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  #81  
Unread May 5th, 2006, 04:34 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Somatic Behavior Choice Hypothesis

Thanks, Todd. Your posts are like a fresh breeze coming in from the ocean. I am not claiming in any way that you agree with me or vice versa. I appreciate your clear focus on the complex ideas we are trying to discuss.

I am intrigued by your allusion to central and peripheral processing. What difference do you see for the roles of emotion and cognition in the high motivation / processing mode (HMP mode) vs. the low motivation / processing mode (LMP mode) - if any?

I'm not sure what you mean by this computer (I suspect) metaphor. I can think of a few things - none of which may be relevant.

a) HMP = making a decision, LMP = daydreaming

b) HMP = high motivated decison, like what career path to choose in life. LMP = low motivated decision, like should I pour myself another cup of coffee?

c) HMP = cognition brought to bear, LMP = cognition not called upon

d) central = CPU, peripheral = math coprocessor

e) None of above.

When you get a chance I'd like to know more. Or, links would help. I'm still trying to understand that 46 page Precis on the Illusion of Conscious Will.

Thanks, Margaret

PS - Here's a really cool article on the evolutionary siginificance of yawning in case anyone is interested. Yawning Article

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; May 5th, 2006 at 05:21 PM.
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  #82  
Unread May 5th, 2006, 07:30 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Default Re: Somatic Behavior Choice Hypothesis

Quote:
It occurs to me, Carey, that we may actually have had some positive impact (maybe in a kind of good cop/bad cop kind of way?) on Margaret’s understanding of these issues.
From Margaret's perspective, it's probably "bad cop/abominable cop" . . . But we mean well in the end.
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  #83  
Unread May 6th, 2006, 12:48 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Somatic Behavior Choice and Winning

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Todd: . . . I am usually very little concerned about who wins arguments here, and I usually find them annoying rather than stimulating.
Yeah, “winning” here would generally seem to be meaningless. But I doubt “winning” is what these arguments are usually about. Rather the problem seems to be “losing”—nobody wants to hear that their baby is ugly.
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  #84  
Unread May 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Post Social Cognition

Margaret, I'm glad you decided to contribute here. For me, you definitely added a new dimension to the discussions that they were missing previously. I'm sorry I don't have more time to participate right now.

Quote:
"I am intrigued by your allusion to central and peripheral processing. What difference do you see for the roles of emotion and cognition in the high motivation / processing mode (HMP mode) vs. the low motivation / processing mode (LMP mode) - if any?"
I come from a cog sci and computer science background and I still work as a computer consultant, so it is hard for me not to find computer metaphors attractive and revealing. I don't mean to compare brains to computers explicitly, I just think the notion of cognition still has a lot of value in it intellectually for understanding brains. I hope my bias in that respect isn't too distracting. I know it must be for people who take a very non-cognitive, non-computational, or non-functionalist view of the human mind, which I suspect may be most people.

I like the central and peripheral processing distinction because it implies that there are specific kinds of circumstances that will lead us to change the criteria we use in decision making. In the experimental lab, using controls, we can test whether someone is paying attention to the content of a message or to the characteristics of the medium. We can roughly determine motivation as a general quality. We can roughly determine the sorts of things someone is attending vs. those they are not noticing (especially in situations where we can reasonably trust their reports). For right now, this allows us to see how human decision making shifts in different circumstances.

When we get to the point where can routinely pinpoint brain activity associated with particular processes, and uniformly agree on those as "emotional" mechanisms and such, then concepts like emotion become operationally much more relevant to our technical understanding.

For example, one of the defining experiments in marginal perception (a technical term for "subliminal") was that experimenters could measure differential activity in the amygdala corresponding to emotionally significant images that they didn't report noticing. Very likely they were perceiving and interpreting something "emotional" about the images without realizing it. This is a very crude example, but it shows the sort of correlation I think is neccessary for deeper understanding of mind and brain.

More later. For now, a good source for central and peripheral processing is: S.T. Fiske and S.E. Taylor, "Social Cognition," (1991), McGraw Hill.

kind regards,

Todd
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  #85  
Unread May 6th, 2006, 05:00 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Post Hot and Cold Cognition vs. Central and Peripheral Processing

Quote:
What difference do you see for the roles of emotion and cognition in the high motivation / processing mode (HMP mode) vs. the low motivation / processing mode (LMP mode) - if any?

