www.uni-kiel.de/psychologie/mausfeld/ Mausfeld_Why do the lambs remain silent_2015
Mausfeld focuses on perceptual psychology and also works on the theoretical foundations of experimental psychology and the psychology of understanding. He also deals with the rivalry of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience in cognitive science. Another area of interest is the history of ideas in the natural sciences. He sees a major problem of the relationship between psychology and biology in neurological neo-reductionism. In contrast to biologistic approaches, he sees the peculiarity of the spiritual, inter alia, in the intrinsic multiperspectivity of the mind.
Mausfeld points out that knowledge of neural circuitry and activity is not enough to explain consciousness and thought processes. Not even the behavior of nematodes can be deduced from the activity of their 302 neurons. According to Mausfeld’s view, the relationship between nature and mind must be below the neural level in the sphere of physics. Evidence is given by the fact that nature is actually more enigmatic to us than our consciousness in itself. In modern physics it has become clear that the physical does not have the properties of matter ascribed to it. Mausfeld sees the special aspect of consciousness in the simplicity and wholeness of the subjective experience, which, however, reveals itself to the psychologist as a complex interaction of unconscious factors. The intrinsic multiperspectivity of thinking, which first opens up the possibilities for thought and action alternatives to humans after mouse field, results from the complex interplay of the most varied of factors. White torture and responsibility of science
In his work, Mausfeld illustrates the role of psychologists in the development, application and justification of modern white torture methods. These goals are not, as claimed, the extraction of information, but rather breaking the will, disciplining, humiliating and shaming the victims. In his account, an American Psychological Association (APA) working group to investigate the involvement of psychologists acting on behalf of the Defense Secretary. Mausfeld uses the example of torture research to define ethical and legal principles and limits of scientific work. He regards the observance of human rights as fully binding.
Mausfeld, R.. (2009). Psychology , ’ white torture ’ and the responsibility of scientists. Psychologische Rundschau
According to Mausfeld, the cognitive ones are more important than the affective techniques, since opinions are more stable than emotions. Here Mausfeld examines the following methods:
Representation of facts as opinion
Fragmenting coherent facts so that the context, such as the historical context, is lost
Decontextualization of facts: The context of the facts is removed, so that the facts become incomprehensible isolated individual cases, which have no general relevance
Misleading recontextualization: Information is embedded in a foreign context, so that they take on a different character and, for example, no longer lead to outrage in human rights violations.
Repetition supports the “perceived truth”
Designing the range of opinions so that the desired seems to be in the middle, which most people strive for, if they are unfamiliar, because they then keep to the middle seein it as “neutral and balanced”
Making facts invisible through media selection, distraction and attention control
“Meta-propaganda”: It is part of every propaganda to claim that the news of the enemy is wrong because it is propaganda
The development of more efficient manipulation techniques rests on identifying psychological “weak spots” – those intrinsic design aspects of our mind and principles of human information processing that can be exploited for manipulation purposes. Most importantly, such principles are, by the very nature of our cognitive architecture, beyond conscious control. (…) Our mind has many hard-wired weaknesses that can be exploited for manipulative purposes, that facilitate our utilitarian abuse by the political and economic elites for maintaining and expanding their power. However, we also innately dispose of a rich repertoire of ways to use our reasoning capabilities to recognize manipulative contexts and to actively avoid them. This repertoire is akin to a natural cognitive immune system against being manipulated, but we have to take the deliberate decision to actually use it.
“The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons or neural networks constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. this paper brings to mind several arguments to the effect that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. it then scrutinizes the question why such conceptions are nevertheless currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. the paper argues that corresponding conceptions are rooted in four different aspects of our common-sense conception of mental phenomena and their explanation, which are illegitimately transferred to scientific enquiry. these four aspects pertain to the notion of explanation, to conceptions about which mental phenomena are singled out for enquiry, to an inductivist epistemology, and, in the wake of behavioristic conceptions, to a bias favoring investigations of input-output relations at the expense of enquiries into internal principles. to the extent that the cognitive neurosciences methodologically adhere to these tacit assumptions, they are prone to turn into a largely a-theoretical and data-driven endeavor while at the same time enhancing the prospects for receiving widespread public appreciation of their empirical findings.”
