Browsing All Posts filed under »Cognition«

Decision-making, Categorization, and Jobs

January 28, 2012 by


Sheena Iyengar. Hopefully some day that’s a name that doesn’t need much explaining in the same way I don’t need to explain Michael Jordan or Albert Einstein. But if you don’t know her, she’s a social psychology professor at Columbia University. And she’s Indian. And she’s blind. She was speaking in promotion of her book […]

Bags: Embodied Metaphor for Categories

January 20, 2011 by


We don’t like shit that might appear to us “unwieldy” if were not specifically looking for it.  “Unwieldy” means messy.  “Messy” just means that we have no structure of concepts of how to understand how something or some things work. To deal with the unwieldy and messy, “bags” function as nice neat containers to place, […]

People React Strongly to Categories not Individuals

January 7, 2011 by


A theoretical realization today:  People will react more strongly to whatever is perceived as more unbreakable. What is “unbreakable” tends to be big categories, and systems, than things or persons perceived as “individuals.” A few definitions to understand that realization: “Categories” and “systems” is stuff like capitalism, socialism, police, all of which which contain defined […]

A Metaphor of Memory Systems: Paper Filing and Episodic and Semantic Memory

February 9, 2010 by


The different emotions we have, the things we learn are momentum shifts. The more a certain shift happens, the shift is reported by our appropriate brain systems.   The brain system’s paperwork, usually written on very thin tracing paper, piles on to a folder that absorbs that certain shift.  After a huge number of those […]

What Knowledge Needs to be Embodied, and What Knowledge can be Outsourced to Technology

January 19, 2010 by


Bastard, you took this idea and this idea.* Back in May, I wrote about how we in the globally urbanized American culture have “outsourced” a lot of our knowledge from our bodies to technologies.  With that “outsourcing” to technologies, those technologies become “extensions of our minds.” I’ve been struck by how we continually outsource our […]

How I Remember and How She Remembers

January 16, 2010 by


Memory is a metaphor needed by a ‘handicapped‘ observer who cannot see a complete system…” (Ashby, 1956: 115) – by GC Bowker, Memory Practices in the Sciences An erudite way to say that the more talented you are, the less tools you need.  The more talented you are as an observer, the less you need […]

Metaphors and Decisionmaking

January 14, 2010 by


Cogito, ergo sum doesn’t just mean “I think therefore I am.” It means, “I shake things up, therefore I am.” The TED video below is of James Geary speaking about metaphors. I got off of My Mind on Books. I was drooling over this quote: “We can never ignore the metaphorical meanings of words.” This […]

Expertise and the Metaphor of Outsourcing

January 7, 2010 by


Was reading Emily Martin’s Flexible Bodies. I came across a quote that highlighted how the idea of “expertise” in the sciences (and perhaps academia and academia’s language in general) dis-empowers ordinary folk’s opinions and experiences. The problem of expertise took two forms.  From time to time in the neighborhood interviews, people felt as if they […]

Memory Practices in Science Students Before Tests: Flash Cards

December 20, 2009 by


The title of this essay, inspired by this book on general Memory Practices in the Sciences. I don’t think anyone has ever really been fond of tests. Board exams, spelling tests. What made me squeamish about entering the sciences was the barrage and culture of testing. From the stories of malicious professors administering tests to […]

Memento and Inflexible First Impressions

December 13, 2009 by


Do I lie to myself to be happy? In your case, Teddy, yes, I will. After having an argument with this undercover police man named Teddy, Leonard writes on the back of Teddy’s polaroid photo in all CAPS “DO NOT BELIEVE HIS LIES.” He writes this very important note on his photo, along with his […]