On Having One or More Theories of Emotion: Perturbance and Ur-Emotions

We can’t get away from “folk psychology” and “intuitive physics” (also known as “naive physics”), i.e., from using everyday concepts like emotion, memory, force and energy. However, in everyday discussions as in more technical ones, those words can trip us up. “Emotion” in particular is a tricky one. This difficulty is acknowledged in multiple articles in the emotion literature (and elsewhere on this web site). But, even in psychology, often the term is used without reference to particular theory of emotions. And therein lies the problem:

without a reference theory of emotion, the term “emotion” doesn’t mean much at all.

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“Information Overload” and Productivity

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Ian Jessop of CFAX 1050 Victoria on the topic of “Information Overload and Cognitive Productivity”. We had a good 20-minute chat. Here are some of my reflections on the topic.

Information Overload Myths and Realities

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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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Meta-painting & Science of the Human Mind: An Epistolary Response to Lam Wong’s 21 Elements

Preface

A version of this essay will appear in the second edition of Lam Wong’s 21 Elements book. The book is based on his September 2014 exhibition, about which I have recently blogged. For reasons that will become obvious, I’ve written this document as a letter to a fictional friend.

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University Teaching Requires Lovingly Opposing the Student: Claude Lamontagne’s Rationalist Reflexions

I have uploaded a timeless address given by Claude Lamontagne,  Professor of Psychology, on the occasion of him receiving the 2001 University of Ottawa Teaching Award.

I’ve uploaded this address this evening in order to share the gem, and so that I can link to it in an essay I am writing on Lam Wong’s recent 21 Elements exhibition of paintings on “Relation, Perception and Meaning”. (The essay will be in the next edition of Wong’s book, 21 Elements.) It is fitting that Lamontagne’s paper should itself be so beautifully artistic!   Professor of Psychology, on the occasion of him receiving the 2001 University of Ottawa Teaching Award.

Lamontagne’s address is “University Teaching: A critical Rationalist’s Reflexions”.

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Knowledge Gems from an Expert Author Educed by an Expert Host: Alice Munro Interviewed by Peter Gzowski (1996)

In 1996, acclaimed CBC host Peter Gzowski interviewed Alice Munro, well before she won a Nobel prize in literature. Here are a few knowledge gems from Rewind with Michael Enright, today’s republication of this fabulous interview:

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Nelson Mandela Missed the Time to Think that Prison Provided

Today, I added an opening quotation to a chapter in Cognitive Productivity that deals with challenges knowledge workers face in their quest to use knowledge to become profoundly effective. <1> The section in question deals with demands on our time. A distinctive feature of humans is the amount and kinds of mental processing that can take place between stimulus (information) and response. But how can we produce great cognitive products if we don’t sufficiently exploit our own mental abilities? This means we need to disconnect ourselves from the Internet firehose several times a week and create quiet time for ourselves… time to integrate what we have read, select problems of understanding to address, and provide solutions to them in the form of knowledge that will guide subsequent action.

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Response to Tom Monahan’s “If I Were 22: Embrace Your Ignorance”

While differing widely in the little bits we know, or rather guess, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal. (Karl Popper).

Tom Monahan (Chairman and CEO at CEB) published an interesting article on LinkedIn yesterday: “If I Were 22: Embrace Your Ignorance”. He admitted that he graduated from Harvard feeling that he was “master of not only my own nascent trade, but pretty much anything else under the sun”. I.e., overconfident about his knowledge and abilities. Looking back, he would embrace his own ignorance, be a curator of good questions, and ask questions of more people. Good advice!

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