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Instinctual & Hardwired Aquisition Devices; Language, Color, Sound, Smell, Touch, Art & Taste

P: n/a
Various aquisition devices that guide learning along particular
pathways towards human biases. And as E.O. Wilson might say mental
development appears to be genetically constrained.

(1) Language Aquisition Device
(2) Color Aqusition Device
(3) Sound Aquistion Device
(4) Smell Aquisition Device
(5) Touch Aquisition Device
(6) Art Aquisition Device
(7) Taste Aquisition Device

------------------------

(1) Language Aquisition Device

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) is credited with being the first
European linguist to identify human language as a rule-governed system,
rather than just a collection of words and phrases paired with
meanings. This idea is one of the foundations of Noam Chomsky's theory
of language. Chomsky frequently quotes Humboldt's description of
language as a system which "makes infinite use of finite means",
meaning that an infinite number of sentences can be created using a
finite number of grammatical rules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt

-------------------------

Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p

....humans have constantly sought to discover [...] technologies of mood
that might provide a faster and more secure short cut to happiness than
words alone...

(2) Color Aqusition Device

The use of colour is one such technology. For thousands of years,
humans have decorated their own bodies and their surroundings with
unusually bright colours that stimulate our visual systems much as
chocolate stimulates our taste buds. Ever since the discovery of the
first artificial dyes, such as the red ochre with which our ancestors
painted their bodies around a hundred thousand years ago, we have used
bright colours for their emotional effects.

Colour rarely affects our emotions directly. In some mental disorders
such as autism the sight of a patch of colour may be enough to trigger
a wave of panic, but in most normal people colour influences emotion
indirectly via its influence on mood. Being in a red room may not
itself make us angry, but it may put us into an irritable mood, with
the result that it takes less to make us lose our temper. The Italian
film director Michelangelo Antonioni once painted the canteen red to
put his actors in the right mood for some tense scenes, but after a few
weeks he noticed that other workers using the canteen had become more
aggressive and had even come to blows on a few occasions.

Some of the most convincing scientific evidence about the effects of
colour on mood comes from some experiments conducted by the
psychologist Nicholas I lumphrey. Humphrey put monkeys into specially
designed cages each consisting of two chambers connected by a tunnel.
When one chamber was lit by a blue light and the other by a red light,
the monkeys consistently preferred the blue one. They would venture
into the red chamber out of curiosity, and then quickly retreat into
the blue chamber, where they would remain. If both chambers were red,
the monkeys ran back and forth from one chamber to the other, without
settling in either. Red made the monkeys irritable and nervous, while
blue put them in a relaxed mood.

Red and blue produce similar emotional effects in humans. When people
are exposed to red light, blood pressure rises, breathing speeds up,
and the heart beats faster. Blue light has the opposite effects.
Subjectively, people feel warmer in red rooms but also more nervous and
aggressive. These responses are not merely cultural artefacts;
two-week-old babies can be soothed more easily in blue than in red
light, which suggests that at least part of our emotional response to
colour is innate. But why should natural selection have programmed our
minds in this way? How could a taste for certain bright colours or an
aversion to others possibly have helped our ancestors to survive? Does
red owe its warming effect to the fact that the two sources of heat our
ancestors had-sunlight and firelight-are both this colour? What
about the anxiety-provoking character of red light then? Is this due to
the fact that red is also the colour of blood?

Whatever the reason for our innate colour preferences, nature rarely
offers us a large expanse of a single colour. A vivid sunset may
occasionally paint the whole sky in one consistent shade of pink or
purple, but nature's beauties are more usually mosaics of many
different colours. A peacock's tail and a beautiful landscape both
offer a myriad different shades to the viewer's eye, not a
monochromatic expanse like Antonioni's red canteen. By taking a single
colour out of its natural setting, and using it to fill the entire
visual field, paint and lighting amplify the natural effects of colour.
In the technical terms of biology, artificial colours are
'super-stimuli'. They achieve their effects by keying into the same
evolved preferences that nature keys into, but they strike the keys
much more forcefully. Compared to the neon glow of rococo art, nature
is 'too green and badly lit', remarked the painter Francois Boucher.

A single uniform patch of colour is not always more emotionally
powerful than a mosaic, however. What the mosaic loses in simplicity it
can gain from careful arrangement. The emotional effects of such
arrangements vary much more from person to person than the effects of
single colours, so that one painting may produce a profound effect on
one person while leaving another person cold. However, there are still
some remarkable regularities in our aesthetic preferences. When asked
to choose between a selection of abstract paintings, most people prefer
the same one. Furthermore, they usually prefer the one painted by a
famous artist rather than versions of this that have been modified in
random ways by a computer. The original paintings must embody features
that the human visual system is programmed to find most appealing. At
present, scientists do not know what these features are, but the
artists who painted the popular paintings must have had some intuitive
appreciation of them. As the landscape painter John Constable remarked,
painting is a science of which pictures are but the experiments. Both
abstract art and representational art require considerable skill on the
part of the artist, even if only in telling the experiments that work
from those that do not.

(3) Sound Aquistion Device

Just as various colours may be arranged to produce a pleasing image, so
sounds of varying frequency may be arranged to produce a pleasing
melody. Music, like visual art, is a technology designed to tap
directly into our perceptual capacities purely for the sake of
producing pleasure. In Steven Tinker's words, music is 'auditory
cheesecake'; for Shakespeare, music was also the food of love,
indicating that music can also induce emotions other than happiness.

Like visual art, music affects our emotions indirectly, by changing our
mood. Little scientific research has been done to find exactly which
kinds of music tend to put people in which moods, but most people today
know the irritating effects of being exposed to loud, repetitive music
from a neighbour's flat or a fellow-passenger's Walkman. Hearing such
music does not usually send you into a fit of rage immediately. Rather,
it gradually puts you in a bad mood, which then makes you more easily
angered. Similarly, supermarkets do not use soft music to make us happy
directly; that would rather defeat their objective, since the
supermarket bosses do not want you to feel fulfilled by the music
itself. Rather, they hope that the music will put you in a relaxed
mood, which will in turn make you more sensitive to happiness-inducing
thoughts, such as the anticipated pleasure of consuming an expensive
chocolate cake.

Among the little scientific research that has been done in this area,
one intriguing finding is that many compositions by Mozart, such as
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, reliably produce good moods in those who hear
them. This happens even if the listener is not particularly keen on
classical music, which suggests that good composers tap into universal
musical preferences in the way that good artists tap into universal
visual preferences. Some support for this view can be found in recent
neuroscien-tific research, which has found that, when a person listens
to a classical melody, the neurons in different brain regions fire more
synchronously than when the person listens to a random sequence of the
same notes. The reason for this sense of melody, however, is still a
mystery.

(4) Smell Aquisition Device

In humans, as in other primates, the visual system is highly developed,
followed closely by the auditory system. The other sensory modalities
are much less complex, or at least we are much less aware of their
complexity. So it is not surprising that the sensory technologies of
mood we esteem the most-art and music -are those that gratify our
eyes and ears, while those that appeal to our other senses are accorded
less dignity. Nevertheless, the senses of smell, taste, and touch have
not been neglected. The emotional effects of different smells are
poorly understood, though aromatherapists have developed some
interesting taxonomies. The perfume industry is based on the emotional
power of smell, and in many religions, from Buddhism to Christianity,
worshippers burn incense to put themselves in a more contemplative
mood.

(5) Touch Aquisition Device

The emotional effect of touch is better understood. Being caressed by
another person releases natural opiates in the brain that are
associated with a relaxed frame of mind. The evolutionary basis for
this may lie in our recent primate past, around the time of the last
common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, some five million years ago.
Grooming may well have been as important for this creature as it is for
modern chimpanzees, who spend hours each day removing the ticks from
each other's fur. This grooming does not merely rid the other chimp of
parasites; it also serves as a reliable sign of friendship. A
preference for such a reliable signal of friendship would have
motivated our furry ancestors to seek out friends. Those who did not
like being groomed would have found themselves without allies when it
came to a fight.

(6) Art Aquisition Device

Just as our evolved visual preferences are the raw material for visual
art, so our evolved tactile preferences are the raw material for
massage. Massage is an old technology, like art and music. It was
practised by the ancient Egyptians, and Hippocrates recommended doctors
to 'be experienced in many things but assuredly in rubbing'. Today,
orthodox medicine is beginning to rediscover the therapeutic value of
massage, while it has been one of the central aspects of many
alternative therapies for decades.

