Freitag, 23. Juni 2017


Es ist ein bemerkenswerter Umstand, dass sich im Menschen sehr ausgeprägte Handlungsimpulse finden können, die sich massiv gegen das Wohlergehen des Gesamtorganismus richten: So verkürzt der "Impuls zu rauchen" das durchschnittliche Raucherleben um etwa 10 Jahre, der "Impuls zu trinken" das durchschnittliche Alkoholikerleben um etwa 20 Jahre. (Wenngleich beide Aussagen, da in Beobachtungsstudien nur sehr bedingt Kausalzusammenhänge feststellbar sind, ein gewisses Maß an spekulativer Behauptung enthalten.)
Laut Eigenaussagen bekundet die Mehrheit jener Alkoholiker bzw. Raucher von der Flasche bzw. vom Tabak loskommen zu wollen, doch reicht die Stärke dieses Wollens in der Regel nicht aus, jene selbstständig gewordenen hypertrophen Handlungsimpulse an der weiteren Einflussnahme auf das Verhalten zu hindern.

Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017


"impulsivity, broadly defined as action without foresight"

"... behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences"

"the construct of impulsivity includes at least two independent components: first, acting without an appropriate amount of deliberation, which may or may not be functional; and second, choosing short-term gains over long-term ones."

"To the extent that language has universal properties, it probably owes them more to the common nature of experience than to language itself. We all live in similar spatiotemporal worlds, inhabited by things, people, and various artifacts of our own making ..."

Michael C. Corballis
"Literal talk, loose talk and metaphorical talk are often seen as different in kind. We want to argue that they differ not in kind but only in degree of looseness, and that they are understood in essentially the same way."

D. Sperber & D. Wilson
"Language is in many respects an extension of theory of mind, a way of reading and influencing the minds of others. One of its critical features is that it is underdetermined, and we can make sense of what others say only if we are on the same mental wavelength ..."

Michael C. Corballis

Amotz Zahavi verstorben

Ein Beitrag von Ingo Bading zu Zahavis "Handicap-Theorie".

Gifts in Skinner Boxes

Dienstag, 20. Juni 2017

Rekursion, Sprachfähigkeit und episodisches Vorstellen

Eine kurze Notiz:

Michael C. Corballis führt als Schlüsselmerkmal des menschlichen Denkens die Fähigkeit zur Rekursion an: ... Diverse Sprachen ermöglichen es uns, Aussagen beliebiger Länge zu formen. (Indem in Grundaussagen zusätzliche Aussagen eingefügt werden.) ... Im Rahmen des episodischen Vorstellens sind Episoden mit einer beliebig großen Anzahl von Unterepisoden denkbar. ...

[Sofern man bei Tieren Sprachfähigkeit feststellte - beispielsweise bei Schimpansen, denen man die Zeichensprache beibrachte - war doch die Anzahl der Elemente, die eine Aussage beinhalten konnte, sehr beschränkt. Die Fähigkeit, sich Episoden mit Unterepisoden ausmalen zu können, ist für die menschliche Planungsfähigkeit von immenser Bedeutung.]

Montag, 19. Juni 2017

Mitdenken bei Vorträgen:

Als Mitdenken bei Vorträgen dürfte gewöhnlich kaum mehr (aber auch kaum weniger) als ein stilles Mitsprechen und Kommentieren des Vorgetragenen bezeichnet werden.

Samstag, 17. Juni 2017

Schreiben als ein rekursiver Prozess:

Sofern man den Schreibvorgang als einen rekursiven Prozess auffasst, liegt folgende Behauptung nahe: ein Absatz, ein Artikel, ein Buch, sind jeweils einzelne Aussagen, in die, per Rekursion, weitere Aussagen eingeschoben wurden.

"Blurt it out!"

"Many of the students who arrive at very competitive universities pride themselves in not making mistakes—after all, that’s how they’ve come so much farther than their classmates, or so they have been led to believe. I often find that I have to encourage them to cultivate the habit of making mistakes, the best learning opportunities of all. They get “writer’s block” and waste hours forlornly wandering back and forth on the starting line. “Blurt it out!” I urge them. Then they have something on the page to work with."

Daniel C. Dennett
"Regret is basically a sorrow over a past alternative that was available to us, but that we missed."

"I have never met a woman who regretted having children. She surely exists, but not in my experience. I have met, however, older people who lament never having kids..."

Donnerstag, 15. Juni 2017

Mögliche Ursachen niedriger Geburtenraten:

Als ein Konzept zur Erklärung niedriger Geburtenraten werden "Opportunitätskosten" angeführt:

"Indem Betreuung und Erziehung von Kindern mit einem Verzicht auf materielle Güter, persönliche Aktivitäten, Einkommen und Karrierechancen 'erkauft' werden, erweisen sich 'Opportunitätskosten' offensichtlich als Schlüsselbegriff für das Verständnis gegenwärtiger Fertilitätsabnahme."

Die Alterung der Gesellschaft (2004)
Schimany Peter

"Von der Größe und Art des biographischen Universums werden die biographischen Handlungsalternativen und -optionen des Individuums entscheidend beeinflusst. Dabei hat die empirische Lebenslaufforschung gezeigt, dass die Wahrscheinlichkeit einer langfristigen Festlegung im Lebenslauf durch eine Kindergeburt umso geringer ist, je größer die Zahl der Lebenslaufoptionen ist, die aufgrund dieser Festlegung aus dem biographischen Universum ausscheiden würden. Die ausgeschiedenen Lebenslaufoptionen werden als biographische Opportunitätskosten von Kindern bezeichnet."

Strategische Optionen der Familien- und Migrationspolitik in Deutschland und Europa
Herwig Birg (2003)

Mittwoch, 14. Juni 2017

David M. Buss on Mating Opportunity Costs

Edge - 2017

Mating Opportunity Costs (by David M. Buss)

The concept of opportunity costs—the loss of potential gains from alternatives not chosen when a mutually exclusive choice must be made—is one of the most important concepts in the field of economics. But the concept is not well appreciated in the field of psychology. 

One reason for its absence is the sheer difficulty of calculating opportunity costs that occur in metrics other than money. Consider mate choice. Choosing one long-term mate means forgoing the benefits of choosing an available and interested alternative. But how are non-monetary benefits calculated psychologically? 

The complexities are multiple. The benefit-bestowing qualities of passed-over mates are many in number and disparate in nature. And there are inevitable tradeoffs among competing and incommensurate alternatives. Sometimes the choice is between a humorless mate with excellent future job prospects and a fun-loving mate destined for a low-status occupation; or between an attractive mate who carries the costs of incessant attention from others versus a mate who garners little external attention but with whom you have less sexual chemistry. Another intangible quality also factors into the equation—the degree to which competing alternatives appreciate your unique assets, which renders you more irreplaceably valuable to one than the other. 

Uncertainty of assessment surrounds each benefit-conferring quality. It is difficult to determine how emotionally stable someone is without sustained observation through times bad and good—events experienced with a chosen mate but unknown with a foregone alternative. Another complication centers on infidelity and breakups. There is no guarantee that you will receive the benefits of a chosen mate over the long run. Mates higher in desirability are more likely to defect. Whereas less desirable mates are sure bets, more desirable partners represent tempting gambles. How do these mating opportunity costs enter into the complex calculus of mating decisions? 

Despite the difficulties involved in computing non-monetary opportunity costs, probabilistic cues to their recurrent reality over evolutionary time must have forged a psychology designed to assess them, however approximate these computations may be. Although mating decisions provide clear illustrations, the psychology of opportunity costs is more pervasive. Humans surely have evolved a complex multifaceted psychology of opportunity costs, since every behavioral decision at every moment precludes potential benefits from alternative courses of action.

Many of these are trivial—sipping a cappuccino precludes downing a latte. But some are profound and produce post-decision regret, such as missed sexual opportunities or lamenting a true love that got away. The penalties of incorrectly calculating mating opportunity costs can last a lifetime.

Folk Psychology:

"Folk psychology is 'what everyone knows' about their minds and the minds of others: people can feel pain or be hungry or thirsty and know the difference, they can remember events from their past, anticipate lots of things, see what is in front of their open eyes, hear what is said within earshot, deceive and be deceived, know where they are, recognize others, and so forth. The confidence with which we make these assumptions is breathtaking, given how little we know about what is actually going on inside the heads of these people (to say nothing of other animals). So sure are we about all this that it takes some strenuous distancing even to notice that we’re doing it."