Mausfeld, R., & Heyer, D.. (2012). Colour Perception: Mind and the physical world. Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World
“ContentsnPrefacen1. perspectives on colour space , jan j. koenderink and andrea j. van doornncommentaries: from physics to perception through colorimetry: a bridge too far? , donald i.a. macleodncolorimetry fortified , paul whittlen2. light adaptation, contract adaptation, and human colour vision , michael a. websterncommentary: adaptation and the ambiguity of response measures with respect to internal structure , franz fauln3. contrast colours , paul whittlencommentaries: a background to color vision , michael a. websterncontrast coding and what else? , hans irteln4. colour and the processing of chromatic information , michael d’zmurancommentary: the processing of chromatic information , laurence t. maloneyn5. the pleistochrome: optimal opponent codes for natural colours , donald i.a. macleod and t. von der twerncommentary: thinking outside the black box , michael a. webstern6. objectivity and subjectivity revisited: colour as a psychobiological property , gary hatfieldncommentary: why is this game still being played? , paul whittlen7. a computational analysis of colour constancy , donald i.a. macleod and jurgen golzncommentary: the importance of realistic models of surface and light in the study of human colour vision , laurence t. maloneyn8. backgrounds and illuminants: the yin and yang of colour constancy , richard o. brownncommentaries: colour construction , don hoffmannfitting linear models to data , laurence t. maloneyn9. surface colour perception and environmental constraints , laurence t. maloneyncommentaries: on the function of colour vision , gary hatfieldnintrinsic colours – and what it is like to see them , zoltan jacobn10. colour constancy: developing empirical tests of computational models , david h. brainard, james m. kraft, and philippe longerencommentaries: surface colour perception and its environments , laurence t. maloneyncomparing the behaviour of machine vision algorithms and human observers , vebjorn ekroll and jurgen golzn11. the illuminant estimation hypothesis and surface colour perception , laurence t. maloney and joong nam yangncommentary: surface colour appearance in nearly natural images , david h. brainardn12. the interaction of colour and motion , donald d. hoffmanncommentary: the interaction of perceived colour and perceived motion , richard brownn13. the dual coding of colour: ‘Surface colour’ and ‘illumination colour’ as constituents of the representationalformat of perceptual primitives…”
Mausfeld, R.. (2005). The Physicalistic Trap in Perception Theory. In Perception and the Physical World
“This chapter contains sections titled: * introduction * the physicalistic trap in elementaristic approaches to perception * the physicalistic trap in functionalist and computational approaches to perception * perception theory beyond the physicalistic trap * appendix * acknowledgement * notes * references”
Mausfeld, R.. (2012). Der Schein des Realen.. Näher Dran? Zur Phänomenologie Des Wahrnehmens
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“Die traditionelle wahrnehmungspsychologie hat durch ihre physiologistische und physikalistische orientierung und die damit verbundene fokussierung auf elementaristische wahrnehmungsattribute die interne struktur der wahrnehmung und damit die explanatorischen aufgaben der wahrnehmungs- psychologie in grundlegender weise mißverstanden. ihre zugangsweise ist nicht nur phänomenolo- gisch inadäquat, sondern hat sich auch explanatorisch als unfruchtbar erwiesen. dieser beitrag zeigt dies am beispiel des wahrnehmungsattributs ‚phänomenal real’ auf, das in der traditionellen wahr- nehmungspsychologie als wenig erklärungsbedürftig angesehen wird. tatsächlich stellt jedoch ‚real‘ ein internes attribut dar, dessen zuweisung zu wahrnehmungsobjekten und situationen eigenen psychologischen gesetzmäßigkeiten folgt, die sich aus physiologistischer und physikalistischer per- spektive nicht verstehen lassen. erst in den letzten jahren wird im zusammenhang mit problemen, die sich insbesondere bei virtual reality environments ergeben, die frage nach den auslösebedingungen für das attribut ‚real’ wieder thematisiert. offensichtlich verfügt unser wahrnehmungssystem über eine (biologisch vorgegebene und kulturell überformte) ‚interne semantik‘ für die zuschreibung des attributes ‚real‘, von deren komplexen möglichkeiten wir in der kultur (z.b. beim film oder theater) vielfältigen gebrauch machen. i.”
Mausfeld, R.. (2009). Psychologie, weiße folter’ und die verantwortlichkeit von wissenschaftlern. Psychologische Rundschau
“The disparity of highlights on specular reflecting surfaces usually differs from the disparity of the surface points. a. kirschmann (1895) proposed that this fact may be used as a binocular cue for gloss perception. this was confirmed by a. blake and h. bülthoff (1990) who found that subjects judged the glossiness of convex ellipsoidal surfaces as most realistic if the disparity of the highlights was close to the physical correct one. extending on this finding, we investigate more closely whether the effect of highlight disparity depends on the sharpness of the highlight and the relative amount of diffuse and specular reflection. we measured the effect of highlight disparity on both perceived strength and perceived authenticity of gloss. we used complex, three-dimensional curved surfaces that were stereoscopically presented on a crt. the reflection characteristics were varied using the phong lighting model. highlights were presented either with or without highlight disparity. in a rating experiment, subjects were asked to judge the strength and the authenticity of the perceived surface glossiness. the presence of highlight disparity lead to an enhancement of both the authenticity and the strength of perceived glossiness. the latter finding was confirmed in an additional matching experiment.”
