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Our Blind Narcissism

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Western thought is steeped in the theoretical alienation of cognitive self from the rest of the world. We are soften represented as closed chambers of reflection, capable of cognitive evaluation of the world; contemplating and producing a theoretical picture of it through solitary reflection. Our bodies themselves are often considered largely inconsequential.

This abstraction of the self from its surroundings is problematic — it results in a two-pronged schism, from the agentive ‘other’ on the one hand, and from the (non-animate) world on the other. Why is this solipsism, as Merleau-Ponty claims, such an “incomparable monster’? In what ways is the narcissism with which we interpret our world so blind? Continue reading “Our Blind Narcissism”

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Joint speech

Joint speech is a collective voice of more than one at a time.This is though commonly recognized in chanting prayers, it is also observed in many different occasions like a political rally, birthday and countdown of the new year, football and cricket stadium or for that matter any sports and games.The positive vibrations created symbolizes the amount of joy and enthusiasm.

As mentioned in Chapter 4 of the joint speech book (The Ground From Which We Speak),”Repetition also has the seemingly inevitable effect that the pitch
contour of speech becomes more melodic.” This point strikingly points out at the relation between music and joint speech which seems to be very crucial in a childhood as kids find it easy to practice tables and also rhythms.Comparative to reading the same context in a textbook enjoying the melodic rhythm produced by repetition in a group has made us remember those at an early age without questioning the purpose of learning them. So, this makes me understand that repetition has a attracts a specific energy which leads to self-motivated learning.A learning joyful for the child such that it gets inscribed for later years.Hence, we see this pattern of repetition students after teacher till date.

This effectiveness of joint speech seems more and more attractive to me since I have encountered situations on daily bases where I started to observe and enjoy the essence of it.Recently I have witnessed how technology produced an innovative way of joint speech which was surprisingly easy for kids to learn and dance with the melody. I have also observed that as they repeated the lines and actions more and more the pitch of their voices raised higher and higher showcasing their confidence and attracting people.

Here is the video which could be a better start off for active learning.

Reference

Cummins, (2018) Chapter 4, The Ground From Which We Speak, retrieved from http://cspeech.ucd.ie/Fred/books/CumminsGroundLarge.pdf

 

On autonomy in social interactions

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A view found throughout much social cognitive science, treats of experience as involving two disjointed realms; the inner and the environmental or outside world. In this view, the social situations we encounter in our lives involve something like guess-work, or figuring out the ‘minds’ of others without direct or coupled access to them.  We, as cognitive agents, are recipients of experience; obedient, compliant, even detatched — entaction recognises the deficiencies of this framing of the problem.

Drawing away sharply from the problematic subject-object divide, enactive theories instead provide a more robust alternative understanding of social interaction, with a variety of surprising implications. As I will outline, the fact that our relationships, especially our deepest ones, are autonomous, connected and may even constrain individual autonomy, may cause us to rethink our understanding of what it is to participate in interaction in social settings. Here, I trace through some of these issues.

Continue reading “On autonomy in social interactions”

Common Sense

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While taking several courses in neuroscience, I was constantly reminded how many studies made me think, “duh.” Much like how when someone tells you something they learned recently from a cheap Huffington Post article, or TedTalk, or a soft-shell article in The Atlantic, and you think, “how did you not know that already? It’s common sense.” But what is common sense?

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Joint Speech and Human Connection

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Joint speech can spontaneously begin among a pair or a group of people and does not require prior consideration, practise or reflection. Children at a birthday party break into chant “I Want Cake!”. An old group of friends sing their school’s sports chant at pre-drinks. Members of a yoga class are guided by the facilitator to breathe together in unison or utter a mantra together. The ubiquity of joint speech is perhaps one of the reasons why people engage in it with little to no effort and also why there is a gap in the literature when it comes to empirical research on the subject. But what is the purpose of this phenomenon? And can we use what we know about joint speech and apply it to real-world problems.  Continue reading “Joint Speech and Human Connection”

Sense-Fusion

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Sense-fusion is an adaption from flicker fusion. Flicker fusion is when the discrete becomes continuous with respect to light. For instance, if we keep increasing the rate of the pulse in a pulsating light bulb, eventually the light will be ‘seen’ as continuous.  Youtube has a couple of lovely examples, which are here and here. There is also the fusion of touch, where when a tap becomes so rapid that it suddenly feels like simply being touched. While this may seem trivial, I think there is something truly fundamental that needs to be explored and this post is simply asking for other thoughts on the subject.

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The modern importance of von Uexküll’s “Umwelt” theory

Lilac Breasted Roller

The distinction of working to understand creatures by themselves or as part of a larger system can drastically change what is found or the questions that are being asked. This can be a highly debatable topic in the correct direction to go. When it comes to cognitive science, parts of this debate can be seen when looking at areas of cognitive psychology compared to the more system based approaches in the 4e’s. The Umwelt theory, first proposed by Jakob von Uexküll (1934) in “A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men” , can help show the importance of expanding the area of study beyond the individual. Obviously, modern understanding has advanced beyond the specifics of what von Uexküll discusses but his main point still has weight in today’s research.

Von Uexküll describes his Umwelt as “Perceptual and effector worlds together form a closed unit, the Umwelt.” (1934, p. 6). In this instance, the perceptual for an animal is everything that is perceived by the individual. The effector world of the organism would be everything that they do, or all of their actions. He breaks this down into different areas to create his argument including different types of space (visual, tactile, etc.). He also uses many different creatures to create his argument including a tick, frog, humans, and more. This is all used to establish some main points about the complexity of the Umwelt.

Continue reading “The modern importance of von Uexküll’s “Umwelt” theory”