Cognitive Psychology Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Cognitive Psychology. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.
Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks)
When good people consider you the bad guy, you develop a heart to help the bad ones. You actually understand them.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but you thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Whenever I think of something but can't think of what it was I was thinking of, I can't stop thinking until I think I'm thinking of it again. I think I think too much.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow.
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (Thought and Language)
It is an acknowledged fact that we perceive errors in the work of others more readily than in our own.
Leonardo da Vinci
Any human endeavor rooted in the pursuit of truth must rely on fact and not feelings.
Gad Saad (The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense)
The exaggerated dopamine sensitivity of the introvert leads one to believe that when in public, introverts, regardless of its validity, often feel to be the center of (unwanted) attention hence rarely craving attention. Extroverts, on the other hand, seem to never get enough attention. So on the flip side it seems as though the introvert is in a sense very external and the extrovert is in a sense very internal - the introvert constantly feels too much 'outerness' while the extrovert doesn't feel enough 'outerness'.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Lingering, bottled-up anger never reveals the 'true colors' of an individual. It, on the contrary, becomes all mixed up, rotten, confused, forms a highly combustible, chemical compound then explodes as something foreign, something very different than one's natural self.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Mindfulness has never met a cognition it didn't like.
Daniel J. Siegel (The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being)
The neural processes underlying that which we call creativity have nothing to do with rationality. That is to say, if we look at how the brain generates creativity, we will see that it is not a rational process at all; creativity is not born out of reasoning.
Rodolfo R. Llinás (I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self)
Nature is a hanging judge," goes an old saying. Many tragedies come from our physical and cognitive makeup. Our bodies are extraordinarily improbable arrangements of matter, with many ways for things to go wrong and only a few ways for things to go right. We are certain to die, and smart enough to know it. Our minds are adapted to a world that no longer exists, prone to misunderstandings correctable only by arduous education, and condemned to perplexity about the deepest questions we can ascertain.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
Be careful not to appear obsessively intellectual. When intelligence fills up, it overflows a parody.
Criss Jami (Healology)
There is a concept in cognitive psychology called the channel capacity, which refers to the amount of space in our brain for certain kinds of information.
Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference)
I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt—before, during, or after the hurting occurs. But it always comes as a surprise. In psychology it’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s the idea that it feels stressful and painful for us to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time (like the idea that we’re kind people and the idea that we’ve just destroyed someone). And so to ease the pain we create illusory ways to justify our contradictory behavior.
Jon Ronson (So You've Been Publicly Shamed)
God judges men from the inside out; men judge men from the outside in. Perhaps to God, an extreme mental patient is doing quite well in going a month without murder, for he fought his chemical imbalance and succeeded; oppositely, perhaps the healthy, able and stable man who has never murdered in his life yet went a lifetime consciously, willingly never loving anyone but himself may then be subject to harsher judgment than the extreme mental patient. It might be so that God will stand for the weak and question the strong.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Nightmares are seldom a foreshadowing of real events, but always a showing of real fears.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Control over consciousness is not simply a cognitive skill. At least as much as intelligence, it requires the commitment of emotions and will. It is not enough to know how to do it; one must do it, consistently, in the same way as athletes or musicians who must keep practicing what they know in theory.
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
Given her deafness, the auditory part of the brain, deprived of its usual input, had started to generate a spontaneous activity of its own, and this took the form of musical hallucinations, mostly musical memories from her earlier life. The brain needed to stay incessantly active, and if it was not getting its usual stimulation..., it would create its own stimulation in the form of hallucinations.
Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain)
We are both thinking and feeling animals. The challenge is to know when to activate the cognitive (thinking) versus the affective (feeling) systems.
Gad Saad (The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense)
The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters. What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.
Hal Herzog (Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals)
Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.
null
Pride is born as a mountaintop on a valley, but dies as an abyss in which it is too deep and too dark to see the better.
Criss Jami (Healology)
One either cares what others think about him, or cares what others think he thinks about them. If you want to find someone who doesn't care in the slightest what anyone thinks, try a lunatic asylum.
Criss Jami (Healology)
I treat my thoughts like an old person treats their valuables: I cannot for the life of me proceed to throwing them out.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Since the 1980s, therapists have reported encountering clients or patients who had experienced extreme abuses featuring physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive aspects, along with a premeditated structure of torture-enforced lessons. The phenomena was first labeled "ritual abuse," and, later, as our understanding developed, "mind control.
Alison Miller (Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control)
Traumatic events challenge an individual's view of the world as a just, safe and predictable place. Traumas that are caused by human behavior. . . commonly have more psychological impact than those caused by nature.
American Psychological Association (The APA Dictionary of Psychology)
The goal shouldn’t be to make the perfect decision every time but to make less bad decisions than everyone else.
Spencer Fraseur (The Irrational Mind: How To Fight Back Against The Hidden Forces That Affect Our Decision Making)
To construct is the essence of vision. Dispense with construction and you dispense with vision. Everything you experience by sight is your construction.
Donald D. Hoffman
Cognitive insight (knowing something) is not like emotional insight (feeling something). It has no psychodynamic effects. It does not affect the narcissist's behavior patterns, or his interpersonal interactions - the products of well entrenched and rigid defense mechanisms.
Sam Vaknin (Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited)
If a child’s emotional and intellectual freedom is restricted, their development and well-being suffer, which leads to complex problems in later life. Deprivation of thought and emotion results in an irrationality of cognition, feeling, and communication.
