Canada 300 BC and the Passing of Dr. Adam Chowaniec: Developing the Knowledge Economy

At first, I assumed the invitation from Canada 300 was spam. It said I had been nominated as one of only 25 community leaders in Vancouver to participate in an in-depth, national conversation on the future of Canada. But then I received an email confirming it was legitimate. And the National Post published an article by Tamara Sestanj on it. So, intrigued (as I remain), I reviewed the documentation.

Through an innovative use of arts and technology, we want to capture the promise of what Canada will be seven generations from now.

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Color and Placement in Designing Promotion Videos: What Has Cognitive Science to Say?

In designing a 2D character animation promotion video, I wanted to know:

  1. whether, to what extent, and how affective perception is affected by color;
  2. whether placing an object on the left side would provide a more positively valenced affective response than the right.

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My 2015 Progress Update (to Feb 15)

Already mid-February! A good time to see whether I’m on track for my 2015 plans.

I’ve never published my personal progress reports online before. But I wanted to take a detailed look at the last few weeks. And it might be helpful to some of my collaborators, stakeholders, clients or customers, who only see a certain slice of my life. Also, it will give you a picture of the R&D behind the products I develop. I run different facets of my projects through different organizations ( CogZest, CogSci Apps Corp. and Simon Fraser University). It also illustrates the variety of tasks that small business leaders engage in.

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Some Myths and Productive Ideas About Consciousness

This is the third and probably final installment in a series of posts in preparation for the 2015–02–22 Beacon Humanist Group’s meeting on “consciousness”. (It was due to occur at the end of January but I couldn’t make that date in the end.)

There is more material here than I can get through in my brief presentation. Make a note of what you’d like to discuss during the meeting. If I skip a statement of interest to you, we can hopefully return to it in the discussion.

I won’t be lecturing on what consciousness is or how it works. Instead I will briefly present common myths about consciousness and propose some helpful ideas to better understand conscious and nearly conscious experience. Then as usual we will have a moderated discussion.

Myths about Consciousness

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Lovers, Intellectual Loneliness, and an Enigma

CogZest is for and about beautiful, passionate minds. So, it’s natural for me to respond to The Imitation Game.

The film received mixed reviews. Many of those knowledgeable about Turing and the Enigma project were disappointed by the film’s lack of fidelity, particularly given how fascinating these subjects are in reality. I did not expect to see a documentary, nor something outside Hollywood’s style, so I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve used the divertissement’s themes as a cognitive springboard rather than a trampoline to which I frequently return for inspiration, let alone factual information.

It being Valentine’s day (and given that I am nursing an R&D project dealing with romantic love), it seems appropriate to launch into the theme of intellectual loneliness, companionship and romantic love, to which The Imitation Game alluded.

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A Cognitive Scientist’s Response to the Dalai Lama’s Criticism of Western Psychology

I’d like to deal with the current Dalai Lama’s critical remarks against Western psychology in detail, but I only have time at the moment to make a few brief remarks.

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Review of Keith Stanovich (2009): What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought

This is the first in a series of blog posts of mine on Keith Stanovich’s work on rationality and thinking dispositions. I will focus mainly on his 2009 book. What intelligence tests miss: The psychology of rational thought.. While this book was published several years ago, its ideas are still valid, pertinent and worthy of discussion. The following is adapted from Cognitive Productivity, a book which discusses and builds upon Stanovich’s work.

As I have said, ingratitude does not surprise me. What does startle me, in retrospect, is my lack of curiosity.
Hermann Hesse’s Emil Sinclair character

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Readings for a Humanist Meeting on Consciousness

In a previous post I mentioned that I will moderate a humanist meeting on consciousness. This post contains some further information on that for participants, and whoever else might find it relevant.

Here are some of the questions I will raise:

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“Consciousness”: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Questions About the Human Mind

The January 25, 2015 meeting on this topic has been postponed. Watch this space, or send me an email in February,  to get the new date.

On [Date TBD], I will moderate a humanist discussion on so called “consciousness”. Given that the content will be of broad interest, I will post a few articles for the participants and other interested readers.

For many years, for several reasons, I argued against using the term “consciousness”. “Conscious”, an adjective, is a helpful term that can trigger meaningful psychological inquiry; but the term “consciousness” all too often interferes with the pursuit of understanding the human mind. It tends to induce a reification fallacy, i.e., to assume that because we have a noun (here consciousness) it must actually refer to something particular. Contrast dog, which has referents, and energy which does not. Energy, like gravity, is a helpful problem-centered concept, i.e., a concept that is used to frame and solve problems. Dog is helpful, but it is not problem-centered. It was not developed to solve a theoretical challenge of understanding the world. Treating consciousness as stuff-like can cause problems.

Here’s a little fact that might help you cautiously approach questions using the term “consciousness”: Continue reading “Consciousness”: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Questions About the Human Mind

Luc P. Beaudoin is Now Adjunct Professor of Cognitive Science at Simon Fraser University

I’ve been associated with the Cognitive Science program at Simon Fraser University for several years. Earlier this month, I became Adjunct Professor of Cognitive Science there.

I have an active research program at SFU which is summarized on my SFU home page. Most of my foreground projects at the moment investigate the information processing mechanisms underlying sleep onset and insomnia. They are collaborations with excellent sleep research psychologists at various universities:

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