Daniel C. Dennett

Sonntag, 11. Juni 2017

Rudolf Flesch on Writing Fluency:

Some time ago I talked to a friend of mine who, like myself, had for years been teaching an evening class in writing. Being competitors, we decided to compare notes on our experiences.
"What's your problem?" I asked him.
"My main problem," he said, "is always the same. I get swamped. During the whole period of the course, I spend every weekend buried under a mountain of papers. It's a terrific chore."
Nothing could have surprised me more. Not only were my weekends happily free of papers to correct, but on the contrary I always had just the opposite trouble: I could never manage to get my students to write enough. They just didn't produce. I tried this and that, I begged, I coaxed, I implored them - it was no use. I had long ago come to the conclusion that the average student would do anything rather than writing.
What was the explanation for this enormous difference between our two writing courses? Obviously this: My friend taught creative writing and I taught the other, practical kind. People who take creative-writing courses have an urge to write, people who take practical-writing courses have a writing-phobia.
Naturally, there are exceptions to this basic rule. About once every year, there appeared among my students a specimen of the "creative" type and I was handed long, wordy slices of autobiography, fictionalized experiences, and essays on philosophical themes. Thinking back over the year, I arrived at the conclusion that about one out of fifty adult Americans suffers from graphomania - which is defined in Webster' Unabridged Dictionary as a "morbid desire or mania for writing". The remaining forty-nine are victims of the much more common ailment of "graphophobia" - which is not listed in Webster's but certainly ought to be.
There is some statistical evidence for what I just said. In 1949 someone took a public-opinion poll in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and found that 2.1 per cent of the voting population "wanted to write". I don't doubt that this figure is roughly true for the country as a whole. There are about 2 per cent graphomaniacs among us - people who have desk drawers full of stories and essays and unfinished novels, people who fill evening classes in creative writing, people who have the diary habit - in short, people whose nervous systems crave the activity for putting words on paper, just as those of alcoholics crave liquor.
Of course, among those 2 per cent there are a few that are successful and have made a name for themselves as authors. ...


How to write, speak and think more effectively
Rudolf Flesch (1960)

The Disgust Response in Human Mating:

"Sexual attraction and arousal fulfill important functions in mating decisions: They motivate courtship, copulation, and pair bonding with individuals of high sexual value. The absence of attraction and arousal could thus potentially perform the function of steering individuals away from mates of low sexual value. However, the absence of sexual arousal would not prevent that individual from being sexually pursued by other people who possess their own reproductive agendas. To reject and avoid unwanted sexual advances and behaviors another response is required. Emotions such as fear and anger are not well suited to avoiding potentially costly mates. Fear can lead to immobilization or rapid flight (Öhman & Mineka, 2001) the former of which likely does not impede sexual pursuit, and the latter of which is metabolically costly and often unnecessary (e.g., if social allies and kin can prevent another’s sexual interest from progressing to sexual aggression). Similarly, anger often acts as an “approach” emotion (Carver & HarmonJones, 2009), and associated aggression can lead to costly counteraggression (Sell et al., 2009). 
We suggest that the phylogenetically ancient (Curtis, 2007; Zhang et al., 2005) pathogen disgust was a felicitous system to co-opt to perform the function of avoiding biologically costly mates."


"The lack of a constant state of sexual disgust toward poor mates reflects the costs associated with avoiding individuals who are otherwise valuable social partners. Although constant motivations to avoid poor mates would certainly decrease the probability of reproducing with them, it would also cripple some beneficial social relationships."
"sex entails significant opportunity costs."

"males and females have different opportunity costs on average"


Samstag, 10. Juni 2017

The Recursive Mind:

"[I] argue that [recursion] is the primary characteristic that distinguishes the human mind from that of other animals. It underlies our ability not only to reflect upon our own minds, but also to simulate the minds of others. It allows us to travel mentally in time, inserting consciousness of the past or future into present consciousness."

The Recursive Mind
Michael C. Corballis


"recursive constructions need not involve the embedding of the same constituents, but may contain constituents of the same kind—a process sometimes known as 'self-similar embedding.' "

"recursion does give rise to the concept of infinity, itself perhaps limited to the human imagination."

"After all, only humans have acquired the ability to count indefinitely, and to understand the nature of infinite series, whereas other species can at best merely estimate quantity, and are accurate only up to some small finite number."

"The appealing aspect of recursion is precisely that it can in principle extend indefinitely to create thoughts (and sentences) of whatever complexity is required."

"The slow development of a complex mathematical proof, for example, may require subtheorems within subtheorems."

"interpretation of a sentence may require the understanding of phrases embedded in phrases"

"an internal understanding of a stream of thought may require the segmentation of episodes within episodes."

Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2017


Einen möglichen Bewusstseinszustand von morgen; einen Bewusstseinszustand von gestern; einen Bewusstseinszustand des Mitmenschen; - in das gegenwärtige Bewusstsein einfügen ...

[... eine Art Bewusstsein im Bewusstsein]

[Die Kunst, einen Gedanken mit anderen Gedanken zu füttern; in einen Gedanken andere Gedanken einzuspeisen.]

Mittwoch, 7. Juni 2017

Wäre der Mensch nicht fähig, nach Misserfolgen ein gewisses Maß an Niedergeschlagenheit zu empfinden, wäre er kaum in der Lage, aus Misserfolgen zu lernen.
Jordan Peterson vergleicht die Lüge mit einer Art innerem Gewächs, das, wenn es einmal im menschlichen Bewusstsein etabliert ist, nur schwer aus diesem wieder entfernt werden kann.

[Beim Lügen verhält es sich ähnlich wie beim Rauchen: Am besten man beginnt nicht damit. Einem habituierten Lügner kostet es ähnlich viel Willenskraft, nicht zu lügen, wie es einem habituierten Raucher Willenskraft kostet, nicht zu rauchen.]

Freitag, 2. Juni 2017

Jordan Peterson on Shame:

"if you do something stupid and destructive, to yourself or to yourself and the broader social community, you should feel shame and you should pay attention to it and you should learn from it ..."

"For most of Western history, ... to call someone shameless was a tremendous insult. It meant that they didn't have enough sense to be appalled by their own pathology."

Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

Neil C. Warren on intellectual similarity as a matchmaker and intellectual dissimilarity as a deal breaker:

"Interestingly, there is no clinical or empirical evidence proving that two people will fare better in marriage if they are extremely smart. Nor is there evidence that a couple will do poorly in marriage if they are "not so bright." What does matter immensely is that the partners possess intellectual levels that are near the same. If one partner has a high intelligence quotient and the other partner's IQ is substantially lower, the couple are likely to be miserable together, regardless of how many other good traits they may have.
My own mom and dad fell victim to the disparity in intelligence levels. ... Amazingly, they remained married for seventy years! But for seventy years, they experienced the consequences of being mismatched intellectually. They seldom talked to each other beyond the obligatory "How was your day?" type of questions. They had difficulty discussing the important events of the day, or even the deeper tenets of the religious faith they shared. Although they loved each other and were irrevocably committed to each other, their conversations were limited to mundane, everyday things. This is fine if it's the level on which you and your partner want to communicate. But when you run much more deeply, and your partner is not able to go there with you, it can be a frustrating experience for both of you."

Neil C. Warren
founder of eHarmony

Montag, 29. Mai 2017

Es ist ein faszinierender Umstand, dass man, sobald man einen Menschen besser kennt, scheinbar automatisch von ihm abgefasste Texte mit dem für ihn eigentümlichen Stimmklang lesen kann.

Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Sonderstellung des Menschen:

Der Mensch zeigt als einziges Lebewesen Bedürfnis und Fähigkeit, ein umfangreiches sprachliches Wissen über diese Welt zu generieren.

William James on Genius:

"Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way."


Mit Rekursion assoziiert Michael C. Corballis nicht bloß die Fähigkeit, sich vorübergehend gedanklich vom "Hier und Jetzt" wegzubewegen, um sich frei durch Raum und Zeit zu bewegen, sondern ebenso das Vermögen, das vom Mitmenschen erlebte am eigenen Leib zu erleben: d.h. vorübergehend so die Welt zu erleben, wie sie der Mitmensch erlebt oder erlebte.


Recursive Mind
M. C. Corballis (2014)

Samstag, 27. Mai 2017

William James on Attention:

“Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatter-brained state which in French is called distraction, and Zerstreutheit in German.”

