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Jeffrey M. Zacks

The representation of events is a central topic for cognitive science. In this series of lectures, Jeffrey M. Zacks situates event representations and their role in language within a theory of perception and memory. Event representations have a distinctive structure and format that result from computational and neural mechanisms operating during perception and language comprehension. A crucial aspect of the mechanisms is that event representations are updated to optimize their predictive utility. This updating has consequences for action control and for long-term memory. Event cognition changes across the adult lifespan and can be impaired by conditions including Alzheimer’s disease. These mechanisms have broad impact on everyday activity, and have shaped the development of media such as cinema and narrative fiction.

Evolution and Consciousness

From a Barren Rocky Earth to Artists, Philosophers, Meditators and Psychotherapists

Series:

Michael M. DelMonte and Maeve Halpin

This volume provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the emerging concept of the evolution of consciousness. The simple, but dynamic, theory of evolving consciousness blends the powerful insights of modern science with the deep wisdom of age-old cultures, synthesising the traditions of East and West, of the head and heart, of male and female and of science and spirituality. To borrow a phrase from American philosopher Ken Wilber, it is a concept that “transcends and includes” all that has gone before. By integrating diverse multi-disciplinary approaches, it provides an overarching and transcending model that moves us to a new level of meaning and understanding of our place in the world, and in so doing deepens our work as psychotherapists.

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Edited by Danielle Schaub, Jacqueline Linder, Kori Novak, Stephanie Y. Tam and Claudio Zanini

This volume addresses trauma not only from a theoretical, descriptive and therapeutic perspective, but also through the survivor as narrator, meaning maker, and presenter. By conceptualising different outlooks on trauma, exploring transfigurations in writing and art, and engaging trauma through scriptotherapy, dharma art, autoethnography, photovoice and choreography, the interdisciplinary dialogue highlights the need for rethinking and re-examining trauma, as classical treatments geared towards healing do not recognise the potential for transfiguration inherent in the trauma itself. The investigation of the fissures, disruptions and shifts after punctual traumatic events or prolonged exposure to verbal and physical abuse, illness, war, captivity, incarceration, and chemical exposure, amongst others, leads to a new understanding of the transformed self and empowering post-traumatic developments. Contributors are Peter Bray, Francesca Brencio, Mark Callaghan, M. Candace Christensen, Diedra L. Clay, Leanne Dodd, Marie France Forcier, Gen’ichiro Itakura, Jacqueline Linder, Elwin Susan John, Kori D. Novak, Cassie Pedersen, Danielle Schaub, Nicholas Quin Serenati, Aslı Tekinay, Tony M. Vinci and Claudio Zanini.

Series:

Edited by Masamichi Sasaki

Trust in Contemporary Society, by well-known trust researchers, deals with conceptual, theoretical and social interaction analyses, historical data on societies, national surveys or cross-national comparative studies, and methodological issues related to trust. The authors are from a variety of disciplines: psychology, sociology, political science, organizational studies, history, and philosophy, and from Britain, the United States, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and Japan. They bring their vast knowledge from different historical and cultural backgrounds to illuminate contemporary issues of trust and distrust. The socio-cultural perspective of trust is important and increasingly acknowledged as central to trust research. Accordingly, future directions for comparative trust research are also discussed.

Contributors include: Jack Barbalet, John Brehm, Geoffrey Hosking, Robert Marsh, Barbara A. Misztal, Guido Möllering, Bart Nooteboom, Ken J. Rotenberg, Jiří Šafr, Masamichi Sasaki, Meg Savel, Markéta Sedláčková, Jörg Sydow, Piotr Sztompka.

Series:

Edited by Ricardo Gutiérrez Aguilar

Empathy is sometimes –for unfathomable reasons– a surprisingly evasive emotion. It is indeed a problem open to discussion. It can be particularly problematic since, for one thing, it is in appearance the emotion responsible for stitching together a shared experience with our common fellow. It is the emotion essential to bridging the gap between subjects – to making a community. Some answers in this volume have their place of reference in the welcoming chambers of Mansfield College, at the University of Oxford (UK). The Empathy Project held its third Global Meeting within the premises of ye olde constituent college at Mansfield Road from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th of July 2016. This volume looks for the common ground between both the results of the conducted research and our experiences: Digital Media ideas on the subject worked just fine elbow to elbow with those proposed by fields like Nursing or Health and Social Care; and Psychiatry, Psychology and Philosophy got along quite well with the lines of inquiry of Education, Literature and Dramatic Performance. Contributors are Victoria Aizkalna, Rosa Elena Belvedresi, Giovanna Costantini, Ricardo Gutiérrez Aguilar, Irina Ionita, Nina Lex, Gerardo López Sastre, Barış Mete, Paulus Pimomo, Johannes Rohbeck, Judy Rollins, Josefa Ros Velasco and Christopher J. Staley.

Ari Widyanti and Dewi Regamalela

The sensitivity of mental workload measures is influenced by cultural and individual factors. One individual factor that is hypothesized to influence mental workload is time orientation. The aim of this study is to observe the influence of time orientation on temporal demand and subjective mental workload. One hundred and two participants representing three different time orientations, namely monochronic, neutral, and polychronic orientations, assessed using the Modified Polychronic Attitude Index 3 (MPAI3), voluntarily participated in this study. Participants were instructed to complete a search and count task in four different conditions with varying degrees of difficulty. Mental workload was assessed using subjective (NASA-TLX) and objective (heart rate variability, or HRV) methods and analyzed for each condition. The results show that, with comparable performance and comparable HRV, monochronic participants show higher sensitivity than neutral or polychronic participants in subjective mental workload, particularly the temporal demand dimension. The implications are discussed.