Darius Cikanavicius (Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults)
I understand the mechanism of my own thinking. I know precisely how I know, and my understanding is recursive. I understand the infinite regress of this self-knowing, not by proceeding step by step endlessly, but by apprehending the limit. The nature of recursive cognition is clear to me. A new meaning of the term "self-aware." Fiat logos. I know my mind in terms of a language more expressive than any I'd previously imagined. Like God creating order from chaos with an utterance, I make myself anew with this language. It is meta-self-descriptive and self-editing; not only can it describe thought, it can describe and modify its own operations as well, at all levels. What Gödel would have given to see this language, where modifying a statement causes the entire grammar to be adjusted. With this language, I can see how my mind is operating. I don't pretend to see my own neurons firing; such claims belong to John Lilly and his LSD experiments of the sixties. What I can do is perceive the gestalts; I see the mental structures forming, interacting. I see myself thinking, and I see the equations that describe my thinking, and I see myself comprehending the equations, and I see how the equations describe their being comprehended. I know how they make up my thoughts. These thoughts.
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
A marijuana high can enhance core human mental abilities. It can help you to focus, to remember, to see new patterns, to imagine, to be creative, to introspect, to empathically understand others, and to come to deep insights. If you don’t find this amazing you have lost your sense of wonder. Which, by the way, is something a high can bring back, too.
Sebastian Marincolo
When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends, or change a behavior that doesn’t align with our values, guilt—not shame—is most often the driving force. We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against our values and find they don’t match up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful. The psychological discomfort, something similar to cognitive dissonance, is what motivates meaningful change. Guilt is just as powerful as shame, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive. In fact, in my research I found that shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we can change and do better.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Great leaders don’t lead others with bitterness or resentfulness of past mistakes, they lead with hope and knowledge of the past to inform greater decision making in the future.
Spencer Fraseur (The Irrational Mind: How To Fight Back Against The Hidden Forces That Affect Our Decision Making)
At this crucial point, for the Roman Church to reach a compromise between this myth of Mithra and the Hellenistic Christianity of St. Paul, it was necessary to have a sudden change of events or an altered version of Jesus's life, and it was here that the Roman Church began to implement a psychological process known today as Cognitive Dissonance. In a few words, this happens when a group of people produce a false reconstruction of an event they want to continue to believe in, a literary strategy also known as the Reconstructive Hypothesis. This theological notion is equally known as Apotheosis or the glorification of a subject to divine level such as a human becoming a god. In the case of Jesus, this process was copied in its entirety from the religion of Mithra where their 'divinisations' were practically the same.
Anton Sammut (The Secret Gospel Of Jesus AD 0-78)
The complete recipe for imagination is absolute boredom.
Criss Jami (Healology)
In psychological warfare, the weak points are flaws in how people think. If you’re trying to hack a person’s mind, you need to identify cognitive biases and then exploit them.
Christopher Wylie (Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America)
We shall simply say then that every action involves an energetic or affective aspect and a structural or cognitive aspect, which, in fact, unites the different points of view already mentioned.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence (Routledge Classics))
Computation has finally demystified mentalistic terms. Beliefs are inscriptions in memory, desires are goal inscriptions, thinking is computation, perceptions are inscriptions triggered by sensors, trying is executing operations triggered by a goal.
Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works)
To be naive is to be unaware of how stupid and cruel other people are; but, by some definitions, ignorance is nearly the opposite of naivety in being a kind of cynicism, in being unaware of their intelligence and humanity. It seems to be a normal although unfortunate case that the great many of us consciously abhor ignorance in others yet subconsciously practice it ourselves: as naivety is apparent and well-known to inflict its damage upon oneself; whereas the alternative and the easier, ignorance, its damage upon others.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Each of your brains creates its own myth about the universe.
Abhijit Naskar (Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality)
Our life is just as long or short as our remembering: as rich as our imagining, as vibrant as our feeling, and as profound as our thinking.
Neel Burton
One way or another we are all biased, but still we have the modern cortical capacity to choose whether or not to let the harmful biases dictate our behavior.
Abhijit Naskar (We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism (Humanism Series))
when you face disappointments and trials in life, your response dictates the character that will be created in you as a result.
Spencer Fraseur (The Irrational Mind: How To Fight Back Against The Hidden Forces That Affect Our Decision Making)
The often-used phrase “pay attention” is apt: you dispose of a limited budget of attention that you can allocate to activities, and if you try to you try to go beyond your budget, you will fail.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
She could always walk somewhere without him. Of course this somewhere had to be somewhere "safe." She could walk to her office. But she didn't want to go to her office. She felt bored, ignored, and alienated in her office. She felt ridiculous there. She didn't belong there anymore. In all the expansive grandeur that was Harvard, there wasn't room there for a cognitive psychology professor with a broken cognitive psyche.
Lisa Genova (Still Alice)
A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.
Nicholas Carr (The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains)
Moreover, dissonance-evoking situations have been found to evoke a general negative affect without also evoking increased self-directed negative affect (Elliot & Devine, 1994) or decreased state self-esteem (E. Harmon-Jones, 2000a).
Eddie Harmon-Jones (Cognitive Dissonance: Reexamining a Pivotal Theory in Psychology)
If there is any hope for changing the world for the better, from reducing family violence to reversing overpopulation and international conflict, economists, educators, and political leaders will need to base their interventions on a sound understanding of what people are really like, not on some fairy-tale version of what we would like them to be.
Douglas T. Kenrick (Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature)
You think you're losing your mind, but do keep in mind, as long as you may, that the ability to go on thinking such a thing means it's not all gone.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Of all funny things, truth is the funniest.
Neel Burton
Grey Hair Doesn't Guarantee Grey Matter.
Rahul Guhathakurta
To gain an understanding of the mind leads on to an appreciation of what it means to be human.
Steven Mithen (The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion and Science)
To swear day and night by media slander will make one a bigger victim than the slandered. It doesn't take much to begin to fear a mere illusion of human badness.
Criss Jami (Healology)
We must realise that cognitive hygiene is as important subject as oral hygiene for healthy and happy existence.
Aditya Ajmera
Our inherent cognitive biases make us ripe for manipulation and exploitation by those who have an agenda to push, especially if they can discredit all other sources of information.
Lee McIntyre (Post-Truth (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series))
It was beyond imagining that bad font influences judgments of truth and improves cognitive performance, or that an emotional response to the cognitive ease of a triad of words mediates impressions of coherence. Psychology has come a long way.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
on matters related to race, the Racial Contract prescribes for its signatories an inverted epistemology, an epistemology of ignorance, a particular pattern of localized and global cognitive dysfunctions (which are psychologically and socially functional), producing the ironic outcome that whites will in general be unable to understand the world they themselves have made.
Charles W. Mills (The Racial Contract)
But the idea that we can rid ourselves of animal illusion is the greatest illusion of all. Meditation may give us a fresher view of things, but it cannot uncover them as they are in themselves. The lesson of evolutionary psychology and cognitive science is that we are descendants of a long lineage, only a fraction of which is human. We are far more than the traces that other humans have left in us. Our brains and spinal cords are encrypted with traces of far older worlds.
John Gray (Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals)
Good listeners have negative capability. They are able to cope with contradictory ideas and gray areas. Good listeners know there is usually more to the story than first appears and are not so eager for tidy reasoning and immediate answers, which is perhaps the opposite to being narrow-minded...In the psychological literature, negative capability is known as cognitive complexity, which research shows is positively related to self-compassion and negatively related to dogmatism.
Kate Murphy (You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters)
The systems we will be exploring in order are: ● Breeding Targets: Arousal patterns tied to systems meant to get our ancestors to have sex with things that might bear offspring (e.g., arousal from things like penises, the female form, etc.). ● Inverse Systems: Arousal patterns that arise from a neural mix-up, causing something that disgusts the majority of the population to arouse a small portion of it (e.g., arousal from things like being farted on, dead bodies, having insects poured on one’s face, etc.). ● Emotional States and Concepts / Dominance and Submission: Arousal patterns that stem from either emotional concepts (such as betrayal, transformation, being eaten, etc.) or dominance and submission pathways. ● Emotional Connections to People: While emotional connections do not cause arousal in and of themselves, they do lower the threshold for arousal (i.e., you may become more aroused by a moderately attractive person you love than a very attractive stranger). ● Trope Attraction: Arousal patterns that are enhanced through a target’s adherence to a specific trope (a nurse, a goth person, a cheerleader, etc.). ● Novelty: Arousal patterns tied to the novelty of a particular stimulus. ● Pain and Asphyxiation: Arousal patterns associated with or enhanced by pain and oxygen deprivation. ● Basic Instincts: Remnants of our pre-cognitive mating instincts running off of a “deeper” autopilot-like neurological system (dry humping, etc.) that compel mating behavior without necessarily generating a traditional feeling of arousal. ● Physical Stimuli: Arousal patterns derived from physical interaction (kissing, touching an erogenous zone, etc.). ● Conditioned Responses: Arousal patterns resulting from conditioning (arousal from shoes, doorknobs, etc.).
Simone Collins (The Pragmatist’s Guide to Sexuality: What Turns People On, Why, and What That Tells Us About Our Species (The Pragmatist's Guide))
But at the same time, the humanist in me was always a bit troubled by the rather bleak, rather unappetizing picture the theory painted of the human condition—forever striving to justify our actions after the fact.
Eddie Harmon-Jones (Cognitive Dissonance: Reexamining a Pivotal Theory in Psychology)
Between the stimulation received from the environment and our response, certain processes had to occur inside the brain, and cognitive researchers revealed the human mind to be a great interpreting machine that made patterns and created sense of the world outside, forming maps of reality.
Tom Butler-Bowdon (50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do: Insight and Inspiration from 50 Key Books (50 Classics))
The hardest chore to do, and to do right, is to think. Why do you think the common man would choose labor, partially, as a distraction from his own thoughts? It is because that level of stress, he most absolutely abhors.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Beck’s three principles of cognitive therapy were: All our emotions are generated by our “cognitions,” or thoughts. How we feel at any given moment is due to what we are thinking about. Depression is the constant thinking of negative thoughts. The majority of negative thoughts that cause us emotional turmoil are plain wrong or at least distortions of the truth, but we accept them without question.
Tom Butler-Bowdon (50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do: Insight and Inspiration from 50 Key Books (50 Classics))
Memory requires active engagement with the complexities of the past. It is not an unthinking or passive process, like breathing or (for most people) sleeping. I have found that good memory, like good history, requires disciplined and focused attention, an honest effort to overcome one's perceptual and cognitive biases, and sustained effort.
Jamie Raskin (Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy)
Here are some of the essential take-homes: we all need nearby nature: we benefit cognitively and psychologically from having trees, bodies of water, and green spaces just to look at; we should be smarter about landscaping our schools, hospitals, workplaces and neighborhoods so everyone gains. We need quick incursions to natural areas that engage our senses. Everyone needs access to clean, quiet and safe natural refuges in a city. Short exposures to nature can make us less aggressive, more creative, more civic minded and healthier overall. For warding off depression, lets go with the Finnish recommendation of five hours a month in nature, minimum. But as the poets, neuroscientists and river runners have shown us, we also at times need longer, deeper immersions into wild spaces to recover from severe distress, to imagine our futures and to be our best civilized selves.
Florence Williams (The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative)
Asking where memory is "located" in the brain is like asking where running is located in the body. There are certainly parts of the body that are more important (the legs) or less important (the little fingers) in performing the task of running but, in the end, it is an activity that requires complex coordination among a great many body parts and muscle groups. To extend the analogy, looking for differences between memory systems is like looking for differences between running and walking. There certainly are many differences, but the main difference is that running requires more coordination among the different body parts and can be disrupted by small things (such as a corn on the toe) that may not interfere with walking at all. Are we to conclude, then, that running is located in the corn on your toe?
Ian Neath
Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.
Steven Hassan (Combating Cult Mind Control: The Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults)
Unless there is some time for being together psychologically - emotionally and cognitively - the psychological family may disappear. Without time for talking, laughing, arguing, sharing stories, and showing affection, we are just a collection of people who share the same refrigerator.
Pauline Boss
By standard intelligence texts, the dogs have failed at the puzzle. I believe, by contrast that they have succeeded magnificently. They have applied a novel tool to the task. We are that tool. Dogs have learned this--and they see us as fine general-purpose tools, too: useful for protection, acquiring food, providing companionship. We solve the puzzles of closed doors and empty water dishes. In the folk psychology of dogs, we humans are brilliant enough to extract hopelessly tangled leashes from around trees; we can conjure up an endless bounty of foodstuffs and things to chew. How savvy we are in dogs' eyes! It's a clever strategy to turn to us after all. The question of the cognitive abilities of dogs is thereby transformed; dogs are terrific at using humans to solve problems, but not as good at solving problems when we're not around.
Alexandra Horowitz (Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know)
In projecting onto others their own moral sense, therapists sometimes make terrible errors. Child physical abusers are automatically labeled “impulsive," despite extensive evidence that they are not necessarily impulsive but more often make thinking errors that justify the assaults. Sexual and physical offenders who profess to be remorseful after they are caught are automatically assumed to be sincere. After all, the therapist would feel terrible if he or she did such a thing. It makes perfect sense that the offender would regret abusing a child. People routinely listen to their own moral sense and assume that others share it. Thus, those who are malevolent attack others as being malevolent, as engaging in dirty tricks, as being “in it for the money,“ and those who are well meaning assume others are too, and keep arguing logically, keep producing more studies, keep expecting an academic debate, all the time assuming that the issue at hand is the truth of the matter. Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter. Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 p122
Anna C. Salter
The word “coherence” literally means holding or sticking together, but it is usually used to refer to a system, an idea, or a worldview whose parts fit together in a consistent and efficient way. Coherent things work well: A coherent worldview can explain almost anything, while an incoherent worldview is hobbled by internal contradictions. … Whenever a system can be analyzed at multiple levels, a special kind of coherence occurs when the levels mesh and mutually interlock. We saw this cross-level coherence in the analysis of personality: If your lower-level traits match up with your coping mechanisms, which in turn are consistent with your life story, your personality is well integrated and you can get on with the business of living. When these levels do not cohere, you are likely to be torn by internal contradictions and neurotic conflicts. You might need adversity to knock yourself into alignment. And if you do achieve coherence, the moment when things come together may be one of the most profound of your life. … Finding coherence across levels feels like enlightenment, and it is crucial for answering the question of purpose within life. People are multilevel systems in another way: We are physical objects (bodies and brains) from which minds somehow emerge; and from our minds, somehow societies and cultures form. To understand ourselves fully we must study all three levels—physical, psychological, and sociocultural. There has long been a division of academic labor: Biologists studied the brain as a physical object, psychologists studied the mind, and sociologists and anthropologists studied the socially constructed environments within which minds develop and function. But a division of labor is productive only when the tasks are coherent—when all lines of work eventually combine to make something greater than the sum of its parts. For much of the twentieth century that didn’t happen — each field ignored the others and focused on its own questions. But nowadays cross-disciplinary work is flourishing, spreading out from the middle level (psychology) along bridges (or perhaps ladders) down to the physical level (for example, the field of cognitive neuroscience) and up to the sociocultural level (for example, cultural psychology). The sciences are linking up, generating cross-level coherence, and, like magic, big new ideas are beginning to emerge. Here is one of the most profound ideas to come from the ongoing synthesis: People gain a sense of meaning when their lives cohere across the three levels of their existence.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
In trying to make sense of this pessimism, Ridley, like Kahneman, sees a combination of cognitive biases and evolutionary psychology as the core of the problem. He fingers loss aversion—a tendency for people to regret a loss more than a similar gain—as the bias with the most impact on abundance. Loss aversion is often what keeps people stuck in ruts.
Peter H. Diamandis
there is a growing body of work coming out of psychology and cognitive science that says you have no clue why you act the way you do, choose the things you choose, or think the thoughts you think. Instead, you create narratives, little stories to explain away why you gave up on that diet, why you prefer Apple over Microsoft, why you clearly remember it was Beth who told you the story about the clown with the peg leg made of soup cans when it was really Adam, and it wasn’t a clown.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
Some choices are better than others and we, as mortal humans, cannot be expected to always choose the best ones. What we can control is how we evaluate past decisions. Our readiness to reflect and realize that we were wrong. Our ability to admit our wrongs and move forward. To say we are sorry or make amends for mistakes. To apply what we’ve learned from past follies and choose wiser in the present. I contend that in a random and often chaotic world of choices, that is what we can control.