(7) Taste Aquisition Device

The gustatory technology of mood is, of course, cooking. By processing
natural foods in a variety of ways, and combining them according to
well-tested recipes, cooking does for natural flavours what painting
does for natural colours and music for natural sounds. It cranks them
up into a super-stimulus, tickling our taste buds more seductively than
nature ever did. If strawberries taste good because they are sweet,
cooks can make ultra-sugary things like strawberry ice cream that taste
twice as good. Here, natural selection takes her revenge on us for
daring to take the short cut to happiness instead of following the
winding paths she set up for us to follow. Having given us a cheap and
simple mechanism for finding glucose-a sweet tooth-she left us open
to the dangers of wanting more than is good for us. In the stone age,
that did not matter, since sugar came only in a rather diluted form
called fruit. Today, however, where sugar comes in concentrated lumps
called sweets, our intense desire for it can pose a serious problem for
health. Obesity is now reaching epidemic levels in many affluent
countries, and this is due largely to the dangerous combination of
evolved desires for large amounts of sugar and fat, and the novel
technology that is cooking.

Gustatory technologies of mood aim to induce good moods by stimulating
our taste buds or by producing other chemical effects further
downstream in the digestive process. Chocolate is quite an effective
mood booster, as indeed are most foods and drinks that contain sugar.
However, research has shown that, while most people feel more positive
and energetic immediately after eating a chocolate bar, this effect
soon wanes, and an hour afterwards they tend to feel even worse than
they did before eating the chocolate in the first place. Tea and coffee
have similar effects, with a short-term boost in mood being followed by
a medium-term decrease. Most drugs have the same effect. In fact, the
distinction between foodstuffs and drugs is a rather arbitrary one, and
even today there is still no scientific basis for distinguishing drugs
from the various other kinds of substance we consume. We tend to call
something a drug if we consume it primarily -for its psycho-tropic
effects rather than for its nutritional or gustatory ones, but most
kinds of food and drink have some effect on your state of mind. Cottage
cheese and chicken liver, for example, both contain high levels of
tryptophan, which the brain uses to make a chemical called serotonin,
which in turn is associated with good moods. A friend of mine who is a
vet once fed his dogs on a diet of cottage cheese and chicken liver for
a week, after which they seemed much happier and more energetic than
usual. Drugs are best seen as the end of a continuum of foods rather
than a completely separate category.

Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p

Sep 21 '06 #1
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P: n/a
Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) is credited with being the first
European linguist to identify human language as a rule-governed system,
rather than just a collection of words and phrases paired with
meanings. This idea is one of the foundations of Noam Chomsky's theory
of language. Chomsky frequently quotes Humboldt's description of
language as a system which "makes infinite use of finite means",
meaning that an infinite number of sentences can be created using a
finite number of grammatical rules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Humboldt
Humboldt claims that

"language ...must be looked
upon as being an immediate given
in mankind.

...Language could not be invented
or come upon if its archetype were
not already present in the human mind.

For man to understand but a single
word truly, not as a mere sensuous
stimulus (such as an animal understands
a command or the sound of the whip)
but as an articulated sound designating
a concept, all language, in all its
connections, must already lie prepared
within him.

There are no single separate facts of
language. Each of its elements announces
itself as part of a whole"

- (Humanist 239 * 40).

Here is Humboldt on language acquisition:

"Everyone when he learns a language, most notably children who create
far more than they memorize, proceeds by darkly felt analogies which
allow him to enter the language actively, as it were, instead of just
receptively" (Humanist 243).

On the relationship of language to the functions of the mind:

"The mutual interdependence of thought and word illuminates clearly the
truth that languages are not really means for representing already
known truths but are rather instruments for discovering previously
unrecognized ones" (Humanist 246).

On general considerations of human development:

"The production of language is an inner need of mankind, not merely an
external vehicle for the maintenance of communication, but an
indispensable one which lies in human nature, necessary for the
development of its spiritual energies and for the growth of a
Weltanschauung which man can attain only by bringing his thinking to
clarity and definition by communal contact with the thinking of others"
(Humanist 258).

On the nature and attributes of language:

"the whole of language lies within each human being, which only means
that each of us contains a striving, regulated by a definitely modified
capacity, which both stimulates and restricts, gradually to produce the
entire language, as inner or outer demands dictate, and to understand
it as it is produced by others" (Humanist 290 * 91);

also:

"A further proof that children do not mechanically learn their native
language but undergo a development of linguistic capacity is afforded
by the fact that all children, in the most different imaginable
circumstances of life, learn to speak within a fairly narrow and
definite time span, just as they develop all their main capacities at
certain definite growth stages" (Humanist 292).

And finally, adopting a generative approach to linguistics, von
Humboldt, in Chomsky's words, suggests that

the lexicon is "based on certain
organizing generative principles
that produce the appropriate items
on given occasions,"

and he develops

"the notion of `form of language'
as a generative principle, fixed
and unchanging, determining the
scope and providing the means for
the unbounded set of individual
`creative' acts that constitute
normal language use,"...

- (Cartesian Linguistics 20, 22).

....studies * of common forms of language, of general grammars, and of
the conditions that prescribe the forms of human language * build on
work undertaken by Cartesian linguists, and, in the process,
acknowledge "the quite obvious fact that;

the speaker of a language
knows a great deal that he
has not learned"
- (Chomsky, Language & Responsibility 60).

http://cognet.mit.edu/library/books/...omsky/3/8.html

The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) is a postulated "organ" of the
brain that is supposed to function as a congenital device for learning
symbolic language (ie. language acquisition). First proposed by Noam
Chomsky, the LAD concept is a component of the nativist theory of
language which dominates contemporary formal linguistics, which asserts
that humans are born with the instinct or "innate facility" for
acquiring language.

Chomsky motivated the LAD hypothesis by what he perceived as
intractable complexity of language acquisition, citing the notion of
"infinite use of finite means" proposed by Wilhelm von Humboldt. At the
time it was conceived (1957-1965), the LAD concept was in strict
contrast to B.F. Skinner's behavioral psychology which emphasized
principles of learning theory such as classical and operant
conditioning and imitation over biological predisposition. The
interactionist theory of Jerome Bruner and Jean Piaget later emphasized
the importance of the interaction between biological and social (nature
and nurture) aspects of language acquisition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languag...isition_device

Universal grammar is a theory of linguistics postulating principles of
grammar shared by all languages, thought to be innate to humans. It
attempts to explain language acquisition in general, not describe
specific languages. This theory does not claim that all human languages
have the same grammar, or that all humans are "programmed" with a
structure that underlies all surface expressions of human language.
Rather, universal grammar proposes a set of rules that would explain
how children acquire their language(s), or how they construct valid
sentences of their language.

Some students of universal grammar study a variety of grammars to
abstract generalizations called linguistic universals, often in the
form of "If X holds true, then Y occurs." These have been extended to a
range of traits, from the phonemes found in languages, to what word
orders languages choose, to why children exhibit certain linguistic
behaviors.

The idea can be traced to Roger Bacon's observation that all languages
are built upon a common grammar, substantially the same in all
languages, even though it may undergo in them accidental variations,
and the 13th century speculative grammarians who, following Bacon,
postulated universal rules underlying all grammars.
The concept of a universal grammar or language was at the core of the
17th century projects for philosophical languages. Later linguists who
have influenced this theory include Noam Chomsky, Edward Sapir and
Richard Montague, developing their version of the theory as they
considered issues of the Argument from poverty of the stimulus to arise
from the constructivist approach to linguistic theory. The application
of the idea to the area of second language acquisition (SLA) is
represented mainly by the McGill linguist Lydia White.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_grammar

Noam Chomksy suggests that the human brain also contains a language
acquisition device (LAD) that is preprogrammed to process language. He
was influential in extending the science of language learning to the
languages themselves. Chomsky noticed that children learn the rules of
grammar without being explicitly told what they are. They learn these
rules through examples that they hear and amazingly the brain pieces
these samples together to form the rules of the grammar of the language
they are learning. This all happens very quickly, much more quickly
than seems logical. Chomsky's LAD contains a preexisting set of rules,
perfected by evolution and passed down through genes. This system,
which contains the boundaries of natural human language and gives a
language learner a way to approach language before being formally
taught, is known as universal grammar.

The common grammatical units of languages around the world support the
existence of universal grammar: nouns, verbs, and adjectives all exist
in languages that have never interacted. Chomsky would attribute this
to the universal grammar. The numerous languages and infinite number of
word combinations are all governed by a finite number of rules. Charles
Henry suggests that the material nature of the brain lends itself to
universal grammar. Language, as a function of a limited structure,
should also be limited. Universal grammar is the brain's method for
limiting and processing language.

A possible explanation for the critical period is that as the brain
matures, access to the universal grammar is restricted. And the brain
must use different mechanisms to process language. Some suggest that
the LAD needs daily use to prevent the degenerative effects of aging.
Others say that the brain filters input differently during childhood,
giving the LAD a different type of input than it receives in adulthood.
Current research has challenged the critical period altogether. In a
recent study, adults learning a second language were able to process it
(as shown through event related potentials) in the same way that
another group of adults processed their first language.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neur...ichardson.html

http://www.usingenglish.com/speaking...-language.html

Sep 21 '06 #2

P: n/a
The learning of color vocabularies is also strongly biased and hence
falls in the category of gene-culture transmission. From infancy
onward, normally sighted individuals see variation in wavelength not as
a continuously varying property of light (which it is) but as the four
basic colors of blue, green, yellow, and red, along with various blends
in the intermediate zones. This beautiful illusion is genetically
programed into the visual apparatus and brain. Marc Bornstein at
Princeton University used special techniques that measure attention
span to show that four-month-old infants respond to variation in
wavelength as if they were discriminating the four adult categories.

