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Gelernter on Emotion, Analogy, Learning

The Edge Foundation has picked its annual Edge Question: "What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?"

David Gelernter's answer: "scientists will soon understand the physiological basis of the 'cognitive spectrum.' Gelernter goes on to define the cognitive spectrum as the brain states between dreaming and wide-awake analytical thought and says we'll understand the physiological mechanism behind these states within a generation.

Gelernter also speaks to the mechanisms of analogy (a topic the AI community has long sought to explain) as being wrapped up in emotion. Gelernter states that when comparing one situation to another by analogy it is emotion that provides the connecting bridge between the two. He further explains that each memory is connected to emotion and that two seemingly unrelated memories can be associated by similar emotions.

Posted by Eric Freeman on January 4, 2005 | Permalink

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Another response to this edge question related to cognition and emotion was from Roger Shank, who says:

"I do not believe that people are capable of rational thought when it comes to making decisions in their own lives. People believe they are behaving rationally and have thought things out, of course, but when major decisions are made - who to marry, where to live, what career to pursue, what college to attend, people's minds simply cannot cope with the complexity. When they try to rationally analyze potential options, their unconscious, emotional thoughts take over and make the choice for them."

Posted by: Elisabeth Freeman | Jan 5, 2005 9:13:29 AM

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