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Dynamics of the knowledge instinct: Effects of incoherence on the cognitive system

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Abstract

We successfully replicated a study about aesthetic emotions in a different socio-cultural environment. The present results suggest that incoherence is a strong inhibitor for aesthetic chills and verify a positive correlation between pleasure and meaning. These results allow for a scientific study of aesthetic emotions as it is now possible for the experimenter to have two groups of subjects, both exposed to the same stimulation, one group experiencing measurable aesthetic emotions whereas the other does not. We review the literature on the problem of both positive and negative psychogenic shivering and relate this phenomenon to the instinct of knowledge. We discuss the implications of our findings, stress the importance of studying the psychological and physiological effects of incoherence on the central nervous system, introduce a series of hypotheses to be tested in further research and conclude with a plausible explanation for the relation between temperature and cognition in humans.

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... Schoeller and Perlovsky have put forward a theory of chills as a satiation of an internal drive for knowledge 26,41 . Chills would thus correspond to a sudden acceleration of learning [42][43][44][45] described formally in terms of an event when the rate of change of a learning function tends towards zero 26,37,39,41 . This account is coherent with current accounts of emotional valence in terms of error dynamics 46,47 . ...
... This account is coherent with current accounts of emotional valence in terms of error dynamics 46,47 . Crucially, and even though their prevalence across human populations is still an open question, psychogenic shivers seem to present a high degree of universality, making them a useful somatic marker for affective neuroscience in light of their myriad emotional links 38,43,44,48,49 . ...
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Previous studies on aesthetic chills (i.e., psychogenic shivers) demonstrate their positive effects on stress, pleasure, and social cognition. We tested whether we could artificially enhance this emotion and its downstream effects by intervening on its somatic markers using wearable technology. We built a device generating cold and vibrotactile sensations down the spine of subjects in temporal conjunction with a chill-eliciting audiovisual stimulus, enhancing the somatosensation of cold underlying aesthetic chills. Results suggest that participants wearing the device experienced significantly more chills, and chills of greater intensity. Further, these subjects reported sharing the feelings expressed in the stimulus to a greater degree, and felt more pleasure during the experience. These preliminary results demonstrate that emotion prosthetics and somatosensory interfaces offer new possibilities of modulating human emotions from the bottom-up (body to mind). Future challenges will include testing the device on a larger sample and diversifying the type of stimuli to account for negatively valenced chills and intercultural differences. Interoceptive technologies offer a new paradigm for affective neuroscience, allowing controlled intervention on conscious feelings and their downstream effects on higher-order cognition.
... Le présent article détaille les résultats d'une étude exploratoire concernant le phénomène des frissons esthétique chez l'homme. Ces données s'inscrivent dans le cadre d'une série de recherches menée au cours des trois dernières années sur le continent européen (voir Schoeller, 2015a(voir Schoeller, , 2015bSchoeller & Perlovsky, 2016 ;Schoeller, Eskinazi, & Garreau, 2017). Bien que les présentes données ne permettent pas directement de l'opérationnaliser, l'hypothèse de travail guidant ces recherches est que les émotions esthétiques correspondent à une satisfaction de la curiosité naturelle (Schoeller, 2017a). ...
... Tous les participants sont répartis de faç on aléatoire dans deux groupes chacun exposé à une amorce différente. Le premier groupe est exposé à une amorce cohérente et le second groupe à une amorce incohérente (pour plus de renseignements, voir le détail de cette expérience dans Schoeller & Perlovsky, 2016 ;Schoeller et al., 2017). Cette partie de l'expérience n'intéresse pas directement le présent article. ...
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Résumé Cette étude porte sur le problème des émotions esthétiques et celui des frissons esthétiques en particulier. Nous avons demandé à 30 sujets de décrire une structure narrative (film, théâtre, roman) élicitant des frissons, ainsi que la phénoménologie de l’expérience esthétique. Un certain nombre de redondances non aléatoires sont observables. Les stimuli élicitant des frissons positifs dans notre population ont pour la plupart une très forte dimension sensorielle et leurs propriétés particulières sont souvent des preuves d’altruisme, des considérations existentielles très générales, des moments de recueillement et de concentration sur soi, des situations de solidarité et de communion (famille, couple, amis) ou à l’opposé de séparation violente (famille, couple, ami). En règle générale, lorsqu’il s’agit d’évènements réels (et non de scènes de fiction dans un film ou un roman), les sujets décrivent des situations où ils sont en sécurité, où ils ont confiance dans l’environnement.
