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Our dogs are our minds


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#1 Donald McCaig

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 05:29 AM

Dear Fellow Theoretistas:

Take a look at http://opinionator.b...our-brains/?hp. Seems to me this theory could apply with more force to our connection with other domestic animals, particularly our dogs.

Donald McCaig

#2 Pippin's person

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:28 AM

I'll bite....seems to me that it's more distributed cognition than extended cognition that would be applicable to our joint activities with domestic animals, particularly dogs.

What do you have in mind about applying the idea of extended cognition to our connection with domesticated animals?

One thing I've been wondering lately is the connection between joint activities involving humans and dogs and joint activities involving humans and other species. Relatively speaking, we seem to do a lot with dogs that depends on the species-specific skills and knowledge of the two. We also seem to do some (but maybe not quite as varied a repertoire--don't really know as I'm not a horse person) with horses. I can't really think of other species that we collaborate with in quite those ways (e.g. getting some kind of job done that depends on both species).

That's an interesting article, thanks for posting it.
Robin: One of the two people
Renzo: First dog, resident non-BC
Pippin, Rafe, Kyzer, Lad, Zac, and Scout: the BC crew
Fox, Lars, Milo, Xeno, Callie, and Barn Kitty: Kitties
Rest in Peace:  Theka, Macchi, Ness, Fritz, Inji and Tansy

#3 Maja

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:43 AM

Embodied cognition is the main theoretical framework I use for my linguistic research. During my search for materials I came across a very interesting book From Molecule to Metaphor by J. A. Feldman, where he cites interesting research on priming by John Bargh (Bargh et al. 1996: 230-238), where participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group was primed through a scrambled sentence task designed to activate an elderly stereotype (the sentences included words like 'wrinkled,' 'alone,' 'dependent,' 'knit'). After the completion of the test, in an undercover operation, the researchers measured how long it took all of the participants (primed and not primed) to walk to the elevator. It turned out that the participants primed for the elderly stereotype walked significantly slower than the group that was not primed. This experiment was reduplicated, yielding similar results. Note that the words that primed the subjects were not related to walking as such.

I am also wondering what you mean exactly in your comment.

Maja

#4 Donald McCaig

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:16 AM

Dear Fellow Theoretistas,

Ms. Maja wrote:
I am also wondering what you mean exactly in your comment.

I am also wondering.The notion that the mind is extended by technical devices must apply to animals as well. I am a better weather forecaster because my sheep predict storms, my dogs tell me when something unusual is approaching.

I've ordered the book and hope to learn more.

Donald McCaig

#5 Maja

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:39 AM

Mr. Donald McCaig,

Your comment made go and reread the article, as it seems to me that the author somehow reversed things, but I am in the middle of making bread with leaven for the first time so I will have to go back to the article later.

It is interesting that Cognitive Linguistics and the idea of embodied mind has inspired and been used by people with very contrasting world views from the liberal Lakoff to Bible translation scholars.

If you are on a book shopping spree I would like to recommend The Literary Mind by Mark Turner. In a way, cognitive linguistics is what good writers have known about all along. So perhaps nothing new for you there :D .

Maja

#6 JohnLloydJones

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:05 AM

Your comment made go and reread the article, as it seems to me that the author somehow reversed things, but I am in the middle of making bread with leaven for the first time so I will have to go back to the article later.

Ah, naturally leavened bread (aka sourdough) is best bread you will ever taste. Not only do we enjoy it at our table every day, but the dogs enjoy their home baked sour rye with sweet potato treats as well.

As for the article, I found it rather vague and difficult to put a finger exactly what was the point the author was trying to make. Nonetheless, I agree with everyone who see dogs as an extension of our minds. There is a definite pleasure in the working (or playing) together and feeling that for a period of time one's mind melds with one's partner. It can happen when one is playing (or singing) a duet, working on a common goal (e.g. pair programming), but for me, there is an extra thrill when my partner is a different species. I have no idea what goes on inside a dog's mind (how could I, when I don't even know what goes on inside my wife's mind?), but somehow, we each become an extension of the other's mind -- there's some wonderful translation going on, that's for sure.

#7 Pippin's person

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:52 AM

I've been reading "When Species Meet" by Donna Haraway and she attends to many of these kinds of issues in her typical (somewhat frenetic, maybe even manic) style. I can't read more than about 5 pages of her writing without needing a calming beverage, but she has some interesting thoughts on these relationships we engage in with companion species and she comes at them from a largely humanistic perspective (strongly infused with her training in biology) along with a long-standing philosophical interest in humans' interactions with machines. Her book, "The Companion Species Manifesto" deals with similar issues.
Robin: One of the two people
Renzo: First dog, resident non-BC
Pippin, Rafe, Kyzer, Lad, Zac, and Scout: the BC crew
Fox, Lars, Milo, Xeno, Callie, and Barn Kitty: Kitties
Rest in Peace:  Theka, Macchi, Ness, Fritz, Inji and Tansy


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