An imperfect mind: Irrationality & Hypnosis Flashcards Preview

MBE > An imperfect mind: Irrationality & Hypnosis > Flashcards

Flashcards in An imperfect mind: Irrationality & Hypnosis Deck (47):

Humans are not constructed with a perfect mind

We are vulnerable.
& don't control most of our choices.


Two minds? System 1 & 2

System 1: automatic, autonomous, bottom-up (processing as it comes in via senses), heuristic, little effort.
- eg. face and word recognition, implicit learning.

System 2: controlled, effortful, rule based, top-down (perception driven by cognition), slow.
- supposedly oversees processing in system 1.
- eg. conscious problem solving, explicit recall, financial decisions, fairness judgements.

All processes have an automatic and a thought component.


System 1: Who is in control?: priming guilt

W _ _ H & S _ _ P ?
- said WASH and SOAP if primed guilt before hand; otherwise WISH and SOUP (Kahneman, 2011).

Those induced into washing hands with soap after admitting a past wrong, exhibited less helpful behaviour in a subsequent task (Xu et al, 2014) = The Lady Macbeth effect.


System 1: Who is in control?: priming self-centeredness

Put money in the background and not draw attention to it (Wohs et al, 2006).:

- money primed ppts persevered twice as long solving difficult problem - better self reliance.

- less willing to help other students - more self centred.

- preferred to play/work alone and put more physical distance between themselves and new acquaintance - less sociable.


System 1: Who is in control?: priming slow action

Asked to make sentence out of 5 words (Bargh et al, 1996):

- those exposed to words related to the elderly walked slower when leaving - subconsciously inhabited.
- ppts had no idea.


System 1: Who is in control?: we live much by system 1 - choice blindness

Think you have made a reasoned decision?
- asked which of 2 face is more attractive and explain why; choice was swapped.

- people justified decisions they didn't make due to system 1 processing.


System 2 to override 1?: decision fatigue

Researchers analysed 1100+ judges parole decisions:
- parole more likely in the morning.
- decisions not solely based on laws and facts (Danziger et al, 2011).

Also more likely to get parole just after lunch (Baumeister & Tierney, 2011).


System 2 to override 1?: ego depletion

Willpower is a resource that can be depleted.

- after participants resisted baked cookies, less likely to resist temptations later (Baumeister & Tierney, 2011).

But if you eat more glucose you get more willpower - catch 22.


Effort rationality: the need for more effortful thinking - bat & ball Q

Brain does not wilfully engage in effortful thinking (would automatically say 10p).

- driven by need to balance resources, drives human behaviour.
- vulnerable to certain types of errors.

High IQ is not guarantee against this type of error.
- MIT and Harvard students = cognitive misers (Stanovich, 2009).


Effort rationality: more miserliness - Levesque's Anne problem

Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?

- brain is fallible and not willing to expend effort and resources for rational thinking.

- saving for other situations?

High IQ people only slightly more likely to spontaneously adopt fully disjunctive reasoning.
- if asked to reason through the problem, high IQ people would be more efficient.


Effort rationality: why are we cognitive misers?

Despite changes in the brain we have more generally evolved to increase reproductive fitness of genes not to increase rationality.

Evolution does not guarantee perfect epistemic rationality.
- accuracy requires energy, memory and attention.
- often lack these requirements for rational cognition to establish the truth.


Effort rationality: model of the mind based on the dual-process theory

System 1: in control - do a lot of things based on outputs of 1.
- seems to do most of the work.

2: not infallible/perfect - don't even use them.
- brain will turn off this system.
- doesn't get involved too often.


Effort rationality: Stanovich, 2009

Autonomous mind (1): priming, word reading/interference in stroop task -> response.

(pre-attentive process) -> algorithmic mind (2): supervisory processes, lateral & polar PFC -> (override) autonomous mind (1).

algorithmic mind (2) -> top end = high IQ/abstract problem solving ability, Flynn effect and violence reduction.

Why override if there isn't a better response?
- to determine this, need to stimulate its effect?
Requires hypothetical reasoning.
- must represent current goal state and an alternative.

Representational abuse = confusion of representation states.

Need to be able to become unhooked from the real world.
- primary vs. decouples/unhooked secondary representations of the world.

Stereotypes: reflective mind initiates their override.


Reason & rationality: Stanovich (2009) - a third type of mind

Type 3 questions goals of system computation (mind 2) processes/beliefs/cognitive styles etc.

Reflective mind: eg. thinking dispositions, superstitious thinking, dogmatism (principles without consideration of evidence and other opinions), stereotypes.
- could still have high IQ but poor reflective mind.
- smart people support stupid things.

Aim to get reflective mind as efficient as possible - most important.
- assessed at uni.
- teaches us to use it - take away evidence based learning.

Reflective mind = important way of thinking about the mind and abilities we want humans to use and to be better.


