A&O Class Notes for February 26, 2019


February 26, 2019

reposted April 12 for reformatting


From Last week (Feb 19): resonances and reverberations

  • Levels of organization—not just from cell to sociality, but many other more technically defined levels from a hypothetically deepest “SELF” through to externally detectable behavior.  Mutually influences can also involve eye-contact-evoked oxytocin release and mirror neurons…
    • THIS WEEK: look at our revised (enriched & simplified) version of COMMUNICATIONS
  • What can we “really” know: data is inserted into gaps in our flow of information by INTERPOLATION and EXTRAPOLATION.  In neuroscience, interpolation is called “filling in” – the blind spot in our retina is a good metaphor if not an example –look at Spillman (et al’s 2006) paper on “perceptual filling in.”



Reminder: GRADING in A&O is by “portfolio” (● weekly check-ins in writing and class discussion + ● Powerpoint presentation to class + ● final paper or project  after feedback from presentation)

OPEN with CHECK-IN (#1 and at least two others):

  1. IDENTIFY personal experience that evoke frisson
  2. WHAT STOOD OUT from last week?
  3. METAPHOR for class
  4. What is your WEEKLY WONDER? 
  5. Personal example of “epiphany” or “AHA!” or “transformative learning experience”

In A&O at this point, ART comes from YOU;   some ideas from Kandel excerpt on abstraction and the ATTRIBUTES of ART.


ALL we know is represented within our brains—but is it a good representation of the outside reality or illusory–HALLUCINATION: read “When seeing is not believing” by Frederick Lepore for interesting history of hallucination research … and https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23230980-400-you-are-hallucinating-right-now-to-make-sense-of-the-world/ for recent work.


Metaphor:  I am asking you to believe, along with “Romantic poets and physicians alike … that comprehending life “required a two-planed vision that was simultaneously close range and panoramic.” And that the passions can lead the body, not the other (Cartesian) way around.  DEEPER: read Kathryne Dycus’ essayReading the brain in John Keats’s Ode to Psyche and consider its implications for EMBODIED COGNITION.


Then – relative to how IMPROVISATION works  (mind maps are notable; but most conversation is improvised) watch neuroscientist Charles Limb talk about music:   https://www.ted.com/talks/charles_limb_your_brain_on_improv

Then – relative to how the brain works and (in general) and MIRROR NEURONS in particular, watch https://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization