Making sense of things and gaining clarity is central to cognition and the science story of cognition is fascinating, complex, and rapidly evolving. Below you will find research that informs the thinking behind Inqwire. Inqwire will continue to base its state-of-the-art technology on the latest understanding of how we make sense of things and gain clarity about life and keep these references updated as the story evolves. If you are a researcher in cognitive science and are interested in collaborating with Inqwire, please contact us.
Curiosity and Learning
In this review they explore various theories of curiosity and their experimental and neurological evidence. They look at how the emergence of curiosity is tied to optimal information seeking when the information is most relevant to remove uncertainty and how it correlates to longer term learning when present.
It also looks at the emergence of curiosity as a reflection of an information gap and the idea that curiosity solves the sampling problem when in an new environment which is how children learn causality.
This research supports the idea that curiosity may be a close to optimal guide to optimal learning about one's life and that it can be triggered by creating knowledge gaps by virtue of presenting existing information in novel configurations where dissonance (gaps in knowledge) can be revealed.
This article looks at the effect of decision making in learning shows that people learn better when they are actively choosing which interventions to do.
This article addresses the "transmission-of-information" lectures and "cookbook" lab exercises that are still in practice but not effective in fostering conceptual understanding or scientific reasoning.
This article addresses the systemic barriers to reforming STEM education to include current understanding of how we actually learn.
This meta-analysis looks at pure lecture versus active learning studies and finds that lecture has 55% increase in number of failed students and 1/2 standard deviation improvement overall in grades.
This paper explores how networks involving multiple cause–effect relationships can be inferred. It argues that people adopt a near optimal approach of hypothesis forming and testing and behave as scientists naturally - provided they are self guided and can choose where to focus their intervention with the graph. The authors also argue that in the absence of being able to intervene (such as real world scenarios) it may be much harder and quite rare to infer causality without a schema - but it is possible (contrary to the widely held theory that it is not possible to infer causality only from correlated data).
This research supports the idea that a schema for structuring data, such as a model of cognition or inquiry, would computationally allow for the formation of purely observationally based inference of causality by correlating across networked data to improve predictability and controllability of the real world where intervention (experimentation) is not viable (contrary to many widely held beliefs).
It also argues for the productivity of life review as a way to revisit the network data while applying a schema, potentially for the first time if one didn't exist prior, as a way to find new causal inferences from correlated life data - or insight.
Finally, it implies that a process of passive observation is how active intervention conditions are formulated - to differentiate competing hypotheses. This might explain the frequently reported 'second lease on life' experience of memoir writers who may have revealed after a process of thorough passive observation a series of testable hypotheses about life that require active intervention in the real world to test, thus inviting a renewed engagement and curiosity with life.
This paper makes the argument for embodied learning and how situating information in this way allows learning by metaphor.
Part of the seminal work showing embodied cognition with numbers/math.
This review article looks at current understandings of why people learn better when the flow of experience is under their control (self-directed). The authors point out that there is less research energy spent towards self-directed learning because of the difficulties in creating controlled test conditions. They point out that the current debate around self-directed versus structured learning is the concern that people bias their learning by selecting the data they expose themselves too - such as the case with learning languages.
This research supports that a system like Inqwire would be an optimal system for learning in that it is fully self-directed across many tasks of similar difficulty (the question set) to remove the 'easy' bias, and removes familiarity bias by presenting user's existing data back to them contextually (versus letting users select it).
This paper discusses how learning styles need to change based on the experiences of the learner. In the beginning more guidance to pick up experiences, as they become experts, then they need to be more self guided. Introducing self guided too early is not effective.
This paper argues that the placebo effect is large (~80%) for psychiatric drugs and that there are systematic problems with measuring the placebo effect that have to do with not publishing data where the effect isn't seen.
This article looks at the failure of discovery learning and relative success of guided discovery and argues for a more formal study of the effects to improve educational practices.
This paper is consistent with the idea that providing a guided process, such as imposed by a model of cognition, should assist in solution convergence where an open ended discovery process may not.
fMRI study that shows higher curiosity is correlated with better recall of surprising answers. Supports the use of curiosity and insight (as surprise) for optimal learning.
Cognitive Limitations and Memory
In this paper research around childhood sexual abuse is reviewed and different arguments for and against the hotly debated existence of repressed memories is presented. The author points out that 59% of trauma survivors self report some time their lives when they could not recall the trauma. Whether they simply didn't want to or were incapable of doing it is left unanswered. The hypothesis is that either way forgetting trauma for some time is in some way adaptive.
This research supports the argument for a solitary self-directed system where a person can protect any conscious or unconscious decisions around when they explore a topic.
This research reveals the mood bias to memory and hypothesizes that memory is mood associated.
This work supports collecting life aspects across moods to obtain more truthful information by which to constructively reconstrue experiences into a more truthful model of reality.
This paper looks at the speed of processing when comparing items and suggests a logarithmic scale with respect to the number of items compared.
This paper looks at the speed of autobiographical recall and effects of association and direction for search and finds a recall speed on the order of ~3 minutes per recall.
Classic study that shows the characteristic time for short term memory to be on the order of 10 seconds.
This review presents the current thinking on working memory decay rates and capacity, particularly it provides the evidence and argument for 3-4 meaningful chunks of data being the limit of short term memory, in contrast to the more commonly known limits of simpler data maintained through the phonological loop - resulting in 7 +-2 individual units of data.
Experiments showing that perception is unified with imagination and that there is one working memory.
Recent examination of the idea behind the adaptive function of memory inhibition to serve reaction times for goal directed behavior.
This paper explores language universals and argues while they generally don't exist, they do exist in the holistic conceptualization of highly particular situation types, and the conceptual relationships that hold among them. The idea behind identifying these universals is that they speak to only what is shared as fundamentally human.
This supports the argument that the question forms that relate categories are strong candidates for generalization and that the ~6000 questions generated by this form may also be universal and serve to allow for the basis of a very specific communication form that removes cultural bias and allows for exchange of human wisdom.
This paper presents the argument for a universal topology, one of which is the idea that the constraints that form the topology are imposed by the structure of the concept space and that there are pragmatic constraints that apply to all humans. It also presents the 'semantic map connectivity hypothesis' that language-specific categories will always pick out connected subsets of the graph and that linguistic categories denote connected regions of conceptual or perceptual space and that the underlying graph has been taken to represent “a common human cognitive heritage”.
This supports the argument that when dealing only with the meaningful(large scale) pragmatics of life there should be a universal model, however the emergent categories of such a model may change between linquistic groups. This supports the idea of naming the categories might be culturally specific, but the relationships would remain recognizable/introspectable.
This paper reviews the current understanding of language universals and argues effectively there are none, and that language is form is an emergent property of satisfying an underconstrained problem, where the constraints are cultural-historical factors and human cognition.
This paper further goes on that given the dirth of language universals in the traditional sense (sound, grammar, lexicon, meaning) this opens up an exciting area of research for cognitive scientists to understand the nature of these human cognition design constraints that are relatively free from linguistic constraints. This research supports the idea of language being more of a reflection of the underlying cognitive structure, fluid and adaptive and therefore a stronger expression of the underlying cognitive processes and structures.
This response clarifies that semantic maps that represent universals are generalizations of relationships between categories of concepts, not concepts themselves, such that members that satisfy a category may or may not be conceptually related.
This paper looks at the interplay between the concept of universal semantic maps (as a common human cognitive heritage) and its relationship to Metonymization - or meaning-making through language. The author makes the argument that "universals of language are found in the principles of form-function correspondence that govern the creation of novel constructions, rather than in any synchronic property of a speaker’s mental representation".
This supports the concept that a model of cognition where links between concepts serve to categorize and define could be used not just for mapping existing conceptual relationships but for generating members of the category or meaning-making. In this way a meaning-making model based on metonymic relations would operate in a very distinct way from a semantic map that just looked at conceptual adjacency in mental representations.
This review looks at various psychological construal operations and emphasizes how meaning comes from these operations, and is not inherent in the actual word, but the context assembled through construal. It points out the fundamental problem with symbolic A.I. in tying meaning to symbols in its conceptualization.
This paper outlines concepts key to understanding what would be involved in creating an universal model of cognition that is independent of content-ful information and yet captured how we construe meaning using arrangement and context.
Presents the consensus idea that meaning-making through language happens through looking at the connection between domains and that meaning lies only within contextualization versus categorization. The named objects in language are not meaningful, but codified. The meaning comes from relating these and is necessary when something has not be codified yet into a semantic unit within a language. These relationships or mappings are finite and tied to the pragmatics of life and how things can exist in relationship to each other conceptually through nearest neighbor categorizations between domains.
A metonymic relationship is more specific than a semantic one for it speaks to all ways that a kind of domain can relate and the domain that are related are defined by uniqueness based on how they relate. A construal has to do with walking through this map across a set of instances. And meaning is made through asking the question 'how' on a given relationship, which then reveals deeper structure and is believed to be core to the evolution of language.
The map of meaning was shaped to serve as an instance of a semantic map made up of metonymic relationships that are constrained to relationships that allow for introspection of a 'how' (have the possibility of being introspectively available) on categories that are introspectively available by fitting English language forms of pragmatic open ended questions that are perceptually based into the least redundant structure that was defined not by the categories.
This paper speaks to the need to separate ontological models of lexical meaning from construals models of meaning (literal versus figurative), with the latter being dynamic. It points to the confusion between them is often from mixing the two, a clean separation clarifies how to approach many concepts in cognitive linguistics.
This book reveals a number of concepts of direct relevance to the Inqwire model of cognition. Particularly the force dynamics formulation of meaning.
This paper presents evidence for language universals when applied to the spacial domain. It is demonstrated that formal (grammatical or lexical categories) are not universal, but are constrained by the structure of conceptual space. This supports the argument that constraints around the meaningful relationship between higher level cognitive concepts might follow the same sort of universality, at least within some subset if they also reflect some sort of physical or cognitive constraints. It also argues that a conceptual framework as language acquisition is a later evolution. Taken together this argues for some sort of model of higher level autobiographical meaning that captures these constraints into a semantic map.
The specific finding is that the cognitive system of language, as represented in closed-class words, shares many structural properties with the cognitive systems of visual perception, of somatosensory perception and motor control, and of understanding, but shares few structural properties with those of affect and of culture.
This paper looks at a language universal of mixing space into time concepts and vise versa, arguing that cognition operates on spacetime, and that cognitive linguistics is following a similar arc to the theory of special relativity that also speaks to the inseparability of space and time in accurately describing the world.
The author refers to research that shows that eye movement studies affirm that including implied movement through a scene results in a kind of scanning consistent with percpeptual changes.
The author argues that concepts from general relativity of time being bent do not apply, but provides no argument for having looked for universals such as 'time standing still' when under the effect of strong attractive forces, such as what happens in physics with gravity and black holes.
This paper looks at modern arguments against the perception of force and argues that they do not hold up in light of current understandings.
This paper looks at how we fill in forces to run mental simulations and importantly makes a distinction that we perceive forces, and fill in with cause and effect as a separate process. They also point out that we run more successful simulations of future state when objects obey the 2/3 power law found in nature. This suggests that we have neurally encoded fundamental 'how' pathways in the brain.
They describe how synonyms that are close to meaning, even metaphoric, with the example of joy and happiness, result in very different cognitive effects. Happiness is referred to as something to be pursued whereas Joy is referred to as something that a person is filled with. The authors suggest that NLP should consider this kind of cognitive changes that aren't revealed simply by synonym.
This book reviews the contemporary cognitive science understanding of how we make sense using situated cognition and language. The concept is often referred to as 'embodied cognition', but this term has been misinterpreted to mean that cognition must be tied to physical senses. The 'body' in 'embodied cognition' is referring to simply situating thinking in a frame of reference that contains basic relativistic physics. To avoid this confusion, Inqwire prefers the term 'situated cognition' over 'embodied cognition'.
Concepts of situated cognition, how to work with it and not destroy it, and its linguistic forms are foundational to all of the designs and interactions within Inqwire.
Basis for the study that 90% of conversation only uses ~800 words. Also see: http://www.newgeneralservicelist.org/
This paper looks at how to study linguistics non-formally.
A review of current thinking across disciplines on metaphor. There is no obvious connection found so far between this understanding and metaphor as a system of constraints.
This article looks at creating an algorithm for inferring semantic maps from cross language data and is consistent with the idea of constraint minimization realizing the final structure.
In this famous nun study, the density of concepts and complexity of ideas in entrance essays to the convent was able to predict who would later develop signs of Alzheimer's disease 6 decades later. This study was very important because the nuns lived most of their lives in almost identical circumstances, thus serving as a very well controlled experiment.
While this could be attributed to early signs of the disease, there was one case where a nun showed no signs of Alzheimer's disease, and was in the high density group. However on later examination of her brain, she had fully developed Alzheimer's.
The entrance essays were personal essays where they 'make sense' of the decision to enter the convent. To the extent that language is a reflection of the conceptual connectivity of our minds, this supports the hypothesis that a cognitive investment in making sense of life early on can protect cognition later in life.
This study looks at the reward system and argues that the manipulation of expectations is one of the largest contributors to the effect. This combined with the large correlation of placebo with depresssion supports why reconstrual of events is therapeutic for depression. As reconstruals reveal novel opportunities, optimism returns.
This study speaks to the complexity of measuring the placebo effect and notes that the effect has increased over time. They show the effectiveness in depression to be 46%, as compared to 51% for drug interventions established in a separate meta-analysis.
This article argues that we are thinking about the placebo effect wrong and need to understand fundamentally that it is about meaning, and in this way we can really learn what is at the heart of its healing capacity and use it more effectively.
This article looks at how the drug effect is highly variable (32-70%) and increasing over time and that this increase correlates with placebo increases suggesting that a significant part of the drug effect is due to placebo.
This study looks at how when a placebo was introduced for weight loss and the effects weren't achieved overall sense of self-efficacy went down.
This paper looks at the effect of self-efficacy in mediating pain tollerance compared to a placebo. They find self-efficacy to have a larger effect.
This article looks at how pain circuitry is shared between physical and social pain of disconnection. This is perhaps an overlooked mechanism that would explain the increase in the placebo effect over time, in addition to restoring hope, the sense of being part of a larger group that shares an intervention could increase as sense of connection.
Emotions as Situated Conceptualizations
This paper reviews current understanding of emotions as emergent properties of situated conceptualizations and challenges the psychological abstraction of characterizing emotions and objects.
The argument in this chapter is that all emotions, thoughts and behaviors come from situated conceptualizations, they are in effect dependent variables or state variables that reflect the deeper conceptualization - in other words, meaningful. It then follows that through changing these conceptualizations, one intrinsically changes their emotion, thoughts and behaviors without needing to regulate/reappraise/suppress.
The argument goes on that just about every psychological pathology has to do with an emotional excess or deficit in some category, which is indicative of simply a conceptualization in need of revision, to which they point to the default mode network as being key. They argue that the positive effects of CBT can be reduced to learning a new set of conceptualizations and all forms of psychopathology might ultimately be addressable through intrinsic emotional regulation by learning new conceptualizations.
This theory supports the idea that learning one's life may be ubiquitously healthy across a variety of different categories of psychopathologies as they may all ultimate come from the same root cause.
Applications of Computing to the Psyche
In this paper the researchers used an avatar to interact with humans in a therapeutic context. In one case they told participants the system was being operated by a human, in the other they were told it was being operated by a computer. Various measures confirm unambiguously that people are more comfortable talking with a computer about personal matters.
These results suggest an orthogonality between comfort as 'rapport' versus comfort in terms of social safetly. These results also support the decision in Inqwire to not include any interactions attempting to mimic human behavior in an attempt to give users a stronger sense of rapport without evidence that this is facilitates life learning.
This paper argues that computer science isn't a science, but it is a trade and that the role of the computer scientist is as a toolmaker, and as such, they must partner with the people that use their tools.
At Inqwire we understand our role as tool builders. That means we decide what to build based on what domain experts and our users tell us and based on testing how our tools are working.
This paper reveals negativity that tends to go along interacting with chat bots.
This article looks at how social dynamics can shape algorithms and the problems that are currently wildly under-estimated.
An automated speech analysis program correctly differentiated between at-risk young people who developed psychosis over a two-and-a-half year period and those who did not.
In this analysis, the authors looked at qualities of semantic coherence as a measure of health. To the extent that the process of making sense of life results in a more integrated and coherent world view, this creates promise that attempting to increase this capacity could buffer against later more exacerbated forms of cognitive impairment.
General review of online CBT showing efficacy and cost-effectiveness compared to person to person delivery. This study validates the feasibility of using a computing platform to replace the psycho-educational function of humans and also come up with synergistic functioning between the two in the arena of the psyche.
General review of online therapies showing efficacy compared to person to person. Points out the limitation that computer systems to date that had tried to emulate therapists (natural language based) continued to fail to understand how to make meaningful inferences and the field effectively died (A.I.) as opposed to the the cognitive/psychoeducational based programs. They believe the potential is still there but a major barrier is the difficultly in building the programs and the difficulty of bringing together the domain experts required for success in building such a difficult system (clinicians, psychologists, systems builders, education specialists, artists etc.).
This study finds that semantics are distributed across the whole brain, and they find clustering in a manner that is consistent with the brain being organized somehow based on higher level concepts, akin to the model of cognition. This work would be supporting if they could reproduce their study with different stories and stories that are more and less meaningful. Time will tell if there is anything beyond looking for signal in noise in this study.
This study shows long term (one week) effects in the amygdala after repeated exposure to negative images with repeated reappraisal. This demonstrates the potential in using cognitive reappraisal as an intervention for depression.
They specifically look at the difference between rumination(via feeling strategy), acceptance(via distancing strategy), and reappraisal(via analysis) and find neural correlates that show how key brain mechanisms tied to negative emotions are de-activated for the distancing but not the analysis condition, lending further support to the research that shows distanced analysis to be productive for depression over non-distanced.
This further supports the use of distanced versus immersed perspectives whenever possible within Inqwire.
In this study they look at different types of inquiry (designed to illicit reappraisal, analytic rumination or angry rumination) and they affective and neurological correlates supporting the self reports of less angry emotions when reappraising.
This study shows that how we think about something (rumination versus reappraisal) controls our emotions, their perseveration, and our sympathetic nervous system activation. With reappraisal future recalls have less experience of anger. This demonstrates the potential in using cognitive reappraisal as an intervention for anger management.
Default Mode Network
This paper looks at memory reconsolidation in the wakeful state and patterns that support a learning model in that the activation seen in resting state networks is a form of memory consolidation that serves learning.
This general review introduces the Default Mode Network and discusses the current understanding of its function and relevence.
This article reviews results where activation of the DMN is correlated with better learning outcomes via including socially meaningful contextualization of classroom material. It suggests how education should modify current teaching styles to incorporate activities that would activate this network to enhance learning across subjects.
In this study, the authors look at 500 measures of brain health and correlate them with the connectivity patterns of the brain. What emerges is a pattern that brain health correlates with a highly connected Default Mode Network, which is tied to higher cognition, autobiographical memory and meaning-making.
This work is consistent with the conclusions from meaning-making researchers that find a strong correlation with having made sense of life and a very wide variety of positive health outcomes. Both point out the 'common sense' interpretation that our ability to take care of ourselves requires higher level cognition, and that when we make sense of our environment we naturally take a more proactive health orientation and navigate towards what we recognize as healthy.
In this review they relate DMN dysfunction to dementia, schizophrenia, epilepsy, anxiety and depression, autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drawing out common and unique elements of the disorders.
This work reviews the important role the DMN takes in mental disorders. As the meaning-making and higher level cognition network, this supports the idea that mental disorders have a meaningful component and working at a meaning-making level should have a real effect in these disorders.
In this paper the authors look at the functioning of the task-positive and task-negative networks(DMN) in terms of recognizing novelty, successful writing of memory, failure of writing of memory and memory retrieval. They find that the competing networks have generally non-overlapping functions in the task positive doing successful writing and novelty detection and the DMN doing memory retrieval and writing failure.
The mechanisms elucidated point at the idea that the Default Mode Network activity (at least in part) may be due to slow memory lookup, which theoretically should be corrected by higher connectivity. It also points at the problem with writing new memories (learning) while the DMN is active as the networks are competitive - resulting in longer lookup speeds and resulting in potentially a negative feedback loop. Together this supports the learning model of mental disorders and would support the importance of early intervention to thwart this feedback mechanism before some threshold where there is more time spent doing memory lookup than perceptually processing ones environment.
In this paper the authors are able to predict memory performance decline in terms of lack of ability to de-activate the DMN and postulate this erodes the ability to record new memories. They discuss implications for AD and the possibility that this may precede the formation of plaques.
This research suggests that if it were possible to improve DMN de-activation memory decline might be avoided. If this were true, then to the extent that faster recall could result in greater de-activation, then a more connected DMN could stave off memory decline.
In this review they propose that the semantic (word based) system is in the Default Mode Network and further that the DMN is the concept based network versus on task which is perceptual, based on the observation that word versus psuedo-word tasks selectively activate and de-activate the network. They also point out the high overlap between autobiographical and semantic memory.
This supports the idea of working with word task and autobiographical memory as a means to integrate the DMN. And more importantly points at a mechanism for self-distancing whereby the externalization of the material of the DMN could allow the perceptual on-task system to recognize novelty (presumably experienced as insights) which would result in the writing of memory (which it is believed the DMN cannot do) and effectively rewire the DMN memory resulting in the learning of the pragmatics of life.
This study looks at the activation of the Default Mode Network in depressed individuals and non-depressed individuals as a proxy for ruminative thought as depressed individuals are consistently in this state. They then make the connection between DMN activity and maladaptive rumination versus adaptive and show that different sub-regions of the network are involved.
This study supports the argument for basic thinking styles (rumination versus reflection) being foundational to mental health. Together with studies around question forms that show the switching on and off of the DMN this makes a strong argument for a kind of cognitive training that would teach one style over the other (as is modeled in Inqwire).
Precuneus and Consciousness
This paper looks at brain connectivity as a predictor for memory performance and finds connection within the DMN - particularly with the precuneus, predicted the increase in functioning.
The precuneus is believed to be responsible for conscious states and integration of information. It is activated during lucid dreaming. Preliminary research shows its activity in non-dual states of meditation that are based on inquiry and psychological distancing via being aware of awareness.
This supports the idea of using meditative inquiry/distancing activities to improve working memory function and bring more lucidity.
This study looks at correlates with early onset Alzheimer's disease versus normal aging and found a disporportionate atrophy in the precuneus, the also found that smaller preceneus is associated with impaired visiospacial functioning.
They find that the trained state where awareness of the dream state, full access to working memory and agency within the dream state most strongly correlate to preceneus activation.
This study distills what the difference might be like to have a higher functioning preceneus (to contrast lower functioning in the case of AD) against a base state with the dream state as a practical metaphor - increased vividness of experience, a deeper understanding of the context one has found themselves in and greater sense of agency.
Preliminary study showing that nondual awareness in contrast to other meditation modes shows more correlation between intrinsic and extrinsic systems and more activation of the precuneus.
Nondual awareness is effectively reflexive awareness and is considered less effortful than other forms of meditation and is often initiated by inquiry into the nature of awareness, self and other. These results are consistent with a line of inquiry that could effortlessly activate a state of lucidity, referred to in the nondual community as 'clear seeing' and supported by the evidence here as a higher form of cognitive function.
The uniqueness of having both the extrinsic and intrinsic systems correlated in their activity is hypothesized to be an artifact of the specific nature of the nondual inquiry. The state of correlated intrinsic and extrinsic systems has been shown to tied to some mental disorders. Traditional nondual inquiry was not used to inform the question forms in Inqwire as they fell outside the domain of pragmatics of life and within the domain of spiritual technologies that are deployed under supervision and designed specifically to be used within a controlled environment, which is believed to be beyond the scope of what a computer can do. However study suggests that distancing, perceptual based question forms may share the quality of activating the precuneus to lead to a more lucid state in general.
Psychology and Sociology
A relatively current review on the thinking around rumination. It shows strong research support that rumination exacerbates depression, enhances negative thinking, impairs problem solving, interferes with instrumental behavior, and erodes social supports and its association with depression, including anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.
It points out the central problem of positive outcomes after negative events require reaching some sort of understanding and how to foster adaptive self-reflection to avoid rumination.
In this paper, the authors provide evidence that rational thinking is not impaired but enhanced in domains of hyper-emotionality that is characteristic of certain psychopathologies by those experiencing the relevant psychopathology. They conclude that lack of rational thinking cannot be the cause of psychopathology and point at a pathologically domain specific, rationally based, emotionally driven, recursive/ruminative thought pattern as the cause. The thought pattern creates an inescapable feedback loop and this is the cause for the hyper-emotionality that is the actual basis of the psychopathology.
They specifically make reference to the violation of these results with the theoretical foundation of Cognitive Behavior Therapy that states that there is no deeper meaning to psychopathology and that one can simply address one's thinking processes rationally to 'correct' irrational pathogenic thoughts.
This review looks at the long history of behavior that is model based or model free. Model-free is conditioned, and requires memory. Model based requires cognition. However they assume that a model based cognition requires a decision tree and do not have the concept of perception as cognition that might use a different parallel process that is not analytic. They mention observations that model-free is correlated with OCD and addiction. An alternate formulation might be that model-free is the low level construal/analytic reasoning processes and model based are perceptual, situated, and globally contextualized in higher level construals.
