Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Idea


We contrasted the predictive power of three measures of semantic richness-number of features (NFs), contextual dispersion (CD), and a novel measure of number of semantic neighbors (NSN)-for a large set of concrete and abstract concepts on lexical decision and naming tasks. NSN (but not NF) facilitated processing for abstract concepts, while NF (but not NSN) facilitated processing for the most concrete concepts, consistent with claims that linguistic information is more relevant for abstract concepts in early processing. Additionally, converging evidence from two datasets suggests that when NSN and CD are controlled for, the features that most facilitate processing are those associated with a concept’s physical characteristics and real-world contexts. These results suggest that rich linguistic contexts (many semantic neighbors) facilitate early activation of abstract concepts, whereas concrete concepts benefit more from rich physical contexts (many associated objects and locations).

Concepts: Ontology, Semantics, Idea, Concept, Object, Abstraction, Semiotics, Cognitive linguistics


I defend a model of the musically extended mind. I consider how acts of “musicking” grant access to novel emotional experiences otherwise inaccessible. First, I discuss the idea of “musical affordances” and specify both what musical affordances are and how they invite different forms of entrainment. Next, I argue that musical affordances - via soliciting different forms of entrainment - enhance the functionality of various endogenous, emotion-granting regulative processes, drawing novel experiences out of us with an expanded complexity and phenomenal character. I argue that music therefore ought to be thought of as part of the vehicle needed to realize these emotional experiences. I appeal to different sources of empirical work to develop this idea.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Mind, Idea, Concepts in metaphysics, Thought, Acts of the Apostles, Musical theatre


In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Mind, Idea, Thought, Preference, Consumer theory


The popular belief that creativity is associated with madness has increasingly become the focus of research for many psychologists and psychiatrists. However, despite being prime examples of creative thinking, comedy and humour have been largely neglected.

Concepts: Cognition, Idea, Bipolar disorder, Psychiatry, Mood disorder, Creativity, Innovation, Creative class


A unified general theory of human concept learning based on the idea that humans detect invariance patterns in categorical stimuli as a necessary precursor to concept formation is proposed and tested. In GIST (generalized invariance structure theory) invariants are detected via a perturbation mechanism of dimension suppression referred to as dimensional binding. Structural information acquired by this process is stored as a compound memory trace termed an ideotype. Ideotypes inform the subsystems that are responsible for learnability judgments, rule formation, and other types of concept representations. We show that GIST is more general (e.g., it works on continuous, semi-continuous, and binary stimuli) and makes much more accurate predictions than the leading models of concept learning difficulty, such as those based on a complexity reduction principle (e.g., number of mental models, structural invariance, algebraic complexity, and minimal description length) and those based on selective attention and similarity (GCM, ALCOVE, and SUSTAIN). GIST unifies these two key aspects of concept learning and categorization. Empirical evidence from three experiments corroborates the predictions made by the theory and its core model which we propose as a candidate law of human conceptual behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Science, Empiricism, Idea, Thought, Concept, Categorization, Concepts


Abstract Inveiglement is a mode of interpersonal influence and control that has particular relevance to group, organizational, and political life. In inveiglement, a person or group is diverted from knowing, believing, or thinking about an idea or a perception that exists mentally, or that could be generated. In the former situation, inveiglement may be conceived of as induced dissociation; in the latter, an impingement on the capacity to think and generate thoughts. In both situations, the individual or group becomes mentally bound by the parameters imposed by the other, constricting freedom to think and behave independently. I describe four subtypes: toxic, neurotic, communal, and presentational inveiglement, and provide clinical illustrations from group psychotherapy.

Concepts: Psychology, Human, Critical thinking, Cognition, Mind, Idea, Concepts in metaphysics, Thought


OBJECTIVE: The male refractory period (MRP) continues to be a topic of discussion and debate within the field of sexual medicine. To date explanations rely on central descending (efferent) influences involving specific neurotransmitter systems. Herein we explore the issue of the male refractory period, identifying problems with current explanations, specifying the parameters of an adequate model, and suggesting possible mechanisms mediating this phenomenon. METHODS: We review the literature regarding existing explanations for the MRP and look to other systems of physiological regulation that might provide a model for the conceptualization of the MRP. RESULTS: Our approach differs from traditional explanations in that it emphasizes the possible roles of various peripheral, rather than central, feedback (afferent) systems that affect peripheral autonomic functioning and response. Yet our approach is consistent with other peripheral regulatory feedback systems controlling autonomic response related to such processes as heart rate, respiration, and gut motility. CONCLUSION: Although direct empirical research supporting our approach is lacking, sufficient evidence exists to support the idea that such processes are not only possible but likely with respect to the male refractory period. We suggest several lines of research that might provide empirical support for this approach.

Concepts: Physiology, Avicenna, Neuroscience, Ontology, Idea, Empirical research, Peripheral nervous system, Refractory period


Culture and cultural care have become important concepts in nursing education. However, little is known about what nursing students learn about these complex concepts. The purpose of this study was to explore and critique what nursing students learn about culture and cultural care. First and fourth year students were invited to participate in a focused ethnography to explore how nursing education might shape student knowledge of culture over time. Findings revealed that both groups of students supported the essentialist view of culture. Although students supported the ideals of cultural care, students remained unaware of critical views of culture.

Concepts: Education, Idea, Learning, Anthropology, Knowledge, Cultural studies, Student, Cultural anthropology


We introduce a new scale, the Involuntary Autobiographical Memory Inventory (IAMI), for measuring the frequency of involuntary autobiographical memories and involuntary future thoughts. Using the scale in relation to other psychometric and demographic measures provided three important, novel findings. First, the frequency of involuntary and voluntary memories and future thoughts are similarly related to general measures of emotional distress. This challenges the idea that the involuntary mode is uniquely associated with emotional distress. Second, the frequency of involuntary autobiographical remembering does not decline with age, whereas measures of daydreaming, suppression of unwanted thoughts and dissociative experiences all do. Thus, involuntary autobiographical remembering relates differently to aging than daydreaming and other forms of spontaneous and uncontrollable thoughts. Third, unlike involuntary autobiographical remembering, the frequency of future thoughts does decrease with age. This finding underscores the need for examining past and future mental time travel in relation to aging and life span development.

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Cognition, Memory, Idea, Ageing, Finding, Autobiographical memory


After reviewing the pertinent philosophical and psychoanalytic writings on the concept of dignity, this paper proposes three categories of dignity. Conceptualized as phenomenological clusters, heuristic viewpoints, and levels of abstraction, these include (i) metaphysical dignity which extends the concept of dignity beyond the human species to all that exists in this world, (ii) existential dignity which applies to human beings alone and rests upon their inherent capacity for moral transcendence, and (iii) characterological dignity which applies more to some human beings than others since they possess a certain set of personality traits that are developmentally derived. The paper discusses the pros and cons of each category and acknowledges the limitations of such classification. It also discusses the multiple ways in which these concepts impact upon clinical work and concludes with some remarks on the relationship of dignity to choice, narcissism, and suicide.

Concepts: Psychology, Ontology, Idea, Thought, Concept, Metaphysics, Abstraction, Category of being