Reason & rationality: Stanovich (2009)

Stimulation from algorithmic mind (2) deriving alternative response leads to reflective mind (3).
= individual differences in rational thinking dispositions; memes.
-> response //
-> top end = well-calibrated beliefs; acting appropriately in line with those beliefs.


Reason & rationality: mindware & memes

Accumulate mindware or memes.

Learned thinking dispositions/beliefs are not always positive as in the case of reduced violence.
- superstitious thinking, dogmatism, stereotypes = memes.

We should use evidence based reasoning (rational) and dispense with beliefs/thinking dispositions that do not match evidence.
- don't always - sometimes we're irrational.


Reason & rationality: an evolved mind?

Rationality (reason) is the cultural invention (meme) that truly trumps genetic interests (Stanovich & West, 2003).

- sometimes we are too lazy to employ it.

- memes (mindware) can be acquired reflectively or non-reflectively (Stanovich & West, 2003).


An evolved mind?

Rationality (reason) is the cultural invention (meme) that truly trumps genetic interests - Stanovich & West, 2003

- sometimes too lazy to employ it.
- memes/mindware can be acquired reflectively or non-reflectively (Stanovich & West, 2003).

We are cognitive misers.


Not all memes are acquired by all

Miserliness can lead to acquiring some memes - eg. stereotypes, astrology, religion etc.

Evaluation is disabled.


Not quite made it

Despite partially escaping the influence of genes and the older brain, we still have some way to go.

Must continue to be done via reflectively acquired memes.
- requires effort.



Lazy, autonomous mind (1) - conferred by evolutionarily older parts of the brain.

VS. newer, more effortful mind (2) - better and more efficient learning mechanims.

- why does system 1 oftn win?
- are there benefits to disabling evaluation?


PFC develops

Takes a long time for it to fully mature - late 20s - full rationing capacity not fully developed until then.

Older part of the brain needed for making decisions.
- those with damage don't process the effect they have on others.

Less capable of reasoning when we are young.

Enables a controlled social hierarchy and structure.

Enculturation = learning of culture.


Benefits of system 1 winning: hypnosis and placebo effects

Benefits of a meme (belief) that has not been rationalised?

Placebo has been associated with mystical qualities - just have to "believe".

Sham surgery/placebo:
- people with same knee problem - half had surgery; half under the impression they had surgery.
- benefitted just as much.
- surgery group had more side effects.
- belief of being treated alone can relieve some clinical symptoms.

Antidepressants: 10% effect down to ingredients.

History of medicine large based on the effect of placebo - only recently based on effect of treatment.



Shaman = access and influence in world of spirits, typically enters a trance state during rituals and healing.

Endogenous medicine - derives form within.

Medicine is self curing as a consequence of the social intentions of others.


Faith healing

Marshalling placebo effects - masking as a consequence of faith.




Marshalling the mechanisms within a placebo to mask effects.

Whenever PFC function is disrupted, hypnotic susceptibility increases.


Hypnosis: dissociated control theory (Woody & Bowers, 1994)

Disruption to the process of cognitive control plays a central role in the generation of hypnotic phenomenon.
- hypnosis itself results in the reduction of PFC involvement in behaviour.

Stem from a fundamental shift in the organisation of executive functions within the brain.

System 2 becomes disconnected from system 1.


Hypnosis: reducing system 2 inter- and intra-connectivity under hypnosis

Reducing functional brain connectivity in frontal areas (Fingelkurts et al, 2007), especially between ACC and left lateral PFC regions (Egner et al, 2005).

People show decreased performance on some frontal lobe-related tasks under hypnosis (Kaiser et al, 1997; Kallio et al, 2001).


Hypnosis: getting pissed

Alcohol suppresses frontal lobe function.

Dienes et al (2013) - ppts drunk.
- increased hypnotic susceptibility.


Hypnosis: TMS and DLPFC

rTMS/transcranial magnetic stimulation applied to left DLPFC reduced activity in this region.
- results in increased hypnotic susceptibility (Dienes & Hutton, 2013).
- suppressing system 2.


Hypnosis: improved implicit learning under hypnosis

Nemeth et al (2013) used hypnosis as a tool to reduce explicit learning.

Showed improved implicit sequence (system 1) learning - non-random patterns in sequences of stimuli of which participants are unaware.
- due to reduced frontal lobe function.

EF tasks are affected more by this.
- system 2 trying to learn the sequence; those attempts reduce implicit learning.


Hypnosis: being under hypnosis - costs and benefits

Results in improved performance on tasks not involving PFC - eg. implicit learning sequence (Nemeth et al, 2013).

Impairs performance on tasks requiring PFC - eg. stroop task (Jamieson & Sheehan, 2004).

Appear to be real influential changes to PFC function under hypnosis.


