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Ch. 4: The Classification of Mental States 
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Post Ch. 4: The Classification of Mental States
Ch. 4: The Classification of Mental States

Please use this thread for discussing Ch. 4: The Classification of Mental States. :secret:



Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:40 pm
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The first part of the chapter made some interesting points about classifying mental states. For example, fear seems like more of a pure visceral emotion, while pride has more of an intellectual component.

While classifying sometimes seems like an esoteric intellectual exercise, the words and categories one uses when discussing things bring in all kinds of connotations. After all, we've previously questioned exactly what Burton meant by feeling of knowing.



Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:51 pm
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JulianTheApostate wrote:
After all, we've previously questioned exactly what Burton meant by feeling of knowing.

Did you think that Burton cleared the matter up in the chapter? He seems to have a respect for what is not known, and this makes him present his conclusions tentatively, which I actually appreciate.

He does make a good case, I think, for this feeling of knowing being in fact a sensation: "Sensation strikes closer to the neurophysiological truth of a relatively discrete output from localized neural structures..." (38).

Since he believes that the feeling (or sensation) of knowing relates strongly to what we call conviction in everyday life, he thinks that genetic differences in the area of the brain responsible for the basic sensation of knowing may account for why some of us take easily to conviction, while others of us don't. Seems logical.

He tells us that by stimulating the brain, we can only produce certain feelings or emotions, the ones considered primary. So we won't find a patient expressing shame or arrogance during this kind of procedure. Conviction, though, he seems to say can be produced. This would classify it, or at least its primary component, as a primary emotion. Don't know about that.
DWill



Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:31 am
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I would have to say that this was an interesting chapter on what emotions, states of mind, and moods are. It truly makes me rethink some of my actions based on those "feelings".



Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:46 am
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DWill wrote:
He does make a good case, I think, for this feeling of knowing being in fact a sensation: "Sensation strikes closer to the neurophysiological truth of a relatively discrete output from localized neural structures..." (38).

He tells us that by stimulating the brain, we can only produce certain feelings or emotions, the ones considered primary. So we won't find a patient expressing shame or arrogance during this kind of procedure. Conviction, though, he seems to say can be produced. This would classify it, or at least its primary component, as a primary emotion. Don't know about that.
DWill


I once read that all emotions have the same biological response. In other words, if you just looked at the set of physiological response you could not distinguish one emotion from the other. I wonder if what are called secondary emotions aren't just primary emotions paired with learned or culturally defined thoughts/ideas (not quite sure of what language to use). If you think of fear as a lack of safety I think it begins to make my idea make some sense or maybe I'm reaching. Let's test my idea on arrogance. Arrogance is self protective; a fear that we are not good enough or are lacking in someway.

I think I better keep reading.....


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Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:04 pm
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Saffron wrote:
Let's test my idea on arrogance. Arrogance is self protective; a fear that we are not good enough or are lacking in someway.

Interesting point about building-block theory of emotions. Of course, I find it difficult to relate to the example of arrogance, having so little experience with it :D .....



Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:10 am
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As I was finishing chapter 4 a thought occurred to me that an important aspect of his explanation for the feeling of knowing is missing and maybe Burton will get to this in a later chapter. Here's my thought - If the feeling of knowing evolved to help us take action, then the feeling must have been correct more than 50% of the time. It seems to me that a better than 50% accuracy indicates that the feeling is based on more than just a sensation. Other information must play into the arousing of the sensation or feeling of knowing. I wonder if sight is a good analogy. We need to learn to see. In fact, our brains are not finished learning to see until we are about 13 years old. Most of the time we can trust the sensory information that our eyes take in, send to the brain, that then creates the image that we "see". Sometimes our eyes trick us, as we all know from optical illusions and things that we over look (Burton's example of the missed but present gorilla). Sight is a complex set of neurology, learning and anatomy. Maybe our sense of knowing is developed over time by learning. Feeling maybe be the wrong way to think of this idea of knowing.


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Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:22 am
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Saffron wrote:
As I was finishing chapter 4 a thought occurred to me that an important aspect of his explanation for the feeling of knowing is missing and maybe Burton will get to this in a later chapter. Here's my thought - If the feeling of knowing evolved to help us take action, then the feeling must have been correct more than 50% of the time.... Other information must play into the arousing of the sensation or feeling of knowing.

This is a potential problem in reducing how we act to brain function. Will the explanation be too simplified? I can't recall if Burton fiils in the gap you talk about. I think he does speak about us calling up relevant information in the instant during which we must decide to take action. For instance, if we have to decide whether to jump in a river to avoid a hungry tiger or climb a tree, our past experience will certainly matter, but also someone else's experience can be a factor in our instantaneous decision. Still, situations are often uncertain, so we have that developed that little "goose" of the feeling of knowing to get us off the dime. So maybe our feeling is always the same type of feeling, but just as you say, the information we use to arrive at our "certainty" will not stay the same, more than likely. Let us know if Burton does seem to slight the role of learning.

His criticism of Malcolm Gladwell later in the book may be relevant. Gladwell extols our ability to "think without thinking," but Burton his view of the process is not accurate scientifically. He also is doubtful when Gladwell says that we can harness and improve our ability to use our intuition.
DWill



Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:06 am
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