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  • - an extremely broad concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence. Anything that partakes in being is also called a "being", though often this use is limited to entities that have subjectivity (as in the expression "human being"). So broad a notion has inevitably been elusive and controversial in the history of philosophy, beginning in western philosophy with attempts among the pre-Socratics to deploy it intelligibly.

As an example of efforts in recent times, Heidegger (who himself drew on ancient Greek sources) adopted German terms like Dasein to articulate the topic. Several modern approaches build on such continental European exemplars as Heidegger, and apply metaphysical results to the understanding of human psychology and the human condition generally (notably in the Existentialist tradition).

By contrast, in mainstream Analytical philosophy the topic is more confined to abstract investigation, in the work of such influential theorists as W. V. O. Quine, to name one of many. One most fundamental question that continues to exercise philosophers is put by William James: "How comes the world to be here at all instead of the nonentity which might be imagined in its place? ... from nothing to being there is no logical bridge."

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See also Biology, Science


  • - the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."

At one time consciousness was viewed with skepticism by many scientists, but in recent years it has become a significant topic of research in psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness by asking human subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., "tell me if you notice anything when I do this"). Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by drugs and alcohol, or spiritual or meditative techniques.

  • - the ability to feel, perceive, or to experience subjectivity. Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think (reason) from the ability to feel (sentience). In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations (known in philosophy of mind as "qualia"). In Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care. The concept is central to the philosophy of animal rights, because sentience is necessary for the ability to suffer, and thus is held to confer certain rights.

  • - a term the American biologist Gerald Edelman coined to describe the ability, found in humans and some animals, to integrate observed events with memory to create an awareness of the present and immediate past of the world around them. This form of consciousness is also sometimes called "sensory consciousness". Put another way, primary consciousness is the presence of various subjective sensory contents of consciousness such as sensations, perceptions, and mental images. For example, primary consciousness includes a person's experience of the blueness of the ocean, a bird's song, and the feeling of pain. Thus, primary consciousness refers to being mentally aware of things in the world in the present without any sense of past and future; it is composed of mental images bound to a time around the measurable present.
  • - level of consciousness where sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding, the state or quality of being aware of something. in biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.

  • - often defined as wisdom, or the ability of an organism or entity to act with appropriate judgement, a mental faculty which is a component of intelligence or alternatively may be considered an additional faculty, apart from intelligence, with its own properties. Robert Sternberg has segregated the capacity for judgement from the general qualifiers for intelligence, which is closer to cognizant aptitude than to wisdom. Displaying sound judgement in a complex, dynamic environment is a hallmark of wisdom.

The word sapience is derived from the Latin sapientia, meaning "wisdom." Related to this word is the Latin verb sapere, meaning "to taste, to be wise, to know"; the present participle of sapere forms part of Homo sapiens, the Latin binomial nomenclature created by Carl Linnaeus to describe the human species. Linnaeus had originally given humans the species name of diurnus, meaning man of the day. But he later decided that the dominating feature of humans was wisdom, hence application of the name sapiens. His chosen biological name was intended to emphasize man's uniqueness and separation from the rest of the animal kingdom.

In fantasy fiction and science fiction, sapience often describes an essential property that bestows "personhood" onto a non-human. It indicates that a computer, alien, mythical creature or other similar will be treated as a being with capabilities and desires as any human character, often eligible to full civil rights. The words "sentience," "self-awareness," and "consciousness" are used in similar ways in science fiction.

  • - the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences — how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colours and tastes. David Chalmers, who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness, contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, etc. "it is the only major question in the sciences that we don't even know how to ask."

  • - binding problem is a term used at the interface between neuroscience, cognitive science and philosophy of mind that has multiple meanings. Firstly, there is the segregation problem: a practical computational problem of how brains segregate elements in complex patterns of sensory input so that they are allocated to discrete "objects". In other words, when looking at a blue square and a yellow circle, what neural mechanisms ensure that the square is perceived as blue and the circle as yellow, and not vice versa? The segregation problem is sometimes called BP1. Secondly, there is the combination problem: the problem of how objects, background and abstract or emotional features are combined into a single experience. The combination problem is sometimes called BP2. However, the difference between these two problems is not always clear. Moreover, the historical literature is often ambiguous as to whether it is addressing the segregation or the combination problem.

  • - or soft determinism, the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent. Compatibilists believe freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.

  • - pioneering scientist in the field of human consciousness. Libet was a researcher in the physiology department of the University of California, San Francisco. In 2003, he was the first recipient of the Virtual Nobel Prize in Psychology from the University of Klagenfurt, "for his pioneering achievements in the experimental investigation of consciousness, initiation of action, and free will".


  • - a hypothesis that consciousness in the brain originates from processes inside neurons, rather than from connections between neurons as in the conventional view. The mechanism is held to be a quantum physics process called objective reduction which is orchestrated by molecular structures called microtubules. The hypothesis, which was put forward in the early 1990s by theoretical physicist Roger Penrose and anaesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff, has so far been rejected by the majority of cognitive scientists.

  • - the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind, and as it contrasts (or not) with reductionism. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is in some sense more than the "sum" of the properties of the system's parts. An emergent property is said to be dependent on some more basic properties (and their relationships and configuration), so that it can have no separate existence. However, a degree of independence is also asserted of emergent properties, so that they are not identical to, or reducible to, or predictable from, or deducible from their bases. The different ways in which the independence requirement can be satisfied lead to variant types of emergence.

"awareness is a rough sketch of attention"

  • - in computer science is a blueprint for software agents and intelligent control systems, depicting the arrangement of components. The architectures implemented by intelligent agents are referred to as cognitive architectures
  • - a blueprint for intelligent agents. It proposes (artificial) computational processes that act like certain cognitive systems, most often, like a person, or acts intelligent under some definition. Cognitive architectures form a subset of general agent architectures. The term 'architecture' implies an approach that attempts to model not only behavior, but also structural properties of the modelled system.
  • - a simple cognitive architecture that has been developed to account qualitatively for a large set of matched pairs of conscious and unconscious processes. It was proposed by Bernard Baars (1988, 1997, 2002). Brain interpretations and computational simulations of GWT are the focus of current research.


  • - states that certain biological neuronal networks work near phase transitions. Experimental recordings from large groups of neurons have shown bursts of activity, so-called neuronal avalanches, with sizes that follow a power law distribution. These results, and subsequent replication on a number of settings, led to the hypothesis that the collective dynamics of large neuronal networks in the brain operates close to the critical point of a phase transition. According to this hypothesis, the activity of the brain would be continuously transitioning between two phases, one in which activity will rapidly reduce and die, and another where activity will build up and amplify over time. In criticality, the brain capacity for information processing is enhanced, so subcritical, critical and slightly supercritical branching process of thoughts could describe how human and animal minds function.


to resort

  • - is mental processing that includes the attention of working memory, comprehending and producing language, calculating, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Various disciplines, such as psychology, philosophy and linguistics all study cognition. However, the term's usage varies across disciplines; for example, in psychology and cognitive science, "cognition" usually refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological functions. It is also used in a branch of social psychology called social cognition to explain attitudes, attribution, and group dynamics. In cognitive psychology and cognitive engineering, cognition is typically assumed to be information processing in a participant’s or operator’s mind or brain. Cognition is a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, biology, systemics, and computer science. Within psychology or philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts such as mind, intelligence. It encompasses the mental functions, mental processes (thoughts), and states of intelligent entities (humans, collaborative groups, human organizations, highly autonomous machines, and artificial intelligences).

  • - also known as cognitive control and supervisory attentional system) is an umbrella term for the management (regulation, control) of cognitive processes, including working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving as well as planning and execution. The executive system is a theorized cognitive system in psychology that controls and manages other cognitive processes, such as executive functions. The prefrontal areas of the frontal lobe are necessary but not solely sufficient for carrying out these functions.

  • Cognitive control is a construct from contemporary cognitive neuroscience that refers to processes that allow information processing and behavior to vary adaptively from moment to moment depending on current goals, rather than remaining rigid and inflexible. Cognitive control processes include a broad class of mental operations including goal or context representation and maintenance, and strategic processes such as attention allocation and stimulus-response mapping. Cognitive control is associated with a wide range of processes and is not restricted to a particular cognitive domain. For example, the presence of impairments in cognitive control functions may be associated with specific deficits in attention, memory, language comprehension and emotional processing. Given its pervasive influence, impaired cognitive control could account for many of the widespread impairments exhibited by people with schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • - a branch of ethology concerned with the influence of conscious awareness and intention on the behaviour of an animal. Donald Griffin, a zoology professor in the United States, set up the foundations for researches in the cognitive awareness of animals within their habitats. The fusion of cognitive science and classical ethology into cognitive ethology "emphasizes observing animals under more-or-less natural conditions, with the objective of understanding the evolution, adaptation (function), causation, and development of the species-specific behavioral repertoire"

  • - term used in philosophy to refer to individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term derives from the Latin adverb quālis (Latin pronunciation: [ˈkwaːlis]) meaning "what sort" or "what kind". Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. The importance of qualia in philosophy of mind comes largely from the fact that it is seen as posing a fundamental problem for materialist explanations of the mind-body problem. Much of the debate over their importance hinges on the definition of the term that is used, as various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain features of qualia. As such, the nature and existence of qualia are controversial.

See also Computing#Machine learning

  • - a hierarchical, multilayered artificial neural network proposed by Kunihiko Fukushima in the 1980s. It has been used for handwritten character recognition and other pattern recognition tasks, and served as the inspiration for convolutional neural networks. The neocognitron was inspired by the model proposed by Hubel & Wiesel in 1959. They found two types of cells in the visual primary cortex called simple cell and complex cell, and also proposed a cascading model of these two types of cells for use in pattern recoginition tasks.


  • - the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. As a philosophical movement it was founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl and was later expanded upon by a circle of his followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. It then spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl's early work. Phenomenology, in Husserl's conception, is primarily concerned with the systematic reflection on and study of the structures of consciousness and the phenomena that appear in acts of consciousness. This ontology (study of reality) can be clearly differentiated from the Cartesian method of analysis which sees the world as objects, sets of objects, and objects acting and reacting upon one another.

  • - was a German philosopher who established the school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day. He elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic. Not limited to empiricism, but believing that experience is the source of all knowledge, he worked on a method of phenomenological reduction by which a subject may come to know directly an essence.

Husserl's conception of phenomenology has been criticized and developed not only by himself but also by students, such as Edith Stein, by hermeneutic philosophers, such as Martin Heidegger, by existentialists, such as Max Scheler, Nicolai Hartmann, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and by other philosophers, such as Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Emmanuel Lévinas, and sociologists Alfred Schütz and Eric Voegelin.

  • - the study of subjective experience. It is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted philosophical investigations of consciousness in the early 20th century. Their critiques of psychologism and positivism later influenced at least two main fields of contemporary psychology: the phenomenological psychological approach of the Duquesne School (The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology), including Amedeo Giorgi and Frederick Wertz; and the experimental approaches associated with Francisco Varela, Shaun Gallagher, Evan Thompson, and others (embodied mind thesis). Other names associated with the movement include Jonathan Smith (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis), Steinar Kvale, and Wolfgang Köhler. Phenomenological psychologists have also figured prominently in the history of the humanistic psychology movement.

The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and in particular in the work of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty), "experience" is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or being, or existence itself) is an "in-relation-to" phenomenon, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment, and worldliness, which are evoked by the term "Being-in-the-World".

The quality or nature of a given experience is often referred to by the term qualia, whose archetypical exemplar is "redness". For example, we might ask, "Is my experience of redness the same as yours?" While it is difficult to answer such a question in any concrete way, the concept of intersubjectivity is often used as a mechanism for understanding how it is that humans are able to empathise with one another's experiences, and indeed to engage in meaningful communication about them. The phenomenological formulation of Being-in-the-World, where person and world are mutually constitutive, is central here.

  • - an ancient Greek term which, in its philosophical usage, describes the theoretical moment where all judgments about the existence of the external world, and consequently all action in the world, is suspended. One's own consciousness is subject to immanent critique so that when such belief is recovered, it will have a firmer grounding in consciousness. This concept was developed by the Greek skeptics and plays an implicit role in skeptical thought, as in René Descartes' epistemic principle of methodic doubt. The term was popularized in philosophy by Edmund Husserl. Husserl elaborates the notion of 'phenomenological epoché' or 'bracketing' in Ideas I. Through the systematic procedure of 'phenomenological reduction', one is thought to be able to suspend judgment regarding the general or naive philosophical belief in the existence of the external world, and thus examine phenomena as they are originally given to consciousness.

  • - attempts to depict the structure of first person lived experience, rather than theoretically explain it. This method was first conceived of by Edmund Husserl. It was developed through the latter work of Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Levinas and Maurice Merleau-Ponty - and others. It has also been developed through recent strands of modern psychology and cognitive science.

  • - a philosophical term regarding the perception of phenomena by the mind of an observer. The features of a phenomenon that seem to precede any perception of it are said to be "always already" present.

  • - a German word which means "being there" or "presence" (German: da "there"; sein "being") often translated in English with the word "existence". It is a fundamental concept in the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger particularly in his magnum opus Being and Time. Heidegger uses the expression Dasein to refer to the experience of being that is peculiar to human beings. Thus it is a form of being that is aware of and must confront such issues as personhood, mortality and the dilemma or paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself.

  • - Husserlian term referring to the way a lived experience is grasped and retained immediately after it occurs. It is a key component of phenomenological description and analysis since it involves memory and intentionality.

  • From person-centered to humanistic-phenomenological psychotherapy: The contribution of Merleau-Ponty to Carl Rogers's thought | Request PDF - This article describes a clinical practice, humanistic-phenomenological psychotherapy, that can be understood as a continuation of Carl Rogers's experiential phase (1957–1970), in which he drew closer to phenomenology. Although arising from Carl Rogers's theory, humanistic phenomenological psychotherapy, in line with developments in other experiential psychotherapies, is based on Merleau-Ponty's definition of humanism: a philosophy that focuses on the human being in his or her relationships with other human beings and the mutual constitution of a common history.
  • Innovating the person-centered approach through phenomenological research | Request PDF - One of the developments of Carl Rogers’ proposal of the person-centered approach has used the phenomenological method in research based on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of ambiguity, which seeks to overcome the dichotomy between the subject and object, having the Lebenswelt – or the lived world – as the leading thread. The aim of this article is to present the humanist-phenomenological clinic or Lebenswelt’s clinic. It discusses Merleau-Ponty’s views as an inspiration for theoretical and empirical studies which propose to overcome the anthropocentric approach that focuses on the inner person of the client in order to focus on his lived world at the intersection with the lived world of the psychotherapist and the world itself. It describes theoretical studies, developed over the last 30 years in Brazil, regarding the concepts of authenticity, of experience, of diagnosis and psychopathology in Rogers’ work and how phenomenological tradition of psychopathology can contribute. It also presents empirical research on how humanistic psychotherapists use the phenomenological brackets as a powerful tool to achieve empathy, how they understand the actualizing tendency, how to work with anxiety and how psychotherapists experience empathy.

  • - refers to a scientific research program aimed to address the hard problem of consciousness in a pragmatic way. It combines neuroscience with phenomenology in order to study experience, mind, and consciousness with an emphasis on the embodied condition of the human mind. The field is very much linked to fields such as neuropsychology, neuroanthropology and behavioral neuroscience (also known as biopsychology) and the study of phenomenonology in psychology.

  • Neurophenomenology and Contemplative Experience - Themostimportantfeatureofthisapproach isthatexperienceisnotseen asan epiphenomenon,butisconsidered centraltoany adequateunderstanding ofthemind,and accordingly needsto beinvestigated inacarefulphenomenologicalmanner.

  • THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF PERSONHOOD: CHARLES TAYLOR AND EDMUND HUSSERLDERMOT MORAN - University College Dublin. This paper argues that Charles Taylor’s influential accounts of embodied personhood and agency are closer to the phenomenological accounts of personhood found in the mature Husserl (especially his Ideas II and in his ethics lectures) than, perhaps, he realises. Taylor acknowledges the infl uence of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger (through the lens of Hubert Dreyfus) but tends to see Husserl as imprisoned within the Cartesian tradition that begins from the certainty of self-consciousness. I shall develop relevant aspects of embodied, situated subjectivity found in Husserl and shared by Taylor ; and, fi nally, I shall refl ect on the diffi cult problematic of the relation between natural and transcendental approaches to personhood.

Teilhard de Chardin's (1964) - "Refracted rearwards along the course of evolution, consciousness displays itself qualitatively as a spectrum of shifting shades whose lower terms are lost in the night."

  • - also known as knowing-how, and sometimes referred to as practical knowledge, imperative knowledge, or performative knowledge) is the knowledge exercised in the performance of some task. Unlike descriptive knowledge (also known as declarative knowledge, propositional knowledge or "knowing-that"), which involves knowledge of specific facts or propositions (e.g. "I know that snow is white"), procedural knowledge involves one's ability to do something (e.g. "I know how to change a flat tire"). A person doesn't need to be able to verbally articulate their procedural knowledge in order for it to count as knowledge, since procedural knowledge requires only knowing how to correctly perform an action or exercise a skill.[


  • - a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for perception. The senses and their operation, classification, and theory are overlapping topics studied by a variety of fields, most notably neuroscience, cognitive psychology (or cognitive science), and philosophy of perception. The nervous system has a specific sensory system or organ, dedicated to each sense.

Humans have a multitude of senses. Sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception) are the five traditionally recognized senses. The ability to detect other stimuli beyond those governed by these most broadly recognized senses also exists, and these sensory modalities include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), vibration (mechanoreception), and various internal stimuli (e.g. the different chemoreceptors for detecting salt and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood). However, what constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a distinct sense is, and where the borders between responses to related stimuli lay.

  • - the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odor molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention. Perception involves these "top-down" effects as well as the "bottom-up" process of processing sensory input. The "bottom-up" processing transforms low-level information to higher-level information (e.g., extracts shapes for object recognition). The "top-down" processing refers to a person's concept and expectations (knowledge), and selective mechanisms (attention) that influence perception. Perception depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.

  • - a group of expectations that shape experience by making people especially sensitive to specific kinds of information. A perceptual set, also called perceptual expectancy, is a predisposition to perceive things in a certain way. Perceptual sets occur in all the different senses. They can be long term, such as a special sensitivity to hearing one's own name in a crowded room, or short term, as in the ease with which hungry people notice the smell of food. A mental set is a framework for thinking about a problem. It can be shaped by habit or by desire. Mental sets can make it easy to solve a class of problem, but attachment to the wrong mental set can inhibit problem-solving and creativity.


  • - literally "below threshold"), contrary to supraliminal stimuli or "above threshold", are any sensory stimuli below an individual's threshold for conscious perception. A recent review of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies shows that subliminal stimuli activate specific regions of the brain despite participants being unaware. Visual stimuli may be quickly flashed before an individual can process them, or flashed and then masked, thereby interrupting the processing. Audio stimuli may be played below audible volumes or masked by other stimuli.

  • - said to occur when an organism behaves in one way in the presence of a given stimulus and another way in its absence. For example, the presence of a stop sign increases the probability that "braking" behavior will occur. Typically stimulus control is brought about by reinforcing a behavior in the presence of one stimulus and omitting reinforcement in the presence of another stimulus. The term "stimulus control" implies nothing as to any internal processes that might mediate behavioral control, whereas "cognitive control" refers broadly to inferred internal processes like attention and working memory that may modulate or seemingly compete with direct control by stimuli. Some theorists believe that all behavior is under some form of stimulus control. For example, in the analysis of B. F. Skinner, verbal behavior is a complicated assortment of behaviors with a variety of controlling stimuli.

  • - also called sensory modality, is one aspect of a stimulus or what we perceive after a stimulus. For example the temperature modality is registered after heat or cold stimulate a receptor. Some sensory modalities include: light, sound, temperature, taste, pressure, smell. The type and location of the sensory receptor activated by the stimulus plays the primary role in coding the sensation. All sensory modalities work together to heighten stimuli sensation when necessary.

  • Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body. - Converging evidence indicates that primates have a distinct cortical image of homeostatic afferent activity that reflects all aspects of the physiological condition of all tissues of the body. This interoceptive system, associated with autonomic motor control, is distinct from the exteroceptive system (cutaneous mechanoreception and proprioception) that guides somatic motor activity. The primary interoceptive representation in the dorsal posterior insula engenders distinct highly resolved feelings from the body that include pain, temperature, itch, sensual touch, muscular and visceral sensations, vasomotor activity, hunger, thirst, and 'air hunger'. In humans, a meta-representation of the primary interoceptive activity is engendered in the right anterior insula, which seems to provide the basis for the subjective image of the material self as a feeling (sentient) entity, that is, emotional awareness.

  • - a theory about human perception and in particular about visual perceptual organization, which is the neuro-cognitive process that enables us to perceive scenes as structured wholes consisting of objects arranged in space. SIT was initiated, in the 1960s, by Emanuel Leeuwenberg and has been developed further mainly by Peter van der Helm. It has been applied to a wide range of research topics, mostly in visual form perception but also in, for instance, visual ergonomics, data visualization, and music perception.

SIT began as a quantitative model of visual pattern classification. Nowadays, it includes quantitative models of symmetry perception and amodal completion, and is theoretically sustained by a perceptually adequate formalization of visual regularity, a quantitative account of viewpoint dependencies, and a powerful form of neurocomputation. SIT has been argued to be the best defined and most successful extension of Gestalt ideas. It is the only Gestalt approach providing a formal calculus that generates plausible perceptual interpretations.



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  • - means 'of the body'—relating to the body "distinct" from the mind, soul, or spirit. In medicine, somatic illness is bodily, not mental, illness.

  • - the study of body motion, and of the perception (both conscious and unconscious) of one's own body motions. The perception of continuous movement (kinesthesia) is largely unconscious. A conscious proprioception is achieved through increased awareness. Kinaesthetics involves the teaching and personal development of such awareness.
  • - meaning "one's own", "individual" and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. It is provided by proprioceptors in skeletal striated muscles and in joints. It is distinguished from exteroception, by which one perceives the outside world, and interoception, by which one perceives pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs. The word kinesthesia (kinesthetic sense) has been used inconsistently to refer either to proprioception alone or to the brain's integration of proprioceptive and
  • - Damasio's main field is neurobiology, especially neural systems which subserve emotion, decision-making, memory, language and consciousness. Damasio believes that emotions play a critical role in high-level cognition—an idea counter to dominant 20th-century views in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. Damasio formulated the somatic marker hypothesis, a theory about how emotions and their biological underpinnings are involved in decision-making (both positively and negatively, and often non-consciously). Emotions provide the scaffolding for the construction of social cognition and are required for the self processes which undergird consciousness.
  • - Proposes a mechanism by which emotional processes can guide (or bias) behavior, particularly decision-making. When individuals make decisions, they must assess the incentive value of the choices available to them, using cognitive and emotional processes. When the individuals face complex and conflicting choices, they may be unable to decide using only cognitive processes, which may become overloaded. In these cases (and others), somatic markers can help decide. Somatic markers are associations between reinforcing stimuli that induce an associated physiological affective state.


  •–Crawford_effect - effect of the first kind is the phenomenon where light entering the eye near the edge of the pupil produces a lower photoreceptor response compared to light of equal intensity entering near the center of the pupil; of the second kind is the phenomenon where the observed color of monochromatic light entering the eye near the edge of the pupil is different compared to that for the same wavelength light entering near the center of the pupil, regardless of the overall intensities of the two lights.


  • - the state or quality by which it stands out relative to its neighbours. Saliency detection is considered to be a key attentional mechanism that facilitates learning and survival by enabling organisms to focus their limited perceptual and cognitive resources on the most pertinent subset of the available sensory data.

Saliency typically arises from contrasts between items and their neighborhood, such as a red dot surrounded by white dots, a flickering message indicator of an answering machine, or a loud noise in an otherwise quiet environment. Saliency detection is often studied in the context of the visual system, but similar mechanisms operate in other sensory systems. What is salient can be influenced by training: for example, for human subjects particular letters can become salient by training.

When attention deployment is driven by salient stimuli, it is considered to be bottom-up, memory-free, and reactive. Attention can also be guided by top-down, memory-dependent, or anticipatory mechanisms, such as when looking ahead of moving objects or sideways before crossing streets. Humans and other animals have difficulty paying attention to more than one item simultaneously, so they are faced with the challenge of continuously integrating and prioritizing different bottom-up and top-down influences.

  • - in social psychology, the process by which individuals explain the causes of behavior and events. Attribution theory is the study of models to explain those processes. Psychological research into attribution began with the work of Fritz Heider in the early part of the 20th century, subsequently developed by others such as Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner.

  • - also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight. When it simply becomes impossible for one to attend to all the stimuli in a given situation, a temporary blindness effect can take place as a result; that is, individuals fail to see objects or stimuli that are unexpected and quite often salient. The term was coined by Arien Mack and Irvin Rock in 1992 and was used as the title of their book of the same name, published by MIT press in 1998, in which they describe the discovery of the phenomenon and include a collection of procedures used in describing it. A famous study that demonstrated inattentional blindness asked participants whether or not they noticed a gorilla walking through the scene of a visual task they had been given.

  • - "Deconcentration of attention is opposite to concentration and can be interpreted as a process of dismantling of the figures in the field of perception and transformation of the perceptual field into a uniform (in the sense that no individual elements could be construed as a perceptual figure) background."

  • - the shared focus of two individuals on an object. It is achieved when one individual alerts another to an object by means of eye-gazing, pointing or other verbal or non-verbal indications. An individual gazes at another individual, points to an object and then returns their gaze to the individual. Early research showed it was possible for an adult to bring certain objects in the environment to an infant's attention using eye gaze. Subsequent research demonstrates that two important skills in joint attention are following eye gaze and identifying intention. The ability to share gaze with another individual is an important skill in establishing reference. The ability to identify intention is important in a child's ability to learn language and direct the attention of others. Joint attention is important for many aspects of language development including comprehension, production and word learning.

  • Field and observer modes of remembering - Nigro and Neisser (1983) contrasted two ways of remembering personal experiences: the rememberer may 'see' the event from his or her perspective as in normal perception, or 'see' the self engaged in the event as an observer would. Several factors contribute to the determination of perspective, but Nigro and Neisser also reported that many subjects claimed they could change to another perspective at will. We sampled personal memories from several life periods and assessed ability to change the initially reported perspective. Changing was easier for recent or vividly recalled events, harder for older and less vividly recalled events. Memory perspectives may differ in other aspects than their imagery. A second study was conducted to determine whether affective experience is altered when perspectives are changed. The affect experienced decreased when shifting from a field to an observer perspective, but did not change with the converse shift. These studies provide further evidence that remembering is more than retrieval. The information that enters awareness is determined by the information sources in memory and the organisational scheme adopted for recollection.
  • Field and observer modes of remembering

  • - an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli, and a constant scanning of the environment for threats. In hypervigilance, there is a perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviors, smells, or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma. The individual is placed on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near. Hypervigilance can lead to a variety of obsessive behavior patterns, as well as producing difficulties with social interaction and relationships. Hypervigilance can be a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various types of anxiety disorder. It is distinguished from paranoia. Paranoid states, such as those in schizophrenia, can seem superficially similar, but are characteristically different.

  • - the tendency to focus one's attention on a small number of interests at any time, tending to miss things outside of this attention tunnel. This cognitive strategy is posited to be the central underlying feature of autism. The theory of monotropism was developed by Dinah Murray, Wenn Lawson and Mike Lesser starting in the 1990s, and published about in the journal Autism in 2005. Wenn Lawson's further work on the theory formed the basis of his PhD, Single Attention and Associated Cognition in Autism, and book The Passionate Mind (Lawson, 2011,. A tendency to focus attention tightly has a number of psychological implications. While monotropism tends to cause people to miss things outside their attention tunnel, within it their focused attention can lend itself to intense experiences, deep thinking and flow states. However, this hyperfocus makes it harder to redirect attention, including starting and stopping tasks, leading to what is often described as executive dysfunction in autism, and stereotypies or perseveration where a person's attention is repeatedly pulled back to the same thing.

  • Monotropism - This site is intended to be a central resource for learning about Monotropism (as a theory) and monotropism (as a trait). Monotropism is a theory of autism developed by autistic people, initially by Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson. Read about explanations and applications of the theory, its history, and what’s happening now. Monotropic minds tend to have their attention pulled more strongly towards a smaller number of interests at any given time, leaving fewer resources for other processes. We argue that this can explain nearly all of the features commonly associated with autism, directly or indirectly. However, you do not need to accept it as a general theory of autism in order for it to be a useful description of common autistic experiences and how to work with them. If we are right, then monotropism is one of the key ideas required for making sense of autism, along with the double empathy problem and neurodiversity. Monotropism makes sense of many autistic experiences at the individual level. The double empathy problem explains the misunderstandings that occur between people who process the world differently, often mistaken for a lack of empathy on the autistic side. Neurodiversity describes the place of autistic people and other ‘neurominorities’ in society.


  • - refers to the experience of feeling or emotion, a key part of the process of an organism's interaction with stimuli. The affective domain represents one of the three divisions described in modern psychology.

Affective states are considered psycho-physiological constructs and are split up into three main categories: valence, arousal, and motivational intensity. Valence is the positive-to-negative evaluation of the subjectively experienced state. Emotional valence is defined as referring to the emotion’s consequences, eliciting circumstances, or subjective feel or attitude. Arousal is by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and can be measured subjectively. Arousal is a construct that is closely related to motivational intensity but they differ because motivation requires action implications while arousal does not. Motivational intensity refers to impulsion to act. It is the strength of urge to move toward or away from a stimulus. Simply moving is not considered approach motivation without a motivational urge present. All three of these categories are important when looking at the effect of affective states on cognitive scope. Initially, it was thought that positive affects broadened cognitive scope whereas negative affects narrowed cognitive scope. However, evidence now suggests that affects high in motivational intensity narrow cognitive scope whereas affects low in motivational intensity broaden cognitive scope. The cognitive scope has indeed proven to be a highly effective cognitive approach.

  • - a concept, used in the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza and elaborated by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, that places emphasis on bodily experience. For Spinoza, as discussed in Parts Two and Three of his Ethics, affects are states of mind and body related to (but not exactly synonymous with) feelings and emotions, of which he says there are three primary kinds: pleasure or joy (laetitia), pain or sorrow (tristitia) and desire (cupiditas) or appetite.

Subsequent philosophical usage by Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and their translator Brian Massumi, while derived explicitly from Spinoza, tends to distinguish more sharply than Spinoza does between affect and what are conventionally called emotions. Affects are difficult to grasp and conceptualize because, as Spinoza says, "an affect or passion of the mind [animi pathema] is a confused idea" which is only perceived by the increase or decrease it causes in the body's vital force. The term "affect" is central to what has become known as the "affective turn" in the humanities and social sciences.

Since 2000, a number of authors in the social sciences and humanities have begun to explore affect theory as a way of understanding spheres of experience (including bodily experience) which fall outside of the dominant paradigm of representation (based on rhetoric and semiotics); this movement has been called the affective turn. Consequently, these approaches are interested in the widest possible variety of interactions and encounters, interactions and encounters that are not necessarily limited to human sensibility. The translator of Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus, Canadian political philosopher Brian Massumi, has given influential definitions of affect (see above) and has written on the neglected importance of movement and sensation in cultural formations and our interaction with real and virtual worlds. Likewise, geographer Nigel Thrift has explored the role of affect in what he terms "non-representational theory". In 2010, The Affect Theory Reader was published by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth and has provided the first compendium of affect theory writings. Researchers such as Mog Stapleton, Daniel D. Hutto and Peter Carruther have pointed to the need to investigate and to develop the notions of affect and emotion. They hold that these are important in the developing paradigm of embodiment in cognitive science, in consciousness studies and the philosophy of mind. This step will be necessary for cognitive science, Mog Stapleton maintains, to be "properly embodied" cognitive science.

  • - a subject's externally displayed affect. The display can be by facial, vocal, or gestural means (APA 2006, p. 26). When displayed affect is different from the subjective affect, it is incongruent affect. Some professionals use the term "affect" to mean "affect display". Affect display refers to the impetus for observable expression of emotion; for the human being that expression or feeling displayed to others through facial expressions, hand gestures, tone of voice and other emotional signs such as laughter or tears is a part of a series of non-conscious or conscious cognitive events. Many aspects of the expressions vary between and within cultures and are displayed in various forms ranging from the most discreet of facial expressions to the most dramatic and prolific gestures (Batson, 1992). Affect display is also a critical facet of communication in the social domain. Interpersonal communication is colored by displayed affect and there are various theories on affective reactions to stimuli to include conscious and non-conscious reaction and positive or negative affect.

  • - proposes that individuals maintain affective meanings through their actions and interpretations of events. The activity of social institutions occurs through maintenance of culturally based affective meanings.

  • Consciousness and the varieties of emotion experience: a theoretical framework. Data reviewed suggest that previous theories of emotion experience are too narrow in scope and that lack of consensus is due to the fact that emotion experience takes various forms and is heterogenous. The authors treat separately the content of emotion experience, the underlying nonconscious correspondences, and processes producing emotion experience. They classify the nature and content of emotion experience and propose that it depends on 3 aspects of attention: mode (analytic-synthetic; detached-immersed), direction (self-world), and focus (evaluation-action). The account is informed by a 2-level view of consciousness in which phenomenology (1st order) is distinguished from awareness (2nd order). These distinctions enable the authors to differentiate and account for cases of "unconscious" emotion, in which there is an apparent lack of phenomenology or awareness.

Emotions on Cerebral Asymmetry]

  • Animal spirits - "The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence" [16]

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Limbic system

  • - also called the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response [in PTSD], hyperarousal, or the acute stress response is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. It was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. More specifically, the adrenal medulla produces a hormonal cascade that results in the secretion of catecholamines, especially norepinephrine and epinephrine. Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine discusses the classic fight or flight response and states that estrogen and testosterone are also hormones that affect how we react to stress, as are the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. This response is recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms.


  • - the physiological and psychological state of being awake. It involves activation of the reticular activating system in the brainstem, the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure and a condition of sensory alertness, mobility and readiness to respond.

The arousal system involves many different neural systems. Five major systems originating in the brainstem, with connections extending throughout the cortex, are based on the brain's neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, histamine, and serotonin. When these systems are in action, the receiving neural areas become sensitive and responsive to incoming signals, producing alertness and cortical activity.

Arousal is important in regulating consciousness, attention, and information processing. It is a crucial for motivating certain behaviours, such as mobility, the pursuit of nutrition, the fight-or-flight response and sexual activity (known as the arousal phase of Masters and Johnson's human sexual response cycle). It is also important in emotion and has been included as a part of theories such as the James-Lange theory of emotion. According to Hans Eysenck, differences in baseline arousal level lead people to be extraverts or introverts.

The Yerkes-Dodson law states that an optimal level of arousal for performance exists, and too little or too much arousal can adversely affect task performance. One interpretation of the Yerkes-Dodson Law is the Easterbrook Cue-Utilisation hypothesis. Easterbrook states that an increase of arousal decreases the number of cues that can be used.

In positive psychology, arousal is described as a response to a difficult challenge for which the subject has moderate skills.

"Arousal is the mobilization or activation of energy, which occurs in preparation or during actual behavior (Deckers, 2010). Arousal is energy that is produced by the interaction of internal and external stimuli. Three types of arousal are physiological, brain, and psychological arousal. P[hysiological arousal is how an individual's body changes during arousal. Physiological arousal entails changes, such as sweaty palms, increased muscle tension, breathing, and heart rate. Brain arousal is the stages of sleep, awake, and alertness within the brain (Deckers, 2010). Deckers (2010), "psychological arousal refers to how subjectively aroused an individual feels" (p. 3). Feelings of psychological arousal includes anxiety, fearfulness, and tension.

"Behavior is the actions or reactions of an human or nonhuman animal in response to internal or external stimuli. The relationship between arousal and behavior is that arousal is the energy that develops in preparation of or during behavior. This relationship between arousal and behavior can impacts an individual's body in several ways, such as an individual developing anxiety and tension. The relationship between arousal and behavior depends on the nature of the task that is being performed (Deckers, 2010). Therefore, arousal and behavior can impact an individual's performance based on the task that is performed, and diminished or enhance performance.

"Three sources of arousal are stimuli, collative variables, and tasks. Stimuli is anything in the environment that causes behavior to occur, collative variables refers to collectively to stimulus characteristics that include novelty, complexity, and incongruity, and tasks are activities that stimulates arousal (Deckers, 2010). I believe that all three sources of arousal have an effect on arousal level, and one source can affect an individual's arousal level greater than another source could affect a different individual's arousal level because this depend on that particular individual's situation or circumstance. Therefore, stimuli could have the greatest effect on one individual's arousal level, while tasks could have the greatest on another individual's arousal level, and yet collative variables could have the greatest effect on a different individual's arousal level."

"The finding of a weak V-shaped relation between valence and arousal at the nomothetic level should be held against the background of the large individual differences that were observed in the relation between valence and arousal at the idiographic level. Our findings show thatthe valence-arousal relation can take almost any form, underscoring Gordon Allport’s observation many years ago that what may hold for the average person or across persons, may differ dramatically from what holds for each individual.

"The fact that the V-shaped relation between valence and arousal was consistently characterized by asymmetry—both in general as for most specific individuals—does however signal that arousal does not uniformly covary with pleasant and unpleasant feelings. In the context of the debate of the bipolarity of affect, this finding suggests that at least to someextent positive and negative affect are separable, and have bivariate instead of bipolar properties, at least in terms of their relation to arousal. Future research could take this finding as a starting point to further clarify in which respects or contexts positive and negative valence are bipolar, or bivariate (such as in their relations with other psychological dimensions).

  • - a largely unconscious defensive response to sudden or threatening stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement, and is associated with negative affect. Usually the onset of the startle response is a startle reflex reaction. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction (reflex) that serves to protect vulnerable parts, such as the back of the neck (whole-body startle) and the eyes (eyeblink) and facilitates escape from sudden stimuli. It is found across the lifespan of many species. An individual's emotional state may lead to a variety of responses.

  • - FPS is a reflexive physiological reaction to a presented stimulus, and is an indicator of the fear reaction in an organism. The FPS response can be elicited in the face of any threatening stimulus (e.g., any object, person or situation that would cause someone to experience feelings of fear), but it can also be elicited by a neutral stimulus as a result of fear conditioning, a process that occurs when a benign stimulus comes to evoke fear and anxiety upon being paired with a traumatic or fear-provoking event. The stimulus in question is usually of auditory (e.g., loud noise) or visual (e.g., bright light) nature, and startle response measures include eyeblink rates and pulse/heart rate. The negative impact of heightened FPS in the face of neutral stimuli can be treated pharmacologically, using psychotropic medications that are typically used to reduce anxiety in humans. Recent literature, moreover, has implicated increased FPS responses as a correlate in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders.