Mausfeld, R.. (2010). Psychologie, biologie, kognitive neurowissenschaften zur gegenwärtigen dominanz neuroreduktionistischer positionen zu ihren stillschweigenden grundannahmen. Psychologische Rundschau
“The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. this paper brings to mind several arguments to elucidate that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. it then scrutinizes the question why nevertheless such conceptions are currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. the paper argues that neuroreductionist conceptions are rooted in four different aspects of our common-sense conception of mental phenomena and their explanation that are illegitimately transferred to scientific inquiry. these four aspects pertain to the notion of explanation, to conceptions about which mental phenomena are singled out for inquiry, to an inductivist epistemology, and, in the wake of behavioristic conceptions, to a bias favoring investigations of input-output relations at the expense of inquiries into internal principles. to the extent that the cognitive neurosciences methodologically adhere to these tacit assumptions, they are prone to turn into a largely atheoretical and data-driven endeavour while at the same time receiving wide-spread public appreciation of their empirical findings. (psycinfo database record (c) 2012 apa, all rights reserved)”
Heyer, D., & Mausfeld, R.. (2002). Perception and the physical world: psychological and philosophical issues in perception. Perception
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“The focus of this book is on conceptual and philosophical issues of perception including the classic notion of unconscious inferences in perception. the book consists of contributions from a group of internationally renowned researchers who spent a year together as distinguised fellows at the german centre for advanced study. each chapter concludes with a lively, informative debate in the form of comments and replies from the contributors of the book. contributors are of prominent international reputation each chapter concludes with comments and replies from the contributors of the book to give informative debate the only book available to blend perception and philosophy in this fashion”
Narens, L., & Mausfeld, R.. (1992). On the Relationship of the Psychological and the Physical in Psychophysics. Psychological Review
“Presents a theory of the relationship of the psychological and the physical and uses it to formulate a new kind of meaningfulness principle for psychophysical application. this new principle calls into question the psychological relevance of many kinds of quantitative psychophysical relationships. as an illustration, it is used to study comparisons of sensitivity involving weber fractions, particularly comparisons across sensory modalities. the methods of the illustration extend easily to other psychophysical situations. (psyclit database copyright 1992 american psychological assn, all rights reserved)”
Mausfeld, R.. (2012). “Colour” As Part of the Format of Different Perceptual Primitives: The Dual Coding of Colour. In Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World
“The field of colour perception has often been praised in recent years as a paradigm of cognitive science. while this certainly has some validity, it contrasts with the fact that the field makes very little contact with the sort of inquiries into mental representations to be found elsewhere in cognitive science (understood as naturalistic inquiries of the mind/brain). i find this quite puzzling, because in the earlier literature of the field it was clearly recognised-for instance by bühler, gelb, kardos, koffka-that ʹcolourʹ could be understood only as part of the general problem of perceptual representations. their insights could not, of course, take advantage of the theoretical language provided by what has been called the cognitive revolution. for that reason, and also because they were overshadowed by the success of more technical fields, they fell almost entirely into oblivion. the technical fields, successful with respect to their own specific goals, were colorimetry, neurophysiological investigations into peripheral colour coding, and more recently, functionalist-computational approaches that emphasise certain pre-given performance criteria.. the success of these fields has not been hampered by the fact that they share certain common-sense conceptions of colour, particularly the idea that colour is an autonomous attribute that can be studied almost in isolation from other perceptual attributes. because such common-sense conceptions of colour appear to be, by and large, innocuous to advances in these fields, no need has arisen so far to relinquish them. however, precisely because of the successes of these fields inquiries into colour perception, understood as the endeavour to develop explanatory frameworks for the role of ʹcolourʹ within our perceptual and cognitive architecture, have suffered a less fortunate fate. the conceptual vocabulary which inquiries into colour perception 1 borrowed from fields, such as neurophysiology, that pursue different explanatory purposes has remained alien to its intrinsic structure and has veiled its core problems. my interest in colour perception (which, a long time ago, was incited by russellʹs problems of philosophy) has been motivated by the question of how we can, within naturalistic inquiry, describe the conceptual structure with which our perceptual system is biologically endowed. such questions have long been pursued in ethology and have yielded intriguing results. the theoretical picture that is emerging h…”
