Friday, September 16, 2011

Beyond the Brain: Intro

Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds, by Louise Barrett was released earlier this year. I just finished writing a review of it for PsycCritiques (The American Psychological Association online journal that used to be the printed Contemporary Psychology). So, first things first: Highly recommended.

Alas, PsycCritiques has a pretty short word limit, and so there

Monday, September 12, 2011

Memory and X-men Origins

Flipping through the TV channels, I caught the last 10 minutes or so of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For those who don't know, Wolverine is a 'mutant' who's special power is that he can heal himself from virtually any injury. While Wolverine is most well known for having a metal skeleton, complete with metallic claws that grow out of the top of his hands, that is the result of an experiment he was

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fixing Psychology (Mission Statement: Take 1)

Doug Candland gave the Arthur Staats Lecture for Unifying Psychology in 2010. He was a strong influence during my undergraduate education, and has been a trusted adviser since. Though he has feigned asking me for advice many times -- I say 'feigned', because it often seems to be an extension of an oral exam we started over a decade ago -- he seemed to be actually asking for my advice when we

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ecological and Social Psychology - Minds as Perceivable

There is a great team working on a social psychology chapter for the incipient Eco-Psych (Perception-Action) Textbook: Reuben Baron, Bert Hodges, Kerry Marsh, and Ben Meagher. I was especially grateful to have others volunteer to write that section, because my views on the matter are too biased. The textbook should be focused on ideas that are, at least amongst ecological psychologists, not

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Brief Introduction to Ecological Psychology

The deep origins of Ecological Psychology lie in the philosophies of Pragmatism, Radical Empiricism, and New Realism. But that is a much longer story...

The first key paper of the modern science is probably a paper on perceptual learning (Gibson and Gibson, 1955), in which it was proposed that perceptual

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How is that Psychology? - Rat Pup Huddling

In a past-life I was going to be an agent based modeler, working with Jeff Schank at UC Davis. He spent many years modeling rat pup huddling... in a psychology department. My main interest in the work was that it showed how a group of organisms could perform very complex behavior, even when no individual organism knew what it was doing, or had access to sufficient information to coordinate what

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What are Concepts? (Part 1)

Amongst my many pet peeves about Intro Psych textbooks is how they handle 'concepts.' It is not so much that they use the term particularly badly, it is that they do not provide any context (i.e., this is a problem even if we put aside the need to redesign Intro Psych more broadly). In particular, I don't see how 'concepts' make any sense without at least some discussion of 'percepts' - the two

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Myth of Knowledge

Spurred by Sabrina's comment on my first post, and some of the things I have been writing about on Gary's blog "Minds and Brains", I wanted to talk a little bit about the Myth of Knowledge. This is an intense vestige of dualism, and of enlightenment philosophy. The modern notion of Knowledge is a brilliant 18th and 19th century idea, which is just plain wrong. I'm a big fan of anachronistic ideas

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Post - Affordances at their most natural

Added: If you are new to the blog, the first few posts were admittedly a bit strained. If you are a new reader looking for a good starting place, I recommend this post. 

-------Original Post--------
My proximate motivation for starting this blog is that I have become an active commenter on a couple of blogs, and I both envy the authors and feel bad when I want to post a reply elaborate enough