Series:

Irina Ionita

Abstract

If time is money and the human being an endless range of the homo œconomicus figure who maximizes profit/pleasure by minimizing losses/pain, isn’t empathy eminently anti-utilitarian? Isn’t the effort to connect with the Other, by putting oneself in the place of the Other in order to understand their perspective from their point of view, a risk of minimizing profit/pleasure by maximizing losses/pain? And isn’t that a promising prospect? Stemming from this questioning, the paper tells the story of an interdisciplinary doctoral research in development studies on the nomadic concept of empathy. Beyond inter- or trans-disciplinary, empathy becomes an undisciplined concept, which not only navigates from a discipline to the next, but also questions the ethics and epistemology of every step of the way by taking the researcher into unexpected conceptual, geographical and geopolitical territories. In this case, it moves conceptually from anti-utilitarianism to decoloniality; geographically, from Geneva to Quebec and Ontario; and geopolitically, from a Western perspective to Indigenous loci of enunciation. Through three hypostases, empathy raises some interesting ethical and methodological questions in the realm of social sciences. While trying to answer the initial question of the pertinence of an anti-utilitarian type of empathy by exploring what seemed to be from afar an original case study, the concept took the researcher to Canada, to the Iroquois nations and their notion of responsibility towards the 7th generation into the future. However, when confronted with the complex colonial dimension of the relationship with the Indigenous peoples, the concept became a heuristic tool for the researcher who had to redefine her own capacity to empathize with her interlocutors, which in turn redefined her entire project. Undisciplined, empathy finally became an ethical decolonial practice, helping the researcher build unexpected bridges between several schools of thought and perceive a reciprocal, respectful and responsible dialogue.

Series:

Paulus Pimomo

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the relational problems in empathy at the collective and individual levels in order to explore the generally neglected subject of responsibility for empathy-related behavior. The idea is that examining the relational problems at both levels would reveal probable causes and point to possible solutions. I use a fictional short story by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe (“Dead Men’s Path”) to draw attention to the problems of group relations. Achebe’s story deals with power relations under colonialism which, by extension, can be made to stand in for the all-too-familiar phenomenon of dominant groups trying to change, even makeover, a minority’s way of life. For obstacles in individual relations I refer to a real-life event, the trial of Khmer Rouge leader Duch for war crimes, and the role played by his victim-turned-witness Francois Bizot. Bizot’s empathic connection with his captor Duch is not singular in history, but it is extremely rare so I use it as a reverse example of the universal human problem of refusing to recognize the supposed ‘other’ in ourselves. Taken together, Achebe’s story and Bizot’s part in Duch’s trial can help us understand what being a responsible community and a responsible individual might mean in relations that involve empathy. But any deontological exploration would require a basis for determining responsibility, so I tentatively propose the basis for empathic responsibility to be the twin obligation of a) recognizing the supposed radical ‘other’ in oneself (say, the torturer living inside the victim – in potential) and b) accepting human diversity, which would necessitate negotiating differences with others as a salient mode of becoming human together.1

Series:

Judy Rollins

Abstract

Today there is an emergent movement in hospitals led by artists dedicated to creating unique work designed specifically to promote positive outcomes for patients, family, visitors, and staff. The style of this contemporary ‘purpose built’ art may be abstract, realistic, fanciful, ambiguous, or on occasion, threatening. Research to date is scant and primarily anecdotal, yet findings indicate that patients use these artists’ work in very specific ways and find such artwork helpful in coping with healthcare settings and experiences. The purpose of this international study, the author’s Scholar project at The Institute for Integrative Health, is to identify this type of art in hospitals, and to examine the perceptions of the individuals who create, choose, or use this art; the principles that guide their creation and selection process; and evidence of the impact on individuals exposed to the art. An early finding of this research is the work of Boston artist Joan Drescher. Drescher was commissioned to create a series of murals for the oncology waiting area and treatment rooms at the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. The ‘Symbols of Courage’ murals depict the journey that children and families travel, from feeling well before diagnosis, to not feeling well and diagnosis, through the entire treatment protocol. She hung her sketches in the doctors’ conference room to give children, their families, and staff the opportunity to review them and verify themes. Children have used Drescher’s images to communicate feelings about their illness or hospitalization. When they look at the murals, children say they feel that someone understands where they are. Parents sense being seen and heard, saying that at last someone knows what they are going through. Hospital staff report having a better understanding of what patients and families undergo.

Series:

Rosa E. Belvedresi

Abstract

‘Empathy’ is a key concept in epistemology of history usually applied to understand other’s actions. The issue is linked to Dilthey’s hermeneutical theory, the starting point where all the discussions about historical understanding are coming from. The aim of this paper is to consider the concept of ‘empathy’ and to explore its connections with notions like trauma and suffering of others. We will analyze LaCapra’s ‘empathic unsettlement’ in order to see if it offers a plausible way to adopt empathy in history without falling in the typical misunderstandings (allegedly mindreading abilities, esoteric spiritual contact, and so on) and keeping the true-claims safe. Recovering some ideas connected to empathy would be helpful so as not to miss the point that history is a product of human agency. Obviously, historical processes involve contextual conditions which are difficult for agents to change. Some processes are so radically new, such as traumatic events, that alternative approaches are required to unfold their complex meanings. With the intention of assessing the fruitfulness of LaCapra’s theory to reach historical (and empathic) understanding we will propose an example taken not from trauma studies but from Argentinean history in order to evaluate the possibility of a broader scope of the ‘empathic unsettlement.’