The Principles of Psychology
William James (1890)


Wikipedia: Informationsüberflutung

[Siehe auch: Signal-Rausch-Verhältnis]

[Eine "Überflutung" mit Reizen hat voraussichtlich zur Folge, dass die Reize im Schnitt sehr ineffektiv verwertet werden. D.h. in einer Überfülle an bewusst registrierten Informationen ist es dem Menschen kaum mehr möglich, wirkungsvoll Unsicherheit bezüglich den Phänomenen der Um- und Innenwelt abzubauen // wirkungsvoll sich ein solides Wissen um Phänomene seiner Um- und Innenwelt zu erwerben.]

Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

Episodic Memories:

On the whole, my most vivid and colorful episodic memories are memories about personal conversations.
"That your experience largely depends on the material objects and mental subjects that you choose to pay attention to or ignore is not an imaginative notion ..."

Winifred Gallagher

William James on Alcohol and the Physical Sciences:

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour. Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. It is in fact the great exciter of the Yes function in man."

"No fact in human nature is more characteristic than its willingness to live on a chance. ... The talk of believing by our volition seems, then, from one point of view, simply silly. From another point of view it is worse than silly, it is vile. When one turns to the magnificent edifice of the physical sciences, and sees how it was reared; what thousands of disinterested moral lives of men lie buried in its mere foundations; what patience and postponement, what choking down of preference, what submission to the icy laws of outer fact are wrought into its very stones and mortar; how absolutely impersonal it stands in its vast augustness, - then how besotted and contemptible seems every little sentimentalist who comes blowing his voluntary smoke-wreaths, and pretending to decide things from out of his private dream!"

"The evidence shows, in fact, that people spend more time thinking about the future than about the past."

Michael C. Corballis

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017

"We have a remarkable capacity to mentally relive past events, imagine future ones, and even invent fictitious ones. This mental escape from the present allows us to plan our futures, deliberate on the past, and find inspiration in imagined scenarios. ..."

A new book by Michael C. Corballis:

The Truth about Language: What It Is and Where It Came From
Michael C. Corballis (May, 2017)

Montag, 22. Mai 2017

Samstag, 20. Mai 2017

"Uncertainty-related anxiety appears to be maximized in situations where there are no clear frameworks for constraining action or perception."

Psychological Entropy
J. B. Hirsh et al. (2012)

Freitag, 19. Mai 2017

"there are two primary domains of uncertainty that must be contended with from a psychological perspective: uncertainty about perception and uncertainty about action."

Psychological Entropy
J. B. Hirsh et al. (2012)

On the size of sex differences in personality:

"When sex differences across multiple traits are combined using multivariate statistical methods, the global difference between the average profiles of men and women ranges between two and three standard deviations. This means that the personality distributions of males and females overlap by about 10%, which is close to the anatomical overlap between male and female faces (Del Giudice, 2013; Del Giudice et al., 2012). The comparison between faces and personality profiles is illuminating: while the sexes look fairly similar if one considers one anatomical feature at a time (e.g., the size of the eyes, the length of the nose), the difference becomes obvious as soon as one starts looking at whole faces of men and women."


Momente, Stunden und Tage, wo dem menschlichen Denken und Erleben vorübergehend nicht mehr die Erdenschwere anzuhaften scheint. Wo sich die Aufmerksamkeit entschieden auf pos. Möglichkeiten anstatt auf Gefahren, Notwendigkeiten und Problematiken richtet.
"The evolution of language—another defining adaptation of our species—permits the exchange and transmission of information on an unprecedented scale."

Marco Del Giudice

Donnerstag, 18. Mai 2017

"an improper or outdated or otherwise invalid attachment—such as the attachment to an inappropriate pattern of behavior or belief—turns the world into waste"

Jordan B. Peterson

Mittwoch, 17. Mai 2017

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire as Separate Relational Processes

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire in Close Relationships
Gian C. Gonzaga et al. (2006)

"Two schools of thought converge on the notion that romantic love and sexual desire are independent relational processes. Relationship researchers have long grappled with the question of how romantic love and sexual desire emerge and evolve over the course of intimate relationships (Aron & Aron, 1998; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; Hatfield & Walster, 1978; S. S. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1992; R. J. Sternberg, 1986). Within this tradition, researchers differentiate between companionate love (or romantic love, in our terminology), which involves deep feelings of commitment, intimacy, and connection, and passionate love (or sexual desire, in our terminology), which involves powerful feelings of attraction, desire, passion, and infatuation (Diamond, 2003; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; Reis & Shaver, 1988). Within this framework, romantic love fulfills a commitment role, sustaining long-term bonds by promoting intimacy, connection, and the formation of mutual long-term plans (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1998; Diamond, 2003; Dion & Dion, 1973; Ellis & Malamuth, 2000; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; S. S. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1992; R. J. Sternberg, 1986). In line with this thesis, romantic love relates to an interest in being close to a partner (Aron & Aron, 1998; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Walster, 1978) and encourages self-disclosure (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000; S. S. Hendrick, Hendrick, & Adler, 1988; Wieselquist, Rusbult, Foster, & Agnew, 1999). Moreover, the feeling of falling in love involves a rapid expansion of the self to include the partner (Aron & Aron, 1997), and perceptions of increasing love across the duration of a relationship predict later relationship continuation (Sprecher, 1999).
In contrast, sexual desire—and related feelings of passion and infatuation—fulfill an initiation role, motivating sexual interest, proximity seeking, and initial contact. By motivating proximity seeking, sexual desire promotes contact and allows commitment to grow (e.g., Hazan & Zeifman, 1994, 1999; Zeifman & Hazan, 1997). In line with this thesis, passion— or sexual desire—tends to peak early in a relationship (Aron & Aron, 1991; Berscheid, 1985; Regan, 1998; R. J. Sternberg, 1986), and behaviors motivated by sexual desire, such as sexual contact or certain kinds of touch, are less frequent in more established relationships (Sprecher & Regan, 1998).
Evolutionary and attachment-related accounts of relationships have similar claims about romantic love and sexual desire (e.g., Diamond, 2003; Fisher, 1998; Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Romantic love is thought to be part of a pair-bonding system, which keeps partners together in long-term relationships that are oriented toward raising vulnerable, dependent offspring to the age of viability (Buss, 1988, 1994; Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Fisher, 1998; Kenrick & Trost, 1997; Simpson, 1994). As a part of the mating system and with the primary goal of reproduction, sexual desire responds to cues of reproductive readiness, such as physical markers of fertility or status (Buss, 1994).
This evolutionary, attachment-related approach is best encapsulated in Diamond’s (2003, 2004) biobehavioral model of romantic love and sexual desire. Diamond argued that romantic love and sexual desire serve different functions, namely to promote pair bonding and sexual behavior, respectively. In support of these claims, Diamond reviewed evidence showing that the subjective experiences of romantic love and sexual desire are functionally independent: Individuals can feel romantic love but not sexual desire, or sexual desire but not romantic love, toward another person. Romantic love and sexual desire, Diamond claimed, also appear to be mediated by different physiological processes: oxytocin (OT) and endogenous opioids in the case of romantic love, and gonadal estrogens and androgens in the case of sexual desire. ..."

Montag, 15. Mai 2017

Ordnung und Information:

Eine geordnete Umwelt ist weniger informationshaltig als eine chaotische Umwelt:
Wenn jemand in einer ordentlichen Wohnung sagt, dass sich die Butter im Kühlschrank befindet, so hat diese Aussage einen geringen Informationsgehalt. Wir nehmen ja bereits im vorhinein an, dass sie sich im Kühlschrank oder gegebenfalls auf dem Esstisch findet.
Wenn wir in eine restlos ungeordnete Wohnung gehen, d.h. in eine Wohnung, auf deren Fläche sämtliche Gegenstände restlos chaotisch verteilt sind, so ist die Nachricht, dass sich die Butter unter dem Sofa, der Kopfpolster in der Küche, und der Heftklammerapparat im Badezimmer finden, hochgradig informativ.
Im zweiten Fall können wir nicht effektiv im vorhinein urteilen, an welchen Stellen der Wohnung wir Gegenstände mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit antreffen.

Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

"Das Prinzip, das wir weiterhin kurz Redundanzprinzip nennen wollen, besagt folgendes: Der Mensch (und wohl auch jeder andere wahrnehmungs- und lernfähige Organismus) ist bestrebt, die objektive Information der Außenwelt auf verschiedene Weise subjektiv zu verringern. ... Redundanzprozesse haben dabei den Sinn, dem Menschen (bzw. dem Organismus) die Außenwelt so informationsarm zu machen, dass eine Orientierung und ein geordnetes Verhalten darin möglich wird."

Felix von Cube
"Als übergeordnetes Lebenskriterium erscheint bei allen Organismen ihre Fortpflanzungsfähigkeit. Alle übrigen Charakteristika sind entweder Voraussetzung oder Folge dieser einen zentralen Eigenschaft."

P. Sitte et al.

Samstag, 13. Mai 2017

Zweierlei Unsicherheiten:

Vereinfachend lassen sich die Unsicherheiten, mit denen der Mensch konfrontiert wird, in zwei Kategorien einteilen:

(A) in eine Unsicherheit bezüglich dem, was sich in der Vergangenheit erreignete; bezüglich dem, was sich künftig erreignen wird; darüber, welche Beziehungen zwischen diversen Ereignissen, Phänomenen oder Gegenständen bestehen; etc.

(B) in eine Unsicherheit darüber, wie wir uns in der Situation, in der wir uns befinden, zu verhalten haben

Die zweite Unsicherheit lässt sich nicht mehr als eine rein kognitive Unsicherheit bezeichnen, und bezieht sich bereits auf den Menschen als ein wollendes und handelndes Lebewesen.

Informationsgehalt von Vorträgen:

Es verhält sich keineswegs so, dass Personen bloß Vorträge als langweilig empfinden, die einen geringen Informationsgehalt aufweisen. Ähnlich häufig werden Vorträge als langweilig empfunden, die über einen sehr hohen,  für diverse Zuhörer zu hohen, Informationsgehalt verfügen.

Freitag, 12. Mai 2017


Unsicherheit kann bestehen:

(A) über dasjenige, was sich in der Vergangenheit erreignete
(B) darüber, was sich künftig erreignen wird
(C) über die Beziehungen der Objekte oder Phänomene zueinander

Denken im Sinne von Informationsverarbeitung zielt darauf ab, Unsicherheit zu reduzieren.

Dienstag, 9. Mai 2017


Intelligenz ermöglicht (A) Beziehungsgeflechte der eigenen Um- und Innenwelt aufzudecken, (B) Wissen um Zusammenhänge und Beziehungen schlussfolgernd zu verwerten.

Major findings on g’s impact on job performance

Utility of g 

(1) Higher levels of g lead to higher levels of performance in all jobs and along all dimensions of performance. The average correlation of mental tests with overall rated job performance is around 0.5 (corrected for statistical artifacts). 

(2) There is no ability threshold above which more g does not enhance performance. The effects of g are linear: successive increments in g lead to successive increments in job performance. 

(3) (a) The value of higher levels of g does not fade with longer experience on the job. Criterion validities remain high even among highly experienced workers, (b) That they sometimes even appear to rise with experience may be due to the confounding effect of the least experienced groups tending to be more variable in relative level of experience, which obscures the advantages of higher g. 

(4) g predicts job performance better in more complex jobs. Its (corrected) criterion validities range from about 0.2 in the simplest jobs to 0.8 in the most complex. 

(5) g predicts the core technical dimensions of performance better than it does the non-core “citizenship” dimension of performance. 

(6) Perhaps as a consequence, g predicts objectively measured performance (either job knowledge or job sample performance) better than it does subjectively measured performance (such as supervisor ratings). 

Utility of g relative to other “can do” components of performance 

(7) Specific mental abilities (such as spatial, mechanical or verbal ability) add very little, beyond g, to the prediction of job performance, g generally accounts for at least 85-95% of a full mental test 
battery’s (cross-validated) ability to predict performance in training or on the job. 

(8) Specific mental abilities (such as clerical ability) sometimes add usefully to prediction, net of g, but only in certain classes of jobs. They do not have general utility. 

(9) General psychomotor ability is often useful, but primarily in less complex work. Their predictive validities fall with complexity while those for g rise. 

Utility of g relative to the “will do” component of job performance 

(10) g predicts core performance much better than do “non-cognitive” (less g-loaded) traits, such as vocational interests and different personality traits. The latter add virtually nothing to the prediction of core performance, net of g. 

(11) g predicts most dimensions of non-core performance (such as personal discipline and soldier bearing) much less well than do “non-cognitive” traits of personality and temperament. When a performance dimension reflects both core and non-core performance (effort and leadership), g predicts to about the same modest degree as do non-cognitive (less g-loaded) traits. 

(12) Different non-cognitive traits appear to usefully supplement g in different jobs, just as specific abilities sometimes add to the prediction of performance in certain classes of jobs. Only one such non-cognitive trait appears to be as generalizable as g: the personality trait of conscientiousness/integrity. Its effect sizes for core performance are substantially smaller than g’s, however.

Utility of g relative to the job knowledge 

(13) g affects job performance primarily indirectly through its effect on job-specific knowledge. 

(14) g’s direct effects on job performance increase when jobs are less routinized, training is less complete, and workers retain more discretion. 

(15) Job-specific knowledge generally predicts job performance as well as does g among experienced workers. However, job knowledge is not generalizable (net of its g component), even among experienced workers. The value of job knowledge is highly job specific; g’s value is unrestricted. Utility of g relative to the “have done” (experience) component of job performance 

(16) Like job knowledge, the effect sizes of job-specific experience are sometimes high but they are not generalizable. 

(17) In fact, experience predicts performance less well as all workers become more experienced. In contrast, higher levels of g remain an asset regardless of length of experience. 

(18) Experience predicts job performance less well as job complexity rises, which is opposite the trend for g. Like general psychomotor ability, experience matters least where g matters most to individuals and their organizations.

20 Q:

P. Hofstätter (1966) definierte Intelligenz aus wahrscheinlichkeitstheoretischer Sicht als eine Fähigkeit zum Abbau von Ungewissheit / zur Reduktion von Unsicherheit.

F. Attneave (1959) veranschaulichte solch einen Vorgang am Beispiel des Spieles “20Q”.
Spieler 1 denkt an einen bestimmten Gegenstand. Spieler 2 hat zu erraten, an welchen Gegenstand Spieler 1 denkt. Zu diesem Zweck kann Spieler 2 zwanzig mal eine Frage stellen, die Spieler 1 jeweils wahrheitsgemäß zu beantworten hat. Wird der gedachte Gegenstand im Rahmen von zwanzig Frage-Antwort-Runden erraten, gewinnt der ratende Spieler. Wird der Gegenstand nicht erraten, gewinnt der befragte Spieler.

In der ersten Runde ist die Unsicherheit des ratenden Spielers maximal. Der befragte Spieler kann prinzipiell an tausende unterschiedliche Gegenstände denken. Sind die beiden Spieler nicht einander bekannt, kennt Spieler 2 nicht die individuellen Denkpräferenzen von Spieler 1. Aus der Sicht von Spieler 2 sind tausende unterschiedliche Gegenstände mit ähnlich geringer Wahrscheinlichkeit der Gegenstand den es zu erraten gilt. Spieler 2 sollte nun mit Hilfe gut gewählter Fragen zwei Ziele anstreben: (A) Antworten zu erhalten, die zu einer Einschränkung möglicher Gegenstände führen (B) Antworten zu erhalten, die verbliebene mögliche Gegenstände als ungleich plausibel erscheinen lassen.

Um es auf den Punkt zu bringen: Der ratende Spieler vermindert innerhalb von zwanzig Fragen seine Unsicherheit bezüglich des Gedankens von Spieler 1. Anfangs sind tausende Denkgegenstände möglich. Jeder Gegenstand erscheint ähnlich unwahrscheinlich bzw. unplausibel. Mit jedem Raten reduziert sich die Anzahl möglicher Gegenstände und es können sich ungleiche Plausibilitäten der verbliebenen Gegenstände bemerkbar machen. Schließlich kommt es entweder dazu, dass der gedachte Gegenstand erraten wird, und Spieler 2 alle Unsicherheit bezüglich des Gedankens von Spieler 1 beseitigt. Oder Spieler 2 gelingt es nicht mit hinreichender Effektivität die Zahl möglicher Gegenstände zu reduzieren. Wodurch eine Unsicherheit bezüglich des gedachten Gegenstands bis über zwanzig Frage-Antwort Runden hinaus bestehen bleibt.