This paper presents evidence that it can be counter productive to set emotional states as goals - even happiness. In doing so, we may actually undermine ourselves. Instead, we should focus on the task at hand and allow happiness, or any other positive outcome, to ensue. This idea was also popularized by the famous psychiatrist that survived the Holocaust, Victor Frankl (but without strong empirical support).
All the interactions within Inqwire are designed to bring people closer to noticing what they are experiencing instead of imposing ideas of how they should feel. There are no comparisons with others, evaluations or judgments on how people feel. Instead, there are many interactions designed to bring people back to noticing how they feel. Inqwire is also careful with imposing external goals or 'gamification' that might interfere with the implicit rewards of an activity.
In this study they review the cost of emotional suppression which has already shown to be costly behaviorally and physiologically and looks at the negative effects on cognition. This supports the deployment of alternate emotional regulation strategies, presumably reappraisal.
Memory Interference and Enhancement
This study looks at the phenomena of creating false memories through suggestive interview. The authors were able to apply principals of memory distortion to construct false memories in 70% of the research participants.
The false memory research provides a sobering look at how easy it is to distort each other's thinking in a social context and it provides supporting evidence for the superiority of reviewing autobiographical events through a solitary process without human intervention.
This study looks at how recognition can be enhanced by verbal description, which is an enhancement versus the normal interference effect with verbal overshadowing. These results support the idea that we can create accurate articulations of perceptual data provided they are constructed from native encodings.
This paper reviews the recovered memory debate and data and shows that several subjective dimensions are different between implanted and real memories, most notably, confidence. This suggests that we do have a sense of the reliability of information coming from our memory and supports the idea that collecting this subjective metadata could help reconstruct a more accurate representation of direct experiences.
This study looks at the accuracy of identification of targets in a lineup when the lineup is presented sequential versus simultaneous.
They find more correct identification when simultaneous, also more false identification (when the target isn't present). This emphasizes the power of how information is presented contextually to effect perception.
This paper looks at the brains of expert 'memorizers' versus controls and finds no difference in their brains, but instead sees different activation patterns that, rather than being biological, are tied intentionally using a different strategy to consciously arrange items to be memorized spatially, called the 'method of loci'.
This part of the brain activated when using this strategy is the same part that is larger in London cab drivers and is believed to be responsible for mapping out the world around us.
This paper summarizes the field of verbal overshadowing and provides strict guidelines for how to inquire into a perceptual based situation in order to retrieve truthful information.
This body of research was used extensively in the theory and design of the system, including the idea of using native encodings, making sure the system is self directed, providing suggestions in parallel instead of one at a time as happens in conversation (suggestively) and making sure every question is optional.
While it might be argued there is still the possibility of an verbal overshadowing effect in using any artificial system of recall that is making suggestions, any effect should be much smaller than that encountered in a human to human interaction.
Insight and Creativity
This paper explores the theory that unity of consciousness and creativity happens through the mathematical operation of convolution. They site that this model scales and reflects self report of powerful insight experiences by creative thinkers, described as combinatoric play.
This informs the idea of collaging used in both Insight Based Communication and in presenting aspects in parallel for this kind of integration. They also speak to the powerful emotion of insights with lends further supports the idea that we have a wealth of direct experiential information to learn to listen to in or to be able to detect the quality of our mental processes and cognition.
A leader in creativity research explores the nature of human creativity and if it can be described sufficiently to build an artificial intelligence that can do it. The author argues that this line of inquiry can reveal if creativity is truly mysterious. She suggests that human creativity is magnificent, ingenious and very complex, but not mysterious.
Creativity is a pre-condition for insight. Inqwire's interactions leverage this understanding of creativity – that it involves novel combinations of data, transformations of that data, and the creation of new conceptual spaces.
This paper demonstrates training in representational change theory in 30 minutes that substantially improve verbal insight problem performance (~35%).
This work supports the idea that some kind of cognitive training, such as learning the inquiry model of Inqwire, could increase the number of personal insights a person has through similar means (through relaxed constraints).
This paper explore the "special-process" theory of insight that insight arises from non-conscious, non-reportable processes that enable problem restructuring. They find that if they actively distract working memory they get better results than keeping the working memory on task by narrating their thinking or by simply working quietly - which was a better result but not as good as distraction.
This work supports the idea that insight is perceptual and supports the idea of using visual representation arranged in novel ways with novel collections as a way to generate insights. It also lends insight into the verbal overshadowing timing effect, which would seem in this case to be due to exhausting the verbally overshadowed solution space before resorting to perceptual processing.
Self-Determation Theory and Behavior Change
This study looks at how when motives and goals are aligned the result is greater emotional well-being and higher goal success. This provides evidence for how we can maintain a narrative that is not aligned with our non-conscious goals.
This supports the hypothesis that a revision of our non-conscious construals or goal adjustment to match our non-conscious construals would result in greater psychological well-being and goal success.
This study shows that when you make a plan you are more likely to complete your goal.
This is a follow up study to one by the same group showing that when we plan we are more likely to complete our goes. This study shows the importance of letting go of plans to reach a goal if you are blocked. People that were too rigid and committed to their plan had worse performance towards their goals than non-planners.
Inqwire is designed to put you in the driver seat at every step of the way and that includes making sure you are the one that decides if, when, and what to plan.
This review looks at how self-determination theory has panned out in practice. They point out that one of the key considerations is that autonomy may mean rejection of the behavior change and that there may be conflicting needs between adopting a healthier physical behavior (perhaps at the expense of autonomy) versus the psychological health that comes with self determination that results in autonomy. Further they point out that as part of the increase in self-determination, there may be other lifestyle changes that are beneficial that stretch far beyond the behavior change intervention.
This chapter reviews Self-Determination Theory and speaks to the difference between basic psychological needs and personality traits. The authors assert that basic psychological need satisfaction is not an enduring aspect of the personality, because it meaningfully fluctuates with changing environmental support and the person's capacity to find satisfaction within them.
This is consistent with Inqwire's decision to omit the explicit modeling of personality, as it is considered irrelevant to the meaning-making process. Instead, if personality is meaningful to a user, they can choose to model it explicitly through the identity abstraction.
This paper posits that the facilitation of internalization of extrinsic motivations into intrinsic motivations happens through two mechanisms - introjection and integration, with only the latter resulting in self-determination. The mechanism for integration happens through social contexts that provide meaningful rational, acknowledge feelings, and provide choices.
This is consistent with the Inqwire interaction model, which provides these three factors in a powerful, concentrated way through the unique 'social context' of the human-computer interaction.
This study explores the robust effect of asking questions to drive behavior change. They test 4 prominent theories and find that questions that attempt to change attitudes or remind people of something they are already care about was a much smaller effect than using questions to reveal extrinsic and intrinsic motivations and cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance was by far the largest effect, which supports a learning model for behavior change.
In this review article looking at 66 empirical studies they look at multiple facets of self determination theory and break down the various components of the theory to see how it affects exercise adoption and adherence. They conclude that the clearest findings are the beneficial role of developing autonomous self-regulation, be it predominantly via autonomous forms of extrinsic regulation (i.e., identified and integrated regulation) or enhanced intrinsic motivation (which they note could be a result of integrated extrinsic regulation).
This supports the use of Inqwire to develop autonomous forms of extrinsic regulation through integrating/internalizing of extrinsic goals.
In this meta-analysis they find consistent with other studies that autonomy is key in successful outcomes where autonomy results from internalization of behavioral regulations and values, and this internalization has been shown to be the basis for maintained change after treatment has ended.
This paper supports the use of Inqwire to develop autonomous regulation.
Paper presents that external sources of motivation can cause defiance and are unreliable, whereas when patients uncover their own reasons why a behavior is in their best interest they place a higher value on the outcome. They present a coaching and inquiry model as the solution with many empirical results showing efficacy.
The protocol and mechanisms present strongly support the use of Inqwire for behavior change as it unburdens the behavior change agent from having to learn the complex and nuanced inquiry model as this is automatically handled and optimized through the software. This reduced the barrier to entry for change agents (such as doctors) to act as coaches for the actual behavior change.
In this study of self determination theory they find patients' autonomous motivation to participate in a weight-loss program is positively related to their staying in the program, losing weight during the program and, perhaps most important, maintaining their lowered weights.
This review looks at the effect of writing about 'what matters' and positive outcomes in education and behavior change.
The study mentions the power of writing exercises that focus on what matters in affecting large behavior change and performance improvements as a general buffer against psychological threat and stress that undermines both.
This study looks at how self-affirmation can protect against the deleterious effects of stress on problem-solving performance and shows a marked improvement on RAT test results (from ~4.5 to ~9) using self-affirmation (affirming values).