... Change in the rate at which error is being resolved manifests for humans as emotional valence-we feel good when error is being reduced at a better than expected rate, and we feel bad when error is unexpectedly on the rise (Joffily and Coricelli, 2013;Schoeller, 2015Schoeller, , 2017Schoeller and Perlovsky, 2016;Schoeller et al., 2017;Van de Cruys, 2017;Kiverstein et al., 2019;Perlovsky and Schoeller, 2019;Wilkinson et al., 2019;Nave et al., 2020). Valence systems provide the agent with a domain general controller capable of tracking changes in error managements and adjusting precision expectations relative to those changes (Kiverstein et al., 2019;Hesp et al., 2021). ...
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... Teams have been interested in measuring (Kim et al., 2014), controlling (Jain, Horowitz and Schoeller), or incorporating PS in VR Riecke, 2017, 2018;). An important questions, currently beyond measurement, is whether the amount of heat related to specific emotions can be predicted effectively (Schoeller et al., 2018a), that is whether the psychogenic shivers serves any evolutionary function (Tihanyi et al., 2018). Progress toward answering this question could help better understand the neural networks underlying human social emotions and their biological importance in humans (Dunbar, 2009). ...
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This is a collection of reprints, abstracts, letters and extracts from stenographic records of Pavlov's seminars. The subject matter ranges from problems of neural factors in blood circulation and the physiology of digestion to comments on physiology and psychiatry. There is a 4-page bibliography and a 32-page introduction by Kh. S. Koshtoyants. 3 portraits of Pavlov are reproduced. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Key Words Middle Paleolithic, modern humans s Abstract The transition from the Middle Paleolithic to the Upper Paleolithic is considered one of the major revolutions in the prehistory of humankind. Expla-nations of the observable archaeological phenomena in Eurasia, or the lack of such evidence in other regions, include biological arguments (the role of Cro-Magnons and the demise of the Neanderthals), as well as cultural-technological, and environmental arguments. The paper discusses issues of terminological ambiguities, chronological and geographical aspects of change, the emergence of what is viewed as the arch-types of modern forager societies, and the hotly debated and loaded issue of modern behavior. Finally, the various causes for the Upper Paleolithic revolution are enumerated, from the biological through the technocultural that relies on the analogy with the Neolithic revolution. OPENING REMARKS Paleolithic archaeology primarily addresses issues of stratigraphy, chronology, object assemblage analysis for defining cultural entities and adaptive strategies, examination of faunal and vegetal components, and site formation processes. Inves-tigations often culminate in a coarse-grained reconstruction of prehistoric lifeways within an evolutionary context. Modern research stresses the necessity of establish-ing regional sequences and their Pleistocene and Holocene paleo-ecological con-ditions. Radiometric dates facilitate chronological correlations and the integration of the findings into a continent-wide record. For the Upper Paleolithic, the period under discussion, the combination of radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, and elec-tron spin resonance dating techniques (Wagner 1998) assisted investigators during the past decade in constructing a reasonably coherent global chronology. Large standard deviations in thermoluminescence and electron spin resonance readings, as well as ambiguities concerning the calibration of 14C dates at the range of 40–30 thousand years ago (Ka) (Beck et al. 2001), make it difficult to establish the precise onset of the Upper Paleolithic revolution. However, with the current rapid progress in the use of these techniques one expects much better resolutions in the next decade. The dates in this paper are quoted as B.P. uncalibrated unless otherwise specified.
Article
This is the first study to investigate the short-term effects of high population density on captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Subjects of the study were 45 chimpanzees living in five different groups at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. The groups were observed under two conditions: 1) when they had access to both the indoor and outdoor sections of their enclosures; 2) during cold days when they were locked into the indoor runs, which reduced the available space by more than half. Under the high-density condition, allogrooming and submissive greetings decreased, but juvenile play increased. Remarkably, the rate of various forms of agonistic behavior, such as aggression, bluff charge, bluff display, and hooting, occurred less frequently under the high-density condition. This general decrease in adult social activity, including agonistic behavior, can be interpreted as an inhibition strategy to reduce opportunities for conflict when interindividual distances are reduced. This strategy is probably effective only in the short run, however. Behavioral indicators of anxiety, such as rough scratching and yawning, showed elevated rates, suggesting increased social tension under the high-density condition. Am. J. Primatol. 41:213–228, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
Aesthetic chills are transient emotional responses to music or other experiences of beauty. Item 188 of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) asks respondents if they have experienced these chills, and in American samples it is one of the best definers of Openness to Experience, one of the five basic personality factors. As part of the NEO-PI-R, the item has been translated into over 40 languages, and an examination of back-translations suggests that the phenomenon can be expressed in all the languages examined. Data from the Personality Profiles of Cultures Project show that Item 188 is one of the best definers of Openness in most of the 51 cultures examined. Aesthetic chills appear to be a universal emotional experience, although the functions they serve and the mechanisms that account for them remain to be discovered.