Montag, 8. Mai 2017

Affektives Vorausleben:

Der Mensch denkt nicht nur voraus, sondern lebt auch voraus. Er ist nicht bloß in der Lage, sich die Zukunft abstrakt-theoretisch auszumalen, sondern seine Voraussicht geht mit einer anderen Emotionalität: mit neuen Sorgen und Ängsten, mit Sehnsüchten, Träumen, Wünschen und Hoffnungen einher. Zeitlich ausgreifende Affekte bestimmen sein Leben, wie das keines anderen Tieres. Er denkt nicht nur in die Zukunft. Er lebt auch in ihr.

Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017

Möglicherweise besteht ein Vorteil der episodischen Voraussicht gegenüber der abstrakt-sprachlichen Voraussicht darin, dass uns anschauliche Vorstellungen eine verhätnismäßig wirkungsvolle affektive Bewertung von Situationen ermöglichen.

Spezifisch menschliche Fähigkeiten:

(A) die verbesserte Fähigkeit anschaulich vorauszudenken
(B) die Fähigkeit abstrakt-sprachlich vorauszudenken
(C) die Fähigkeit zeitliche Fernziele zu fixieren und anzustreben

Samstag, 6. Mai 2017

Vom Vorwärts-Träumen:

Salopp gesagt ließe sich "Mental Time Travel" als "Vorwärts- und Rückwärts-Träumen" bezeichnen. Wobei die Schlüsselfunktion des mentalen Zeitreisens im "Vorwärts-Träumen" zu bestehen scheint. Der Begriff "Vorwärts-Träumen" liegt insofern nahe, als wir in unseren vorwärtsgerichteten mentalen Zeitreisen, die Zukunft, Möglichkeiten und Mögliches, gegebenenfalls auch Unmögliches, anschaulich simulieren.

Martian Dunes:


Freitag, 5. Mai 2017

Richard Alexander on Scenario Building:

"People in the arts are by definition the best storytellers among us. What they tell us is never superfluous, impractical, or trivial unless we, the audiences, allow it to be. We gain mightily from knowing how and when to listen, to whom to listen, and what to do with the experience afterward. For the arts are theater, and theater in all its guises represents the richest, most condensed, and most widely understood of all cultural contributions to our patterns of social scenario building through consciousness and foresight. These scenarios, which we build, review, and revise continually everyday of our lives, are obligate passports to social success, and perhaps the central evolved function of the human social brain. We use them to anticipate and manipulate the future - the ever more distant future in ever greater detail."

Evolutionary Selection and the Nature of Humanity
Darwinism and Philosophy (2008)
The Abilities of Man, Spearman quotes Strasheim:

"The great difference between the 'dull' and the 'bright' testees was that the former relied mainly upon reproduction, while the latter made use of eduction."

"We construct our idealized world, in fantasy, according to all the information we have at our disposal. We use what we know to build an image of what we could have and, therefore, of what we should do. But we compare our interpretation of the world as it unfolds in the present to the desired world, in imagination, not to mere expectation; we compare what we have (in interpretation) to what we want, rather than to what we merely think will be. Our goal setting, and consequent striving, is motivated: we chase what we desire, in our constant attempts to optimize our affective states. (Of course, we use our behavior to ensure that our dreams come true; that is healthy “adaptation.” But we still compare what is happening to what we want—to what we desire to be—not merely to what we cold-bloodedly expect.)"

Maps of Meaning
Jordan B. Peterson

Mittwoch, 3. Mai 2017

Richard D. Alexander on Dreaming:

"I would suggest that much of the confusion about the significance of dreams dissipates if one sees them as instances of scenario building, or repetition, in the interest of (1) cementing prior events of great significance for retention and (2) testing series of alternative possibilities with respect to social events yet to transpire."

The biology of moral systems
Richard D. Alexander (1987)

["Nächtliches" Träumen ermöglicht uns, wesentlich mehr noch als Tagträumen, Szenarien bzw. "Möglichkeiten" hochanschaulich zu erfahren, und, gemäß Alexanders Überlegungen, wirkungsvoll zu evaluieren.]

Montag, 1. Mai 2017

Über menschliche Intelligenz:

Menschliche Organismen sind dazu fähig, bewusste Gedanken bzw. sprachliche Aussagen über Phänomene ihrer Um- und Innenwelt zu generieren. Von Mensch zu Mensch unterscheidet sich die Rate mit der solche Gedanken bzw. Aussagen generiert werden (in Einheiten pro Zeiteinheit), und die generelle Akkuratheit der generierten Gedanken bzw. Aussagen (d.h. in welchem Ausmaß diese tatsächliche Verhältnisse der Um- und Innenwelt widerspiegeln). Intelligenztests messen zwischenmenschliche Unterschiede in der Effektivität des Denkens.

Dienstag, 25. April 2017

"every item in the cognitive field, every constituent in whatever object (mental) is perceived or thought of, comes into being by a continuous emergence of utter obscurity up to some degree of clearness;"

Charles Spearman

Montag, 24. April 2017

On Learning:

I skimmed Barbara Oakley's book on Learning.

There are two points worth mentioning:

If you are ambitious to learn something new, in particular a subject that loads heavy on maths, it makes sense to create a learning plan; i.e. you should ask yourself, how many days or weeks you're able to invest in learning, and what time span per day is available. You should check after each day, if you invested the scheduled time frame. It is absolutely important to create a realistic plan. So, if you are not able to invest as many hours as planned, use that feedback to fix your plan, i.e. to create a more realistic plan. It makes sense to subdivide your learning effort in 25 min or 30 min intervals (use a timer), with several minutes for relaxation between these intervals. This should improve concentration.

Secondly, you only know something if it's really in your head. If you restrict your efforts to reading materials, perhaps an illusory feeling arises, that you have learned something new. But for learning it's absolutely essential that you are able to recall / to consciously reproduce and reconstruct the learned material. Unless you can explicitly talk about learned material, you haven't integrated the new information into your store of declarative knowledge.

Sonntag, 23. April 2017

"Thinking might in many cases be regarded as the abstracted form of exploration—as the capacity to investigate, without the necessity of direct motoric action. Abstract analysis (verbal and nonverbal) of the unexpected or novel plays a much greater role for humans than for animals - a role that generally takes primacy over action. It is only when this capacity fails partially or completely in humans—or when it plays a paradoxical role (amplifying the significance or potential danger of the unknown through definitive but “false” negative labeling)—that active exploration (or active avoidance), with its limitations and dangers, becomes necessary. Replacement of potentially dangerous exploratory action with increasingly flexible and abstracted thought means the possibility for growth of knowledge without direct exposure to danger, and constitutes one major advantage of the development of intelligence."

Maps of Meaning
Jordan B. Peterson

Samstag, 22. April 2017

On Exploration:

Maps of Meaning, Jordan B. Peterson (1999):

