NEH banner

[light] [dark]

[Return to Query]

Products for grant FEL-257901-18

FEL-257901-18
Propaganda and Belief in the Modern World
Eric Mandelbaum, CUNY Research Foundation, Bernard Baruch College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FEL-257901-18

Modularist Explanations of Experience and Other Illusions (Article)
Title: Modularist Explanations of Experience and Other Illusions
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Debates about modularity invariably involve a crucial premise about how visual illusions are experienced. This paper argues that these debates are wrongheaded, and that experience of il- lusions is orthogonal to the core issue of the modularity hypothesis: informational encapsulation.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31654983/
Primary URL Description: Pubmed
Secondary URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053810019303125
Secondary URL Description: Journal site
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Consciousness & Cognition
Publisher: Elsevier

Assimilation and Control: Belief at its Lowest Levels (Article)
Title: Assimilation and Control: Belief at its Lowest Levels
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Pragmatist theories of belief often posit an inverse correlation between an action’s automaticity and belief’s role in the action’s execution. This posit faces serious problems. First, high-attention, high-control actions don’t seem to heighten awareness of one’s beliefs. Second, low-attention, low-control actions are caused by the same states at play when executing high-attention, high-control actions, in which case there is no ontological difference in the states involved in these behaviors. Lastly, if it turned out that low-level behaviors weren't caused by beliefs, then we should turn our attention to those states instead, as most of our behavior isn’t executed under conditions of high control and attention.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11098-019-01401-1
Primary URL Description: Journal link
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Philosophical Studies
Publisher: Springer

The Science of Belief: A Progress Report (Article)
Title: The Science of Belief: A Progress Report
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Author: Nic Porot
Abstract: The empirical study of belief is emerging at a rapid clip, uniting work from all corners of cognitive science. Reliance on belief in understanding and predicting behavior is widespread. Examples can be found, inter alia, in the placebo, attribution theory, theory of mind, and comparative psychological literatures. Research on belief also provides evidence for robust generalizations, including about how we fix, store, and change our beliefs. Evidence supports the existence of a Spinozan system of belief fixation: one that is automatic and independent of belief rejection. Independent research supports the existence of a system of fragmented belief storage: one that relies on large numbers of causally isolated, context‐sensitive stores of belief in memory. Finally, empirical and observational data support at least two systems of belief change. One system adheres, mostly, to epistemological norms of updating; the other, the psychological immune system, functions to guard our most centrally held beliefs from potential inconsistency with newly formed beliefs. Refining our understanding of these systems can shed light on pressing real‐world issues, such as how fake news, propaganda, and brainwashing exploit our psychology of belief, and how best to construct our modern informational world.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wcs.1539
Primary URL Description: Journal site
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Publisher: Wiley

The Outlier Paradox: The Role of Iterative Ensemble Coding in Discounting Outliers (Article)
Title: The Outlier Paradox: The Role of Iterative Ensemble Coding in Discounting Outliers
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Author: Michael Epstein
Author: Jake Quilty-Dunn
Author: Tatiana Emmanouil
Abstract: Ensemble perception—the encoding of objects by their group properties—is known to be resistant to outlier noise. However, this resistance is somewhat paradoxical: how can the visual system determine which stimuli are outliers without already having derived statistical properties of the ensemble? A simple solution would be that ensemble perception is not a simple, one-step process; instead, outliers are detected through iterative computations that identify items with high deviance from the mean and reduce their weight in the representation over time. Here we tested this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found evidence that outliers are discounted from mean orientation judgments, extending previous results from ensemble face perception. In Experiment 2, we tested the timing of outlier rejection by having participants perform speeded judgments of sets with or without outliers. We observed significant increases in reaction time (RT) when outliers were present, but a decrease compared to no-outlier sets of matched range suggesting that range alone did not drive RTs. In Experiment 3 we tested the timing by which outlier noise reduces over time. We presented sets for variable exposure durations and found that noise decreases linearly over time. Altogether these results suggest that ensemble representations are optimized through iterative computations aimed at reducing noise. The finding that ensemble perception is an iterative process provides a useful framework for understanding contextual effects on ensemble perception
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32757592/
Primary URL Description: Pubmed
Secondary URL: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2020-57018-001
Secondary URL Description: Psychnet
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Publisher: American Psychological Association

Troubles with Bayesianism (Article)
Title: Troubles with Bayesianism
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: A Bayesian mind is, at its core, a rational mind. Bayesianism is thus well‐suited to predict and explain mental processes that best exemplify our ability to be rational. However, evidence from belief acquisition and change appears to show that we do not acquire and update information in a Bayesian way. Instead, the principles of belief acquisition and updating seem grounded in maintaining a psychological immune system rather than in approximating a Bayesian processor.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mila.12205
Primary URL Description: Mind & Language article url
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Mind & Language
Publisher: Wiley

