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The cognitive and neural bases of human tool use

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194261 Year: Pages: 168 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-426-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans are not unique in using tools. But human tool use differs from that known to occur in nonhumans in being very frequent, spontaneous, and diversified. So a fundamental issue is, what are the cognitive and neural bases of human tool use?This Research Topic of Frontiers provides a venue for leading researchers in the field of tool use to present original research papers, integrative reviews or theoretical articles that further our understanding of this topic.Articles address a wide range of issues including, for instance, the nature of the underlying representations (e.g., conceptual, sensorimotor), the mechanisms supporting the incorporation of tools into body schema, the link between imitation and tool use, or the evolutionary origins of human tool use.Articles are included from experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, developmental psychology, ethology, comparative psychology, and ergonomics. The goal of this Research Topic of Frontiers is to provide a state-of-the-art view of the field.

Komunikuoti kultūrą : institucijos, strategijos, auditorijos

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The book "Communicating Culture: Institutions, Strategies, Audiences" is an outcome of the research project “The Development of Communicative Competence of Cultural Institutions in the Context of Knowledge and Creative Society” conducted between 2012 and 2015 by researchers of Vytautas Magnus University. The data were collected from cultural organisations, project participants, in Kaunas, Šiauliai and Klaipėda between 2008 and 2013. The project had encompassed theoretical studies and their critical development, case studies and qualitative and qualitative data analysis. Central in the project was estimating to what extent the organisations were perceptive to the influences of creative and cultural industries (CCI) communication processes. The monograph aims to discuss processes, concepts, ideas and reasons why the above-mentioned traditional Lithuanian cultural institutions only partly implement CCI experiences and competences. A related goal is to consider how the efficacy of such institutions can be increased by adopting best practices pulled from CCI experiences in Lithuania and abroad and by implementing possibilities provided by new media.In the book, the essays revolve around the objective to show theoretical links between communicative action and CCI and to reveal their incongruities and points of tension. This is discussed in view of the data obtained within the framework of the above-mentioned research project. The data serve as a background for critical assessment of the dynamics of communicative competences in the researched cultural institutions over the past five years. The latter aspect is an integral part of the objective to discuss the relationship between communicative action, communicative reason and communicative space in regards to modern CCI developments. In this connection, the book also discusses contradictions arising in the formation of the creative class and examines how these contradictions stand in relation to organisational communication. Another objective of research presented in the book is to analyse and to compare communication among cultural institutions and structures related with these institutions. In particular, applied meanings and signs employed in communication are analysed from political and institutional perspectives. To this end, the study provides analysis and critical assessment of the specificity of communication in CCI organisations; probes into its functions and forms; looks at the existing and the necessary competences from the communicative point of view; describes and polemicises whether virtual space and new media are effectively used in communicative practices of cultural institutions.

Sense of agency: Examining awareness of the acting self

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196241 Year: Pages: 238 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-624-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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The sense of agency is defined as the sense of oneself as the agent of one's own actions. This also allows oneself to feel distinct from others, and contributes to the subjective phenomenon of self-consciousness (Gallagher, 2000). Distinguishing oneself from others is arguably one of the most important functions of the human brain. Even minor impairments in this ability profoundly affect the individual’s functioning in society as demonstrated by psychiatric and neurological syndromes involving agency disturbances (Della Sala et al., 1991; Franck et al., 2001; Frith, 2005; Sirigu et al., 1999). But the sense of agency also plays a role for cultural and religious phenomena such as voodoo, superstition and gambling, in which individuals experience subjective control over objectively uncontrollable entities (Wegner, 2003). Furthermore, it plays into ethical and law questions concerning responsibility and guilt. For these reasons a better understanding of the sense of agency has been important for neuroscientists, clinicians, philosophers of mind and the general society alike. Significant progress has been made in this regard. For example, philosophical scrutiny has helped establish the conceptual boundaries of the sense of agency (Bayne, 2011; Gallagher, 2000, 2012; Pacherie 2008; Synofzik et al., 2008) and scientific investigations have shed light on the neurocognitive basis of sense of agency including the brain regions supporting sense of agency (Chambon et al., 2013; David et al., 2007; Farrer et al., 2003, 2008; Spengler et al., 2009; Tsakiris et al., 2010; Yomogida et al., 2010). Despite this progress there remain a number of outstanding questions such as: • Are there cross-cultural differences in the sense of agency? • How does the sense of agency develop in infants or change across the lifespan? • How does social context influence sense of agency? • What neural networks support sense of agency (i.e., connectivity and communication between brain regions)? • What are the temporal dynamics with respect to neural processes underlying the sense of agency (i.e. the what and when of agency processing)? • How can different cue models of the sense of agency be further specified and empirically supported, especially with regards to cue integration/ weighting? • What are the applications of sense of agency research (clinically, engineering etc.)? The concept of the sense of agency offers intriguing avenues for knowledge transfer across disciplines and interdisciplinary empirical approaches, especially in addressing the afore-mentioned outstanding questions. The aim of the present research topic is to promote and facilitate such interdisciplinarity for a better understanding of why and how we typically experience our own actions so naturally and undoubtedly as “ours” and what goes awry when we do not. We, thus, welcome contributions from, for example, (i) neuroscience and psychology (including development psychology/ neuroscience), (ii) psychiatry and neurology, (iii) philosophy, (iv) robotics, and (v) computational modeling. In addition to empirical or scientific studies of the sense of agency, we also encourage theoretical contributions including reviews, models, and opinions.