  • - escape reaction, or escape behaviour is a possible reaction in response to stimuli indicative of danger. In particular, it initiates an escape motion of an animal. In the cases of reflectory reactions, the escape response may also be called escape reflex. The term is also used in a more general setting: avoiding of unpleasant or dangerous situations.

  • - an empirical relationship between arousal and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908. The law dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases. The process is often illustrated graphically as a bell-shaped curve which increases and then decreases with higher levels of arousal.



  • - also called acute stress disorder, psychological shock, mental shock, or simply shock) is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event. It should not be confused with the unrelated circulatory condition of shock, or the concept of shock value.

  •–stress_model - a psychological theory that attempts to explain a disorder, or its trajectory, as the result of an interaction between a predispositional vulnerability, the diathesis, and a stress caused by life experiences. The term diathesis derives from the Greek term (διάθεσις) for a predisposition, or sensibility. A diathesis can take the form of genetic, psychological, biological, or situational factors.[1] A large range of differences exists among individuals' vulnerabilities to the development of a disorder.

Polyvagal theory

  • - proposed and developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, Director of the Brain-Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The theory specifies two functionally distinct branches of the vagus, or tenth cranial nerve. The branches of the vagal nerve serve different evolutionary stress responses in mammals: the more primitive branch elicits immobilization behaviors (e.g., feigning death), whereas the more evolved branch is linked to social communication and self-soothing behaviors. These functions follow a phylogenetic hierarchy, where the most primitive systems are activated only when the more evolved structures fail. These neural pathways regulate autonomic state and the expression of emotional and social behavior. Thus, according to this theory, physiological state dictates the range of behavior and psychological experience. Polyvagal theory has many implications for the study of stress, emotion, and social behavior, which has traditionally utilized more peripheral indices of arousal, such as heart rate and cortisol level. The measurement of vagal tone in humans has become a novel index of stress vulnerability and reactivity in many studies of populations with affective disorders, such as children with conduct problems and those suffering from borderline personality disorder.

"my desire really was to try to develop methodologies that can measure people without asking them questions, so, it wasn't like I wanted to develop lie detectors, but I felt that the language that we use to describe how we feel was always distorted, and you don't want to ever get into an argument with a person you don't feel that way, and I wanted to understand in a sense the ability to make people feel safe and really what the range of human behaviour would be if people were safe. that's the real question."

  • YouTube: The Vagus Nerve and its importance to PTSD - MicroTransponder Inc. is a medical device company spun out from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2007. The Company has an experienced team of neuroengineers and clinicians collaborating with academics to develop neurostimulation solutions (vagal nerve stimulation) to treat neurological diseases and bring those therapies into the clinic for the benefit of patients.



  • - the encoding and processing of harmful stimuli in the nervous system, and, therefore, the ability of a body to sense potential harm. It is the afferent activity in the peripheral and central nervous systems produced by stimulation of specialized free nerve endings called nociceptors or "pain receptors" that only respond to tissue damage caused by intense chemical (e.g., chilli powder in the eyes), mechanical (e.g., pinching, crushing) or thermal (heat and cold) stimulation. Once stimulated, a nociceptor sends a signal along a chain of nerve fibers via the spinal cord to the brain. Nociception triggers a variety of autonomic responses and may also result in a subjective experience of pain in sentient beings. Nociceptive neurons generate trains of action potentials in response to intense stimuli, and the frequency of firing determines the intensity of the pain.

The three types of pain receptors are cutaneous (skin), somatic (joints and bones), and visceral (body organs). It was previously believed that pain was simply the overloading of sensory receptors, but research in the first half of the 20th century indicated that pain is a distinct phenomenon that intertwines with all of the other senses, including touch. Pain was once considered a non-material experience, but recent studies show that pain is registered in specific parts of the brain. The main function of pain is to attract our attention to dangers and motivate us to avoid them.

  • - a sensory neuron (nerve cell) that responds to potentially damaging stimuli by sending signals to the spinal cord and brain. This process, called nociception, usually causes the perception of pain.

  • - refers to central pain sensitization (increased response of neurons) following painful, often repetitive, stimulation. Allodynia can lead to the triggering of a pain response from stimuli which do not normally provoke pain. Temperature or physical stimuli can provoke allodynia, which may feel like a burning sensation, and it often occurs after injury to a site. Allodynia is different from hyperalgesia, an extreme, exaggerated reaction to a stimulus which is normally painful.
  • - a condition that involves an abnormal increase in sensitivity to stimuli of the sense. "When a non-noxious stimulus causes the sensation of pain the area will be termed hyperaesthetic". Stimuli of the senses can include sound that one hears, foods that one tastes, textures that one feels, and so forth. Increased touch sensitivity is referred to as "tactile hyperesthesia", and increased sound sensitivity is called "auditory hyperesthesia". Tactile hyperesthesia may be a common symptom of many neurologic disorders such as herpes zoster, peripheral neuropathy and radiculopathies. In 1979, and then in 1994, Merskey, Bogduk, Noordenbos, Devor and others (a subcommittee of International Association for the Study of Pain) proposed, instead of hyperaestheia, the concept of allodynia, meaning "other pain", defined as a pain resulting from a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain.

  • - denotes a decreased sensitivity to painful stimuli. Hypoalgesia occurs when nociceptive (painful) stimuli are interrupted or decreased somewhere along the path between the input (nociceptors), and the places where they are processed and recognized as pain in the conscious mind. Hypoalgesic effects can be mild, such as massaging a stubbed toe to make it hurt less or taking aspirin to decrease a headache, or they can be severe, like being under strong anesthesia. Hypoalgesia can be caused by exogenous chemicals such as opioids, as well as by chemicals produced by the body in phenomena such as fear- and exercise- induced hypoalgesia. Hypoalgesia can also be associated with diseases, such as CIPA or in less severe cases with diabetes or other diseases associated with hypertension


  • - Valence, as used in psychology, especially in discussing emotions, means the intrinsic attractiveness (positive valence) or aversiveness (negative valence) of an event, object, or situation. However, the term is also used to characterize and categorize specific emotions. For example, the emotions popularly referred to as "negative", such as anger and fear, have "negative valence". Joy has "positive valence". Positively valenced emotions are evoked by positively valenced events, objects, or situations. The term is also used about the hedonic tone of feelings, affect, certain behaviors (for example, approach and avoidance), goal attainment or nonattainment, and conformity with or violation of norms. Ambivalence can be viewed as conflict between positive and negative valence-carriers. Theorists taking a valence-based approach to studying affect, judgment, and choice posit that emotions with the same valence (i.e. anger and fear or pride and surprise) produce a similar influence on judgments and choices.
  • - of prediction is the tendency for people to simply overestimate the likelihood of good things happening rather than bad things. Valence refers to the positive or negative emotional charge some entity possesses. This finding has been corroborated by dozens of studies. In one straightforward experiment, all other things being equal, participants assigned a higher probability to picking a card that had a smiling face on its reverse side than one which had a frowning face In addition, some have reported a valence effect in attribution when we overpredict the likelihood of positive events happening to ourselves relative to others. (See self-serving bias.)

The outcome of valence effects may be called wishful thinking. However, in certain situations, the valence effect may actually alter the event in some way so that it indeed results in a positive outcome. For example, in some cases generals have roused up their soldiers to a point where they were able to emerge victorious in battle.

  • PDF: Appraising Valence - ‘Valence’ is used in many different ways in emotion theory. It generally refers tothe ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ character of an emotion, as well as to the ‘positive’ or‘negative’ character of some aspect of emotion. After reviewing these differentuses, I point to the conceptual problems that come with them. In particular, I dis-tinguish: problems that arise from conflating the valence of an emotion with thevalence of its aspects, and problems that arise from the very idea that an emotion(and/or its aspects) can be divided into mutually exclusive opposites. The firstgroup of problems does not question the classic dichotomous notion of valence,but the second does. In order to do justice to the richness of daily emotions, emo-tion science needs more complex conceptual tools.


  • - one's ability to express or release one's inner feelings (emotions). It implies an ease around others and determines one's ability to effectively and successfully lead and express. It is described as the essential social skills to recognize, interpret, and respond constructively to emotions in yourself and others.

  • - a personality variable that involves the experience of negative emotions and poor self-concept. Negative affectivity subsumes a variety of negative emotions, including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, and fear, and nervousness. Low negative affectivity is characterized by frequent states of calmness and serenity, along with states of confidence, activeness, and great enthusiasm.

Individuals differ in negative emotional reactivity. Trait negative affectivity roughly corresponds to the dominant personality factor of anxiety/neuroticism that is found within the Big Five personality traits as emotional stability. The Big Five are characterized as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Neuroticism can plague an individual with severe mood swings, frequent sadness, worry, and being easily disturbed, and predicts the development and onset of all "common mental disorders. Research shows that negative affectivity relates to different classes of variables: Self-reported stress and (poor) coping skills, health complaints, and frequency of unpleasant events. Weight gain and mental health complaints are often experienced as well.

People who express high negative affectivity view themselves and a variety of aspects of the world around them in generally negative terms. Negative affectivity is strongly related to life satisfaction. Individuals high in negative affect will exhibit, on average, higher levels of distress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, and tend to focus on the unpleasant aspects of themselves, the world, the future, and other people, and also evoke more negative life events. The similarities between these affective traits and life satisfaction have led some researchers to view both positive and negative affect with life satisfaction as specific indicators of the broader construct of subjective well-being.

Negative affect arousal mechanisms can induce negative affective states as evidenced by a study conducted by Stanley S. Seidner on negative arousal and white noise. The study quantified reactions from Mexican and Puerto Rican participants in response to the devaluation of speakers from other ethnic origins.

  • Bodily maps of emotions - Emotions coordinate our behavior and physiological states during survival-salient events and pleasurable interactions. Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained unresolved. Here we used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie our conscious emotional experiences. Monitoring the topography of emotion-triggered bodily sensations brings forth a unique tool for emotion research and could even provide a biomarker for emotional disorders.

  • - primordial emotion or primordial feeling is an attention-demanding sensation and motivation (e.g., thirst, hunger, fatigue) evoked by an internal body state that drives behavior (drinking, eating and resting in these examples) aimed at maintaining the body's internal milieu in its ideal state. Derek Denton defines "primordial emotion" as "the subjective element of the instincts, which are the genetically programmed behaviour patterns which contrive homeostasis. They include thirst, hunger for air, hunger for food, pain, hunger for specific minerals etc. There are two constituents of a primordial emotion--the specific sensation which when severe may be imperious, and the compelling intention for gratification by a consummatory act."

  • - one or more motions or positions of the muscles beneath the skin of the face. These movements convey the emotional state of an individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information between humans, but they also occur in most other mammals and some other animal species.

  • - the theory in psychology that emotions are extracted from our evaluations (appraisals or estimates) of events that cause specific reactions in different people. Essentially, our appraisal of a situation causes an emotional, or affective, response that is going to be based on that appraisal.

  • - an emotional state. Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event. Moods generally have either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people typically speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood. Mood also differs from temperament or personality traits which are even longer lasting.

  • - clinical term describing a lack of emotional reactivity (affect display) on the part of an individual. It manifests as a failure to express feelings either verbally or non-verbally, especially when talking about issues that would normally be expected to engage the emotions. Expressive gestures are rare and there is little animation in facial expression or vocal inflection. Conversely, there may be poor modulation of feelings as well, with reduced expression punctuated by periods of very strong expression, including laughing uncontrollably, crying inconsolably, and outbursts of anger.
  • - a type of action or experience which approaches the edge of living in terms of its intensity and its seeming impossibility. This approach has led to the seeking of limit experiences as a sort of dark mysticism. A limit experience breaks the subject from itself. The idea is associated with Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and Michel Foucault. Classical instances of limit experiences include abandonment, fascination, suffering, madness, and poetry.


  • - or regulation of emotion is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed. It can also be defined as extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions. Emotion self-regulation belongs to the broader set of emotion-regulation processes, which includes the regulation of one's own feelings and the regulation of other people's feelings

  • PDF: A classification of controlled interpersonal affect regulation strategies. - Controlled interpersonal affect regulation refers to the deliberate regulation of someone else’s affect. Building on existing research concerning this everyday process, the authors describe the development of a theoretical classification scheme that distinguishes between the types of strategy used to achieve interpersonal affect regulation. To test the theoretical classification, the authors generated a corpus of 378 distinct strategies using self-report questionnaires and diaries completed by student and working samples. Twenty participants then performed a card-sort of the strategies. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to determine how well the theoretical classification represented spontaneous understandings of controlled interpersonal affect regulation. The final classification primarily distinguished between strategies used to improve versus those used to worsen others’ affect, and between strategies that engaged the target in a situation or affective state versus relationship-oriented strategies. The classification provides a meaningful basis for organizing existing research and making future conceptual and empirical distinctions.

  • - posits that the consumption of messages, particularly entertaining messages, is capable of altering prevailing mood states, and that the selection of specific messages for consumption often serves the regulation of mood states (Zillmann, 1988a). Mood management research can be traced back to Leon Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory. Festinger's theory was primarily laid out in cognitive terms, addressing exposure choices to persuasive messages. Zillmann and his colleagues thus proposed the mood management theory that attempts to cope with the broadest possible range of message choices such as news, documents, comedies, dramas, tragedies, music performances, and sports. It deals with all conceivable moods rather than a single, specific affective state, such as dissonance. Based on the hedonistic premise that individuals are motivated for pleasure and against pain, mood management theory states that, to the extent possible, individuals tend to arrange their environment so that good mood (commonly pleasure) is maximized or maintained, and bad mood (commonly pain) is diminished or alleviated.


  • - an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a bore had been used in print in the sense of "to be tiresome or dull" since 1768. The French term for boredom, ennui, is sometimes used in English as well.
  • - also accidie or accedie, from Latin acedĭa, and this from Greek ἀκηδία, "negligence") describes a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one's duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but arguably distinct from depression. Acedia was originally noted as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life. St Martha is the spiritual conqueror against acedia.

  • - from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness, is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. This kind of world view was widespread among several romantic authors such as Lord Byron, Giacomo Leopardi, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alfred de Musset, Nikolaus Lenau, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Heine. It is also used to denote the feeling of anxiety caused by the ills of the world.


It "can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung. Robert's Dictionnaire says joie is sentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, involves one's whole being."

  • - enjoyment, in terms both of rights and property, and of sexual orgasm — the latter has a meaning partially lacking in the English word "enjoyment". Poststructuralism has developed the latter sense of jouissance in complex ways, so as to denote a transgressive, excessive kind of pleasure linked to the division and splitting of the subject involved. The French feminist writer Hélène Cixous uses the term jouissance to describe a form of women's pleasure or sexual rapture that combines mental, physical and spiritual aspects of female experience, bordering on mystical communion: "explosion, diffusion, effervescence, abundance...takes pleasure (jouit) in being limitless".


  • PDF: The nature of awe: Elicitors, appraisals, and effects on self-concept - "Awe has been defined as an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that overwhelm current mental structures, yet facilitate attempts at accommodation. Four studies are presented showing the information-focused nature of awe elicitors, documenting the self-diminishing effects of awe experience, and exploring the effects of awe on the content of the self-concept. Study 1 documented the information-focused, asocial nature of awe elicitors in participant narratives. Study 2 contrasted the stimulus-focused, self-diminishing nature of appraisals and feelings associated with a prototypical awe experience with the self-focused appraisals and feelings associated with pride. Study 3 found that dispositional awe-proneness, but not dispositional joy or pride, was associated with low Need for Cognitive Closure, and also documented a relationship between dispositional awe and increased emphasis on membership in “universal” categories in participants’ self-concepts. Study 4 replicated the self-concept finding from Study 3 using experimentally elicited awe. Implications for future work on awe are discussed."




  • - colloquially known as playing dead or playing possum, is a behavior in which an animal takes on the appearance of being dead. This form of animal deception is an adaptive behavior also known as tonic immobility or thanatosis. Apparent death can be used as a defense mechanism or as a form of aggressive mimicry, and occurs in a wide range of animals.

  •,_uncertainty_and_doubt - a tactic used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor's product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival. The term originated to describe disinformation tactics in the computer hardware industry but has since been used more broadly. FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear.
  • - a pejorative term for the practice of widening the diagnostic boundaries of illnesses and aggressively promoting their public awareness in order to expand the markets for treatment. Among the entities benefiting from selling and delivering treatments are pharmaceutical companies, physicians, and other professional or consumer organizations.


  • - means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud. It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

In German, the technical terminology of psychology and philosophy distinguishes between Angst and Furcht in that Furcht is a negative anticipation regarding a concrete threat, while Angst is a non-directional and unmotivated emotion. In common language, however, Angst is the normal word for "fear", while Furcht is an elevated synonym.

In other languages having the meaning of the Latin word pavor for "fear", the derived words differ in meaning, e.g. as in the French anxiété and peur. The word Angst has existed since the 8th century, from the Proto-Indo-European root *anghu-, "restraint" from which Old High German angust developed. It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, "tensity, tightness" and angor, "choking, clogging"; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ankho) "strangle".


  • - a neurological anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry. For diagnosis of this disorder, symptoms must last at least six months. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties. Individuals often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, numbness in hands and feet, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, bouts of difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, trembling, twitching, irritability, agitation, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, hot flashes, and rashes and inability to fully control the anxiety (ICD-10). These symptoms must be consistent and ongoing, persisting at least six months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced.

  • - Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is the most common anxiety disorder. It is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, with 12% of Americans having experienced it in their lifetime. It is characterized by intense fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others. While the fear of social interaction may be recognized by the person as excessive or unreasonable, overcoming it can be quite difficult. Some people suffering from social anxiety disorder fear a wide range of social situations while others may only show anxiety in performance situations. In the latter case, the specifier "performance only" is added to the diagnosis. Social anxiety disorder is known to appear at an early age in most cases. Fifty percent of those who develop this disorder have developed it by the age of 11 and 80% have developed it by age 20. This early age of onset may lead to people with social anxiety disorder being particularly vulnerable to depressive illnesses, drug abuse and other psychological conflicts. Physical symptoms often accompanying social anxiety disorder include excessive blushing, sweating (hyperhidrosis), trembling, palpitations and nausea. Stammering may be present, along with rapid speech. Panic attacks can also occur under intense fear and discomfort. An early diagnosis may help minimize the symptoms and the development of additional problems, such as depression. Some sufferers may use alcohol or other drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events. It is common for sufferers of social phobia to self-medicate in this fashion, especially if they are undiagnosed, untreated, or both; this can lead to alcoholism, eating disorders or other kinds of substance abuse. SAD is sometimes referred to as an 'illness of lost opportunities' where 'individuals make major life choices to accommodate their illness

  • - Characterized by recurring panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioral changes lasting at least a month and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks. The latter are called anticipatory attacks (DSM-IVR). Panic disorder may be differentiated as a medical condition, or chemical imbalance. The DSM-IV-TR describes panic disorder and anxiety differently. Whereas anxiety is preceded by chronic stressors which build to reactions of moderate intensity that can last for days, weeks or months, panic attacks are acute events triggered by a sudden, out-of-the-blue cause: duration is short and symptoms are more intense.

  • - characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives certain environments as dangerous or uncomfortable, often due to the environment's vast openness or crowdedness. These situations include wide-open spaces, as well as uncontrollable social situations such as the possibility of being met in shopping malls, airports and on bridges. Agoraphobia is defined within the DSM-IV TR as a subset of panic disorder, involving the fear of incurring a panic attack in those environments. In the DSM-5, however, agoraphobia is classified as being separate from panic disorder. The sufferer may go to great lengths to avoid those situations, in severe cases becoming unable to leave their home or safe haven.

  • Anxious individuals shift emotion control from lateral frontal pole to dorsolateral prefrontal cortex | Nature Communications - Anxious individuals consistently fail in controlling emotional behavior, leading to excessive avoidance, a trait that prevents learning through exposure. Although the origin of this failure is unclear, one candidate system involves control of emotional actions, coordinated through lateral frontopolar cortex (FPl) via amygdala and sensorimotor connections. Using structural, functional, and neurochemical evidence, we show how FPl-based emotional action control fails in highly-anxious individuals. Their FPl is overexcitable, as indexed by GABA/glutamate ratio at rest, and receives stronger amygdalofugal projections than non-anxious male participants. Yet, high-anxious individuals fail to recruit FPl during emotional action control, relying instead on dorsolateral and medial prefrontal areas. This functional anatomical shift is proportional to FPl excitability and amygdalofugal projections strength. The findings characterize circuit-level vulnerabilities in anxious individuals, showing that even mild emotional challenges can saturate FPl neural range, leading to a neural bottleneck in the control of emotional action tendencies. [22]

  • April: gene-brainstudy | News and features | University of BristolFollowing acute stress, the team found an increased amount of one type of molecule called miR483-5p in a mouse amygdala. Importantly, the team showed that increased miR483-5p suppressed the expression of another gene, Pgap2, which in turn drives changes to neuronal morphology in the brain and behaviour associated with anxiety. Together, the researchers showed that miR-483-5p acts as a molecular brake that offsets stress-induced amygdala changes to promote anxiety relief.The discovery of a novel amygdala miR483-5p/Pgap2 pathway through which the brain regulates its response to stress is the first stepping stone towards the discovery of novel, more potent and much-needed treatments for anxiety disorders that will enhance this pathway. [23]






more recently merged with another section, to resort

See also Learning


  • - the process of placing newly acquired information into memory, which is modified in the brain for easier storage. Encoding this information makes the process of retrieval easier for the brain where it can be recalled and brought into conscious thinking. Modern memory psychology differentiates between the two distinct types of memory storage: short-term memory and long-term memory. In addition, different memory models have suggested variations of existing short- and long-term memory to account for different ways of storing memory.

  • - the mental process of retrieval of information from the past. Along with encoding and storage, it's one of the three core processes of memory. There are three main types of recall: free recall, cued recall and serial recall. Psychologists test these forms of recall as a way to study the memory processes of humans and animals. Two main theories of the process of recall are the Two-Stage Theory and the theory of Encoding Specificity.

  • - a core executive function, is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that is responsible for the transient holding, processing, and manipulation of information. Working memory is an important process for reasoning and the guidance of decision making and behavior. Working memory is often used synonymously with short-term memory, but neuropsychologists have noted that the two forms of memory are distinct, particularly since they arise from different neural subsystems within the prefrontal cortex. Working memory is a short-term memory buffer that allows for the manipulation of stored information, while short-term memory is only involved in the short-term storage of information and does not entail the manipulation or organization of material held in memory. Working memory also develops later and at a slower pace than short-term memory.

The multiple-component models of working memory include proposed subsystems that store and manipulate visual images or verbal information, as well as a central executive that coordinates the subsystems. It includes visual representation of the possible moves, and awareness of the flow of information into and out of memory, all stored for a limited amount of time. Working memory is essential for navigating complex cognitive tasks such as comprehension, learning and reasoning. Working memory, categorization, and reasoning have been shown as related functions of structural organization theory. Working memory tasks require monitoring (i.e., the manipulation of information or behaviors) as part of completing goal-directed actions in the setting of interfering processes and distractions. The cognitive processes needed to achieve this include the executive and attention control of short-term memory, which permit the interim integration, processing, disposal, and retrieval of information. These processes are sensitive to age: working memory is associated with cognitive development, and research shows that its capacity tends to decline with old age. Working memory is a theoretical concept central both to cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Theories exist both regarding the theoretical structure of working memory and the role of specific parts of the brain involved in working memory. Research identifies the frontal cortex, parietal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and parts of the basal ganglia as crucial. The neural basis of working memory has been derived from lesion experiments in animals and functional imaging in humans.

  • - or "primary" or "active memory") is the capacity for holding, but not manipulating, a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time. The duration of short-term memory (when rehearsal or active maintenance is prevented) is believed to be in the order of seconds. The most commonly cited capacity is The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two (which is frequently referred to as Miller's Law), despite the fact that Miller himself stated that the figure was intended as "little more than a joke" (Miller, 1989, page 401) and that Cowan (2001) provided evidence that a more realistic figure is 4±1. In contrast, long-term memory can hold an indefinite amount of information. Short-term memory should be distinguished from working memory, which refers to structures and processes used for temporarily storing and manipulating information (see details below).

  • - the final stage of the dual memory model proposed in the Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model, in which information can be stored for long periods of time. While short-term and working memory persist for only about 18 to 30 seconds, information can remain in long-term memory indefinitely. Long-term memory is commonly broken down into explicit memory (declarative), which includes episodic memory, semantic memory, and autobiographical memory, and implicit memory (procedural memory).

  • - a type of memory in which previous experiences aid the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these previous experiences. Evidence for implicit memory arises in priming, a process whereby subjects are measured by how they have improved their performance on tasks for which they have been subconsciously prepared. Implicit memory also leads to the illusion-of-truth effect, which suggests that subjects are more likely to rate as true those statements that they have already heard, regardless of their truthfulness. In daily life, people rely on implicit memory every day in the form of procedural memory, the type of memory that allows people to remember how to tie their shoes or ride a bicycle without consciously thinking about these activities. Research into implicit memory indicates that it operates through a different mental process from explicit memory.

  • - or declarative memory is one of the two main types of long-term human memory. It is the conscious, intentional recollection of factual information, previous experiences and concepts.
  • - one of the two types of declarative or explicit memory (our memory of facts or events that is explicitly stored and retrieved). Semantic memory refers to general world knowledge that we have accumulated throughout our lives. This general knowledge (facts, ideas, meaning and concepts) is intertwined in experience and dependent on culture.
  • - the memory of autobiographical events (times, places, associated emotions, and other contextual who, what, when, where, why knowledge) that can be explicitly stated. It is the collection of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place. For example, if one remembers the party on his or her 6th birthday, this is an episodic memory. They allow an individual to figuratively travel back in time to remember the event that took place at that particular time and place.

"That affect and emotion have both a directional and intensity component is well known. A great deal of research and debate has been concerned with the interplay between these two components and, more specifically, the question of which is primary in one's experience of an emotion - the intensity (arousal) or the directional (evaluative) component (Schachter & Singer, 1962). The question of primacy aside, it is clear that while emotions such as fear and happiness are easily categorized into separate evaluational or affective dimensions (positive vs. negative), other emotional terms such as nervous and afraid must rely on an intensity factor (high vs. low in its most simplistic form) for differentiation. Whissell et al. (1986) found that a two-dimensional space (Evaluation x Activation) represented the most parsimonious categorization system for emotion words. A alternative solution to the dimensions of affective space can be found in Watson and colleagues' two orthogonal factors of positive and negative affect (PA and NA; Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988; Watson & Tellegen, 1985).

"Within the arousal domain, Thayer (1967, 1978, 1986, 1989) has explicated two orthogonal factors that can be related to dimensions of affect: energetic arousal and tense arousal. Energetic arousal and positive affect covary strongly as do tense arousal and negative affect. Thayer (1989) found that energetic arousal varies diurnally along with positive affect. Loftus (1990) found that an exercise induction (as compared to a relaxation induction) tended to increase positive affect while negative affect remained unaffected. Both energetic and tense arousal increased as a result of the exercise induction also. This result was in contrast to an earlier study performed by Thayer that suggested exercise increased energetic arousal and decreased tense arousal (Thayer, 1989).

"Although the exact nature of the relationship between positive/negative affect and low/high or energetic/tense arousal has yet to be clearly delineated, it is clear that many manipulations of affect also are manipulations of arousal. The negative affect experienced while watching a horror movie is accompanied by an increase in tense arousal. The positive affect associated with a lively party is also associated with an increase in energetic arousal. It is this confounding of affective manipulations with arousal manipulations that we believe may account for at least part of the inconsistent findings (discussed later) within the study of mood-state dependent effects. In addition, it is likely that the so-called mood intensity effects are more attributable to the effects of the arousal levels present in the experiments than the affect."

in S.A. Christianson (Ed.) (1992) Handbook of Emotion and Memory. Erlebaum.

  • - an implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus influences the response to another stimulus. The seminal experiments of Meyer and Schvaneveldt in the early 1970s led to the flowering of research on priming of many sorts. Their original work showed that people were faster in deciding that a string of letters is a word when the word followed an associatively or semantically related word. For example, NURSE is recognized more quickly following DOCTOR than following BREAD. Various experiments supported the theory that activation spreading among related ideas was the best explanation for the facilitation observed in the lexical decision task. The priming paradigm provides excellent control over the effects of individual stimuli on cognitive processing and associated behavior because the same target stimuli can be presented with different primes. Thus differences in performance as a function of differences in priming stimuli must be attributed to the effect of the prime on the processing of the target stimulus.

Priming can occur following perceptual, semantic, or conceptual stimulus repetition. For example, if a person reads a list of words including the word table, and is later asked to complete a word starting with tab, the probability that he or she will answer table is greater than if they are not primed. Another example is if people see an incomplete sketch they are unable to identify and they are shown more of the sketch until they recognize the picture, later they will identify the sketch at an earlier stage than was possible for them the first time.

  • - a memory system consisting of episodes recollected from an individual's life, based on a combination of episodic (personal experiences and specific objects, people and events experienced at particular time and place) and semantic (general knowledge and facts about the world) memory.

"in heavy media multitaskers because they have a higher probability of experiencing lapses of attention. When demands are low, they underperform. But, when the task demands are high, such as when the working memory tasks are harder, there’s no difference between the heavy and light media multitaskers."


To merge with interpersonal communication sections.

  • - a communication technique used in counselling, training and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.

a terribly underselling description!

  • - a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker's idea, then offering the idea back to the speaker, to confirm the idea has been understood correctly. It attempts to "reconstruct what the client is thinking and feeling and to relay this understanding back to the client". Reflective listening is a more specific strategy than the more general methods of active listening. It arose from Carl Rogers' school of client-centered therapy in counseling theory. Empathy is at the center of Rogers' approach.



  • - can refer to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that result from thinking, the act of producing thoughts, or the process of producing thoughts. Despite the fact that thought is a fundamental human activity familiar to everyone, there is no generally accepted agreement as to what thought is or how it is created. Thoughts are the result or product of spontaneous acts of thinking. Because thought underlies many human actions and interactions, understanding its physical and metaphysical origins, processes, and effects has been a longstanding goal of many academic disciplines including artificial intelligence, biology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Thinking allows humans to make sense of, interpret, represent or model the world they experience, and to make predictions about that world. It is therefore helpful to an organism with needs, objectives, and desires as it makes plans or otherwise attempts to accomplish those goals. Thoughts are the keys which determine one's goal.

  •é - also known as a semantic stop-sign, a thought-stopper, bumper sticker logic or cliché thinking) is a form of loaded language, commonly used to propagate cognitive dissonance. Depending on context in which a phrase (or cliché) is used, it may actually be valid and not qualify as thought-terminating; it does qualify as such when its application intends to dismiss dissent or justify fallacious logic. Its only function is to stop an argument from proceeding further, in other words "end the debate with a cliche... not a point." The term was popularized by Robert Jay Lifton in his 1961 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, who called the use of the cliché, along with "loading the language," as "The language of Non-thought."


To merge with contemplation topics above.

  • - the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose and essence. The earliest historical records demonstrate the great interest which humanity has had in itself. Human self-reflection invariably leads to inquiry into the human condition and the essence of humankind as a whole.
  • - "the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning". According to one definition it involves "paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively. This leads to developmental insight".
  • Give it five minutes - It was a simple thing. He said “Man, give it five minutes.” I asked him what he meant by that? He said, it’s fine to disagree, it’s fine to push back, it’s great to have strong opinions and beliefs, but give my ideas some time to set in before you’re sure you want to argue against them. “Five minutes” represented “think”, not react. ... He’s given it 30 years. And I gave it just a few minutes. Now, certainly he can be wrong and I could be right, but it’s better to think deeply about something first before being so certain you’re right. There’s also a difference between asking questions and pushing back. Pushing back means you already think you know. Asking questions means you want to know. Ask more questions.
  • PDF: On Becoming A Critically Reflexive Practitioner - Critically reflexive practice embraces subjective understandings of reality as a basis for thinking more critically about the impact of our assumptions, values, and actions on others. Such practice is important to management education, because it helps us understand how we constitute our realities and identities in relational ways and how we can develop more collaborative and responsive ways of managing organizations. This article offers three ways of stimulating critically reflexive practice: (a) an exercise to help students think about the socially constructed nature of reality, (b) a map to help situate reflective and reflexive practice, and (c) an outline and examples of critically reflexive journaling.
  • - or think-aloud protocols; also talk-aloud protocol) is a used to gather data in usability testing in product design and development, in psychology and a range of social sciences (e.g., reading, writing, translation research, decision making, and process tracing). The think-aloud method was introduced in the usability field by Clayton Lewis while he was at IBM, and is explained in Task-Centered User Interface Design: A Practical Introduction by C. Lewis and J. Rieman. The method was developed based on the techniques of protocol analysis by Ericsson and Simon.

  • - a state of balance or coherence among a set of beliefs arrived at by a process of deliberative mutual adjustment among general principles and particular judgments. Although he did not use the term, philosopher Nelson Goodman introduced the method of reflective equilibrium as an approach to justifying the principles of inductive logic. The term 'reflective equilibrium' was coined by John Rawls and popularized in his A Theory of Justice as a method for arriving at the content of the principles of justice.

  • - refers to circular relationships between cause and effect. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a relationship in which neither can be assigned as causes or effects. In sociology, reflexivity therefore comes to mean an act of self-reference where examination or action "bends back on", refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination. To this extent it commonly refers to the capacity of an agent to recognize horses of socialization and alter their place in the social structure. A low level of reflexivity would result in an individual shaped largely by their environment (or 'society'). A high level of social reflexivity would be defined by an individual shaping their own norms, tastes, politics, desires, and so on. This is similar to the notion of autonomy. (See also: structure and agency, social mobility). It is an instance of a feedback loop.
  • - a broad umbrella label, used primarily in International Relations theory, for a range of theoretical approaches which oppose rational-choice accounts of social phenomena and, perhaps, positivism more generally. Reflectivist scholars tend to emphasise the inherent reflexivity both of theory and of the social world it studies. Unlike the term "reflectivism", the concept of "reflexivity" has wide currency outside of International Relations, having come to prominence in social theory in the latter part of the 20th century. Reflexivity refers to the ways in which elements and phenomena in social life have the capacity to "fold in on", or be "directed towards", themselves. That is, they can produce effects on, or have implications for, their own features, dynamics and existence.
  • - a joint effort of three of the leading European sociologists — Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck and Scott Lash, serving a double purpose: to reassess sociology as a science of the present (moving beyond the early 20thC conceptual framework); and to provide a counterbalance to the postmodernist paradigm offering a re-constructive view alongside deconstruction. The concept built upon previous notions such as post-industrial society (Daniel Bell) and postmaterial society, but stresses how in reflexive modernization, modernity directs its attention to the process of modernization itself.

  • YouTube: Reflecting on Reflexivity - In the 1990s, several major Anglo-American projects set out to challenge established norms in archaeological theory and practice. This ground-breaking shift questioned the fundamental tenets of archaeology; namely the objectivity of the archaeological record and the archaeologist, instead advocating reflexive, multi-vocal practices. The most notable of these projects are Çatalhöyük, Turkey (which continues today), Stone Worlds/Leskernick on Bodmin Moor, and Framework Archaeology on the site of the Heathrow’s Terminal 5. But what impact have they had on contemporary practice? Have these innovative, radical methods been lost to the excesses of neoliberalism and austerity, or do their roots reach out into the way archaeology is practiced today? In this paper I will consider these questions and aim to trace some of the biographies of those who participated in these reflexive projects in order to examine the legacies of reflexive methods on contemporary Anglo-American and European archaeological practice.

  • - an individual's accessibility to their history and plans. The concept is also loosely and commonly associated with having awareness of one's own consciousness. The ability allows its possessors to go beyond the limits of the remembered present of primary consciousness. Primary consciousness can be defined as simple awareness that includes perception and emotion. As such, it is ascribed to most animals. By contrast, secondary consciousness depends on and includes such features as self-reflective awareness, abstract thinking, volition and metacognition

  • - a conceptual framework used to aid decision-making.[2] Created in 1999 by Dave Snowden when he worked for IBM Global Services, it has been described as a "sense-making device".a conceptual framework used to aid decision-making.[2] Created in 1999 by Dave Snowden when he worked for IBM Global Services, it has been described as a "sense-making device".[3][4] Cynefin is a Welsh word for habitat.[5]

Cynefin offers five decision-making contexts or "domains"—obvious (known until 2014 as simple, more recently renamed clear by Snowden),[6] complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder—that help managers to identify how they perceive situations and make sense of their own and other people's behaviour.[a] The framework draws on research into systems theory, complexity theory, network theory and learning theories. Cynefin is a Welsh word for habitat. Cynefin offers five decision-making contexts or "domains"—obvious (known until 2014 as simple, more recently renamed clear by Snowden), complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder—that help managers to identify how they perceive situations and make sense of their own and other people's behaviour.[a] The framework draws on research into systems theory, complexity theory, network theory and learning theories.


  • - defined as "cognition about cognition", or "knowing about knowing". It comes from the root word "meta", meaning beyond. It can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem solving. There are generally two components of metacognition: knowledge about cognition, and regulation of cognition.

  • - a type of metacognition, is both the introspective knowledge of one’s own memory capabilities (and strategies that can aid memory) and the processes involved in memory self-monitoring. This self-awareness of memory has important implications for how people learn and use memories. When studying, for example, students make judgements of whether they have successfully learned the assigned material and use these decisions, known as "judgments of learning", to allocate study time.

to sort;

  • - related to the problem of how words (symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition called "computationalism," cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. How are those symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they refer to?

  • - describes the capacity of human beings to transcend and revise their contexts. The term has been used by poets and philosophers to describe the ability of the individual to perceive, think, and operate beyond any presupposition of a predetermined capacity of the human being. It further captures the rejection of the constraints of any context, and the ability to experience phenomena free from epistemological bounds, as well as to assert one's own will and individuality upon their activity. The term was first used by the Romantic poet John Keats to critique those who sought to categorize all experience and phenomena and turn them into a theory of knowledge. It has recently been appropriated by philosopher and social theorist Roberto Mangabeira Unger to comment on human nature and to explain how human beings innovate and resist within confining social contexts. The concept has also inspired psychoanalytic practices and twentieth-century art and literary criticism.


  • - are how individuals perceive, comprehend, and interpret the world around them, particularly the behavior or action of others towards themselves. Researchers and theorists within virtually every sub-discipline of psychology have acknowledged the relevance of a subjective construal, especially with regards to the concepts of the false consensus effect and the fundamental attribution error. There is a difference between self-construal and construal in a social atmosphere. While self-construal is a perception of the self, the latter is a perception of one's surroundings. Construal plays a crucial role in situations "whenever people are obliged to venture beyond the information immediately provided by the direct observation or secondhand report of a stimulus event, in particular whenever they are obliged to infer additional details of content, context, or meaning in the actions and outcomes that unfold around them." In other words, a person is most likely to use construal when he or she lacks the knowledge to correctly deal with a given situation.

