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This Element introduces a biological approach to cognition, which highlights the significance of allostatic regulation and the navigation of challenges and opportunities. It argues that cognition is best understood as a juggling act, which reflects numerous ongoing attempts to minimize disruptions while prioritizing the sources of information that are necessary to satisfy social and biological needs; and it provides a characterization of the architectural constraints, neurotransmitters, and affective states that shape visual perception, as well as the regulatory capacities that sustain flexible patterns of thought and behavior.
The chapter will describe a pragmatist view of habit formation and of learning or inquiry. Indeed, one essential function of the brain is the formation of habits to suit contexts. Another major function of cephalic (mind, brain, body, world) sensibility is maintaining them. Habit formation in our species is tied to learning and inquiry; habit stability is mediated across the brain and continuous with the ecological/social milieu we are living in. There is a continuous thread between what is in the brain/body and what is not, in the neural organization of habits. The thread is quite permeable. Habits are sustained, or not, by the niche they are sculpted in, and evolve in or not.
We contest the claim that musically induced sadness cannot be enjoyable in itself. This possibility is supported by closer attention to a musical experience as well as cases of affective reversal, such as the “hedonic flip” of painful feelings. We propose that the affective reversal of sadness in music is due to the high granularity of musically induced emotion.
A moral education for Mead, and certainly for Dewey (1975), refers to a developmental trajectory, bootstrapping on empirical findings about development and attention. These findings need to be anchored to moral development. Education nurtures many cephalic capabilities, not least of which are our ethical sensibilities. But a moral education, as Aristotle (1999) and the Stoics noted and Dewey reinforced, necessitated the development of character, specifically a moral character in which self-corrective processes are tied to humility, where a nurtured self without a bloated head is a normative goal.
In discussing dynamics of power in research relationships, the focus is often on the roles of researchers and participants, and the importance of avoiding coercion or forced participation. This power relationship is also extremely important to keep in mind when considering the role that an advisor plays in the life and career of a junior researcher. While an advisor may use his/her power to guide, support, and educate, this also makes it very easy for an advisor to take advantage of an advisee. The examples given by an advisor or senior researcher can shape a beginning researcher’s moral education and can affect the ethics of the field far down the line. In this chapter we, along with a colleague who wished to remain anonymous, provide examples of ethical lapses we have seen in training relationships.
Every day thousands of individuals need to make critical decisions about their health based on numerical information, yet recent surveys have found that over half the population of the United States is unable to complete basic math problems. How does this lack of numerical ability (also referred to as low numeracy, quantitative illiteracy or statistical illiteracy) impact healthcare? What can be done to help people with low numeracy skills? Numerical Reasoning in Judgments and Decision Making about Health addresses these questions by examining and explaining the impact of quantitative illiteracy on healthcare and in specific healthcare contexts, and discussing what can be done to reduce these healthcare disparities. This book will be a useful resource for professionals in many health fields including academics, policy makers, physicians and other healthcare providers.