The present work investigated three important constructs in the field of psychology: creativity, intelligence and giftedness. The major objective was to clarify some aspects about each one of these three constructs, as well as some possible correlations between them. Of special interest were: (1) the relationship between creativity and intelligence - particularly the validity of the threshold theory; (2) the development of these constructs within average and above-average intelligent children and throughout grade levels; and (3) the comparison between the development of intelligence and creativity in above-average intelligent primary school children that participated in a special program for children classified as “gifted”, called Entdeckertag (ET), against an age-class- and-IQ matched control group. The ET is a pilot program which was implemented in 2004 by the Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Culture of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The central goals of this program are the early recognition of gifted children and intervention, based on the areas of German language, general science and mathematics, and also to foster the development of a child’s creativity, social ability, and more. Five hypotheses were proposed and analyzed, and reported separately within five chapters. To analyze these hypotheses, a sample of 217 children recruited from first to fourth grade, and between the ages of six and ten years, was tested for intelligence and creativity. Children performed three tests: Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) for the assessment of classical intelligence, Test of Creative Thinking – Drawing Production (TCT-DP) for the measurement of classical creativity, and Creative Reasoning Task (CRT) for the evaluation of convergent and divergent thinking, both in open problem spaces. Participants were divided according to two general cohorts: Intervention group (N = 43), composed of children participating in the Entdeckertag program, and a non-intervention group (N = 174), composed of children from the regular primary school. For the testing of the hypotheses, children were placed into more specific groups according to the particular hypothesis that was being tested. It could be concluded that creativity and intelligence were not significantly related and the threshold theory was not confirmed. Additionally, intelligence accounted for less than 1% of the variance within creativity; moreover, scores on intelligence were unable to predict later creativity scores. The development of classical intelligence and classical creativity throughout grade levels also presented a different pattern; intelligence grew increasingly and continually, whereas creativity stagnated after the third grade. Finally, the ET program proved to be beneficial for classical intelligence after two years of attendance, but no effect was found for creativity. Overall, results indicate that organizations and institutions such as schools should not look solely to intelligence performance, especially when aiming to identify and foster gifted or creative individuals.
The Event Segmentation Theory (Kurby & Zacks, 2008; Zacks, Speer, Swallow, Braver, & Reynolds, 2007) explains the perceptual organization of an ongoing activity into meaningful events. The classical event segmentation task (Newtson, 1973) involves watching an online video and indicating with key presses the event boundaries, i.e., when one event ends and the next one begins. The resulting hierarchical organization of object-based coarse events and action-based fine events gives insight into various cognitive processes. I used the Event Segmentation Theory to develop assistance and training systems for assembly workers in industrial settings at various levels - experts, new hires, and intellectually disabled people. Therefore, the first scientific question I asked was whether online and offline event segmentation result in the same event boundaries. This is important because assembly work requires not only watching activities online but processing the information offline, e.g., while performing the assembly task. By developing a special software tool that enables assessment of offline event boundaries, I established that online perception and offline elaboration lead to similar event boundaries. This study supports prior work suggesting that instructions should be structured around event boundaries.
Secondly, I investigated the importance of fine versus coarse event boundaries when learning the sequence of steps in virtual training, both for novices and experts in car door assembly. I found memory, tested by ability to predict the next frame, to be enhanced for object-based coarse events from the nearest fine event boundary. However, virtual training did not improve memory for action-based fine events from the nearest coarse event boundary. I conjecture that trainees primarily acquire the sequence of object-based coarse events in an initial training. Based on differences found in memory performance between experts and novices, I conclude that memory for action-based fine events is dependent on expertise.
Thirdly, I used the Event Segmentation Theory to investigate whether the simple and repetitive assembly tasks offered at workshops for intellectually disabled persons utilize their full cognitive potential. I analyzed event segmentation performance of 32 intellectually disabled persons compared to 30 controls using a variety of event segmentation measures. I found specific deficits in event boundary detection and hierarchical organization of events for the intellectually disabled group. However, results suggest that hierarchical organization is task-dependent. Because the event segmentation task accounted for differences in general cognitive ability, I propose the event segmentation task as diagnostic method for the need for support in executing assembly tasks.