  • xkcd: Connoisseur - "Our brains have just one scale, and we resize our experiences to fit."

  • - also known as the triangle of meaning and the semiotic triangle) is a model of how linguistic symbols are related to the objects they represent. The triangle was published in The Meaning of Meaning (1923) by Ogden and Richards. While often referred to as the "Ogden/Richards triangle" the idea is also expressed in 1810, by Bernard Bolzano, in his Beiträge zu einer begründeteren Darstellung der Mathematik. However, the triangle can be traced back to the 4th century BC, in Aristotle's Peri Hermeneias (often referred to in its Latin translation De Interpretatione, second book of his Organon). The Triangle relates to the problem of universals, a philosophical debate which split ancient and medieval philosophers (mainly realists and nominalists). The triangle describes a simplified form of relationship between the speaker as subject, a concept as object or referent, and its designation (sign, signans). For more elaborated research see Semiotics.

  • - an analytical tool with several variations and contexts. It is used to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas. Strong conceptual frameworks capture something real and do this in a way that is easy to remember and apply. For example, Isaiah Berlin used the metaphor of a “Fox” and a “Hedgehog” to make conceptual distinctions in how important philosophers and authors view the world. Berlin describes hedgehogs as those who use a single idea or organizing principle to view the world (examples given include Dante, Pascal, Dostoevsky, Plato, Ibsen and Hegel). Foxes, on the other hand, incorporate a type of pluralism and view the world through multiple, sometimes conflicting, lenses (examples include Goethe, Joyce, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Herodotus, Molière, Anderson, Balzac). Economists use the conceptual framework of “supply” and “demand” to distinguish between the behavior and incentive systems of firms and consumers. Like many conceptual frameworks, supply and demand can be presented through visual or graphical representations (see Demand curve).

  • - in philosophy is a reflection in the mind of real objects and phenomena in their essential features and relations. Notions are usually described in terms of scope and content. This is because notions are often created in response to empirical observations (or experiments) of covarying trends among variables.

  • - a key concept of philosophy, denoting the process or set of properties by which one entity is distinguished from another within a relational field or a given conceptual system. In the Western philosophical system, difference is traditionally viewed as being opposed to identity, following the Principles of Leibniz, and in particular, his Law of the identity of indiscernibles. In structuralist and poststructuralist accounts, however, difference is understood to be constitutive of both meaning and identity. In other words, because identity (particularly, personal identity) is viewed in non-essentialist terms as a construct, and because constructs only produce meaning through the interplay of differences (see below), it is the case that for both structuralism and poststructuralism, identity cannot be said to exist without difference.

intersubjective - the in-between, subjects and objects in relation to each other, liminal

  • - a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972–1980) project. It is what Deleuze calls an "image of thought," based on the botanical rhizome, that apprehends multiplicities.

"If it's true that we are all from the center of a star, every atom in each of us from the center of a star, then we're all the same thing. Even a coke machine or a cigarette butt in the street in Buffalo, is made out of atoms that came from a star. They've all recycled thousands of times, as have you and I. And therefore, it's only me out there, so what is there to be afraid of? What is there that needs solace seeking? Nothing. There is nothing to be afraid of because it's all us. The trouble is we have been separated by being born and given a name and an identity and being individuated. We have been separated from the oneness and that's what religion exploits, that people have this yearning to be part of the overall one again. So they exploit that. They call it god and they say he has rules and I think that's cruel. I think you can do it absent religion." --George Carlin

"In science, if you know what you are doing, you should not be doing it. In engineering, if you do not know what you are doing, you should not be doing it. Of course, you seldom, if ever, see either pure state." —Richard Hamming, The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

"The most exciting engineering challenges lie on the boundary of theory and the unknown. Not so unknown that they're hopeless, but not enough theory to predict the results of our decisions. Systems at this boundary often rely on emergent behavior — high-level effects that arise indirectly from low-level interactions. When designing at this boundary, the challenge lies not in constructing the system, but in understanding it. In the absence of theory, we must develop an intuition to guide our decisions. The design process is thus one of exploration and discovery. The most powerful way to gain insight into a system is by moving between levels of abstraction. Many designers do this instinctively. But it's easy to get stuck on the ground, experiencing concrete systems with no higher-level view. It's also easy to get stuck in the clouds, working entirely with abstract equations or aggregate statistics. This interactive essay presents the ladder of abstraction, a technique for thinking explicitly about these levels, so a designer can move among them consciously and confidently. I believe that an essential skill of the modern system designer will be using the interactive medium to move fluidly around the ladder of abstraction."

  • - alternatively aetiology or ætiology, is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek αἰτιολογία, aitiología, "giving a reason for" (αἰτία, aitía, "cause"; and -λογία, -logía). More completely, etiology is the study of the causes, origins, or reasons behind the way that things are, or the way they function, or it can refer to the causes themselves. The word is commonly used in medicine, (where it is a branch of medicine studying causes of disease) and in philosophy, but also in physics, psychology, government, geography, spatial analysis, theology, and biology, in reference to the causes or origins of various phenomena.In the past, when many physical phenomena were not well understood or when histories were not recorded, myths often arose to provide etiologies. Thus, an etiological myth, or origin myth, is a myth that has arisen, been told over time or written to explain the origins of various social or natural phenomena. For example, Virgil's Aeneid is a national myth written to explain and glorify the origins of the Roman Empire. In theology, many religions have creation myths explaining the origins of the world or its relationship to believers.

  • - A proximate cause is an event which is closest to, or immediately responsible for causing, some observed result. This exists in contrast to a higher-level ultimate cause (or distal cause) which is usually thought of as the "real" reason something occurred.

  • - has been variously defined as "a need to structure relevant situations in meaningful, integrated ways" and "a need to understand and make reasonable the experiential world". Higher NFC is associated with increased appreciation of debate, idea evaluation, and problem solving. Those with a high need for cognition may be inclined towards high elaboration. Those with a lower need for cognition may display opposite tendencies, and may process information more heuristically, often through low elaboration.
  • - a personality construct referring to a person's enjoyment (or dislike) of intellectually demanding activities. TIE was developed to identify aspects of personality most closely related to intelligence and knowledge and measures a person's typical performance in intellectual domains rather than their maximal performance (intellectual capacity measured by IQ tests). TIE is moderately positively associated with crystallized intelligence, and with general knowledge, and predicts academic performance. TIE is hard to distinguish from the earlier construct need for cognition and is positively correlated with openness to experience.

  • - is one of the domains which are used to describe human personality in the Five Factor Model. Openness involves six facets, or dimensions, including active imagination (fantasy), aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.

Openness to experience, like the other traits in the five factor model, is believed to have a genetic component. Identical twins (who have the same DNA) show similar scores on openness to experience, even when they have been adopted into different families and raised in very different environments. One genetic study with 86 subjects found Openness to experience related to the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism associated with the serotonin transporter gene. Higher levels of openness have been linked to activity in the ascending dopaminergic system and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Openness is the only personality trait that correlates with neuropsychological tests of dorsolateral prefrontal cortical function, supporting theoretical links among openness, cognitive functioning, and IQ.

  • - a statistical method used to describe variability among observed, correlated variables in terms of a potentially lower number of unobserved variables called factors. For example, it is possible that variations in four observed variables mainly reflect the variations in two unobserved variables. Factor analysis searches for such joint variations in response to unobserved latent variables. The observed variables are modelled as linear combinations of the potential factors, plus "error" terms. The information gained about the interdependencies between observed variables can be used later to reduce the set of variables in a dataset. Computationally this technique is equivalent to low rank approximation of the matrix of observed variables. Factor analysis originated in psychometrics, and is used in behavioral sciences, social sciences, marketing, product management, operations research, and other applied sciences that deal with large quantities of data.

  • - an account of how a phenomenon can occur in two different ways, or as a result of two different processes. Often, the two processes consist of an implicit (automatic), unconscious process and an explicit (controlled), conscious process. Verbalized explicit processes or attitudes and actions may change with persuasion or education; though implicit process or attitudes usually take a long amount of time to change with the forming of new habits. Dual process theories can be found in social, personality, cognitive, and clinical psychology. It has also been linked with economics via prospect theory and behavioral economics.


  • - a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. In a narrower sense, analogy is an inference or an argument from one particular to another particular, as opposed to deduction, induction, and abduction, where at least one of the premises or the conclusion is general. The word analogy can also refer to the relation between the source and the target themselves, which is often, though not necessarily, a similarity, as in the biological notion of analogy.

an agreement or correspondence in particular features between things otherwise dissimilar; in literature, the basis for metaphor and simile.

  • - or cognitive metaphor, refers to the understanding of one idea, or conceptual domain, in terms of another. An example of this is the understanding of quantity in terms of directionality (e.g. "the prices are rising").

A conceptual domain can be any coherent organization of human experience. The regularity with which different languages employ the same metaphors, which often appear to be perceptually based, has led to the hypothesis that the mapping between conceptual domains corresponds to neural mappings in the brain.

This idea, and a detailed examination of the underlying processes, was first extensively explored by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their work Metaphors We Live By. Other cognitive scientists study subjects similar to conceptual metaphor under the labels "analogy", "conceptual blending" and "ideasthesia".

Conceptual metaphors are seen in language in our everyday lives. Conceptual metaphors shape not just our communication, but also shape the way we think and act. In George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s work, Metaphors We Live By (1980), we see how everyday language is filled with metaphors we may not always notice. An example of one of the commonly used conceptual metaphors is "argument is war." This metaphor shapes our language in the way we view argument as war or as a battle to be won. It is not uncommon to hear someone say "He won that argument" or "I attacked every weak point in his argument". The very way argument is thought of is shaped by this metaphor of arguments being war and battles that must be won. Argument can be seen in other ways than a battle, but we use this concept to shape the way we think of argument and the way we go about arguing.

Conceptual metaphors are used very often to understand theories and models. A conceptual metaphor uses one idea and links it to another to better understand something. For example, the conceptual metaphor of viewing communication as a conduit is one large theory explained with a metaphor. So not only is our everyday communication shaped by the language of conceptual metaphors, but so is the very way we understand scholarly theories. These metaphors are prevalent in communication and we do not just use them in language; we actually perceive and act in accordance with the metaphors.

  • - also known as a conceit or sustained metaphor, is when an author exploits a single metaphor or analogy at length through multiple linked vehicles, tenors, and grounds throughout a poem or story. Tenor is the subject of the metaphor, vehicle is the image or subject that carries the weight of the comparison, and ground is the shared proprieties of the two compared subjects. Another way to think of extended metaphors is in terms of implications of a base metaphor. These implications are repeatedly emphasized, discovered, rediscovered, and progressed in new ways.

  • - an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. In English literature the term is generally associated with the 17th century metaphysical poets, an extension of contemporary usage. The metaphysical conceit differs from an extended analogy in the sense that it does not have a clear-cut relationship between the things being compared. Helen Gardner observed that "a conceit is a comparison whose ingenuity is more striking than its justness" and that "a comparison becomes a conceit when we are made to concede likeness while being strongly conscious of unlikeness."

  • - a figure of speech that directly compares two things through the explicit use of connecting words (such as like, as, so, than, or various verbs such as resemble). Although similes and metaphors are sometimes considered to be interchangeable, similes acknowledge the imperfections and limitations of the comparative relationship to a greater extent than metaphors. Metaphors are subtler and therefore rhetorically stronger in that metaphors equate two things rather than simply compare them. Similes also safeguard the author against outrageous, incomplete, or unfair comparison. Generally, metaphor is the stronger and more encompassing of the two forms of rhetorical analogies. While similes are mainly used in forms of poetry that compare the inanimate and the living, there are also terms in which similes and personifications are used for humorous purposes and comparison.
  • - a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept.
  • - meaning "simultaneous understanding", is a figure of speech in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something, or vice versa. A synecdoche is a class of metonymy, often by means of either mentioning a part for the whole, or conversely the whole for one of its parts. Examples from everyday English-language idiomatic expressions include "bread and butter" for "livelihood", "suits" for "businessmen", "boots" for "soldiers", etc.[3] It is also often used in government announcements where a building stands in for a government official or agency, such as "No. 10" or "No. 10 Downing Street," the address of same, being used to represent the British Prime Minister, or "The Pentagon," the building housing its headquarters, to represent the United States Department of Defense.

everything is X all of the Y

  • - As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. Allegory has been used widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.

Writers or speakers typically use allegories as literary devices or as rhetorical devices that convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and/or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey.

  • - the capacity for a sign (e.g., a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple related meanings (sememes), i.e., a large semantic field. It is usually regarded as distinct from homonymy, in which the multiple meanings of a word may be unconnected or unrelated.
  • - one of a group of words that share the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings. Thus homonyms are simultaneously homographs (words that share the same spelling, regardless of their pronunciation) and homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling). The state of being a homonym is called homonymy. Examples of homonyms are the pair stalk (part of a plant) and stalk (follow/harass a person) and the pair left (past tense of leave) and left (opposite of right). A distinction is sometimes made between "true" homonyms, which are unrelated in origin, such as skate (glide on ice) and skate (the fish), and polysemous homonyms, or polysemes, which have a shared origin, such as mouth (of a river) and mouth (of an animal).

  • - also called amphiboly or amphibology, is a situation where a sentence may be interpreted in more than one way due to ambiguous sentence structure. Syntactic ambiguity arises not from the range of meanings of single words, but from the relationship between the words and clauses of a sentence, and the sentence structure implied thereby. When a reader can reasonably interpret the same sentence as having more than one possible structure, the text meets the definition of syntactic ambiguity. In legal disputes, courts may be asked to interpret the meaning of syntactic ambiguities in statutes or contracts. In some instances, arguments asserting highly unlikely interpretations have been deemed frivolous.

  • - a theory of linguistic meaning developed by Charles J. Fillmore that extends his earlier case grammar. It relates linguistic semantics to encyclopaedic knowledge. The basic idea is that one cannot understand the meaning of a single word without access to all the essential knowledge that relates to that word. For example, one would not be able to understand the word "sell" without knowing anything about the situation of commercial transfer, which also involves, among other things, a seller, a buyer, goods, money, the relation between the money and the goods, the relations between the seller and the goods and the money, the relation between the buyer and the goods and the money and so on. Thus, a word activates, or evokes, a frame of semantic knowledge relating to the specific concept it refers to (or highlights, in frame semantic terminology).

A semantic frame is a collection of facts that specify "characteristic features, attributes, and functions of a denotatum, and its characteristic interactions with things necessarily or typically associated with it." A semantic frame can also be defined as a coherent structure of related concepts that are related such that without knowledge of all of them, one does not have complete knowledge of any one; they are in that sense types of gestalt. Frames are based on recurring experiences. So the commercial transaction frame is based on recurring experiences of commercial transactions.

Words not only highlight individual concepts, but also specify a certain perspective from which the frame is viewed. For example "sell" views the situation from the perspective of the seller and "buy" from the perspective of the buyer. This, according to Fillmore, explains the observed asymmetries in many lexical relations.

While originally only being applied to lexemes, frame semantics has now been expanded to grammatical constructions and other larger and more complex linguistic units and has more or less been integrated into construction grammar as the main semantic principle. Semantic frames are also becoming used in information modeling, for example in Gellish, especially in the form of 'definition models' and 'knowledge models'. Frame semantics has much in common with the semantic principle of profiling from Ronald W. Langacker's Cognitive Grammar.

  • - a bestseller book by Gareth Morgan, professor of organizational behavior/industrial relations at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, which attempts to unveil organization via a number of metaphors. The book particularly describes the organization as (1) machines, (2) organisms, (3) brains, (4) cultures, (5) political systems, (6) psychic prisons, (7) flux and transformation, and (8) instruments of domination.
  • Metaphor as the Foundation of Organizational Studies - This article is the first part of a Citation Classics and Foundational Works feature focused on metaphor and organizational studies. The second part of the feature is a personal reflection by Gareth Morgan on the genesis and impact of his pathbreaking book, Images of Organization (IO). In this article, we summarize the nature of the contributions made by IO, sketch ways in which the book has prompted and served as a touchstone for new research on metaphor and organization, and discuss the application of contemporary metaphorical analysis to the problems of theory development, research methods, and puzzle solving facing scholars interested in sustainability studies and research on organizations and the natural environment (ONE). We illustrate how early research that fostered ONE scholarship is marked by the use of particularly powerful metaphorical language and attention to poetic technique as well as rigorous science. We suggest how ONE research (and organizational studies in general) can benefit from studying IO and related literature on metaphorical analysis.

Visual thinking

  • - the representation in a person's mind of the physical world outside of that person. It is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of perceiving some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses.
  •'s_eye - refers to the human ability for visualization, i.e., for the experiencing of visual mental imagery; in other words, one's ability to "see" things with the mind.

  • - a recurring structure within our cognitive processes which establishes patterns of understanding and reasoning. Image schemas are formed from our bodily interactions, from linguistic experience, and from historical context. In contemporary cognitive linguistics, an image schema is considered an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that motivates conceptual metaphor mappings. Evidence for image schemata is drawn from a number of related disciplines, including work on cross-modal cognition in psychology, from spatial cognition in both linguistics and psychology, cognitive linguistics, and from neuroscience.

  • - a mental process by which an individual rehearses or simulates a given action. It is widely used in sport training as mental practice of action, neurological rehabilitation, and has also been employed as a research paradigm in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology to investigate the content and the structure of covert processes (i.e., unconscious) that precede the execution of action.


tooo sort.

  • - a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge sufficient to support intelligent behavior. An understanding is the limit of a conceptualization. To understand something is to have conceptualized it to a given measure.

"If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed." -- William Blake ("Truth cannot be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd.")

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive" -- Sir Walter Scott

"'Understanding' is a vague concept." -- Wittgenstein

"Do not follow in the footsteps of sages. Seek what they sought."

"There is old wisdom enough to contradict the other half of old wisdom" -- Approx.

“I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.

Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet (1903) [44]

What I if told you
You the read first line wrong
Same with the second

  • - sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, similar in meaning to intuition. The three commonly used philosophical terms are from Greek, νοῦς or νόος, and Latin intellectus and intelligentia respectively.
  • - a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the senses. The term is generally used in contrast with, or in relation to "phenomenon", which refers to anything that appears to, or is an object of, the senses. In Platonic philosophy, the noumenal realm was equated with the world of ideas known to the philosophical mind, in contrast to the phenomenal realm, which was equated with the world of sensory reality, known to the uneducated mind.

  • Compressed communications, laconic aphorisms to frame and shake-up

to clean up;

"My god, these people think in terms of slogans. I better start making some up. And so I started, and not the first but one of the first was 'the best way to predict the future is to invent it'."

"Bullshit on trends, we're not into trends here, we want to do personal computing and worldwide networks, we're just going to do it."

"Short writing is the hardest writing there is."

"McLuhan had evolved this thing that was going beyond slogans and beyond aphorisms to things that were paradoxical because he wanted you to think about them again."

"Failing 50% of the time just doesn't have any punch in slogan land, so you have to exagurate because you're going into a low pass filter."

"Everybody loves change apart from the change part."

"Why do we do it? Well partly because of the original funder, Licklider, known as Lick, was a psychologist, in 1963 wrote a memo to the members of the Intergallactic Computing Network, and somebody asked him 'why do you call it the Intergallactic net?', and and he says 'well engineers always give you the minimum. I want a network that covers everybody, everything on earth, and so I'm asking for an intergallactic one, when the engineers scale it down we might get it.'

"[Licklider] was used to the computing at MIT, and he was out one one of these enormous SAGE computers, when I say enormous I'm taking two software pitches of vacuum tubes, that's big, and they had the first time-sharing terminals and he was sitting down doing something and he wanted to run a statistical package that, well, was in JOVIAL, they didn't have it, and so he said 'look, this computer is connected by telephone to the computers at MIT', they didn't have the ARPANET yet, but that, so he said 'I've got a package in FORTRAN there that I could use', and they said 'well you can't do that', so this translated, this little story was in there, but basically what he said 'look, if we actually succeeding in building the ICN, our main problem will be learning to communicate with aliens', and he didn't just mean with other people, he meant between us and software at the other end of the world, and software computing with software and the other.. so every communications mode between active entities was going to be like communicating with aliens because there would be far far less basis for common ground, and how do you solve that?" And so we took that to account, that was a real help in getting the internet turn out the way it was because we're doing something much smaller now than what Likighter wanted, we only did TCP/IP, we didn't do what the thing needed which was to make consistent objects accross the internet

"Scaling isn't the only thing, but man it is big."

"Well, again, slogans; 'it's not big data, it's big meaning'"

"Well, again, slogans; 'it's not big data, it's big meaning', there's a slogan. So one of the ways of doing this kind of thinking, like I sayd, you're in a different world, you have to get out of the practical works for a second and you have to get into extremism, crazy world, so crazy world is, you know, the 'idea fixae' of I'm going to be a mono maniac on something, and suppose I'm just extremely sensitive and in pain, that is one of the sensations that people like me have, basically pain, and trying to find the sources of the pain, so the .. so a simple one is this wonderful thing about language which should also help people understand about language, every sentence you can make up in English you can also toss a 'not' in there, and so even a simple natural natural language like English is bigger than the universe, you can say things that aren't there, and this should bring home; Einstein said to the extent that mathematics gets at truth it does not get at reality, and to the extent it gets to reality it does not get at truth.

He understood the complete difference between the two, and the problems of using a simple system for something that isn't like a simple system in any important way. Many scientists get confused on this because they tend to think of the mat as the reality, and that's absolutely not, so to me the first thing is, well lets just negate everything. Lets write down the top 50 - this would be a good thing if we had this thing at the beginning of this conference, and I was kind of hoping because it would get people something to do here, like write down the top 25 beliefs in computing, and then put a not in front of them and see what that is, just for the hell of it. Big Data! Not Big Data. Well if it's not Big Data, what is it? Well, Big Meaning, of courcs it has to be about meaning, the problem the big data people are confusing some of the means to the end as an end, and this happens the time in computing, return the sub-problems into the problems because we get mired in the sub-problems.

So just going through the things that you personally believe. I do this maybe every three to five years. I sit down, spend a week writing down things that I think I believe, and I spend a fair amount of time trying to see whether there's any reasonable reason to believe them still. Some of them I have, I mentioned the 'situations, actions and casual laws' thing because I think McCarthy is getting at one of the prime cruxes in computing which is that you want to be able to advance state and you need to do it absolutely safely, so you'd like to be able to reason perfectly about how you're going to advance the state, and you'd like to organise the system so you get the best of both worlds. Monads is too much of a clutch, that's trying to save functions and missing what McCarthy had already gotten to more than fifty years ago, that kind of stuff drives me crazy, it really does, it's like 'where did you people come from? How blind can you be? Why are you treating this like a religion?'. Well, Bob Barton, the great computer designer when I had him as a professor, and one of the things he used to say was 'systems programmers are high priests of a low cult', think about that! So he had a.." "the other thing that worries me is that I get the impression that an awful lot of the things we have are done because we can do them, not because we need them." "Yup, and I call that 'inverse vandalism'. It's making things because you can." "It has unpredictable side-effects and consequences, so one of the things that worries me is this silly idea of the cloud, if we store everything in the cloud the unintentional side-effect of that is that we'll probably loose all our history, and I'm kind of worried that in two hundred years back we'll look back and say "oh, sorry, just lost the history of the 20th century

Loosing history, bombarding our attentions systems with crap, what do you think re the most dangerous, what do you think we should address first?"

"... I mentioned Frances 's four idols from this book we wrote, in English, it's 'The New Organisation Of Science', or 'Novum Organe, 1620, ... this is the philosophical structure that underpinned the actual invention of science which really happened here in England; scientists don't give you science, it's something like The Royal Society that gives you science, because science needs other people to debug, you have to have a social system in order to debug your ideas, it's not enough just to have.. so Archimedes was a great scientist but the Greeks didn't have science, the didn't have the thing, and Bacon pointed out in this book a lot of things, but one of the things he said, 'look, the simplest way to think about us humans is that we're born with bad brains, and our bad brains are partly because of genetics, our bad thinking is partly due to genetics, partly because of our culture, partly because of our language, terrible at representing what we want to have as ideas, and we have academia that's constantly recycling bad ideas into the young, and he said what we need, he said in this book, is a set of heuristics for getting around our bad brains, that's what his definition of science was, wasn't just to find out what forces might keep the moon in the sky and the planets around the sun, no, what Bacon was as science was a set of . for thinking more clearly in the best ways we know how, so when you think of it that way that should be the centre of any schooling system in the 21st century, and it certainly should be a big part of any kind of schooling system for people who are doing technology, because of the industrial revolutions we can do this inverse vandalism of making something and spreading it by the billions, and the problem is that our nervous system is overwhelmed by the

"When you are aware of what's going on, you can see the present as kind of a construction, it could have been a bunch of different ways, and McLauchlan said most people can't see this at all, and so his phrase was 'people are driving faster and faster into the future but stearing only by looking in the rear view mirror'. That's a beautiful line. Because they assume the present is some form of reality. He said artists can see the present for a construction, that is what they are reporting in their art. Look at what Guernica is just to take something relavently recently, but they are seeing what is actually going on, because they have this pain, their pain comes from reacting to what is actually going on, and artists are people who have to report that to people. But the cool things about artists, and Douglas [Adams] is one of these, and Douglas did have a lot of pain from this stuff, but what a person like this does, if you can see the present as a construction you can have much better ideas about the future because what is an idea? It isn't incremental, the idea escapes from the context it's in. Well, what is a joke, a joke is taking you down one context and revealing you're in another, so the simplest form of a creative act is a joke. What is a discovery? In science it's looking at the same world you saw up to a second ago and all of a sudden you see some relationship right in front of your nose, it's a joke, you start laughing. What is art? Art is a reminder that our brain is so limited we can hardly deal with getting from one moment to the next, and art forces us to realise there is more there. And Kessler, who wrote a book called The Act Of Creation, pointed out the emotional reactions to jokes is "haha", to science is "a-ha", to art is "ah", and each one of them is a different type of emotional discharge you get from the context a few seconds ago you thought was reality. So Douglass ideas was if you want to communicate with anybody, course it takes a special kind of person to do it, his idea was always to it with humour, so the most bitter book he ever wrote, was called The Last Chance To See, was still quite funny, was basically about how we're killing off species, and how unique each of the species it, it's actually a plea, but he actually wanted to get people tot he end of the book. Or Kurt Vonnegut; every book that Kurt Vonnegut wrote was an attempt to deal with the fact that he has been a prisoner of war of the Germans in the fire bombing of Dresden"

Attribution and insight

  • - he process by which individuals explain the causes of behavior and events. Attribution theory is the study of various models that attempt to explain those processes. Psychological research into attribution began with the work of Fritz Heider in the early part of the 20th century, subsequently developed by others such as Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner. Heider subsequently extended his ideas to the question of how people perceive each other, and in particular how they account for each other's behavior, person perception. Motives played an important role in Heider's model: "motives, intentions, sentiments ... the core processes which manifest themselves in overt behavior".

  • - is, according to Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science. According to Kuhn, "A paradigm is what members of a scientific community, and they alone, share" (The Essential Tension, 1977). Unlike a normal scientist, Kuhn held, "a student in the humanities has constantly before him a number of competing and incommensurable solutions to these problems, solutions that he must ultimately examine for himself" (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).

Once a paradigm shift is complete, a scientist cannot, for example, reject the germ theory of disease to posit the possibility that miasma causes disease or reject modern physics and optics to posit that aether carries light. In contrast, a critic in the humanities can choose to adopt an array of stances (e.g., Marxist criticism, Freudian criticism, Deconstruction, 19th-century-style literary criticism), which may be more or less fashionable during any given period but all regarded as legitimate. Since the 1960s, the term has also been used in numerous non-scientific contexts to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events, even though Kuhn himself restricted the use of the term to the hard sciences. Compare as a structured form of Zeitgeist.

Belief and faith

  • - a mental representation, treated in various academic disciplines, especially philosophy and psychology, of a sentient being's attitude toward the likelihood or truth of something. In Greek, two different concepts are often represented by the concept of belief: Pistis and Doxa. Simplified we may say that the first deals in trust and confidence, the latter in opinion and acceptance.

  • Belief – An opinion or judgement in which a person is fully persuaded.
  • Faith = ( Belief + Action + Confidence )
  • Confidence – Trust that is based on knowledge or past experience

"But our problem is really with unbelief, not a lack of faith. The good news is that we can change our unbelief into belief. It’s really a fairly simple, straight forward process. We just need to become more fully persuaded of the truth instead of the misconceptions and lies that we are currently holding on to."

  • - a term used to name a standpoint or an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths (see natural theology). The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means "faith-ism". Philosophers have identified a number of different forms of fideism. Strict fideists hold that reason has no place in discovering theological truths, while moderate fideists hold that though some truth can be known by reason, faith stands above reason.

  • - In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belief that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected, it is a surprise. An expectation about the behavior or performance of another person, expressed to that person, may have the nature of a strong request, or an order; this kind of expectation is called a social norm. The degree to which something is expected to be true can be expressed using fuzzy logic. Anticipation is the emotion corresponding to expectation.

  • - a mental state held by an agent or organism toward a proposition. In philosophy, propositional attitudes can be considered to be neurally-realized causally efficacious content-bearing internal states. Linguistically, propositional attitudes are denoted by a verb (e.g. "believed", governing an embedded "that" clause, for example, 'Sally believed that she had won'. Propositional attitudes are often assumed to be the fundamental units of thought and their contents, being propositions, are true or false from the perspective of the person. An agent can have different propositional attitudes toward the same proposition (e.g., "S believes that her ice-cream is cold," and "S fears that her ice-cream is cold"). Propositional attitudes have directions of fit: some are meant to reflect the world, others to influence it.

"[Death] You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"

  • - the cognitive process of purposefully generating visual mental imagery, with eyes open or closed, simulating or recreating visual perception, in order to maintain, inspect, and transform those images, consequently modifying their associated emotions or feelings, with intent to experience a subsequent beneficial physiological, psychological, or social effect, such as expediting the healing of wounds to the body, minimizing physical pain, alleviating psychological pain including anxiety, sadness, and low mood, improving self-esteem or self-confidence, and enhancing the capacity to cope when interacting with others. It can also be a used as a way of facilitating an impossible imagination game.

Knowledge and truth

See also Maths#Formal systems

"figuring out which ideas are true is hard."

  • - a Greek word for a type of wisdom or intelligence. It is more specifically a type of wisdom relevant to practical things, requiring an ability to discern how or why to act virtuously and encourage practical virtue, excellence of character, in others. In Aristotelian ethics, for example in the Nicomachean Ethics, it is distinguished from other words for wisdom and intellectual virtues – such as episteme and techne. Because of its practical character, when it is not simply translated by words meaning wisdom or intelligence, it is often translated as "practical wisdom", and sometimes (more traditionally) as "prudence", from Latin prudentia. Thomas McEvilley has proposed that the best translation is "mindfulness".

  • - resembles epistēmē in the implication of knowledge of principles, although techne differs in that its intent is making or doing as opposed to disinterested understanding. As an activity, techne is concrete, variable, and context-dependent. As one observer has argued, techne "was not concerned with the necessity and eternal a priori truths of the cosmos, nor with the a posteriori contingencies and exigencies of ethics and politics. [...] Moreover, this was a kind of knowledge associated with people who were bound to necessity. That is, techne was chiefly operative in the domestic sphere, in farming and slavery, and not in the free realm of the Greek polis. Aristotle saw it as representative of the imperfection of human imitation of nature. For the ancient Greeks, it signified all the mechanic arts, including medicine and music.

  • - a philosophical term derived from the Ancient Greek word ἐπιστήμη, which can refer to knowledge, science or understanding, and which comes from the verb ἐπίσταμαι, meaning "to know, to understand, or to be acquainted with". Plato contrasts episteme with "doxa": common belief or opinion. Episteme is also distinguished from "techne": a craft or applied practice. The word "epistemology" is derived from episteme.
  • - the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge and is also referred to as "theory of knowledge". It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. Much of the debate in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. The term "epistemology" was introduced by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864).
  • - as identified by virtue epistemologists, reflect their contention that belief is an ethical process, and thus susceptible to the intellectual virtue or vice of one's own life and personal experiences. Being an epistemically virtuous person is often equated with being a critical thinker.

Anti-foundationalists use logical or historical or genealogical attacks on foundational concepts (see especially Nietzsche and Foucault), often coupled with alternative methods for justifying and forwarding intellectual inquiry, such as the pragmatic subordination of knowledge to practical action. Foucault dismissed the search for a return to origins as Platonic essentialism, preferring to stress the contingent nature of human practices. Anti-foundationalists oppose metaphysical methods. Moral and ethical anti-foundationalists are often criticized for moral relativism, but anti-foundationalists often dispute this charge, offering alternative methods of moral thought that they claim do not require foundations.

the antifoundationalist hope of escaping local situations through awareness of the contingency of all such situations—through recognition of the conventional/rhetorical nature of all claims to master principles—that hope is to Fish equally foredoomed by the very nature of the situational consciousness, the all-embracing social and intellectual context, in which every individual is separately enclosed.

  • - whereby a body of knowledge, not requiring a secure foundation, can be established by the interlocking strength of its components, like a puzzle solved without prior certainty that each small region was solved correctly.

  • - In ancient Greek philosophy, probabilism referred to the doctrine which gives assistance in ordinary matters to one who is skeptical in respect of the possibility of real knowledge: it supposes that though knowledge is impossible, a man may rely on strong beliefs in practical affairs. This view was held by the skeptics of the New Academy (see skepticism and Carneades.).

Academic skeptics accept probabilism, while Pyrrhonian skeptics do not.

In modern usage, a probabilist is someone who believes that central epistemological issues are best approached using probabilities. This thesis is neutral with respect to whether knowledge entails certainty or whether skepticism about knowledge is true. Probabilist doctrines continue to be debated in the context of artificial general intelligence, as a counterpoint to the use of non-monotonic logic, as the proper form for knowledge representation remains unclear.

  • - the philosophical claim that no belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief. However, not all fallibilists believe that fallibilism extends to all domains of knowledge.

  • - a school of skepticism founded by Aenesidemus in the 1st century BC and recorded by Sextus Empiricus in the late 2nd century or early 3rd century AD. It was named after Pyrrho, a philosopher who lived from c. 360 to c. 270 BC, although the relationship between the philosophy of the school and that of the historical figure is murky. A revival of the use of the term occurred during the 17th century.

Whereas academic skepticism, with Carneades as its most famous adherent, claims that "Nothing can be known, not even this", Pyrrhonian skeptics withhold any assent with regard to non-evident propositions and remain in a state of perpetual inquiry. They disputed the possibility of attaining truth by sensory apprehension, reason, or the two combined, and thence inferred the need for total suspension of judgment (epoché) on things. A Pyrrhonist tries to make the arguments of both sides as strong as possible. Then he asks himself if there is any reason to prefer one side to the other. And if not, he suspends belief in either side. According to them, even the statement that nothing can be known is dogmatic. They thus attempted to make their skepticism universal, and to escape the reproach of basing it upon a fresh dogmatism. Mental imperturbability (ataraxia) was the result to be attained by cultivating such a frame of mind. As in Stoicism and Epicureanism, the happiness or satisfaction of the individual was the goal of life, and all three philosophies placed it in tranquility or indifference. According to the Pyrrhonists, it is our opinions or unwarranted judgments about things which turn them into desires, painful effort, and disappointment. From all this a person is delivered who abstains from judging one state to be preferable to another. But, as complete inactivity would have been synonymous with death, the skeptic, while retaining his consciousness of the complete uncertainty enveloping every step, might follow custom (or nature) in the ordinary affairs of life.

It is generally agreed that knowledge requires justification. It is not enough to have a true belief: one must also have good reasons for that belief. Skeptics claim that it is not possible to have an adequate justification.

Skepticism is not a single position but covers a range of different positions. In the ancient world there were two main skeptical traditions. Academic skepticism took the dogmatic position that knowledge was not possible; Pyrrhonian skeptics refused to take a dogmatic position on any issue—including skepticism. Radical skepticism ends in the paradoxical claim that one cannot know anything—including that one cannot know anything.

Skepticism can be classified according to its scope. Local skepticism involves being skeptical about particular areas of knowledge, e.g. moral skepticism, skepticism about the external world, or skepticism about other minds, whereas global skepticism is skeptical about the possibility of any knowledge at all.

Skepticism can also be classified according to its method. In the Western tradition there are two basic approaches to skepticism. Cartesian skepticism, named somewhat misleadingly after René Descartes who was not a skeptic but used some traditional skeptical arguments in his Meditations to help establish his rationalist approach to knowledge, attempts to show that any proposed knowledge claim can be doubted. Agrippan skepticism focuses on the process of justification rather than the possibility of doubt. According to this view there are three ways in which one might attempt to justify a claim but none of them are adequate. One can keep on providing further justification but this leads to an infinite regress; one can stop at a dogmatic assertion; or one can argue in a circle.

Philosophical skepticism is distinguished from methodological skepticism in that philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge, whereas methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims.

Skepticism, as an epistemological argument, poses the question of whether knowledge, in the first place, is possible. Skeptics argue that the belief in something does not necessarily justify an assertion of knowledge of it. In this, skeptics oppose dogmatic foundationalism, which states that there have to be some basic positions that are self-justified or beyond justification, without reference to others. (One example of such foundationalism may be found in Spinoza's Ethics.) The skeptical response to this can take several approaches. First, claiming that "basic positions" must exist amounts to the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance combined with the slippery slope.

  • - a theory which states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.

Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.

Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, asserts that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification." One of the epistemological tenets is that sensory experience creates knowledge. The scientific method, including experiments and validated measurement tools, guides empirical research.

  • - the view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive" Rationalists believe reality has an intrinsically logical structure. Because of this, rationalists argue that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. That is to say, rationalists assert that certain rational principles exist in logic, mathematics, ethics, and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction. Rationalists have such a high confidence in reason that proof and physical evidence are unnecessary to ascertain truth – in other words, "there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience". Because of this belief, empiricism is one of rationalism's greatest rivals.

Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position "that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge" to the more extreme position that reason is "the unique path to knowledge". Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, rationalism is identical to philosophy, the Socratic life of inquiry, or the zetetic (skeptical) clear interpretation of authority (open to the underlying or essential cause of things as they appear to our sense of certainty). In recent decades, Leo Strauss sought to revive "Classical Political Rationalism" as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. Rationalism should not be confused with rationality, nor with rationalization.

In politics, Rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a "politics of reason" centered upon rational choice, utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion – the latter aspect's antitheism later ameliorated by utilitarian adoption of pluralistic rationalist methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology.

In this regard, the philosopher John Cottingham noted how rationalism, a methodology, became socially conflated with atheism, a worldview: In the past, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, the term 'rationalist' was often used to refer to free thinkers of an anti-clerical and anti-religious outlook, and for a time the word acquired a distinctly pejorative horse (thus in 1670 Sanderson spoke disparagingly of 'a mere rationalist, that is to say in plain English an atheist of the late edition...'). The use of the label 'rationalist' to characterize a world outlook which has no place for the supernatural is becoming less popular today; terms like 'humanist' or 'materialist' seem largely to have taken its place. But the old usage still survives.