This book documents the powerful effect of priming and how it can significantly affect performance in a variety of cognitive measures. This work highlights the challenge of creating an environment that is free from any kind of accidental priming through stereotyping. A computing system is ideal for this as the biases can simply be omitted.
This study calls into question IQ studies in general and shows how manipulating identity can have a very large affect on performance.
While the mechanism of stereotype threat is considered unknown, the simplest explanation would be the contextual nature of recall, and if that is also tied to a threat condition, then the further reduction in access to memory would be expected.
This paper argues that there is evidence that executive control and self-control both fall under the same depletable resource which is directed attention.
This study looks at how spatial distances are an intrinsically meaningful dimension of our internal representations. In this study, the authors took words that have intrinsically meaningful relative spatial distance (such as 'near' and 'far') and arranged them in space. They found faster cognition when the meaning of the words were consistent with their spatial arrangement.
This study supports the use of visual based tools to arrange meaningful word phrases in space in order to manipulate psychological distance, which is shown in other studies to be helpful in moving from ruminating to meaning-making.
This study examines a construal-level analysis of self-control and shows that asking more 'high-level construals'(psychological distancing) questions decreased preferences for immediate over delayed outcomes, greater physical endurance, stronger intentions to exert self control, and less positive evaluations of temptations that undermine self-control.
This study suggests that psychological distancing can be an effective tool for behavior change in helping people adhere to their intentions.
This paper looks at the neural correlates of self control and finds after people exert control, their neural systems are less responsive to a mismatch between their actions and their goals.
Ego-depletion is a well understood phenomena where regulation of thoughts and feelings are part of system that is used for other forms of self control and can be depleted. This basic formulation would argue that as long as there is any goal state for emotions or thoughts, there is the possibility of much needed ego-depletion.
This argues against the ultimate use of any technique that has goal emotion states (such as calm or relaxed) or goal mental/thinking states (such as clear or focused) as part of a behavior change strategy where self-control is required for goal adherence. A better strategy would be acceptance of whatever emotion or thinking states arise and working on reconstrual or revising conceptualizations as a way to regulate emotions and thoughts rather than monitoring and reappraising.
Confabulation and Cognitive Dissonance
This seminal work reveals how introspection of self with 'why' questions can lead to confabulation.
This study revealed the care that must be taken when inquiring into mental processes.
This paper removes the cognitive load and long term memory from the equation and finds the same results. That we simply confabulate when asked to explain why we do something. We don't know, we just do things unless we remember that we wanted to do something else.
Shows that if person decides what attending to in a verbal report (versus the person asking the question), then no problem.
Shows the introspective access hypothesis cannot be supported by null hypothesis and general problems with measuring introspective access.
This paper shows that we do think in consistent ways when asking about relationships/weightings instead of just causality. Concludes that
In this bold work, the authors provide an argument for the existence of persistent systematic experimenter’s error across a giant swath of psychological experiments that reflects assuming lower level cognitive functioning of the subject and querying their thought processes with this assumption. This leads to a kind of socially induced confabulation that is misconstrued by the experimenter as a cognitive distortion or bias that exists in the subject.
What is shown from first principles, is that the experimenter is bringing un-examined assumptions about the subjects cognitive context, and that is creating the actual cognitive distortion and bias that is assigned to the subject instead. This is often used alongside the hypothesis of an experimentally opaque and untestable involvement of the subjects ‘unconscious’ being the cause of the subject’s bias.
Inqwire’s core technology does not assume the existence of an unconscious as this is an untestable hypothesis. It does not assume that people have cognitive biases, but instead that they can be induced, as has been shown consistently across multiple fields of research. Inqwire goes to great lengths to address not only how to minimize inducing cognitive bias, but more importantly how to help users identify for themselves if it is happening and how to get out of it.
Instead of subscribing to the idea of an unconscious, Inqwire subscribes to modern cognitive science’s understanding of associative memory its role in bringing things to mind by association, which, unlike the hypothetical unconscious, is testable, explainable, and transparent as a mechanism.
They point out that it is very hard to measure awareness and when controlling for it, pure conditioning is not seen.
In this paper, the accuracy of self-perception is measured between 'what' and 'why' questions. The authors demonstrate that by changing question forms and reflection time, it is possible to converge on more truthful data.
This work reproduces the confabulation effect and shows how with further time to reflect, the effect only gets stronger. It then goes on to demonstrate how approaching the same mental content with a different question form leads to more truthful data overall, and that the truthfulness increases with more time to reflect.
This work reveals the care that must be taken when querying the mind and supports the codification of question forms that support insight versus confabulation.
This book documents the well researched astounding propensity we have to lie to ourselves and make things up, or confabulate - without our knowledge. The book speaks to a general need we have to 'fill in the blanks' to be able to restore navigation. And it appears that some are better than others at noticing when they are confabulating.
The book also speaks to how when a person is speaking more consistently (truthfully) between their non-conscious and stated motives, they have greater emotional well-being.
This research, in a broad way, supports the general idea of how we can get lost (have our conscious and non-conscious sense of truth become out of sync) via confabulation, and how easy that can be done with a wrong form of inquiry introduced by external interpretations and agendas. This further supports the decision to exclude any form of external assessment or analysis from Inqwire.
Reconstrual and Distancing
This study looked at emersed versus distanced recall of autobiographical memories in the brain and found a differential response to areas that process self and negative affective states.
This review looks at a wealth of studies having to do with construal-level and psychological distancing.
This review looks at evidence that values and morals are high level construals and so the act of psychological distancing such that a person is aligned with a global context results in more altruistic behavior.
This study looks at effects of construal level and certainty over causal effects and find that higher level construals lead to more sense of certainty.
This study looks at how psychological distancing skews thinking to consider causality versus effects and discusses implications in self-regulation and coping, power and problem solving, and moral reasoning.
In this study they test an intervention where they attempt to unfreeze belief systems not by presenting counter arguments (which would be further polarizing) but by using 'paradoxical thinking' where they used inquiry to investigate beliefs in such a way as to invite reconstrual. They found that even a year later, the participants less 'hawkish' and more pro-peace.
This study supports the working hypothesis of Inqwire that given the right questions people can revise their world views – without the addition of new information. They asymmetry of the study (those that were already peaceful stayed peaceful) supports the working hypothesis that as we revise our world view using higher level construals, ethical behavior emerges.
This study suggests that whether depressed adults’ attempts to analyze negative feelings lead to adaptive or maladaptive consequences may depend critically on whether they do so from a self-immersed or a self-distanced perspective.
This study looks at the relationship between reviewing negative events from a distance, moving from recounting to reconstruing and level of emotional adaptations. They find that psychological distanced group had less recurring thoughts about the negative event compared to a non-distanced review and distraction control group.
This study both supports the use of psychological distancing when review past negative events, but also supports indirectly the hypothesis that intrusive thoughts of past events are invitations for reconstrual/meaning-making.
This study looks at spontaneous self-distancing and its psychological effects. It addresses the idea that distanced perspective may be maladaptive for PTSD and other situations where a painful memory is recalled distanced and makes the argument that recall and reconstrual are different memory mechanisms, with the latter being potentially adaptive if the former is seen less so (which is also arguable). In short, the memory may be adaptively be retrieved in an immersive manner to recreate it in working memory and then distanced for analysis. It also notes that the tendency to reconstrue was reasonably stable over 7 weeks and points to future research to see if it is a trait or behavior(can be learned).
This work presents the "Self-Absorption Paradox". Psychologists were stating both that self knowledge was essential for mental health and yet self 'consciousness' was strongly implicated in mental disorders. They make the key distinction between 'ruminating' and 'reflection' and show that this resolves the paradox. The authors show that rumination is implicated in a variety of disorders that are generalized to neuroticism, whereas reflection is not. They also show that reflection leads to psychological openness whereas rumination does not.
The authors further infer that the guiding principal they were exploring was analysis versus curiosity and believed that they were indirectly looking at the tie between curiosity and psychological well being.
Meaning and Well-Being
This paper looks at 6 types of remniscents and their correlates with successful aging as measured by well-being and finds that the differentiator is remniscence that is integrative and instrumental is the differentiator, not passing on wisdom or the amount of remniscence.
Current overview re-iterating how humanistic psychology has been against measurement because of the subjective, highly personal and non-reducable process that is meaning-making. The article argues for a need for empiricism and how to move past these concerns.
Current overview describing issues in the field of a lack of general model to describe how meaning happens.
This paper asks people what questions they ask themselves after receiving information about outcomes and breaks down the question by type. They find that people do look for causality through inquiry when expectations are not met, when they are surprised and when they fail, consistent with curiosity research.
