Thoughts on Seeing and Knowing
Prompt: Identify and briefly discuss one or two of the main points in Ramachandran's "Seeing and Knowing" chapter, and then speculate on how it might be relevant in relation to the theory and/or practice of civic intelligence. If you're still feeling energetic after that, you can comment on other verbiage on this page. In fact, please do it even if you're feeling lethargic!
Theme: "The link between action and perception, and how the brain associates the two."
- (With the discovery of canonical neurons, which fire both at the time of a specific physical action as well as at the mere sight of the subject of that action, this leads us to wonder whether the brain makes a distinction between the two).
Response/Relevance: In relevance to civic intelligence, one pertinent response could be to CIRAL's research and action component: If our canonical neurons fire while we research image and text documents perhaps we are considering the "graspability" or potential to take whatever actions we associate with the content we are examining. An example situation might be where one is online watching a video that captures an emotional moment at a protest rally: perhaps this person's canonical neurons are firing at the sight of the participants collectively performing motions of protest, and thus this person inevitably pictures oneself in attendance of this event. On another level, perhaps this person's canonical neurons are also firing in response to the dialogue provided with the video, where the declarative statements of the protesting participants are also stimulating neural activity. Yet as later noted in the article, this is where "we have crossed over into the realm of symbolic description..."
Additional Inquiry: I wonder whether these neurons would also fire if one were to read a captivating description of an apple or twig within a character's clutches. Would then the "abstract property of graspability also be encoded as an intrinsic aspect of the objects" literary description? Maybe with we are constantly creating inner scenarios revolving around these "symbolic visual tokens" whenever such imagery is stimulated by the firing of these neurons in response to sensory perception. In other words, do humans' canonical neurons fire in response to symbolic descriptions of a written language? Cogdev07 14:14, 25 October 2011 (PDT)