  • - the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.

The earliest extant arguments that the world of experience is grounded in the mental derive from India and Greece. The Hindu idealists in India and the Greek Neoplatonists gave panentheistic arguments for an all-pervading consciousness as the ground or true nature of reality. In contrast, the Yogācāra school, which arose within Mahayana Buddhism in India in the 4th century CE, based its "mind-only" idealism to a greater extent on phenomenological analyses of personal experience. This turn toward the subjective anticipated empiricists such as George Berkeley, who revived idealism in 18th-century Europe by employing skeptical arguments against materialism.

Beginning with Immanuel Kant, German idealists such as G. W. F. Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, and Arthur Schopenhauer dominated 19th-century philosophy. This tradition, which emphasized the mental or "ideal" character of all phenomena, birthed idealistic and subjectivist schools ranging from British idealism to phenomenalism to existentialism. The historical influence of this branch of idealism remains central even to the schools that rejected its metaphysical assumptions, such as Marxism, pragmatism and positivism.

  • - also known as direct realism or common sense realism, is a philosophy of mind rooted in a theory of perception that claims that the senses provide us with direct awareness of the external world. In contrast, some forms of idealism assert that no world exists apart from mind-dependent ideas and some forms of skepticism say we cannot trust our senses.

The realist view is that we perceive objects as they really are. They are composed of matter, occupy spaaaaaace and have properties, such as size, shape, texture, smell, taste and colour, that are usually perceived correctly. Objects obey the laws of physics and retain all their properties whether or not there is anyone to observe them.

Naïve realism is known as direct as against indirect or representative realism when its arguments are developed to counter the latter position, also known as epistemological dualism; that our conscious experience is not of the real world but of an internal representation of the world.

  • - question of direct or "naïve" realism, as opposed to indirect or "representational" realism, arises in the philosophy of perception and of mind out of the debate over the nature of conscious experience; the epistemological question of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself or merely an internal perceptual copy of that world generated by neural processes in our brain.

Naïve realism is known as direct realism when developed to counter indirect or representative realism, also known as epistemological dualism, the philosophical position that our conscious experience is not of the real world itself but of an internal representation, a miniature virtual-reality replica of the world. Indirect realism is broadly equivalent to the accepted view of perception in natural science that states that we do not and cannot perceive the external world as it really is but know only our ideas and interpretations of the way the world is.

Representationalism is one of the key assumptions of cognitivism in psychology. The representational realist would deny that 'first-hand knowledge' is a coherent concept, since knowledge is always via some means. Our ideas of the world are interpretations of sensory input derived from an external world that is real (unlike the standpoint of idealism). The alternative, that we have knowledge of the outside world that is unconstrained by our sense organs and does not require interpretation, would appear to be inconsistent with everyday observation.

  • - is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be. Within philosophy of science, it is often framed as an answer to the question "how is the success of science to be explained?" The debate over what the success of science involves centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make valid claims about unobservables (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables, as opposed to instrumentalism.

  • - and logical empiricism, which together formed neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy that embraced verificationism, an approach that sought to legitimize philosophical discourse on a basis shared with the best examples of empirical sciences. In this theory of knowledge, only statements verifiable either logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. Seeking to convert philosophy to this new scientific philosophy was aimed to prevent confusion rooted in unclear language and unverifiable claims. The Berlin Circle and the Vienna Circle propounded logical positivism starting in the late 1920s.

Interpreting Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of language, logical positivists identified a verifiability principle or criterion of cognitive meaningfulness. From Bertrand Russell's logicism they sought reduction of mathematics to logic as well as Russell's logical atomism, Ernst Mach's phenomenalism—whereby the mind knows only actual or potential sensory experience, which is the content of all sciences, whether physics or psychology—and Percy Bridgman's musings that others proclaimed as operationalism. Thereby, only the verifiable was scientific and cognitively meaningful, whereas the unverifiable was unscientific, cognitively meaningless "pseudostatements"—metaphysic, emotive, or such—not candidate to further review by philosophers, newly tasked to organize knowledge, not develop new knowledge.

Logical positivism became famed for vigorous scientific antirealism to purge science of talk about nature's unobservable aspects—including causality, mechanism, and principles—although that goal has been exaggerated[who said this?]. Still, talk of such unobservables would be metaphorical—direct observations viewed in the abstract—or at worst metaphysical or emotional. Theoretical laws would be reduced to empirical laws, while theoretical terms would garner meaning from observational terms via correspondence rules. Mathematics of physics would reduce to symbolic logic via logicism, while rational reconstruction would convert ordinary language into standardized equivalents, all networked and united by a logical syntax. A scientific theory would be stated with its method of verification, whereby a logical calculus or empirical operation could verify its falsity or truth.

In the late 1930s, logical positivists fled Germany and Austria for Britain and America. By then, many had replaced Mach's phenomenalism with Neurath's physicalism, and Carnap had sought to replace verification with simply confirmation. With World War II's close in 1945, logical positivism became milder, logical empiricism, led largely by Carl Hempel, in America, who expounded the covering law model of scientific explanation. The logical positivist movement became a major underpinning of analytic philosophy, and dominated Anglosphere philosophy, including philosophy of science, while influencing sciences, into the 1960s. Yet the movement failed to resolve its central problems, and its doctrines were increasingly assaulted, most trenchantly by W V O Quine, Norwood Hanson, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and by Carl Hempel.

  • - a philosophical methodology that sees traditional philosophical problems as rooted in misunderstandings philosophers develop by distorting or forgetting what words actually mean in everyday use. "Such 'philosophical' uses of language, on this view, create the very philosophical problems they are employed to solve." Ordinary language philosophy is a branch of linguistic philosophy closely related to logical positivism.

This approach typically involves eschewing philosophical "theories" in favor of close attention to the details of the use of everyday "ordinary" language. It is sometimes associated with the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and a number of mid-20th century philosophers who can be split into two main groups, neither of which could be described as an organized "school". In its earlier stages, contemporaries of Wittgenstein at Cambridge University such as Norman Malcolm, Alice Ambrose, Friedrich Waismann, Oets Kolk Bouwsma and Morris Lazerowitz started to develop ideas recognisable as ordinary language philosophy. These ideas were further elaborated from 1945 onwards through the work of some Oxford University philosophers led initially by Gilbert Ryle, then followed by J. L. Austin. This Oxford group also included H. L. A. Hart, Geoffrey Warnock, J. O. Urmson and P. F. Strawson. The close association between ordinary language philosophy and these later thinkers has led to it sometimes being called "Oxford philosophy". More recent philosophers with at least some commitment to the method of ordinary language philosophy include Stanley Cavell, John Searle and Oswald Hanfling.

  • - was a philosophy expounded in the early 20th century by a group of six US based scholars, namely Edwin Bissell Holt (Harvard University), Walter Taylor Marvin (Rutgers College), William Pepperell Montague (Columbia University), Ralph Barton Perry (Harvard), Walter Boughton Pitkin (Columbia) and Edward Gleason Spaulding (Princeton University).

The central feature of the new realism was a rejection of the epistemological dualism of John Locke and of older forms of realism. The group maintained that, when one is conscious of, or knows, an object, it is an error to say that the object in itself and our knowledge of the object are two distinct facts. If we know a particular cow is black, is the blackness on that cow or in the observer's mind? Holt wrote; "That color out there is the thing in consciousness selected for such inclusion by the nervous system's specific response," Consciousness is not physically identical with the nervous system: it is "out there" with the cow, all throughout the field of sight (and smell, and hearing) and identical with the set of facts it knows at any moment. The nervous system is merely a system of selection.

  • - A rejection of the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Instead, pragmatists develop their philosophy around the idea that the function of thought is as an instrument or tool for prediction, action, and problem solving. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes rather than in terms of representative accuracy
  • In Out Time - Pragmatism

  • - thesis that "everything is physical", that there is "nothing over and above" the physical,[1] or that everything supervenes on the physical. Physicalism is a form of ontological monism—a "one substance" view of the nature of reality as opposed to a "two-substance" (dualism) or "many-substance" (pluralism) view. Both the definition of physical and the meaning of physicalism have been debated. Physicalism is closely related to materialism. Physicalism grew out of materialism with the success of the physical sciences in explaining observed phenomena. The terms are often used interchangeably, although they are sometimes distinguished, for example on the basis of physics describing more than just matter (including energy and physical law).

  • - the view propounded by David Kellogg Lewis that all possible worlds are as real as the actual world. It is based on the following tenets: possible worlds exist; possible worlds are not different in kind from the actual world; possible worlds are irreducible entities; the term actual in actual world is indexical, i.e. any subject can declare their world to be the actual one, much as they label the place they are "here" and the time they are "now".

  • - that rejects the privileging of human existence over the existence of nonhuman objects. Specifically, object-oriented ontology opposes the anthropocentrism of Immanuel Kant's Copernican Revolution, whereby objects are said to conform to the mind of the subject and, in turn, become products of human cognition. In contrast to Kant's view, object-oriented philosophers maintain that objects exist independently of human perception and are not ontologically exhausted by their relations with humans or other objects. Thus, for object-oriented ontologists, all relations, including those between nonhumans, distort their relata in the same basic manner as human consciousness and exist on an equal footing with one another.

  • - an epistemological philosophy advanced by Karl Popper. Critical rationalists hold that scientific theories and any other claims to knowledge can and should be rationally criticized, and (if they have empirical content) can and should be subjected to tests which may falsify them. Thus claims to knowledge may be contrastingly and normatively evaluated. They are either falsifiable and thus empirical (in a very broad sense), or not falsifiable and thus non-empirical. Those claims to knowledge that are potentially falsifiable can then be admitted to the body of empirical science, and then further differentiated according to whether they are retained or are later actually falsified. If retained, further differentiation may be made on the basis of how much subjection to criticism they have received, how severe such criticism has been, and how probable the theory is, with the least[1] probable theory that still withstands attempts to falsify it being the one to be preferred. That it is the least probable theory that is to be preferred is one of the contrasting differences between critical rationalism and classical views on science, such as positivism, who hold that one should instead accept the most probable theory. (The least probable theory is the one with the highest information content and most open to future falsification.)

Critical Rationalism as a discourse positioned itself against what its proponents took to be epistemologically relativist philosophies, particularly post-modernist or sociological approaches to knowledge. Critical rationalism has it that knowledge is objective (in the sense of being embodied in various substrates and in the sense of not being reducible to what humans individually "know"), and also that truth is objective (exists independently of social mediation or individual perception, but is "really real").

  • - coined by W. V. O. Quine, is a collection of philosophic views concerned with the theory of knowledge that emphasize the role of natural scientific methods. This shared emphasis on scientific methods of studying knowledge shifts focus to the empirical processes of knowledge acquisition and away from many traditional philosophical questions. There are noteworthy distinctions within naturalized epistemology. Replacement naturalism maintains that traditional epistemology should be abandoned and replaced with the methodologies of the natural sciences. The general thesis of cooperative naturalism is that traditional epistemology can benefit in its inquiry by using the knowledge we have gained from the cognitive sciences. Substantive naturalism focuses on an asserted equality of facts of knowledge and natural facts.

  • - refers to three distinct topics: (1) the biological evolution of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans, a theory that knowledge itself evolves by natural selection, and (3) the study of the historical discovery of new abstract entities such as abstract number or abstract value that necessarily precede the individual acquisition and usage of such abstractions.

  • - A study of the origins (genesis) of knowledge (epistemology). The discipline was established by Jean Piaget. The goal of genetic epistemology is to link the validity of knowledge to the model of its construction. It shows that how the knowledge was gained affects how valid it is. It also explains the process of how people develop cognitively from birth throughout their lives in four primary stages: sensorimotor (birth to age 2), preoperational (2-7), concrete operational (7-11), and formal operational (11 years onward). Assimilation occurs when the perception of a new event or object occurs to the learner in an existing schema and is usually used in the context of self-motivation. In Accommodation, one accommodates the experiences according to the outcome of the tasks. The highest form of development is equilibration. Equilibration encompasses both assimilation and accommodation as the learner changes how they think to get a better answer. This is the upper level of development. Piaget's genetic epistemology is half-way between formal logic and dialectical logic and mid-way between objective idealism and materialism.

  •–Quine_thesis - that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation, because an empirical test of the hypothesis requires one or more background assumptions (also called auxiliary assumptions or auxiliary hypotheses).


surprise; a right mess

See also Learning

"Reasons are ideas that work"

  • - he study of how people reason, often broadly defined as the process of drawing conclusions to inform how people solve problems and make decisions. It is at the intersection of psychology, philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, logic, and probability theory. Psychological experiments on how humans and other animals reason have been carried out for over 100 years. An enduring question is whether or not people have the capacity to be rational. What does it mean to be rational? Current research in this area addresses various questions about reasoning, rationality, judgments, intelligence, relationships between emotion and reasoning, and development.

  • - fundamental axiomatic rules upon which rational discourse itself is often considered to be based. The formulation and clarification of such rules have a long tradition in the history of philosophy and logic. Generally they are taken as laws that guide and underlie everyone's thinking, thoughts, expressions, discussions, etc. However such classical ideas are often questioned or rejected in more recent developments, such as Intuitionistic logic, Dialetheism and Fuzzy Logic.

  • - involves decision making. It can include judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one or more of them. One can make a choice between imagined options ("what would I do if ...?") or between real options followed by the corresponding action. For example, a traveller might choose a route for a journey based on the preference of arriving at a given destination as soon as possible. The preferred (and therefore chosen) route can then follow from information such as the length of each of the possible routes, traffic conditions, etc. If the arrival at a choice includes more complex motivators, cognition, instinct and feeling can become more intertwined.

  • - sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, similar in meaning to intuition.

  • Wise Reasoning About the Future Is Associated With Adaptive Interpersonal Feelings After Relational Challenges - Johanna Peetz, Igor Grossmann, 2020 - Two prospective studies examine how wise reasoning about an anticipated conflict interaction—intellectual humility, recognition of uncertainty and change, consideration and integration of different perspectives—is associated with interpersonal feelings and closeness to the interaction partner after the challenging interaction. In Study 1 (N = 243) and preregistered replication Study 2 (N = 234), participants who reasoned more wisely before an anticipated conflict interaction felt more positively toward and closer to the person involved in the conflict afterward. We explored three avenues accompanying effects of wise reasoning about the future for interpersonal outcomes: conflict outcome, perception of the interaction as fair and satisfying, and sense of meaning in the conflict experience. Path models indicated that sense of meaning was a consistent factor accounting for the positive effect of prospective wise reasoning for relational well-being. We discuss implications for research on prospection, wisdom, and well-being.


See also Maths#Logic

  • - a particular kind of non-demonstrative reasoning, where the reasoning does not produce a full, complete, or final demonstration of a claim, i.e., where fallibility and corrigibility of a conclusion are acknowledged. In other words defeasible reasoning produces a contingent statement or claim. Other kinds of non-demonstrative reasoning are probabilistic reasoning, inductive reasoning, statistical reasoning, abductive reasoning, and paraconsistent reasoning. Defeasible reasoning is also a kind of ampliative reasoning because its conclusions reach beyond the pure meanings of the premises.

  • - conscientization, or conscientização in Portuguese, is a popular education and social concept developed by Brazilian pedagogue and educational theorist Paulo Freire, grounded in post-Marxist critical theory. Critical consciousness focuses on achieving an in-depth understanding of the world, allowing for the perception and exposure of social and political contradictions. Critical consciousness also includes taking action against the oppressive elements in one's life that are illuminated by that understanding.

  • - a form of logical inference that goes from an observation to a hypothesis that accounts for the observation, ideally seeking to find the simplest and most likely explanation. In abductive reasoning, unlike in deductive reasoning, the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. One can understand abductive reasoning as "inference to the best explanation".

  • - also known as Hempel's paradox or Hempel's ravens, is a paradox arising from the question of what constitutes evidence for a statement. Observing objects that are neither black nor ravens may formally increase the likelihood that all ravens are black even though, intuitively, these observations are unrelated. This problem was proposed by the logician Carl Gustav Hempel in the 1940s to illustrate a contradiction between inductive logic and intuition.

  • - emotion-biased decision-making phenomenon studied in cognitive science and social psychology. This term describes the role of motivation in cognitive processes such as decision-making and attitude change in a number of paradigms, including: Cognitive dissonance reduction, Beliefs about others on whom one's own outcomes depend, Evaluation of evidence related to one's own outcomes

  • The Structure of Ill Structured Problems - Herbert A. Simon - The boundary between well structured and ill structured problems is vague, fluid and not susceptible to formalization. Any problem solving process will appear ill structured if the problem solver is a serial machine that has access to a very large long-term memory of potentially relevant information, and/or access to a very large external memory that provides information about the actual real-world consequences of problem-solving actions. There is no reason to suppose that new and hitherto unknown concepts or techniques are needed to enable artificial intelligence systems to operate successfully in domains that have these characteristics.

Bias and fallacy

Not all biases are bad, especially when they are known.

  • - a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own "subjective social reality" from their perception of the input. An individual's construction of social reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.

Some cognitive biases are presumably adaptive. Cognitive biases may lead to more effective actions in a given context. Furthermore, cognitive biases enable faster decisions when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy, as illustrated in heuristics.[7] Other cognitive biases are a "by-product" of human processing limitations, resulting from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing.

A continually evolving list of cognitive biases has been identified over the last six decades of research on human judgment and decision-making in cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics. Kahneman and Tversky (1996) argue that cognitive biases have efficient practical implications for areas including clinical judgment, entrepreneurship, finance, and management.

  • - a cognitive bias that limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used. The concept of functional fixedness originated in Gestalt Psychology, a movement in psychology that emphasizes holistic processing. Karl Duncker defined functional fixedness as being a "mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem." This "block" limits the ability of an individual to use components given to them to complete a task, as they cannot move past the original purpose of those components. For example, if someone needs a paperweight, but they only have a hammer, they may not see how the hammer can be used as a paperweight. Functional fixedness is this inability to see a hammer's use as anything other than for pounding nails; the person couldn't think to use the hammer in a way other than in its conventional function. When tested, 5-year-old children show no signs of functional fixedness. It has been argued that this is because at age 5, any goal to be achieved with an object is equivalent to any other goal. However, by age 7, children have acquired the tendency to treat the originally intended purpose of an object as special. [57]

  • - otherwise known as the law of the hammer, Maslow's hammer (or gavel), or the golden hammer,[a] is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool. As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

  • - For the antipsychiatrists, validation rather than clinical condemnation of ideas of reference frequently took place, on the grounds for example that 'the patient's ideas of reference and influence and delusions of persecution were merely descriptions of her parents' behavior toward her'. Whilst accepting that 'there is certainly confusion between persecutory fantasies and persecutory realities', figures like David Cooper considered that 'ideas of connection with apparently remote people, or ideas of being influenced by others equally remote, are in fact stating their experience' of social influence—albeit in a distorted form by 'including in their network of influence institutions as absurd as Scotland Yard, the Queen of England, the President of the United States, or the B. B. C.' R. D. Laing took a similar view of the person who was 'saying that his brains have been taken from him, that his actions are controlled from outer space, etc. Such delusions are partially achieved derealization-realizations'.

Laing also considered of the way 'in typical paranoid ideas of reference, the person feels that the murmurings and mutterings he hears as he walks past a street crowd are about him. In a bar, a burst of laughter behind his back is at some joke cracked about him' that deeper acquaintance with the patient reveals in fact that 'what tortures him is not so much his delusions of reference, but his harrowing suspicion that he is of no importance to anyone, that no one is referring to him at all'.

  • - in which people react to a particular choice in different ways depending on how it is presented; e.g. as a loss or as a gain. People tend to avoid risk when a positive frame is presented but seek risks when a negative frame is presented. Gain and loss are defined in the scenario as descriptions of outcomes (e.g. lives lost or saved, disease patients treated and not treated, lives saved and lost during accidents, etc.

The concept helps to develop an understanding of frame analysis within social movements, and also in the formation of political opinion where spin plays a large role in political opinion polls that are framed to encourage a response beneficial to the organization that has commissioned the poll. It has been suggested that the use of the technique is discrediting political polls themselves.[5] The effect is reduced, or even eliminated, if ample credible information is provided to people.

  • - exaggerated or irrational thought patterns that are believed to perpetuate the effects of psychopathological states, especially depression and anxiety. Psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck laid the groundwork for the study of these distortions, and his student David D. Burns continued research on the topic. Most notably, Burns’ 1989 book, The Feeling Good Handbook presented information on these thought patterns along with a proposal of how to eliminate them. Moreover, cognitive distortions are thoughts that cause individuals to perceive reality negatively. These negative thinking patterns are simply convincing the mind of individuals that what they see is true when it is not. They are inaccurate thoughts that usually reinforce negative thoughts or emotions. Cognitive distortions tend to interfere with the way a person perceives an event. Since the way a person feels intervenes with how they think, these distorted thoughts feed their negative emotions. As a result, an individual affected by cognitive distortions may have an overall negative outlook on the world.

  • - the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.

  • - a cognitive bias in which people wrongly think they have direct insight into the origins of their mental states, while treating others' introspections as unreliable. In certain situations, this illusion leads people to make confident but false explanations of their own behavior (called "causal theories") or inaccurate predictions of their future mental states.

  • - in which a detail is taken out of context and believed whilst everything else in the context is ignored. It commonly appears in Aaron Beck's work in cognitive therapy. Another definition is, "focusing on only the negative aspects of an event, such as, 'I ruined the whole recital because of that one mistake'"

  • - in which a person underestimates the influences of visceral drives, and instead attributes behavior primarily to other, nonvisceral factors. The crux of this idea is that human understanding is "state dependent". For example, when one is angry, it is difficult to understand what it is like for one to be happy, and vice versa; when one is blindly in love with someone, it is difficult to understand what it is like for one not to be, (or to imagine the possibility of not being blindly in love in the future). The bargaining games conclude that if one is completely powerless, the one proposing the offer to the powerless will lack strategy.

  • - sometimes called personal validation effect, is a cognitive bias by which a person will consider a statement or another piece of information to be correct if it has any personal meaning or significance to them
  • - the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people
  • a concept in media and communication research that historically refers to individuals’ tendency to favor information that reinforces pre-existing views while avoiding contradictory information. In contemporary work, the term 'selective exposure' coins any bias in exposure to available messages (e.g., men watching more sports than women, or individuals with higher education spending more time with newspaper reading).

  • - a tendency to prefer the complete elimination of a risk even when alternative options produce a greater reduction in risk (overall). Other biases might underlie the zero-risk bias. One is a tendency to think in terms of proportions rather than differences. A greater reduction in proportion of deaths is valued higher than a greater reduction in actual deaths. The zero-risk bias could then be seen as the extreme end of a broad bias about quantities as applied to risk. Framing effects can enhance the bias, for example, by emphasizing a large proportion in a small set or can attempt to mitigate the bias by emphasizing total quantities.

  • - also known as concretism, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a concrete thing, something which is not concrete, but merely an idea.

Another common manifestation is the confusion of a model with reality. Mathematical or simulation models may help understand a system or situation but real life will differ from the model (e.g. 'the map is not the territory'). Reification is generally accepted in literature and other forms of discourse where reified abstractions are understood to be intended metaphorically, but the use of reification in logical arguments is usually regarded as a fallacy.

  • - also known as the knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism, is the inclination, after an event has occurred, to see the event as having been predictable, despite there having been little or no objective basis for predicting it, prior to its occurrence

  • An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments - "This book is aimed at newcomers to the field of logical reasoning, particularly those who, to borrow a phrase from Pascal, are so made that they understand best through visuals. I have selected a small set of common errors in reasoning and visualized them using memorable illustrations that are supplemented with lots of examples. The hope is that the reader will learn from these pages some of the most common pitfalls in arguments and be able to identify and avoid them in practice."
  • The Skeptic's Dictionary is a website and a book. Each features definitions, arguments, and essays on topics ranging from acupuncture to zombies, and provides a lively, commonsense trove of detailed information on things supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific.

  • - a theory within social psychology that proposes people have a motivation to defend and justify the status quo, even when it may be disadvantageous to certain people. People have a psychological need to maintain stability and order in their lives. As such, they are motivated to see the status quo (or prevailing social, economic, and political norms) as good, legitimate, and desirable
Optical illusion
  • The Moon Illusion - The moon seems larger in angular size when it is near the horizon than when it is high in the sky. Some people judge it to be as much as twice as large, but the average estimate is 50% to 75% larger. [59]
  • - an optical illusion that was first published as a Rhomboid in 1832 by Swiss crystallographer Louis Albert Necker. It is a simple wire-frame, two dimensional drawing of a cube with no visual cues as to its orientation, so it can be interpreted to have either the lower-left or the upper-right square as its front side.


to resort

  • - refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery that find a solution which is not guaranteed to be optimal, but good enough for a given set of goals. Where the exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution via mental shortcuts to ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, stereotyping, or common sense. More precisely, heuristics are strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines.

  • - a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently, in which current emotion—fear, pleasure, surprise, etc.—influences decisions. In other words, it is a type of heuristic in which emotional response, or "affect" in psychological terms, plays a lead role. It is a subconscious process that shortens the decision-making process and allows people to function without having to complete an extensive search for information. It is shorter in duration than a mood, occurring rapidly and involuntarily in response to a stimulus. Reading the words "lung cancer" usually generates an affect of dread, while reading the words "mother's love" usually generates a feeling of affection and comfort. The affect heuristic is typically used while judging the risks and benefits of something, depending on the positive or negative feelings that people associate with a stimulus. It is the equivalent of "going with your gut". If their feelings towards an activity are positive, then people are more likely to judge the risks as low and the benefits high. On the other hand, if their feelings towards an activity are negative, they are more likely to perceive the risks as high and benefits low.

  • - a psychological heuristic leading people to avoid contact with people or objects viewed as "contaminated" by previous contact with someone or something viewed as bad—or, less often, to seek contact with objects that have been in contact with people or things considered good. For example, we tend to view food that has touched the ground as contaminated by the ground, and therefore unfit to eat, or we view a person who has touched a diseased person as likely to carry the disease (regardless of the actual contagiousness of the disease). The contagion heuristic includes "magical thinking", such as viewing a sweater worn by Adolf Hitler as bearing his negative essence and capable of transmitting it to another wearer. The perception of essence-transfer extends to rituals to purify items viewed as spiritually contaminated, such as having Mother Teresa wear Hitler's sweater to counteract his essence.

  • - the degree to which [an event] (i) is similar in essential characteristics to its parent population, and (ii) reflects the salient features of the process by which it is generated". When people rely on representativeness to make judgments, they are likely to judge wrongly because the fact that something is more representative does not make it more likely. The representativeness heuristic is simply described as assessing similarity of objects and organizing them based around the category prototype (e.g. like goes with like and causes and effects should resemble each other. This heuristic is used because it is an easy computation. The problem is that people overestimate its ability to accurately predict the likelihood of an event. Thus it can result in neglect of relevant base rates and other cognitive biases.
  • - a metaheuristic is a higher-level procedure or heuristic designed to find, generate, or select a lower-level procedure or heuristic (partial search algorithm) that may provide a sufficiently good solution to an optimization problem, especially with incomplete or imperfect information or limited computation capacity. Metaheuristics may make few assumptions about the optimization problem being solved, and so they may be usable for a variety of problems.

Compared to optimization algorithms and iterative methods, metaheuristics do not guarantee that a globally optimal solution can be found on some class of problems. Many metaheuristics implement some form of stochastic optimization, so that the solution found is dependent on the set of random variables generated. By searching over a large set of feasible solutions, metaheuristics can often find good solutions with less computational effort than algorithms, iterative methods, or simple heuristics. As such, they are useful approaches for optimization problems.

  • - an idea which moves thinking forward to a new place from where new ideas or solutions may be found. The term was created by Edward de Bono as part of a lateral thinking technique to suggest forward movement, that is, making a statement and seeing where it leads to. It is an extraction from words such as hypothesis, suppose, possible and poetry, all of which indicate forward movement and contain the syllable "po." Po can be taken to refer to any of the following: provoking operation, provocative operation or provocation operation. Also, in ancient Polynesian and the Maori, the word "po" refers to the original chaotic state of formlessness, from which evolution occurred. Edward de Bono argues that this context as well applies to the term.

  •'s_thread_(logic) - named for the legend of Ariadne, is the solving of a problem with multiple apparent means of proceeding - such as a physical maze, a logic puzzle, or an ethical dilemma - through an exhaustive application of logic to all available routes. It is the particular method used that is able to follow completely through to trace steps or take point by point a series of found truths in a contingent, ordered search that reaches an end position. This process can take the form of a mental record, a physical marking, or even a philosophical debate; it is the process itself that assumes the name.

  • - refers to the number of alternatives which a decision point may have in a non-temporal hierarchy of independent variables. The number of alternatives are equivalent to the root or nth root of a mathematical or logical variable. Decision points or independent variables with two states have a binary root that is referred to as a dichotomous key whereas, the term polychotomous key refers to roots which are greater than one or unitary and usually greater than two or binary. Polychotomous keys are used in troubleshooting to build troubleshooting charts and in classification/identification schemes with characteristics that have more than one attribute and the order of characteristics is not inherently based on the progression of time.
  • - in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision. It is closely related to the field of game theory as to interactions of agents with at least partially conflicting interests whose decisions affect each other.

  • - often abbreviated to TDS, is a psychological and cybernetics term, meaning when a search is being conducted for a fuzzy match across a broad field. In computing the equivalent function can be performed using content-addressable memory. Unlike usual searches, which look for literal (i.e. exact, logical, or regular expression) matches, a transderivational search is a search for a possible meaning or possible match as part of communication, and without which an incoming communication cannot be made any sense of whatsoever. It is thus an integral part of processing language, and of attaching meaning to communication.
  • - portmanteau of satisfy and suffice, a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic that entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met. This is contrasted with optimal decision making, an approach that specifically attempts to find the best alternative available.
  • - the idea that in decision-making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision.


Intuitions are a priori. This view holds that distinctions are to be made between various sorts of intuition, roughly corresponding to their subject matter (see George Bealer). The only intuitions that are relevant in analytic philosophy are 'rational' intuitions. These are intellectual seemings that something is necessarily the case. They are directed exclusively towards statements that make some kind of necessity claim. For example, a rational intuition is what occurs when it seems to us that a mathematical statement (e.g. 2+2=4) must be true. Intuitions, as this view characterizes them, are to be distinguished from beliefs, since we can hold beliefs which are not intuitive, or have intuitions for propositions that we know to be false.

Intuitions are a species of belief, and based ultimately in experience. This view holds that intuitions are not especially different from beliefs, although they appear subjectively to be more unrevisable than other beliefs. Unlike the previous view, these intuitions are liable to differ between social groups. Evidence for this is shown in various psychological studies (e.g. the one by Stich, Weinburg and Nichols)

In the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, intuition is thought of as basic sensory information provided by the cognitive faculty of sensibility (equivalent to what might loosely be called perception). Kant held that our mind casts all of our external intuitions in the form of spaaaaaace, and all of our internal intuitions (memory, thought) in the form of time.

Intuitionism is a position advanced by Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer in philosophy of mathematics derived from Kant's claim that all mathematical knowledge is knowledge of the pure forms of the intuition - that is, intuition that is not empirical (Prolegomena, p.7). Intuitionistic logic was devised by Arend Heyting to accommodate this position (and has been adopted by other forms of constructivism in general). It is characterized by rejecting the law of excluded middle: as a consequence it does not in general accept rules such as double negation elimination and the use of reductio ad absurdum to prove the existence of something.

  • - is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. The word intuition comes from Latin verb intueri which is usually translated as to look inside or to contemplate. Intuition is thus often conceived as a kind of inner perception, sometimes regarded as real lucidity or understanding. Cases of intuition are of a great diversity; however, processes by which they happen typically remain mostly unknown to the thinker, as opposed to the view of rational thinking. Intuition provides views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot in every case empirically verify or rationally justify. For this reason, it has been not only a subject of study in psychology, but also a topic of interest in various religions and esoteric domains, as well as a common subject of writings. The right brain is popularly associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic or generally creative abilities. Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery.

  • - a thought experiment structured to allow the thinker to use their intuition to develop an answer to a problem. The term was coined by Daniel Dennett. In Consciousness Explained, he uses the term to describe John Searle's Chinese room thought experiment, characterizing it as designed to elicit intuitive but incorrect answers by formulating the description in such a way that important implications of the experiment would be difficult to imagine and tend to be ignored. In his book, Elbow Room, Dennett used the term in a positive sense to describe thought experiments which facilitate the understanding of or reasoning about complex subjects by harnessing intuition: "A popular strategy in philosophy is to construct a certain sort of thought experiment I call an intuition pump [...]. Intuition pumps are cunningly designed to focus the reader's attention on "the important" features, and to deflect the reader from bogging down in hard-to-follow details. There is nothing wrong with this in principle. Indeed one of philosophy's highest callings is finding ways of helping people see the forest and not just the trees. But intuition pumps are often abused, though seldom deliberately."

  • - proposes that moral judgments and actions are caused more by intuition than by reason. Jonathan Haidt (2001) greatly de-emphasizes the role of reasoning in reaching moral conclusions, asserting that moral judgment is primarily given rise to by intuition with reasoning playing a very marginalized role in most of our moral decision-making. Conscious thought-processes serves as a kind of post hoc justification of our decisions.


  • - the act of rehearsing a behaviour repeatedly, to help learn and eventually master a skill. The word derives from the Greek "πρακτική" (praktike), feminine of "πρακτικός" (praktikos), "fit for or concerned with action, practical", and that from the verb "πράσσω" (prasso), "to achieve, bring about, effect, accomplish".

  • The Ultimate Deliberate Practice Guide: How to Be the Best - Deliberate practice is the best technique for achieving expert performance in every field—including writing, teaching, sports, programming, music, medicine, therapy, chess, and business. But there’s much more to deliberate practice than 10,000 hours. Read this to learn how to accelerate your learning, overcome the “OK” plateau, turn experience into expertise, and enhance your focus.


See also Language


See Science, Maths#Logic

  • - a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research.

  • - a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. As with most (if not all) forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and aim for predictive power and explanatory horse. The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, and to its elegance and simplicity (Occam's razor). As additional scientific evidence is gathered, a scientific theory may be rejected or modified if it does not fit the new empirical findings- in such circumstances, a more accurate theory is then desired. In certain cases, the less-accurate unmodified scientific theory can still be treated as a theory if it is useful (due to its sheer simplicity) as an approximation under specific conditions (e.g. Newton's laws of motion as an approximation to special relativity at velocities which are small relative to the speed of light).
  • - refers to its ability of a a scientific theory to generate testable predictions. Theories with strong predictive power are highly valued because they have practical applications. The concept of predictive power differs from explanatory and descriptive power (where phenomena that are already known are retrospectively explained by a given theory) in that it allows a prospective test of theoretical understanding.
  • - evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is expected to be empirical evidence and in accordance with scientific method. Standards for scientific evidence vary according to the field of inquiry, but the strength of scientific evidence is generally based on the results of statistical analysis and the strength of scientific controls.
  • - a scientific activity, the aim of which is to make a particular part or feature of the world easier to understand, define, quantify, visualize, or simulate. It requires selecting and identifying relevant aspects of a situation in the real world and then using different types of models for different aims, such as conceptual models to better understand, operational models to operationalize, mathematical models to quantify, and graphical models to visualize the subject. Modelling is an essential and inseparable part of scientific activity, and many scientific disciplines have their own ideas about specific types of modelling.

"Science is prediction, not explanation." - Fred Hoyle.

  • - a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle, usually characterized by deductive logic and an analytic inductive method in the study of natural philosophy and metaphysics. It covers the treatment of the social sciences under a system of natural law. It answers why-questions by a scheme of four causes, including purpose or teleology, and emphasizes virtue ethics. Aristotle and his school wrote tractates on physics, biology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government. Any school of thought that takes one of Aristotle's distinctive positions as its starting point can be considered "Aristotelian" in the widest sense. This means that different Aristotelian theories (e.g. in ethics or in ontology, may not have much in common as far as their actual content is concerned besides their shared reference to Aristotle. In Aristotle's time, philosophy included natural philosophy, which preceded the advent of modern science during the Scientific Revolution. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school and later on by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings. In the Islamic Golden Age, Avicenna and Averroes translated the works of Aristotle into Arabic and under them, along with philosophers such as Al-Kindi and Al-Farabi, Aristotelianism became a major part of early Islamic philosophy.

  • - form of natural science or natural philosophy described in the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC). In his work Physics, Aristotle intended to establish general principles of change that govern all natural bodies, both living and inanimate, celestial and terrestrial – including all motion (change with respect to place), quantitative change (change with respect to size or number), qualitative change, and substantial change ("coming to be" [coming into existence, 'generation'] or "passing away" [no longer existing, 'corruption']). To Aristotle, 'physics' was a broad field including subjects which would now be called the philosophy of mind, sensory experience, memory, anatomy and biology. It constitutes the foundation of the thought underlying many of his works.

Key concepts of Aristotelian physics include the structuring of the cosmos into concentric spheres, with the Earth at the centre and celestial spheres around it. The terrestrial sphere was made of four elements, namely earth, air, fire, and water, subject to change and decay. The celestial spheres were made of a fifth element, an unchangeable aether. Objects made of these elements have natural motions: those of earth and water tend to fall; those of air and fire, to rise. The speed of such motion depends on their weights and the density of the medium. Aristotle argued that a vacuum could not exist as speeds would become infinite.

Aristotle described four causes or explanations of change as seen on earth: the material, formal, efficient, and final causes of things. As regards living things, Aristotle's biology relied on observation of natural kinds, both the basic kinds and the groups to which these belonged. He did not conduct experiments in the modern sense, but relied on amassing data, observational procedures such as dissection, and making hypotheses about relationships between measurable quantities such as body size and lifespan.

  • - a text from Aristotle's Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of things that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition. They are "perhaps the single most heavily discussed of all Aristotelian notions". The work is brief enough to be divided not into books, as is usual with Aristotle's works, but into fifteen chapters.

The Categories places every object of human apprehension under one of ten categories (known to medieval writers as the Latin term praedicamenta). Aristotle intended them to enumerate everything that can be expressed without composition or structure, thus anything that can be either the subject or the predicate of a proposition.

  • - the investigative method developed by Sir Francis Bacon, one of the founders of modern science, and thus a first formulation of a modern scientific method. The method was put forward in Bacon's book Novum Organum, 1620, or 'New Method', and was supposed to replace the methods put forward in Aristotle's Organon. This method was influential upon the development of the scientific method in modern science; but also more generally in the early modern rejection of medieval Aristotelianism.

