Archive for the ‘language’ Category

The fact is we all suffer from cognitive egocentrism. We all seem to intuitively assume that we have won what I call the ‘Magical Belief Lottery.’ We cherry pick confirming evidence and utterly overlook disconfirming evidence. We automatically assume that our sources are more reliable than the sources cited by others. We think we are more intelligent than we in fact are. We rewrite memories to minimize the threat of inconsistencies. We mistake claims repeated three or more times as fact. We continually revise our beliefs to preempt in-group criticism. We regularly confabulate. We congenitally use our conclusions to determine the cogency of our premises. The list goes on and on, believe you me. Add to this the problem of Interpretative Underdetermination, the simple fact that our three pound brains are so dreadfully overmatched by the complexities of the world…

via The Semantic Apocalypse | Speculative Heresy.

lw: Recognition of the Human Condition.


That is the conclusion of a study published Thursday in the journal Science. It found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking.

via For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov –

Home – Narrative First

Posted: August 11, 2013 in culture, language, Story

narrativefirstNarrative Science & the Movies by Jim HullTying The Towers of Story Structure Together

via Home – Narrative First.

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Google’s Knowledge Graph: Yeah, that’s the Semantic Web (sort of)

by Darin Stewart  |  May 17, 2012  |  2 Comments

Google is about to get a whole lot more useful. Yesterday, the search titan announced the “Knowledge Graph” a functional enhancement that attempts to provide actual information about the subject of your query rather than just a list of links. This might be helpful, but the really interesting bit is the part about the graph. As Google SVP Amit Singhal put it in his blog post:


“The Knowledge Graph also helps us understand the relationships between things. Marie Curie is a person in the Knowledge Graph, and she had two children, one of whom also won a Nobel Prize, as well as a husband, Pierre Curie, who claimed a third Nobel Prize for the family. All of these are linked in our graph. It’s not just a catalog of objects; it also models all these inter-relationships. It’s the intelligence between these different entities that’s the key.”

via Google’s Knowledge Graph: Yeah, that’s the Semantic Web (sort of).

I love it when other people get on my band wagon! – lw :

Population Medicine: Lets Get Over It!

Eric J. Topol,

The topic is population medicine and why we cant get over this. Its befuddling to me. Let me go back for a few examples so you understand what Im really getting at:Our Brains on CoffeeThe New York Times, June 6, 2013: “This Is Your Brain on Coffee”[1] — why drinking 3 cups a day may be good for us. Well, does that take into account that at least 20% of people carry an allele where the metabolism of caffeine is markedly reduced, and that risk allele has indeed been linked to a higher risk of heart attack? Why should there be a recommendation now that all of us should be drinking 3 cups of coffee a day?Salt GuidelinesThen in May of this year there was a big Institute of Medicine report[2] regarding what should be the salt guidelines. And this got all sorts of organizations rankled — the American Heart Association[for instance] — about what should be the salt recommendations for everyone. This is crazy stuff, because we know that there are some people who are remarkably salt-sensitive and will have a blood-pressure response to a salt load, and then there are many others who are what essentially appears to be salt-resistant, as they can have as much salt in their diet as possible and its not going to have an effect on their blood pressure.ESC/ESH Blood Pressure GuidelinesCurrently we have European Society of Cardiology/European Society of Hypertension guidelines[3] stating that blood pressure should be less than 140 mm/Hg for all. Now, if you go through the guidelines it talks about how those over 80 years…are exempt, but why do we have to have this “for-all” approach? That is just not working, its not right; its basically the structure of guidelines that doesnt respect the individuality of whats unique about us biologically, physiologically, and anatomically — our environment, everything.Its frustrating to me because Ive been watching this for so many years, and we still have this fixation about having some guidelines or recommendations for all people. It just doesnt stop. When are we going to get this straight?Ill be really interested in your comments. Its been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, and unfortunately Im not seeing any progress. Maybe you know how we can try to not simplify things so much and move forward.Thanks a lot for your attention.

via Population Medicine: Lets Get Over It!.

From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action

Georg Theiner reorients the study of cognition toward the complex interactions among brain, bodies, and their social and cultural environments as they produce  cognitive outcomes (cf. Clark 2008;Sutton et al. 2010). Use of cognitive technologies to scaffold the social interactions of people who collaboratively carryout certain cognitive tasks has been described in several environments (e.g., cockpits, navigation bridges, traffic control centers). Such “cognitive technologies” (Norman 1991) enable us to distribute cognition in space, time, and among people (Hutchins 1995). Social and cultural exchange of expertise via expert language, maps, databases that “scaffolded” cognition among individuals and generations of scientists, for example (Sterelny, 2010).

Theiner focuses on the mechanisms by which groups of people actively change the structure of their own social organization, with the epistemic goal of reshaping and augmenting their cognitive performance as integrated collectivities. For this purpose, the dynamic, interaction-centered notion of epistemic action in the work of Kirsh and Maglio (1994) seems toprovide a more promising starting point than the static, object-centered notion of a cognitive resource. “As a way of articulating a distinctively collective dimension of the “extended mind” thesis, I thus propose that we distinguish between individual and collective epistemic actions . . . . actions by which groups change the world in order to simplify their problem-solving tasks.”  .

via Onwards and Upwards with the Extended Mind: From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action | Georg Theiner –

In physics, the Copenhagen interpretation defines energy/ matter as behaving sometimes like a wave and sometimes like a particle, which suggests that it is both, and posits that it is our human limitation to be unable to see both at the same time. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Paul Dirac identified how light appears to be a particle if we ask a particle-like question, and a wave if we ask a wavelike question.

Physicists gain certain insights from understanding energy as a wave, and other insights from understanding it as a particle, and use quantum mechanics to reconcile the information they have gleaned.

via Einstein’s fatherly advice on the secret to learning anything, David Ogilvy on the 10 qualities of creative leaders, the power of love, and more.

Great Video, and useful web site. Short videos on specific questions, answered by a variety of people.

Powers of Good Explanations David Deutsch

via Profile | Powers of Good Explanations David Deutsch | Closer to Truth.

Beyond Laterality: A Critical Assessment of Research on the Neural Basis of MetaphorGwenda L. Schmidt, Alexander Kranjec, Eileen R. Cardillo, and Anjan ChatterjeeAuthor information ► Copyright and License information ►The publishers final edited version of this article is available at J Int Neuropsychol SocSee other articles in PMC that cite the published article.Go to:AbstractMetaphors are a fundamental aspect of human cognition. The major neuropsychological hypothesis that metaphoric processing relies primarily on the right hemisphere is not confirmed consistently. We propose ways to advance our understanding of the neuropsychology of metaphor that go beyond simple laterality. Neuropsychological studies need to more carefully control confounding lexical and sentential factors, and consider the role of different parts of speech as they are extended metaphorically. They need to incorporate recent theoretical frameworks such as the career of metaphor theory, and address factors such as novelty. We also advocate the use of new methods such as voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping, which permits precise and formal tests of hypotheses correlating behavior with lesions sites. Finally, we outline a plausible model for the neural basis of metaphor.

via Beyond Laterality: A Critical Assessment of Research on the Neural Basis of Metaphor.