Mausfeld, R.. (2013). The Attribute of Realness and the Internal Organization of Perceptual Reality. In Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology: Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance
“The chapter deals with the notion of phenomenal realness, which was first systematically explored by albert michotte. phenomenal realness refers to the impression that a perceptual object is perceived to have an autonomous existence in our mind-independent world. perceptual psychology provides an abundance of phenomena, ranging from amodal completion to picture perception, that indicate that phenomenal realness is an independent perceptual attribute that can be conferred to perceptual objects in different degrees. the chapter outlines a theoretical framework that appears particularly well-suited for dealing with corresponding phenomena. according to this framework, perception can be under- stood as a triggering of conceptual forms by sensor inputs. it is argued that the attribute of phenomenal realness is based on specific types of internal evaluation functions which deal with the segregation of causes conceived as ‘external’ from those conceived as ‘internal’. these evaluation functions integrate different internal sources of ‘knowledge’ about the potential causes for the activation of conceptual forms and provide markers by which conceptual forms can be tagged as ‘external world objects’. ‘reality’,”
Mausfeld, R.. (2001). What’s within? Can the internal structure of perception be derived from regularities of the external world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences
“We argue, from an ethology-inspired perspective, that the internal concepts ‘surface colours’ and ‘illumination colours’ are part of the data format of two different representational primitives. thus, the internal concept of ‘colour’ is not a unitary one but rather refers to two different types of ‘data structure’, each with its own proprietary types of parameters and relations. the relation of these representational structures is modulated by a class of parameterised transformations whose effects are mirrored in the idealised computational achievements of illumination invariance of colour codes, on the one hand, and scene invariance, on the other hand. because the same characteristics of a light array reaching the eye can be physically produced in many different ways, the visual system, then, has to make an ‘inference’ whether a chromatic deviation of the space-averaged colour codes from the neutral point is due to a ‘non-normal’, ie chromatic, illumination or due to an imbalanced spectral reflectance composition. we provide evidence that the visual system uses second-order statistics of chromatic codes of a single view of a scene in order to modulate corresponding transformations. in our experiments we used centre surround configurations with inhomogeneous surrounds given by a random structure of overlapping circles, referred to as seurat configurations. each family of surrounds has a fixed space-average of colour codes, but differs with respect to the covariance matrix of colour codes of pixels that defines the chromatic variance along some chromatic axis and the covariance between luminance and chromatic channels. we found that dominant wavelengths of red-green equilibrium settings of the infield exhibited a stable and strong dependence on the chromatic variance of the surround. high variances resulted in a tendency towards ‘scene invariance’, low variances in a tendency towards ‘illumination invariance’ of the infield.”
Mausfeld, R.. (2006). Wahrnehmung: Geschichte und Ansätze. In Handbuch der Allgemeinen Psychologie – Kognition
“The interpretation of the role of hla-dpb1 in unrelated haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (hsct) is subject to discussion. we have investigated the role of hla-dpb1 allele matching in hsct outcomes in 161 recipients who were hla-a, -b, -c, -drb1 and -dqb1-matched with their unrelated donors at the allelic level (10/10). in addition, we analysed the association of polymorphic amino acid mismatches of dpb1 molecule with hsct end-points, and a previously published permissiveness concept. hla-dpb1 allele mismatches were significantly associated with an increased incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease (agvhd) and worse overall survival (os). the mismatch at amino acid position 69 significantly increased the risk for transplant-related mortality (trm). risk factors for agvhd also included mismatches at positions 8, 9, 35, 76 and 84. this is to our knowledge, the first report of an in vivo effect of single amino acid mismatches on hsct outcomes. in this study, grouping of allelic mismatches into permissive and non-permissive categories and their association with transplantation end-points was relevant for trm but not for other clinical end-points.”
