December 7, 2010

The Same Old Consciousness

From:  It makes sense to paraphrase Einstein’s famous dictum in regard to consciousness. Our problem is the unsustainability of the world we have created, and we should be clear that we can’t solve this problem with the same kind of consciousness that gave rise to it.

But many people try to do just that, even the leaders of the world’s twenty richest and most powerful nations. The November 2010 meeting of the G20 in Seoul gave indisputable proof of it. Not only did the meeting fail to achieve its main objectives (among them rebalancing international trade and reaching an accommodation between the U.S. and South Korea), the objectives themselves proved to be out-of-date. They centered on re-stabilizing the same moribund economic and financial system that made the world unsustainable in the first place.

But why is the G20’s failure due to wrong consciousness? Because consciousness in the social, political, and cultural context is sum total of our view of the world, with its values, aspirations, and background assumptions. It’s the “paradigm” that underlies the way we think and the way we set our priorities. The consciousness of the G20 gives rise to an obsolete view of the world, with faulty values and outdated aspirations. The leaders view the world as the arena for a Darwinian struggle for survival, seen as a competition for growth in the economies of nations. Since assured growth cannot be achieved even by the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world by itself, the leaders recognize the need for some level and form of cooperation—as a means to an end. The end is for the rich nations to make sure that they remain rich.

Click here for the complete article.

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January 31, 2009

Personality and Motivations Associated with Facebook Use

personality,sociology — alice @ 2:13 am

Craig Ross, Emily S. Orr, Mia Sisic, Jaime M. Arseneault, Mary G. Simmering and R. Robert Orr
Article in Computers in Human Behavior

Facebook is quickly becoming one of the most popular tools for social communication. However, Facebook is somewhat different from other Social Networking Sites as it demonstrates an offline-to-online trend; that is, the majority of Facebook Friends are met offline and then added later. The present research investigated how the Five-Factor Model of personality relates to Facebook use. Despite some expected trends regarding Extraversion and Openness to Experience, results indicated that personality factors were not as influential as previous literature would suggest. The results also indicated that a motivation to communicate was influential in terms of Facebook use. It is suggested that different motivations may be influential in the decision to use tools such as Facebook, especially when individual functions of Facebook are being considered.

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Identity Construction on Facebook: Digital Empowerment in Anchored Relationships

identity,sociology — alice @ 2:13 am

Shanyang Zhao, Sherri Grasmuck and Jason Martin
Article in Computers in Human Behavior

Early research on online self-presentation mostly focused on identity constructions in anonymous online environments. Such studies found that individuals tended to engage in role-play games and anti-normative behaviors in the online world. More recent studies have examined identity performance in less anonymous online settings such as Internet dating sites and reported different findings. The present study investigates identity construction on Facebook, a newly emerged nonymous online environment. Based on content analysis of 63 Facebook accounts, we find that the identities produced in this nonymous environment differ from those constructed in the anonymous online environments previously reported. Facebook users predominantly claim their identities implicitly rather than explicitly; they “show rather than tell” and stress group and consumer identities over personally narrated ones. The characteristics of such identities are described and the implications of this finding are discussed.

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January 22, 2008

San Marino Summer School on Social Cognition and Social Narrative

APPLICATION DEADLINE 1 March 2008. Please let your grad students know about this.

The European Science Foundation and the ESF project Consciousness in a Natural and Cultural Context is sponsoring a one-week interdisciplinary collegium/summer school on contemporary research in the area of social cognition, theory of mind, and narrative theory at the University of San Marino in San Marino (geographically within Italy). See the collegium website.

Organizers: Shaun Gallagher, Dan Hutto, Dan Zahavi.

The collegium/summer school is open to a limited number of graduate students and post-doc researchers interested in theory of mind and the role of narrative and embodied intersubjectivity in our understanding of others. Research presentations, discussions, and tutorial sessions will allow researchers and students to share knowledge and interact. Students will have the opportunity to earn 15 points in the ECTS system.

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September 9, 2007

Science: special issue on social cognition

socialcognition.jpegScience is running a special edition on social cognition this week. It contains papers on the evolution of social cognition

Living in Societies – Caroline Ash, Gilbert Chin, Elizabeth Pennisi, and Andrew Sugden

All Together Now–Pull! – Greg Miller

Evolution in the Social Brain – R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz

Social Components of Fitness in Primate Groups – Joan B. Silk

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October 21, 2006

Impaired emotions of self and others

emotion.jpgAlexithymia is a manifestation of a deficit in emotional cognition. People with this problem are mostly unaware of their feelings, or don’t know what they signify, and hence they rarely talk about their emotions or their emotional preferences; they operate in a very functional manner and rarely use imagination to focus their drives and motivations. Alexithymia refers to this distinctive cluster of characteristics.

In a recent study published in NeuroImage, a team of researchers demonstrate that “the skills involved in comprehending the self and others are inter-related and play an important role in emotion regulation”.

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March 24, 2006

Meeting of minds — social neuroscience

sociology — thomasr @ 7:17 am

The neural mechanisms in social cognition are yet to be understood. In this article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience David Amodio and Chris Frith propose a model of medial frontal cortical function in social cognition.

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December 30, 2005

Imitating minds

sociology — thomasr @ 7:27 pm

Social interaction is one of the most complex undertakings of the primate brain. It is the result of collaboration between different levels of the brain. Imitation is an important social function that – among other things – enables an organism to relate to other organisms and learn from them. In a paper in Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Marco Iacoboni reviews evidence that imitation is actually a heterogeneous function, consisting of different sub-functions.

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December 21, 2003

Cultural Consciousness as a Good trick

SCR Feature,sociology — thomasr @ 12:30 am
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May 25, 2002

Consciousness Science 2002: past, present, and future.

SCR Feature,sociology — thomasr @ 4:15 pm

article_image2.jpegWhat is the current state of the science of consciousness? In this editorial, Annti Revonsuo shares his view on this matter, that consciousness science should strive to become more unified. The present wave of the scientific study of consciousness could soon celebrate its 10th anniversary. It was sometime in the early 1990′s when the topic of consciousness made a final breakthrough and the multidisciplinary studies on consciousness became a distinct, respectable field of scientific inquiry, with its own academic journals, conferences and societies. The pioneering spirit of the 1990′s seems to have been driven by the conviction, explicit in conference slogans and book titles, that we are steadily progressing towards a Science of Consciousness.

At this point in the development of the field it might be a good idea for We need to discontinue endless arguments about philosophical alternatives the field to take stock and evaluate what has been achieved, and where to head next. At the theoretical and philosophical level, the main achievement is that the different options as to the fundamental nature of consciousness have been systematically charted and vigorously explored. However, it still remains unclear what kind of a philosophical approach should be taken as the basis of the Science of Consciousness. In any case, one thing is clear: If we want to have a genuine SCIENCE of consciousness, at some point the consciousness research community will have to discontinue endlessly arguing about the philosophical alternatives and for the time being just settle with something reasonably plausible in order to make progress with the actual empirical science of consciousness.

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