Based on these three studies, I argue that the Event Segmentation Theory offers a framework for assessment and assistance of important attentional, perceptual, and memory processes related to assembly tasks. I demonstrate how practical applications can make use of this framework for the development of new computer-based assistance and training systems that are tailored to the users’ need for support and improve their quality of life.
Reading as a cultural skill is acquired over a long period of training. This thesis supports the idea that reading is based on specific strategies that result from modification and coordination of earlier developed object recognition strategies. The reading-specific processing strategies are considered to be more analytic compared to object recognition strategies, which are described as holistic. To enable proper reading skills these strategies have to become automatized. Study 1 (Chapter 4) examined the temporal and visual constrains of letter recognition strategies. In the first experiment two successively presented stimuli (letters or non-letters) had to be classified as same or different. The second stimulus could either be presented in isolation or surrounded by a shape, which was either similar (congruent) or different (incongruent) in its geometrical properties to the stimulus itself. The non-letter pairs were presented twice as often as the letter pairs. The results demonstrated a preference for the holistic strategy also in letters, even if the non- letter set was presented twice as often as the letter set, showing that the analytic strategy does not replace the holistic one completely, but that the usage of both strategies is task-sensitive. In Experiment 2, we compared the Global Precedence Effect (GPE) for letters and non-letters in central viewing, with the global stimulus size close to the functional visual field in whole word reading (6.5◦ of visual angle) and local stimuli close to the critical size for fluent reading of individual letters (0.5◦ of visual angle). Under these conditions, the GPE remained robust for non-letters. For letters, however, it disappeared: letters showed no overall response time advantage for the global level and symmetric congruence effects (local-to-global as well as global-to-local interference). These results indicate that reading is based on resident analytic visual processing strategies for letters. In Study 2 (Chapter 5) we replicated the latter result with a large group of participants as part of a study in which pairwise associations of non-letters and phonological or non-phonological sounds were systematically trained. We investigated whether training would eliminate the GPE also for non-letters. We observed, however, that the differentiation between letters and non-letter shapes persists after training. This result implies that pairwise association learning is not sufficient to overrule the process differentiation in adults. In addition, subtle effects arising in the letter condition (due to enhanced power) enable us to further specify the differentiation in processing between letters and non-letter shapes. The influence of reading ability on the GPE was examined in Study 3 (Chapter 6). Children with normal reading skills and children with poor reading skills were instructed to detect a target in Latin or Hebrew Navon letters. Children with normal reading skills showed a GPE for Latin letters, but not for Hebrew letters. In contrast, the dyslexia group did not show GPE for either kind of stimuli. These results suggest that dyslexic children are not able to apply the same automatized letter processing strategy as children with normal reading skills do. The difference between the analytic letter processing and the holistic non-letter processing was transferred to the context of whole word reading in Study 4 (Chapter 7). When participants were instructed to detect either a letter or a non-letter in a mixed character string, for letters the reaction times and error rates increased linearly from the left to the right terminal position in the string, whereas for non-letters a symmetrical U-shaped function was observed. These results suggest, that the letter-specific processing strategies are triggered automatically also for more word-like material. Thus, this thesis supports and expands prior results of letter-specific processing and gives new evidences for letter-specific processing strategies.