Article
This study, based on 687 hr of focal observations, aims to describe overall patterns of the sexual behavior of the adult male chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, to compare the results with previous reports, and to explain the variations between studies. Genital inspection of cycling females by adult males was eight times as frequent as that of lactating females, and twice as frequent as that of pregnant females. Inspection of the genitals of cycling females increased dramatically 7–10 days before the onset of maximal swelling and gradually decreased as the day of ovulation approached. Adult males likely obtained information on the attractivity of females by inspecting their genitals. Mating was usually initiated by male courtship and followed by pelvic thrusts in a dorsoventral posture, performed on, rather than above, the ground, which continued for 7 s. on average, and was typically followed by female squeaking and darting from the male, or by the male grooming the female. Higher-ranking males mated with females in the peri-ovulatory period more frequently than did lower-ranking males. In particular, two alpha males mated with such females more often than did any other adult males. A male who interfered with a mating pair was dominant over the mating male in other agonistic contexts. The duration of intromission was correlated with neither dominance rank nor age. However, when an adult male declined in rank from alpha in 1991 to third in 1992, he showed a significantly shorter duration of intromission. This indicates that for a particular male, the alpha rank guaranteed longer duration of intromission. Allies of alpha males tended to mate with peri-ovulatory females more frequently than expected from their low dominance ranks. The number of mating partners was not correlated with male dominance rank, but was sometimes negatively correlated with male age. Females were significantly more likely to emit a copulatory squeak when mating with younger, rather than older, adult males. Male dominance rank and the rate of female copulatory squeaking were not correlated. Weaning infants regularly interfered with their mothers' mating. Occasionally, unrelated adolescent males and rarely females pushed themselves in between copulating adults. Female choice was indicated when they performed a “penis erection check” or took the initiative in courtship, or on the other hand showed strong reluctance to mate with particular males. Young adult males more often received erection checks than did prime males, while none of the three old adult males did. Courtship initiated by estrous females was not directed to two of the oldest males, the exception of which was the alpha male. The oldest males, except for the alpha, were consistently avoided by many estrous females, both young and old. In response to female reluctance, males behaved violently, however, this was not effective, because other more dominant males came to rescue the female. Neither courtship nor mating was seen between mature sons and their mothers, nor between brothers and sisters.
Article
Music modifies moods and emotions by interacting with brain mechanisms that remain to be identified. One powerful emotional effect induced by music is a shivery, gooseflesh type of skin sensation (commonly called "chills" or "thrills"), which may reflect the brain's ability to extract specific kinds of emotional meaning from music. A large survey indicated that college-age students typically prefer to label this phenomenon as "chills" rather than "thrills," but many mistakenly believe that happiness in music is more influential in evoking the response than sadness. A series of correlational studies analyzing the subjective experience of chills in groups of students listening to a variety of musical pieces indicated that chills are related to the perceived emotional content of various selections, with much stronger relations to perceived sadness than happiness. As a group, females report feeling more chills than males do. Because feelings of sadness typically arise from the severance of established social bonds, there may exist basic neurochemical similarities between the chilling emotions evoked by music and those engendered by social loss. Further study of the "chill" response should help clarify how music interacts with a specific emotional process of the normal human brain.