  • - a philosophical work by Francis Bacon, written in Latin and published in 1620. The title is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on logic and syllogism. In Novum Organum, Bacon details a new system of logic he believes to be superior to the old ways of syllogism. This is now known as the Baconian method. For Bacon, finding the essence of a thing was a simple process of reduction, and the use of inductive reasoning. In finding the cause of a 'phenomenal nature' such as heat, one must list all of the situations where heat is found. Then another list should be drawn up, listing situations that are similar to those of the first list except for the lack of heat. A third table lists situations where heat can vary. The 'form nature', or cause, of heat must be that which is common to all instances in the first table, is lacking from all instances of the second table and varies by degree in instances of the third table.

  • - identified and elaborated on by Thomas Samuel Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is the regular work of scientists theorizing, observing, and experimenting within a settled paradigm or explanatory framework. Regarding science as puzzle-solving, Kuhn explained normal science as slowly accumulating detail in accord with established broad theory, without questioning or challenging the underlying assumptions of that theory.

  • - concerns the natural philosophy (German Naturphilosophie "philosophy of nature", of German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Although primarily known as a literary figure, Goethe did research in morphology, anatomy, and optics. He also developed a phenomenological approach to natural history, an alternative to Enlightenment natural science, which is still debated today among scholars. While arranging material phenomena in logical linear sequence is a valid scientific method, it had to be carried out under a correct and humanistic organizing idea (Bacon's lumen siccum), itself grounded in nature, or natural law, often boundaried by multiple, lawful pairs of polarity. Goethe proposed experimenters seek the natural, lawful organizing ideas or archetype behind specific natural phenomena. Phase One was to immerse one's self in a living interaction with the natural phenomena to be studied, with all available senses. Goethe valued "the labor of experimentation".

  • - PNS, was developed in the 1990s by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome R. Ravetz. It is a problem-solving strategy appropriate when "facts [are] uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent", conditions often present in policy-relevant research. In those situations, PNS recommends suspending temporarily the traditional scientific ideal of truth, concentrating on quality as assessed by internal and extended peer communities. PNS can be considered as complementing the styles of analysis based on risk and cost-benefit analysis prevailing at that time and integrating concepts of a new critical science developed in previous works by the same authors. PNS is not a new scientific method following Aristotle and Bacon, a new paradigm in the Kuhnian sense, or an attempt to reach a new ‘normal’. It is instead, a set of insights to guide actionable and robust knowledge production for policy decision making and action in challenges like pandemics, ecosystems collapse, biodiversity loss and, in general, sustainability transitions


See also Research, Organising, Learning, Open data

to sort

  • - a term used in literary criticism and philosophy that carries a wide range of meanings which include imitatio, imitation, nonsensuous similarity, receptivity, representation, mimicry, the act of expression, the act of resembling, and the presentation of the self. In ancient Greece, mimesis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art, in particular, with correspondence to the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and the good. Plato contrasted mimesis, or imitation, with diegesis, or narrative. After Plato, the meaning of mimesis eventually shifted toward a specifically literary function in ancient Greek society, and its use has changed and been reinterpreted many times since. One of the best-known modern studies of mimesis, understood as a form of realism in literature, is Erich Auerbach's Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, which opens with a famous comparison between the way the world is represented in Homer's Odyssey and the way it appears in the Bible. From these two seminal texts, the Odyssey being Western and the Bible having been written by a variety of Mid-Eastern writers, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including the Modernist novels being written at the time Auerbach began his study. In art history, "mimesis", "realism" and "naturalism" are used, often interchangeably, as terms for the accurate, even "illusionistic", representation of the visual appearance of things.

  • - the recording of memories outside the brain. The earliest forms of symbolic behavior—scratching marks on bones—seem to be intended as exosomatic memory. However it was the invention of writing that allowed complex memories to be recorded. A more narrow meaning of exosomatic memory is a computerized information system that interfaces directly with the brain and functions as an extension of the user memory. Such systems have been used as plot devices in numerous science fiction stories, especially among the cyberpunk genre. More recently, as scientific knowledge of neurology improves, some such as Gregory B. Newby are suggesting that such a device may be possible.


ugh, nness

See also Language, Data, Organising

  • - sometimes translated as the paradox of the heap because in Ancient Greek: σωρίτης sōritēs means "heap") is a paradox that arises from vague predicates. A typical formulation involves a heap of sand, from which grains are individually removed. Under the assumption that removing a single grain does not turn a heap into a non-heap, the paradox is to consider what happens when the process is repeated enough times: is a single remaining grain still a heap? (Or are even no grains at all a heap?) If not, when did it change from a heap to a non-heap?

  • - sometimes referred to as the ontology spectrum or the smart data continuum or semantic precision) is a series of increasingly precise or rather semantically expressive definitions for data elements in knowledge representations, especially for machine use. At the low end of the spectrum is a simple binding of a single word or phrase and its definition. At the high end is a full ontology that specifies relationships between data elements using precise URIs for relationships and properties. With increased specificity comes increased precision and the ability to use tools to automatically integrate systems but also increased cost to build and maintain a metadata registry.

Some steps in the semantic spectrum include the following:

  • glossary: A simple list of terms and their definitions. A glossary focuses on creating a complete list of the terminology of domain-specific terms and acronyms. It is useful for creating clear and unambiguous definitions for terms and because it can be created with simple word processing tools, few technical tools are necessary.
  • controlled vocabulary: A simple list of terms, definitions and naming conventions. A controlled vocabulary frequently has some type of oversight process associated with adding or removing data element definitions to ensure consistency. Terms are often defined in relationship to each other.
  • data dictionary: Terms, definitions, naming conventions and one or more representations of the data elements in a computer system. Data dictionaries often define data types, validation checks such as enumerated values and the formal definitions of each of the enumerated values.
  • data model: Terms, definitions, naming conventions, representations and one or more representations of the data elements as well as the beginning of specification of the relationships between data elements including abstractions and containers.
  • taxonomy: A complete data model in an inheritance hierarchy where all data elements inherit their behaviors from a single "super data element". The difference between a data model and a formal taxonomy is the arrangement of data elements into a formal tree structure where each element in the tree is a formally defined concept with associated properties.
  • ontology: A complete, machine-readable specification of a conceptualization using URIs (and then IRIs) for all data elements, properties and relationship types. The W3C standard language for representing ontologies is the Web Ontology Language (OWL). Ontologies frequently contain formal business rules formed in discrete logic statements that relate data elements to each another.

  • - asserts that mental events can be grouped into types, and can then be correlated with types of physical events in the brain. For example, one type of mental event, such as "mental pains" will, presumably, turn out to be describing one type of physical event (like C-fiber firings).

  • - first proposed by Donald Davidson in his 1970 paper Mental Events. The theory is twofold and states that mental events are identical with physical events, and that the mental is anomalous, i.e. under their mental descriptions, relationships between these mental events are not describable by strict physical laws. Hence, Davidson proposes an identity theory of mind without the reductive bridge laws associated with the type-identity theory.

  • - "And the language we speak, be in English, Danish or German, contains all sort of hidden assumptions about the nature of space, time and causality. In Bohr’s words “we are suspended in language so that we do not know what is up and what is down”. ... Does that mean we are trapped in the language we speak and with no escape? Bohm didn’t agree and felt it was necessary to develop a strongly verb based language. That is a language of process, flow and transformation. He called this the Rheomode or “flowing mode” and tried to experiment with it via staff and students at Krishnamurti’s Brockwood Park School. But he was not that successful and felt that the mind set associated with our everyday language is too strong, as a result everyone started using the verbs as nouns."

  • - sometimes known as the tree of Diderot and d'Alembert, was a tree developed to represent the structure of knowledge itself, produced for the Encyclopédie by Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Denis Diderot.The tree was a taxonomy of human knowledge, inspired by Francis Bacon's The Advancement of Learning. The three main branches of knowledge in the tree are: "Memory"/History, "Reason"/Philosophy, and "Imagination"/Poetry.Notable is the fact that theology is ordered under 'Philosophy'. The historian Robert Darnton has argued that this categorization of religion as being subject to human reason, and not a source of knowledge in and of itself (revelation), was a significant factor in the controversy surrounding the work. Additionally notice that 'Knowledge of God' is only a few nodes away from 'Divination' and 'Black Magic'.


  • - a philosophical conception of reality that asserts that only Awareness is real and that the wholeness of Reality can be conceptually thought of in terms of immanent and transcendent aspects. The immanent aspect is denominated simply as Awareness, while the transcendent aspect is referred to as Omnific Awareness. Awareness in this system is not equivalent to consciousness. Rather, Awareness is the venue for consciousness, and the transcendent aspect of Reality, Omnific Awareness, is what consciousness is of.

  • - Process-relational thought, an umbrella term for a form of metaphysical realism, focuses on the dynamism by which things are perpetually moving forward, interacting, and creating new conditions in the world. Process-relational thought rejects the Cartesian idea that there are minds, or things that think, and bodies, or matter that only acts according to strict causal laws. Rather, the two are considered one and the same, or two aspects of the same evolving, processual reality. In this sense, process-relational views are related to certain forms of panpsychism and pan-experientialism, that is, to philosophies that understand “mind” or “mental experience” to be not the possession of specific objects or subjects, but part of the relational expression or manifestation of all things.
  • - According to Barad's theory of agential realism, the world is made up of phenomena, which are "the ontological inseparability of intra-acting agencies". Intra-action, a neologism introduced by Barad, signals an important challenge to individualist metaphysics. For Barad, things or objects do not precede their interaction, rather, 'objects' emerge through particular intra-actions. Thus, apparatuses, which produce phenomena are not assemblages of humans and nonhumans (as in actor-network theory), rather they are the condition of possibility of 'humans' and 'non-humans', not merely as ideational concepts, but in their materiality. Apparatuses are 'material-discursive' in that they produce determinate meanings and material beings while simultaneously excluding the production of others. What it means to matter is therefore always material-discursive. Barad takes her inspiration from physicist Niels Bohr, one of the founders of quantum physics. Barad's agential realism is at once an epistemology (theory of knowing), an ontology (theory of being), and an ethics. Barad coins the term onto-epistemology. Because specific practices of mattering have ethical consequences, excluding other kinds of mattering, onto-epistemological practices are always in turn onto-ethico-epistemological.

"When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future — that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact — such a case is impossible."


  • - a term used in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and anthropology to represent the psychological relation between people. It is usually used in contrast to solipsistic individual experience, emphasizing our inherently social being.
  • Intersubjectivity is the process in which mental activity -- including conscious awareness, motives and intentions, cognitions, and emotions -- is transferred between minds. Animal Communication and cooperative social life require intersubjective signaling (Marler, Evans, and Hauser 1992). Individuals must perceive and selectively respond to the motives, interests, and emotions behind perceived movement in bodies of other animals, especially in conspecifics. Such communication has attained a new level of complexity in human communities, with their consciousness of collectively discovered cultural meanings. Colwyn Trevarthen.

Human intersubectivity manifests itself as an immediate sympathetic awareness of feelings and conscious, purposeful intelligence in others. It is transmitted by body movements (especially of face, vocal tract, and hands) that are adapted to give instantaneous visual, auditory, or tactile information about purposes, interests, and emotions and symbolic ideas active in subjects' minds. On it depends cultural learning, and the creation of a "social reality," of conventional beliefs, languages, rituals, and technologies. Education of children is rooted in preverbal, mimetic intersubjectivity. Human linguistic dialogue also rests on intersubjective awareness, as do the phenomena of "self-awareness" in society. A psychology of intersubjectivity concerns itself with analysis of this innate capacity for intimate and efficient intermental coupling, and attempts to assess what must be learned, through imitation or instruction, to advance intelligent cooperation.

  • At one day, a baby can raise a finger when shown a raised finger (or raise all fingers then lower all but one).
  • Nearer the end of the first year, if the baby hurts itself, the baby looks at the caregiver - if the caregiver creates tension the baby will cry, if the caregiver is positive the baby will laugh.

  • - how people deal with conspecifics (members of the same species) or even across species (such as pet) information, include four stages: encoding, storage, retrieval, and processing. In the area of social psychology, social cognition refers to a specific approach in which these processes are studied according to the methods of cognitive psychology and information processing theory. According to this view, social cognition is a level of analysis that aims to understand social psychological phenomena by investigating the cognitive processes that underlie them. The major concerns of the approach are the processes involved in the perception, judgment, and memory of social stimuli; the effects of social and affective factors on information processing; and the behavioral and interpersonal consequences of cognitive processes. This level of analysis may be applied to any content area within social psychology, including research on intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup processes.

However, the term social cognition has also been used in multiple areas in psychology and cognitive neuroscience.In these areas, the term social cognition is most often used to refer to various social abilities disrupted in autism, schizophrenia and other disorders. In cognitive neuroscience the biological basis of social cognition is investigated. Developmental psychologists study the development of social cognition abilities.

  • Two Distinct Moral Mechanisms for Ascribing and Denying Intentionality - Emotion drives ascriptions of intentionality for negative consequences, while the consideration of statistical norms leads to the denial of intentionality for positive consequences. We employ this novel two-mechanism model to illustrate that morality can paradoxically shape judgments of intentionality. [63]

  • PDF: Three Levels Of Intersubjectivity In Early Development - The sense of shared values is a specific aspect to human sociality. It originates from reciprocal social exchanges that include imitation, empathy, but also negotiation from which meanings, values and norms are eventually constructed with others. Research suggests that this process starts from birth via imitation and mirroring processes that are important foundations of sociality providing a basic sense of social connectedness and mutual acknowledgement with others. From the second month, mirroring, imitative and other contagious responses are by-passed. Neonatal imitation gives way to first signs of reciprocation (primary intersubjectivity), and joint attention in reference to objects (secondary intersubjectivity). We review this development and propose a third level of intersubjectivity,that is the emergence of values that are jointly represented and negotiated with others, as well as the development of an ethical stance accompanying emerging theories of mind from about 4 years of age. We propose that tertiary intersubjectivity is an ontogenetically new process of value negotiation and mutual recognition that are the cardinal trademarks of human sociality.

Situated / embodied / enacted / embedded

  • - refers to an agent which is embedded in an environment. Being situated is generally considered to be part of being embodied, but it is useful to consider each perspective individually. The situated perspective emphasizes that intelligent behaviour derives from the environment and the agent's interactions with it. The nature of these interactions are defined by an agent's embodiment.

  • - a theory that posits that knowing is inseparable from doing by arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural and physical contexts. Under this assumption, which requires an epistemological shift from empiricism, situativity theorists suggest a model of knowledge and learning that requires thinking on the fly rather than the storage and retrieval of conceptual knowledge. In essence, cognition cannot be separated from the context. Instead knowing exists, in situ, inseparable from context, activity, people, culture, and language. Therefore, learning is seen in terms of an individual's increasingly effective performance across situations rather than in terms of an accumulation of knowledge, since what is known is co-determined by the agent and the context. This perspective rejects mind-body dualism and person-environment dualism, being conceptually similar to functional contextualism, and B.F. Skinner's behavior analysis.

  • - knowledge specific to a particular situation. It is closely related to practical or tacit knowledge, which is learned and applied in specific circumstances. This especially concerns certain forms of acquiring knowledge, such as trial and error or learning from experience. In this regard, situated knowledge usually lacks a more explicit structure and is not articulated in terms of universal ideas. The term is often used in feminism and postmodernism to argue that many forms of knowledge are not absolute but depend on the concrete historical, cultural, and linguistic context. Understood in this way, it is frequently used to argue against absolute or universal knowledge claims stated in the scientific discourse. Donna Haraway is a prominent defender of this position. One of her arguments is based on the idea that perception is embodied and is not a universal "gaze from nowhere".

  • - your own body as experienced by yourself, as yourself. Your own body manifests itself to you mainly as your possibilities of acting in the world. It is what lets you reach out and grab something, for instance, but it also, and more importantly, allows for the possibility of changing your point of view. This helps you differentiate one thing from another by the experience of moving around it, seeing new aspects of it (often referred to as making the absent present and the present absent), and still retaining the notion that this is the same thing that you saw other aspects of just a moment ago (it is identical). Your body is also experienced as a duality, both as object (you can touch your own hand) and as your own subjectivity (you are being touched). Empathy refers to the experience of another human body as another subjectivity: In one sense, you see another body, but what you immediately perceive or experience is another subject. In Husserl's original account, this was done by a sort of apperception built on the experiences of your own lived-body.

  • - a group of positions in the philosophy of mind which argues that the conscious mind is not only the result of what is going on inside the nervous system (or the brain,, but also what occurs or exists outside the subject. It is contrasted with internalism which holds that the mind emerges from neural activity alone. Externalism is a belief that the mind is not just the brain or functions of the brain. There are different versions of externalism based on different beliefs about what the mind is taken to be. Externalism stresses factors external to the nervous system. At one extreme, the mind could possibly depend on external factors. At the opposite extreme, the mind necessarily depends on external factors. The extreme view of externalism argues either that the mind is constituted by or identical with processes partially or totally external to the nervous system.

  • - argues that cognition depends on a dynamic interaction between a cognitive organism and its environment. It claims that our environment is one which we selectively create through our capacities to interact with the world. "Organisms do not passively receive information from their environments, which they then translate into internal representations. Natural cognitive systems...participate in the generation of meaning ...engaging in transformational and not merely informational interactions: they enact a world." These authors suggest that the increasing emphasis upon enactive terminology presages a new era in thinking about cognitive science. How the actions involved in enactivism relate to age-old questions about free will remains a topic of active debate. The term 'enactivism' is close in meaning to 'enaction', defined as "the manner in which a subject of perception creatively matches its actions to the requirements of its situation".

  • - the theory that many features of cognition, whether human or otherwise, are shaped by aspects of an organism's entire body. The cognitive features include high-level mental constructs (such as concepts and categories, and performance on various cognitive tasks (such as reasoning or judgment). The bodily aspects involve the motor system, the perceptual system, the bodily interactions with the environment (situatedness), and the assumptions about the world built the functional structure of organism's brain and body. The embodied mind thesis challenges other theories, such as cognitivism, computationalism, and Cartesian dualism. It is closely related to the extended mind thesis, situated cognition, and enactivism. The modern version depends on insights drawn from up to date research in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, dynamical systems, artificial intelligence, robotics, animal cognition, plant cognition, and neurobiology.

  • Embodied Cognition (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - a wide-ranging research program drawing from and inspiring work in psychology, neuroscience, ethology, philosophy, linguistics, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Whereas traditional cognitive science also encompasses these disciplines, it finds common purpose in a conception of mind wedded to computationalism: mental processes are computational processes; the brain, qua computer, is the seat of cognition. In contrast, embodied cognition variously rejects or reformulates the computational commitments of cognitive science, emphasizing the significance of an agent’s physical body in cognitive abilities. Unifying investigators of embodied cognition is the idea that the body or the body’s interactions with the environment constitute or contribute to cognition in ways that require a new framework for its investigation. Mental processes are not, or not only, computational processes. The brain is not a computer, or not the seat of cognition.

  • - an interdisciplinary field of research, the aim of which is to explain the mechanisms underlying intelligent behavior. It comprises three main methodologies: the modeling of psychological and biological systems in a holistic manner that considers the mind and body as a single entity; the formation of a common set of general principles of intelligent behavior; and the experimental use of robotic agents in controlled environments.

  • - says that the mind does not exclusively reside in the brain or even the body, but extends into the physical world. The EMT proposes that some objects in the external environment can be part of a cognitive process and in that way function as extensions of the mind itself. Examples of such objects are written calculations, a diary, or a PC; in general, it concerns objects that store information. The EMT considers the mind to encompass every level of cognition, including the physical level. The EMT was proposed by Andy Clark and David Chalmers in "The Extended Mind" (1998,. They describe the idea as "active externalism, based on the active role of the environment in driving cognitive processes." For the matter of personal identity (and the philosophy of self), the EMT has the implication that some parts of a person's identity can be determined by their environment.

  • - one of the founding members of the CONTACT collaborative research project whose aim is to investigate the role environment plays in shaping the nature of conscious experience. Clark's papers and books deal with the philosophy of mind and he is considered a leading scholar on the subject of mind extension. He has also written extensively on connectionism, robotics and the role and nature of mental representation.

  • - a philosophical theoretical position in cognitive science, closely related to situated cognition, embodied cognition, embodied cognitive science and dynamical systems theory. The theory states that intelligent behaviour emerges from the interplay between brain, body and world. The world is not just the 'play-ground' on which the brain is acting. Rather, brain, body and world are equally important factors in the explanation of how particular intelligent behaviours come about in practice.

  • - the recording of memories outside the brain. The earliest forms of symbolic behavior—scratching marks on bones—seem to be intended as exosomatic memory. However it was the invention of writing that allowed complex memories to be recorded. A more narrow meaning of exosomatic memory is a computerized information system that interfaces directly with the brain and functions as an extension of the user memory. Such systems have been used as plot devices in numerous science fiction stories, especially among the cyberpunk genre. More recently, as scientific knowledge of neurology improves, some such as Gregory B. Newby are suggesting that such a device may be possible.

  • - a term coined by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen in their 1997 book Figments of Reality. They define it as the cultural capital that is available to us in the form of external media (e.g. tribal legends, folklore, nursery rhymes, books, videotapes, CD-ROMs, etc., They contrast extelligence with intelligence, or the knowledge and cognitive processes within the brain. Furthermore, they regard the 'complicity' of extelligence and intelligence as fundamental to the development of consciousness in evolutionary terms for both the species and the individual. 'Complicity' is a combination of complexity and simplicity, and Cohen and Stewart use it to express the interdependent relationship between knowledge-inside-one's-head and knowledge-outside-one's-head that can be readily accessed. Although Cohen's and Stewart's respective disciplines are biology and mathematics, their description of the complicity of intelligence and extelligence is in the tradition of Jean Piaget, Belinda Dewar and David A. Kolb. Philosophers, notably Popper, have also considered the relation between subjective knowledge (which he calls world 2), objective knowledge (world 1) and the knowledge represented by man-made artifacts (world 3).

One of Cohen and Stewart's contributions is the way they relate, through the idea of complicity, the individual to the sum of human knowledge. From the mathematics of complexity and game theory, they use the idea of phase space and talk about extelligence space. There is a total phase space (intelligence space) for the human race, which consists of everything that can be known and represented. Within this there is a smaller set of what is known at any given time. Cohen and Stewart propose the idea that each individual can access the parts of the extelligence space with which their intelligence is complicit. In other words, there has to be, at some level, an appreciation of what is out there and what it means. Much of this 'appreciation' falls into the category of tacit knowledge and social and cultural learning. As an example, a dictionary may contain definitions of many words, but only some subset of those definitions might be understood by any particular reader.


  • - a philosophical term meaning "otherness", strictly being in the sense of the other of two (Latin alter). In the phenomenological tradition it is usually understood as the entity in contrast to which an identity is constructed, and it implies the ability to distinguish between self and not-self, and consequently to assume the existence of an alternative viewpoint. The concept was established by Emmanuel Lévinas in a series of essays, collected under the title Alterity and Transcendence.

The term is also deployed outside of philosophy, notably in anthropology by scholars such as Nicholas Dirks, Johannes Fabian, Michael Taussig and Pauline Turner Strong to refer to the construction of "cultural others". The term has gained further use in seemingly somewhat remote disciplines, e.g. historical musicology where it is effectively employed by John Michael Cooper in a study of Goethe and Mendelssohn. Alterity is a process that has taken place actively throughout time, as charted through generations of history. The effects of alterity can be tracked through a variety of forms of behavioral modes and interventions, both consensual and non consensual. Furthermore, behaviors that induce otherness are both conscious and unconscious.

  • - often abbreviated ToM, is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own. Deficits can occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as alcoholics who have been brain damage due to alcohol's neurotoxicity. Although philosophical approaches to this exist, the theory of mind as such is distinct from the philosophy of mind.


"Recent years have seen several new models of individual-differences in self-consciousness. The present research evaluated self-reflection and insight as types of self-focused attention. In the self-reflection and insight model, both traits represent metacognitive individual differences that aid self-regulation. In a sample of 233 young adults, both self-reflection and insight covaried with many different self-conscious traits (public and private self-consciousness, rumination, reflection), which suggests that they crosscut past typologies. Insight, but not self-reflection, covaried with many markers of affect and well-being: people high in insight had lower depression and anxiety symptoms, lower NA, higher PA, and higher self-esteem. On the whole, the evidence is consistent with the self-reflection and insight model, and the findings suggest that self-reflection and insight are distinct from each other and from other self-conscious traits."

  • - also called self-construction, self-identity, or self-perspective) is a collection of beliefs about oneself that includes elements such as academic performance, gender roles and sexuality, and racial identity. Generally, self-concept embodies the answer to "Who am I?". One's self-concept is made up of self-schemas, and their past, present, and future selves. Self-concept is distinguishable from self-awareness, which refers to the extent to which self-knowledge is defined, consistent, and currently applicable to one's attitudes and dispositions. Self-concept also differs from self-esteem: self-concept is a cognitive or descriptive component of one's self (e.g. "I am a fast runner"), while self-esteem is evaluative and opinionated (e.g. "I feel good about being a fast runner"). Self-concept is made up of one's self-schemas, and interacts with self-esteem, self-knowledge, and the social self to form the self as whole. It includes the past, present, and future selves, where future selves (or possible selves) represent individuals' ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, or what they are afraid of becoming. Possible selves may function as incentives for certain behavior. The perception people have about their past or future selves is related to the perception of their current selves. The temporal self-appraisal theory argues that people have a tendency to maintain a positive self-evaluation by distancing themselves from their negative self and paying more attention to their positive one. In addition, people have a tendency to perceive the past self less favorably (e.g. "I'm better than I used to be") and the future self more positively (e.g. "I will be better than I am now").

  • - term used regarding the reflection a person's overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent," "I am worthy") and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. Smith and Mackie define it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it." Self-esteem is also known as the evaluative dimension of the self that includes feelings of worthiness, prides and discouragement. One's self-esteem is also closely associated with self-consciousness.

  • - the extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Psychologists have studied self-efficacy from several perspectives, noting various paths in the development of self-efficacy; the dynamics of self-efficacy, and lack thereof, in many different settings; interactions between self-efficacy and self-concept; and habits of attribution that contribute to, or detract from, self-efficacy. This can be seen as the ability to persist and a person's ability to succeed with a task. As an example, self-efficacy directly relates to how long someone will stick to a workout regimen or a diet. High and low self-efficacy determine whether or not someone will choose to take on a challenging task or write it off as impossible. Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding his or her power to affect situations, it strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to behaviors affecting health. Judge et al. (2002) argued the concepts of locus of control, neuroticism, self-efficacy and self-esteem measured the same, single factor and demonstrated them to be related concepts.
  • - concepts introduced into psychoanalysis in 1960 by D. W. Winnicott. Winnicott used "True Self" to describe a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience, and a feeling of being alive, having a "real self". "False Self" by contrast Winnicott saw as a defensive facade - one which in extreme cases could leave its holders lacking spontaneity and feeling dead and empty, behind a mere appearance of being real.

  • - describes the manner in which a thing is identified as distinguished from other things. The concept appears in numerous fields and is encountered in works of Carl Jung, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Stiegler, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Bohm, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and Manuel De Landa.
  • - also known as individuation, is the development of the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity (known as personal continuity) in a particular stage of life in which individual characteristics are possessed and by which a person is recognized or known (such as the establishment of a reputation). This process defines individuals to others and themselves. Pieces of the person's actual identity include a sense of continuity, a sense of uniqueness from others, and a sense of affiliation. Identity formation leads to a number of issues of personal identity and an identity where the individual has some sort of comprehension of him or herself as a discrete and separate entity. This may be through individuation whereby the undifferentiated individual tends to become unique, or undergoes stages through which differentiated facets of a person's life tend toward becoming a more indivisible whole.
  • - has been defined as "an individual's relatively consistent inclinations and preferences across contexts." Personality can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of personal traits and patterns of behavior. "Personality includes attitudes, modes of thought, feelings, impulses, strivings, actions, responses to opportunity and stress and everyday modes of interacting with others." Personality style is apparent "when these elements of personality are expressed in a characteristically repeated and dynamic combination."

"Contemporary models of human temperament have been based on the general constructs of arousal, emotion, and self-regulation. In order to more precisely investigate these constructs, they were theoretically decomposed into 19 subconstructs, and homogeneous scales were developed to assess them. The scales were constructed through an item-selection technique that maximized internal consistency and minimized conceptual overlap. Correlational and factor analyses suggested that arousal can be usefully assessed in terms of its central, autonomic, and motor components. The emotions of sadness, relief, and low-intensity pleasure were most closely related to the measures of central arousal. Emotions of fear, frustration, discomfort, and high-intensity pleasure were more closely related to measures of attentional control. We discuss these findings in terms of the functional relations between arousal, emotion, and attention."

  • - a concept used in philosophy and, to a lesser degree, psychology, referring to the realizing of one's deepest desires and capacities. The history of this concept can be traced to Ancient Greek philosophers, and although it has been criticized since, it still remains a notable concept in modern philosophy.

  • - an expression used in psychology, spirituality, and Eastern religions. It is defined as the "fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one's character or personality. In one overview, Mortimer Adler defines self-realization as freedom from external coercion, including cultural expectations, political and economic freedom, and the freedom from worldly attachments and desires etc.

  • - the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose and essence. The earliest historical records demonstrate the great interest which humanity has had in itself. Human self-reflection invariably leads to inquiry into the human condition and the essence of humankind as a whole. Human self-reflection is related to the philosophy of consciousness, the topic of awareness, consciousness in general and the philosophy of mind.
  • - refers to a person's capacity for self-examination, self-reflection, introspection and personal insight. It includes an ability to recognize meanings that underlie overt words and actions, to appreciate emotional nuance and complexity, to recognize the links between past and present, and insight into one's own and others' motives and intentions. Psychologically minded people have above average insight into mental life. Conceptual definitions of psychological mindedness have included variant, but related descriptions. Some definitions relate solely to the self, “a person’s ability to see relationships among thoughts, feelings, and actions with the goal of learning the meanings and causes of his experiences and behaviors”. Conte (1996) extended the concept beyond self-focus, as involving “... both self-understanding and an interest in the motivation and behavior of others”. Hall’s (1992) definition introduces the multidimensional nature of PM. She defined it as “reflectivity about psychological processes, relationships and meanings [that] is displayed by ... both interest in and ability for such reflectivity across affective and intellectual dimensions”

  • - Egosyntonic is a psychological term referring to behaviors, values, feelings that are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one's ideal self-image. Egodystonic (or ego alien) is the opposite of egosyntonic and refers to thoughts and behaviors (e.g., dreams, impulses, compulsions, desires, etc.) that are in conflict, or dissonant, with the needs and goals of the ego, or, further, in conflict with a person's ideal self-image.

  • - defined as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial stressors, among others. Individuals demonstrate resilience when they can face difficult experiences and rise above them with ease. Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience should be considered a process, rather than a trait to be had. There is a common misconception that people who are resilient experience no negative emotions or thoughts and display optimism in all situations. Contrary to this misconception, the reality remains that resiliency is demonstrated within individuals who can effectively and relatively easily navigate their way around crises and utilize effective methods of coping. In other words, people who demonstrate resilience are people with positive emotionality; they are keen to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones.

  • - Generally, it is regarded as the process where the subject replicates in itself behaviors, attributes or other fragments of the surrounding world, especially of other subjects. Cognate concepts are identification, incorporation, and internalization. To use a simple example, a person who picks up traits from their friends (e.g., a person who begins frequently exclaiming "Ridiculous!" as a result of hearing a friend of theirs repeatedly doing the same) is introjecting. Projection has been described as an early phase of introjection.
  • - generally used in opposition to acting out to cover conflicts which are brought to life inside therapy, as opposed to outside. One commentator, noting the variety of usages, points out that it is often “unclear whether 'in' refers to the internalization into the personality, to the growth in insight, or to the acting within the session”.

  • - a term for the capacity of speech and communication not simply to communicate but rather to act or consummate an action, or to construct and perform an identity. A common example is the act of saying "I pronounce you man and wife" by a licensed minister before two people who are prepared to wed (or "I do" by one of those people upon being asked whether they take their partner in marriage). An umpire calling a strike, a judge pronouncing a verdict, or a union boss declaring a strike are all examples of performative speech.

Some theorists in philosophy and gender studies, notably Judith Butler, have argued that even commonplace communication and speech acts are performative, in that they serve to define identity. In this way, performativity reverses the idea that an identity is the source of more secondary actions (speech, gestures). Instead, it inquires into the construction of identities as they are caused by performative actions, behaviors, and gestures. This view is influenced by philosophers including Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida.

  • - also called dispositional theory) is an approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. According to this perspective, traits are relatively stable over time, differ across individuals (e.g. some people are outgoing whereas others are shy), and influence behavior. Traits are in contrast to states which are more transitory dispositions. In some theories and systems, traits are something a person either has or does not have, but in many others traits are dimensions such as extraversion vs. introversion, with each person rating somewhere along this spectrum.


  • - an approach to psychology that combines elements of philosophy, methodology, and theory. It emerged in the early twentieth century as a reaction to "mentalistic" psychology, which often had difficulty making predictions that could be tested using rigorous experimental methods. The primary tenet of behaviorism, as expressed in the writings of John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and others, is that psychology should concern itself with the observable behavior of people and animals, not with unobservable events that take place in their minds.

While behaviorism and cognitive schools of psychological thought may not agree theoretically, they have complemented each other in practical therapeutic applications, such as in cognitive–behavioral therapy that has demonstrable utility in treating certain pathologies, such as simple phobias, PTSD, and addiction.

  • - a model of classical conditioning in which the animal is theorized to learn from the discrepancy between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. This is a trial-level model in which each stimulus is either present or not present at some point in the trial.

  • - a stimulus that cues an organism to perform a learned behavior. When an organism perceives an antecedent stimulus, it behaves in a way that maximizes reinforcing consequences and minimizes punishing consequences. Antecedent stimuli that have been paired with reinforcing consequences activate centers of the brain involved in motivation, while antecedents that have been paired with punishing consequences activate brain centers involved in fear.

  • - a verbal operant in which the response is reinforced by a characteristic consequence and is therefore under the functional control of relevant conditions of deprivation or aversive stimulation. One cannot determine, based on form alone, whether a response is a mand; it is necessary to know the kinds of variables controlling a response in order to identify a verbal operant. A mand is sometimes said to "specify its reinforcement" although this is not always the case.
  • - a verbal operant which is controlled by a nonverbal stimulus (such as an object, event, or property of an object) and is maintained by nonspecific social reinforcement (praise). Less technically, a tact is a label. For example, a child may see their pet dog and say "dog"; the nonverbal stimulus (dog) evoked the response "dog" which is maintained by praise (or generalized conditioned reinforcement) "you're right that is a dog!". Chapter five of Skinner's Verbal Behavior discusses the tact in depth. A tact is said to "make contact with" the world, and refers to behavior that is under the control of generalized reinforcement. The controlling antecedent stimulus is nonverbal, and constitutes some portion of "the whole of the physical environment."

  • - the systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behaviour through controlled and naturalistic observation, and disciplined scientific experimentation. It attempts to accomplish legitimate, objective conclusions through rigorous formulations and observation. Examples of behavioural sciences include psychology, psychobiology, and cognitive science. Behavioral sciences includes two broad categories: neural — Information sciences and social — Relational sciences.

Information processing sciences deals with information processing of stimuli from the social environment by cognitive entities in order to engage in decision making, social judgment and social perception for individual functioning and survival of organism in a social environment. These include psychology, cognitive science, psychobiology, neural networks, social cognition, social psychology, semantic networks, ethology and social neuroscience. On the other hand, Relational sciences deals with relationships, interaction, communication networks, associations and relational strategies or dynamics between organisms or cognitive entities in a social system. These include fields like sociological social psychology, social networks, dynamic network analysis, agent-based model and microsimulation.

  • - is "the established formal designation for B. F. Skinner's philosophy of the science of behavior". The term radical behaviorism is also used to refer to the school of psychology known as the experimental analysis of behavior. Radical behaviorism, as a school of psychology, bears little resemblance to other schools of psychology, differing in the acceptance of mediating structures, the role of private events and emotions, and other areas. Radical behaviorism has attracted attention since its inception. First, it proposes that all organismic action is determined and not free. However, there are deterministic elements in much of psychology. Second, it is considered to be "anti-theoretical," although this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of theory in a radically inductive scientific position, which rejects hypothetico-deductive method.
  • Testable - The web platform for creating, running and sharing behavioral experiments.

  • - interdisciplinary field of medicine concerned with the integration of knowledge in the biological, behavioral, psychological, and social sciences relevant to health and illness, exploded during the late 1970s.

  • - along with the related sub-field behavioral finance, studies the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and the consequences for market prices, returns, and resource allocation, although not always that narrowly, but also more generally, of the impact of different kinds of behavior, in different environments of varying experimental values. Risk tolerance is a crucial factor in personal financial decision making. Risk tolerance is defined as individuals willingness to engage in a financial activity whose outcome is uncertain.

There are three prevalent themes in behavioral finances:

  • Procrastination Research Group (PRG) began in 1995 when Dr. Pychyl completed his own doctoral work related to personal projects and subjective well being (see Pychyl & Little, 1998 in the Research Bibliography). In his research interviews, a consistent theme emerged in which participants described the difficulty they were having with procrastination on their personal projects and how this procrastination had a negative impact on their well being. This was the beginning of a new focus for Dr. Pychyl and his students at Carleton University as they explored how procrastination, as a breakdown in volitional action, affects our lives.
    • Dr. Pychyl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology with a cross-appointment to the School of Linguistics and Language Studies. His research in psychology is focused on the breakdown in volitional action commonly known as procrastination and its relation to personal well being (recent publications are provided below).
    • YouTube: Teaching Talk: Helping Students Who Procrastinate (Tim Pychyl)

  • Addiction and Subtraction - a game designed to help you beat bad habits, addictions and drive away negative thoughts. The game consists of 34 habit-busting cards, one “My Future Self” card and a “Trigger Tracker” to identify and stop urges cold. Gives you actionable alternatives to your bad habits and addictions, replaces destructive behaviours with positive behaviours, motivation in beating your last streak, saves on money and health

  • - Whether you eat the marshmallow at age 5 isn’t your destiny. Self-control can be taught. The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first. To do this, use specific if-then plans, like “If it’s before noon, I won’t check email” or “If I feel angry, I will count backward from 10.” Done repeatedly, this buys a few seconds to at least consider your options. Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills, he says. [70]
  • HOWTO: Be more productive - Choose good problems. Have a bunch of them. Make a list. Integrate the list with your life. Ease physical constraints. Carry pen and paper. Avoid being interrupted. Ease mental constraints. Eat, sleep, exercise. Talk to cheerful people. Share the load. - Aaron Swartz
  • Your app makes me fat - "Because on their deathbed, our users won't be thinking, 'If only I'd spent more time engaging with brands."'
  • Glucose Is Not Willpower Fuel - In sum, the paper frequently touted as the best evidence in favor of the glucose-as-resource-for-self-control model shows 1) a drop in glucose for people with abnormally high levels of glucose and 2) no drop in glucose among a larger sample of subjects.

