A&O CLASS NOTES February 25, 2020


TUESDAY February 25, 2020


Last week, January 14, these were IDEAS THAT STOOD OUT FOR YOU (from end-of-class check-in’s):

  • left/right cerebral hemispheres
  • “all truths dwell in all tings”
  • Jill Taylor’s experience
  • nature, nurture, and anxiety
  • folie a deux
  • noetic experience
  • listening angels


After watching Jill Taylor’s TED talk, there was a good question about neuroplasticity.  There is a reading about that HERE  and right in the middle I plugged in a new box about an article I just saw in my favorite science news magazine (New Scientist):  A teenager is reported to be quite functional after having been born with NO LEFT CEREBRAL HEMISPHERE. Click HERE

The revelation that even these large collections of function dedicated circuits and structures can be so different from each other is a hint about the kind of thinking that we should apply to all brain “structures.”  ALWAYS remembering how the PHYSIOLOGY that gets things done can be affected by DEVELPOPMENT and the brain’s local ECOLOGY: the chemicals in which different parts of it are -more-or-less bathed.  EVOLUTION?  When we look at RITUALIZATION we will see the extreme lengths to which natural selection can lead—it speaks of conspicuous outcomes (the peacock’s tail) and their sometimes very humble beginnings—but the processes are at play even when the outcomes are not so conspicuous.

  • BUT behavior (including consciousness) is NOT the brain alone: this is explored by philosophers and researchers that speak of EMBODIED COGNITION –the integration of the BODY and the BRAIN in creating MEANING. 


Look at Henry James “web of consciousness” idea again, HERE

In an e-mail I posted a couple of days ago, I provided a link to Jill Taylor’s story HERE … you may want to watch it again: it is loaded with connections

development & physiology …


the relationship between subjective and objective realities. 

multiple parallel processing and serial processing.   

deliberately split brain where we might see one hemisphere acting without being balanced by or interacting with the other


AS AN ASSIGNMENT, before next week, 

    1. tell me what if any elements of Taylor’s story are connected FIRST: to things we’ve talked about in class (DEEP ETHOLOGY, NEED HIERARCHIES, hallucinations and perceptions and THEN to personal experiences
    2. examples of apophenia or pareidolia FROM YOUR OWN experiences …

 FOR THIS you’ll want to review some old suggested web notes, such as AMBIGUITY.

 Ambiguity refers to a lack of resolution in aggregates of stimuli that evokes the processes that organisms use to impose order— There is a BIAS  to try to accommodate information that isn’t easily assimilated (look at a figure from the notes on DEVELOPMENT to see how assimilation and accommodation work to enable LEARNING: FIGURE)   

 So, back to the question of how OBJECTIVE stimuli become SUBJECTIVE percepts.  Along the path–our organs for the detection of stimuli through sensory pathways to areas in the central nervous system that can integrate the information with implicit or explicit feelings and thoughts and initiate or affect actions.  (it is through actions that are known in the world).  We have hints about how this works from looking at how the troubling nature of AMBIGUITY is resolved: most of it is virtually automatic, but often distinguishable phenomena: APOHPHENIA (connections and meaning where there is none; a “type-1 error” in statistics, a “false positive”) and a common version of apophenia, PAREIODLIA. (BOTH on the AMBIGUITY web page) [apophenia usually spoken of relative to pyschoses, pareidolia is common– and may even be VERY common in our construction of reality.


A nice essay at ARTSY (on-line magazine) HERE

examples of face pareiodalia in advertising HERE


Part (3) of assignments:  be ready to comment on specific things you’ve found out while researching you potential project.