Doing Your Mind

Research, comments and musings about active minds.

Mindlessness, consumption and skills.

I have recently read two books by Ellen Langer, Mindfulness and Counterclockwise. The content and moral of both are largely the same – that we are better off in all manner of ways when we are mindful1. The essence of mindfulness is being aware not just what what is (or what appears to be) but […]

Multisensory integration in Mallorca

It can be difficult at the best of times to make my non-academic friends believe that conferences are not simply junkets in which a bunch of academics get together, have a few beers and put our feet up. This is compounded somewhat when the meeting in question is an euCognition network meeting being held in […]

Embodied reading

Even people (such as myself) who wholeheartedly embrace the adoption of devices such as the iPad and Kindle tend to find something more satisfying, or just easier, about reading from paper. Reading blogs on the topic recently from the likes of Jonah Lehrer and David Dobbs I got to wondering what the difference might really […]

Quality work, a review of Richard Sennett’s “The Craftsman”.

What is it about good workmanship that leaves us more fulfilled? Whether as the one producing or the one appreciating the quality of the work, there is something more to be said for work that is the product of commitment, discipline and care, rather than that of someone going through the motions. Work done for […]

Leviathan at Dolans in Limerick

Last night the Leviathan Political Cabaret came to Limerick (to Dolan’s Warehouse, to be precise). Leviathan is a project to take political discussion out of the constraining domain of the radio or television studio and encourage people who might not normally take part in such discussions to get involved. The topic for debate last night […]

Social Affordances and Spontaneous Action

Myself and my wife went to a concert a couple of weeks ago – it was the annual tour of the National Symphony Orchestra, with a performance that began with a Beethoven symphony (No.2) and finished with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. That makes for a good night by my standards, despite the fact that we lost […]

Perceptual Modalities: The Overlooked Ecological Viewpoint.

I’ve just received the off-prints of a paper of mine being published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies on perceptual modalities, and what the enactive approach would have to say about the matter. Basically, I argue that there is a distinction between sensory modalities and perceptual modalities, with the latter being complex and structured not […]

The Psychological Environment, a review of Harry Heft’s “Ecological Psychology in Context”

This review is long overdue. It also worked out a little longer than I had initially intended, but here it is nonetheless. — It is disappointingly rare to see a psychologist making a genuine attempt at answering a question that is fundamental to the discipline. As an endeavour, Psychology is fragmented, a complex set of […]

Cognitive development in Zurich

The second members’ meeting of the euCognition II research network took place in Zurich on Friday. The thesis for discussion was: “Cognition emerges during development in a close interplay of experience, of the social and physical environment and of the neuronal mechanisms of growth. An understanding of cognition cannot be achieved without an understanding of […]

Moral affordances

I’ve just finished reading the young adult novel The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which is a superb if sometimes infuriating read. The details of the plot aren’t too important for our present purposes, but a central component of the book is the protagonist Todd Hewitt’s relationship with the eponymous blade. Not […]

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