The same pattern occurs worldwide. At the University of California,
Berkeley, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay worked with the native speakers of
twenty languages, including Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan,
Hebrew, Ibibio, Thai, Tzeltal, and Urdu. The volunteers were asked to
describe their color vocabulary in an unusually precise way: they were
shown a large array of chips varying in color and brightness, and
directed to place each of the principal color terms of their language
on the chips that came closest to their conception of what the words
mean. Even though the words differed strikingly from one language to
the next in origin and sound, they fell into clusters on the array that
correspond, at least approximately, to the principal colors
distinguished by Born-stein's infants.

The physiological basis of the partitioning in vision is partially
known. The color cones of the retina, which are the cells that
distinguish wavelength, are differentiated into three types that
approach but do not correspond exactly to the basic colors. These cells
are maximally sensitive to blue (440 nanometers), green (535
nanometers), and yellow-green (565 nanometers) respectively. In the
lateral geniculate body of the thalamus, one of the key relay stations
between the eye and the visual cortex of the brain, the visually active
nerve cells are divided into four types that appear to encode the
principal hues. The deeper mechanisms that translate these diverse
sensitivities into the conscious perception of color are under active
investigation. Few brain scientists doubt that a full explanation of
color vision at the levels of the cell and molecule will eventually
become possible. Furthermore, simple genetic changes in color vision,
creating the various forms of color blindness, occur widely through
human populations. They have been associated tentatively with the
malfunction of particular genes located on the X-chromosome.

The intensity of the learning bias was strikingly revealed by an
experiment conducted on color perception during the late 1960s by
Eleanor Rosch of the University of California at Berkeley. In looking
for "natural categories" of cognition, Rosch exploited the fact that
the Dani people of New Guinea have no words to denote color; they speak
only of "mili" (roughly, dark) and "mola" (light). Rosch considered the
following question: if Dani adults set out to learn a color vocabulary,
would they do so more readily if the color terms correspond to the
principal innate hues? In other words, would cultural innovation be
channeled to some extent by the innate genetic constraints? Rosch
divided 68 volunteer Dani men into two groups. She taught one a series
of newly invented color terms placed on the principal hue categories of
the array (blue, green, yellow, red), where most of the natural
vocabularies of other cultures are located. She taught a second group
of Dani men a series of new terms placed off center, away from the main
clusters formed by other languages. The first group of volunteers,
following the "natural" propensities of color perception, learned about
twice as quickly as those given the competing, less natural color
terms. They also selected these terms more readily when allowed a
choice.

Promethean Fire - Reflections on the Origins of Mind
Charles J. Lumsdem - E.O. Wilson - 1983
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/1583484256/
(2) Color Aqusition Device

The use of colour is one such technology. For thousands of years,
humans have decorated their own bodies and their surroundings with
unusually bright colours that stimulate our visual systems much as
chocolate stimulates our taste buds. Ever since the discovery of the
first artificial dyes, such as the red ochre with which our ancestors
painted their bodies around a hundred thousand years ago, we have used
bright colours for their emotional effects.

Colour rarely affects our emotions directly. In some mental disorders
such as autism the sight of a patch of colour may be enough to trigger
a wave of panic, but in most normal people colour influences emotion
indirectly via its influence on mood. Being in a red room may not
itself make us angry, but it may put us into an irritable mood, with
the result that it takes less to make us lose our temper. The Italian
film director Michelangelo Antonioni once painted the canteen red to
put his actors in the right mood for some tense scenes, but after a few
weeks he noticed that other workers using the canteen had become more
aggressive and had even come to blows on a few occasions.

Some of the most convincing scientific evidence about the effects of
colour on mood comes from some experiments conducted by the
psychologist Nicholas I lumphrey. Humphrey put monkeys into specially
designed cages each consisting of two chambers connected by a tunnel.
When one chamber was lit by a blue light and the other by a red light,
the monkeys consistently preferred the blue one. They would venture
into the red chamber out of curiosity, and then quickly retreat into
the blue chamber, where they would remain. If both chambers were red,
the monkeys ran back and forth from one chamber to the other, without
settling in either. Red made the monkeys irritable and nervous, while
blue put them in a relaxed mood.

Red and blue produce similar emotional effects in humans. When people
are exposed to red light, blood pressure rises, breathing speeds up,
and the heart beats faster. Blue light has the opposite effects.
Subjectively, people feel warmer in red rooms but also more nervous and
aggressive. These responses are not merely cultural artefacts;
two-week-old babies can be soothed more easily in blue than in red
light, which suggests that at least part of our emotional response to
colour is innate. But why should natural selection have programmed our
minds in this way? How could a taste for certain bright colours or an
aversion to others possibly have helped our ancestors to survive? Does
red owe its warming effect to the fact that the two sources of heat our
ancestors had-sunlight and firelight-are both this colour? What
about the anxiety-provoking character of red light then? Is this due to
the fact that red is also the colour of blood?

Whatever the reason for our innate colour preferences, nature rarely
offers us a large expanse of a single colour. A vivid sunset may
occasionally paint the whole sky in one consistent shade of pink or
purple, but nature's beauties are more usually mosaics of many
different colours. A peacock's tail and a beautiful landscape both
offer a myriad different shades to the viewer's eye, not a
monochromatic expanse like Antonioni's red canteen. By taking a single
colour out of its natural setting, and using it to fill the entire
visual field, paint and lighting amplify the natural effects of colour.
In the technical terms of biology, artificial colours are
'super-stimuli'. They achieve their effects by keying into the same
evolved preferences that nature keys into, but they strike the keys
much more forcefully. Compared to the neon glow of rococo art, nature
is 'too green and badly lit', remarked the painter Francois Boucher.

A single uniform patch of colour is not always more emotionally
powerful than a mosaic, however. What the mosaic loses in simplicity it
can gain from careful arrangement. The emotional effects of such
arrangements vary much more from person to person than the effects of
single colours, so that one painting may produce a profound effect on
one person while leaving another person cold. However, there are still
some remarkable regularities in our aesthetic preferences. When asked
to choose between a selection of abstract paintings, most people prefer
the same one. Furthermore, they usually prefer the one painted by a
famous artist rather than versions of this that have been modified in
random ways by a computer. The original paintings must embody features
that the human visual system is programmed to find most appealing. At
present, scientists do not know what these features are, but the
artists who painted the popular paintings must have had some intuitive
appreciation of them. As the landscape painter John Constable remarked,
painting is a science of which pictures are but the experiments. Both
abstract art and representational art require considerable skill on the
part of the artist, even if only in telling the experiments that work
from those that do not.
Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p
Sep 21 '06 #3

P: n/a
"...the mammals...created images through hearing..as the eyes allow one
to picture the world, through spatial coding, ears and the auditory
cortex construct events in a temporal code"

[The] mammalian niche: whilst the reptiles were still dominant (from
200,000 to 70,000 years ago), mammals had to remain nocturnal
creatures. Because of this, Jerison http://tinyurl.com/3gg79 notes,
they had to develop a keen sense of hearing. The processing of auditory
information utilizes a time-sequence factor to create a model of the
environment.

Thus, a mammal's auditory cortex must perform certain computations and
abstractions on codified data. The second point of Jerison's thesis is
that, when mammals later emerged as day animals, it was logical that
they would refine and elaborate their sense of vision on the same
cortical plan as that of hearing. In fact, in mammals, the sense of
vision has largely moved from the retina to the visual cortex.

Because of this, the senses were located together in the cortex, and
once they were utilizing a similar form of data processing, it became
possible for the association areas to pool this information. It is easy
to see how this new mode of cortical intelligence might later come to
underpin such faculties as reasoning and judgment which, by definition,
require the coordination of different pieces of information...

The Development of Hearing: We take our sense of hearing for granted.
But before mammals evolved, most animals lived only in a world of sight
and smell, not hearing.

True, grasshoppers can both send and receive sound messages with their
legs, and mosquitos whine by beating their wings 500 times a second-a
noise which is picked up not only by the sleeping human, but by the
antennae of the mosquito's mate.

Fish receive sound waves through their bodies; frogs evolved an ear
drum to pick up noises in the air, and they send loud choruses of calls
by means of vibrating the wall of a hollow chamber in their, abdomen.

But the mammals, which evolved as nocturnal
reptiles in the late Triassic period (200
million years ago),

created images through hearing.

Just as the eyes allow one to picture the
world, through spatial coding, ears and
the auditory cortex construct events
in a temporal code.