Article
We examined the content universe, factor structure, affective composition, elicitors, trait antecedents, and consequences of "the chills." In Study 1, participants described what it means to get the chills. A second sample sorted all references to physical sensations based on similarity. Cluster analysis identified 4 lower order clusters (goosebumps, tingling, coldness, shivers) and 2 higher order clusters ("goosetingles," "coldshivers"). In Study 2, factor analysis of questionnaire data supported a model with lower and higher order factors that corresponded to the Study 1 clusters. Goosetingles and coldshivers were predicted by approach-related traits (e.g., extraversion) and avoidance-related traits (e.g., neuroticism), respectively. In Study 3, analysis of narrative data replicated the goosetingles-coldshivers structure. Relative to coldshivers, goosetingles involved greater awe, surprise, and enjoyment and less disgust, fear, and sadness. In Study 4, analysis of diary data extended the goosetingles-coldshivers structure to between- and within-person levels of analysis. Goosetingles involved positive affects and was elicited by approach-related stimuli, whereas coldshivers involved negative affects and was elicited by avoidance-related stimuli. In Study 5, manipulation of exposure to self-actualization and self-annihilation elicited goosetingles and coldshivers, respectively. Goosetingles and coldshivers had positive and negative effects, respectively, on interpersonal closeness. In sum, diverse forms of evidence converge to indicate that the chills encompasses distinct approach- and avoidance-related constructs. Failure to distinguish these constructs explains null and inconsistent findings in the nascent literature. Goosetingles and coldshivers are posited to serve the function of signaling that an event in the environment is pertinent to one's most deep-seated hopes or fears.
Article
It is argued that computing machines inevitably involve devices which perform logical functions that do not have a single-valued inverse. This logical irreversibility is associated with physical irreversibility and requires a minimal heat generation, per machine cycle, typically of the order of kT for each irreversible function. This dissipation serves the purpose of standardizing signals and making them independent of their exact logical history. Two simple, but representative, models of bistable devices are subjected to a more detailed analysis of switching kinetics to yield the relationship between speed and energy dissipation, and to estimate the effects of errors induced by thermal fluctuations.
Article
A maximum likelihood artificial neural system (MLANS) has been designed for problems which require an adaptive estimation of metrics in classification spaces. Examples of such problems are an XOR problem and most classification problems with multiple classes having complicated classifier boundaries. The metric estimation has the capability of achieving flexible classifier boundary shapes using a simple architecture without hidden layers. This neural network learns much more efficiently than other neural networks or classification algorithms, and it approaches the theoretical bounds on adaptive efficiency according to the Cramer-Rao theorem. It also provides for optimal fusing of all the available information, such as a priori and real-time information coming from a variety of sensors of the same or different types, and utilizes fuzzy classification variables to provide for the efficient utilization of incomplete or erroneous data, including numeric and symbolic data.This paper describes the neural network and presents examples of its performances in unsupervised, partially supervised, and environment-interrogation modes. We discuss the Cramer-Rao theory as it relates to neural networks, the relevance of the MLANS to biological and other neural networks, and issues for future work.
Article
Approximately half of those surveyed experience characteristic tingling sensations (thrills) when exposed to emotionally arousing stimuli. Music was especially effective as a stimulus. Thrills evoked by music were quantitated according to self-reports on frequency, intensity, and duration. In preliminary experiments with naloxone, an opiate receptor antagonist, thrills were attenuated in some subjects.
Article
Operatic music involves both singing and acting (as well as rich audiovisual background arising from the orchestra and elaborate scenery and costumes) that multiply the mechanisms by which emotions are induced in listeners. The present study investigated the effects of music, plot, and acting performance on emotions induced by opera. There were three experimental conditions: (1) participants listened to a musically complex and dramatically coherent excerpt from Tosca; (2) they read a summary of the plot and listened to the same musical excerpt again; and (3) they re-listened to music while they watched the subtitled film of this acting performance. In addition, a control condition was included, in which an independent sample of participants succesively listened three times to the same musical excerpt. We measured subjective changes using both dimensional, and specific music-induced emotion questionnaires. Cardiovascular, electrodermal, and respiratory responses were also recorded, and the participants kept track of their musical chills. Music listening alone elicited positive emotion and autonomic arousal, seen in faster heart rate, but slower respiration rate and reduced skin conductance. Knowing the (sad) plot while listening to the music a second time reduced positive emotions (peacefulness, joyful activation), and increased negative ones (sadness), while high autonomic arousal was maintained. Watching the acting performance increased emotional arousal and changed its valence again (from less positive/sad to transcendent), in the context of continued high autonomic arousal. The repeated exposure to music did not by itself induce this pattern of modifications. These results indicate that the multiple musical and dramatic means involved in operatic performance specifically contribute to the genesis of music-induced emotions and their physiological correlates.