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New 331 lecture notes collection.docx

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New College
John Vervaeke

New 331 Lec 1 Jan 11 Mindfulness radically different Major increase in publicationsresearch As well as types of research being done ppl in cog sciWhat cognitive processes are at work Not only difference in the amount of publications but also the types of disciplines investigating mindfulness has also expandedA lot about mindfulness and its effects on cognition What are the cognitive processes at work How does mindfulness practices transform our cognition Explosion about thatNeuroscience has also been investigating mindfulness in very significant ways An area that used to be very difficult to bring into the scientific domain has been open to much more serious investigation We can now get at whats happening in peoples brainsAnd we can combine this with the behavioural effects shown in psychological researchTo get a much clearer picture of brain and behaviour whats going on in ppls brains when practicing mindfulness practicesImprovements in EEGfMRIs has made this possible Still a lot of limitations butWe can coordinate fMri info with neuroanatomical EEG experimental behaviour information etcif we have them converge we can get a fairly good lvl of confidence when drawing conclusionsThis is all very exciting and somewhat worrying for some pplDownside is that it takes away some of the mystic some of the magic But it can do what science does an replace it with genuine wonder the brain can actually do these thingsBad news about some of thisToneattoNguyen 2007 reviewed a large body of lit on mindfulness Most of that lit was still dominated by clinicaltherapeutic lit They found that although the results were positive there were many methodological flaws Design flaws included inappropriate controls confounding variables placebo effects came to the conclusion that at that stage although the data was promising there was no reason to place very high convince in it due to all of these methodological flawsThere are two things that have happened 1 Significant improvement in the designs 2 Methodological flaws because the theoretical construct behind them were also flawed Theoretical constructs needs to be improved Means to do cognitive science is on this to create clear theoretical constructs that can be operationalizedlooking at the machinery on learning and trying to fix that gap Tried to work on all the conceptual vocabulary for the theoretical 4 main theoretical defects concerns that needs significant clarification by cognitive science1 We need to replace a feature list with a feature schema 2 We have to replace the language of training with a language of explainingthat is drawn from independently established or neuroscientific constructs 3 We have to account for the developmental aspects of mindfulness it doesnt just appear like a cognitive big bang BOM its a lot if intense practice and training How does it develop4 Other people are starting to say this you need to set the mindfulness practices such as meditation into a larger theory of mindfulness practice and development Praxis has to do with the systematic relationship between practices Originally ppl were not just practicing mediation they were practicing other things along side of it often contemplative practices ethical humanitarian which were practiced in conjunction with sitting meditation for ex The west has tended to reach and take this one part of the practice and lift it out and try to make a tool out of it but perhaps its better to understand meditation within the context of other mindfulness relations Perhaps that will teach us much more about it and also improve the causal power of what we want1 Feature listwhats mindfulness they will give you a list of features attention relaxation list of featuresMurphy mid 80s say 2 really interesting things 1 People actuallybelieve concepts are feature lists Thats why they keep coming out because ppl s folk intuition of how cognitions work is the feature list2 The overwhelming empirical evidence that concepts are not in fact feature lists Why is that the organizational structure is missing when simply have a feature list The parts have to be put together in such a way that they function A structure that provides structure that allows for the casual powers that make up a bird Only when put together in the right way can bird things happen Gestaltorganization structure that affords functioningWhat we are precisely lacking with the feature list of the bird is a lot of that organizational structure that captures the birdyness of the bird what gives it its casual power we are missing most of the essence and power of a birdIf we only have a feature list of mindfulness we are correspondingly gonna be missing the essence and power of mindfulness We have already framed the construct so that we are going to miss a lot of its casual essence Everything you do after that will be affected by thisWe need to replace the feature list of mindfulness with a feature schema of mindfulness What do I mean We have to look for the relationship between the featuresIntuition ex 2 kinds of birds small and big birds which one is more likely to singSmall Yes Thats not in your feature list cuz thats an important correlation between featuresWe have to look for the relationsWhat kinds of relations are we gonna look for Causal relations and Constitutive relationsCausal relations one thing makes something else to be Constitutive relations one part of another Having something fit into anotherLets start doing itinstead of talking of it abstractedly In order to make a feature schema there are generally 4 key properties mentioned in a mindfulness feature listLets make a distinction between types of features if you are gonna pull out relations you have to pull out distinctions without types of features You wont do this if you are satisfied with your feature list4 features most talked about regarding mindfulnessBeing presentoccurentstate Not judgingoccurentstateInsight Vipassana meditation means insight dispositionaltraitReduced reactivitydispositionaltraitDistinction between occurent and dispositional featuresOccurent process Dispositional properties conditions of possibilities if I put salt in hot water it will dissolve Not doing it right now but IF I put intounder certain circumstances they have these abilitiesDispositional propertiesrelate to changes in possibilities for things what its capable of doing not what its actually doingyou are strong doesnt mean you have to be constantly lifting thingswe think if we have a verb we are pointing towards a occurent property Believe people talk about it like it is an action It doesnt work that way Belief isnt a voluntary action Its not an occurent thing its dispositional Belief is a dispositional term not a ghostly occurrence in your mind it describes how you are disposed to behaveEx you believe Steven harper is prime minister of Canada what did you do to believe that nothingBeing present is an occurent process You can start get interrupted stop restart you can engageNot judgingoccurentInsightfulness can happen during meditation But meditation can increase your predisposition to have insights in your life nature of realityselfhoodrelations meditation is supposed to make you more dispositional insightfulWe can separate these occurent from dispositionalWe can ask for types of relations and what the schema does it allows me to graphically represent I can ask for casual relationsI can ask casual questions now How does being present cause insightfulnessI can ask left to right causal questions I can use the vertical dimension to ask constitutive questions is being present part of not judging is not judging part of being present or are they both part of some bigger thing Dispositions can be parts of each otherI can look for casual relations between these features left to right and constitutive relations up and down I can convert a standards feature list into a feature schemawhen we get an answer to those questions we can lay a causal and constitutive relations between occurent and dispositional features when we do thatwe have converted our feature list into our feature schema and we have started to capture some of the structural functional power that constitutes the scientific essence of mindfulnessFeature listno good Feature schema good How making distinctions between types of features and then asking for types of relations between the features casual and constitutive relations This is the overall methodology of practicing cognitive scienceAnother of the criticisms that need to be dealt with in order to do thisabove a lot of the standard ways of talking about these features is not going to work for what we are going to be doing here because these terms are basically taken from training situationswhere we are training people to be mindful we are trying to teach them how to practice somethingSlogan the language of training is being unclinically whats the word identified with the language
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