At night in the forest, it is adaptive for a mammal to recognize that a
twig snapping three feet to his left is a prey (or predator). It is
hard for us to realize the extent to which the sequencing of observed
events is a novel capability, and even harder to understand how it is
accomplished.

Imagine that you are being shown 50 cards, in order, each of which
contains a fraction of a picture. It would be difficult for you to
construct the whole, because vision does not work by integrating clues
temporally. But hearing does.

Jerison believes that the auditory system had been evolving for about
100 million years . before the mammals were able to emerge into diurnal
niches. Then, they re-evolved a visual sense, based on the type of
neural networks and packaging of data, which had been established in
the auditory cortex. Because of this, he says, 'in addition to its
normal role in spatial mapping, mammalian vision would be time binding
.. . . Visual images in such a system could be stored in some form for
the order of seconds or longer, and could maintain "constancy" under
transformations in time and space.' (This capability, I suspect, may
also have influenced the neural formation of archetypal memory images,
such as that mentioned in the Penfield and Perot experiments.)

The Construction of Reality: A key feature of cortical intelligence,
then, is its construction of the 'real world' of our everyday
experience. If we could be a neutral observer, such as the proverbial
Martian, we might see that in fact at any moment there is a huge amount
of sensory information (such as light waves and sound waves), arriving
at any person's body in raw form. This information needs to be
organized and simplified. All animals do something to select from
and/or classify the information. In the higher primates and us this has
come to take the form of creating 'objects' in perceived 'space' and
'time'. Jerison speaks of 'clumps' in the neural system. That is, the
brain comes to identify a pattern of stimulation with an object at a
particular position in space, independently of the exact pattern of
stimulation received from the object...

....Nearly two centuries ago, in 1789, Immanuel Kant foreshadowed the
twentieth century discoveries of the innate structure of knowledge. He
stated that knowledge was a priori; even before we received sense
impressions we have a 'transcendental consciousness'. This, he says,
causes us to observe things according to innate categories, such as
time, space, and causality.

....the category of space is inherent in our perceptual sense of vision;
and the category of time is 'given to us' by the mechanisms of the
auditory cortex. ln Schrodinger's words, To be spread out in space and
to happen in a well-defined temporal order of "before and after" is not
a quality of the world that we perceive, but pertains to the perceiving
mind, which...cannot help registering anything that is offered to it
according to these two indexes, space and time.'

Moreover, even our apprehension of 'objects' in the 'real world' is
provided to us by the processes of the brain-processes which we cannot
voluntarily override. Thus ...it would be difficult to assume the role
of Martian and envision raw sense data hitting the human receiver; to
play the Martian, you would have to cancel out any apprehension of
tables, chairs, trees, sunsets, or other objects in the panorama.

Human Evolution - A Philosophical Anthropology
-- Mary Maxwell
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/0231059469/
(3) Sound Aquistion Device

Just as various colours may be arranged to produce a pleasing image, so
sounds of varying frequency may be arranged to produce a pleasing
melody. Music, like visual art, is a technology designed to tap
directly into our perceptual capacities purely for the sake of
producing pleasure. In Steven Tinker's words, music is 'auditory
cheesecake'; for Shakespeare, music was also the food of love,
indicating that music can also induce emotions other than happiness.

Like visual art, music affects our emotions indirectly, by changing our
mood. Little scientific research has been done to find exactly which
kinds of music tend to put people in which moods, but most people today
know the irritating effects of being exposed to loud, repetitive music
from a neighbour's flat or a fellow-passenger's Walkman. Hearing such
music does not usually send you into a fit of rage immediately. Rather,
it gradually puts you in a bad mood, which then makes you more easily
angered. Similarly, supermarkets do not use soft music to make us happy
directly; that would rather defeat their objective, since the
supermarket bosses do not want you to feel fulfilled by the music
itself. Rather, they hope that the music will put you in a relaxed
mood, which will in turn make you more sensitive to happiness-inducing
thoughts, such as the anticipated pleasure of consuming an expensive
chocolate cake.

Among the little scientific research that has been done in this area,
one intriguing finding is that many compositions by Mozart, such as
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, reliably produce good moods in those who hear
them. This happens even if the listener is not particularly keen on
classical music, which suggests that good composers tap into universal
musical preferences in the way that good artists tap into universal
visual preferences. Some support for this view can be found in recent
neuroscien-tific research, which has found that, when a person listens
to a classical melody, the neurons in different brain regions fire more
synchronously than when the person listens to a random sequence of the
same notes. The reason for this sense of melody, however, is still a
mystery.
Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p
Sep 21 '06 #4

P: n/a
....Nowhere do people have an equal desire for all members of the
opposite sex. Everywhere some potential mates are preferred, others
shunned. Our sexual desires have come into being in the same way as
have other kinds of desires.

Consider the survival
problem of what
food to eat.

Humans are faced with a bewildering array of potential objects to
ingest-berries, fruit, nuts, meat, dirt, gravel, poisonous plants,
twigs, and trees. If we had no taste preferences and ingested objects
from our environment at random, some people, by chance alone, would
consume ripe fruit, fresh nuts, and other objects that provide caloric
and nutritive sustenance. Others, also by chance alone, would eat
rancid meat, rotten fruit, and toxins. Earlier humans who preferred
nutritious objects survived.

Our actual food preferences bear out this evolutionary process. We show
great fondness for substances rich in fat, sugar, protein, and salt and
an aversion to substances that are bitter, sour, and toxic. These food
preferences solve a basic problem of survival. We carry them with us
today precisely because they solved critical adaptive problems for our
ancestors.

Our desires in a mate serve analogous adaptive purposes...

....Although ancestral selection pressures are responsible for creating
the mating strategies we use today, our current conditions differ from
the historical conditions under which those strategies evolved.

Ancestral people got their vegetables from gathering and their meat
from hunting, whereas modern people get their food from supermarkets
and restaurants.

Similarly, modern urban people today deploy their mating strategies in
singles bars, at parties, through computer networks, and by means of
dating services rather than on the savanna, in protected caves, or
around primitive campfires.

Whereas modern conditions of mating differ from ancestral conditions,
the same sexual strategies operate with unbridled force. Our evolved
psychology of mating remains. It is the only mating psychology we have;
it just gets played out in a modern environment.

To illustrate, look at the foods consumed in massive quantities at fast
food chains. We have not evolved any genes for McDonalds, but the foods
we eat there reveal the ancestral strategies for survival we carry with
us today. We consume in vast quantities fat, sugar, protein, and salt
in the form of burgers, shakes, french fries, and pizzas. Fast food
chains are popular precisely because they serve these elements in
concentrated quantities. They reveal the food preferences that evolved
in a past environment of scarcity. Today, however, we overconsume these
elements because of their evolutionarily unprecedented abundance, and
the old survival strategies now hurt our health. We are stuck with the
taste preferences that evolved under different conditions, because
evolution works on a time scale too slow to keep up with the radical
changes of the past several hundred years. Although we cannot go back
in time and observe directly what those ancestral conditions were, our
current taste preferences, like our fear of snakes and our fondness for
children, provide a window for viewing what those conditions must have
been. We carry with us equipment that was designed for an ancient
world.

Our evolved mating strategies, just like our survival strategies, may
be currently maladaptive in the currencies of survival and
reproduction. The advent of AIDS, for example, renders casual sex far
more dangerous to survival than it ever was under ancestral
conditions...

The Evolution of Desire:
Strategies of Human Mating
by David M. Buss
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/0465021433/
(7) Taste Aquisition Device

The gustatory technology of mood is, of course, cooking. By processing
natural foods in a variety of ways, and combining them according to
well-tested recipes, cooking does for natural flavours what painting
does for natural colours and music for natural sounds. It cranks them
up into a super-stimulus, tickling our taste buds more seductively than
nature ever did. If strawberries taste good because they are sweet,
cooks can make ultra-sugary things like strawberry ice cream that taste
twice as good. Here, natural selection takes her revenge on us for
daring to take the short cut to happiness instead of following the
winding paths she set up for us to follow. Having given us a cheap and
simple mechanism for finding glucose-a sweet tooth-she left us open
to the dangers of wanting more than is good for us. In the stone age,
that did not matter, since sugar came only in a rather diluted form
called fruit. Today, however, where sugar comes in concentrated lumps
called sweets, our intense desire for it can pose a serious problem for
health. Obesity is now reaching epidemic levels in many affluent
countries, and this is due largely to the dangerous combination of
evolved desires for large amounts of sugar and fat, and the novel
technology that is cooking.