Hypnosis: utility of hypnosis

Intrinsic vs. instrumental research (Oakley & Halligan, 2009/2011):
- hypnotic suggestion can be used as an experimental/instrumental tool. Similar to TMS.
- provides for creation of clinically informed reversible analogues (virtual patients rather than virtual lesions) delivered through intact cognitive neural systems.

Instrumental use:
- enables cognitive neuroscientists to selectively manipulate components of known info processing with a view to assessing their impact on cognitive output.


Hypnosis: examples

Hypnotic pain associated with activation in neural regions associated to pain - Derbyshire et al, 2004.

Hypnotically created amnesia shows same characteristics as functional amnesia - Barnier, 2002.

Hypnotically suggested blindness used to show existence of preserved implicit processing in conversion disorder - Cos & Bryant, 2008.


A case study of surprising effect: system 1 rules the stroop task (Stroop, 1935)

Paradigm still not well understood.

Captures lack of control we have over the way our mind processes info.

One of the most robust findings in psychology cannot eliminate even with lots of practice.
- represents an inability to fully selectively attend to objects in the environment.

Interference = sometimes the difference between incongruent and congruent stimulus.


A case study of surprising effect: Raz, Fan & Posner (2002) - post hypnotic suggestion

"Words will feel like gibberish, printed in 4 colours - should be able to play with ease."
- "highs" condition: all response times reduced when suggestion was present.

Challenges dominant view that word recognition is obligatory... may provide insight into top-down influences of suggestion on cognition - Raz et al, 2002
- top down (driven by cognition) control of an obligatory process - not thought possible.


A case study of surprising effect: controlling automatic processes

Clear opportunities for using hypnotic suggestion to investigate... cognitive developmental conditions such as dysgraphia, dyslexia and dyspraxia.


A case study of surprising effect: replicable and robust

Labs have replicated and extended original findings.

Top-down control at level not though possible using objective measure of performance.

Results indicate dyslexia/alexia might be reproducible under suggestion.


A case study of surprising effect: Raz et al's subsequent studies

No blurring, blinking or eye closing (Raz et al, 2003).
- temporary induction of paralysis of ciliary muscle (controls blurring) using eye drops.
- controlled for all mechanisms potentially influencing effect.

Concluded: posthypnotic suggestion eliminated stroop interference in controls.
- supports the view that stroop interference is not inevitable and post hypnotic suggestion may exert a top down influence on neural processing.


A case study of surprising effect: reduction in ACC and VC activity (Raz et al, 2005)

More activity in visual cortex, ACC and left frontal gyrus in less hypnotisable ppts vs. highs.

No significant differences between incongruent trials in ACC in highs.

Interpreted as evidence for reduced word reasoning (VC) and conflict monitoring (ACC).


A case study of surprising effect: hypnosis required

No need for hypnotic induction/post-hypnotic suggestion (Raz et al, 2006).

Imaginative suggestion.

Two groups of highs, one given hypnotic suggestion, one given imaginative suggestion.

Hypnosis has proved to be important in other similar studies using different experimental paradigms.


A case study of surprising effect: replicable and robust

Recovery is related to positive outlook.
- hypnosis is very effective for reducing pain and anxiety.
- benefitting recovery time.


A case study of surprising effect: hypnosis as an irrational meme?

Evidence that hypnosis achieved great levels of control and modifies brain function.

Can be used to stimulate clinical disorders and pain to the level of neural signature - can't be faked.

Effective in pain relief (Tan et al, 2010).
- unknown how it works - could just be power of the belief.


A case study of surprising effect: PFC and belief

False tagging theory: Asp et al, 2013.

- only role of PFC is to mark things as true or false.

- like somatic markers, it will mark any idea as untrue.

- if PFC is damaged = increased suggestibility.


A case study of surprising effect: life without conrol

Prefrontal patients more vulnerable to deceptive advertising (Asp et al, 2012).

PFC patients have higher fundamentalist beliefs (Asp et al, 2012).
- religion beliefs increase after damage.

Do not need damage - individual differences in PFC function.

If PFC function reduces with hypnosis - greater suggestibility and gullibility.

Not known why some people are more susceptible to hypnosis.
- no initial difference in PFC capacity between highs and lows.


A case study of surprising effect: response expectancies and hypnosis (Kirsh, 1999)

Argues hypnosis, like placebo is result of expectations and beliefs.

But research shows that expectation does not enhance the effects of suggestion (Lifshitz et al, 2012).

People report effects even though they are surprised to have been affected.
- possibly relies on strong representation of the desired outcome - mind finds its own way to achieve it.
- suggestibility = function of many systems.


A case study of surprising effect: summary

Irrationality due to system 1 being too strong and 2 being lazy.

Reduction of 2 can enhance suggestibility but can lead to real and observable benefits that helps the mind achieve things it otherwise could not.

Don't know why some are more suggestible.