Archive for cognition

Cognitive Artifact

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 11, 2008 by lizjac

A good example of a cognitive artifact that I use regularly and has been increasinly popular are GPS navigation units. You use it by entering your destination, and it will provide you with a map and directions on how to get there. It will read the directions out loud as you drive and reach the appropriate places to change direction. Also, if you want to remember how to get some place that you already are, you just need to only press a button to “save the location.” It stores the location in its memory, so the next time you want to go to that place, all you need to do is find it in your directory of saved locations, and it will tell you how to get to that place.

This is a cognitive artifact, and not just a tool, because it supplements your memory and sense of direction by 1) remembering where all of your “saved locations” are located, 2) figuring out for you how to get there, and the best routes as well as alternative routes, and 3) telling you where you are if you are lost. Many people often internalize these functions. You do not NEED a GPS unit in order to get around or go on trips. Many people themselves after being a place once can remember where it is and how to get there. However, this is useful for people with bad senses of direction, or people about to go on trips to places they’ve never been. The combination of being able to “save locations” to reference in the future, and its direction giving capabilities aids cognition and can give many drivers confidence that they might not had previously had on the road. It could be disadvantageous in the fact that some drivers might get too dependent on a GPS. They might not feel as confident without one, and if theirs breaks or they are forced to drive without one, they may have increased anxieties about driving.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 1, 2008 by lizjac

If one is conscious, then does it have emotion? I believe that the answer to this question is no, if one is conscious, that does not necessarily mean it has emotion. For one to be conscious, one needs to be aware of its environment, and of itself against its environment. It can be conceived of a person existing in the world who does not feel emotions like most humans but is definitely aware of itself and its environment, and can function (probably poorly) in it as well. However if one has emotion, it seems that the person must be conscious. Self and environmental awareness seem to be vital for emotion to exist. Often, one needs an object to base or justify one’s emotion off of. This similarly applies to cognition. Emotion is not necessary for cognition, but if one has emotion, then one must be cognitive.

Emotions do seem to have a function, and therefore could have an evolutionary explanation for their existence. Emotions are very influential in helping people making decisions, especially for ethical/moral decisions, create goals, prioritize, and in general induce or justify actions. Emotions seem to have roles in alerting a person to know when one should act. For example, the emotion fear one may feel when in a dangerous situation, such as in a fire, would influence the person to flee from the situation in order to survive. The emotion of love or empathy one may have for their family would influence them to try to save their family from such fire as well as flee (hopefully with them). (And this particular emotion would be evolutionary significant because saving one’s family would promote the survival of one’s genes.) Without emotions, a person would have a hard time making good decisions in situations that do not allow for much time to deliberate.

It does not seem likely that building robots with emotions will change the nature of human emotion. However it may alter the conception that emotion is unique to biological creatures or unique to humans alone.