Gustatory technologies of mood aim to induce good moods by stimulating
our taste buds or by producing other chemical effects further
downstream in the digestive process. Chocolate is quite an effective
mood booster, as indeed are most foods and drinks that contain sugar.
However, research has shown that, while most people feel more positive
and energetic immediately after eating a chocolate bar, this effect
soon wanes, and an hour afterwards they tend to feel even worse than
they did before eating the chocolate in the first place. Tea and coffee
have similar effects, with a short-term boost in mood being followed by
a medium-term decrease. Most drugs have the same effect. In fact, the
distinction between foodstuffs and drugs is a rather arbitrary one, and
even today there is still no scientific basis for distinguishing drugs
from the various other kinds of substance we consume. We tend to call
something a drug if we consume it primarily -for its psycho-tropic
effects rather than for its nutritional or gustatory ones, but most
kinds of food and drink have some effect on your state of mind. Cottage
cheese and chicken liver, for example, both contain high levels of
tryptophan, which the brain uses to make a chemical called serotonin,
which in turn is associated with good moods. A friend of mine who is a
vet once fed his dogs on a diet of cottage cheese and chicken liver for
a week, after which they seemed much happier and more energetic than
usual. Drugs are best seen as the end of a continuum of foods rather
than a completely separate category.

Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p
Sep 21 '06 #5

P: n/a
(6) Art Aquisition Device
>
Just as our evolved visual preferences are the raw material for visual
art, so our evolved tactile preferences are the raw material for
massage. Massage is an old technology, like art and music. It was
practised by the ancient Egyptians, and Hippocrates recommended doctors
to 'be experienced in many things but assuredly in rubbing'. Today,
orthodox medicine is beginning to rediscover the therapeutic value of
massage, while it has been one of the central aspects of many
alternative therapies for decades.

Emotion: The Science of Sentiment
Dylan Evans http://tinyurl.com/jw56p
Link to the image described in the text below;
http://reanimater.tripod.com/art_complexity.html

Experiment to show arousal by figure of different degrees of complexity
(redundancy). The figures are designed to show differences in amount of
information (H = number of squares filled to make the pattern) and
redundancy (R = regularity, symmetry, continuity, etc.)... In each
figure the redundancy increases from above downwards.

The arousal value of the figures was measured by showing them one at a
time to 85 people and recording for how long the alpha wave in the EEG
was blocked (desynchronized...)

THe figures with complexity measured at about 20 per cent gave the
maximum arousal, as measured by the duration of the EEG blocking, the
very ones much less.

Programs of the brain.
J. Z. Young 1978
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0198575459/

In defence of the resonance proposition, Smets (1973) found that
psychological arousal was greatest when the redundancy-repetitiveness
of design elements was about 20 per cent - this is equivalent to the
amount of order found in a simple maze, in two complete turns of a
logarithmic spiral, or a cross with asymmetrical arms. This phenomenon
seems to be innate as drawings with this degree of order tend to be
viewed longer by new-born infants.

http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/cognit/web/hodgson.html

Research on cognitive development has shown that in the course of its
growth the mind probes certain channels much more readily than others.
Some of the responses are automatic and can be measured by
physiological changes of which the individual is mostly or entirely
unaware. For example, using electroencephalograms in the study of
response to graphic designs, the Belgian psychologist Gerda Smets found
that maximal arousal (measured by the blockage of the alpha wave)
occurs when the figure contains about 20 percent redundancy (1973).
That is the amount present in a spiral with two or three turns, or a
relatively simple maze, or a neat cluster of ten or so triangles. Less
arousal occurs when the figure consists of only one triangle or square,
or when the design is more complicated than the optimum-as in a
difficult maze or an irregular scattering of twenty rectangles. The
data are not the result of a chance biochemical quirk. When selecting
symbols and abstract art, people actually gravitate to about the levels
of complexity observed in Smet's experiments. Furthermore, the
preference has its roots in early life. Newborn infants gaze longest at
visual designs containing between five and twenty angles. During the
next three months their preference shifts toward the adult pattern
measured with electroencephalograms. Nor is there anything foreordained
or otherwise trivial in the aesthetic optimum of human beings. It is
easy to imagine the evolution of some other intelligent species in
another time or on some other planet, possessing different eyes, optic
nerves, and brain-and thus distinct optimal complexity and artistic
standards.

We can reasonably suppose that the compositions of artists play upon
the rules of mental development that are now beginning to receive the
objective attention of experimental psychology. The distinction between
science and art can be understood more clearly from this different
perspective. The abstracted qualities of the developmental rules of the
mind are the principal concern of science. In contrast, the node-link
structures [of long-term memory] themselves, their emotional color,
tone, cadence, fidelity to personal experience, and the images they
fleetingly reveal, are more the domain of art. Of equal importance to
both enterprises are the symbols and myths that evoke the mental
structures in compelling fashion. Certain great myths-the origin of
the world, cataclysm and rebirth, the struggle between the powers of
light and darkness. Earth Mother, and a few others-recur dependably
in cultures around the world. Lesser, more personal myths appear in
crisis poems and romantic tales, where they blend imperceptibly into
legend and history. Through the deep pleasures they naturally excite,
and the ease with which they are passed from one person to another,
these stories invade the developing mind more readily than others, and
they tend to converge to form the commonalities of human nature. Yeats
in his 1900 essay on Shelley distinguished between the theoretician who
seeks abstract truth and the naturalist-poet who celebrates detail. In
the universe of the mind, Yeats said, no symbol tells all its meanings
to any generation. Only by discovering the ancient symbols can the
artist express meanings that cross generations and open the full
abundance of nature.

http://www.worldandi.com/subscribers....asp?num=24196

Sep 22 '06 #6

P: n/a
Stages of Moral Development

(1) Piaget's Stages:
(2) Kohlberg's Stages:
- Kohlberg's Six Stages
[1] Punishment-obedience orientation
[2] Individualism/egoism
[3] Good boy nice girl orientation
[4] Law and order orientation
[5] Social contract orientation
[6] Universal ethical principle orientation

#######################
(1) Piaget's Stages:
#######################

Jean Piaget, Swiss developmental psychologist developed a stage theory
of child cognitive development

A. Birth to age 2: Stage--Sensorimotor. Object permanence recognized by
a child

B. Age 2 to 7: Stage--Preoperational. Egocentric thought, child lacks
ability to decenter.

C. Age 7 to 11: Stage--Concrete operations . No abstract reasoning or
the ability to test hypotheses

D. Starting at age 11 or 12: Stage--Formal operations. Children begin
to reason abstractly

########################
(2) Kohlberg's Stages:
########################

Lawrence Kohlberg, Harvard professor of psychology, developed a theory
of stages of ethical development.

-Assumptions:

1. Individuals move through stages in understanding of moral issues as
they grow and mature

2. Stages cannot be skipped (ie., jumping from stage 2 to 4 without
experiencing stage 3)

3. Most adults do not advance past stage 4 in their development

4. Studying ethical cases can help individuals develop their moral
senses and thus advance

########################
- Kohlberg's Six Stages
########################

(Level One) - preconventional morality

Stage(1) Punishment-obedience orientation

--physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness
regardless of the human meaning or value of these consequences.
Avoidance of punishment and unquestioning deference to power are valued
in their own right, not in terms of respect for an underlying moral
order.

Stage(2) Individualism/egoism

--right action is that which satisfies one's own needs and occasionally
the needs of others. Human relations are viewed in terms like those of
the marketplace with elements of fairness, sharing, and reciprocity
present, but always interpreted in a physical or pragmatic way.
Reciprocity is a matter of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours,"
not of loyalty, gratitude or justice.

(Level Two) - conventional morality

Stage(3) Good boy nice girl orientation

--good behavior is that which pleases or helps others and is approved
by them. Behavior is frequently judged by intention ("he means well").
One earns approval by being nice. The concern is "What will people
think of me?" and the desire is for group approval. Right action is
that which would please or impress others.

Stage(4) Law and order orientation

--Right behavior consists of doing one's duty, showing respect for
authority, and maintaining the given social order for its own sake. The
concern goes beyond one's immediate groups to the larger society--to
the maintenance of law and order. One's obligation to the law overrides
one's obligations to family or friends. No one group is above the law.

(Level Three) - postconventional morality

Stage(5) Social contract orientation

--right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual
rights and standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon
by the whole society.There is a clear awareness of the relativism of
individual values and opinions and an emphasis on procedure for
reaching consensus. Aside from what is democratically agreed upon,
right action is a matter of personal values and opinions. It assumes a
legal point of view, with the possibility of changing the law because
of rational considerations. It is not a strict "law and order"
approach. While rules are needed to maintain social order, they should
not be blindly obeyed but should be evaluated or changed for the good
of society. Right action is that which protects the rights of the
individual according to rules agreed on by the whole society.

Stage(6) Universal ethical principle orientation

--right action is defined by the decision of conscience in accord with
self-chosen ethical principles. These principles are abstract and
ethical (the Golden Rule, the categorical imperative), not concrete
moral rules (the Ten Commandments). At heart, these are universal
principles of justice, equal rights, and of respect for the dignity of
human beings as individual persons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_development
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg's_stages_of_moral_development
http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

http://www.aggelia.com/htdocs/kohlberg.shtml

-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------

III. Gilligan's Response (Carol Gilligan, a student of Kohlberg's, took
issue with his method and his conclusions. In a Different Voice:
Psychological Theory and Women's Development.