Spencer Fraseur (The Irrational Mind: How To Fight Back Against The Hidden Forces That Affect Our Decision Making)
[T]he form that an animal's subjective experience takes will be a property of the internal computer model. That model will be designed, in evolution, for its suitability for useful internal representation, irrespective of the physical stimuli that come to it from outside. Bats and we need the same kind of internal model for representing the position of objects in three-dimensional space. The fact that bats construct their internal model with the aid of echoes, while we construct ours with the aid of light, is irrelevant.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
Years ago I had realized I was blaming myself for it. People and doctors would tell me it wasn't my fault, but I couldn't “BELIEVE” it! Then I was talking to my friend Kieran and he explained to me in a way that I could PERCEIVE that I was not at fault. No one else could ever do that before, though many tried. Many, many people had tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, but I was convinced it was my fault because I was trying to cheer up my dad.
Robert Anthony
Clever deceivers rarely tell outright falsehoods. It’s too risky. The art of deception is closely related to the magician’s craft: it involves knowing how to draw attention to a harmless place, to deflect it away from the action. Deeply entrenched patterns of perceptual, emotional, and cognitive dispositions serve as instruments of deception. A skilled deceiver is an illusionist who knows how to manipulate the normal patterns of what is salient to their audience. He places salient markers—something red, something anomalous, something desirable—in the visual field, to draw attention just where he wants it.
Clancy Martin (The Philosophy of Deception)
A synthesis—an abstraction, chunk, or gist idea—is a neural pattern. Good chunks form neural patterns that resonate, not only within the subject we’re working in, but with other subjects and areas of our lives. The abstraction helps you transfer ideas from one area to another. That’s why great art, poetry, music, and literature can be so compelling. When we grasp the chunk, it takes on a new life in our own minds—we form ideas that enhance and enlighten the neural patterns we already possess, allowing us to more readily see and develop other related patterns. Once we have created a chunk as a neural pattern, we can more easily pass that chunked pattern to others, as Cajal and other great artists, poets, scientists, and writers have done for millennia, Once other people grasp that chunk, not only can they use it, but also they can more easily create similar chunks that apply to other areas in their lives—an important part of the creative process.
Barbara Oakley (A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra))
It wasn't that Harry had gone down the wrong path, it wasn't that the road to sanity lay somewhere outside of science. But reading science papers hadn't been enough. All the cognitive psychology papers about known bugs in the human brain and so on had helped, but they hadn't been sufficient. He'd failed to reach what Harry was starting to realise was a shockingly high standard of being so incredibly, unbelievably rational that you actually started to get things right,as opposed to having a handy language in which to describe afterwards everything you'd just done wrong. Harry could look back now and apply ideas like 'motivated cognition' to see where he'd gone astray over the last year. That counted for something, when it came to being saner in the future. That was better than having no idea what he'd done wrong. But that wasn't yet being the person who could pass through Time's narrow keyhole, the adult form whose possibility Dumbledore had been instructed by seers to create.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
In a fascinating study, Barrett (1999) demonstrated that children as young as three years of age have a sophisticated cognitive understanding of predator-prey encounters. Children from both an industrialized culture and a traditional hunter-horticulturalist culture were able to spontaneously describe the flow of events in a predator-prey encounter in an ecologically accurate way. Moreover, they understood that after a lion kills a prey, the prey is no longer alive, can no longer eat, and can no longer run and that the dead state is permanent. This sophisticated understanding of death from encounters with predators appears to be developed by age three to four.
David M. Buss (Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind)
Over decades in power, the CCP had constructed a multilayered system for stifling dissent in China based on the Soviet psychological warfare technique of Zersetzung, which translates roughly to “psychological decomposition.”[96] The regime’s threats instill fear of open discourse about reality, resulting in self-censorship. To avoid the cognitive dissonance of this silence, individuals willfully play down the evidence before their own eyes. The collective psychological effects are deceptively enormous.
Michael P. Senger (Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World)
In order for our minds to comprehend something, there must be an appropriately structured neural structure called a 'frame' that makes it possible to contextualize, make proper sense of, and mentally 'see' the thing. Our understanding of the world is frame dependent: frames are the accessories with which we think. Frames are the cognitive, conceptual structures that enable us to put together, amplify, and activate ideas. When truth is unseen it is because it is both unframed and unnamed; frames and names go together.
Paul Levy (Dispelling Wetiko)
The human feeling experience, much like the weather, is often unpredictably changeable. No “positive” feeling can be induced to persist as a permanent experience, no matter what Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy tells us. As disappointing as this may be, as much as we might like to deny it, as much as it causes each of us ongoing life frustration, and as much as we were raised and continue to be reinforced for trying to control and pick our feelings, they are still by definition of the human condition, largely outside the province of our wills.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
I’m not suggesting you misrepresent yourself just to win arguments. I don’t think misrepresenting yourself would even work; evolutionary psychology tells us humans are notoriously bad liars. Don’t fake an appreciation for the other person’s point of view, actually develop an appreciation for the other person’s point of view. Realize that your points probably seem as absurd to others as their points seem to you. Understand that many false beliefs don’t come from simple lying or stupidity, but from complex mixtures of truth and falsehood filtered by complex cognitive biases. Don’t stop believing that you are right and they are wrong, unless the evidence points that way. But leave it at them being wrong, not them being wrong and stupid and evil.