In short, the idea that more sugar is consumed when exerting “self control” is wrong.

  • - a form of digital detox, involving temporarily abstaining from addictive technologies such as social media, listening to music on technological platforms, and Internet gaming, and can be extended to temporary deprivation of social interaction and eating. The term's origins are unknown; it was first widely promoted by a life coach in November 2018 on YouTube. It is based on a misunderstanding of how the neurotransmitter dopamine, which operates within the brain to reward behavior, actually works and can be altered by conscious behavior. The idea behind it is to take a break from the repetitive patterns of excitement and stimulation that can be triggered by interaction with digital technology, and that the practice of avoiding pleasurable activities can work to undo bad habits, allow time for self-reflection, and bolster personal happiness.

  • The Art of Being Still - We writers must learn how to become still in our heads, to achieve the sort of stillness that allows our senses to become heightened. The wonderful nonfiction writer Joyce Dyer refers to this as seeing like an animal. “Discover something new every day,”

  • Mind Management (Not Time Management) - Productivity is less about time management than it is about mind management.
    • Three Important Questions: What kind of work do I need to do right now? What kind of mental state am I in right now? Is there something I can do to get myself into the right mental state?
  • Your brain is plastic. Love your prefrontal cortex. Fight your amygdala. Restorative things are productive.
  • Meditate. Make time for planning. Trick yourself into starting.
  • Smart Guy Productivity - "I still screw off during the day. I am not a code grinding automaton. I read Facebook, chat with others, Tweet, shop on Amazon, get coffee, read forums, write blog posts like this one and I'm totally fine with that. Because I know I'm committed to getting things done as well. So even though I'm writing this right now at 3pm, if I have to work until 8pm to get my shit done and checked in, I'll do that, so that tomorrow is a fresh start, not a day of 'Oh goddamit, let's try again to finish that task I started a week ago.'"

Bonding and attachment

  • - a psychological model that attempts to describe the dynamics of long-term and short-term interpersonal relationships between humans. However, "attachment theory is not formulated as a general theory of relationships. It addresses only a specific facet" (Waters et al. 2005: 81): how human beings respond within relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceiving a threat. Essentially all infants become attached if provided any caregiver, but there are individual differences in the quality of the relationships. In infants, attachment as a motivational and behavioral system directs the child to seek proximity with a familiar caregiver when they are alarmed, with the expectation that they will receive protection and emotional support.

Attachments between infants and caregivers form even if this caregiver is not sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them. This has important implications. Infants cannot exit unpredictable or insensitive caregiving relationships. Instead they must manage themselves as best they can within such relationships. Based on her established Strange Situation Protocol, research by developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 1960s and 1970s found that children will have different patterns of attachment depending primarily on how they experienced their early caregiving environment. Early patterns of attachment, in turn, shape — but do not determine — the individual's expectations in later relationships. Four different attachment classifications have been identified in children: secure attachment, anxious-ambivalent attachment, anxious-avoidant attachment, and disorganized attachment. Attachment theory has become the dominant theory used today in the study of infant and toddler behavior and in the fields of infant mental health, treatment of children, and related fields. Secure attachment is when children feel they can rely on their caregivers to attend to their needs of proximity, emotional support and protection. It is considered to be the best attachment style. Anxious-ambivalent attachment is when the infant feels separation anxiety when separated from the caregiver and does not feel reassured when the caregiver returns to the infant. Anxious-avoidant attachment is when the infant avoids their parents. Disorganized attachment is when there is a lack of attachment behavior. In the 1980s, the theory was extended to attachment in adults. Attachment applies to adults when adults feel close attachment to their parents and their romantic partners.

"This representional system is a mentalizing system that offers the enormous evolutionary survival advantage of enabling individuals to understand, interpret, and predict the behaviour of others, as well as their own behaviour. As such it is a "cornerstone of social intelligence" and critical to work, play, and collaboration of all kinds." (Allen & Fonage, 2002)

  • - a procedure devised by Mary Ainsworth in 1969 to observe attachment relationships between a caregiver and a child. It applies to children between the ages of twelve and twenty four months. In this procedure of the strange situation the child is observed playing for 20 minutes while caregivers and strangers enter and leave the room, recreating the flow of the familiar and unfamiliar presence in most children's lives. The situation varies in stressfulness and the child's responses are observed. On the basis of their behaviors, the children were categorized into three groups, with a fourth added later. Each of these groups reflects a different kind of attachment relationship with the caregiver.

See also #Attachment for maladaption of attachment.

"any psychopathology we deal with with is an inhibition of mentalizing ... psychotherapy can be understood to rekindle (or kindle) the patients capacity to mentalize" - Wallin

"In an absence of a secure attachment history, individuals may be very brittle, they may be very resistant to new information, and again, those of you who don't have the privilege of working with people and trying to help them, it's hard to imagine sometimes how brittle peole can be in terms of the worldview they hold and the patterns - and I should say we, because I'm included as a client - that we can hold onto when we get stuck on things."

"In the grip of an absence of mentalizing, individuals can't think anything they don't already believe, they are unable to imagine feelings other than what they are currently feeling, and they are unable to consider actions other than are already decided on."

"In therapy we want somebody to have actually their feelings but then engage in a reflective conversation about those feelings ... this feeling is arising, is it a kind of immediate trying to turn away or is there a holding for that feeling? ... One of the reasons I'm so eager to push therapy or conversations about therapy is that I had a lot of personal history in meditation with Goenka's meditation [vipassana] as a matter of fact and ended up with a lot of personal difficulty, panic attacks to be exact, and so that was startling to me, and I had to get into therapy, which was also a very startling endeavour for me. It was so startling, I was so amazed that I decided to become a therapist because when I walked into therapy everything was fine, and even within a ten session short term first exposure to therapy, I started realising that a lot of things that I thought were fine were not fine, and was really within the relational context of therapy that my defences were confronted, and so one of the big axes I have to grind with everything that is typically said about most of these cognitive interventions is that they're really not talking about the relationship with the key person, which I think first of all is a very big variable in terms of that there is a relationship. In traditional practice, we 're sent of and are on our own for weeks and months so the fact that these are actually psychoeducational there there is usually a leader is very important, but in my own experience, I could have meditated til I was blue in my face, I still would not have recognised the things I needed to recognise because somebody was asking me very very pointed questions, and so that is a plug for psychodynamic psychotherapy, I'm sorry but I'm not affiliated with any big commercial ventures!"

"One of the ways in which we avoid the impulse to attach to a stronger and/or wiser other is to decide that actually that you're with a weaker and/or less wise other. I think that the devaluation is another form of protection from the impulse to attach. It's turning don the volume on our need to attach."


  • - the ability to understand the mental state of oneself and others which underlies overt behaviour. Mentalization can be seen as a form of imaginative mental activity, which allows us to perceive and interpret human behaviour in terms of intentional mental states (e.g. needs, desires, feelings, beliefs, goals, purposes, and reasons). Another term that David Wallin has used for mentalization is "Thinking about thinking".

"I think when we talk about the capacity for mentalizing, in other words, the capacity, as I say, to make sense of our own experience, our own behavior, and the experience and behavior of others in terms of underlying mental states, like beliefs, feelings, desires; to the extent that we're able to make sense of behavior on the basis of those underlying mental states, it serves us. And the way in which that's, in a sense, different from the concept of psychological mindedness is that psychological mindedness is something that exists. It's inside you or it's inside me. I think mentalizing, making sense of difficult experience, is of necessity a two-person enterprise. And the reason this is so, is that when you or I or anyone else is in the grip of overwhelmingly intense feelings, we simply can't reflect on our experience. We can't take a step back from experience to try to make sense of it. It's only with the benefit of a relationship to somebody who is, so to speak, mentalizing our experience, that we can come to occupy a stance toward our own experience that's more reflective, more understanding, and so on. So psychological mindedness, you might say, it's kind of like a one-person psychological concept. Mentalizing, in some ways, is a relational, it's a two-person psychological concept. And so the whole idea here is we learn about ourselves through being understood by other people. Babies learn about their feelings by having their feelings understood by someone else."

  • - or interpretation bias is an information-processing bias, the tendency to inappropriately analyze ambiguous stimuli, scenarios and events. One type of interpretive bias is hostile attribution bias, wherein individuals perceive benign or ambiguous behaviors as hostile. For example, a situation in which one friend walks past another without acknowledgement. The individual may interpret this behavior to mean that their friend is angry with them.

  • Emotional mentalizing - affective reactions (somatic transference?)
  • Cognitive mentalizing - diminished role taking, inferences of affective and cognitive states - (??? these can be adaptive or maladaptive; projection, projective identity, transference countertransference, presumptions ???)

what is maladaptive? behaviour that causes trauma?

Mentalizing as the engine of attachment: patient contribution to attachment relationships

  • Selection of attachment figures and appraisal of trustworthiness
  • Self-awareness regarding needs and feelings
  • Expression of emotional distress (affective competence) and context (narrative competence); associated emotion-regulation skills
  • Appraisal of the attachment figure’s receptiveness, attunement, responsiveness (i.e., the caregiver’s mentalizing)
  • Appraisal of the effectiveness of strategies to influence the caregiver’s responsiveness
  • Ability to manage conflicts, understand misunderstandings, and repair ruptures
  • Correcting and updating mental representations of self and others (internal working models)
  • Reciprocating caregiving

Hypermentalization is argued to be a #Borderline trait. There are arguments that autism might be related to either hypomentalization or another form of hypermentalization.

The Mentalizing Stance (mentalizing mindfully)

Psychological aspects

  • psychoeducation and reflection
  • inquisitive, curious, playful, open-minded
  • “not knowing” (cleverness as cardinal sin*)
  • not creating the capacity but rather promoting attentiveness to the activity of mentalizing

Ethical aspects (as in parenting, for example)

  • good will and compassion
  • acceptance and forgiveness
  • respect for autonomy
  • love
  • To do anything well you must have the humility to bumble around a bit, to follow your nose, to get lost, to goof. Have the courage to try an undertaking and possibly do it poorly. Unremarkable lives are marked by the fear of not looking capable when trying something new.—Epictetus

Mindful attention may or may not be directed toward mental states (i.e., may or may not relate in any way to mentalizing)Meditation pertinent to mentalizing is directed primarily toward awareness of internal experience but also can be extended to others (e.g., compassion)The developmental story for mentalizing (i.e., development in attachment relationships) can be retold, substituting the word “mindfulness” for “mentalizing”—for example, construing assessment of mentalizing in the Adult Attachment Interview as measuring the “reflective component of mindfulness” (Dan Siegal)Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement (James Carson) has been applied to couples but goes far beyond mindful attention to include mentalizing (e.g., understanding each other’s behavior and motivations, interpersonal problem solving, improved communication)

  • PDF: Intentional Attunement: Mirror Neurons and the Neural Underpinnings of Interpersonal Relations - The neural circuits activated in a person carrying out actions, expressing emotions, and experiencing sensations are activated also, automatically via a mirror neuron system, in the observer of those actions, emotions, and sensations. It is proposed that this finding of shared activation suggests a functional mechanism of “embodied simulation” that consists of the automatic, unconscious, and noninferential simulation in the observer of actions, emotions, and sensations carried out and experienced by the observed. It is proposed also that the shared neural activation pattern and the accompanying embodied simulation constitute a fundamental biological basis for understanding another's mind. The implications of this perspective for psychoanalysis are discussed, particularly regarding unconscious communication, projective identification, attunement, empathy, autism, therapeutic action, and transference-countertransference interactions.
  • Mentalization and intersubjectivity. Towards a theoretical integration - The introduction of the concept of mentalization in psychological science by Fonagy and his associates has opened up new perspectives for the understanding of psychopathology, psychotherapy and child development. The present study reviews the theory of mentalization, with a focus on its four dimensions (cognitive/affective, implicit/explicit, self/other, and external/internal), and some unclear points and unresolved issues are identified. Mentalization theory is then contrasted with the theory of primary intersubjectivity, which is often seen as an incompatible approach to the development of social understanding. It is argued that this theory, at least in one of its interpretations, is not only compatible with mentalization theory, but may also possibly contribute to the resolution of some problems in mentalization theory. More specifically, it is argued that mentalization originally develops in the context of primary intersubjectivity, and that primary intersubjectivity is a basic prerequisite for the development of mentalization; but also that there is a considerable overlap between the concepts of primary intersubjectivity and those of implicit and externally focused mentalization.

  • The Language of Neuroception& the Bodily Self - applying “mindful attentiveness to . . . extending our conscious relationship to the internal micro-sensory components underlying affect [that] can enhance our ability for self-attunement.”

"In this article the importance of language for the formation of one’s self through organizing one’s experience into a coherent core narrative is emphasized, especially as it relates to the micro-sensory experience of the body for which vocabulary is often inadequate. The importance of attuned caregivers helping the developing child name reality is outlined. The importance of movement, oscillations, pulsations, and sensations being included in a full experience of a psycho-somatic self is argued. The still open issue of finding adequate cortical representation of the felt sense of these neuroceptive movements is raised."

"More attention could be given to the infraverbal experiential implicit bodily processes out of which our narrative arises, to the “neural architecture which supports consciousness” (Damasio, 1999).In the interest of efficiency, the brain delegates much of what happens in the nervous system to autonomic processes. The micro-feedback levels of the nervous system are mostly transparent to conscious awareness."

"Mindful attentiveness to the rhythms of primary respiration and intrasomatic micro-sensations and micro-movements can support entry into our autonomic and self-referential neuronal circuitry. Extending our conscious relationship to the internal micro-sensory components underlying affect can enhance our ability for self-attunement. By extension, this deepening awareness can help us better identify with the needs of our clients and, more important for those of us who are parents, to our children’s developing nervous systems so that they do not remain alone in a world to which we, as adults, have lost access."

Hypermentalization is argued to be a #Borderline trait. There are arguments that autism might be related to either hypomentalization or another form of hypermentalization.

  • - a term coined by philosopher Daniel Dennett for the level of abstraction in which we view the behaviour of a thing in terms of mental properties, part of a theory of mental content. "Here is how it works: first you decide to treat the object whose behavior is to be predicted as a rational agent; then you figure out what beliefs that agent ought to have, given its place in the world and its purpose. Then you figure out what desires it ought to have, on the same considerations, and finally you predict that this rational agent will act to further its goals in the light of its beliefs. A little practical reasoning from the chosen set of beliefs and desires will in most instances yield a decision about what the agent ought to do; that is what you predict the agent will do."
  • - a term coined by Daniel Dennett to describe an explicitly third-person, scientific approach to the study of consciousness and other mental phenomena. It consists of applying the scientific method with an anthropological bent, combining the subject's self-reports with all other available evidence to determine their mental state. The goal is to discover how the subject sees the world him- or herself, without taking the accuracy of the subject's view for granted. Heterophenomenology is put forth as the alternative to traditional Cartesian phenomenology, which Dennett calls "lone-wolf autophenomenology" to emphasize the fact that it accepts the subject's self-reports as being authoritative. In contrast, heterophenomenology considers the subjects authoritative only about how things seem to them. It does not dismiss the Cartesian first-person perspective, but rather brackets it so that it can be intersubjectively verified by empirical means, allowing it to be submitted as scientific evidence.

  • - a psychiatric term first used by Harry S. Sullivan to describe the inclination to skew perceptions of others based on fantasy. The "distortion" is a faulty perception of others, based not on actual experience with the other individual, but on a projected fantasy personality attributed to the individual. For example, when one falls in love, an image of another person as the “perfect match” or “soul mate” can be created when in reality, the other person may not live up to these expectations or embody the imagined traits at all.

The fantasy personality is created in part from past experiences and from expectations as to how the person 'should be', and is formulated in response to emotional stress. This stress can originate from the formation of a new relationship, or from cognitive dissonance required to maintain an existing relationship. Parataxic distortion serves as an immature cognitive defense mechanism against this psychological stress and is similar to Transference.

Parataxic distortion is difficult to avoid because of the nature of human learning and interaction. Stereotyping of individuals based on social cues and the classification of people into groups is a commonplace cognitive function of the human mind. Such pigeonholing allows for a person to gain a quick, though possibly inaccurate, assessment of an interaction. The cognitive processes employed, however, can have a distorting effect on the clear understanding of individuals. In essence, one can lose the ability to 'hear the other' through one's own projected beliefs of what the other person is saying.

"The vitality affectsa re the micro-affects through which moment-to-moment fluctuations in attunement are expressed. They refer to subtle, ongoing, moment-to-moment, qualitative shifts in arousal, energy, flow, feeling, and rhythm. Their “elusive qualities are better captured by dynamic, kinetic terms, such as “surging,” “fading away,” “fleeting,” “explosive,” “crescendo,” “decrescendo,” “bursting,” “drawn out,” and so on... The vitality affects are experienced as dynamic shifts or patterned changes within ourselves”(Stern, 1985). The dyadic regulation of affective states through the vitality affects, i.e., through fluctuations in voice, gaze, rhythm, touch, and timing, is a fundamental aspect of interpersonal interaction throughout the lifespan. The vitality affects are to emotional communication what words are to verbal communication. The vitality affects are the affects of attunement, intersubjectivity and social connection: they both express it and are vehicles for their entrainment. As a function of their ephemeral and fluid nature, they are well suited to dyadic coordination and mutual affective sharing."

"Additions to Stance: Not Only PACE:

  • P--presence, playfulness is an emergent phenomenon in AEDP
  • A–attunement, acceptance, affirmation
  • C–compassion, care, curiosity
  • E–empathy

but also SUFIED

  • S–self-disclosureU–undoing aloneness, being with and then some
  • F–fearless, though mindful, exploration of relational and transformational experience
  • I–make Implicit explicitE-make the explicit experiential
  • D –dyadic exploration of all of the above

Additions to Objects of Mindfulness and especially Dyadic Mindfulness, which in AEDP we call Metatherapeutic Processing: In AEDP, in addition to body, emotion, sensation, breath, we have some additional objects of mindful attention, especially dyadicallymindful attention, which when experientially explored, constitutes its Global Emotional Moments (GEMs), and the fundamental AEDP method of GEM-to-GEM tracking

  • - a term, akin to the idea of representative realism, coined by Timothy Leary (1920-1996). It was further expanded on by Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007), who wrote about the idea extensively in his 1983 book Prometheus Rising. The theory states that, with a subconscious set of mental filters formed from his or her beliefs and experiences, every individual interprets the same world differently, hence "Truth is in the eye of the beholder". "The gene-pool politics which monitor power struggles among terrestrial humanity are transcended in this info-world, i.e. seen as static, artificial charades. One is neither coercively manipulated into another's territorial reality nor forced to struggle against it with reciprocal game-playing (the usual soap opera dramatics). One simply elects, consciously, whether or not to share the other's reality tunnel."

  • - While examining recorded protocols of communications in adults, Leary discovered that typical patterns of interaction existed. Individual units of these behaviors were called interpersonal mechanisms or interpersonal reflexes. "They are defined as the observable, expressive units of face-to-face social behavior." These reflexes are automatic and involuntary responses to interpersonal situations. They are independent of the content of the communication. They are the individual's spontaneous methods of reacting to others. Leary states, "The reflex manner in which human beings react to others and train others to respond to them in selective ways is, I believe, the most important single aspect of personality. The systematic estimates of a patient's repertoire of interpersonal reflexes is a key factor in functional diagnosis."
  • - or interpersonal circle, is a model for conceptualizing, organizing, and assessing interpersonal behavior, traits, and motives (Wiggins, 2003). The interpersonal circumplex is defined by two orthogonal axes: a vertical axis (of status, dominance, power, or control) and a horizontal axis (of solidarity, friendliness, warmth, or love). In recent years, it has become conventional to identify the vertical and horizontal axes with the broad constructs of agency and communion (Horowitz, 2004). Thus, each point in the interpersonal circumplex space can be specified as a weighted combination of agency and communion.

  • - that which is generally agreed to be reality, based on a consensus view. The appeal to consensus arises from the fact that humans do not fully understand or agree upon the nature of knowledge or ontology, often making it uncertain what is real, given the vast inconsistencies between individual subjectivities. We can, however, seek to obtain some form of consensus, with others, of what is real. We can use this consensus as a pragmatic guide, either on the assumption that it seems to approximate some kind of valid reality, or simply because it is more "practical" than perceived alternatives. Consensus reality therefore refers to the agreed-upon concepts of reality which people in the world, or a culture or group, believe are real (or treat as real), usually based upon their common experiences as they believe them to be; anyone who does not agree with these is sometimes stated to be "in effect... living in a different world."

Projection / transference

  • - also known as praise/blame shifting, is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. According to some research, the projection of one's negative qualities onto others is a common process in everyday life.

  • - a term introduced by Melanie Klein to describe the process whereby in a close relationship, as between mother and child, lovers, or therapist and patient, parts of the self may in unconscious fantasy be thought of as being forced into the other person. While based on Freud's concept of psychological projection, projective identification represents a step beyond. In R.D. Laing's words, “The one person does not use the other merely as a hook to hang projections on. He strives to find in the other, or to induce the other to become, the very embodiment of projection”. Feelings which can not be consciously accessed are defensively projected into another person in order to evoke the thoughts or feelings projected.

"Projective identification . . . is a psychological process that is simultaneously a type of defense, a means of communication, a primitive form of object relationship, and a pathway for psychological change. As a defense, projective identification serves to create a sense of psychological distance from unwanted (often frightening) aspects of the self; as a mode of communication, projective identification is a process by which feelings congruent with one's own are induced in another person, thereby creating a sense of being understood by or of being “at one with” the other person. As a type of object relationship, projective identification constitutes a way of being with and relating to a partially separate object, and finally, as a pathway for psychological change; projective identification is a process by which feelings like those that one is struggling with are psychologically processed by another person and made available for re-internalization in an altered form. Each of these functions of projective identification evolves in the context of the infant's early attempts to perceive, organize, and manage his internal and external experience and to communicate with his environment."

-- On projective identification, Ogden TH

  • A Cross-Cultural Study of Somatic Countertransference

by Adrienne Margarian

  • - characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is "the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood." Another definition is "the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object." Still another definition is "a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, especially of childhood, and the substitution of another person ... for the original object of the repressed impulses." Transference was first described by Sigmund Freud, who acknowledged its importance for psychoanalysis for better understanding of the patient's feelings. The inclusion of "inappropriate" in the first definition notwithstanding, transference is normal and does not constitute underlying pathology in itself; it is only inappropriate when patterns of transference lead to maladaptive thoughts, feelings or behaviours.

"Not all transference is bad, according to Buddhism, anyway; that is, where the transference is platonic (non-erotic or non-sexual) or healthy (that is, not based on a power-mode). German pioneer psychologist Carl Jung, in his Psychology of Transference (1969), for example, says that within the transference dyad both actors typically experience a variety of opposites, that of being in love and of psychological growth, the key to success is the ability to endure the tension of the opposites without abandoning the wholesome aspects, and that this tension allows one to grow and transform oneself."

"The contention that the analyst is not affected by these experiences is both false and would convey to the patient that his plight, pain and behavior are emotionally ignored by the analyst. [I am suggesting] that if we keep emotions out, we are in danger of keeping out the love which mitigates the hatred, allowing the so-called pursuit of truth to be governed by hatred. What appears as dispassionate may contain the murder of love and concern. " -- Working through in the countertransference, Pick

"In other words, as the result of the patient's projective identification dynamics and the totality of the therapeutic relationship, countertransference will exist. The question is not what to do if countertransference is present in a treatment, but what form it takes and how to use it effectively.

"Therapist and patient constantly struggle to make meaning and sense out of what takes place in the therapeutic relationship. However, both parties are constantly tempted to act out these meanings rather than verbalize or mentalize them. There is a mutual resistance to feeling and working with the strong fantasy material in the room. Freud4 wrote that patients remember nothing of their internal conflicts but express them through action. Their behavior becomes a vehicle for the conflicts they would otherwise painfully have to face. Therefore, action feels safer or at least feels temporarily relieving. It can be an excitement, a stimulation, an escape, or a revenge. Nevertheless, it remains as an unintegrated and split-off portion of the mind's urges and mobilized fantasies. Projective identification can be an acting-out process of discharging internal “pollutants” into the object, followed by a denial of any connection or familiarity with such debris in the first place. Although this may sound like simple projection, the ego is still responding to the fantasy of some type of object and some type of relationship to that object. In this case, the response is a denial of the relationship to the object.

"Therapists are inevitably touched, contaminated, and seduced by these dynamics. The effects of projective identification are strong and can produce intense countertransference reactions.

"Certain aspects of the intrapsychic and interpersonal communications between therapist and patient can continue beyond the hour or even past termination. Therapists speak among themselves of being hounded by a session and having it follow them into their personal lives. They can unwittingly bring home clinical situations and even find the patient's material invading their dreams. In the moment-to-moment clinical situation, countertransference anxiety can be so great that the therapist is pushed to act out and rapidly return the patient's unbearable projections. This can occur in many ways. Some projective identification mechanisms produce intense reactions in both parties. Others produce more subtle effects within the analytic relationship."

  • PDF: Understanding Projective Identification - Louise Braddock. Projective identification is a concept of psychoanalytic psychology which is extensively used within clinical practice and with wide extra-clinical application. It is however under-theorized within psychoanalysis, while as a concept acquired through clinical practice it is not easily accessible to other disciplines. I provide a philosophical explanation of projective identification as it occurs in the clinical interaction, in terms of the linking of the imaginations of patient and analyst by the patient’s speech behavior and the analyst’s response. I show how the patient communicates his feeling to the analyst through a speech act and how the receptive act of imagining this provokes in the analyst forms part of her counter-transference. Reflection on her counter-transference response enables her to understand and interpret the patient’s ‘thick communication’ of his unconscious state of mind.]

  • - or defensive attribution bias, is a social psychological term from the attributional approach referring to a set of beliefs about who is culpable in a given situation. More responsibility will be attributed to the harm-doer as the outcome becomes more severe, and as personal or situational similarity to the victim increases.


  • - may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one's shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem). Contrary to a Freudian definition of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow can include everything outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative.

"Unfortunately there is no doubt about the fact that man is, as a whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Every one carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one has always a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is steadily subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected. It is, moreover, liable to burst forth in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, blocking the most recent attempts.

"We carry our past with us, viz: the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only by a considerable effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis, we have invariably to deal with a considerably intensified shadow. And if such a case wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which man's conscious personality and his shadow can live together.

"This is a very serious problem for all those who are either themselves in such a predicament, or who have to help other people to live. A mere suppression of the shadow is just as little of a remedy as beheading against headache. To destroy a man's morality does not help either because it would kill his better self, without which even the shadow makes no sense.

"The reconciliation of these opposites is a major problem. It is natural that the more robust mentality of the fathers could not appreciate the delicacy and the merit of this subtle and, from a modern point of view, immensely practical argument. It was also dangerous, and it is still the most vital and yet the most ticklish problem of a civilization that has forgotten why man's life should be sacrificial, that means, offered up to an idea greater than man."

Interaction theory

  • - an approach to questions about social cognition, or how one understands other people, that focuses on bodily behaviors and environmental contexts rather than on mental processes. IT argues against two other contemporary approaches to social cognition (or what is sometimes called ‘theory of mind’), namely theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST). For TT and ST, the primary way of understanding others is by means of ‘mindreading’ or ‘mentalizing’ – processes that depend on either theoretical inference from folk psychology, or simulation. In contrast, for IT, the minds of others are understood primarily through our embodied interactive relations. IT draws on interdisciplinary studies and appeals to evidence developed in developmental psychology, phenomenology (philosophy), and neuroscience.

Simulation theory

  • - a theory that holds that humans anticipate and make sense of the behavior of others by activating mental processes that, if carried into action, would produce similar behavior. This includes intentional behavior as well as the expression of emotions. The theory states that children use their own emotions to predict what others will do. Therefore, we project our own mental states onto others. Simulation theory is not primarily a theory of empathy, but rather a theory of how people understand others—that they do so by way of a kind of empathetic response. This theory uses more biological evidence than other theories of mind, such as the theory-theory.


  • - Theory-theory (or ‘theory theory’) is a scientific theory relating to the human development of understanding about the outside world. This theory asserts that individuals hold a basic or ‘naïve’ theory of psychology ("folk psychology") to infer the mental states of others, such as their beliefs, desires or emotions, and use this information to understand the intentions behind that person’s actions or predict future behavior. Theory-theorists use the term 'perspective taking' to describe how one makes inferences about another person's inner state using theoretical knowledge about the other's situation.

This approach has become popular with psychologists as it gives a basis from which to explore human social understanding. Beginning in the mid-1980s, several influential developmental psychologists began advocating the theory theory: the view that humans learn through a process of theory revision closely resembling the way scientists propose and revise theories. Children observe the world, and in doing so, gather data about the world's true structure. As more data accumulates, children can revise their naive theories accordingly. Children can also use these theories about the world's causal structure to make predictions, and possibly even test them out. This concept is described as the ‘Child Scientist’ theory, proposing that a series of personal scientific revolutions are required for the development of theories about the outside world, including the social world.

  • PFD: The Edge Of Awareness - Gendlin’s Contribution to Explorations of the Implicit, Lynn Preston. In the last several years there has been an upsurge of ideas about the implicit dimension of experience, that which is in some sense known, but not yet available to reflective thought or verbalization. Terms such as: “implicit relational knowing,” “unformulated experience,” “pre-reflective unconscious,” “horizon of experience,” “subsymbolic process,”“embodied knowing,” and “the unthought known” are emerging from virtually every school of thought in the fields of psychoanalysis, cognitive science and infant research. Each of these concepts contributes its own unique perspective to our increasing understanding of this vital domain of experience. In this paper I wish to highlight a conceptualization of the implicit as “the edge of awareness”- experience that is just beneath the surface of consciousness. I will focus on Eugene Gendlin's concept of “felt sense” as it adds to and informs this timely investigation.

  • - He believes that very young babies rapidly develop proto-cultural intelligence through interacting with other people, including in teasing fun play. For instance he has demonstrated that a newborn has an innate ability to initiate a dialogic relationship with an adult, and then build up this relationship through eye contact, smiling, and other holistic body functions rhythmically and cooperatively. He studied successful interactions between infants and their primary care givers, and found that the mother's responsiveness to her baby's initiatives supported and developed intersubjectivity (shared understanding), which he regarded as the basis of all effective communication, interaction and learning.

He has applied intersubjectivity to the very rapid cultural development of new born infants. and used the term ‘primary intersubjectivity’ to refer to early developing sensory-motor processes of interaction between infants and caregivers. He believes babies are looking for companionship (including the sense of fun and playfulness), engagement and relationship (rather than using the term attachment), and that companions can include mothers, fathers, other adults, peers and siblings; he has said "I think the ideal companion – and it can be a practitioner or not – is a familiar person who really treats the baby with playful human respect." In later years his work has focused on the musicality of babies, including its use in communication.

  • Social Mirrors - This website explores issues such as what makes us different from animals, why we are so self-conscious, what is human culture, and how does consciousness fit in with the rest of reality. Each core topic has a brief introduction followed by wiki contributions that anyone can add to or change


  • To Love Someone, Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First? - "Given my professional role as a psychologist for the past 30+ years, I’ve come, empirically, to a rather different conclusion about self-love. To me, it’s extremely unlikely that without the ability to love oneself a person can ever be happy. That is, what’s necessary and sufficient—not for loving another but for a state of inner contentment and well-being—is healthy self-love and acceptance. For it only makes sense that if you’re not on very good terms with yourself, you’re not going to be happy with life generally ...

"Yet one last question remains: Would learning how to truly love yourself enable you to love another more? No simple answer suggests itself here because your growing self-love might be seen as independent of your ability to love someone else. But if, warts and all, you come to fully embrace yourself, your relationships would definitely become more intimate. For then you’d no longer feel compelled to hide your supposedly 'unacceptable' qualities. You’d be more able to open yourself up to others, and you’d probably want to do so. Plus, such a heightened willingness to self-disclose can be infectious, prompting others to respond in kind and so deepen feelings of love and attachment between both of you. Having resolved old feelings of anxiety, shame, inferiority, and unlovability, you’d no longer fear being “unmasked”—and thereby repudiated. You’d finally feel comfortable in your own skin, confident about letting others know who you are. And so your lifelong potential for a deeper, more confiding—and consequently, more loving—relationship might at last be realized."

“My dear, find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover." --Charles Bukowski


  • - the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another's position.

(German: Nachfühlen, literally "after experience") is a philosophical concept related to empathy and sympathy. In Dagobert D. Runes' 1942 Dictionary of Philosophy, contributor Herman Hausheer defines mimpathy as the sharing of another's feelings on a matter, without necessarily experiencing feelings of sympathy.

Philosopher Max Scheler describes mimpathy, or "emotional imitation", as the basis for sympathy, but of no help in understanding another person in and of itself. Scheler identifies four types of sympathy:

  • Compathy, or emotional solidarity, the immediate sharing of the same emotion with another
  • Genuine sympathy, in which sorrow is experienced "in an act of understanding experienced as such an act", and the objective source of emotion is not shared
  • Transpathy, or emotional contagion, a state introduced in a group, "automatic and without understanding", by the emotional display of another
  • Unipathy, or genuine emotional identification with another, an "intensified" and "involuntary" form of transpathy, which may present as a folie à deux.

  • - refers to how accurately one person can infer the thoughts and feelings of another person. It was first introduced in conjunction with the term empathic inference, which was presented by psychologists William Ickes and William Tooke in 1988. Since then research on empathic accuracy has explored its relationship with the concepts of affect sharing and mentalizing. In order to accurately infer another’s psychological state, one must be able to both share that state (affect sharing), and understand cognitively how to label that state (mentalizing). Neuroscience research has shown that brain activation associated with empathic accuracy overlaps with both the areas responsible for affect sharing and mentalizing.


  • - motivates people to go out of their way to help physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts or pains of another. Compassion is often regarded as having an emotional aspect to it, though when based on cerebral notions such as fairness, justice and interdependence, it may be considered rational in nature and its application understood as an activity based on sound judgment. There is also an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual's compassion is often given a property of "depth," "vigour," or "passion." The etymology of "compassion" is Latin, meaning "co-suffering." More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering.
  • Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-Being - Kristin D. Neff, University of Texas at Austin. This article focuses on the construct of self-compassion and how it differs from self-esteem. First,it discusses the fact that while self-esteem is related to psychological well-being, the pursuit ofhigh self-esteem can be problematic. Next it presents another way to feel good about oneself: self-compassion. Self-compassion entails treating oneself with kindness, recognizing one’s sharedhumanity, and being mindful when considering negative aspects of oneself. Finally, this articlesuggests that self-compassion may offer similar mental health benefits as self-esteem, but withfewer downsides. Research is presented which shows that self-compassion provides greater emo-tional resilience and stability than self-esteem, but involves less self-evaluation, ego-defensiveness,and self-enhancement than self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem entails evaluating oneself positivelyand often involves the need to be special and above average, self-compassion does not entail self-evaluation or comparisons with others. Rather, it is a kind, connected, and clear-sighted way ofrelating to ourselves even in instances of failure, perceived inadequacy, and imperfection.
  • YouTube: Self Compassion Part 1 Kristin Neff
  • YouTube: A Love affair - Vidyuddeva - "How are we ever going to be free from anger, if you're angry at human delusion? Look around! What are we gonna do?! Although there's a pathological aspect to what I'm going to say next, what stuck me is that there has to be a love affair with human delusion to have any effectiveness, any efficacy at all, there has to be a love affair with human delusion. But this total love and this total acceptance is not justification or condoning or even propagating, particularly ... Error has it's own beauty, it's own pathology, but when you spot error, often our tendency is then to be arrogant and to distance ourselves and then not to be in communication, not to have any relationship ..."


  • - after overcoming attachment issues and fear of abandonment, managing expectations and communication, and responding over reacting, compersion or sympathetic joy replaces jealousy

  • - means joy; especially sympathetic or vicarious joy. Also: the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being. The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child's accomplishments and successes. Mudita should not be confounded with pride as a person feeling mudita may not have any interest or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self-interest. When we can be happy of the joys other beings feel, it is called mudita; the opposite word is envy or schadenfreude.



Human condition: "These limitations are neither subjective nor objective, or rather there is both a subjective and an objective aspect of them. Objective, because we meet with them everywhere and they are everywhere recognisable: and subjective because they are lived and are nothing if man does not live them – if, that is to say, he does not freely determine himself and his existence in relation to them. And, diverse though man’s purpose may be, at least none of them is wholly foreign to me, since every human purpose presents itself as an attempt either to surpass these limitations, or to widen them, or else to deny or to accommodate oneself to them." ... "In this sense we may say that there is a human universality, but it is not something given; it is being perpetually made. I make this universality in choosing myself; I also make it by understanding the purpose of any other man, of whatever epoch. This absoluteness of the act of choice does not alter the relativity of each epoch."

"There is this in common between art and morality, that in both we have to do with creation and invention."

  • - a Japanese concept meaning "a reason for being". Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one's ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.


  • - used by existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to describe the phenomenon where a human being under pressure from societal forces adopts false values and disowns his/her innate freedom to act authentically. It is closely related to the concepts of self-deception and ressentiment.


Will and change


See Organisation, Startups#Innovation, Design

"Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me and give me the strength to get rid of them when it's apparent they no longer work"

  • - a term that stems from the Latin conatus, meaning any natural tendency, impulse, striving, or directed effort. Conative is one of three parts of the mind, along with the affective and cognitive. In short, the cognitive part of the brain has to do with intelligence, the affective deals with emotions and the conative drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings.

"In effect, I can resist change by suppressing my experience or elicit change by succumbing to it."

  • - a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in slightly different ways. The term was originally introduced by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one's full potential. Expressing one's creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to society are examples of self-actualization. In Goldstein's view, it is the organism's master motive, the only real motive: "the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive... the drive of self-actualization." Carl Rogers similarly wrote of "the curative force in psychotherapy - man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities... to express and activate all the capacities of the organism." The concept was brought most fully to prominence in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and the "actualization" of the full personal potential takes place, although he adapted this viewpoint later on in life, and saw it more flexibly. Self actualization can be seen as similar to words and concepts such as self discovery, self reflection, self realisation and self exploration.

"I don't envision a single thing that is as quick to reverse itself as the mind — so much so that there is no feasible simile for how quick to reverse itself it is."

-- Lahu-parivatta Sutta: Quick to Reverse Itself - AN 1.48 PTS: A i 10 I,v,8, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Try the opposite."