S’adapter au changement climatique. Analyse critique des nouvelles politiques de gestion de l’environnement. Cas spécifiques de l’agriculture en Inde et du tourisme hivernal en Suisse

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ISBN: 9782889300617 Year: Pages: 392 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_594272 Language: French
Publisher: Editions Alphil Presses universitaires suisses Grant: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) - OAPEN-CH - 163643
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-27 11:01:25
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Climate change has become a real problem in our time. This book examines the issue of how public policies can adapt to climate change. The study of two very specific cases, situated at opposing points of the world – India and Switzerland – illustrate this question.

Awareness shaping or shaped by prediction and postdiction

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195329 Year: Pages: 155 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-532-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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We intuitively believe that we are aware of the external world as it is. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. In fact, the capacity of our sensory system is too small to veridically perceive the world. To overcome this problem, the sensory system has to spatiotemporally integrate neural signals in order to interpret the external world. However, the spatiotemporal integration involves severe neural latencies. How does the sensory system keep up with the ever-changing external world? As later discussed, ‘prediction’ and ‘postdiction’ are essential keywords here. For example, the sensory system uses temporally preceding events to predict subsequent events (e.g., Nijhawan, 1994; Kerzel, 2003; Hubbard, 2005) even when the preceding event is subliminally presented (Schmidt, 2000). Moreover, internal prediction modulates the perception of action outcomes (Bays et al., 2005; Cardoso-Leite et al., 2010) and sense of agency (Wenke et al., 2010). Prediction is also an indispensable factor for movement planning and control (Kawato, 1999). On the other hand, the sensory system also makes use of subsequent events to postdictively interpret a preceding event (e.g. Eagleman & Sejnowski, 2000; Enns, 2002; Khuu et al., 2010; Kawabe, 2011, 2012; Miyazaki et al., 2010; Ono & Kitazawa, 2011) and it's much the same even for infancy (Newman et al., 2008). Moreover, it has also been proposed that sense of agency stems not only from predictive processing but also from postdictive inference (Ebert & Wegner, 2011). The existence of postdictive processing is also supported by several neuroscience studies (Kamitani & Shimojo, 1999; Lau et al., 2007). How prediction and postdiction shape awareness of the external world is an intriguing question. Prediction is involved with the encoding of incoming signals, whereas postdiction is related to a re-interpretation of already encoded signals. Given this perspective, prediction and postdiction may exist along a processing stream for a single external event. However, it is unclear whether, and if so how, prediction and postdiction interact with each other to shape awareness of the external world. Awareness of the external world may also shape prediction and/or postdiction. It is plausible that awareness of the external world drives the prediction and postdiction of future and past appearances of the world. However, the literature provides little information about the role of awareness of the external world in prediction and postdiction. This background propelled us to propose this research topic with the aim of offering a space for systematic discussion concerning the relationship between awareness, prediction and postdiction among researchers in broad research areas, such as psychology, psychophysics, neuroscience, cognitive science, philosophy, and so forth. We encouraged papers that address one or more of the following questions: 1) How does prediction shape awareness of the external world? 2) How does postdiction shape awareness of the external world? 3) How do prediction and postdiction interact with each other in shaping awareness of the external world? 4) How does awareness of the external world shape prediction/postdiction?

Value and Reward Based Learning in Neurobots

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194315 Year: Pages: 158 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-431-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Organisms are equipped with value systems that signal the salience of environmental cues to their nervous system, causing a change in the nervous system that results in modification of their behavior. These systems are necessary for an organism to adapt its behavior when an important environmental event occurs. A value system constitutes a basic assumption of what is good and bad for an agent. These value systems have been effectively used in robotic systems to shape behavior. For example, many robots have used models of the dopaminergic system to reinforce behavior that leads to rewards. Other modulatory systems that shape behavior are acetylcholine’s effect on attention, norepinephrine’s effect on vigilance, and serotonin’s effect on impulsiveness, mood, and risk. Moreover, hormonal systems such as oxytocin and its effect on trust constitute as a value system. This book presents current research involving neurobiologically inspired robots whose behavior is: 1) Shaped by value and reward learning, 2) adapted through interaction with the environment, and 3) shaped by extracting value from the environment.

