Psychology. Science starts early.
ABSTRACT Infants and young children can exhibit striking confusion about how the world works, from failing to grasp that wind causes
waves, to being mystified about how babies are created. Indeed, some researchers have characterized a child's knowledge of
the world as a bundle of misconceptions awaiting replacement with correct concepts through education (1).
- SourceAvailable from: André L. Souza[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Rituals pose a cognitive paradox: although widely used to treat problems, rituals are causally opaque (i.e., they lack a causal explanation for their effects). How is the efficacy of ritual action evaluated in the absence of causal information? To examine this question using ecologically valid content, three studies (N=162) were conducted in Brazil, a cultural context in which rituals called simpatias are used to treat a great variety of problems ranging from asthma to infidelity. Using content from existing simpatias, experimental simpatias were designed to manipulate the kinds of information that influences perceptions of efficacy. A fourth study (N=68) with identical stimuli was conducted with a US sample to assess the generalizability of the findings across two different cultural contexts. The results provide evidence that information reflecting intuitive causal principles (i.e., repetition of procedures, number of procedural steps) and transcendental influence (i.e., presence of religious icons) affects how people evaluate ritual efficacy.Cognition 04/2012; 124(1):1-15. · 3.63 Impact Factor
Article: Objects of consciousness.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Current models of visual perception typically assume that human vision estimates true properties of physical objects, properties that exist even if unperceived. However, recent studies of perceptual evolution, using evolutionary games and genetic algorithms, reveal that natural selection often drives true perceptions to extinction when they compete with perceptions tuned to fitness rather than truth: Perception guides adaptive behavior; it does not estimate a preexisting physical truth. Moreover, shifting from evolutionary biology to quantum physics, there is reason to disbelieve in preexisting physical truths: Certain interpretations of quantum theory deny that dynamical properties of physical objects have definite values when unobserved. In some of these interpretations the observer is fundamental, and wave functions are compendia of subjective probabilities, not preexisting elements of physical reality. These two considerations, from evolutionary biology and quantum physics, suggest that current models of object perception require fundamental reformulation. Here we begin such a reformulation, starting with a formal model of consciousness that we call a "conscious agent." We develop the dynamics of interacting conscious agents, and study how the perception of objects and space-time can emerge from such dynamics. We show that one particular object, the quantum free particle, has a wave function that is identical in form to the harmonic functions that characterize the asymptotic dynamics of conscious agents; particles are vibrations not of strings but of interacting conscious agents. This allows us to reinterpret physical properties such as position, momentum, and energy as properties of interacting conscious agents, rather than as preexisting physical truths. We sketch how this approach might extend to the perception of relativistic quantum objects, and to classical objects of macroscopic scale.Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:577. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This essay first summarizes an overarching theory of cognitive organization and development. This theory claims that the human mind involves (1) several specialized structural systems dealing with different domains of relations in the environment, (2) a central representational capacity system, (3) general inferential processes, and (4) consciousness. These systems interact dynamically during development so that changes in each are related to changes in others. The changes in all systems and the change mechanisms are described. This theory integrates research and theorizing from cognitive, developmental, and differential psychology. Based on this theory, a model for education is proposed that specifies, first, educational priorities for different phases of development according to the cognitive developmental milestones associated with each phase. The theory also specifies how education can educate students to (1) construct mental models for the sake of conceptual change, (2) use their central representational capacity efficiently, (3) advance analogical and deductive reasoning, (4) learn how to learn, and (5) become critical and creative thinkers. The theory is offered as an overarching paradigm for the architecture, the development, and the education of the human mind. KeywordsAssessment–Cognitive development–Conceptual change–Consciousness–Critical thinking–Education–Intelligence–Learning to learn–Mental models–Metarepresentation–Reasoning–Working memoryEducational Psychology Review 12/2011; 23(4):601-663. · 2.40 Impact Factor