Perceptual grouping is an integral part of visual object recognition. It organizes elements within our visual field according to a set of heuristics (grouping principles), most of which are not well understood. To identify their temporal processing dynamics (i.e., to identify whether they rely on neuronal feedforward or recurrent activation), we introduce the primed flanker task that is based on a firm empirical and theoretical background. In three sets of experiments, participants responded to visual stimuli that were either grouped by (1) similarity of brightness, shape, or size, (2) symmetry and closure, or (3) Good Gestalt. We investigated whether these grouping cues were effective in rapid visuomotor processing (i.e., in terms of response times, error rates, and priming effects) and whether the results met theory-driven indicators of feedforward processing. (1) In the first set of experiments with similarity cues, we varied subjective grouping strength and found that stronger grouping in the targets enhanced overall response times while stronger grouping in the primes enhanced priming effects in motor responses. We also obtained differences between rapid visuomotor processing and the subjective impression with cues of brightness and shape but not with cues of brightness and size. These results show that the primed flanker task is an objective measure for comparing different feedforward-transmitted groupings. (2) In the second set of experiments, we used the task to study grouping by symmetry and grouping by closure that are more complex than similarity cues. We obtained results that were mostly in accordance with a feedforward model. Some other factors (line of view, orientation of the symmetry axis) were irrelevant for processing of symmetry cues. Thus, these experiments suggest that closure and (possibly) viewpoint-independent symmetry cues are extracted rapidly during the first feedforward wave of neuronal processing. (3) In the third set of experiments, we used the task to study grouping by Good Gestalt (i.e., visual completion in occluded shapes). By varying the amount of occlusion, we found that the processing was in accordance with a feedforward model only when occlusion was very limited. Thus, these experiments suggest that Good Gestalt is not extracted rapidly during the first feedforward wave of neuronal processing but relies on recurrent activation. I conclude (1) that the primed flanker task is an excellent tool to identify and compare the processing characteristics of different grouping cues by behavioral means, (2) that grouping strength and other factors are strongly modulating these processing characteristics, which (3) challenges a dichotomous classification of grouping cues based on feedforward vs. recurrent processing (incremental grouping theory, Roelfsema, 2006), and (4) that a focus on temporal processing dynamics is necessary to understand perceptual grouping.
There is growing international concern about the necessity to re-think the university so that it might remain relevant in a modern society. In the traditional task division at universities, knowledge is the main resource. Universities make use of both the cognitive and the informational approach. It was expected that universities use each approach to improve overall university performance. To effectively use the informational approach, universities should apply the tools from knowledge management. To effectively use the cognitive approach, universities must update their teaching-learning strategies to incorporate some of the recent advances in neuroscience and biology of knowledge, specifically from neurobiology and autopoiesis. With this frame, the main contribution of this work is the result of merging pedagogy and biology, towards an ideal future university. This goal was achieved through an exploratory study conducted to identify opportunities and difficulties in improving the teaching-learning process for the future of higher education in Honduras. The Delphi Study was used as a predictive method. Nineteen Honduran experts participated in this study, and two rounds were necessary to achieve consensus.
The multi-disciplinary approach of this research addresses three different fields whose core element is knowledge. First, input from the present field of higher education is used to speak about the future. Second, input is taken from the biology of knowledge, and its contributions from neurobiology and autopoiesis that allow modifying and completing the already existing learning theories with a biological basis. Third, input is taken from the knowledge process, which is traditionally used as an organizational tool and know is translated to the individual level. The exploration shows that experts are concerned about all the missions and responsibilities of universities, but they agree that changes should primarily take place in the teaching dimension. Even though they are not aware of the possible contributions of biology, they suggest new forms of teaching that more favor skills development, promotes values, pertinent knowledge, and personal development over short-term contents. The resulting BRAIN Model encompasses the ideal future of higher education regarding teaching and learning, according to experts’ answers. It provides a useful guide that any reform in teaching should take into account for a holistic, integral, and therefore more efficient learning task.