Habits: Plasticity, learning and freedom

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196739 Year: Pages: 148 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-673-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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In present times, certain fields of science are becoming aware of the necessity to go beyond a restrictive specialization, and establish an open dialogue with other disciplines. Such is the case of the approach that neuroscience and philosophy are performing in the last decade. However, this increasing interest in a multidisciplinary perspective should not be understood, in our opinion, as a new phenomenon, but rather as a return to a classical standpoint: a proper understanding of human features –organic, cognitive, volitional, motor or behavioral, for example– requires a context that includes the global dimension of the human being. We believe that grand neuroscientific conclusions about the mind should take into account what philosophical reflection has said about it; likewise, philosophers should consider the organic constitution of the brain to draw inferences about the mind. Thus, both neuroscience and philosophy would benefit from each other’s achievements through a fruitful dialogue. One of the main problems a multidisciplinary group encounters is terminology: the same term has a different scope in various fields, sometimes even contradictory. Such is the case of habits: from a neuroscientific perspective, a habit is a mere automation of an action. It is, therefore, linked to rigidity and limitation. However, from a classical philosophical account, a habit is an enabling capacity acquired through practice, which facilitates, improves and reinforces the performance of certain kind of actions. From neuroscience, habit acquisition restricts a subject’s action to the learnt habit; from philosophy, habit acquisition allows the subject to set a distance from the simple motor performance to cognitively enrich the action. For example, playing piano is a technical habit; considering the neuroscientific account, a pianist would just play those sequences of keystrokes that had been repeatedly practiced in the past. However, according to the philosophical perspective, it would allow the pianist to improvise and, moreover, go beyond the movements of their hands to concentrate in other features of musical interpretation. In other words, a holistic view of habits focuses on the subject’s disposition when facing both known and novel situations. We believe neuroscience could contribute to achieve a deeper understanding of the neural bases of habits, whose complexity could be deciphered by a philosophical reflection. Thus, we propose this Research Topic to increase our understanding on habits from a wide point of view. This collection of new experimental research, empirical and theoretical reviews, general commentaries and opinion articles covers the following subjects: habit learning; implicit memory; computational and complex dynamical accounts of habit formation; practical, cognitive, perceptual and motor habits; early learning; intentionality; consciousness in habits performance; neurological and psychiatric disorders related to habits, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, stereotypies or addiction; habits as enabling or limiting capacities for the agent.

New Perspectives in Neurosteroids action: a Special Player Allopregnanolone

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195558 Year: Pages: 86 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-555-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Early in the 80’s date the first observations on the existence of hormonal steroids that may be synthesized and act in the nervous system. In order to refer to these endogenous steroids, proved important to control both central and peripheral nervous system, it was proposed the term “neurosteroids” (NSs). Over the years, their importance in regulating the physiological functions of neuronal and glial cells increased progressively. These steroids can be involved in several pathophysiological conditions such as depression, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), schizophrenia and Alzheimer disease. Among the different classes of NSs, the progestagens revealed particularly important. The progesterone metabolite 5a-pregnan-3a-ol-20-one, also named tetrahydroprogesterone or allopregnanolone (ALLO) was one of the first most important steroid that was originally shown to act as neurosteroid. ALLO is synthesized through the action of the 5aR-3a-HSD, which converts P into DHP and subsequently, via a bidirectional reaction, into ALLO. NSs exert complex effects in the nervous system through ‘classic’, genomic, and ‘non-classic’, non-genomic actions. ALLO displays a rapid ‘non-genomic’ effect, which mainly involves the potent modulation of the GABA type A (GABA-A) receptor function. Recently a membrane receptor has been identified as target for ALLO effects, i.e. the membrane progesterone receptors (mPRs) that are able to activate a signalling cascade through G protein dependent mechanisms. By these ways, ALLO is able to modulate several cell functions, acting as neurogenic molecule on neural progenitor cells, as well as by activating proliferation and differentiation of glial cells in the central and peripheral nervous system. In this topic, we review the most recent acquisitions in the field of neurosteroids, focusing our attention on ALLO because its effects on the physiology of neurons and glial cells of the central and peripheral nervous system are intriguing and could potentially lead to the development of new strategies for neuroprotection and/or regeneration of injured nervous tissues and for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Taking a hands-on approach: Current perspectives on the effect of hand position on vision

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196647 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-664-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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An exciting new line of research that investigates the impact of one’s own hands on visual processing has flourished in the past several years. Specifically, several studies have demonstrated that objects near the hands receive prioritized attention, enhanced perceptual sensitivity, altered figure-ground assignment, prolonged and detail-oriented processing, and improved visual working memory. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the visual system reveals a new pattern of processing when one's hands are in proximity of viewed objects. Therefore, the vast majority of studies on visual processing, in which one's hands are kept away from the stimuli, may constitute but one side of a more complex story of the inner workings of the visual system. With several consistent behavioral demonstrations of hand-altered vision now in the literature, the present challenge facing this growing field, and the aim of this Research Topic, is four-pronged: 1) Isolate and elucidate the underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms of hand-altered vision; 2) Map the parameters and conditions of hand-nearness that permit/prevent the onset or maintenance of hand-altered vision; 3) Determine the consequences of hand-altered vision for higher-level cognition and assess its applied potential (e.g., as a neuropsychological intervention); and, 4) Present a cohesive and predictive theoretical account of hand-altered vision. We welcome submissions that fit into any one (or a combination) of the above domains. For behavioral research, we particularly encourage submissions that are relevant to the advancement of our understanding of the neural mechanisms of hand-altered vision (e.g., demonstrations that might corroborate or disconfirm proposed neural systems).

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