I'm not sure what you mean by this computer (I suspect) metaphor. I can think of a few things - none of which may be relevant.

a) HMP = making a decision, LMP = daydreaming

b) HMP = high motivated decison, like what career path to choose in life. LMP = low motivated decision, like should I pour myself another cup of coffee?

c) HMP = cognition brought to bear, LMP = cognition not called upon

d) central = CPU, peripheral = math coprocessor

e) None of above.
I know it would be nice to have general answers to the difficult questions we are circling around, but I think we are just starting to close in on a lot of these ideas in current research. Central and Peripheral processing reflects specific kinds of cognitive strategies we use for judgment, but various things obviously may affect which strategies we choose under particular conditions. General "emotion," or more particularly, mood, is probably one of those factors.

The closest useful concept in cog sci to what we think of as the influence of emotion on judgment is "hot cognition." Hot cognition is essentially the idea that goals and moods color our judgment in a systematic way. Perhaps surprisingly, since it seems to intuitively obvious, the notion of hot cognition was controversial until about the late 1980's, when most cognitive scientists began to take it seriously as a topic of its own.

The "heat" of hot cognition (the influence of specific motivational engines) probably does have an influence on whether we rely on quick and easy inferential shortcuts or whether we try to apply more elaborate systematic reasoning strategies. I doubt they are the same thing, however. There are probably situations where we apply shortcuts in "cold" information processing, and situations where we reason more elaborately even though influenced by goal and mood.

It appears that for the most part, sadness gives rise to more elaborate and systematic cognition. In happy moods, we seem more likely to use cursory, heuristic thinking. This tendency seems to often be overcome when we enjoy systematic thinking and expect it to be fun as well as useful, or if we have compelling reasons to engage in systematic strategies, such as a situational or tempermental goal of being more accurate.

Motives and moods affect which cognitive strategies we use, motivation "heats up" our thinking and operates through our cognitive strategies. This in turn colors our judgment.

(source on hot cognition: Ziva Kunda, "Social Cognition," (1999), MIT Press)

kind regards,

Todd
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  #86  
Unread May 7th, 2006, 10:55 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Somatic Behavior Choice Hypothesis

Todd, I've had to think about your last two posts for a while. Written words are the most difficult medium with which to bridge belief catagories. Trying to imagine what the other person sees from their belief system is required - but it takes some time to acquaint one's mind with the new terrain. Even then I'm sure I will make some wrong assumptions.

Of course, cog-sci seems unabashedly cognicentic which makes it doubly difficult for me as I have immersed myself in the possibilities of my alternative emotive-centric view for the last few months. I think that's the only way to explore a new area fruitfully. You have to be actively looking for connections. That makes one a partisan, of course. But, knowing myself for almost 64 years now, I'm comfortable that I can dissuade myself if negative evidence starts to appear. For now, it's an exciting unexplored region for me and I've always enjoyed the exploration of plausible ideas that violated the CW, especially when they were my own.

I also have a liberal mindset about ideas - in that I accept that ideas can be partially true and even that opposite ideas can apply to the same reality. I see ideas (cognition) as an evolved mental process designed for purposes other than exploring the operation of our own brains - and that requires a certain modestly when dealing with brain science. So, while I may champion (the possibilities of) my emotive-centric view I certainly don't claim that they represent some objective reality - just an interesting possibility that might offer some value.

Your description of the cog-sci notion that emotions can modulate cognition by causing choice in cognitive strategy is interesting. It seems to me such an obvious question and such a short leap - to wondering if emotion does not cause cognition to start with - along with directing the strategy. Perhaps, it's my physics background that makes me look for a force for any reaction - but what else could possibly be the force that causes us to think - or to think about one thing in a particular context? What else but the emotions of our body state, refined in mammals over 65 million years to direct our behavior choices, long before intellect had appeared? Is not cognition itself a behavior?

Thanks for the high quality cognition.

Margaret

PS - I'm sure my less-than-precise use of some scientfic terms is probably maddening to you and other trained scientist types (like Carey and JB). I appreciate your patience and efforts to understand and respond to my actual meaning - and I welcome any corrections.

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; May 8th, 2006 at 10:31 PM.
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