Can resources save rationality? “Anti-Bayesian” updating in cognition and perception (Article)
Title: Can resources save rationality? “Anti-Bayesian” updating in cognition and perception
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Author: Isabel Won
Author: Steven Gross
Author: Chaz Firestone
Abstract: Resource rationality may explain suboptimal patterns of reasoning; but what of “anti-Bayesian” effects where the mind updates in a direction opposite the one it should? We present two phenomena – belief polarization and the size-weight illusion – that are not obviously explained by performance- or resource-based constraints, nor by the authors’ brief discussion of reference repulsion. Can resource rationality accommodate them?
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences/article/abs/can-resources-save-rationality-antibayesian-updating-in-cognition-and-perception/11F8151C5A0BE7AB7F94864BE30B6E8F
Primary URL Description: Article URL
Periodical Title: Behavioral & Brain Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The Fragmentation of Belief (Book Section)
Title: The Fragmentation of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Author: Joseph Bendana
Editor: Cristina Borgoni
Editor: Dirk Kindermann
Editor: Andrea Onofri
Abstract: Belief storage is often modeled as having the structure of a single, unified web. This model of belief storage is attractive and widely assumed because it appears to provide an explanation of the flexibility of cognition and the complicated dynamics of belief revision. However, when one scrutinizes human cognition, one finds strong evidence against a unified web of belief and for a fragmented model of belief storage. This article then uses the best available evidence from cognitive science to develop this fragmented model into a nascent theory of the cognitive architecture of belief storage
Year: 2020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book Title: The Fragmented Mind

Non-Inferential Transitions: Imagery and Association (Book Section)
Title: Non-Inferential Transitions: Imagery and Association
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Author: Jake Quilty-Dunn
Editor: Timothy Chan
Editor: Anders Nes
Abstract: Previously we've argued that inferential transitions occur between thoughts based on rules that are built into the architecture of the mind that specify types of constituent structure (Quilty-Dunn & Mandelbaum 2018). Inference isn’t everything, however, and may indeed account for a small part of our mental lives. In this article we intend to account for types of transitions that look to be inference-like but, according to our account, aren’t genuine inferences. We’ll also consider the structure of association in more detail, which sheds light not only on associative transitions but also on their rule-governed foils, both inferential and non-inferential. Providing an adequate, coherent theory of thinking requires that we give an account of all these transitions. We aim to undertake this project, thereby providing a short taxonomy of types of mental transitions here.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315150703/chapters/10.4324/9781315150703-7
Primary URL Description: Article url on the Taylor and Francis site
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Book Title: Inference & Consciousness
ISBN: 9781315150703

The Psychofunctional Theory of Belief (Book)
Title: The Psychofunctional Theory of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Our beliefs are vitally important to us. For evidence, we need look no further than our own explanations of our behavior, which nearly always cite what someone believed: “I came home early because I thought you would like to be surprised!” “The mailman was acting in self defense because he believed the dog was trying to attack him.” But what are beliefs? Are they mere explanatory conveniences, or might they be the objects of serious scientific study? My project provides new answers to these questions by providing a model for how beliefs actually function in human cognition, detailing in particular: how they are acquired, how they change when one receives new information, and how they are stored in long-term memory. I also explore evolutionary homologies of how beliefs function in humans and other animals that are lower on the phylogenetic tree. Integrating all these strands, I offer the first psychofunctional theory of belief. While the scope of the project is focused on belief, its arguments and appeal are much broader. The overarching argument is one about propositional attitudes in general. I provide both a characterization of the nature of belief and a roadmap for how to build a psychofunctional model for any propositional attitude. Doing so constitutes important progress in the project of shepherding attitudes from folk psychology to cognitive science, and thereby vindicating the veracity of folk psychology.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Bayes and the Computational Theory of Mind (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Bayes and the Computational Theory of Mind
Abstract: A Bayesian mind is, at its core, a rational mind. Bayesianism is thus well-suited to predict and explain mental processes that best exemplify our ability to be rational. However, evidence from belief acquisition and change appears to show that we don't acquire and update information in a Bayesian way. Instead, the principles of belief acquisition and updating seem grounded in maintaining a psychological immune system rather than in approximating a Bayesian processor.
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Date: 7/24/19
Location: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru

Assimilation and Control: Belief at it's Lowest Level (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Assimilation and Control: Belief at it's Lowest Level
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: The core of Zimmerman’s picture posits an inverse correlation between an action’s automaticity and belief’s role in the action’s execution. This proposal faces serious problems. First, high-attention, high-control actions don’t seem to heighten awareness of one’s beliefs. Second, low-attention, low-control actions are caused by the same states at play when executing high-attention, high-control actions, in which case there is no ontological difference in the states involved in these behaviors. Third, on Zimmerman’s view it is unclear what it is for a state to be involved in behaviors at all, as the basic realist response—that beliefs cause behavior—is unavailable to a Zimmerman-style pragmatist. Lastly, if Zimmerman's view were right and low-level behaviors weren't caused by beliefs, then we should turn our attention to those states instead, as most of our behavior isn’t executed under conditions of high control and attention.
Date: 4/18/19
Conference Name: Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

The Fragmentation of Belief (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Fragmentation of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Belief storage is often modeled as having the structure of a single, unified web. This model of belief storage is attractive and widely assumed because it appears to provide an explanation of the flexibility of cognition and the complicated dynamics of belief revision. However, when one scrutinizes human cognition, one finds strong evidence against a unified web of belief and for a fragmented model of belief storage. This article then uses the best available evidence from cognitive science to develop this fragmented model into a nascent theory of the cognitive architecture of belief storage.
Date: 10/7/2019
Conference Name: Technical University Dortmund

The Fragmentation of Belief (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Fragmentation of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Belief storage is often modeled as having the structure of a single, unified web. This model of belief storage is attractive and widely assumed because it appears to provide an explanation of the flexibility of cognition and the complicated dynamics of belief revision. However, when one scrutinizes human cognition, one finds strong evidence against a unified web of belief and for a fragmented model of belief storage. This article then uses the best available evidence from cognitive science to develop this fragmented model into a nascent theory of the cognitive architecture of belief storage.
Date: 4/4/19
Conference Name: University of Michigan Cognitive Science Colloquium

The Fragmentation of Belief (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Fragmentation of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Belief storage is often modeled as having the structure of a single, unified web. This model of belief storage is attractive and widely assumed because it appears to provide an explanation of the flexibility of cognition and the complicated dynamics of belief revision. However, when one scrutinizes human cognition, one finds strong evidence against a unified web of belief and for a fragmented model of belief storage. This article then uses the best available evidence from cognitive science to develop this fragmented model into a nascent theory of the cognitive architecture of belief storage.
Date: 11/28/19
Conference Name: Logos, University of Barcelona Department Colloquium

The Fragmentation of Belief (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Fragmentation of Belief
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Belief storage is often modeled as having the structure of a single, unified web. This model of belief storage is attractive and widely assumed because it appears to provide an explanation of the flexibility of cognition and the complicated dynamics of belief revision. However, when one scrutinizes human cognition, one finds strong evidence against a unified web of belief and for a fragmented model of belief storage. This article then uses the best available evidence from cognitive science to develop this fragmented model into a nascent theory of the cognitive architecture of belief storage.
Date: 11/27/19
Conference Name: Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University Antwerp, Department Colloquium

Epistemic Chaos (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Epistemic Chaos
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: Propaganda is all around us, and has been for a long, long time. As such, it might seem like the current scare about propaganda is a bit of a parochial moral panic. In this talk I address two questions: 1) Is propaganda inherently bad, so bad that we shouldn't engage in it? And 2) Is the problem of propaganda getting worse? I bring relevant results from cognitive science--both classic and brand new--to bear on these questions, which turn out to be intimately related. In the end, I suggest that we are in a particularly peculiar moment, one that is truly different than any other in history and causes a special type of sui generis Epistemic Chaos.
Date: 11/13/18
Conference Name: Institute of Philosophy, University of London

The Simplest Model of Mind (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Simplest Model of Mind
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Abstract: What is the most parsimonious model of the mind? Historically, associationism has played this role, positing one mental process (the ability to associate, e.g., Ideas, or stimuli and responses) and one sort of structure (mere associative links). By using the simplest model possible, associationists gain a rhetorical edge by having parsimony on their side. But being so bare-boned has its consequences: a truly parsimonious associationism cannot account for more contemporary “associative” models. Thus modern “associative” models end up being no more ontologically parsimonious than their rivals. In which case associationism faces a dilemma: either it is truly simple, but also descriptively inadequate, or it is not ontologically parsimonious and thus is no better off than rival theories which posit propositional structure.
Date: 7/7/18
Conference Name: Varieties of Minds, University of Cambridge

This House Believes that Human Minds are Special (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: This House Believes that Human Minds are Special
Abstract: In a Cambridge Union debate with Ray Tallis, debating Miranda Mowbray & Bjorn Brembs, I argued that negation--and linguistic recursion in general--appears to be a distinctly human mental phenomenon.
Author: Eric Mandelbaum
Date: 7/9/19
Location: Cambridge Union, University of Cambridge


Permalink: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/products.aspx?gn=FEL-257901-18