Mausfeld, R.. (2010). Intrinsic multiperspectivity: On the architectural foundations of a distinctive mental capacity. In Cognition and Neuropsychology: International Perspectives on Psychological Science
“Sensory systems serve to link the organism to functionally relevant aspects of the physical environment. a mobile organism requires diverse information from the biologi-cal and physical environment and about its internal state for orientation and movement in space and in order to regulate and control its body and behavior. in the course of evolution, with the increased complexity of tasks serv-ing towards orientation and behavioral control there was a growing need to interrelate the diverse sensory chan-nels and also to integrate information about the internal state of the body. this sensory integration required a regulation of awareness to develop which would be able to fi lter the external signals according to internal motiva-tional and emotional states. as sensory systems are cen-tral for behavioral control, the neuronal architecture of sensory systems is intricately interwoven with the motor system. furthermore, evolutionary considerations sug-gest that fundamental features of perception formed the basis for more abstract cognitive achievements and that the underlying general principles are thus also re fl ected in the organization of cognitive processes. for humans, the sensory integratory achievements pertain not only to haptic, visual, auditive, olfactory, and gustatory perception, but also to the perception of the body and its parts [ 6, 27 ] and the relative position of these parts in relation to each other (proprioception) and to their environment, the perception of the viscera (entero-or visceroception), the perception of pain, the perception of physiognomy and body movements and the thus communicated affective expressions and sig-nals, as well as the perception of speech, events, or time. biological species may differently exploit and utilize the physical energies impinging on the organism and organize these energies in the form of sensory modali-ties . by far the largest part of the impinging spatiotempo-ral energy pattern is not processed for biological purposes. only a highly restricted range of this energy pattern is used for the biological function of coupling the organism to its environment (e.g., humans neither can perceive the plain of polarized light nor the direction of the magnetic fi eld). the physical energy is transduced into neural codes in such a way that the particular physical origin of the resulting code is unidenti fi able (e.g., light perception at the eye may originate from optical, mechanical, or electrical stimuli). t…”
Andres, J., & Mausfeld, R.. (2008). Structural description and qualitative content in perception theory. Consciousness and Cognition
“Lustrous surface appearances can be elicited by simple image configurations with no texture or specular highlights, as most prominently illustrated by helmholtz’ demonstration of stereoscopic lustre. three types of explanatory framework have been proposed for stereoscopic lustre, which attribute the phenomenon to a binocular luminance conflict, an internalised physical regularity (helmholtz), or to a disentangling of ‘essential’ and ‘accidental’ attributes in surface representations (hering). in order to investigate these frameworks, we used haploscopically fused half-images of centre-surround configurations in which the luminances of the test patch were dynamically modulated. experiment 1 shows that stereoscopic lustre is not specifically tied to situations of a luminance conflict between the eyes. experiment 2 identifies a novel aspect in the binocular temporal dynamics that provides a physical basis for lustrous appearances, namely the occurrence of a temporal luminance counter-modulation between the eyes. this feature sheds some light on the internal principles underlying a disentangling of ‘accidental’ and ‘essential’ surface attributes. experiment 3 reveals an asymmetry between a light and a dark reference level for the counter-modulations. this finding again suggests an interpretation in terms of an internalised physical regularity with respect to the dynamics of perceiving illuminated surfaces.”
Website keywords: Liberty of thought; Freedom of thought; Sovereignty of consciousness; Psychological self-determination; Neuroethics, Neurorights; Mental integrity; Psychological continuity; Psycho-cybernetics.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is deeply concerned about this course of action including the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr. Assange. Read the official UN statement
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and ilis not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
~ Nobel laureate Lord Bertrand Russell (1920) “Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel” pp. 178-179
Full text (ebook) available on the Project Gutenberg: www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/55610
Education as a system of indoctrination – Prof. Noam Chomsky (Video)
“It must not be supposed that the officials in charge of education desire the young to become educated. On the contrary, their problem is to impart information without imparting intelligence. Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge — reading and writing, languages and mathematics, and so on; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgments for themselves. The first of these we may call information, the second intelligence. The utility of information is admitted practically as well as theoretically; without a literate population a modern State is impossible. But the utility of intelligence is admitted only theoretically, not practically; it is not desired that ordinary people should think for themselves, because it is felt that people who think for themselves are awkward to manage and cause administrative difficulties. Only the guardians, in Plato’s language, are to think; the rest are to obey, or to follow leaders like a herd of sheep. This doctrine, often unconsciously, has survived the introduction of political democracy, and has radically vitiated all national systems of education.”
