philosophy of cognitive science.

A Philosophical Study of Human Touch

It is through touch that we are able to interact directly with the world; it is our primary conduit of both pleasure and pain. Touch may be our most immediate and powerful sense—“the first sense” because of the central role it plays in experience. In this book, Matthew Fulkerson proposes that human touch, despite its functional diversity, is a single, unified sensory modality. Fulkerson offers a philosophical account of touch, reflecting the interests, methods, and approach that define contemporary philosophy; but his argument is informed throughout by the insights and constraints of empirical work on touch. Human touch is a multidimensional object of investigation, Fulkerson writes, best served by using a variety of methods and approaches.

To defend his view of the unity of touch, Fulkerson describes and argues for a novel, unifying role for exploratory action in touch. He goes on to fill in the details of this unified, exploratory form of perception, offering philosophical accounts of tool use and distal touch, the representational structure of tangible properties, the spatial content of touch, and the role of pleasure in tactual experience.
Fulkerson’s argument for the unique role played by exploratory action departs notably from traditional vision-centric philosophical approaches to perception, challenging the received view that action plays the same role in all sensory modalities. The robust philosophical account of touch he offers in The First Sense has significant implications for our general understanding of perception and perceptual experience.

Evolution and Synthesis

Despite major advances in methodology and thousands of published studies every year, treatment outcomes in schizophrenia have not improved over the last fifty years. Moreover, we still lack strategies for prevention and we do not yet understand how the interaction of genetic, developmental, and environmental factors contribute to the disorder. In this book, leading researchers consider conceptual and technical obstacles to progress in understanding schizophrenia and suggest novel strategies for advancing research and treatment.

The contributors address a wide range of critical issues: the construct of schizophrenia itself; etiology, risk, prediction, and prevention; different methods of modeling the disorder; and treatment development and delivery. They identify crucial gaps in our knowledge and offer creative but feasible suggestions. These strategies include viewing schizophrenia as a heterogeneous group of conditions; adopting specific new approaches to prediction and early intervention; developing better integration of data across genetics, imaging, perception, cognition, phenomenology, and other fields; and moving toward an evidence-based, personalized approach to treatment requiring rational clinical decision-making to reduce functional disability.

Contributors: Robert Bittner, Robert W. Buchanan, Kristin S. Cadenhead, William T. Carpenter, Jr., Aiden Corvin, Daniel Durstewitz, André A. Fenton, Camilo de la Fuente-Sandoval, Jay A. Gingrich, Joshua A. Gordon, Chloe Gott, Peter B. Jones, René S. Kahn, Richard Keefe, Wolfgang Kelsch, James L. Kennedy, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Angus W. MacDonald III, Anil K. Malhotra, John McGrath, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Kevin J. Mitchell, Bita Moghaddam, Vera A. Morgan, Craig Morgan, Kim T. Mueser, Karoly Nikolich, Patricio O'Donnell, Michael O'Donovan, William A. Phillips, Wulf Rössler, Louis Sass, Akira Sawa, Jeremy K. Seamans, Steven M. Silverstein, William Spaulding, Sharmili Sritharan, Heike Tost, Peter Uhlhaas, Aristotle Voineskos, Michèle Wessa, Leanne M. Williams, Ashley Wilson, Til Wykes

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