>The constant and universal presence of the incomprehensible in the world has elicited adaptive response from us and from all other creatures with highly developed nervous systems. We have evolved to operate successfully in a world eternally composed of the predictable, in paradoxical juxtaposition with the unpredictable. The combination of what we have explored and what we have still to evaluate actually comprises our environment, insofar as its nature can be broadly specified—and it is to that environment that our physiological structure has become matched. One set of the systems that comprise our brain and mind governs activity, when we are guided by our plans—when we are in the domain of the known. Another appears to operate when we face something unexpected— when we have entered the realm of the unknown.
The “limbic unit” generates the orienting reflex, among its other tasks. It is the orienting reflex, which manifests itself in emotion, thought and behavior, that is at the core of the fundamental human response to the novel or unknown. This reflex takes a biologically determined course, ancient in nature, primordial as hunger or thirst, basic as sexuality, extant similarly in the animal kingdom, far down the chain of organic being. The orienting reflex is the general instinctual reaction to the category of all occurrences which have not yet been categorized—is response to the unexpected, novel or unknown per se, and not to any discriminated aspect of experience, any specifically definable situation or thing. The orienting reflex is at the core of the process that generates (conditional) knowledge of sensory phenomena and motivational relevance or valence. Such knowledge is most fundamentally how to behave, and what to expect as a consequence, in a particular situation, defined by culturally modified external environmental circumstance and equally modified internal motivational state. It is also information about what is, from the objective perspective—is the record of that sensory experience occurring in the course of ongoing behavior.
The orienting reflex substitutes for particular learned responses when the incomprehensible suddenly makes its appearance. The occurrence of the unpredictable, the unknown, the source of fear and hope, creates a seizure of ongoing specifically goal-directed behavior. Emergence of the unexpected constitutes evidence for the incomplete nature of the story currently guiding such behavior; comprises evidence for error at the level of working description of current state, representation of desired future state or conception of the means to transform the former into the latter. Appearance of the unknown motivates curious, hopeful exploratory behavior, regulated by fear, as means to update the memory-predicated working model of reality (to update the known, so to speak, which is defined or familiar territory). The simultaneous production of two antithetical emotional states, such as hope and fear, means conflict, and the unexpected produces intrapsychic conflict like nothing else. The magnitude and potential intensity of this conflict cannot be appreciated under normal circumstances, because under normal circumstances—in defined territory—things are going according to plan. It is only when our goals have been destroyed that the true significance of the decontextualized object or experience is revealed—and such revelation makes itself known first in the form of fear. We are protected from such conflict—from subjugation to instinctive terror—by the historical compilation of adaptive information generated in the course of previous novelty-driven exploration. We are protected from unpredictability by our culturally determined beliefs, by the stories we share. These stories tell us how to presume and how to act to maintain the determinate, shared and restricted values that compose our familiar worlds.
The orienting reflex—the involuntary gravitation of attention to novelty—lays the groundwork for the emergence of (voluntarily controlled) exploratory behavior. Exploratory behavior allows for classification of the general and (a priori) motivationally significant unexpected into specified and determinate domains of motivational relevance. In the case of something with actual (post-investigation) significance, relevance means context-specific punishment or satisfaction, or their putatively “second-order” equivalents: threat or promise (as something threatening implies punishment, as something promising implies satisfaction). This is categorization, it should be noted, in accordance with implication for motor output, or behavior, rather than with regard to sensory (or, formalized, objective) property. We have generally presumed that the purpose of exploration is production of a picture of the objective qualities of the territory explored. This is evidently—but only partially—true. However, the reasons we produce such pictures (are motivated to produce such pictures) are not usually given sufficient consideration. Every explorable subterritory, so to speak, has its sensory aspect, but it is the emotional or motivational relevance of the new domain that is truly important. We need to know only that something is hard and glowing red as a means of keeping track of the fact that it is hot, and therefore dangerous—that it is punishing, if contacted. We need to know the feel and look of objects so that we can keep track of what can be eaten and what might eat us.
When we explore a new domain, we are mapping the motivational or affective significance of the things or situations that are characteristic of our goal-directed interactions within that domain, and we use the sensory information we encounter to identify what is important. It is the determination of specific meaning, or emotional significance, in previously unexplored territory—not identification of the objective features—that allows us to inhibit the novelty-induced terror and curiosity emergence of that territory otherwise automatically elicits. We feel comfortable somewhere new, once we have discovered that nothing exists there that will threaten or hurt us (more particularly, when we have adjusted our behavior and schemas of representation so that nothing there is likely to or able to threaten or hurt us). The consequence of exploration that allows for emotional regulation (that generates security, essentially) is not objective description, as the scientist might have it, but categorization of the implications of an unexpected occurrence for specification of means and ends. Such categorization is what an object “is,” from the perspective of archaic affect and subjective experience. The orienting reflex, and the exploratory behavior following its manifestation, also allows for the differentiation of the unknown into the familiar categories of objective reality. However, this ability is a late development, emerging only four hundred years ago, and cannot be considered basic to “thinking.” Specification of the collectively apprehensible sensory qualities of something—generally considered, in the modern world, as the essential aspect of the description of reality—merely serves as an aid to the more fundamental process of evaluation, determining the precise nature of relevant or potentially relevant phenomena. 
When things are going according to plan—that is, when our actions fulfill our desires—we feel secure, even happy. When nothing is going wrong, the cortical systems expressly responsible for the organization and implementation of goal-directed behavior remain firmly in control. When cortically generated plans and fantasies go up in smoke, however, this control vanishes. The comparatively ancient “limbic” hippocampal and amygdalic systems leap into action, modifying affect, interpretation and behavior. The hippocampus appears particularly specialized for comparing the (interpreted) reality of the present, as it manifests itself in the subjective sphere, with the fantasies of the ideal future constructed by the motor unit (acting in turn as the higher-order mediator—the king, so to speak—of all the specialized subsystems that compose the more fundamental or primary components of the brain). These desire-driven fantasies might be regarded as motivated hypotheses about the relative likelihood of events produced in the course of ongoing goal-directed activity. What you expect to happen—really, what you want to happen, at least in most situations—is a model you generate, using what you already know, in combination with what you are learning while you act. The hippocampal comparator constantly and “unconsciously” checks what is “actually” happening against what is supposed to happen. This means that the comparator contrasts the “unbearable present,” insofar as it is comprehended (because it is a model, too), against the ideal future, as it is imagined; means that it compares the interpreted outcome of active behavior with an image of the intended consequences of that behavior. Past experience—skill and representation of the outcome of skill (or memory, as it is applied)—governs behavior, until error is committed. When something occurs that is not intended—when the actual outcome, as interpreted, does not match the desired outcome, as posited—the hippocampus shifts mode and prepares to update cortical memory storage. Behavioral control shifts from the cortex to the limbic system—apparently, to the amygdala, which governs the provisional determination of the affective significance of unpredictable events, and has powerful output to centers of motor control. This shift of control allows the activation of structures governing orienting, heightened intensity of sensory processing and exploration.
The “higher” cortex controls behavior until the unknown emerges—until it makes a mistake in judgment, until memory no longer serves—until the activity it governs produces a mismatch between what is desired and what actually occurs. When such a mismatch occurs, appropriate affect (fear and curiosity) emerges. But how can situation-relevant emotion attach itself to what has by definition not yet been encountered? Traditionally, significance is attached to previously irrelevant things or situations as a consequence of learning, which is to say that things mean nothing until their meaning is learned. No learning has taken place, however, in the face of the unknown—yet emotion reveals itself, in the presence of error. It appears, therefore, that the kind of emotion that the unpredictable arouses is not learned—which is to say that the novel or unexpected comes preloaded with affect. Things are not irrelevant, as a matter of course. They are rendered irrelevant, as a consequence of (successful) exploratory behavior. When they are first encountered, however, they are meaningful. It is the amygdala, at bottom, that appears responsible for the (disinhibited) generation of this a priori meaning—terror and curiosity.
The amygdala appears to automatically respond to all things or situations, unless told not to. It is told not to—is functionally inhibited—when ongoing goal-directed behaviors produce the desired (intended) results. When an error occurs, however—indicating that current memory-guided motivated plans and goals are insufficient—the amygdala is released from inhibition and labels the unpredictable occurrence with meaning. Anything unknown is dangerous and promising, simultaneously: evokes anxiety, curiosity, excitement and hope automatically and prior to what we would normally regard as exploration or as (more context-specific) classification. The operations of the amygdala are responsible for ensuring that the unknown is regarded with respect, as the default decision. The amygdala says, in effect, “if you don’t know what it signifies, you’d better pay attention to it.” Attention constitutes the initial stage of exploratory behavior, motivated by amygdalic operation—composed of the interplay between anxiety, which impels caution in the face of novelty-threat, and hope, which compels approach to novelty-promise. Caution-regulated approach allows for the update of memory in the form of skill and representation. Exploration-updated memory inhibits the production of a priori affect. On familiar ground—in explored territory—we feel no fear (and comparatively little curiosity). 
The desired output of behavior (what should be) is initially posited; if the current strategy fails, the approach and exploration system is activated, although it remains under the governance of anxiety. The approach system (and its equivalent, in abstraction) generates (1) alternative sequences of behavior, whose goal is the production of a solution to the present dilemma; (2) alternative conceptualizations of the desired goal; or (3) re-evaluation of the motivational significance of the current state. This means (1) that a new strategy for attaining the desired goal might be invented, or (2) that a replacement goal, serving the same function, might be chosen; or (3) that the behavioral strategy might be abandoned, due to the cost of its implementation. In the latter case, the whole notion of what constitutes “reality,” at least with regard to the story or frame of reference currently in use, might have to be reconstructed. ...
Exploratory activity culminates normally in restriction, expansion, or transformation of the behavioral repertoire. In exceptional, non-normal circumstances—that is, when a major error has been committed—such activity culminates in revolution, in modification of the entire story guiding affective evaluation and behavioral programming. Such revolutionary modification means update of modeled reality, past, present and future, through incorporation of information generated during exploratory behavior. Successful exploration transforms the unknown into the expected, desired and predictable; establishes appropriate behavioral measures (and expectations of those measures) for next contact. Unsuccessful exploration, by contrast—avoidance or escape—leaves the novel object firmly entrenched in its initial, “natural,” anxiety-provoking category. This observation sets the stage for a fundamental realization: human beings do not learn to fear new objects or situations, or even really “learn” to fear something that previously appeared safe, when it manifests a dangerous property. Fear is the a priori position, the natural response to everything for which no structure of behavioral adaptation has been designed and inculcated. Fear is the innate reaction to everything that has not been rendered predictable, as a consequence of successful, creative exploratory behavior undertaken in its presence, at some time in the past. LeDoux states:

"It is well established that emotionally neutral stimuli can acquire the capacity to evoke striking emotional reaction following temporal pairing with an aversive event. Conditioning does not create new emotional responses but instead simply allows new stimuli to serve as triggers capable of activating existing, often hard-wired, species-specific emotional reactions. In the rat, for example, a pure tone previously paired with footshock evokes a conditioned fear reaction consisting of freezing behavior accompanied by a host of autonomic adjustments, including increases in arterial pressure and heart rate. Similar responses are expressed when laboratory rats are exposed to a cat for the first time, but following amygdala lesions such responses are no longer present, suggesting that the responses are genetically specified (since they appear when the rat sees a cat, a natural predator, for the first time) and involve the amygdala. The fact that electrical stimulation of the amygdala is capable of eliciting the similar response patterns further supports the notion that the responses are hard-wired."

Fear is not conditioned; security is unlearned, in the presence of particular things or contexts, as a consequence of violation of explicit or implicit presupposition. Classical behavioral psychology is wrong in the same manner our folk presumptions are wrong: fear is not secondary, not learned; security is secondary, learned. Everything not explored is tainted, a priori, with apprehension. Any thing or situation that undermines the foundations of the familiar and secure is therefore to be feared.
It is difficult for us to formulate a clear picture of the subjective effects of the systems that dominate our initial response to the truly unpredictable, because we strive with all our might to ensure that everything around us remains normal. Under “normal” conditions, therefore, these primordial systems never operate with their full force. It might be said, with a certain amount of justification, that we devote our entire lives to making sure that we never have to face anything unknown, in the revolutionary sense—at least not accidentally. Our success in doing so deludes us about the true nature, power and intensity of our potential emotional responses. As civilized people, we are secure. We can predict the behaviors of others (that is, if they share our stories); furthermore, we can control our environments well enough to ensure that our subjection to threat and punishment remains at a minimum. It is the cumulative consequences of our adaptive struggle—our cultures—which enable this prediction and control. The existence of our cultures, however, blinds us to the nature of our true (emotional) natures—at least to the range of that nature, and to the consequences of its emergence.
Experimental examinations of the orienting reflex have not shed much light on our true potential for emotional response, in the past, because they generally took place under exceptionally controlled circumstances. Subjects evaluated for their responses to “novelty” are generally presented with stimuli that are novel only in the most “normal” of manners. A tone, for example, which differs unpredictably from another tone (or which appears at a relatively unpredictable time) is still a tone, something experienced a thousand times before and something experienced in a lab, in a hospital or university, under the jurisdiction of trustworthy personnel devoted to minimizing the anxietyprovoking nature of the experimental procedure. The controlled circumstances of the experiment (which are, in fact, the implicit and therefore invisible theoretical presumptions of the experiment) have led us to minimize the importance of the orienting reflex, and to misunderstand the nature of its disappearance.
Orienting signifies “attention,” not terror, in the standard lab situation, and its gradual elimination with repeated stimulus presentation is regarded as “habituation”—as something boring, akin to automatic acclimation, adjustment or desensitization. Habituation is not a passive process, however, at least at higher cortical levels of processing. It just looks passive when observed under relatively trivial circumstances. It is in reality always the consequence of active exploration and subsequent modification of behavior, or interpretive schema. The (relatively) novel target laboratory tone, for example, is investigated for its underlying structure by the cortical systems involved in audition. These systems actively analyze the component elements of every sound. The subject is led to “expect” or predict one sort of sound and gets another. The unexpected other has indeterminate significance, in that particular context, and is therefore regarded as (comparatively) meaningful—threatening and promising. The unexpected tone is presented repeatedly. The exploratory subject notes that the repetitions signify nothing, in the context that defines the experimental situation (nothing punishing, satisfying, threatening or promising), and ceases to react. He has not merely “habituated” to the stimuli. He has mapped its context-dependent significance, which is zero. This process appears trivial because the experimental situation makes it so. In real life, it is anything but boring. 
Classical work conducted on animal “emotion” and motivation has taken place under circumstances reminiscent of the artificially constrained situations that define most work on human orienting. Animals, usually rats, are trained to be afraid—or to inhibit their behavior—in the presence of a neutral stimulus paired repeatedly with an “unconditioned” punishment [a stimulus whose motivational valence is negative, in the supposed absence of learning (or, at least, in the absence of interpretation)]. The rat is placed in the experimental environment and is allowed to familiarize himself with his surroundings. The neutral stimulus might be a light; the unconditioned stimulus, an electric shock. The light goes on; the floor of the rat’s cage is briefly electrified. This sequence occurs repeatedly. Soon the rat “freezes” as soon as the light appears. He has developed a “conditioned response,” manifesting behavioral inhibition (and fear, theoretically) to something that was previously neutral. Procedures of this sort effectively produce fear. The implicit contextual constraints or axioms of these procedures, however, lead researchers to draw odd conclusions about the nature of the “acquisition” of fear. 
Such experiments first imply that fear in a given situation is necessarily something learned. Second, they imply that fear exists as a consequence of exposure to punishment, and only because of that exposure. The problem with this interpretation is that the rat was inevitably afraid as soon as he was placed in the new experimental environment, even though nothing terrible had yet happened there. After he is allowed to explore, he calms down. It is only then that he is regarded as normal. The experimenter then jars the rat out of his acquired normalcy by presenting him with something unexpected and painful—the unconditioned stimulus, in conjunction with the neutral stimulus. He then “learns” to be afraid. Really what has happened is that the unexpected occurrence forces the rat to reattain the state he was in (or that same state, in an exaggerated manner) when he first entered the cage. The fact of the electric shock, in conjunction with the light, indicates to the rat (reminds the rat) that he is, once again, in unexplored territory. His fear, in unexplored territory, is just as normal as his complacency in environments that he has mapped and that hold no danger. We regard the calm rat as the real rat because we project our misinterpretations of our own habitual nature onto our experimental animals. It is as D.O.Hebb states:

"[The urbanity characterizing ourselves,]…the civilized, amiable, and admirable part of mankind, well brought up and not constantly in a state of fear…depends as much on our successfully avoiding disturbing stimulation as on a lowered sensitivity [to fear-producing stimuli]…. [T]he capacity for emotional breakdown may [well] be self-concealing, leading [animals and human beings] to find or create an environment in which the stimuli to excessive emotional response are at a minimum. So effective is our society in this regard that its members—especially the well-to-do and educated ones—may not even guess at some of their own potentialities. One usually thinks of education, in the broad sense, as producing a resourceful, emotionally stable adult, without respect to the environment in which these traits are to appear. To some extent this may be true. But education can be seen as being also the means of establishing a protective social environment in which emotional stability is possible. Perhaps it strengthens the individual against unreasonable fears and rages, but it certainly produces a uniformity of appearance and behavior which reduces the frequency with which the individual member of the society encounters the causes of such emotion. On this view, the susceptibility to emotional disturbance may not be decreased. It may in fact be increased. The protective cocoon of uniformity, in personal appearance, manners, and social activity generally, will make small deviations from custom appear increasingly strange and thus (if the general thesis is sound) increasingly intolerable. The inevitable small deviations from custom will bulk increasingly large, and the members of the society, finding themselves tolerating trivial deviations well, will continue to think of themselves as socially adaptable."