The term “Liberty” is etymologically derived from the Latin libertatem which can translated as “civil or political freedom, condition of a free man; absence of restraint;” cognate to liber “free”. Ex vi termini, “cognitive liberty” is semantically synonymous with “the right to psychological self-determination“. It implies that human creatures have the universal freedom (viz., sui iuris) to control and determine their own psychology, i.e., their cognitive processes, emotions, and all aspects of consciousness. It is thus essential to the universal principle of freedom of thought (Article 91 of the Human Rights Act 1998) which in turn forms the basis (s.c., a condicio sine qua non) for the right to freedom of speech/expression. As Erich Fromm articulated it: “The right to express our thought, however, means something only if we are able to have our own thoughts; freedom from external authority is a lasting gain only if the inner psychological conditions are such that we are able to establish our own individuality” (Fromm, The fear of freedom, 1942; pp.207-208). Self-determination is a cardinal principle in international law (jus cogens).2 Given the significant recent advances in psychology, the neurosciences, computer science, and artificial intelligence, cognitive liberty is becoming a topic of great concern for all human beings. This website is specifically devoted to this timely topic and provides information from a diversity of sources (an integral interdisciplinary approach is adopted to elucidate the topic from a plurality of perspectives). Insights derived from psychology, the cognitivesciences, and the neurosciences enable the manipulation and control of cognition and consciousness, oftentimes specifically targeting unconscious processes. Moreover, advances in computer science and cybernetics (e.g., Bayesianalgorithms/deep learning convolutional neural networks) enable science to systematically tailor and “steer” information (the flow of perceptual input) to affect cognition and emotion (and consequently behavior) in prespecified and highly predictable ways. Especially unconscious psychological processes can be effectively exploited because humans are generally unaware of the programmatic excitability of unconscious mechanisms. This imbalance creates a power-differential between those who know how the human mind can be manipulated (viz., the financial power elite which utilizes media and a large segment of academic science for their purposes; cf. Mausfeld, 2017) and those who do not posses a detailed understanding of psychological manipulation and behavior modification techniques (i.e., the general populous). The list of evolutionarily inbuilt psychological weaknesses (vulnerable psychological exploits) is long and has been extensively studied by several generations of scientist, specially in the domain of behavioral economics (i.e., Kahneman & Tversky’s “heuristics & biases” research agenda).
The following application provides a synopsis of numerous cognitive biases which are well documented in psychology:
Open ‘Cognitive Bias Codex’ application in a lightbox modal window (you can zoom via the mouse-wheel)
The adumbrated psychological & technological developments are unprecedented in the evolution of the human species and have far-reaching ramifications for life on this planet as a whole because it is obvious that human behavior has a significant detrimental impact on the ‘Earth System’ . The relatively novel terms anthropocene & holocene are used in this context of destruction and mass extinction. These terms refer to an important psychological self-reflective insight science has developed, the insight that human behavior destroys the global ecosystem. Because human behavior is governed by psychology it is crucial that human beings are allowed to think freely in order to be able to choose a more rational course of action. Freedom of thought needs to be fostered. Currently, a large proportion of society is transformed into mindless conformist consumers (i.e., by the mass-media and other cybernetic methods of psychological programing). This manipulative modus operandi seriously impedes the unfoldment of virtuous human potential (contrariwise primitive egocentric cognitive schemata are constantly reinforced in the ego-driven system of consumerism which is based on wish-fulfillment , satisfactions, ingestion, introjection, consumption, competition, comparison, and other egoic human “drives”). In fact, the term homō consumens has been proposed as a more fitting substitute for homōsapiēns; a clearly self-inflated nomenclature which is etymologically derived from the Latin sapere3and thus translates into the wise or rational man – to be taxonomically exact homōsapiēns sapiēns – which duplicates the anthropocentric hubris.
The boiling frog analogy & Sôritês paradoxon
The boiling frog is an analogy describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is thrown suddenly into boiling hot water, it will immediately jump out. However, if the frog is put in cold water which is then slowly and gradually brought to a boil, it will not perceive the danger, sit still, and will therefore be cooked to death. Applied to human cognition & behavior the analogy could be interpreted as follow: If the environment changes gradually (microgenetically) in an incremental step-wise fashion, humans have great difficulty to recognize the change because each step in the evolution of the system (i.e., the change in the environment) is not drastic at all. However, over an elongated period of time the system changes significantly and the additive long-term effect of numerous small changes have extreme consequences. The question thus is: When does the system change from stable to chaotic, i.e., from “from lukewarm to boiling hot”. Per analogiam, the demarcation criterion between hot versus cold (chaotic versus stable) is not clearly defined. In the cognitivesciences this ambiguity is discussed under the header “vagueness of attributes”.4 In philosophy this is an ancient paradox known as Sôritês paradoxon (or the problem of the heap).5 The paradox is based on the seemingly simple question: When does a heap of sand become a heap? (When does the system “switch” from being life-supporting to deadly.)
Sôritês paradoxon can be expressed as a conditional syllogistic argument (modus ponens). N.B. You can replace the variable “grain of sand” with “toxic chemical molecules” in the context of environmental pollution; or with the “cutting down of trees” in the context of global deforestation; or with the “loss of species” in the context of anthropogenic reduction of biodiversity; et cetera pp.
1 grain of sand does not make a heap.
