The consciousness of crows

Last week, Science Magazine published an interesting study on bird consciousness: A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird.  The study conducted an experiment where crows were trained to respond to a sensory stimulus.  The stimulus itself could be at the threshold of perceptibility, above that threshold, or missing.  After the stimulus (or … Continue reading The consciousness of crows

Time to dump the concept of cognition?

An interesting paper came up in my Twitter feed.  Neuroscientist Paul Cisek notes that many of our current models on how the mind works come from dualistic traditions, as well as psychological ones that were heavily influenced by dualism.  He sees the concept of cognition having largely been created after dualism was abandoned.  It made … Continue reading Time to dump the concept of cognition?

Layers of self awareness and animal cognition

In the last consciousness post, which discussed issues with panpsychism and simple definitions of consciousness, I laid out five functional layers of cognition which I find helpful when trying to think about systems that are more or less conscious.  Just to recap, those layers are: Reflexes, primal reactions to stimuli. Perception, sensory models of the … Continue reading Layers of self awareness and animal cognition

Panpsychism and layers of consciousness

I've written before about panpyschism, the outlook that everything is conscious and that consciousness permeates the universe.  However, that previous post was within the context of replying to a TEDx talk, and I'm not entirely satisfied with the remarks I made back then, so this is a revisit of that topic. I've noted many times … Continue reading Panpsychism and layers of consciousness

Chimpanzees have language

I've read in several places that language is the last uniquely human characteristic.  Well, it turns out chimps communicate with a language of gestures: Researchers Translate the Meaning of Over 60 Gestures Used by Chimps. In the first systematic study of a non-human primate language, scientists from St. Andrew's University have deciphered the meaning of 66 wild … Continue reading Chimpanzees have language

Intelligent Crows Flunk Causality Test But Babies Pass

You drop a block onto a box, and a toy pops out. If a baby was watching you, she could deduce that your action caused the happy arrival of the toy, because she understands cause and effect. She’d also realise that she could trigger the same event by placing a block on the box herself, … Continue reading Intelligent Crows Flunk Causality Test But Babies Pass