  • Stop brainstorming || Matthew Ström, designer-leader - "Brainstorming has become a heuristic, an attempted shortcut, a lossy substitution for psychological safety. Osborn’s encouragement during the brainstorm signaled psychological safety, giving his team what they needed to be creative even after they left the room. But simply putting a bunch of people on a Zoom call and saying “there are no bad ideas” won’t create a sense of safety where none existed before. How to build psychological safety on a creative team is beyond the scope of this one essay (though I have a feeling I’ll write another and link it soon). But my point is this: Brainstorming is just a worse version of creativity. If your team is already producing lots of ideas, let them keep doing it however they want. If your team isn’t producing lots of ideas, work on psychological safety." [84]

  • Composition is not research - John Croft. Abstract: Composers in academic institutions are increasingly required to describe their activities in terms of ‘research’ – formulating ‘research questions’, ‘research narratives’, ‘aims’ and ‘outcomes’. Research plans and funding applications require one to specify the nature of the original contribution that will be made by a piece of music, even before it is composed. These requirements lead to an emphasis on collaborative work, technology and superficial novelty of format. Yet the very idea that musical composition is a form of research is a category error: music is a domain of thought whose cognitive dimension lies in embodiment, revelation or presentation, but not in investigation and description. It is argued here that the idea of composition as research is not only objectively false but inimical to genuine musical originality.

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." --Stephen R. Covey

"Every transition involves to some extent the killing off of the old self"

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay

Put The Other Thoughts Down

Get Shit Done, etc.

Creating opportunities;

  • McDonald’s Theory - I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s. An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!

times for the specific, times for the general. FOCUS.

"(By the way, try thinking about Imposter Syndrome and the Dunning–Kruger effect in a loop sometime. Fastest way to feeling worthless and confused that I've ever found.)"

golden thread;

silver thread

  • connects to astral plane

inner funk (idm)

  • The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday | Typesense - If you want to find some modest success and independence by launching your own product, and wished to do so without too much risk, I invite you to try this playbook: Pick an idea in a large market that will always be in demand and work on a product that caters to a subset of use cases exceedingly well. [92]


See also;

  • A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying - The advice is as maddening as it is inescapable. It’s the default prescription for any tense situation: a blind date, a speech, a job interview, the first dinner with the potential in-laws. “Our culture is very good at pushing people to work hard or acquire particular technical skills,” Dr. Slingerland says. “But in many domains actual success requires the ability to transcend our training and relax completely into what we are doing, or simply forget ourselves as agents.” He likes the compromise approach of Mencius, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century B.C. who combined the Confucian and Taoist approaches: Try, but not too hard. Mencius told a parable about a grain farmer who returned one evening exhausted from his labors. “I’ve been out in the fields helping the sprouts grow,” he explained, whereupon his worried sons rushed out to see the results. They found a bunch of shriveled sprouts that he’d yanked to death. The sprouts were Mencius’ conception of wu wei: Something natural that requires gentle cultivation. You plant the seeds and water the sprouts, but at some point you need to let nature take its course. Just let the sprouts be themselves. [94]

So for a study recently published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, scientists at Wayne State University School of Medicine and other institutions gathered a dozen rats. They settled half of them in cages with running wheels and let the animals run at will. Rats like running, and these animals were soon covering about three miles a day on their wheels. The other rats were housed in cages without wheels and remained sedentary.

After almost three months of resting or running, the animals were injected with a special dye that colors certain neurons in the brain. In this case, the scientists wanted to mark neurons in the animals’ rostral ventrolateral medulla, an obscure portion of the brain that controls breathing and other unconscious activities central to our existence.

The neurons in the brains of the running rats were still shaped much as they had been at the start of the study and were functioning normally, but many of the neurons in the brains of the sedentary rats had sprouted far more new tentacle-like arms known as branches. Branches connect healthy neurons into the nervous system. But these neurons now had more branches than normal neurons would have, making them more sensitive to stimuli and apt to zap scattershot messages into the nervous system.

In effect, these neurons had changed in ways that made them likely to overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing blood pressure and contributing to the development of heart disease.

The rostral ventrolateral medulla commands the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which among other things controls blood pressure on a minute-by-minute basis by altering blood-vessel constriction. Although most of the science related to the rostral ventrolateral medulla has been completed using animals, imaging studies in people suggest that we have the same brain region and it functions similarly.

A well-regulated sympathetic nervous system correctly directs blood vessels to widen or contract as needed and blood to flow, so that you can, say, scurry away from a predator or rise from your office chair without fainting. But an overly responsive sympathetic nervous system is problematic, said Patrick Mueller, an associate professor of physiology at Wayne State University who oversaw the new study. Recent science shows that “overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to cardiovascular disease,” he said, by stimulating blood vessels to constrict too much, too little or too often, leading to high blood pressure and cardiovascular damage.

The sympathetic nervous system will respond erratically and dangerously, scientists theorize, if it is receiving too many and possibly garbled messages from neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla.

  • Wheel running in the wild - "The importance of exercise for health and neurogenesis is becoming increasingly clear. Wheel running is often used in the laboratory for triggering enhanced activity levels, despite the common objection that this behaviour is an artefact of captivity and merely signifies neurosis or stereotypy. If wheel running is indeed caused by captive housing, wild mice are not expected to use a running wheel in nature. This however, to our knowledge, has never been tested. Here, we show that when running wheels are placed in nature, they are frequently used by wild mice, also when no extrinsic reward is provided. Bout lengths of running wheel behaviour in the wild match those for captive mice. This finding falsifies one criterion for stereotypic behaviour, and suggests that running wheel activity is an elective behaviour. In a time when lifestyle in general and lack of exercise in particular are a major cause of disease in the modern world, research into physical activity is of utmost importance. Our findings may help alleviate the main concern regarding the use of running wheels in research on exercise."

  • - or deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later. A growing body of literature has linked the ability to delay gratification to a host of other positive outcomes, including academic success, physical health, psychological health, and social competence.

  • - also known as tsog, ganapuja, cakrapuja or ganacakrapuja. It is a generic term for various tantric assemblies or feasts, in which practitioners meet to chant mantra, enact mudra, make votive offerings and practice various tantric rituals as part of a sādhanā, or spiritual practice. The ganachakra often comprises a sacramental meal and festivities such as dancing; the feast generally consisting of materials that were considered forbidden or taboo in medieval India, where the tantric movement arose. As a tantric practice, forms of gaṇacakra are practiced today in Hinduism, Bön and Vajrayāna Buddhism.
  •érive - French: "drift", in psychogeography is an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience. Situationist theorist Guy Debord defines the dérive as "a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances." He also notes that "the term also designates a specific uninterrupted period of dériving."

  • - a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. Happenings occur anywhere and are often multi-disciplinary, with a nonlinear narrative and the active participation of the audience. Key elements of happenings are planned but artists sometimes retain room for improvisation. This new media art aspect to happenings eliminates the boundary between the artwork and its viewer. In the late 1960s, perhaps due to the depiction in films of hippie culture, the term was used much less specifically to mean any gathering of interest from a pool hall meetup or a jamming of a few young people to a beer blast or fancy formal party.

  • - the belief that one reaches a socially perceived definition of success through hard work and education. In this view, factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, economic background, social networks, or neighborhoods/geography are secondary to hard work and education or are altogether irrelevant in the pursuit of success.


to sort/reorder

See also Organisation#Communication, Health

  • - expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict. The effectiveness of the coping efforts depend on the type of stress and/or conflict, the particular individual, and the circumstances. Psychological coping mechanisms are commonly termed coping strategies or coping skills. Unconscious or non conscious strategies (e.g. defense mechanisms) are generally excluded. The term coping generally refers to adaptive or constructive coping strategies, i.e. the strategies reduce stress levels. However, some coping strategies can be considered maladaptive, i.e. stress levels increase. Maladaptive coping can thus be described, in effect, as non-coping. Furthermore, the term coping generally refers to reactive coping, i.e. the coping response follows the stressor. This contrasts with proactive coping, in which a coping response aims to head off a future stressor. Coping responses are partly controlled by personality (habitual traits), but also partly by the social environment, particularly the nature of the stressful environment.

  • Self-Absorption: Why You MUST Like Yourself - As such, you’ll be so desperately self-absorbed in your self-worth crisis that you will instinctively try to manipulate people into giving you validation as a means of self-preservation (fishing for compliments, boasting excessively, etc.).

"Optimists explain good things as being personal, general, and permanent, and explain away bad things as being impersonal, specific, and temporary. And if you point out the contradiction in their explanations, they see no contradiction. To them, the bad stuff really isn't about them, it's just that one thing that one time.

"Let's think about those three things whenever we look at someone or something. Let's think of the positives as personal, general, and permanent. Let's think of the negatives as impersonal, specific, and temporary. Let's actually go out of our way to inject these three things into our discussions and debates and flame wars."

"He tips forward, performs an awkward jump and splashes inelegantly into the water. Inelegant, but he's done it! His mother and I smile; the girls laugh a little, but not in a mean way, and quickly get back to their own chatter; the children hardly register, so impatient for their own turns.

"Alex resurfaces, his first words are not "awesome!" or even "yes!" but "I failed!", and with half a smile he punches the water. Again, "I failed!".

"Alex's mind has almost completely bifurcated at this point. One half is silently pleased, glad that he jumped at all, even if it sucked, and feeling a surge of adrenaline from the stunt. But the vocal half of his mind, that has been shaped by his 16 years in this world, and millions of years of evolution, has kicked into "rejection protection" mode. It has anticipated that his mother, the girls, the children, and I, would all be laughing at him uncontrollably, and shunning him from our lives forever more - kicking him out of the tribe. In a last ditch effort for acceptance, and to protect himself, he cries "I failed!", as if the rejection is justified.

"His cry of failure cuts me deeper than I expect. In it I see my cries of failure, my tears of frustration in years gone by at my inability to just achieve things on the first, second, tenth try and to be accepted. As if we are all born perfect divers, skateboarders, mathematicians, lovers. As if the fact that we tried at all, even if we failed, is unimportant. How ridiculous a life to lead. To think that we should be perfect on our first, second even hundredth try. What a world this would be if we perfected everything instantly. How trivial, how easy, how boring!

"I know now what I should have done. What would have made Alex, myself and possibly everyone else feel much better about the world at that point. I should have congratulated him in his attempt. I should have walked over to him as he got out of the pool, stuck up my hand for a high-five, and said "good job! now go do it again", with a big sincere smile on my face.

"But I didn't. I didn't even think about it, but next time, I will.

"Good job Alex, good job."

"This philosophy feels so good that I’ve playfully decided to apply this “EVERYTHING IS MY FAULT” rule to the rest of my life.

"It's one of those base rules like “people mean well” that's more fun to believe, and have a few exceptions, than to not believe at all.

"The guy that stole $9000 from me? My fault. I should have verified his claims. The love of my life that dumped me out of the blue (by email!) after 6 years? My fault. I let our relationship plateau. Someone was rude to me today? My fault. I could have lightened their mood beforehand. Don’t like my government? My fault. I could get involved and change the world. See what power it is?

Yes, the word “responsibility” is more accurate, but it's such a serious 6-syllable word, whereas “everything’s my fault” is a fun rule-of-thumb, and gets me singing Nirvana’s “All Apologies”.

Try it on. Stand up, open the window, look out at the world and shout, “Everything is my fault!”


"I was thinking about the Carmelite’s emphasis on passion and the Buddhist’s parallel emphasis on equanimity. This somehow seemed more important to me than the age-old argument about theism versus nontheism that these two groups usually engage in, and which seems beside the point to me. It suddenly occurred to me that our normal understanding of what passion means is loaded with the idea of clinging, of wanting something or someone, of fearing losing them, of possessiveness.

"What if you had passion without all that stuff, passion without attachment, passion clean and pure? What would that be like, what would that mean? I thought of those moments in meditation when I’ve felt my heart open, a painfully wonderful sensation, a passionate feeling but without clinging to any content or person or thing. And the two words suddenly coupled in my mind and made a whole. Passionate equanimity, passionate equanimity – to be fully passionate about all aspects of life, about one’s relationship with spirit, to care to the depths of one’s being but with no trace of clinging or holding, that’s what the phrase has come to mean to me. It feels full, rounded, complete, and challenging. This feels very right to me, very deep to me, very central to what I have been working on for many years, going back to the name change. It’s like the first part of my life was learning passion. The life after cancer, equanimity. And now bringing them together. This feels so important! And it seems slowly but surely to be permeating all aspects of my life. I still have a ways to go! But it feels like I can finally see the road clearly, on that 'journey without goal.'"

And as for the task before me, it means to work passionately for life, without attachment to results. Passionate equanimity, passionate equanimity. So appropriate!"


  • - or need for closure (NFC) (used interchangeably with need for cognitive closure (NFCC)) are psychological terms that describe an individual's desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity. The term "need" denotes a motivated tendency to seek out information

  • - suggests that positive emotions (viz. enjoyment/happiness/joy, and perhaps interest/anticipation) broaden one's awareness and encourage novel, varied, and exploratory thoughts and actions. Over time, this broadened behavioral repertoire builds skills and resources. For example, curiosity about a landscape becomes valuable navigational knowledge; pleasant interactions with a stranger become a supportive friendship; aimless physical play becomes exercise and physical excellence.

This is in contrast to negative emotions, which prompt narrow, immediate survival-oriented behaviors. For example, the negative emotion of anxiety leads to the specific fight-or-flight response for immediate survival. On the other hand, positive emotions do not have any immediate survival value, because they take one's mind off immediate needs and stressors. However, over time, the skills and resources built by broadened behavior enhance survival. When a life-threatening event occurs, people typically have a narrow range of possible responses or urges. Having a limited number of urges, called specific action tendencies, quickens a person’s response time in these situations. While negative emotions experienced during life-threatening situations narrow an individual’s thought-action repertoire, positive emotions present new possibilities, providing the individual with a wider range of thoughts and actions to choose to draw upon.

The broaden-and-build theory is an exploration of the evolved function of positive emotions. It was developed by Barbara Fredrickson starting around 1998 and is commonly associated with positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory has substantial support. Barbara Fredrickson has conducted randomized controlled lab studies in which participants are randomly assigned to watch films that induce positive emotions such as amusement and contentment, negative emotions such as fear and sadness, or no emotions. Compared to people in the other conditions, participants who experience positive emotions show heightened levels of creativity, inventiveness, and "big picture" perceptual focus. Longitudinal intervention studies show that positive emotions play a role in the development of long-term resource such as psychological resilience and flourishing. Not only are positive emotions a sign of flourishing, or thriving and expanding in life rather than simply surviving life, they can also help create flourishing in the present and in the future. Because positive emotions positively broaden and build one’s thought-action repertoires they lead to increased resources and more satisfied lives.

  • - is "the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment", which can be trained by meditational practices derived from Buddhist anapanasati. It has been popularized in the west by Jon Kabat-Zinn with his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Clinical psychology and psychiatry since the 1970s have developed a number of therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people suffering from a variety of psychological conditions. Clinical studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general, and MBSR in particular. Programs based on MBSR and similar models have been widely adapted in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and other environments.

  • - a process of communication through which one person reveals himself or herself to another. It comprises everything an individual chooses to tell the other person about himself or herself, making him or her known. The information can be descriptive or evaluative and can include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, dreams as well as one's likes, dislikes, and favorites. According to social penetration theory, there are two dimensions to self-disclosure: breadth and depth. Both are crucial in developing a fully intimate relationship. The range of topics discussed by two individuals is the breadth of disclosure. The degree to which the information revealed is private or personal is the depth of that disclosure. It is easier for breadth to be expanded first in a relationship because of its more accessible features; it consists of outer layers of personality and everyday lives, such as occupations and preferences. Depth is more difficult to reach, given its inner location; it includes painful memories and more unusual traits that we might try to hide from most people. This is why we reveal ourselves most thoroughly and discuss the widest range of topics with our spouses and loved ones. Self-disclosure is an important building block for intimacy; intimacy cannot be achieved without it. We expect self-disclosure to be reciprocal and appropriate. Self-disclosure can be assessed by an analysis of cost and rewards which can be further explained by social exchange theory. Most self-disclosure occurs early in relational development, but more intimate self-disclosure occurs later.

  • - In cognitive therapy, decatastrophizing or decatastrophization is a cognitive restructuring technique to treat cognitive distortions, such as magnification and catastrophizing, commonly seen in psychological disorders like anxiety and psychosis. The technique consists of confronting the worst-case scenario of a feared event or object, using mental imagery to examine whether the effects of the event or object have been overestimated (magnified or exaggerated) and where the patient's coping skills have been underestimated. The term was coined by Albert Ellis, and various versions of the technique have been developed, most notably by Aaron T. Beck. Decatastrophizing is also called the "what if" technique, because the worst-case scenario is confronted by asking: "What if the feared event or object happened, what would occur then?"
  • - "Plant seeds everywhere you can. See empty space drop seeds from your consumables or whatever. lets regrow the land. floral, vegetation, herbal. start a revolution. seeds will thrive. it may take time, but the change. free food, medicines and of course the floral for the bees"


"Berlyne was above all a motivation theorist. He wanted to know why organisms display curiosity and explore their environment, why they seek knowledge and information, why they look at paintings or listen to music, what directs their train of thought. All of these diverse questions were dealt with in the context of what may be labeled a theory "collative" motivation. The theory is essentially concerned with the hedonic effects of fluctuations in arousal level induced by exposure to stimuli differing in attributes such as novelty, complexity, surprisingness, and incongruity. Berlyne termed these stimulus dimensions "collative" in part to indicate that their effects are linked to operations that include comparing the currently present stimuli to those experienced in the past and evaluating the discrepancy between stimuli and expectations, but also to distinguish them from the more frequently studied classes of stimuli, notably the "psychophysical" (e. g., loudness) and the "ecological" ones (whose effects are derived from past associations with reward and punishment)."

Reward system


  • - an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport once described attitudes "the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology." Attitude can be formed from a person's past and present. Key topics in the study of attitudes include attitude measurement, attitude change, consumer behavior, and attitude-behavior relationships.

An attitude is an evaluation of an attitude object, ranging from extremely negative to extremely positive. Most contemporary perspectives on attitudes also permit that people can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object by simultaneously holding both positive and negative attitudes toward the same object. This has led to some discussion of whether individual can hold multiple attitudes toward the same object. An attitude can be as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities, and ideas. It could be concrete, abstract or just about anything in your environment, but there is a debate about precise definitions. Eagly and Chaiken, for example, define an attitude as "a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor."

Though it is sometimes common to define an attitude as affect toward an object, affect (i.e., discrete emotions or overall arousal) is generally understood to be distinct from attitude as a measure of favorability. Attitude may influence the attention to attitude objects, the use of categories for encoding information and the interpretation, judgement and recall of attitude-relevant information. These influences tend to be more powerful for strong attitudes which are easily accessible and based an elaborate knowledge structure. Attitudes may guide attention and encoding automatically, even if the individual is pursuing unrelated goals.

Attitude is one of Jung's 57 definitions in Chapter XI of Psychological Types. Jung's definition of attitude is a "readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way". Attitudes very often come in pairs, one conscious and the other unconscious. Within this broad definition Jung defines several attitudes. The main (but not only) attitude dualities that Jung defines are the following:

  • Consciousness and the unconscious. The "presence of two attitudes is extremely frequent, one conscious and the other unconscious. This means that consciousness has a constellation of contents different from that of the unconscious, a duality particularly evident in neurosis".
  • Extraversion and introversion. This pair is so elementary to Jung's theory of types that he labeled them the "attitude-types".
  • Rational and irrational attitudes. "I conceive reason as an attitude".
  • The rational attitude subdivides into the thinking and feeling psychological functions, each with its attitude.
  • The irrational attitude subdivides into the sensing and intuition psychological functions, each with its attitude. "There is thus a typical thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuitive attitude".
  • Individual and social attitudes. Many of the latter are "isms".

  • - when a single idea (an image, memory, or thought) appropriates the whole charge of libido of at least two other ideas. The charges are displaced from the originating ideas to the receiving one, where they merge and "condense" together.

In the 1950s the concept was used by linguist Roman Jakobson in his influential lecture on metaphor and metonymy. Jakobson's lecture led Jacques Lacan to say that the unconscious is structured like a language.

  • - a term used in Freudian psychoanalysis to refer to the energy of the death instinct, formed on analogy to the term libido. In the early 21st century, the term has been used more rarely, but still designates the destructive side of psychic energy.

  • captation - The French word captation (and its rare English cognate) has a Latin root meaning "capture" or "seizure"; French law uses the term to describe situations in which a person takes control of another person through manipulation. In Lacan's use, the term describes the way particular images, as well as elements of external reality, can "catch hold" of the psyche and become important formative agents for the subject. We approach this meaning when we speak of something "capturing" our attention or "captivating" us.

Insofar as the "I" of consciousness comes into being through captation--through an encounter with something external to it (an image emanating from "outside' the subject, even if it is the reflected image of the subject's own body)--we cannot view the "I" of Descartes's "I think, therefore I am" (the Cogito) as in inborn, self-contained unit. At the end of the essay on the mirror stage, Lacan suggests that captation is also a function in the formation of psychosis.

  • - a theory of attitude change, proposed by Fritz Heider. It conceptualizes the cognitive consistency motive as a drive toward psychological balance. The consistency motive is the urge to maintain one's values and beliefs over time. Heider proposed that "sentiment" or liking relationships are balanced if the affect valence in a system multiplies out to a positive result.

One might think that a valued algebraic graph is necessary to represent psycho-social reality, if it is to take into account the degree of intensity of interpersonal relationships. But in fact it then seems hardly possible to define the balance of a graph, not for mathematical but for psychological reasons. If the relationship AB is +3, the relationship BC is –4, what should the AC relationship be in order that the triangle be balanced ? The psychological hypotheses are wanting, or rather they are numerous and little justified.

  • - Developed by Edward Tory Higgins in 1987, the theory provides a platform for understanding how different types of discrepancies between representations of the self are related to different kinds of emotional vulnerabilities. It maintains close ties to a long-standing tradition of belief-incongruity research. Higgins sought to illustrate that internal disagreement causes emotional and psychological turmoil. Before, many theories such as the self-inconsistency theory, the cognitive dissonance theory, and the imbalance theory (e.g., Heider, 1958), had done just that; however, Higgins aspired to predict and define what distinct emotions the cognitive imbalances would result in. Previous self-imbalance theories had recognized only positive or negative emotions, in a general sense, associated with the belief inconsistency. The self-discrepancy theory was the first to improve on these generalizations and assign specific emotions and affects to the disparity. It asserts two cognitive dimensions from which various self-states are measured: domains of the self and standpoints of the self.

The theory proposes how a variety of self-discrepancies represents a variety of types of negative psychological situations that are associated with different kinds of discomfort (p. 319). A primary goal of the self-discrepancy theory is to help aid in predicting which types of incongruent ideas will cause such individuals to feel different kinds of negative emotions (p. 319).

The structure of the theory was built based on three ideas: to distinguish among the different kinds of discomfort felt by those people holding incongruent ideals experienced, to relate the different possible kinds of emotional vulnerabilities felt by the different types of discrepancies that people may have for the self, and to consider the role of both the availability and accessibility to the different discrepancies that may potentially have in influencing the kind and type of discomfort they are most likely to experience. Also, the theory suggests that individuals are motivated to reach a goal of where the self-concept matches the appropriate self-guides

"Meyer and Allen's (1991, 1997) three component conceptualization of organizational commitment (OC) includes affective (AC), continuance (CC), and normative (NC) commitment. However, AC and NC have not been as empirically differentiated as theoretically expected. Drawing on the extant literature, I review, integrate, and expand on arguments and evidence about the lack of AC-NC differentiation. I also propose several avenues for research that could help commitment scholars attain a clearer picture of the true relationship between AC and NC, as the extant literature has inadequately addressed many issues regarding construct differentiation. Specific, testable propositions address a variety of facets of the commitment literature, including construct definition and measurement, developmental processes, relationships among the components and their unique and joint effects on outcomes, and potential moderators of the AC-NC relationship. The goal of this paper is to spur future research into the AC-NC relationship in order to gain greater construct clarity.."

"The author outlines a radically different decision-making model form the one widely used in Economics and in Psychology. Accordingly, most choices are made on the basis of emotional involvements and value commitments. Information processing is often excluded. In other areas of choices, emotions and values allow for some subsets of options to be rationally considered but ‘color’ them and/or short cut the deliberations. In a still other subset emotion/values require rational decision-making. Emotions and values are not necessarily disruptive; they have positive functions. Cognitivists’ objections to the concept of emotions are responded to. Problems of operationalization are raised. The question, if the concepts of emotions and values can be incorporated into the neoclassical paradigm, is explored."

"At critical moments in time, you can raise the aspirations of other people significantly, especially when they are relatively young, simply by suggesting they do something better or more ambitious than what they might have in mind. It costs you relatively little to do this, but the benefit to them, and to the broader world, may be enormous."


  • - an inwardly directed emotion that carries two antithetical meanings. With a negative connotation pride refers to a foolishly and irrationally corrupt sense of one's personal value, status or accomplishments, used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a humble and content sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others. Some social psychologists identify the nonverbal expression of pride as a means of sending a functional, automatically perceived signal of high social status. In contrast pride could also be defined as a lowly disagreement with the truth. One definition of pride in the former sense comes from St. Augustine: "the love of one's own excellence". A similar definition comes from Meher Baba: "Pride is the specific feeling through which egoism manifests."

Pride is sometimes viewed as corrupt or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. While some philosophers such as Aristotle (and George Bernard Shaw) consider pride (but not hubris) a profound virtue, some world religions consider pride's fraudulent form a sin, such as is expressed in Proverbs 11:2 of the Old Testament. In Christianity, pride is one of the Seven Capital Sins. When viewed as a virtue, pride in one's abilities is known as virtuous pride, greatness of soul or magnanimity, but when viewed as a vice it is often known to be self-idolatry, sadistic contempt, vanity or vainglory. Pride can also manifest itself as a high opinion of one's nation (national pride) and ethnicity (ethnic pride).


See also Organisation, Media

  • - or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how humans communicate. Human communication is grounded in cooperative and shared intentions. Richmond and McCroskey (2009) state that "the importance of communication in human society has been recognized for thousands of years, far longer than we can demonstrate through recorded history.":223 Humans have communication abilities that other animals do not. Being able to communicate aspects like time and place as though they were solid objects are a few examples. It is said that humans communicate to request help, to inform others, and to share attitudes as a way of bonding.

  • - an exchange of information between two or more people. It is also an area of study. Communication skills are developed and may be enhanced or improved with increased knowledge and practice. During interpersonal communication there is message sending and message receiving. This can be conducted using both direct and indirect methods. Successful interpersonal communication is when the message senders and the message receivers understand the message.

A large number of scholars collectively identify with and use the term interpersonal communication to describe their own work. These scholars, however, also recognize that there is a considerable variety in how they and their colleagues conceptually and operationally define this area of study. In some regards, the construct of interpersonal communication is like the phenomena it represents- that is, it is dynamic and changing. Thus, attempts to identify exactly what interpersonal communication is or is not are often frustrating and fall short of consensus. Additionally, many who research and theorize about interpersonal communication do so from across many different research paradigms and theoretical traditions.

While there are many definitions available, interpersonal communication is often defined as the communication that takes place between people who are interdependent and have some knowledge of each other. Interpersonal communication includes what takes place between a son and his father, an employer and an employee, two sisters, a teacher and a student, two lovers, two friends, and so on. Although largely dyadic in nature, interpersonal communication is often extended to include small intimate groups such as the family. Interpersonal communication can take place in face-to-face settings, as well as through media platforms, such as social media.

The study of interpersonal communication looks at a variety of elements that contribute to the interpersonal communication experience. Both quantitative/social scientific methods and qualitative methods are used to explore interpersonal communication. Additionally, a biological and physiological perspective on interpersonal communication is a growing field. Within the study of interpersonal communication, some of concepts explored include the following: personality, knowledge structures and social interaction, language, nonverbal signals, emotion experience and expression, supportive communication, social networks and the life of relationships, influence, conflict, computer-mediated communication, interpersonal skills, interpersonal communication in the workplace, intercultural perspectives on interpersonal communication, escalation and de-escalation of romantic relationships, interpersonal communication and healthcare, family relationships, and communication across the life span.[1]

Interpersonal communication can fail to serve its purpose if too many symbolic gestures are used as there is a fair chance that no two individual will attach same meaning to a symbolic meaning which is referred to as bypassing and when there is lack of language and listening skills. Emotional interference and physical distractions like faulty acoustics and noisy surroundings also acts as a barrier to interpersonal communication.

  1. Just to make a connection and create intimacy
  2. To impart information or tell a story or yarn
  3. Asking for or offering support, or acknowledgement, or endearment, validation
  4. Make a decision, involving others advise or help, or making a decision together
  5. Solve a problem, want advise, or someone to help solve, sometimes this is making a decision
  1. Story, discussion, checking in, infodump
  2. Sympathy, gratitude, acknowledgement, supportive, validation
  3. Decision, problem solve, impart/receive information, seeking help or co-decision

  • - a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about how a piece of information is meant to be interpreted. It is based on idea that the same message accompanied by different meta-communication can mean something entirely different, including its opposite, as in irony. The term was brought to prominence by Gregory Bateson to refer to "communication about communication", which he expanded to: "all exchanged cues and propositions about (a) codification and (b) relationship between the communicators". Metacommunication may or may not be congruent, supportive or contradictory of that verbal communication.

  • - or communication science is an academic discipline that deals with processes of human communication and behavior, patterns of communication in interpersonal relationships, social interactions and communication in different cultures. Communication is commonly defined as giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages through appropriate media, enabling individuals or groups to persuade, to seek information, to give information or to express emotions effectively. Communication studies is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge that encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation at a level of individual agency and interaction to social and cultural communication systems at a macro level.

Scholarly communication theorists focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of communication, examining statistics in order to help substantiate claims. The range of social scientific methods to study communication has been expanding. Communication researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-20th century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of communication. Conversely, the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically, and computationally focused techniques.[failed verification] As a field of study, communication is applied to journalism, business, mass media, public relations, marketing, news and television broadcasting, interpersonal and intercultural communication, education, public administration—and beyond. As all spheres of human activity and conveyance are affected by the interplay between social communication structure and individual agency, communication studies has gradually expanded its focus to other domains, such as health, medicine, economy, military and penal institutions, the Internet, social capital, and the role of communicative activity in the development of scientific knowledge.


to move

See also Mind#Emotions, Mind#Somatic


  • PNAS: Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes - As a part of social cognition, people automatically construct rich models of other people’s vision. Here we show that when people judge the mechanical forces acting on an object, their judgments are biased by another person gazing at the object. The bias is consistent with an implicit perception that gaze adds a gentle force, pushing on the object. The bias was present even though the participants were not explicitly aware of it and claimed that they did not believe in an extramission view of vision (a common folk view of vision in which the eyes emit an invisible energy). A similar result was not obtained on control trials when participants saw a blindfolded face turned toward the object, or a face with open eyes turned away from the object. The findings suggest that people automatically and implicitly generate a model of other people’s vision that uses the simplifying construct of beams coming out of the eyes. This implicit model of active gaze may be a hidden, yet fundamental, part of the rich process of social cognition, contributing to how we perceive visual agency. It may also help explain the extraordinary cultural persistence of the extramission myth of vision. [105]


In semantics and discourse analysis: Discourse is a conceptual generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication.

The totality of codified language (vocabulary) used in a given field of intellectual enquiry and of social practice, such as legal discourse, medical discourse, religious discourse, et cetera. In the work of Michel Foucault, and that of the social theoreticians he inspired: discourse describes "an entity of sequences, of signs, in that they are enouncements (énoncés)", statements in conversation.

As discourse, an enouncement (statement) is not a unit of semiotic signs, but an abstract construct that allows the semiotic signs to assign meaning, and so communicate specific, repeatable communications to, between, and among objects, subjects, and statements. Therefore, a discourse is composed of semiotic sequences (relations among signs that communicate meaning) between and among objects, subjects, and statements.

The term "discursive formation" (French: formation discursive) conceptually describes the regular communications (written and spoken) that produce such discourses, such conversations. As a philosopher, Michel Foucault applied the discursive formation in the analyses of large bodies of knowledge, such as political economy and natural history.

In the first sense-usage (semantics and discourse analysis), the term discourse is studied in corpus linguistics, the study of language expressed in corpora (samples) of "real world" text. In the second sense (the codified language of a field of enquiry) and in the third sense (a statement, un énoncé), the analysis of a discourse examines and determines the connections among language and structure and agency.

Moreover, because a discourse is a body of text meant to communicate specific data, information, and knowledge, there exist internal relations in the content of a given discourse; likewise, there exist external relations among discourses. As such, a discourse does not exist per se (in itself), but is related to other discourses, by way of inter-discursivity; therefore, in the course of intellectual enquiry, the discourse among researchers features the questions and answers of What is ...? and What is not. ..., conducted according to the meanings (denotation and connotation) of the concepts (statements) used in the given field of enquiry, such as anthropology, ethnography, and sociology; cultural studies and literary theory; the philosophy of science and feminism.

  • - in the formal sciences, the domain of discourse, also called the universe of discourse, universal set, or simply universe, is the set of entities over which certain variables of interest in some formal treatment may range.

See also Chat, Comms#Structured debate

  • - a type of argument that attempts to establish normative or ethical truths by examining the presuppositions of discourse.[citation needed] Variations of this argument have been used in the establishment of egalitarian ethics, as well as libertarian ethics.
  • - a libertarian political theory developed in 1988 by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a Professor Emeritus with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business and Ludwig von Mises Institute Senior Fellow. Argumentation ethics aims to prove that arguing for any ethical position other than libertarian anarchism and the non-aggression principle is logically incoherent. Responses have mainly come from Hoppe's colleagues at the Mises Institute, among whom the argument's reception has been mixed. Hoppe states that because both parties in a debate propound propositions in the course of argumentation, and because argumentation presupposes various norms including non-violence, the act of propounding a proposition that negates the presupposed norms of argumentation is a logical contradiction between one's actions and one's words (a performative contradiction). Specifically, to argue that violence should be used to resolve conflicts (instead of argumentation) is a performative contradiction. Thus, Hoppe argues that arguing against libertarian anarchism and the non-aggression principle is logically incoherent.


"When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true. ... People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others."

  • - cybernetic and dialectic framework that offers a scientific theory to explain how interactions lead to "construction of knowledge", or "knowing": wishing to preserve both the dynamic/kinetic quality, and the necessity for there to be a "knower". 70s.

The objects of discourse analysis—discourse, writing, conversation, communicative event—are variously defined in terms of coherent sequences of sentences, propositions, speech, or turns-at-talk. Contrary to much of traditional linguistics, discourse analysts not only study language use 'beyond the sentence boundary', but also prefer to analyze 'naturally occurring' language use, and not invented examples. Text linguistics is a closely related field. The essential difference between discourse analysis and text linguistics is that discourse analysis aims at revealing socio-psychological characteristics of a person/persons rather than text structure.

Discourse analysis has been taken up in a variety of social science disciplines, including linguistics, education, sociology, anthropology, social work, cognitive psychology, social psychology, area studies, cultural studies, international relations, human geography, communication studies, and translation studies, each of which is subject to its own assumptions, dimensions of analysis, and methodologies.

  • - the study of how a person's first language and culture influence his or her writing in a second language. Kaplan’s (1966) research pioneered the attention to cultural and linguistic differences in the writing of ESL students. This attention to writing was especially welcomed in the area of ESL instruction, as an emphasis on spoken-language skills had previously dominated ESL contexts in the United States. Two major factors—the acknowledgment of more genres with specific textual requirements and increased awareness of the social contexts of writing—have motivated scholars of contrastive rhetoric to adjust and supplement research approaches in their work.

Intercultural rhetoric better describes the broadening trends of writing across languages and cultures. It preserves the traditional approaches that use textual analysis, genre analysis, and corpus analysis, yet also introduces ethnographic approaches that examine language in interactions. Furthermore, it connotes the analysis of texts that allows for dynamic definitions of culture and the inclusion of smaller cultures (e.g., disciplinary, classroom) in the analysis.

  • - a form of discourse analysis that focuses on psychological themes in talk, text and images. As a counter to mainstream psychology’s treatment of discourse as a “mirror” for people’s expressions of thoughts, intentions, motives, etc., DP’s founders made the case for picturing it instead as if a “construction yard” wherein all such presumptively prior and independent notions of thought and so on were built from linguistic materials, topicalised and, in various less direct ways, handled and managed. Here, the study of the psychological implies commitment not to the inner life of the mind, but rather, to the written and spoken practices within which people invoked, implicitly or explicitly, notions precisely like “the inner life of the mind”. Discursive psychology therefore starts with psychological phenomena as things that are constructed, attended to, and understood in interaction. An evaluation, say, may be constructed using particular phrases and idioms, responded to by the recipient (as a compliment perhaps) and treated as the expression of a strong position. In discursive psychology the focus is not on psychological matters somehow leaking out into interaction; rather interaction is the primary site where psychological issues are live. It is philosophically opposed to more traditional cognitivist approaches to language. It uses studies of naturally occurring conversation to critique the way that topics have been conceptualised and treated in psychology.

  • - an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice and focuses on the ways social and political domination are reproduced in text and talk. Since Norman Fairclough's Language and Power in 1989, CDA has been deployed as a method of multidisciplinary analysis throughout the humanities and social sciences. It does not confine itself only to method, though the overriding assumption shared by CDA practitioners is that language and power are linked.

Although CDA is sometimes mistaken to represent a 'method' of discourse analysis, it is generally agreed upon that any explicit method in discourse studies, the humanities and social sciences may be used in CDA research, as long as it is able to adequately and relevantly produce insights into the way discourse reproduces (or resists) social and political inequality, power abuse or domination.[citation needed] That is, CDA does not limit its analysis to specific structures of text or talk, but systematically relates these to structures of the sociopolitical context.

  • - and communication guerrilla refer to an attempt to provoke subversive effects through interventions in the process of communication. It can be distinguished from other classes of political action because it is not based on the critique of the dominant discourses but in the interpretation of the signs in a different way. Its main goal is to make a critical non-questioning of the existing,[clarification needed] for reasons ranging from political activism to marketing. In terms of marketing, journalist Warren Berger explains unconventional guerrilla-style advertising as "something that lurks all around, hits us where we live, and invariably takes us by surprise". These premises apply to the entire spectrum of guerrilla communication because each tactic intends to disrupt cognitive schemas and thought processing.

  • - the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific art of public preaching. One who practices or studies homiletics may be called a homilist, or more colloquially a preacher.


  • - a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to European and Indian philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues. The dialectical method is discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter guided by reasoned arguments.

The term dialectics is not synonymous with the term debate. While in theory debaters are not necessarily emotionally invested in their point of view, in practice debaters frequently display an emotional commitment that may cloud rational judgement. Debates are won through a combination of persuading the opponent; proving one's argument correct; or proving the opponent's argument incorrect. Debates do not necessarily require promptly identifying a clear winner or loser; however clear winners are frequently determined by either a judge, jury, or by group consensus. The term dialectics is also not synonymous with the term rhetoric, a method or art of discourse that seeks to persuade, inform, or motivate an audience.

Different forms of dialectical reasoning have emerged throughout history from the Indosphere (Greater India) and the West (Europe). These forms include the Socratic method, Hindu, Buddhist, Medieval, Hegelian dialectics, Marxist, Talmudic, and Neo-orthodoxy.

