Cognitive Dissonance – Devaluing What Doesn’t Agree

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Whereas these experiments do not directly witness on the effect of music on human evolution, they testify to several fundamental problems.

First, every cognition or a piece of knowledge contradicts to inborn instinctual drives to some extent (otherwise instinctual drives would be sufficient for making decisions involving this cognition; this cognition would not be useful and it would not appear; the same applies to any pair of cognitions: if there is no even a minor contradiction among them, one of these cognitions is useless). In other words, useful cognitions always involve contradictions. The very process of thinking involves evaluating contradictory options.

According to the current understanding of cognitive dissonance, contradictory cognitions are devalued. Therefore accumulation of knowledge and ability to think requires a mechanism for tolerating (overcoming) cognitive dissonance. In view of importance of this conclusion, even a first step in this paper toward identifying a mechanism for tolerating cognitive dissonance is fundamentally important.

A second fundamental question addressed by our experiments concerns existence of cognitive function of music. As discussed, contemporary cognitive and evolutionary musicology faces great controversies in attempting to identify such a function for music. This question has been addressed by great minds for about 2,500 years, and the conclusion has been that it remains a mystery12. Tolerating cognitive dissonance and making thinking possible could be such a fundamental cognitive function of music.

In the present study, the experimental condition of “strongly worded condition” was presented without music, as it is assumed that this condition would not create any cognitive dissonance. However, an inclusion of the with-music treatment within this condition relative to the without-music treatment could strengthen the present findings; if there is indeed no dissonance, there should be no difference in changes of ranking with or without music for the strongly worded condition. Also, the evaluation of the arousal status of the participants after different treatments should be of importance as a complementary measure in helping resolve whether they did experience cognitive dissonance. Apparently, these are issues that are to be investigated in the near future.

Whereas these experiments do not directly witness on the effect of music on human evolution, they testify to several fundamental problems. First, every cognition or a piece of knowledge contradicts to inborn instinctual drives to some extent (otherwise instinctual drives would be sufficient for making decisions involving this cognition; this cognition would not be useful and it would not appear; the same applies to any pair of cognitions: if there is no even a minor contradiction among them, one of these cognitions is useless). In other words, useful cognitions always involve contradictions. The very process of thinking involves evaluating contradictory options. According to the current understanding of cognitive dissonance, contradictory cognitions are devalued.

Therefore accumulation of knowledge and ability to think requires a mechanism for tolerating (overcoming) cognitive dissonance. In view of importance of this conclusion, even a first step in this paper toward identifying a mechanism for tolerating cognitive dissonance is fundamentally important.

A second fundamental question addressed by our experiments concerns existence of cognitive function of music. Tolerating cognitive dissonance and making thinking possible could be such a fundamental cognitive function of music.

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“Our best theories are not only truer than common sense, they make more sense than common sense,”

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“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

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German physicist Max Planck

Human Exceptionalism Claims, from Yale and Kavli Inst. – of course

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These claims seem contradicted by other experiments in motor control but here it is below.  Yale Seems firmly in the human exceptionalism camp as an institution and Kavli Institute funding the same.  The money would seem better spent understanding how human brain > behavior processes are similar to other animals and thus much easier to study, duh…

“While we often think of the human brain as a highly innovative structure, it’s been surprising that so many of these regulatory elements seem to play a role in ancient processes important for building the cortex in all mammals…”

Yale Maps Evolutionary Changes of the Human Brain

New research from Yale University reveals a detailed catalog of human-specific changes in gene regulation and pinpoints several biological processes potentially guided by these regulatory elements that are crucial to human brain development.

Thousands of genetic “dimmer” switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.

Unlike in rhesus monkeys and mice, these switches show increased activity in humans, where they may drive the expression of genes in the cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that is involved in conscious thought and language. This difference may explain why the structure and function of that part of the brain is so unique in humans compared to other mammals.

In addition to creating a rich and detailed catalog of human-specific changes in gene regulation, Noonan and his colleagues pinpointed several biological processes potentially guided by these regulatory elements that are crucial to human brain development.

“Building a more complex cortex likely involves several things: making more cells, modifying the functions of cortical areas, and changing the connections neurons make with each other. And the regulatory changes we found in humans are associated with those processes.  This likely involves evolutionary modifications to cellular proliferation, cortical patterning, and other developmental processes that are generally well conserved across many species.”.

While we often think of the human brain as a highly innovative structure, it’s been surprising that so many of these regulatory elements seem to play a role in ancient processes important for building the cortex in all mammals.  However, this is often a hallmark of evolution, tinkering with the tools available to produce new features and functions.”

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Music Before Language Likely – In Monkeys 1st 30mm Years Ago

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Monkey-Human Ancestors Got Music 30 Million Years Ago :

Music skills evolved at least 30 million years ago in the common ancestor of humans and monkeys, according to a new study that could help explain why chimpanzees drum on tree roots and monkey calls sound like singing.

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Limits to Math as Model of World, Of Course

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Is mathematics an effective way to describe the world?

Math has the illusion of being effective when we focus on the successful examples…But there are many more cases where math is ineffective than where it is effective. Continue reading

The Silliness that Is Epigenetics

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With medical, physiological and biological getting much better very quickly, there are all sorts of rear-guard attacks on the inarguable determinism.  The idea that everyday effects can change the genes, along with brain plasticity are two of the most popular.  These are not science-based but designed to sooth pop fears about.

Here we dispense with epigenetics: Continue reading