Our emotional regulation depends as much (or more) on the stability and predictability of the social environment (on the maintenance of our cultures) as on “interior” processes, classically related to the strength of the ego or the personality. Social order is a necessary precondition for psychological stability: it is primarily our companions and their actions (or inactions) that stabilize or destabilize our emotions.
A rat (a person) is a complacent creature in explored territory. When in unexplored territory, however, it is anything but calm. A rat moved from its home cage to a new and unknown environment—a new cage, for example—will first freeze (even though it has never been punished, in the new situation). If nothing terrible happens to it (nothing punishing, threatening or additionally unpredictable) it will begin to sniff, to look around, to move its head, to gather new information about the intrinsically frightening place it now inhabits. Gradually, it starts to move about. It will explore the whole cage with increasing confidence. It is mapping the new environment for affective valence. It wants to find out: is there anything here that will kill me? Anything here I can eat? Anyone else here—someone hostile or friendly? A potential mate? The rat is interested in determining whether the new place contains anything of determinate interest to a rat, and it explores, to the best of its capacity, to make that judgment. It is not primarily interested in the “objective” nature of the new circumstances—a rat cannot actually determine what is objective and what is merely “personal opinion.” Nor does it care. It just wants to know what it should do.
What happens if an animal encounters something truly unexpected—something that should just not be, according to its current frame of reference or system of belief? The answer to this question sheds substantial light on the nature of the orienting reflex, in its full manifestation. Modern experimental psychologists have begun to examine the response of animals to natural sources of mystery and threat. They allow the animals to set up their own environments, realistic environments, and then expose them to the kinds of surprising circumstances they might encounter in real life. The appearance of a predator in previously safe space (space previously explored, that is, and mapped as useful or irrelevant) constitutes one type of realistic surprise. Blanchard and colleagues describe the naturalistic behavior of rats, under such conditions:

"When a cat is presented to established mixed-sex groups of laboratory rats living in a visible burrow system, the behaviors of the subjects change dramatically, in many cases for 24 hours or more. The initial active defensive behavior, flight to the tunnel/chamber system, is followed by a period of immobility during which the rats make 22 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations, which apparently serve as alarm cries, at a high rate. As freezing breaks up, proxemic avoidance of the open area gradually gives way to a pattern of “risk assessment” of the area where the cat was encountered. Subjects poke their heads out of the tunnel openings to scan the open area where the cat was presented, for minutes or hours before emerging, and when they do emerge, their locomotory patterns are characterized by [behaviors that theoretically reduce their visibility and vulnerability to predators and by] very short “corner runs” into and out of the open area. These risk assessment activities appear to involve active gathering of information about the possible danger source, providing a basis for a gradual return to non-defensive behaviors. Active risk assessment is not seen during early post-cat exposure, when freezing and avoidance of the open area are the dominant behaviors, but rises to a peak about 7–10 hours later, and then gradually declines. Non-defensive behaviors such as eating, drinking and sexual and aggressive activity tend to be reduced over the same period."

The unexpected appearance of a predator where nothing but defined territory previously existed terrifies the rats—badly enough that they “scream” about it, persistently, for a long period of time. Once this initial terror abates—which occurs only if nothing else horrible or punishing happens—curiosity is disinhibited, and the rats return to the scene of the crime. The space “renovelized” by the fact of the cat has to be transformed once again into explored territory as a consequence of active modification of behavior (and representational schema), not by passive desensitization to the unexpected. The rats run across the territory “contaminated” by the presence of the cat, to find out if anything dangerous (to running rats) still lurks there. If the answer is “no,” then the space is defined, once again, as home territory (which is that place where commonplace behaviors produce desired ends). The rats transform the dangerous unknown into familiar territory as a consequence of voluntary exploration. In the absence of such exploration, terror reigns unchecked.
It is just as illuminating to consider the responses of rats to their kin, who constitute “explored territory,” in contrast to their attitude toward “strangers,” whose behavior is not predictable. Rats are highly social animals, perfectly capable of living with their familiar compatriots in peace. They do not like members of other kin groups, however; they will hunt them down and kill them. Accidental or purposeful intruders are dealt with in the same manner. Rats identify one another by smell. If an experimenter removes a well-loved rat from its familial surroundings, scrubs it down, provides it with a new odor, and returns it to its peers, it will be promptly dispatched by those who once loved it. The “new” rat constitutes “unexplored territory”; his presence is regarded as a threat (not unreasonably) to everything currently secure. Chimpanzees, perfectly capable of killing “foreign devils” (even those who were once familiar), act in much the same manner.<
"On familiar ground—in explored territory—we feel no fear (and comparatively little curiosity). "

Jordan B. Peterson

Interpersonal interactions and relationships can be describes as unfolding along two perpendicular dimensions: verticality (power, dominance, control; Burgoon & Hoobler, 2002; Hall, Coats, & LeBeau, 2005) and horizontality (affiliativeness, warmth, friendliness; Kiesler, 1983; Wiggings, 1979). The vertical dimension refers to how much control or influence people can exert, or believe they can exert, over others, as well as the status relations created by social class, celebrity, respect, or expertise.

The Vertical Dimension of Social Signaling 
Marianne Schmid Mast and Judith A. Hall

Freitag, 21. April 2017

Die Aufgabe des Denkens:

Die Feststellung von räumlich-/zeitlich-/kausalen Verhältnissen zwischen Phänomenen.

Bzw. allgemeiner:

Die Feststellung von Verhältnissen zwischen Phänomenen.

[Also see: Cattell on Intelligence]

Mittwoch, 19. April 2017

"The mistake most people make when they try to develop willpower is that they push too hard. When you go on a weight-lifting program, you don't start by lifting two-hundred-pound weights. If you'll set yourself easy tasks, you'll accomplish them. You wouldn't try to ride a bucking bronco if you didn't know how to ride a horse. Yet, you're making the same mistake if you try to gather enough willpower to lose thirty pounds off the bat. How about starting with three? 
Good teachers know that children learn best when their work is at the proper level so they can make steady growth. Studies show that learning a new skill in industry is greatly facilitated if early efforts meet with success. The Royal Canadian Air Force exercises build gradually from day to day so that the exerciser is hardly aware of the increased effort required to do the next day's exercise; yet the cumulative effect over several months is significant. 
Therefore, I suggest that if you want to increase your willpower you begin by practicing in easy situations before applying the willpower you're building to do more and more difficult tasks."

Alan Lakein
"Planning (also called forethought) is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal."

Freitag, 14. April 2017

Wie sehr beruht die Begeisterung für ein Objekt

(A) auf der Beschaffenheit des Objekts

(B) auf der Beschaffenheit des sich begeisternden Subjekts?

Samstag, 8. April 2017

"Retrieval practice is a powerful way to promote meaningful learning of complex concepts commonly found in science education. Here, we have shown that retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying, and we used concept mapping as a means of inducing elaboration while students studied. We hasten to add that concept mapping itself is not inherently just an elaborative study task. When students create concept maps in the presence of materials they are learning, the activity involves elaborative studying. Students could also create concept maps in the absence of materials they are learning, and then the activity would involve practicing retrieval of knowledge. Nevertheless, both elaborative concept mapping and retrieval practice are active learning tasks, and our results make it clear that whether a task is considered “active” is not diagnostic of how much learning the task will produce."

Dienstag, 4. April 2017


(o) Welcher Prozentsatz an Gedanken, die sich ein Mensch macht, findet in der Form eines stillen Selbstgesprächs statt?
(z.B. in der Form des Fragestellens und Fragebeantwortens, vergleichbar mit dem Gespräch zwischen zwei Personen)

(o) Welche Prozentsätze an Gesprächen, die ein Mensch führt, sind (A) stille Selbstgespräche, (B) Gespräche mit anderen Personen?

(o) Wie stark variieren jene Prozentsätze von Person zu Person?

[Der Mensch nimmt eben nicht bloß wahr, wie es andere Tiere tun, sondern kann zusätzlich zu dem Wahrgenommenen, mit sich selbst in ein Gespräch über das Wahrgenommene geraten.]

[In welchem Ausmaß ist das menschliche Denken eine Simulation von Gesprächen?]

Sonntag, 2. April 2017

retrieval practice as a study strategy:

"How to use retrieval practice as a study strategy: When you read a text or study lecture notes, pause periodically to ask yourself questions like these, without looking in the text: What are the key ideas? What terms or ideas are new to me? How would I define them? How do the ideas relate to what I already know?"

Make it stick
Brown, Roedinger, Mc Daniel