A. Kohlberg only interviewed boys and men for his study. Gilligan
contends that girls and women tend to approach moral issues
differently, are more focused on caring than on rules and duty.

B. Gilligan developed her own set of stages:

1. Preconventional--Goal is individual survival

2. Transition is from selfishness to a recognition of responsibility to
others

3. Conventional--Self sacrifice is goodness

4. Transition is from goodness to the truth that she is a person too

5. Postconventional--Principle of nonviolence: do not hurt others or
self

C. Gilligan asserts that women have differing moral and psychological
tendencies than men. According to Gilligan, men think in terms of rules
and justice while women are more inclined to think in terms of caring
and relationships.

http://www.polytechnic.org/faculty/g...ec.stages.html

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The Social Animal - Elliot Aronson - 8th Edition 1999
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0716733129/

Responses to Social Influence

Thus far, I have been describing two kinds of conformity in more or
less commonsensical terms. This distinction was based upon (1) whether
the individual was being motivated by rewards and punishments or by a
need to know and (2) the relative permanence of the conforming
behavior. Let us move beyond this simple distinction to a more complex
and useful classification that applies not only to conformity but to
the entire spectrum of social influence. Instead of using the simple
term conformity, I would like to distinguish among three kinds of
responses to social influence: compliance, identification, and
internalization.

[Compliance] - The term compliance best describes the behavior of a
person who is motivated by a desire to gain reward or avoid punishment.
Typically, the person's behavior is only as long-lived as the promise
of reward or the threat of punishment. Thus, one can induce a rat to
run a maze efficiently by making it hungry and placing food at the end
of the maze. Chances are that a ruthless dictator could get a
percentage of his citizens to indicate their allegiance by threatening
them with torture if they don't comply or by promising to feed and
enrich them if they do. On the level of compliance, most researchers
see little difference between the behavior of humans and other animals
because all organisms are responsive to concrete rewards and
punishments. Thus, remove the food from the goal box and the rat will
eventually stop running; remove the food or the threat of punishment
and the citizens will cease showing allegiance to the dictator.

[Identification] - Identification is a response to social influence
brought about by an individual's desire to be like the influencer. In
identification, as in compliance, we do not behave in a particular way
because such behavior is intrinsically satisfying; rather, we adopt a
particular behavior because it puts us in a satisfying relationship to
the person or persons with whom we are identifying. Identification
differs from compliance in that we do come to believe in the opinions
and values we adopt, although we do not believe in them very strongly.
Thus, if we find a person or a group attractive or appealing in some
way, we will be inclined to accept influence from that person or group
and adopt similar values and attitudes-not in order to obtain a
reward or avoid a punishment (as in compliance), but simply to be like
that person or group. I refer to this as the good-old-Uncle-Charlie
phenomenon. Suppose you have an uncle named Charlie who happens to be a
warm, dynamic, exciting person; ever since you were a young child, you
loved him and wanted to grow up to be like him. Uncle Charlie is a
corporate executive who has a number of strong opinions, including a
deep antipathy to social welfare legislation. That is, he is convinced
that anyone who really tries can earn a decent wage and that, by
handing money to people, the government only succeeds in eliminating
their desire to work. As a young child, you heard Uncle Charlie
announce this position on several occasions, and it has become part of
your system of beliefs-not because you thought it through and it
seemed right to you or because Uncle Charlie rewarded you for adopting
(or threatened to punish you for not adopting) this position. Rather,
it has become part of your belief system because of your liking for
Uncle Charlie, which has produced in you a tendency to incorporate into
your life that which is his.

[Internalization] - The internalization of a value or belief is the
most permanent, most deeply rooted response to social influence. The
motivation to internalize a particular belief is the desire to be
right. Thus, the reward for the belief is intrinsic. If the person who
provides the influence is perceived to be trustworthy and to have good
judgment, we accept the belief he or she advocates and we integrate it
into our system of values. Once it is part of our own system, it
becomes independent of its source and will become extremely resistant
to change.

Let us discuss some of the important distinguishing characteristics of
these three responses to social influence. Compliance is the least
enduring and has the least effect on the individual because people
comply merely to gain reward or to avoid punishment. The complier
understands the force of the circumstance and can easily change his or
her behavior when the circumstance no longer prevails. At gunpoint, I
could be made to say almost anything; but with the threat of death
removed, I could quickly shrug off those statements and their
implications. If a child is kind and generous to his younger brother in
order to obtain a cookie from his mother, he will not necessarily
become a generous person. He has not learned that generosity is a good
thing in itself; what he has learned is that generosity is a good way
to get cookies. When the cookie supply is exhausted, his generous
behavior will eventually cease unless that behavior is bolstered by
some other reward (or punishment). Rewards and punishments are
important means of inducing people to learn and perform specific
activities but they are very limited techniques of social influence
because they must be ever present to be effective-unless the
individual discovers some additional reason for continuing the
behavior. This last point will be discussed shortly.

Continuous reward or punishment is not necessary for the response to
social influence I call identification. The person with whom the
individual identifies need not be present at all; all that is needed is
the individual's desire to be like that person. For example, if Uncle
Charlie moves to a different city and months (or even years) go by
without your seeing him, you will continue to hold beliefs similar to
his as long as (1) he remains important to you, (2) he still holds the
same beliefs, and (3) these beliefs are not challenged by
counteropinions that are more convincing. But, by the same token, these
beliefs can be changed if Uncle Charlie has a change of heart or if
your love for Uncle Charlie begins to fade. They can also change if a
person or group of people who are more important to you than Uncle
Charlie profess a different set of beliefs. For example, suppose you
are away at college and you find a group of new, exciting friends who,
unlike Uncle Charlie, are strongly in favor of social welfare. If you
admire them as much as (or more than) your uncle, you may change your
beliefs in order to be more like them. Thus, a more important
identification may supersede a previous identification.

The effect of social influence through identification can also be
dissipated by a person's desire to be right. If you have taken on a
belief through identification and you are subsequently presented with a
convincing counterargument by an expert and trustworthy person, you
will probably change your belief. Internalization is the most permanent
response to social influence precisely because your motivation to be
right is a powerful and self-sustaining force that does not depend upon
constant surveillance in the form of agents of reward or punishment, as
does compliance, or on your continued esteem for another person or
group, as does identification.

It is important to realize that any specific action may be due to
either compliance, identification, or internalization. For example, let
us look at a simple piece of behavior: obedience of the laws pertaining
to fast driving. Society employs highway patrol officers to enforce
these laws, and as we all know, people tend to drive within the speed
limit if they are forewarned that a certain stretch of highway is being
carefully scrutinized by these officers. This is compliance. It is a
clear case of obeying the law in order to avoid paying a penalty.
Suppose you were to remove the highway patrol. As soon as people found
out about it, many would increase their driving speed. But some people
might continue to obey the speed limit; a person might continue to obey
because Dad (or Uncle Charlie) always obeyed the speed limit or always
stressed the importance of obeying traffic laws. This, of course, is
identification. Finally, people might conform to the speed limit
because they are convinced that speed laws are good, that obeying such
laws helps to prevent accidents, and that driving at a moderate speed
is a sane and reasonable form of behavior. This is internalization. And
with inter-nalization you would observe more flexibility in the
behavior. For example, under certain conditions-at 6 o'clock on a
Sunday morning, with perfect visibility and no traffic for miles
around- the individual might exceed the speed limit. The compliant
individual, however, might fear a radar trap, and the identifying
individual might be identifying with a very rigid model; thus, both
would be less responsive to important changes in the environment.

Let us look at the major component in each response to social
influence. In compliance, the important component is power-the power
of the influencer to dole out the reward for compliance and punishment
for noncompliance. Parents have the power to praise, give love, provide
cookies, scream, give spankings, withhold allowances, and so on;
teachers have the power to paste gold stars on our foreheads or flunk
us out of college; and employers have the power to praise, promote,
humiliate, or discharge us. The U.S. government has the power to
increase economic aid to or withhold it from a dependent nation. Thus,
the government can use this technique to persuade a small country in
Latin America to hold a more or less democratic election. Rewards and
punishments are effective means for producing this kind of compliance,
but we might ask whether or not mere compliance is desirable: To induce
a nation to hold a democratic election is easier than to induce the
rulers of that nation to think and rule democratically.

In identification, the crucial component is attractiveness-the
attractiveness of the person with whom we identify. Because we identify
with the model, we want to hold the same opinions that the model holds.
Suppose a person you admire takes a particular stand on an issue.
Unless you have strong feelings or solid information to the contrary,
there will be a tendency for you to adopt this position. Incidentally,
it is interesting to note that the reverse is also true: If a person or
group that you dislike announces a position, there will be a tendency
for you to reject that position or adopt the opposite position.
Suppose, for example, that you dislike a particular group (say, the
Nazi party in the United States), and that group speaks out against
raising the minimum wage. If you know nothing about the issue, your
tendency will be to favor raising the minimum wage-all other things
being equal.