This review looks at the wealth of correlations between meaning and psychological well-being, and it supports why meaning, and not happiness, is at the core of the positive psychology movement. A sample of the correlations include:
- High Morale
- Work Enjoyment
- General Health
- Life Satisfaction
- Immune Function
- Positive Emotions
- Self Worth
- Sense of Coherence
- Self Control
- Openness to Experience
- Visual Intelligence
- Quality of Life
- Positive Self Regard
- Self Confidence
- Self Mastery
- Personal Responsibility
- Positive Outlook
- Future Optimism
- Coping with the Past
- Emotional Focus
- Emotional Regulation
- Transcendent Experiences
And meaning is anti-correlated with:
- Negative Emotions
- Psychological Distress
- Hostility and Aggression
- Suicidal Ideation
- Greater Fear of Death
- Criminal Behavior
- Substance Abuse
- Higher Mortality
- Poorer Physical Health
- Risky Behavior
Meta-analysis that shows efficacy of life review and remniscence in depression. Entire range of papers by this group shows that the results are highly variable and without a clear theory for the effective mechanism and better controls and more research the effective mechanism will not be established.
This study looks for a mechanism to explain the widespread correlations between making sense of life and well-being. The authors present a model where making sense of life leads to a more proactive health orientation, which then leads to all the downstream positive health benefits that are associated with making sense of life.
This paper argues that we need more research on meaning-making because the results are complex and depend on many factors.This work is consistent with Inqwire's interaction model that leaves the determination of when to make meaning, what to make meaning about, how much to make meaning and what questions to answer up to the individual while provided self-assesment tools - Life Outlook - to be able to learn about their own meaning-making process.
This paper assesses wisdom in terms of the degree to which people use various schemas to deal with social conflicts. They found that wise reasoning is associated with greater life satisfaction, less negative affect, better social relationships, less depressive rumination, more positive vs. negative words used in speech, and greater longevity. The relationship between wise reasoning and well-being held even when controlling for socio-economic factors, verbal abilities, and several personality traits. As in prior work there was no association between intelligence and well-being. Further, wise reasoning mediated age-related differences in well-being, particularly among the middle-aged and older adults.
This book contains a very comprehensive overview of modern wisdom research.
This research develops a way to measure wise reasoning through inspecting how people think through open ended questions which sets the foundation for a reproducible, empirical methodology for measuring wise reasoning as a method to develop wisdom as reflection of mastery over the pragmatics of life.
This research finds that spending an additional 5 minutes to quietly reflect on open ended questions about life leads to one standard deviation increase in wise reasoning over dialog alone.
This research supports the idea that wise reasoning is an action, not a passive state of mind. It also supports the idea of engaging in a regular practice of solitary reflection.
This study looks at long term outcomes after hardship and finds that after a hardship, we can come out more or less wise than people who did not experience hardship, depending on if we take time to make sense of our lives.
The study goes on to find that this ability to make sense of life and generate life wisdom is the top predictor of the sense of subjective well-being in the second half of life - over any life circumstances, such as health, economic status and social involvement. The author recommends starting as early as possible to teach and support qualities necessary for the development of wisdom.
This paper makes the link between measurable increases in wisdom when people were asked to self distance while describing current life adversities. This links together the concepts of wise reasoning and distancing.
Expressive Writing and Story Editing
This book unflinchingly looks at the massive failures of psychology and sociology to design, test and deploy interventions that actually work. In example after example we see how common sense and expert advice is not enough and often do more harm than good. This book will make a skeptic of anyone looking for help in the arena of the psyche.
The book repeatedly returns to the single intervention that is shown to be robust against all others. The core element of a successful intervention contains what the author refers to as 'story editing', akin to reconstrual or reappraisal done through narrative, specifically through writing.
This work supports the ubiquitous effectiveness of a platform to make the basic mechanisms under story editing more efficient and effective.
This work appeals to the extreme care that is desperately needed and largely missing from the current offerings of psycho-social interventions widely used today. It informs the ethics behind Inqwire to thoroughly research any mechanism included in the software for empirical efficacy and to not be inventive with theories or interventions, but rather use a computing platform and information science as the innovation to deliver the most rigorous and well tested interventions known to date.
This paper gives a general summary based on years of study of the world's expert on expressive writing. He asserts that the effects of expressive writing depend on time and that it may not be constructive to write directly after a disruptive life event.
This study lends further support to ensuring all writing activities are optional, self directed explorations. It also supports the decision to avoid prescribing one-size-fits-all solutions to the writing activities and prompts within Inqwire and instead to generate them on demand from each user's current writing.
This paper presents evidence that supports the 'matching hypothesis' which says that in order to experience beneficial effects of writing, we shouldn't follow some formula, but instead write how we want to - be it reflective or expressive, a lot or a little.
This study lends further support to ensuring all writing activities are optional, self directed explorations. It also supports the decision to avoid prescribing one-size-fits-all solutions to the writing activities and prompts within Inqwire and instead to offer a variety of options and to suggest that people only answer questions that speak to them.
This book summarizes the seminal work on expressive writing and explores its therapeutic effects. This work is the bedrock of why journaling is considered therapeutic.
There are many theories presented about what exactly makes expressive writing work, but notably 80% of respondents that noticed any long term effects stated the value was in finding insights and how they understood themselves better rather than explaining that it felt good to get things off their chest (catharsis).
In the 26 years since this work we have learned much more about the exact mechanisms presented here (distancing, construal, reappraisal and insight) that can make the difference between constructive and destructive journaling, and that can optimize outcomes.
Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth
Resilience predicts how well we bounce back from adversities. Current understanding by resilience researchers points at three key factors for resilience, our sense of connection, purpose and agency.
Because these three key dimensions are subjective senses, they change base on what we bring to mind. Inqwire uses measures similar to these subjective measures of resilience as a way to track and learn what aspects of our lives, what activities on the site and what life circumstances change our sense of resilience so that we can naturally learn how to make choices that increase it.
This chapter lays down the foundation of 'counter-regulation' as a theory of resilience. In 'counter-regulation' one's attention automatically seeks out positive stimuli in negative context and negative stimuli in positive context, as a kind of intrinsic emotional regulation.
Inqwire uses measures of Life Outlook as a measure of positivity and negativity that are consistent with measures of resilience. Many of the algorithms in Inqwire are designed to bring these opposites together in meaningful ways to reveal new ways to emotionally regulate and re-enforce those connections, which according to this theory, should increase psychological resilience.
In this paper the authors test counter-regulation for distant versus current events against 'hot' versus 'processed' events. Events that happened further in the past are more likely to be processes, to this study attempts to tease out if the real effect is time or processing, and they find that hot versus processed is what mediated the effect.
This supports the use of self report Life Outlook scores in opposing categories to find potential candidates for counter-regulation. They also point out the importance of ultimately finding basis for reconstrual, which supports the presentation of many candidates for the user to search for an effective candidate life aspect.
This study supports the 'counter-regulation' theory of resilience and shows how attention naturally attempts to seek out stimulus of opposite valience to what we currently are feeling as a way to intrinsically regulate our emotions.
Inqwire contains many activies designed to bring together life aspects of opposite valience in order to facilitate and accelerate this process, which in theory, should lead to strengthening intrinsic abilities to self regulate and subsequent resilience.
This review chapter looks at meaning-making as the key way that people bounce back, or key in the resilience process. They look at meaning based interventions designed to increase resilience before and after an adversity - with mixed results. They find that after adversity, those that have a fractured narrative and don't see meaning in the adversity do not do as well.
This study shows the time progression of adaption to learning a person will get Huntington's disease via genetic testing. They find that initially, those who know they have the disease are worse off than those who don't know, but by the 6 month mark, they are notably less distressed. More surprising is that the one's with increased risk have a higher sense of general well-being and lower depression than the decreased risk group at 12 months, showing astounding self-generated post-traumatic growth/resilience.
This study shows both the need to resolve ambiguities for psychological well-being and the amazing capacity to grow in the face of adversity, provided sufficiently long time scales are used.
This supports the design decision to make Inqwire a self-guided system and further lends support to helping people learn their lives, even if it is disruptive or distressing in the short term.
This study looks at the effectiveness of interventions with trauma and shows that early interventions/psychological debriefings do more harm than good. The athors recommend that the practice be discontinued due to worsening outcomes. They point out that most people recover from trauma on their own within 3 months and that many people are either resilient and/or have a separate network they can use for support.
This supports the design decision to make Inqwire a self-guided system and further supports the decision to go directly to literature and researchers to inform the design of the system and not just assume that because therapists do it, it must be correct.
This literature review looks at the effect of genetic testing and finds none of the 15 papers they reviewed reported increased distress (general and situational distress, anxiety and depression) in carriers or non-carriers at any point during the 12 months after testing. Both carriers and non-carriers showed decreased distress after testing. Test results were rarely predictive of distress more than one month after testing (predictive in two of 14 analyses). None of the studies manipulated any counseling variables.
This generalized the Huntington's study and again shows the capacity for people to naturally adapt to and even thrive in the face of adversity.
This paper documents a therapeutic approach to psychosis that has 85% successful recovery rate with first onset psychosis. They emphasize the need for non-judgment and sharing openly of subjective experience and their success supports their hypothesis that psychosis is fundamentally a socially based mental illness.
This paper reveals through a longitudinal study that 1/2 to 2/3 of patients admitted with the diagnosis of schitzophrenia recovered, most without medication. This is contrary to reported treatment outcomes (2-6% recovery) with medication. They point out the need for any kind of measuring of severe mental illness needs to make a distinction between diagnosis and prognosis if they are going to understand disease progression and what lead to positive outcomes.
This study looks a immigrant groups in England compared to the same groups who haven't immigrated and shows an astounding increase in psychosis that cannot be explained by genetics. Particularly of those with mixed race.
Sociology and Cultural Anthropology
This study looks at how the wisdom of crown phenomena can be erased by social effects. This is more evidence for the theory that insight and clear perception can be enhanced through a solitary experience and that social interactions must be very carefully constructed to reveal insight.
This study finds Social Dominance Orientation predicts lower self-compassion.
This finding supports the decision of Inqwire to not include any means by which users could be compared to others and formulate a measure or metric around which to conceptualize a social hierarchy.
This work shows that how people perceive is tied to culture and calls into question assumptions about cognition. This work demonstrates that styles of cognition can be learned.
This study looks at cultural differences of self distancing while processing negative past experiences and finds less occurrences of depression from the adaptive (distanced) reflection. This research supports the idea that Americans have social influences that affect their thinking and that adaptive reflection can be learned.
This paper looks at consistent trends in differences in the content between voice hearers from different cultures and argues based on this that the content must be meaningful.
This supports the decision to not do any diagnostics or assume that meaning must be tied with an objective measure of reality within Inqwire.
This paper looks at the cultural significance of hallucinations outside of a clinical setting, particularly within religious ritual and argues that because of this prevalance care must be taken with hallucinations to not characterize them as necessarily a symptom as pathology as they may be meaningful.
This supports the decision to not do any diagnostics or assume that meaning must be tied with an objective measure of reality within Inqwire.
Report summarizing the link between childhood poverty and mental illness. They quote a robust effect of children in poverty having 3 times the likelihood of mental illness.
This study also reveals that bats will reject feeding from those it is not in a reciprocal relationship with.
This book attempts to formulate metrics for measuring human suffering and looks at different ways it is measured and comparisons between cultures.
In this paper the authors take a sobering look at how humanity will survive impending environmental challenges. They note humanity's historic failure to exercise the foresight needed to do this on a local scale and attempt to address how we might develop this kind of 'foresight intelligence' needed to not repeat our past mistakes on a global scale.
This paper looks at critical time scales of environmental degradation and argues for the need for rapid social and political change, and questions if we have the cognitive abilities to exercise the foresight needed to alter our behavior and avoid future collapse. The paper argues for the need to develop a new kind of intelligence, based on foresight.
This paper looks at our impact on our environment and argues that multiple signals are showing a rapid acceleration and that we are entering the final phase where in the next few generations, our cognitive capacity to survive will be tested and it will determine if we will continue to survive on as a species.
This paper looks at categories of emotion across culture and time and shows that they are categorized in very different ways.
This work suggests that emotions as they are represented by American psychological scholars are not biologically based, but culturally based, and so any psychopathology defined by them must also be either a reflection of the culture or some combination of more fundamental biologically based brain state that is independent of the emotional representation.
Fundamentally it reveals a necessary level of indirection between any intrinsic cause of mental illness and any emotion based diagnosis. A cultural cause of mental illness(such as being angry or depressed by oppression) in these cases would be a more logical interpretation.
Models of Making Sense and Model Criticisms
Representation and Cognitive Models
This book looks at the paradox that similarity in memory causes interference and failure to recall, whereas memory retrieval speed goes up with expertise. If the brain were simply storing facts or concepts, this shouldn't be possible. The book addresses this in terms of logical arguments for the structure of memory and shows through scaling arguments that a hierarchical, tree-like memory structure could not have the qualities of increased speed with more information, whereas a highly connected graph model could.
The author further argues that the search/query structure used to look up memory must match the encodings and be of the same components that qualify the memory in the first place.
Inqwire is designed to construct a unique map of meaning for each user that acts as a personalized schema for how they make sense. According to this theory, this should result in less memory interference effects and therefore better recall and clarity of mind.
In this paper the authors look at the paradox of how with memory interference there could ever be an expert who could look up information faster than a novice. They conclude that the interference effect has to do with multiple themes tied to a piece of information versus multiple pieces of information and so the integrating of knowledge into a consistent theme would reduce interference.
This supports the function of curiosity as a drive to remove cognitive dissonance (competing 'themes' in this case) to increase reaction times and accuracy of knowing and supports a hypothesis that actively integrating information could increase the accessibility and durability of one's memory and conceptual knowledge.
This review argues that the current weight of the evidence supports the idea that the memory consolidation process is never complete. In other words, we are continually learning from our past.
This supports revisiting older memories as a way to continue to learn about life through ongoing memory reconsolidation.
This paper looks at an artificial intelligence evolving some kind of representation. The authors show that as something like memory evolves, so does fitness for learning the task at hand. The authors have to evolve the topology of the neural net to achieve this, and an ordinary neural net does not evolve a representation along with fitness. This work is consistent with observations of a topologically change to the brain as internal representations change. This appears to be consistent with the ideas of the default mode network connectivity thank links to both autobiographical memory and overall fitness.
This paper shows how creating an imagined simulation results in better reasoning over real world situations.
This work supports creating interactive views that allow us to manipulate implicitly situated concepts as a way to enhance our ability to reason over them.
Making a connection between biological systems that are contextualized in real physical constraints, and language as a self replicating system, the author argues that language is not symbolic of the thing to which it refers, or the content, but symbolic of the constraints that act on it. And so this resolves some of the confusion around representation - as what is being represented is constraints. The author does not mention closed class words, but by extention, close classed words could form constraint based equations that describe possible relationships between things, and so contextualized 'complexes' of these constraints would be the source of language genesis and open class words when used to contextualize via metonymization, are not representing things, but assemblies of constraints that apply to the corrent context. In this way, the thing being perceived is just the plausible satisfaction of the constraints. Autobiographical memory would also store sensory data as constraint information. This problem of one working memory/imagination would explain why memory is contextual, we can only simulate what is close to what we are experiencing. Thus the importance of reflection outside of current context for integration and consolidation.
This paper explores the idea that constraints (modulated signals) work top down to radically reduce processing time by reducing the search space of a solution, and therefore increasing processing time.
This supports the idea that the brain does not learn by conditioning, that just artificially extends the reach of the constraint, but by insight - where insight is the realization of a new constraint such that one's thinking is simplified by reducing the possible space of solutions.
Anectdotes that show that the concept of self is not required for a concept of subjectivity and the two need to be separated.
This paper presents ideas of dynamics systems modeling to the brain and has a nice formulation of fluids, feedbacks, non-linear dynamics and cognition. They tackle the thorny issue of inference as recognition/perception as well.
This paper discusses how perceptions and intentions go together under constraints and refutes the hierarchical model of computation, including bayesian brain, showing different examples where it breaks down and the computational difficulties.
The following assertions still live outside of the domain of scientific inquiry and exist in the realm of philosophy waiting for confirmation.
The concept that the universal effectiveness of different modes of therapy is based on the simple idea that applying human intelligence to one's internal world results in internal resolution(if you pay attention to anything long enough you will figure it out and find solutions). This supports the idea that a tool that simply attempts to find full coverage of meaningful introspective directions may be optimally therapeutic without any further validation needed.
The concept that certain mental phenomena is introspectively available (you can extract truthful information from your mind) and certain isn't informed the idea that not every question that could be asked should be asked.
That not every conceptual representation is introspectively available (it may just be symbolic) informed the constraint that the nodes in the model of cognition should be introspectable - meaning you can inquire into them and retrieve truthful information.
This paper discusses the challenges and advantages to treating links between data as information and mining it to reveal categories, graphs and models.
This paper describes the seminal work in language analysis and shows the relationship between word usage, personality and behavior - specifically the use of pronouns and connector words.