  • - is disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don't know, to follow out logical implications of thought or to control the discussion. The key to distinguishing Socratic questioning from questioning per se is that Socratic questioning is systematic, disciplined, deep and usually focuses on fundamental concepts, principles, theories, issues or problems.

  • - named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer's own point.

A Socratic Circle (also known as a Socratic Seminar) is a pedagogical approach based on the Socratic method and uses a dialogic approach to understand information in a text. Its systematic procedure is used to examine a text through questions and answers founded on the beliefs that all new knowledge is connected to prior knowledge, that all thinking comes from asking questions, and that asking one question should lead to asking further questions.A Socratic Circle is not a debate. The goal of this activity is to have participants work together to construct meaning and arrive at an answer, not for one student or one group to “win the argument”.

A dialogic process stands in contrast to a dialectic process (proposed by G. W. F. Hegel):

  • In a dialectic process describing the interaction and resolution between multiple paradigms or ideologies, one putative solution establishes primacy over the others. The goal of a dialectic process is to merge point and counterpoint (thesis and antithesis) into a compromise or other state of agreement via conflict and tension (synthesis). "Synthesis that evolves from the opposition between thesis and antithesis." Examples of dialectic process can be found in Plato's Republic.
  • In a dialogic process, various approaches coexist and are comparatively existential and relativistic in their interaction. Here, each ideology can hold more salience in particular circumstances. Changes can be made within these ideologies if a strategy does not have the desired effect. An example of the dialogic process can be found in Nozick's, Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

These two distinctions are observed in studies of personal identity, national identity, and group identity.

Sociologist Richard Sennett has stated that the distinction between dialogic and dialectic is fundamental to understanding human communication. Sennett says that dialectic deals with the explicit meaning of statements, and tends to lead to closure and resolution. Whereas dialogic processes, especially those involved with regular spoken conversation, involve a type of listening that attends to the implicit intentions behind the speakers actual words. Unlike a dialectic process, dialogics often do not lead to closure and remain unresolved. Compared to dialectics, a dialogic exchange can be less competitive, and more suitable for facilitating cooperation.[

  • - Relational dialectics is a communication theory. The theory could be interpreted as "a knot of contradictions in personal relationships or an unceasing interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies." The theory, first proposed respectively by Leslie Baxter and W. K. Rawlins in 1988, defines communication patterns between relationship partners as the result of endemic dialectical tensions. In their description of Relational Dialectics, Leslie A. Baxter and Barbara M. Montgomery simplify the concept by posing “opposites attract”, but “birds of a feather flock together”. Also, “Two’s company; three’s a crowd” but “the more the merrier.” These contradictions experienced within common folk proverbs are similar to those we experience within our relationships as individuals. When making decisions, we give voice to multiple viewpoints and desires that often contradict each other.

The Relational Dialectic is an elaboration on Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea that life is an open monologue and humans experience collisions between opposing desires and needs within relational communications. Baxter includes a list of Dialectical Tensions that reminds us that relationships are constantly changing, and that successful and satisfying relationships require constant attention. Although Baxter’s description of Relational Dialectics is thorough, it by no means is exact or all inclusive since we all experience different tensions in different ways.


  • - In a dialogic process, various approaches coexist and are comparatively existential and relativistic in their interaction. Here, each ideology can hold more salience in particular circumstances. Changes can be made within these ideologies if a strategy does not have the desired effect.

The English terms dialogic and dialogism often refer to the concept used by the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his work of literary theory, The Dialogic Imagination. Bakhtin contrasts the dialogic and the "monologic" work of literature. The dialogic work carries on a continual dialogue with other works of literature and other authors. It does not merely answer, correct, silence, or extend a previous work, but informs and is continually informed by the previous work. Dialogic literature is in communication with multiple works. This is not merely a matter of influence, for the dialogue extends in both directions, and the previous work of literature is as altered by the dialogue as the present one is.

Bakhtin's "dialogic" is consonant with T.S.Eliot's ideas in "Tradition and the Individual Talent," where Eliot holds that "the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past". For Bakhtin, the influence can also occur at the level of the individual word or phrase as much as it does the work and even the oeuvre or collection of works. A German cannot use the word "fatherland" or the phrase "blood and soil" without (possibly unintentionally) also echoing (or, Bakhtin would say "refracting") the meaning that those terms took on under National Socialism. Every word has a history of usage to which it responds, and anticipates a future response.

The term 'dialogic' does not only apply to literature. For Bakhtin, all language — indeed, all thought — appears as dialogical. This means that everything anybody ever says always exists in response to things that have been said before and in anticipation of things that will be said in response. In other words, we do not speak in a vacuum. All language (and the ideas which language contains and communicates) is dynamic, relational and engaged in a process of endless redescriptions of the world.

  • - more precisely dialogical interaction analysis, refers to a way of analyzing human communication which is based on the theory of dialogism. The approach has been developed based on the theoretical work of George Herbert Mead and Bakhtin.
  • - a psychological concept which describes the mind's ability to imagine the different positions of participants in an internal dialogue, in close connection with external dialogue. The "dialogical self" is the central concept in the Dialogical Self Theory (DST), as created and developed by the Dutch psychologist Hubert Hermans since the 1990s.
  • - the result of egalitarian dialogue; in other words, the consequence of a dialogue in which different people provide arguments based on validity claims and not on power claims. The concept of dialogic learning is not a new one. It is frequently linked to the Socratic dialogues and sometimes considered a Western tradition. Nevertheless, the book The Argumentative Indian, written by Nobel Prize of Economics winner Amartya Sen (2005), argues that Indians also have always had a habit of asking questions. Dialogic learning can occur in any educational situation and contains an important potential for social transformation.

In recent times, the concept of dialogic learning was linked to contributions from various perspectives and disciplines, such as the theory of dialogic action (Freire, 1970), the dialogic inquiry approach (Wells, 1999), the theory of communicative action (Habermas, 1984), the notion of dialogic imagination (Bahktin, 1981) and the dialogical self (Soler, 2004). In addition, the work of an important range of contemporary authors is based on dialogic conceptions. Among those, it is worth to mention authors like Jack Mezirow (1990, 1991, 2000) and his transformative learning theory; Michael Fielding (2001), who sees students as radical agents of change; Timothy Koschmann (1999), who highlights the potential advantages of adopting dialogicality as the basis of education; and Anne C. Hargrave (2000), who demonstrates that children in dialogic-learning conditions make significantly larger gains in vocabulary, than do children in a less dialogic reading environment.





  • - the integrated study of the Social Sciences and Humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, and Sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

Normally, Social Studies is divided into History and Geography when the student has reached sixth grade or near. Some American schools do not have separate classes on geography at the secondary level.

  • - origin in the common stock of Western philosophy and shares various precursors, but began most intentionally in the early 19th century with the positivist philosophy of science. Since the mid-20th century, the term "social science" has come to refer more generally, not just to sociology, but to all those disciplines which analyze society and culture; from anthropology to psychology to media studies.

  • - used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. It is distinct from unit of observation in that the former refers to a more or less integrated set of relationships while the latter refers to the distinct unit from which data have been or will be gathered. Together, the unit of observation and the level of analysis help define the population of a research enterprise.

  • - the entity that frames what is being looked at in a study, or is the entity being studied as a whole. In social science research, at the macro level, the most commonly referenced unit of analysis, considered to be a society is the state (polity) (i.e. country). At meso level, common units of observation include groups, organizations, and institutions, and at micro level, individual people.

  • - the unit described by the data that one analyzes. A study may treat groups as a unit of observation with a country as the unit of analysis, drawing conclusions on group characteristics from data collected at the national level. For example, in a study of the demand for money, the unit of observation might be chosen as the individual, with different observations (data points) for a given point in time differing as to which individual they refer to; or the unit of observation might be the country, with different observations differing only in regard to the country they refer to.

  • -became a special method by the Stuttgart school of Historical Behaviour Studies during the 1970s and later by body culture studies in Denmark.Configurational analysis is marked by its distance towards the history of ideas and intentions, which are conceived as mainstreams in historical studies. Configurations of human behaviour and movement have attracted special attention in the framework of phenomenology and particularly in materialist phenomenology.


  • - the study and interpretation of the experiences, activities, constructs, and artifacts associated with human beings. The study of the human sciences attempts to expand and enlighten the human being's knowledge of their existence, its interrelationship with other species and systems, and the development of artifacts to perpetuate the human expression and thought. It is the study of human phenomena. The study of the human experience is historical and current in nature. It requires the evaluation and interpretation of the historic human experience and the analysis of current human activity to gain an understanding of human phenomena and to project the outlines of human evolution. Human science is the objective, informed critique of human existence and how it relates to reality. Human science (also, humanistic social science, moral science and human sciences) refers to the investigation of human life and activities via a phenomenological methodology that acknowledges the validity of both sensory and psychological experience. It includes but is not necessarily limited to humanistic modes of inquiry within fields of the social sciences and humanities, including history, sociology, anthropology, and economics. Its use of an empirical methodology that encompasses psychological experience contrasts to the purely positivistic approach typical of the natural sciences which exclude all methods not based solely on sensory observations. Thus the term is often used to distinguish not only the content of a field of study from those of the natural sciences, but also its methodology.

  • - academic disciplines that study human culture. In Middle Ages, the term contrasted with divinity and referred to what is now called classics, the main area of secular study in universities at the time. Today, the humanities are more frequently contrasted with natural, physical and sometimes social sciences as well as professional training.

The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, international relations and musicology. Areas that are sometimes regarded[by whom?] as social sciences and sometimes as humanities include history, archaeology, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, classical studies, law, politics, semiotics and linguistics.

  • - a set of human sciences such as philosophy, history, philology, social sciences, and sometimes even theology and jurisprudence, that are traditional in German universities. Most of its subject matter would come under the much larger humanities faculty in the typical English-speaking university, but it does not contain the arts.


  • Reviews in History - was launched in 1996, and publishes reviews and reappraisals of significant work in all fields of historical interest. To date, we have published over 2200 reviews, reaching thousands of readers via the Internet and the free email alert. New reviews appear regularly.


  • - a portmanteau used to refer to social anthropology and cultural anthropology together. Some universities, such as Boston University and New York University, link them together into one major of study. The rubric cultural anthropology is generally applied to ethnographic works that are holistic in spirit, oriented to the ways in which culture affects individual experience, or aim to provide a rounded view of the knowledge, customs, and institutions of a people. Social anthropology is a term applied to ethnographic works that attempt to isolate a particular system of social relations such as those that comprise domestic life, economy, law, politics, or religion, give analytical priority to the organizational bases of social life, and attend to cultural phenomena as somewhat secondary to the main issues of social scientific inquiry.

  •ław_Malinowski - was a Polish anthropologist, one of the most important 20th-century anthropologists. He has been also referred to as a sociologist and ethnographer. Apart from fieldwork, Malinowski also challenged the claim to universality of Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex. He initiated a cross-cultural approach in Sex and Repression in Savage Society (1927) where he demonstrated that specific psychological complexes are not universal.

  • - or simply functionalism, is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. This approach looks at society through a macro-level orientation, which is a broad focus on the social structures that shape society as a whole, and believes that society has evolved like organisms. This approach looks at both social structure and social functions. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions, and institutions. A common analogy, popularized by Herbert Spencer, presents these parts of society as "organs" that work toward the proper functioning of the "body" as a whole. In the most basic terms, it simply emphasizes "the effort to impute, as rigorously as possible, to each feature, custom, or practice, its effect on the functioning of a supposedly stable, cohesive system". For Talcott Parsons, "structural-functionalism" came to describe a particular stage in the methodological development of social science, rather than a specific school of thought. The structural functionalism approach is a macrosociological analysis, with a broad focus on social structures that shape society as a whole.

David Graeber



  • - statements of how and why particular facts about the social world are related. They range in scope from concise descriptions of a single social process to paradigms for analysis and interpretation. Some sociological theories explain aspects of the social world and enable prediction about future events, while others function as broad perspectives which guide further sociological analyses.

  • - a stock of values, ideas, metaphors, beliefs, and practices that are shared among the members of groups and communities. Social Representations Theory is a body of theory within Social Psychology and Sociological social psychology. It has parallels in sociological theorizing such as Social Constructionism and Symbolic Interactionism, and is similar in some ways to mass consensus and Discursive Psychology.
  • - psychological sociology, is an area of sociology that focuses on social actions and on interrelations of personality, values, and mind with social structure and culture. Some of the major topics in this field are sociocultural change, social inequality and prejudice, leadership and intra-group behavior, social exchange, group conflict, impression formation and management, conversation structures, socialization, social constructionism, social norms and deviance, identity and roles, and emotional labor. The primary methods of data collection are sample surveys, field observations, vignette studies, field experiments, and controlled experiments.

  • - a detailed sketch or outline of some social phenomenon, representing initial idea of a scientist analyzing this phenomenon. Charles C. Ragin defines it as one of the four building blocks of social research (the other three being ideas (social theories), evidence (data) and images (new ideas synthetised from existing data). Thus, analytic frames are used to elaborate on starting ideas and usually consist of a list of some key elements found in most of the analysed phenomena (for example, social movements).

Two specific types of analytic frames are case and aspect based frames. Framing by case refers to researchers using concepts to classify the phenomena they study, while framing by aspect refers to using concepts to characterize the phenomena. For example, a scientists describing a restaurant, a bus, a coffeehouse and a waiting room as a noninteraction places is assigning them into the same category, thus framing them by case. Framing by aspect is going further and differentiating between cases in a given category (how exactly is noninteraction achieved in those places, what forms of social interaction are permitted in those places, etc.).

Frames can be also divided into fixed, fluid, or flexible. Fixed frames don't change in later research states. They are common in quantitative research, and are used to test and prove or falsify a hypothesis. Flexible frames are common in comparative research, where they show which factors may be more relevant in specific research context, helping to explore the problem without making specific hypothesis. Fluid frames are used when researcher wants to limit the influence of the existing, more established theories; they are thus subject to much change and the researcher can use several frames switching between them depending on the gathered data. Fluid frames are most common in the qualitative research.

  • - are perspectives in sociology and social psychology that emphasize a materialist interpretation of history, dialectical method of analysis, a critical stance toward existing social arrangements, and political program of revolution or, at least, reform. Conflict theories draw attention to power differentials, such as class conflict, and generally contrast historically dominant ideologies. It is therefore a macro-level analysis of society.

Karl Marx is regarded as the father of social conflict theory, which is a component of the four major paradigms of sociology. Certain conflict theories set out to highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought. While many of these perspectives hold parallels, conflict theory does not refer to a unified school of thought, and should not be confused with, for instance, peace and conflict studies, or any other specific theory of social conflict.

  • - the philosophy of science that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in this derived knowledge. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Positivism holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher and founding sociologist Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so also does society.
  • - also known as interpretivism, is the belief in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of social research. Antipositivists hold that researchers should focus on understanding the interpretations that social actions have for the people being studied.

  • - also called postempiricism) is a metatheoretical stance that critiques and amends positivism. While positivists believe that the researcher and the researched person are independent of each other, postpositivists accept that theories, background, knowledge and values of the researcher can influence what is observed. However, like positivists, postpositivists pursue objectivity by recognizing the possible effects of biases. Postpositivists believe that human knowledge is based not on unchallengeable, rock-solid foundations, but rather upon human conjectures. As human knowledge is thus unavoidably conjectural, the assertion of these conjectures is warranted, or more specifically, justified by a set of warrants, which can be modified or withdrawn in the light of further investigation. However, postpositivism is not a form of relativism, and generally retains the idea of objective truth.

Postpositivists believe that a reality exists, like positivists do, though they hold that it can be known only imperfectly and probabilistically.

  • - approach to sociological inquiry on everyday methods that people use for the production of social order, documenting the methods and practices through which society's members make sense of their world.

  • - a condition where one category of people are attributed an unequal status in relation to other categories of people. This relationship is perpetuated and reinforced by a confluence of unequal relations in roles, functions, decisions, rights, and opportunities. As opposed to cultural inequality, which focuses on the individual decisions associated with these imbalances, structural inequality refers specifically to the inequalities that are systemically rooted in the normal operations of dominant social institutions, and can be divided into categories like residential segregation or healthcare, employment and educational discrimination.

  • - sometimes known as the ecological school, refers to a school of thought in sociology and criminology originating at the University of Chicago whose work was influential in the early 20th century. Conceived in 1892, the Chicago school first rose to international prominence as the epicenter of advanced sociological thought between 1915 and 1935, when their work would be the first major bodies of research to specialize in urban sociology. This was considered the Golden Age of Sociology, with influence from many of today's well known sociologists. Their research into the urban environment of Chicago would also be influential in combining theory and ethnographic fieldwork.

  •'s_ecological_framework_for_human_development - were developed to further the understanding of the dynamic interrelations among various personal and environmental factors. Socioecological models were introduced to urban studies by sociologists associated with the Chicago School after the First World War as a reaction to the narrow scope of most research conducted by developmental psychologists. These models bridge the gap between behavioral theories that focus on small settings and anthropological theories.

Cultural Studies

Cultural materialism emerged as a theoretical movement in the early 1980s along with new historicism, an American approach to early modern literature, with which it shares common ground. The term was coined by Williams, who used it to describe a theoretical blending of leftist culturalism and Marxist analysis. Cultural materialists deal with specific historical documents and attempt to analyze and recreate the zeitgeist of a particular moment in history. Williams viewed culture as a "productive process", part of the means of production, and cultural materialism often identifies what he called "residual", "emergent" and "oppositional" cultural elements. Following in the tradition of Herbert Marcuse, Antonio Gramsci and others, cultural materialists extend the class-based analysis of traditional Marxism (Neo-Marxism, by means of an additional focus on the marginalized.

  • - a writer and critic who has published as author or editor 60 books, mostly on Shakespeare, and hundreds of chapters and articles of criticism, theory and theology. He was one of the founders of British Cultural materialism, a pioneer of critical-creative writing, and a significant contributor to interdisciplinary work in Literature and Theology. He is acknowledged as a formative contributor to a number of branches of Shakespeare criticism and theory. Holderness published the first full-length Marxist study of D. H. Lawrence, D.H. Lawrence: History, Ideology and Fiction (Macmillan, 1982). A pioneer of "cultural Materialism", Holderness demonstrates "an interest in historical cultural change by evaluating contemporary television and film versions of Shakespeare's plays or by examining the image of Shakespeare fostered by our British educational system." In doing so, he seeks to counter "conservative views of early post-Second World War theatres and academics and to raise awareness that all textual appropriation and examination have a political dimension."

  • - was first developed by cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall in 1973. Stuart Hall titled the study 'Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse.' Hall's essay offers a theoretical approach of how media messages are produced, disseminated, and interpreted. Hall proposed that audience members can play an active role in decoding messages as they rely on their own social contexts and capability of changing messages through collective action.

Thus, encoding/decoding is the translation needed for a message to be easily understood. When you decode a message, you extract the meaning of that message in ways to simplify it. Decoding has both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication: Decoding behavior without using words, such as displays of non-verbal communication. There are many examples, including observing body language and its associated emotions, e.g. monitoring signs when someone is upset, angry, or stressed where they use excessive hand/arm movements, crying, and even silence. Moreover, there are times when an individual can send a message across to someone, the message can be interpreted differently from person to person. Decoding is all about understanding others, based on the information given throughout the message being received. Whether there is a large audience or exchanging a message to one person, decoding is the process of obtaining, absorbing and sometimes utilizing information that was given throughout a verbal or non-verbal message.

  • Stuart Hall's Cultural Studies and the Problem of Hegemony on JSTOR - The vigorous growth of Cultural Studies has in part come about through an insistence on strong contrasts with sociology. Unlike sociology, the theoretical orientations of Cultural Studies are often held to be postmodern and discursive in character. This paper questions the usefulness of such contrasts by examining the work of Stuart Hall, focusing in particular on the problem of hegemony. I argue that Hall's approach slides ambiguously between reading hegemony as either concentrated state domination or free-wheeling discourse. Consequently, Hall cannot resist and indeed in some ways reinforces the discursive turn in contemporary Cultural Studies, despite his own explicit criticisms of this development. I track the instability of Hall's approach to an abstract logic of articulation that fragments social relations and subordinates them to political association. Hall's predicament suggests that social life must be theorized as something more than a pliant diversity of sites. The problem of hegemony calls for an account of cultural and group formation as distinct from their political and ideological construction. I thus conclude that Cultural Studies stands in need of a sociological re-orientation.

  • Stuart Hall, Lynne Segal and Peter Osborne · Stuart Hall: Culture and Power (1997) - A leading figure of the New Left in the 1960s, Stuart Hall is one of the founders of cultural studies in Britain and its most influential representative, internationally. The first editor of New Left Review, 1960–61, and author (with P. Whannel) of The Popular Arts, Hall was Director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University from 1967 until 1979. During this period, he oversaw the collective production of a wide range of work, through which many of the central ideas of European sociology, semiotics and the theory of ideology were introduced into the study of culture for the first time in Britain. At the same time, the Centre was at the forefront of analysis of the increasing importance of race within British politics. Following his move to the Chair of Sociology at the Open University, and his participation in the debates at the Communist University of London in the late 1970s, Hall’s essays on Thatcherism made him the dominant intellectual figure in a group of writers associated with the heretical Communist Party monthly Marxism Today, and its project for a new kind of Left politics: ‘New Times’. More recently, Hall has written extensively on questions of identity and ethnicity. Stuart Hall retired from his position as Professor of Sociology at the Open University earlier this year. He is an editor of the journal Soundings.

Area studies

  • - interdisciplinary fields of research and scholarship pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. The term exists primarily as a general description for what are, in the practice of scholarship, many heterogeneous fields of research, encompassing both the social sciences and the humanities. Typical area studies programs involve history, political science, sociology, cultural studies, languages, geography, literature, and related disciplines. In contrast to cultural studies, area studies often include diaspora and emigration from the area.

Communication studies

  • - an academic field that deals with processes of human communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols to create meaning. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies also examines how messages are interpreted through the political, cultural, economic, semiotic, hermeneutic, and social dimensions of their contexts.

Media studies

See Media, New media

  • - a term used by social scientists to describe a new form of peripheral social awareness. This awareness is propagated from relatively constant contact with one's friends and colleagues via social networking platforms on the Internet. Some examples of social networking websites are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Blogger,, etc. The term essentially defines the sort of omnipresent knowledge one experiences by being a regular user of these media outlets that allow a constant connection with one's social circle.
  • Technological or Media Determinism
    • "Chandler’s web essay explores the concept and history of technological determinism, which he defines as ‘seek[ing] to explain social and historical phenomena in terms of one principal or determining factor’ - technology. Chandler calls this theory ‘reductive’, and points out that as a way of understanding social phenomena, reductionism is often criticised as being overly simplistic. This is especially the case when determinists become ‘technocentric’ - ‘trying to account for almost everything in terms of technology'. He introduces concepts such as ‘reification’; ‘autonomy’; and ‘universalism’, as elements of technological determinism. Importantly for our purposes, he also indicates how we can identify when a determinist position is being taken, even if an author or speaker doesn’t make it explicit: "The assumptions of technological determinism can usually be easily spotted in frequent references to the 'impact' of technological 'revolutions' which 'led to' or 'brought about', 'inevitable', 'far reaching', 'effects', or 'consequences' or assertions about what 'will be' happening 'sooner than we think' 'whether we like it or not'." The resources below contain some language like this, and you will probably start to notice it elsewhere. The relationship between technological determinism and utopian and dystopian accounts is one we’d like you to consider and discuss as you engage in the readings and films during the rest of this week and next week."
    • "The media life perspective offers a prediction and explanation of increasingly invisi- ble media; it sustains a theoretical argument as that proposed by Friedrich Kittler (2009),aiming to resolve ontology’s hostility to media. As Kittler argues, ‘philosophy … has been necessarily unable to conceive of media as media’, in that the relation betweenobserver and the observed as for example expressed in writing, audio or video recordingsis generally not considered to be of influence to the work of the philosopher. This blind-ness to the structuring role of media in lived experience not only considers but moves beyond technical media – while acknowledging how significant the medium may be tothe message – to address the essential nature of media as the invisible interlocutor of people’s lives. In today’s media culture, where people increasingly move through theworld (more or less deliberately) assembling a deeply individualized media system – in other words: living in their own personal information spaaaaaace – such a viewpoint can formthe basis of investigation and understanding of everyday life.

to sort

acts and their aesthetics



to move


  • - from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός, psychopompós, literally meaning the 'guide of souls')[1] are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to guide them. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, vultures, owls, sparrows, and cuckoos. When seen as birds, they are often seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying.

  • - the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, as well as philosophical texts. As necessary, hermeneutics may include the art of understanding and communication. Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and non-verbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, and pre-understandings. Hermeneutics has been broadly applied in the humanities, especially in law, history and theology. Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture, and has been later broadened to questions of general interpretation. The terms hermeneutics and exegesis are sometimes used interchangeably. Hermeneutics is a wider discipline which includes written, verbal, and non-verbal communication. Exegesis focuses primarily upon the word and grammar of texts. Hermeneutic, as a count noun in the singular, refers to some particular method of interpretation (see, in contrast, double hermeneutic,.

  • Hermeneutics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation. Hermeneutics plays a role in a number of disciplines whose subject matter demands interpretative approaches, characteristically, because the disciplinary subject matter concerns the meaning of human intentions, beliefs, and actions, or the meaning of human experience as it is preserved in the arts and literature, historical testimony, and other artifacts. Traditionally, disciplines that rely on hermeneutics include theology, especially Biblical studies, jurisprudence, and medicine, as well as some of the human sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In such contexts, hermeneutics is sometimes described as an “auxiliary” study of the arts, methods, and foundations of research appropriate to a respective disciplinary subject matter (Grondin 1994, 1). For example, in theology, Biblical hermeneutics concerns the general principles for the proper interpretation of the Bible. More recently, applied hermeneutics has been further developed as a research method for a number of disciplines (see, for example, Moules inter alia 2015). Within philosophy, however, hermeneutics typically signifies, first, a disciplinary area and, second, the historical movement in which this area has been developed. As a disciplinary area, and on analogy with the designations of other disciplinary areas (such as ‘the philosophy of mind’ or ‘the philosophy of art’), hermeneutics might have been named ‘the philosophy of interpretation.’ Hermeneutics thus treats interpretation itself as its subject matter and not as an auxiliary to the study of something else. Philosophically, hermeneutics therefore concerns the meaning of interpretation—its basic nature, scope and validity, as well as its place within and implications for human existence; and it treats interpretation in the context of fundamental philosophical questions about being and knowing, language and history, art and aesthetic experience, and practical life.

  • 2 Kings 2:23–24 NIV - From there Elisha went up… | Biblia "From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!”. He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the named of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys."

  • - the mythological ability or affliction of individuals to metamorphose into animals or hybrids by means of shapeshifting. It is possible that cave drawings found at Les Trois Frères, in France, depict ancient beliefs in the concept. The best-known form of therianthropy, called lycanthropy, is found in stories of werewolves.

  • - a 1969 Soviet Armenian art film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov. The film is a poetic treatment of the life of 18th-century Armenian poet and troubadour Sayat-Nova. It has appeared in many polls as one of the greatest films ever made and was hailed as revolutionary by Mikhail Vartanov. The film is now regarded as a landmark in film history.


  • - popular religion, traditional religion or vernacular religion comprises various forms and expressions of religion that are distinct from the official doctrines and practices of organized religion. The precise definition of folk religion varies among scholars. Sometimes also termed popular belief, it consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of a religion, but outside official doctrine and practices.

The term "folk religion" is generally held to encompass two related but separate subjects. The first is the religious dimension of folk culture, or the folk-cultural dimensions of religion. The second refers to the study of syncretisms between two cultures with different stages of formal expression, such as the melange of African folk beliefs and Roman Catholicism that led to the development of Vodun and Santería, and similar mixtures of formal religions with folk cultures. In China, folk Protestantism had its origins with the Taiping Rebellion.


  • - Traditionally spirituality has been defined as a process of personal transformation in accordance with religious ideals. Since the 19th century spirituality is often separated from religion, and has become more oriented on subjective experience and psychological growth. It may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience, but without a single, widely-agreed definition.

  • -the growth and development of the whole person by an intentional focus on one’s spiritual and interior life, interactions with others in ordinary life, and spiritual practices (prayer, the study of scripture, fasting, simplicity, solitude, confession, worship, etc.).

  • - the philosophical, theological, esoteric or spiritual idea that nature and human beings and/or human culture evolve, extending from the established cosmological pattern or ascent, or in accordance with certain pre-established potentials. It is synonymous with "higher evolution", a term used to differentiate psychological, mental, or spiritual evolution from the "lower" or biological evolution of physical form.

The concept of spiritual evolution is also complemented by the idea of a creative impulse in human beings, known as epigenesis.

  • - the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her encounters of the divine, or how he or she is experiencing spiritual issues. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction develops a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. It is not psychotherapy, counseling, or financial planning.

  • - proposed by L. P. Vidyarthi under the influence of Robert Redfield. The aspects of great and little tradition as put up by Redfield were applied to an Indian context. The crux of the concept was to identify the mechanism of cultural complexions in an ancient Indian setting and studying the secondary complexions based on religious centres of India. L. P. Vidyarthi defined the complex in "Sacred complex of Hindu Gaya," as "a happy synthesis of sacred geography, sacred practices and sacred specialist of a Hindu place of pilgrimage, reflecting a level of continuity, compromise, and a combination between the great and little tradition."[page needed] Later a number of studies were taken by different Indian Scholars in different Sacred Geographies in India as well as outside India. In which, Professor Makhan Jha stands first who studied many pilgrimage center applying "Sacred Complex" as a methodology to understand the trichotomy of the elements of Sacred Complex.

  • - the concept of an unconditional reality which transcends limited, conditional, everyday existence. It is sometimes used as an alternate term for "God" or "the Divine" especially, but by no means exclusively, by those who feel that the term "God" lends itself too easily to anthropomorphic presumptions. The concept of The Absolute may or may not (depending on one's specific doctrine) possess discrete will, intelligence, awareness, or a personal nature. It is sometimes conceived of as the source through which all being emanates.
  • - the view that mind or soul (Greek: ψυχή) is a universal feature of all things, and the primordial feature from which all others are derived. The panpsychist sees him or herself as a mind in a world of minds.
  • - world soul (Greek: ψυχὴ κόσμου, Latin: anima mundi) is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body. The idea originated with Plato and was an important component of most Neoplatonic systems:

Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related. The Stoics believed it to be the only vital force in the universe. Similar concepts also hold in systems of eastern philosophy in the Brahman-Atman of Hinduism, the Buddha-Nature in Mahayana Buddhism, and in the School of Yin-Yang, Taoism, and Neo-Confucianism as qi. Other resemblances can be found in the thoughts of hermetic philosophers like Paracelsus, and by Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, Friedrich Schelling and in Hegel's Geist ("Spirit"/"Mind"). There are also similarities with ideas developed since the 1960s by Gaia theorists such as James Lovelock.

  • - the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god. Some Eastern religions are considered to be pantheistically inclined. Pantheism was popularized in the West as both a theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, whose book Ethics was an answer to Descartes' famous dualist theory that the body and spirit are separate.
  • - the universal higher consciousness or source of being in some forms of esoteric or New Thought and spiritual philosophy. It may be considered synonymous with the subjective mind or it may be referred to in the context of creative visualization, usually with religious or spiritual themes. The word originally derived from Hegel.
  • - book written by Richard Maurice Bucke, a Canadian psychiatrist. In this book, he explored the concept of Cosmic Consciousness, which he defined as "a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man.". "This consciousness shows the cosmos to consist not of dead matter governed by unconscious, rigid, and unintending law; it shows it on the contrary as entirely immaterial, entirely spiritual and entirely alive; it shows that death is an absurdity, that everyone and everything has eternal life; it shows that the universe is God and that God is the universe, and that no evil ever did or ever will enter into it; a great deal of this is, of course, from the point of view of self consciousness, absurd; it is nevertheless undoubtedly true."
  • - coined by philosopher Paul Tillich or Indologist Heinrich Zimmer, referring to a system of thought or religious philosophy which is neither theistic, nor atheistic, but is beyond them. Zimmer applies the term to the theological system of Jainism, which is theistic in the limited sense that the gods exist, but become irrelevant as they are transcended by moksha (that is, a system which is not non-theistic, but in which the gods are not the highest spiritual instance). Zimmer (1953, p. 182) uses the term to describe the position of the Tirthankaras having passed "beyond the godly governors of the natural order".

The term has more recently also been applied to Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and the Bhakti movement.

  • - also referred to as Perennialism, is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which the foundation of all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown. The term philosophia perennis was first used by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548), drawing on the neo-Platonic philosophy of Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94). In the early 19th century this idea was popularised by the Transcendentalists. By the end of the 19th century it was further popularized by the Theosophical Society, under the name of "Wisdom-Religion" or "Ancient Wisdom". In the 20th century it was popularized in the English speaking world through Aldous Huxley's book The Perennial Philosophy as well as the strands of thought which culminated in the New Age movement.
  • - is the study of religious doctrines of salvation. Salvation theory occupies a place of special significance and importance in many religions. In the academic field of religious studies, soteriology is understood by scholars as representing a key theme in a number of different religions and is often studied in a comparative context; that is, comparing various ideas about what salvation is and how it is obtained. Broadly speaking, religious traditions have either fallen into the category of advocating universal salvation, in which believers hold a generally optimistic view that humanity as whole will eventually receive a positive afterlife free of suffering (this is commonly held by Buddhists and Jews, for example), or advocating special salvation, in which believers hold a generally pessimistic view that the vast majority of humanity will either be destroyed forever or will be condemned to eternal torment with only a small few finding eternal peace (this is traditionally held in Christianity).
  • - is the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of arts and culture (known as eclecticism) as well as politics (syncretic politics).
  • - a religious and philosophical movement that was developed during the late 1820s and 1830s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among the transcendentalists' core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believe that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual. They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.

  • - a belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Spiritism, a branch of Spiritualism developed by Allan Kardec and today found mostly in continental Europe and Latin America, especially Brazil, has emphasised reincarnation. Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-speaking countries. By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes. The religion flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion through periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent Spiritualists were women, and like most Spiritualists, supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. By the late 1880s the credibility of the informal movement had weakened due to accusations of fraud being perpetrated by mediums, and formal Spiritualist organizations began to appear. Spiritualism is currently practiced primarily through various denominational Spiritualist churches in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

The contemporary interest in the empirical research of mysticism can be traced to Stace’s (Stace, 1960) demarcation of the phenomenological characteristics of mystical experiences (Hood, 1975). In Stace’s conceptualization, mystical experiences had five characteristics (Hood, 1985, p.176):

1. The mystical experience is noetic. The person having the experience perceives it as a valid source of knowledge and not just a subjective experience. 2. The mystical experience is ineffable, it cannot simply be described in words. 3. The mystical experience is holy. While this is the religious aspect of the experience it is not necessarily expressed in any particular theological terms. 4. The mystical experience is profound yet enjoyable and characterized by positive affect. 5. The mystical experience is paradoxical. It defies logic. Further analysis of reported mystical experiences suggests that the one essential feature of mysticism is an experience of unity (Hood, 1985). The experience of unity involves a process of ego loss and is generally expressed in one of three ways (Hood, 1 976a). The ego is absorbed into that which transcends it, or an inward process by which the ego gains pure awareness of self, or a combination of the two.


  • - a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions other than Judaism. In the time of the Roman empire, individuals fell into the pagan class either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). Alternative terms used in Christian texts were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian. Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry".

During and after the Middle Ages, the term paganism was applied to any non-Christian religion, and the term presumed a belief in false gods. The origin of the application of the term "pagan" to polytheism is debated. In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-descriptor by practitioners of modern paganism, modern pagan movements and Polytheistic reconstructionists. Modern pagan traditions often incorporate beliefs or practices, such as nature worship, that are different from those of the largest world religions.

Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions and beliefs comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to Classical antiquity. Most modern pagan religions existing today express a worldview that is pantheistic, panentheistic, polytheistic, or animistic, but some are monotheistic.




  • - used to designate a particular version of shamanism practiced in Mongolia and Siberia which incorporates rituals and traditions from Buddhism. "Yellow" indicates Buddhism in Mongolia, since most Buddhists there belong to what is called the "Yellow sect" of Tibetan Buddhism, whose members wear yellow hats during services.[1] The term also serves to distinguish it from a form of shamanism not influenced by Buddhism (according to its adherents), called "black shamanism"


  • - or ritual magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic in some cases, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by ceremony and myriad necessary accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it. Popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it draws on such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires.
  • - intended to "turn away" harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye. "Apotropaic" observances may also be practiced out of vague superstition or out of tradition, as in good luck charm (perhaps some token on a charm bracelet), amulets, or gestures such as fingers crossed or knocking on wood. The Greeks made offerings to the Averting Gods, chthonic deities and heroes who grant safety and deflect evil.
  • - the attempt to bind the passions of another, or to capture them as a sex object through magical means rather than through direct activity. It can be implemented in a variety of ways, such as written spells, dolls, charms, amulets, potions, or different rituals.
  • - a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons.


  • - as most commonly understood in both historical and present-day communities, is the use of alleged supernatural powers of magic, generally stereotyped[need quotation to verify] as doing harm or evil. A practitioner of witchcraft is a witch (predominantly for women), though men may sometimes be referred to as a warlock. The belief in witchcraft has been found in a great number of societies worldwide. Anthropologists have applied the English term "witchcraft" to similar and related beliefs in occult practices in many different cultures, and societies that have adopted the English language have often internalised the term.

In medieval and early modern Europe, where belief in witchcraft traces back to classical antiquity, accused witches were usually women who were believed to have used maleficium or black magic against their own community, and often to have communed with evil beings. It was thought witchcraft could be thwarted by protective magic or counter-magic, which could be provided by cunning folk or folk healers. Suspected witches were also intimidated, banished, attacked or killed. Often they would be formally prosecuted and punished, if found guilty or simply believed to be guilty. European witch-hunts and witch trials in the early modern period led to tens of thousands of executions. In some regions, many of those accused of witchcraft were cunning folk, folk healers or midwives. European belief in witchcraft gradually dwindled during and after the Age of Enlightenment.

As with the cunning-folk in Europe, Indigenous communities that believe in the existence of witchcraft define witches as the opposite of their healers and medicine people, and the latter are sought out for protection against witchcraft. Modern witch-hunting takes place in parts of Africa and Asia.

In contemporary Western culture, adherents of some neo-pagan religions, most notably Wicca, as well as some followers of New Age belief systems, may self-identify as "witches", and use the term "witchcraft" for their self-help, healing, or divination rituals.[excessive citations] Other neo-pagans avoid the term due to its negative connotations.

  • - Folk healers, in England also known as cunning folk or (more rarely) as white witches are practitioners of folk medicine, folk magic, and divination within the context of the various traditions of folklore in Christian Europe (from at least the 15th up until at least the early 20th century).