Subject of this book is an epistemological consideration - a consideration which could be characterised as a main theme - maybe the main theme - of that part of philosophy we all know as epistemology: the nature of knowledge. But other than the most essays on the subject of knowledge, here I am going to deal with a largely overlooked account to try to find an answer to the epistemological question of knowledge. This is the mental state account of knowledge (Price in his 'Belief' the formulation ``mental acts'' and Williamson talks about a ``state of mind''). Or to put it into the question I chose as title: is knowledge a mental state? We have to concede first that there is only a small group of philosophers who used to explain knowledge in terms of a mental state, particularly the `Oxford Realists'. And secondly, the acceptance of the MS thesis is low and negative. There is an interesting detail here: unlike the poor interest in an epistemic theory such as the MS thesis, philosophers like Prichard or Austin (and their philosophical thinking) are not really living in the shadows of philosophical consideration. Indeed their philosophical impact is high level, if we consider for instance Prichard's moral writings or Austin's theory of speech acts. I think we can conclude from this fact that the reason of the `negative' ignorance in respect of their epistemological point of view was not caused by a negative quality of their philosophy. Now, the question we are faced with (and that should be answered here) is: what is wrong with the MS thesis even though it is held by high class philosophers? Why is the epistemic thinking of Cook Wilson, Prichard and Austin afflicted with such ignorance? I will try to explain this later on with the notion of an unreflected Platonian heritage during 2000 years of epistemic thinking - a notion which is similar to a point Hetherington has called ``epistemic absolutism''. So, there are three main purposes which I am pursuing in this consideration: 1.To explain the reasons why there is such an ignorance towards an assertion of the MS thesis. I am going to pursue this through an analysis of knowledge which will demonstrate the inappropriateness of the JTB thesis as an adequate analysis of knowledge. 2.To describe that it is a mistake to ignore or at least underestimate the MS thesis in the discussion of an appropriate definition of knowledge and to maintain that the MS thesis is the key to a general theory of knowledge. 3.Conclusion: If the first two steps are correct, the JTB thesis is insufficient in order to give an account of the nature of knowledge in general. A consequence from this is: all the epistemic theories which are dealing with the JTB thesis are based on deficient assumptions. Hence their results - notably the well-known externalism/internalism debate - are insufficient, too. So, there is a need for a new theory of knowledge based on the MS thesis. In the course of my consideration I am going to justify the following three theses: i) The JTB thesis as a definition of knowledge in general is deficient, as the JTB thesis describes the propositional aspect of knowledge only. But the propositional knowledge - the so-called `knowledge that' - is merely one element among others that has to be recognized in search of a theory of knowledge. ii) The status of the `knowledge that' is derivative and not ultimate. It is derived from the non- propositional knowledge in order to make the non-propositional knowledge communicable to others. The mode of the `knowledge that' is indirect and thus can be stated in the third person point of view only. This ultimate kind of knowledge - the knowledge which the `knowledge that' is derived from - is the non-propositional knowledge. Its mode is direct and hence it is restricted to the first person point of view. Therefore the basis towards a theory of knowledge in general has to be this non-propositional aspect of knowledge. iii) Hence, taking the first two theses for granted, an appropriate theory of knowledge needs an account of the non-propositional knowledge. The MS thesis will accomplish this task.
The present research combines different paradigm in the area of visual perception of letter and words. These experiments aimed to understand the deficit underlying the problem associated with the faulty visual processing of letters and words. The present work summarizes the findings from two different types of population: (1) Dyslexics (reading-disabled children) and (2) Illiterates (adults who cannot read). In order to compare the results, comparisons were made between literate and illiterate group; dyslexics and control group (normal reading children). Differences for Even related potentials (ERP’s) between dyslexics and control children were made using mental rotation task for letters. According to the ERP’s, the effect of the mental rotation task of letter perception resulted as a delayed positive component and the component becomes less positive when the task becomes more difficult (Rotation related Negativity – RRN). The component was absent for dyslexics and present for controls. Dyslexics also showed some late effects in comparison to control children and this could be interpreted as problems at the decision stage where they are confused as to the letter is normal or mirrored. Dyslexics also have problems in responding to the letters having visual or phonological similarities (e.g. b vs d, p vs q). Visually similar letters were used to compare dyslexics and controls on a symmetry generalization task in two different contrast conditions (low and high). Dyslexics showed a similar pattern of response, and were overall slower in responding to the task compared to controls. The results were interpreted within the framework of the Functional Coordination Deficit (Lachmann, 2002). Dyslexics also showed delayed response in responding to the word recognition task during motion. Using red background decreases the Magnocellular pathway (M-pathway) activity, making more difficult to identify letters and this effect was worse for dyslexics because their M-pathway is weaker. In dyslexics, the M-pathway is worse; using a red background decreases the M activity and increases the difficulty in identifying lexical task in motion. This effect generated worse response to red compared to the green background. The reaction times with red were longer than those with green background. Further, Illiterates showed an analytic approach to responding to letters as well as on shapes. The analytic approach does not result from an individual capability to read, but is a primary base of visual organization or perception.
The Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) dataset is the only dataset providing information about the positions of parties for comparative researchers across time and countries. This article evaluates its structure and finds a peculiarity: A high number of zeros and their unequal distribution across items, countries and time. They influence the results of any procedure to build a scale, but especially those using factor analyses. The article shows that zeroes have different meanings: Firstly, there are substantial zeroes in line with saliency theory. Secondly, zeroes exist for non-substantial reasons: The length of a manifesto and the percentage of uncoded sentences, both strongly varying across time and country. We quantify the problem and propose a procedure to identify data points containing non-substantial zeroes. For the future comparative use of the dataset we plead for a theoretical selection of items combined with the information about the likelihood that zeroes are substantially meaningful.
From an evolutionary point of view, it can be assumed that visual processing and rapid detection of potentially dangerous stimuli in the environment (e.g., perilous animals) is highly adaptive for all humans. In the present dissertation, I address three research questions; (1) Is information processing of threatening stimuli enhanced in individuals with specific phobias? (2) Are there any differences between the different types of phobia (e.g., spider phobia vs. snake phobia)? (3) Is the frequently reported attentional bias of individuals with specific phobias - which may contribute to an enhancement in information processing – also detectable in a prior entry paradigm? In Experiments 1 to 3 of the present thesis non-anxious control, spider-fearful, snake-fearful, and blood-injection-injury-fearful participants took part in the study. We applied in each experiment a response priming paradigm which has a strong theoretical (cf. rapid-chase theory; Schmidt, Niehaus, & Nagel, 2006; Schmidt, Haberkamp, Veltkamp et al., 2011) as well as empirical background (cf. Schmidt, 2002). We show that information processing in fearful individuals is indeed enhanced for phobic images (i.e., spiders for spider-fearful participants; injuries for blood-injury-injection(BII)-fearful individuals). However, we found marked differences between the different types of phobia. In Experiment 1 and 2 (Chapter 2 and 3), spiders had a strong and specific influence in the group of spider-fearful individuals: Phobic primes entailed the largest priming effects, and phobic targets accelerated responses, both effects indicating speeded response activation by phobic images. In snake-fearful participants (Experiment 1, Chapter 2), this processing enhancement for phobic material was less pronounced and extended to both snake and spider images. In Experiment 3 (Chapter 4), we demonstrated that early information processing for pictures of small injuries is also enhanced in BII-fearful participants, even though BII fear is unique in that BII-fearful individuals show opposite physiological reactions when confronted with the phobic stimulus compared to individuals with animal phobias. These results show that already fast visuomotor responses are further enhanced in spider- and BII-fearful participants. Results give evidence that responses are based on the first feedforward sweep of neuronal activation proceeding through the visuomotor system. I propose that the additional enhancement in spider- and BII-fearful individuals depend on a specific hardwired binding of elementary features belonging to the phobic object in fearful individuals (i.e., effortless recognition of the respective phobic object via hardwired neuronal conjunctions). I suggest that these hardwired conjunctions developed due to long-term perceptual learning processes. We also investigate the frequently reported attentional bias of phobic individuals and showed that this bias is detectable in temporal order judgments using a prior entry paradigm. I assume that perceptual learning processes might also strengthen the attentional bias, for example, by providing a more salient bottom-up signal that draws attention involuntarily. In sum, I conclude that (1) early information processing of threatening stimuli is indeed enhanced in individuals with specific phobias but that (2) differences between divers types of phobia exist (i.e., spider- and BII-fearful participants show enhanced information of the respective phobic object; though, snake-fearful participants show no specific information processing enhancement of snakes); (3) the frequently reported attentional bias of spider-fearful individuals is also detectable in a prior entry paradigm.