What is Cognitive Science

Moods and Humours

Noga Arikha

Thursday, October 08, 2009, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Independent Author

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We are emotional creatures, whose mood-swings are studied with increasing precision, and can be affected by an increasing number of drugs. The research and its applications partake of our unprecedented ability to study brain function and mental activity - perception, cognition and emotion. Information about our brains and minds is accumulating, but how far does it inform our self-understanding as conscious, emotional, moody creatures? To try and answer this, I look at the theory of the humours, which sustained medical practices and psychological theories in the West for close to 2500 years: it is an unusual step back into the history of beliefs, theories and practices that partook of a humanistic endeavour to comprehend the human mind, mood-swings included, in all its complexity. I ask whether our cognitive sciences, and the psycho-medical culture around them, are on a continuum with the past, and of what use this past can be to present practices.

Noga Arikha


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).