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Psychology

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New Directions in the Study of Concepts

The study of concepts has advanced dramatically in recent years, with exciting new findings and theoretical developments. Core concepts have been investigated in greater depth and new lines of inquiry have blossomed, with researchers from an ever broader range of disciplines making important contributions. In this volume, leading philosophers and cognitive scientists offer original essays that present the state-of-the-art in the study of concepts.

In this book, Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haladjian consider the relationship between consciousness and attention. The cognitive mechanism of attention has often been compared to consciousness, because attention and consciousness appear to share similar qualities. But, Montemayor and Haladjian point out, attention is defined functionally, whereas consciousness is generally defined in terms of its phenomenal character without a clear functional purpose.

A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Over the past decade, an explosion of empirical research in a variety of fields has allowed us to understand human moral sensibility as a sophisticated integration of cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms shaped through evolution, development, and culture. Evolutionary biologists have shown that moral cognition evolved to aid cooperation; developmental psychologists have demonstrated that the elements that underpin morality are in place much earlier than we thought; and social neuroscientists have begun to map brain circuits implicated in moral decision making.

The Economics of Well-Being

Can money buy happiness? Is income a reliable measure for life satisfaction? In the West after World War II, happiness seemed inextricably connected to prosperity. Beginning in the 1960s, however, other values began to gain ground: peace, political participation, civil rights, environmentalism.

From Babies to Robots

Developmental robotics is a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to robotics that is directly inspired by the developmental principles and mechanisms observed in children’s cognitive development. It builds on the idea that the robot, using a set of intrinsic developmental principles regulating the real-time interaction of its body, brain, and environment, can autonomously acquire an increasingly complex set of sensorimotor and mental capabilities.

Toward Conceptual Coherence in the Foundations of Psychology

All sciences need ways to classify the phenomena they investigate; chemistry has the periodic table and biology a taxonomic system for classifying life forms. These classification schemes depend on conceptual coherence, demonstrated correspondences across paradigms. This conceptual coherence has proved elusive in psychology, although recent advances have brought the field to the point at which it is possible to define the type of classificatory system needed.

Concepts for Spatial Learning and Education

The current “spatial turn” in many disciplines reflects an emerging scholarly interest in space and spatiality as central components in understanding the natural and cultural worlds. In Space in Mind, leading researchers from a range of disciplines examine the implications of research on spatial thinking and reasoning for education and learning.

The Transformative Power of Children and Families

Can more peaceful childhoods promote a culture of peace? Increasing evidence from a broad range of disciplines shows that how we raise our children affects the propensity for conflict and the potential for peace within a given community. In this book, experts from a range of disciplines examine the biological and social underpinnings of child development and the importance of strengthening families to build harmonious and equitable relations across generations.

Technology for Well-Being and Human Potential

On the eve of Google’s IPO in 2004, Larry Page and Sergey Brin vowed not to be evil. Today, a growing number of technologists would go further, trying to ensure that their work actively improves people’s lives. Technology, so pervasive and ubiquitous, has the capacity to increase stress and suffering; but it also has the less-heralded potential to improve the well-being of individuals, society, and the planet.

A Primer

This book offers a concise and accessible introduction to the emerging field of artificial cognitive systems. Cognition, both natural and artificial, is about anticipating the need for action and developing the capacity to predict the outcome of those actions. Drawing on artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, the field of artificial cognitive systems has as its ultimate goal the creation of computer-based systems that can interact with humans and serve society in a variety of ways.

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