This work supports the idea that a powerful system for psychological understanding and transformation could be built on the very small set of English language connector words (~500 versus ~100,000).
This study uses text analysis to look for changes in writing that predict adaptive bereavement. They find more causal and insight word usage and conclude that the positive outcomes were from reappraisals and moving from ruminating to meaning-making.
This work supports the idea of using prompts for reappraisal to disrupt ruminative writing styles and move users towards more psychologically productive writing via inviting reappraisal.
Artificial Intelligence Models
A program developed to simulate artificial intelligence based on mimicing a Rogerian therapist. This exercise revealed many dangerous and powerful concepts in human-computer interactions that led the creator to focus his efforts to block and educate people on the dangers in computers simulating humans, particularly our gullability and addictiveness to random behavior.
This paper summarizes our general understanding of what human intelligence (natural intelligence) is, drawing heavily on the developmental sciences, and hypothesizes what it may take to someday build it into an Artificial Intelligence.
In particular, the authors argue that human cognition appears to come with an intuitive grasp of physics and psychology, as well as a means to rapidly generalize understanding to new scenarios, all of which cannot be done by current state of the art Artificial Intelligence.
This paper attempts to address the fundamental problem of how children reason so well with so little information and how we go on to create abstract areas of thought that stretch beyond our senses. The article reviews the current understanding of human cognition, drawing many parallels between how infants and scientists think.
Inqwire is designed to operate as a kind of self-directed, private laboratory of the psyche and attempts to leverage all our innate abilities as 'natural born scientists'.
This paper is a survey of how intelligence is defined in different contexts and finds that there is no consensus. Further, different fields seem to think about it differently, such as Artificial Intelligence versus Psychology.
This article looks at how A.I. can't handle tacit knowledge and how it would need to be trained to operate on narrative somehow to overcome this and how this will be necessary for it to overcome becoming anti-social.
This book carefully reviews all the major A.I. therapy systems built to date and discusses the successes, failures and limitations in the field. The field effectively died shortly thereafter. Reasons for failure appear to be a lack of information in general from the fields of psychology and cognition to guide system construction such as lack of a cognitive model of cognition, lack of understanding what positive outcomes would look like, lack of understanding what advantages a computing system would have over human interactions, attempting to model human therapists, and a focus on affective and psycho-analytic problem solving which in the former case was a wrong technique fit for a non-human and in the latter case resulted in a combinatorial explosion of intractability. The book ends with promise that with more understanding these hurdles might be overcome.
Each of the hurdles presented appear to be addressable with the massive advances in understanding in the last decade - including suggestions that successful directions will include aborting attempting to have computers emulate humans, focusing on cognitive methods, and learning and attempting to exploit what computers are good at.
This paper hypothesizes that the unversal within positive outcomes across different forms of therapy in treatment of different mental disorders is ultimately due to memory reconsolidation facilitated by the therapy form in different ways. This supports the idea that a computing system that facilitated memory reconsolidation could also result in positive therapeutic outcomes through a similar mechanism.
This chapter reviews experimental evidence that rational thinking is not impared but enhanced in domains of hyper-emotionality that is characteristic of certain psychopathologies by those experiencing the relevant psychopathology. This is in direct disagreement with the foundation of Cogntitive Behavioral Therapy, which presumably is working through some other mechanism.
They conclude that lack of rational thinking cannot be the cause of psychopathology and point at a pathologically domain specific, rationally based, emotionally driven, recursive/ruminative thought pattern as the cause. The thought pattern creates an inescapable feedback loop and this is the cause for the hyper-emotionality that is the actual basis of the psychopathology.
Inqwire's core processes naturally reveal recursive thought processes. And Inqwire provides additional tools designed to help users identify, understand, and transform problematic recursive thought patterns.
In this work, Frankl noted that there tended to be a significant inverse relationship between drug involvement and meaning in one's life. Ninety percent of students in high school and college who were addicted to alcohol and one hundred percent who were addicted to drugs reported that meaning' was lacking in their lives
Theoretical basis of modern CBT that posits that emotional disorders are due to errors in cognition due to irrational thinking, versus subconscious or non-conscious causes.
This book provides the empirical basis for redesigning therapy around client reported subjective outcomes and matching the correct therapist to the correct client in its ability to predict positive outcomes. This supports the importance of doing some sort of matching between people that would help and maintaining the correct relationship that does not undermine the patience ability to reveal solutions and evaluate their own outcomes.
Paper arguing that cognitive dissonance is natural. When we ask people why they do what they do, they confabulate, make up something plausible. If they
In this paper a theoretical model of psychological well-being comprising 6 distinct dimensions of wellness (Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, Personal Growth, Positive Relations With Others, Purpose in Life, Self-Acceptance) was tested. They author concluded that without a solid theory to start from, it is very hard to get sufficient information to conclude what might be fundamental factors of well being. However, they do establish that previous measures of affect or life satisfaction are not sufficient to capture all the dimensions of well being.
While not identical, these 6 dimensions are similar to the ones used in Inqwire as a way notice one's Life Outlook. In Inqwire's model of cognition, the core functioning of the psyche is meaning-making and the outcome of that process is psychological well being, reflected in one's direct perception of life, or Life Outlook.
This is an overview of Self-determination theory that explains the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and how they relate to extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation. They tie satisfaction of basic psychological needs to the internalization of external motivation required for effective long-term behavior change and well-being.
This theory is consistent with Inqwire's interaction model that fosters autonomy, accelerates the discovery of meaningful relatedness, and fosters competence at navigating one's personal life. Further, the theory posits that the facilitation of internalization happens through social contexts that provide meaningful rationale, acknowledge feelings, and provide choices - which is also consistent with the Inqwire interaction model or 'social context' of the human-computer interaction.
This paper gives a general overview to the idea that resilience is how you bounce back from adversity and what factors might influence it.
The general concept of resilience addresses both the effect of revision to the mean, transient states, and intrinsic capacity to recover. It draws natural parallels with self-determination theory in explaining the fundamentals of how we come to thrive after facing an adversity.
The field of post-traumatic growth has incredibly thin empirical evidence, but leading theories based on self report information all contain a cognitive aspect to recovery and growth, specifically meaning-making.
The paper's central concept that co-authoring is a danger in therapy (the therapist influencing a clients perceptions and conclusions) and that it is hard to phrase words without prompting for an answer.
This supports Inqwire approach of using parallel prompting with a computer system as well as supporting using a computer system for administering questions that does not convey any sense of an external intelligence as part of the process.
They further argue that making connections between deeper meaningful categories (a subset of the categories in Inqwire) brings depth and insight to the therapy and a more profound and lasting effect. Their recommended script is similar to one of the 15 scripts in Inqwire and supports the concept that this process might be therapeutic.
The authors put forth many arguments that support the idea that people self-heal. They references multiple studies showing the same efficacy across many different modes of therapy and the only rational interpretation is that therapy is like exercise, many benefits are universal independent of the form.
They present the concept that the therapeutic environment is not about fixing but setting up an environment for clients to heal.
In response to self-help books being as effective as therapy, they postulate that an interactive computer system could be more therapeutic than both because it can be interactive and self-guided.
They present the concept that outsiders cannot truly be objective (and such objectivity does not exist) because they cannot grasp the entire internal climate of the client and therefore only a client can come up with their own solutions.
They offer an analogy with physical exercise stating that it does not matter the type of therapy but the level of involvement (it's more important to exercise than to do the right kind of exercise).
They present a high level overview of true client centered therapies, stating that they follow the client and support them in finding their own solutions and insights and assert this is the optimal form of therapy.
They present the concept that clients need to explore and supporting exploration (versus telling the 'truth') is the primary interaction in therapy.
They present the concept that for effective self-healing, a therapist must respect the client, find them 'wise', be patient and curious about their lives and support their generativity.
They present the concept that true insight versus intellectually manufactured insight is transformative (the true 'aha' or experienced insight).
They present the concept that the therapeutic process is mentally generative and the first part of that process is articulation into symbols for use in the conscious workspace.
In this classic work attempts to understand the therapeutic process, Jerome Frank asserts that clients have a limited assumptive world and therapists act as a proxy for possibilities the client does not see within their assumptive world and therefore shift their assumptive world, which then increases their future thinking, hope and agency.
It would logically follow that direct access to other peoples internal world that could challenge limiting assumptions should be just as effective, and might even be more effective.
This work informed idea that 'experts by experience' that have 'been there' should be more credible and therefore more effective to those that are 'in it' and therefore powerful agents for shifting assumptive worlds. This inspired the idea of matching people based on their subjective interpretation (their assumptive world) and bring life changing, targeted hope, future thinking and real-world solutions to those that need them most.