In internalization, the important component is credibility-the
credibility of the person who supplies the information. For example, if
you read a statement by a person who is highly credible- that is,
someone who is both expert and trustworthy-you would tend to be
influenced by it because of your desire to be correct. Recall our
earlier example of the diplomats at the Freedonian dinner party. Your
acceptance of their expertise made their behavior (belching after the
meal) seem the right thing to do. Accordingly, my guess is that this
behavior (your tendency to belch after a meal at the home of a
Freedonian dignitary) would become internalized; you would do it,
thereafter, because you believed it to be right.

Recall the experiment on conformity performed by Solomon Asch, in which
social pressure induced many subjects to conform to the erroneous
statements of a group. Recall further that, when the subjects were
allowed to respond in private, the incidence of conformity dropped
considerably. Clearly, then, internalization or identification was not
involved. It seems obvious that the subjects were complying with the
unanimous opinion of the group in order to avoid the punishment of
ridicule or rejection. If either identification or internalization had
been involved, the conforming behavior would have persisted in private.

The trichotomy of compliance, identification, and internalization is a
useful one. At the same time, it should be made clear that, like most
ways of classifying the world, it is not perfect; there are some places
where the categories overlap. Specifically, although it is true that
compliance and identification are generally more temporary than
internalization, there are circumstances that can increase their
permanence. For example, permanence can be increased if an individual
makes a firm commitment to continue to interact with the person or
group of people that induced the original act of compliance. Thus, in
an experiment by Charles Kiesler and his colleagues, when subjects
believed that they were going to continue interacting with an
unattractive discussion group, they not only complied publicly, but
they also seemed to internalize their conformity-that is, they
changed their private opinions as well as their public behavior. This
kind of situation will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 5.

Permanence can also result if, while complying, we discover something
about our actions, or about the consequences of our actions that makes
it worthwhile to continue the behavior even after the original reason
for compliance (the reward or punishment) is no longer forthcoming.
This is called a secondary gain. For example, in behavior modification
therapy, an attempt is made to eliminate unwanted or maladaptive
behavior by systematically punishing that behavior, by rewarding
alternative behaviors, or both. For example, various attempts have been
made to use this technique as a way of helping people kick the
cigarette habit. Individuals might be given a series of painful
electric shocks while performing the usual rituals of smoking - that
is, while lighting a cigarette, bringing it up to their lips, inhaling,
and so on. After several trials, the individual will refuse to smoke.
Unfortunately, it is fairly easy for people to notice a difference
between the experimental situation and the world outside: They realize
they will not be shocked when smoking outside of the experimental
situation. Consequently, a person may later experience a little
residual anxiety when lighting a cigarette, but because electric shocks
are clearly not forthcoming, the anxiety eventually fades. Thus, many
people who temporarily cease smoking after this form of behavior
modification will eventually smoke again after electric shock is no
longer a threat. How about those who stay off cigarettes after behavior
modification? Here is the point: Once we have been induced to comply,
and therefore do not smoke for several days, it is possible for us to
make a discovery. Over the years, we may have come to believe it was
inevitable that we awaken every morning with a hacking cough and a hot,
dry mouth, but after refraining from smoking for a few weeks, we may
discover how delightful it feels to have a clear throat and a fresh,
unparched mouth. This discovery may be enough to keep us from smoking
again. Thus, although compliance, in and of itself, usually does not
produce long-lasting behavior, it may set the stage for events that
will lead to more permanent effects.

The Social Animal - Elliot Aronson - 8th Edition 1999
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0716733129/

Sep 23 '06 #7

P: n/a
The poverty of the stimulus (POTS) argument is an argument in favour of
linguistic nativism, which is the claim that humans are born with a
specific adaptation for language that both funds and limits their
competence to acquire specific types of natural languages over the
course of their cognitive development and linguistic maturation. ...It
is taught to students in most linguistics and psycholinguistics
courses. Despite a large body of criticism it remains popular amongst
linguists...

....Though recognized as valid, the soundness of the poverty of stimulus
argument is widely questioned. Indeed, every one of the three premises
of the argument has been questioned at some point in time.

A lot of the criticism comes
from researchers who study language
acquisition and
- computational linguistics.

Also, connectionist researchers
have never accepted most of
Chomsky's premises, because they
are at odds with connectionist
beliefs about the structure
of cognition.

The first and most common critique, is that positive evidence is
actually enough to learn the various patterns which linguists claim are
unlearnable by positive evidence alone. A common argument is that the
brain's mechanisms of statistical pattern recognition could solve many
of the imagined difficulties. For example, researchers using neural
networks and other statistical methods have programmed computers to
learn rules such as (2) cited above, and have claimed to have
successfully extracted hierarchical structures, all using positive
evidence alone. (See Bates & Elman (1996), and Solan et al. (2005)
below.) Some linguists, such as Steven Pinker, remain skeptical as to
whether these techniques will ever extract anything other than "toy"
grammars. [1]

As for the argument based on Gold's proof, it's not clear that human
languages are truly capable of infinite recursion. Clearly, no speaker
can ever in fact produce a sentence with an infinite recursive
structure, and in certain cases (for example, center embedding), people
are unable to comprehend sentences with only a few levels of recursion.
Chomsky and his supporters have long argued that such cases are best
explained by restrictions on working memory, since this provides a
principled explanation for limited recursion in language use. Some
critics argue that this removes the falsifiability of the
premise[citation needed]. Returning to the big picture, it is
questionable whether Gold's research actually bears on question of
natural language acquisition at all, since what Gold showed is that
there are certain classes of formal languages for which some language
in the class cannot be learned given positive evidence alone. It's not
at all clear that natural languages fall in such a class, let alone
whether they are the ones that are not learnable. (See Johnson 2004).
Probably for these reasons, Chomsky himself has never advocated an
argument based on Gold's proof.

There is also criticism about whether negative evidence is really so
rarely encountered by children. Pullum (1996) (linked below) argues
that learners probably do get certain kinds of negative evidence. In
addition, if one allows for statistical learning, negative evidence is
abundant. Consider that if a language pattern is never encountered, but
its probability of being encountered would be very high were it true,
then the language learner might be right in considering absence of the
pattern as negative evidence. Chomsky accepts that this kind of
negative evidence plays a role in language acquisition, terming it
"indirect negative evidence", though he does not think that indirect
negative evidence is sufficient for language acquisition to proceed
without UG. In Pullum and Scholz (2002) it has been shown that examples
of a number of puportedly rare constructions are reasonably common in
available written corpora. Responses to the article have questioned the
relevance of this result, given that children learn from spoken
language, and may not have sufficiently good memory or attention to be
able to learn reliably from a small number of sentences. Pullum and
Scholz respond that their corpus analysis is "preliminary", intended to
serve as an impetus for further research, rather than a decisive
refutation of any particular POS argument.

Finally, it has been argued that people may not learn the exact same
grammars as each other. If this is the case, then only a weak version
of the third premise is true, as there would be no fully "correct"
grammar to be learned. However, in many cases, POS arguments do not in
fact depend on the assumption that there is only one correct grammar,
but rather that there is only one correct class of grammars. For
example, the POS argument from question formation depends only on the
assumption that everyone learns a structure-dependent grammar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_of_stimulus

Each member of the human species has to begin as a small child lost in
a vast and complicated maze. From his starting point he must reach a
place that represents an understanding of his culture and physical
environment. At each turn of the maze, at each decision to learn and
choose, he has only his wits and a list of clues to guide him. A
premium is placed on speed and efficiency, because the child is racing
against other children in similar mazes, and the greatest rewards of
the contest will go to those who reach the exact goal with the least
hesitation. In this contest, of which the child and the adults around
him may be only dimly aware, there exists a tradeoff between wits and
clues that can yield equal performance from the racers. Sharp wits,
especially those designed to reason expertly about mazes, can do well
with a short list of clues or a list that is distorted and confused.
Dull wits, capable of only the most general kinds of reasoning, require
a long, detailed list of clues in order to finish the race in equal
time.

The maze is a metaphor for the problems facing a young child as he
matures. The race is the image of evolution by means of natural
selection. The growing mind must pick its way through a chaos of
sensations and perceptions, quickly assembling them in a form that
imparts a substantial degree of command over the environment into which
it has been born. The entire course of the individual's life, including
his physical survival and reproductive success, will be determined by
the shape of the world that is recreated in the mind. In this contest,
the blank-slate mind depends wholly upon the close guidance of a
benevolent society.

