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CGSC 1001 (62)

Midterm Review

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Cognitive Science
CGSC 1001
Deirdre Kelly

MIDTERM #2 Evolution of the mind Evolution: - The change in the inheritance characteristics of biological populations over successive generations Natural Selection: 1. More offspring are produced then can possibly survive 2. Traits vary among individuals, leading to differential rates of survival and reproduction, and 3. Trait differences are inheritable Genetic Mutation and Shift - Ex. hippo and whale or Darwin’s Finches - Hominin line as early as 7.2 million years ago (2001) THE ACCIDENTAL MIND Evolutionary psychology’s Tenets 1. The brain is a computer designed by natural selection to extract information from the environment. 2. Individual human behaviour is generated by this evolved computer in response to information it extracts from the environment 3. The cognitive programs of the human brain are adaptations. They exist because the produced behaviour in our ancestors that enabled then to survive and reproduce. 4. The cognitive programs of the human brain may not be adaptive now; they were adaptive in ancestral environments 5. Natural selection ensures that the brain in composed of many different special purpose programs and not a domain general architecture. 6. Describing the evolved computational architecture of our brains “allows a systematic understanding of cultural and social phenomena” Modularity - The notion that mind may, at least in part, be composed of separate innate structures which have established evolutionarily developed functional purposes - Ex. in favour- organs, computational, poverty of stimulus 1. Biological systems are designed systems constructed incrementally 2. Such systems, when complex, need to have massively modular organization 3. The human mind is a biological system and is complex 4. So the human mind will be massively modularly in its organization Functions of Emotions - Positive emotions motivate to take advantage of the environment - Negative emotions motivate to avoid misfortune - Emotions help to correspond to different adaptive challenges Nesse and Ellsworth - Emotions are cued to particular scenarios and we learn to be affected by particular ways through classical and operant conditioning - Ex. fear of snakes Emotion Appraisal Theory 1. Novelty and environmental changes 2. Intrinsic pleasantness/ unpleasantness 3. Goal obstacles or facilitators 4. Unpredictability 5. Agency (event caused by self, other, or circumstances) 6. Controllability 7. Compatibility with social norms or personal values Prisoners Dilemma Pathology - Depression vs. sadness - Sadness o Over a loss o One time event o Ends if what is lost is restored - Depression o Unable to achieve goal o If one has to continue striving for the goal and it cannot be abandons then I become pathological Memetics Culture - Full range of learned human behaviour patterns - Divided into 3 parts o Body of traditions for you particular society o Subculture: in complex, diverse societies people often bring their original culture o Culture universals: learned behaviour patterns shared by humans Levinson, 2005 - We need to see culture as part of nature - Ratchet culture: the ability to build up even more complex cultural and technological skills over generations - Memes: Cultural replicators (Dawkins) which can be transmitted through teaching across generations WASPAND FIG AND WASP ANALOGY Biology affects culture - Development of opposable thumbs - Vocal adaptation - Brain evolution Does culture affect biology? - Cooking - Clothing - Mate selection - Domestication Genes vs. Memes Mind, Magic and Superstition Religions - Contain recurrent theme o Gods that are alive and have have minds but have no bodies o Dead ancestors still have influence over the living - how do we explain the persistent belief in God, supernatural, magic, and other superstitions? - Morality does not require religion- people still have morals without a belief in god. - Law of Contagion = law of similarity Morality - Categorization of intentions, decisions and actions into good or bad - Code of conduct that all understand the govern their behaviour after How do we determine the difference between good and bad? - Tradition - Majority preference - Law - Power Moral reasoning is a form of logical reasoning MORAL REASONING - Experience and
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