If 1 grain of sand does not make a heap, then 2 grains do not either.
If 2 grains do not make a heap, then 3 grains don’t.
If 999999,99999 grains do not make a heap, then 1 million grains don’t.
∞ ad infinitum…
∴ Ergo (Therefore)
1 million grains don’t make a heap.
The Bald Man (phalakros) paradox is another allegory which illustrates the point: A man with a full head of hair is not bald. The removal of a single hair will not turn him into a bold man. However, diachronically, continuous repeated removal of single hairs will necessarily result in baldness. However, it is unclear when the “critical boundary” has been transgressed. In the psychology of reasoning this is termed the continuum fallacy. The informal logical fallacy pertains the argument that two states (i.e., cold vs. hot; falsum vs. verum) cannot be defined/quantised as distinct (and/or do not exist at all) because between them there exists a continuum of states (cf. many-valued logic/fuzzy logic). The fundamental question whether any continua exist in the physical world is a deep question in physics (cf. atomism). Deterministic Newtonian physics stipulates that reality is continuous. Per contrast, contemporary quantum physics is based on the notion of discrete states (quanta) as the notion of continuity appears to be invalid at the smallest Planck scale of physical existence.
Conditional Sôritês paradoxon in symbolic logic:
Mathematical Induction Sôritês paradoxon:
In linguistic terms, Sôritês paradoxon has been eloquently formulated by Black in 1937:
A symbol’s vagueness is held to consist in the existence of objects concerning which it is intrinsically impossible to say either that the symbol in question does, or does not, apply. …Reserving the terms of logic and mathematics for separate consideration, we can say that all “material” terms, all whose application requires the recognition of the presence of sensible qualities, are vague in the sense described. — M. Black (Vagueness: an exercise in logical analysis, 1937)
In the context of visual perception (psychophysics) Lord Bertrand Russel stated the following:
It is perfectly obvious, since colours form a continuum, that there are shades of colour concerning which we shall be in doubt whether to call them red or not, not because we are ignorant of the meaning of the word “red”, but because it is a word the extent of whose application is essentially doubtful. — B. Russell (Vagueness, 1923)
Figure 1. Sôritês paradoxon in visual brightness perception.
Figure 1 illustrates Sôritês paradoxon applied to visual perception (based on Russel’s argument). Adjacent luminance differences (e.g., tick-mark 1 versus 2) are indistinguishable by the human visual system while larger contrasts (e.g., tick mark 2 versus 3) are easily distinguishable.
“In this paper i offer a critique of the recent popular strategy of giving a contextualist account of vagueness. such accounts maintain that truth-values of vague sentences can change with changes of context induced by confronting different entities (e.g. different pairs through a sorites series). i claim that appealing to context does not help in solving the sorites paradox, nor does it give us new insights into vagueness per se. furthermore, the contextual variation to which the contextualist is committed is problematic in various ways. for example, it yields the consequence that much of our everyday (non-soritical) reasoning is fallacious, and it renders us ignorant of what we and others have said.”
Litman, L., & Zelcer, M.. (2013). A cognitive neuroscience, dual-systems approach to the sorites paradox. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence
“The principle of stability now says that if sentence is true/false in a model m, then has to stay true/false if m is getting more precise. formally, let m = d, i be a refinement of m = d, i . then it has to be the case that for all : (i) if vm() = 1, then vm () = 1. (ii) if vm() = 0, then vm () = 0.”
Campbell, R.. (1974). The sorites paradox. Philosophical Studies
“The premises that a four foot man is short and that a man one tenth of an inch taller than a short man is also short entail by universal instantiation and ‘modus ponens’ that a seven foot man is short. the negation of the second premise seems to entail there are virtually no borderline cases of short men, while to deny the second premise and its negation conflicts with the principle of bivalence, if not excluded middle. but the paradox can be dissolved without resort to degrees of truth or any non-classical system of logic. if some true predications can be semantically uncertain in a sense suitable for defining borderline cases, the second premise can be denied without denying the vagueness of ‘short’ or reintroducing a sorites paradox along with higher order borderline cases.”
Hyde, D.. (2011). Sorites Paradox. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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“The sorites paradox is the name given to a class of paradoxicalarguments, also known as little-by-little arguments, which arise as aresult of the indeterminacy surrounding limits of application of thepredicates involved. for example, the concept of a heap appears tolack sharp boundaries and, as a consequence of the subsequentindeterminacy surrounding the extension of the predicate ‘is aheap’, no one grain of wheat can be identified as making thedifference between being a heap and not being a heap. given then thatone grain of wheat does not make a heap, it would seem to follow thattwo do not, thus three do not, and so on. in the end it would appearthat no amount of wheat can make a heap. we are faced with paradoxsince from apparently true premises by seemingly uncontroversialreasoning we arrive at an apparently false conclusion., the hooded man: you say that you know your brother. yet thatman who just came in with his head covered is your brother and you didnot know him.”