In developing the models of gene-culture coevolution, we thought a
great deal about the cultural environments in which children are
actually raised, especially the living hunter-gatherer societies whose
arrangements are most likely to resemble those of early man. We noticed
a discrepancy between the data and a key assumption underlying much of
the work on child learning, which holds that the social world of
children is relatively well ordered and filled with instructions given
by teaching adults. If this assumption were true, a child could afford
to be dull-witted, in the sense of possessing only the most general and
unconstrained learning abilities. But the actual facts are otherwise.
In the Ituri Pygmies and !Kung Bushman of the Kalahari Desert, for
example, children are left to their devices even more than in
economically more advanced societies. They pick up most of their
language and skills by voluntary imitation and apprenticeship.
Remarkably enough, their minds flourish in these casual circumstances.
They become sophisticated in speech, quotidian skills, and tribal lore.
They also assume the facial expressions, taste preferences, and other
general patterns of behavior that together form the diagnostic traits
of human nature. These many qualities in the aggregate distinguish all
of us from chimpanzees, eidylons, and xenidrins.

Behavioral scientists refer to the riddle of the self-taught child as
the "principle of the poverty of the stimulus." In the imagery of the
maze, the child's mind navigates correctly with a very short list of
clues. How is this possible? Evolutionary reasoning suggests a
straightforward answer: the genes supply much more than simply the
general ability to solve problems. They equip the mind with specific
rules and principles needed to learn the world quickly in an
advantageous form.

Suppose that for thousands of generations young children varied in the
way their minds grow. Some inherit only the most general of
problem-solving mechanisms, while others are equipped with inborn clues
and biases that accelerate mental development in certain directions.
Most of the generalists end up in imaginary worlds poorly connected to
the world they inhabit. In contrast, those provided with innate clues
master the real social world into which they are born. They leave more
and more of their genes in succeeding generations. The species evolves
toward their type. In a literal sense the brain specialists, the swift
and directed learners, will inherit the earth. Gene-culture
transmission becomes the rule.

This inference about evolution raises the enormously important question
of how much constraint actually exists in mental development. In
approaching the problem we were careful to avoid thinking of any
particular magnitude or to generalize across the whole range of human
behavior. The time was overdue for a new and more interesting approach:
to examine the development of human cognition and behavior category by
category in order to discover the patterns of choice that actually
exist. We asked: out of all the vast number of ways an intelligent
species can evolve, which one has the human species actually followed
during its evolutionary history? This is an empirical question, and
fortunately it can be answered - by observing human development
directly. We began a tour of the technical literature on mental
development, paying particular attention to data on choices made by
infants and young children in circumstances that are relatively free of
cultural influence. We also sought the advice of anthropologists and
psychologists familiar with the subject.

We expected a windfall of information, but far less existed than we had
hoped. The reason is that the emphasis in studies of child development
has been on central tendencies, the "typical" pathways of development.
Choices between the usual and the less usual are seldom recorded, even
though most psychologists are aware of their existence. In the most
celebrated of all studies of intellectual development, Jean Piaget
charted the stages through which children gain increasing competence in
abstract thinking and problem solving. But he and others in the
Piagetian school seldom tried to examine the natural preferences of
children for particular kinds of thinking and manual activity out of
the large variety within their competence. Looked at another way,
developmental psychologists working in this mode have made splendid
progress in describing how typical human beings progress from infancy
to the early stages of intellectual maturity, but they have not mapped
the choices made at each twist and turn of individual development.
Without such a comparative approach, Piagetian theory, as it is often
called, is little more than a description of certain broad aspects of
development. Although Piaget himself spoke of a genetic
epistemology-the pathway in origin of knowledge-the true relation
between genes and culture cannot be examined until optional
trajectories of development are defined and some means devised to
measure the biological bias influencing their selection.

The scarcity of useful information appears to stem in part from a
peculiar and fundamental relation that has always existed between
experiment and theory in science: the importance of experimental data
is judged by the theory to which it is applied. As the physicist Arthur
Eddington said half seriously, no fact should be accepted as true until
it has been confirmed by theory. Unless an attractive theory exists
that decrees certain kinds of information to be important, few
scientists will set out to acquire the information. Also, the theory
must be respectable and-even bet-ter-fashionable. No one had
created a solid theory of human evolution that gives importance to the
degree of biological influence on mental development. As a consequence,
relatively few data were available to guide the construction of the
theory.

Still we were able to locate published studies of twelve categories of
behavior that contain sufficiently precise measurements of the mode of
transmission. From this sample a remarkable result emerged: in every
case the behavior is learned through gene-culture transmission; mental
development appears to be genetically constrained. This result could
not have been the result of observational bias. The psychologists who
conducted the experiments were generally unaware of most of the other
work being conducted of similar nature. They had no visible
preconceptions about the mode of transmission; if anything, the
Zeitgeist of contemporary psychology for the most part favors a belief
in blank-slate minds. Yet the data from all the research programs
revealed gene-culture transmission, a partial automatic preference on
the part of the developing human mind for certain cultural choices over
others. Some of the more striking examples produced by these pioneering
studies entail the following familiar forms of thought and behavior.

Promethean Fire - Reflections on the Origins of Mind
Charles J. Lumsdem - E.O. Wilson - 1983
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/1583484256/

Sep 23 '06 #8

P: n/a
Ed

Immortalist wrote:
Various aquisition devices that guide learning along particular
pathways towards human biases. And as E.O. Wilson might say mental
development appears to be genetically constrained.

(1) Language Aquisition Device
(2) Color Aqusition Device
(3) Sound Aquistion Device
(4) Smell Aquisition Device
(5) Touch Aquisition Device
(6) Art Aquisition Device
(7) Taste Aquisition Device

------------------------

(1) Language Aquisition Device

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) is credited with being the first
European linguist to identify human language as a rule-governed system,
rather than just a collection of words and phrases paired with
meanings. This idea is one of the foundations of Noam Chomsky's theory
of language. Chomsky frequently quotes Humboldt's description of
language as a system which "makes infinite use of finite means",
meaning that an infinite number of sentences can be created using a
finite number of grammatical rules.
You and I had an enjoyable exchange on this a while back. Although a
large number of sentences can be formed, it's certainly not an infinite
number.There are only a couple hundred thousand words and, assuming
there are no real sentences that take longer than a person's lifetime
to utter, say 100 years, one could calculate the maximum number of
possible sentences. Many of these would be forbidden by the
grammatical rules, too.

Inventing new, never before used, "words" doesn't solve the problem, a
"word" has to have a socially-shared meaning to be a word.

Ed

Sep 23 '06 #9

P: n/a

Ed wrote:
Immortalist wrote:
Various aquisition devices that guide learning along particular
pathways towards human biases. And as E.O. Wilson might say mental
development appears to be genetically constrained.

(1) Language Aquisition Device
(2) Color Aqusition Device
(3) Sound Aquistion Device
(4) Smell Aquisition Device
(5) Touch Aquisition Device
(6) Art Aquisition Device
(7) Taste Aquisition Device

------------------------

(1) Language Aquisition Device

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) is credited with being the first
European linguist to identify human language as a rule-governed system,
rather than just a collection of words and phrases paired with
meanings. This idea is one of the foundations of Noam Chomsky's theory
of language. Chomsky frequently quotes Humboldt's description of
language as a system which "makes infinite use of finite means",
meaning that an infinite number of sentences can be created using a
finite number of grammatical rules.
You and I had an enjoyable exchange on this a while back. Although a
large number of sentences can be formed, it's certainly not an infinite
number.There are only a couple hundred thousand words and, assuming
there are no real sentences that take longer than a person's lifetime
to utter, say 100 years, one could calculate the maximum number of
possible sentences. Many of these would be forbidden by the
grammatical rules, too.
I agree and also believe that the author means "seemingly infinite"
since it is mere common sense to deduce that a finite set of numerals
or letter symbols can be combined in a finite set of organizational
possibilities.

Remember the "Library of Form" argument by Kevin Kelly? He recounds
Jorge Luis Borges' concept and illustrates the finite amount of
possible books that could be written in the English language with 25
symbols;

http://www.kk.org/outofcontrol/ch14-a.html
Inventing new, never before used, "words" doesn't solve the problem, a
"word" has to have a socially-shared meaning to be a word.

Ed
Nov 21 '06 #10

P: n/a
On 21 Nov 2006 10:36:32 -0800, "Immortalist" <re*************@yahoo.comwrote:
>
Ed wrote:
>Immortalist wrote:
Various aquisition devices that guide learning along particular
pathways towards human biases. And as E.O. Wilson might say mental
development appears to be genetically constrained.

(1) Language Aquisition Device
(2) Color Aqusition Device
(3) Sound Aquistion Device
(4) Smell Aquisition Device
(5) Touch Aquisition Device
(6) Art Aquisition Device
(7) Taste Aquisition Device

------------------------
(8) Religious Experience Acquisition Devices

Awe, relaxation, guilt management, orgasm,
curiosity, meaning, etc.
Nov 21 '06 #11

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