Frank's Foundations

Fri, 21 Aug 1998 09:39:03 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Frank's Foundations
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 09:39:03 -0400 (EDT)

The Frank's foundations book sounds like required reading.

I've been digging up a few other interesting things:

Munroe RL (1992) Commentary on nature-culture parallelisms. Behavior
Science Research 26, 137-163

The above is excellent. Munroe looks at population pressure in East
Africa and examines the ways in which different populations deal with
the necessity of feeding all those extra mouths. He then asks to what
degree the adaptations are learned (cultural) as opposed to
biologically innate (genetic).

Dowd JJ (1991) Social psychology in a postmodern age: a discipline
without a subject. American Sociologist 22, 188-210

Perhaps the subject should be 'memes'? Despite a comprehensive review
of the current state of social psychology, the idea doesn't seem to
occur to Dowd.

Edwards D (1994) Imitation and artifice in apes, humans and machines.
American Behavioral Scientist 37, 754-772

Above also very good. Asks what we mean when we say that non-human
species or computers can be said to have 'learned' things. Relevant to
the whole issue of memetics in non-human systems.

Werner G et al (1993) Construction of concepts by the nervous system:
from neurons to cognition. Behavioral Science 38, 114-124.

This review looks at the controversy between the Connectionist and
Representationist views of how the brain works. It is relevant to
memetics because all the talk of instantiations of memes in brains,
that is heard so often in memetic discourse, rather begs the question
of how are memes thus instantiated, or rather what theory of the mind
is necessary or implied by memetics. Where it is possible to read
between the lines of a memetics article or posting, it often seem that
Representationism is the underlying assumption, but the ground of cog.
sci. may be moving under our feet if Werner et al assess the situation
correctly. Back when Dawkins first gave us the meme in the late 70s,
Representationism was the dominant theory in cog. and it seems to me,
especially in 'Extended Phenotype' that Dawkins ideas are couched
implicitly in Representationist terms.

(Of course as those who have read my previous posts will know, I don;t
think that memes are instantiated in the brain at all, but that's
another matter - the question here is: if you think that memes are
instantiated in the brain, then how?)

Also of interest:

Much NC (1992) The analysis of discourse as methodology for a semiotic
psychology. American Behavioral Scientist 36, 52-73

So what is going on when you talk to somebody? I liked this because
although I found the semiotics jargon difficult in places, it does
suggest that we can find a way to analyse the exchange of information
without having to postulate unobservable memes inside heads and without
the other extreme of looking at the text of the discourse at face

Gomez F and Miikkulainen R (1997) Incremental evolution of complex
general behaviour. Adaptive Behavior 5, 317-343

The above is about simulations rather than real brains.

Richardson K and Carthy T (1990) The abstraction of covariation in
conceptual representation. British Journal of Psychology 81, 415-439

whereas the above is about how real people do it.

Johnson TR (1995) The significance of religion for aging well.
American Behavioral Scientist 39, 186-209

The above reviews a considerable body of literature that demonstrates
that religion a beneficial psychological adaptation (so what's all this
'mind virus' nonsense then?)

Zika S and Chamberlain K (1992) On the relation between meaning in life
and psychological well being. British Journal of Psychology 83,

ditto the above

and finally

Berry DC and Dienes Z (1991) The relationship between implicit
memory and implicit learning. British Journal of Psychology 82,

The above is interesting because its suggests that a lot of our memory
consists of things we are not actually aware of. The memory of which
we are aware is possibly on a small subset of our memory function.

This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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