Cognition: That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge.
mid-15c., cognicioun, “ability to comprehend, mental act or process of knowing,” from Latin cognitionem (nominative cognitio) “a getting to know, acquaintance, knowledge,” noun of action from past participle stem of cognoscere “to get to know, recognize,” from assimilated form of com“together” (see co-) + gnoscere “to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.” In 17c. the meaning was extended to include perception and sensation.
1375–1425; late Middle English cognicioun < Latin cognitiōn- (stem of cognitiō ), equivalent to cognit(us), past participle of cognōscere ( co- co- + gni-, variant stem of gnōscere, nōscere, to learn (see know) + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the publicmind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)
Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. Horace Liveright.
Bernays, E. L. (1936). Freedom of Propaganda. Vital Speeches of the Day, 2(24), 744–746.
L’Etang, J. (1999). The father of spin: Edward L. Bernays and the birth of public relations. Public Relations Review, 25(1), 123–124.
“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . [a]s a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power…. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach. … The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd.” (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV)
Lippmann, W. (1920). Liberty and the News. Museum.
Lippmann, W. (1970). The Phantom Public. Politics.
From 1930 onwards, Brecht became part of a wider complex of projects exploring the role of intellectuals (or “Tuis” as he called them) in a capitalist society. A Tui is an intellectual who sells his or her abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who uses them to support the dominant ideology of an oppressive society. ] The German modernist theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht invented the term and used it in a range of critical and creative projects, including the material that he developed in the mid-1930s for his so-called Tui-Novel—an unfinished satire on intellectuals in the German Empire and Weimar Republic—and his epic comedy from the early 1950s, Turandot or the Whitewashers’ Congress. The word is a neologism that results from the acronym of a word play on “intellectual” (“Tellekt-Ual-In”).
According to Clark (2006): “… the critique of intellectuals which Brecht developed… around the notion of ‘Tuismus’ engages a model of the public intellectual in which the self-image of the artist and thinker as a socially and politically engaged person corresponded to the expectations of the public.”
Clark, M. W. (2006). Hero or villain? Bertolt Brecht and the crisis surrounding June 1953. Journal of Contemporary History.
Hunt, T. C. N.-. (2004). Goodbye to Berlin: For 200 years, German thinkers have shaped British intellectual life – but their influence is fading fast. The Guardian.
“It is very useful to differentiate between rational and irrational authority. By irrational authority I mean authority exercised by fear and pressure on the basis of emotional submission. This is the authority of blind obedience, the authority you will find most clearly expressed in all totalitarian countries.
But there is another kind of authority, rational authority by which I mean any authority which is based on competence and knowledge, which permits criticism, which by its very nature tends to diminish, but which is not based on the emotional factors of submission and masochism, but on the realistic recognition of the competence of the person for a certain job.”
― 1958. The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man, in: Merrill-Palmer. Quarterly of Behavior and Development, Detroit, Vol. 5, p. 6.
“Rapid advancements in human neuroscience and neurotechnology open unprecedented possibilities for accessing, collecting, sharing and manipulating information from the human brain. such applications raise important challenges to human rights principles that need to be addressed to prevent unintended consequences. this paper assesses the implications of emerging neurotechnology applications in the context of the human rights framework and suggests that existing human rights may not be sufficient to respond to these emerging issues. after analysing the relationship between neuroscience and human rights, we identify four new rights that may become of great relevance in the coming decades: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity.”
Rose, N., & Abi-Rached, J.. (2014). Governing through the Brain: Neuropolitics, Neuroscience and Subjectivity. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
“This article considers how the brain has become an object and target for governing human beings. how, and to what extent, has governing the conduct of human beings come to require, presuppose and utilize a knowledge of the human brain? how, and with what consequences, are so many aspects of human existence coming to be problematized in terms of the brain? and what role are these new ‘cerebral knowledges’ and technologies coming to play in our contemporary forms of subjectification, and our ways of governing ourselves? after a brief historical excursus, we delineate four pathways through which neuroscience has left the lab and became entangled with the government of the living: psychopharmacology, brain imaging, neuroplasticity and genomics. we conclude by asking whether the ‘psychological complex’ of the twentieth century is giving way to a ‘neurobiological complex’ in the twenty-first, and, if so, how the social and human sciences should respond.”