Scott Alexander
When you hold a belief strongly, it is difficult to believe something that is so contrary to it, even if the evidence is undeniable and staring you in the face. When you start opening your eyes to ways the CN has controlled, manipulated, belittled, and demeaned you for years, this is a huge reality paradigm shift. You will fight hard against the evidence no matter how obvious it is. This stirs up great insecurity, confusion, and anxiety in the body. What makes it even harder is that people around you see the CN in a positive light. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most challenging components of healing and recovery. It takes enormous mental strength to look past strong beliefs you have held and be open to looking honestly at the reality that is presenting itself.
Debbie Mirza (The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (The Narcissism Series Book 1))
For example, in order to identify these schemas or clarify faulty relational expectations, therapists working from an object relations, attachment, or cognitive behavioral framework often ask themselves (and their clients) questions like these: 1. What does the client tend to want from me or others? (For example, clients who repeatedly were ignored, dismissed, or even rejected might wish to be responded to emotionally, reached out to when they have a problem, or to be taken seriously when they express a concern.) 2. What does the client usually expect from others? (Different clients might expect others to diminish or compete with them, to take advantage and try to exploit them, or to admire and idealize them as special.) 3. What is the client’s experience of self in relationship to others? (For example, they might think of themselves as being unimportant or unwanted, burdensome to others, or responsible for handling everything.) 4. What are the emotional reactions that keep recurring? (In relationships, the client may repeatedly find himself feeling insecure or worried, self-conscious or ashamed, or—for those who have enjoyed better developmental experiences—perhaps confident and appreciated.) 5. As a result of these core beliefs, what are the client’s interpersonal strategies for coping with his relational problems? (Common strategies include seeking approval or trying to please others, complying and going along with what others want them to do, emotionally disengaging or physically withdrawing from others, or trying to dominate others through intimidation or control others via criticism and disapproval.) 6. Finally, what kind of reactions do these interpersonal styles tend to elicit from the therapist and others? (For example, when interacting together, others often may feel boredom, disinterest, or irritation; a press to rescue or take care of them in some way; or a helpless feeling that no matter how hard we try, whatever we do to help disappoints them and fails to meet their need.)
Edward Teyber (Interpersonal Process in Therapy: An Integrative Model)
There is a marvelous ambiguity to the ego: on the one hand it is an ordinary part of the world, one of many things that inhabit it. It occupies space, endures through time, has physical and psychic features, and interacts causally with other things in the world: if it falls, it falls like any other body; if it is pushed, it topples over like any other thing; if treated with chemicals, it reacts like any living organism; if light rays hit its visual organs, it reacts electronically, chemically, and psychologically. 'I' am a material, organic, and psychological thing. If we were to take the self simply as one of the things in the world, we would be treating it as what can be called the empirical ego. On the other hand, this very same self can also be played off against the world: it is the center of disclosure to whom the world and everything in it manifest themselves. It is the agent of truth, the one responsible for judgments and verifications, the perceptual and cognitive 'owner' of the world. When considered in this manner, it is no longer simply a part of the world; it is what is called the transcendental ego. The empirical and transcendental egos are not two entities; they are one and the same being, but considered in two ways.
Robert Sokolowski (Introduction to Phenomenology)
our ability to feel our feelings as they move as energy through our body with our ability to talk about what we feel. We can sit in therapy, tell sad stories, and talk about feeling sad without ever having the bodily experience of sadness. Psychology has historically focused too much on cognition and behavior while neglecting the process that underlies them both: emotion. But current neuroscientific research reveals emotion (also called affect in the scientific literature) as the central driver behind why we are the way we are, and how we develop and heal.2 We now know that most psychopathology, or mental illness, is the result of the inability to effectively regulate emotion.
Hillary L. McBride (The Wisdom of Your Body: Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection through Embodied Living)
Many researchers have sought the secret of successful education by identifying the most successful schools in the hope of discovering what distinguishes them from others. One of the conclusions of this research is that the most successful schools, on average, are small. In a survey of 1,662 schools in Pennsylvania, for instance, 6 of the top 50 were small, which is an overrepresentation by a factor of 4. These data encouraged the Gates Foundation to make a substantial investment in the creation of small schools, sometimes by splitting large schools into smaller units. At least half a dozen other prominent institutions, such as the Annenberg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust, joined the effort, as did the U.S. Department of Education’s Smaller Learning Communities Program. This probably makes intuitive sense to you. It is easy to construct a causal story that explains how small schools are able to provide superior education and thus produce high-achieving scholars by giving them more personal attention and encouragement than they could get in larger schools. Unfortunately, the causal analysis is pointless because the facts are wrong. If the statisticians who reported to the Gates Foundation had asked about the characteristics of the worst schools, they would have found that bad schools also tend to be smaller than average. The truth is that small schools are not better on average; they are simply more variable. If anything, say Wainer and Zwerling, large schools tend to produce better results, especially in higher grades where a variety of curricular options is valuable. Thanks to recent advances in cognitive psychology,
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
[O]ur percept is an elaborate computer model in the brain, constructed on the basis of information coming from [the environment], but transformed in the head into a form in which that information can be used. Wavelength differences in the light out there become coded as 'colour' differences in the computer model in the head. Shape and other attributes are encoded in the same kind of way, encoded into a form that is convenient to handle. The sensation of seeing is, for us, very different from the sensation of hearing, but this cannot be directly due to the physical differences between light and sound. Both light and sound are, after all, translated by the respective sense organs into the same kind of nerve impulses. It is impossible to tell, from the physical attributes of a nerve impulse, whether it is conveying information about light, about sound or about smell. The reason the sensation of seeing is so different from the sensation of hearing and the sensation of smelling is that the brain finds it convenient to use different kinds of internal model of the visual world, the world of sound and the world of smell. It is because we internally use our visual information and our sound information in different ways and for different purposes that the sensations of seeing and hearing are so different. It is not directly because of the physical differences between light and sound.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
