June 13, 2013

(1/4) Cognitive Psychology in Crisis: Ameliorating the Shortcomings of Representationalism. Introduction and Abstract.

This is the shortened abstract/introduction to my thesis, the full version of the abstract and introduction (2 pages) are available here.

Essentially, traditional cognitive psychology relies on concepts bordering idealism. This issue was highlighted over a century ago, but Hegelian arguments, Theory-ladenness and ostensible predictive value have deterred competing paradigms. Ecological Psychology and radical Embodied Cognitive Science gets rid of the non-sequiter that “it is all in the brain”. Organisms are born into an ever-changing environment, which we constantly interact with, perceive ourselves in, constantly changes and are changed by. The first two chapters concern refuting the existence of representations, explaining the consequences that the paradigm has brought with it, introducing Ecological Psychology and radical Embodied Cognitive Science, lay out one step on the way to a clearer ontological and epistemological basis, and lastly, attempt to contrast computational/representational assumptions about the brain with ecological assumptions in a virtual interception task. Hypothesis is that participants will favour an ecological strategy over a computational. Results speak in favour of the hypothesis, however mainly an ecological validity issue necessitates further empirical investigation.

            Keywords: representationalism, ecological psychology, screen-presented research

('Arguments against Representationalism' to follow this blog post within the next couple of days.)

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