The mind is more comfortable in reckoning probabilities in terms of the relative frequency of remembered or imagined events. That can make recent and memorable events - a plane crash, a shark attack, an anthrax infection - loom larger on one's worry list than more frequent and boring events, such as the car crashes and ladder falls that get printed beneath the fold on page B14. And it can lead risk experts to speak one language and ordinary people to hear another. In hearings for a proposed nuclear waste site, an expert might present a fault tree that lays out the conceivable sequences of events by which radioactivity might escape. For example, erosion, cracks in the bedrock, accidental drilling, or improper sealing might cause the release of radioactivity into groundwater. In turn, groundwater movement, volcanic activity, or an impact of a large meteorite might cause the release of radioactive wastes into the biosphere. Each train of events can be assigned a probability, and the aggregate probability of an accident from all the causes can be estimated. When people hear these analyses, however, the are not reassured but become more fearful than ever. They hadn't realized there are so many ways for something to go wrong! They mentally tabulate the number of disaster scenarios, rather than mentally aggregating the probabilities of the disaster scenarios.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
The case I’ve presented in this book suggests that humans are undergoing what biologists call a major transition. Such transitions occur when less complex forms of life combine in some way to give rise to more complex forms. Examples include the transition from independently replicating molecules to replicating packages called chromosomes or, the transition from different kinds of simple cells to more complex cells in which these once-distinct simple cell types came to perform critical functions and become entirely mutually interdependent, such as the nucleus and mitochondria in our own cells. Our species’ dependence on cumulative culture for survival, on living in cooperative groups, on alloparenting and a division of labor and information, and on our communicative repertoires mean that humans have begun to satisfy all the requirements for a major biological transition. Thus, we are literally the beginnings of a new kind of animal.1 By contrast, the wrong way to understand humans is to think that we are just a really smart, though somewhat less hairy, chimpanzee. This view is surprisingly common. Understanding how this major transition is occurring alters how we think about the origins of our species, about the reasons for our immense ecological success, and about the uniqueness of our place in nature. The insights generated alter our understandings of intelligence, faith, innovation, intergroup competition, cooperation, institutions, rituals, and the psychological differences between populations. Recognizing that we are a cultural species means that, even in the short run (when genes don’t have enough time to change), institutions, technologies, and languages are coevolving with psychological biases, cognitive abilities, emotional responses, and preferences. In the longer run, genes are evolving to adapt to these culturally constructed worlds, and this has been, and is now, the primary driver of human genetic evolution. Figure 17.1.
Joseph Henrich (The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter)
Most of us do not like not being able to see what others see or make sense of something new. We do not like it when things do not come together and fit nicely for us. That is why most popular movies have Hollywood endings. The public prefers a tidy finale. And we especially do not like it when things are contradictory, because then it is much harder to reconcile them (this is particularly true for Westerners). This sense of confusion triggers in a us a feeling of noxious anxiety. It generates tension. So we feel compelled to reduce it, solve it, complete it, reconcile it, make it make sense. And when we do solve these puzzles, there's relief. It feels good. We REALLY like it when things come together. What I am describing is a very basic human psychological process, captured by the second Gestalt principle. It is what we call the 'press for coherence.' It has been called many different things in psychology: consonance, need for closure, congruity, harmony, need for meaning, the consistency principle. At its core it is the drive to reduce the tension, disorientation, and dissonance that come from complexity, incoherence, and contradiction. In the 1930s, Bluma Zeigarnik, a student of Lewin's in Berlin, designed a famous study to test the impact of this idea of tension and coherence. Lewin had noticed that waiters in his local cafe seemed to have better recollections of unpaid orders than of those already settled. A lab study was run to examine this phenomenon, and it showed that people tend to remember uncompleted tasks, like half-finished math or word problems, better than completed tasks. This is because the unfinished task triggers a feeling of tension, which gets associated with the task and keeps it lingering in our minds. The completed problems are, well, complete, so we forget them and move on. They later called this the 'Zeigarnik effect,' and it has influenced the study of many things, from advertising campaigns to coping with the suicide of loved ones to dysphoric rumination of past conflicts.
Peter T. Coleman (The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts)
However one may interpret this culturally, the upshot is the same: people carry within them a great number of wishes to which they react passively and which they hide. Stoicism, in our day, is not strength to overcome wishes, but to hide them. To a patient who, let us say, is interminably rationalizing and justifying this and that, balancing one thing against another as though life were a tremendous market place where all the business is done on paper and tickertape and there are never any goods, I sometimes have the inclination in psychotherapy to shout out, “Don't you ever want anything?” But I don't cry out, for it is not difficult to see that on some level the patient does want a good deal; the trouble is he has formulated and reformulated it, until it is the “rattling of dry bones,” as Eliot puts it. Tendencies have become endemic in our culture for our denial of wishes to be rationalized and accepted with the belief that this denial of the wish will result in its being fulfilled. And whether the reader would disagree with me on this or that detail, our psychological problem is the same: it is necessary for us to help the patient achieve some emotional viability and honesty by bringing out his wishes and his capacity to wish. This is not the end of therapy but it is an essential starting point.
Rollo May (Love and Will)
Through feedback, said Wiener, Bigelow, and Rosenblueth, a mechanism could embody purpose. Even today, more than half a century later, that assertion still has the power to fascinate and disturb. It arguably marks the beginning of what are now known as artificial intelligence and cognitive science: the study of mind and brain as information processors. But more than that, it does indeed claim to bridge that ancient gulf between body and mind—between ordinary, passive matter and active, purposeful spirit. Consider that humble thermostat again. It definitely embodies a purpose: to keep the room at a constant temperature. And yet there is nothing you can point to and say, "Here it is—this is the psychological state called purpose." Rather, purpose in the thermostat is a property of the system as a whole and how its components are organized. It is a mental state that is invisible and ineffable, yet a natural phenomenon that is perfectly comprehensible. And so it is in the mind, Wiener and his colleagues contended. Obviously, the myriad feedback mechanisms that govern the brain are far more complex than any thermostat. But at base, their operation is the same. If we can understand how ordinary matter in the form of a machine can embody purpose, then we can also begin to understand how those three pounds of ordinary matter inside our skulls can embody purpose—and spirit, and will, and volition. Conversely, if we can see living organisms as (enormously complex) feedback systems actively interacting with their environments, then we can begin to comprehend how the ineffable qualities of mind are not separate from the body but rather inextricably bound up in it.
M. Mitchell Waldrop (The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal)
According to one recent study [...] the [climate change] denial-espousing think tanks and other advocacy groups making up what sociologist Robert Brulle calls the “climate change counter-movement” are collectively pulling in more than $ 900 million per year for their work on a variety of right-wing causes, most of it in the form of “dark money”— funds from conservative foundations that cannot be fully traced. This points to the limits of theories like cultural cognition that focus exclusively on individual psychology. The deniers are doing more than protecting their personal worldviews - they are protecting powerful political and economic interests that have gained tremendously from the way Heartland and others have clouded the climate debate. The ties between the deniers and those interests are well known and well documented. Heartland has received more than $ 1 million from ExxonMobil together with foundations linked to the Koch brothers and the late conservative funder Richard Mellon Scaife. Just how much money the think tank receives from companies, foundations, and individuals linked to the fossil fuel industry remains unclear because Heartland does not publish the names of its donors, claiming the information would distract from the “merits of our positions.” Indeed, leaked internal documents revealed that one of Heartland’s largest donors is anonymous - a shadowy individual who has given more than $ 8.6 million specifically to support the think tank’s attacks on climate science. Meanwhile, scientists who present at Heartland climate conferences are almost all so steeped in fossil fuel dollars that you can practically smell the fumes. To cite just two examples, the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels, who gave the 2011 conference keynote, once told CNN that 40 percent of his consulting company’s income comes from oil companies (Cato itself has received funding from ExxonMobil and Koch family foundations). A Greenpeace investigation into another conference speaker, astrophysicist Willie Soon, found that between 2002 and 2010, 100 percent of his new research grants had come from fossil fuel interests.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Predominantly inattentive type Perhaps the majority of girls with AD/HD fall into the primarily inattentive type, and are most likely to go undiagnosed. Generally, these girls are more compliant than disruptive and get by rather passively in the academic arena. They may be hypoactive or lethargic. In the extreme, they may even seem narcoleptic. Because they do not appear to stray from cultural norms, they will rarely come to the attention of their teacher. Early report cards of an inattentive type girl may read, "She is such a sweet little girl. She must try harder to speak up in class." She is often a shy daydreamer who avoids drawing attention to herself. Fearful of expressing herself in class, she is concerned that she will be ridiculed or wrong. She often feels awkward, and may nervously twirl the ends of her hair. Her preferred seating position is in the rear of the classroom. She may appear to be listening to the teacher, even when she has drifted off and her thoughts are far away. These girls avoid challenges, are easily discouraged, and tend to give up quickly. Their lack of confidence in themselves is reflected in their failure excuses, such as, "I can't," "It's too hard," or "I used to know it, but I can't remember it now." The inattentive girl is likely to be disorganized, forgetful, and often anxious about her school work. Teachers may be frustrated because she does not finish class work on time. She may mistakenly be judged as less bright than she really is. These girls are reluctant to volunteer for a project orjoin a group of peers at recess. They worry that other children will humiliate them if they make a mistake, which they are sure they will. Indeed, one of their greatest fears is being called on in class; they may stare down at their book to avoid eye contact with the teacher, hoping that the teacher will forget they exist for the moment. Because interactions with the teacher are often anxiety-ridden, these girls may have trouble expressing themselves, even when they know the answer. Sometimes, it is concluded that they have problems with central auditory processing or expressive language skills. More likely, their anxiety interferes with their concentration, temporarily reducing their capacity to both speak and listen. Generally, these girls don't experience this problem around family or close friends, where they are more relaxed. Inattentive type girls with a high IQ and no learning disabilities will be diagnosed with AD/HD very late, if ever. These bright girls have the ability and the resources to compensate for their cognitive challenges, but it's a mixed blessing. Their psychological distress is internalized, making it less obvious, but no less damaging. Some of these girls will go unnoticed until college or beyond, and many are never diagnosed they are left to live with chronic stress that may develop into anxiety and depression as their exhausting, hidden efforts to succeed take their toll. Issues
Kathleen G. Nadeau (Understanding Girls With AD/HD)