Apr 26 • 1HR 7M

#90: Stephen Kosslyn on How We Conceptualize the World

Cognitive Revolution | In the final episode of Cognitive Revolution, I talk to this eminent cognitive scientist about the different strategies we use for understanding the world around us.

 
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Welcome to Against Habit. My name is Cody Kommers, and in this show I talk to experts, authors, and scientists about the ways we can rethink the habits, ideas, and assumptions we take with us through daily life. Mainstream productivity culture tells us that optimal habits are the best way to solve any behavioral problem. But I think in our veneration of habits, we've overlooked something crucial. Many of our deepest experiences of creativity, connection, and meaning come from breaking out of our habitual rut and engaging in life in a new way. Exploring that idea is what this show is all about. (Note: This show was previously "Cognitive Revolution")

This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


Stephen Kosslyn is a foundational figure in the field of cognitive science. It is only fitting that he is the final guest in my Cognitive Revolution interview series, before I transition into a new line of content which I’m calling “Against Habit.” I remember in my introduction to my introduction to cognitive science course—which helped set me on the track I’m on today—learning about the mental imagery debate between Stephen Kosslyn and Zenon Pylyshyn. Kosslyn argued that the mental images we can conjure in our minds are indeed pictorial. Pylyshyn argued they merely felt that way; in fact, they’re closer to linguistic descriptions. It was fun to talk to Professor Kosslyn about his experience in cognitive science, how he’s used his cognitive scientific experience to do more applied work in recent years, and how cognitive scientists should think about novels and fictional rendering of human behavior. Stephen is currently president of Active Learning Sciences, Inc. and has served as chief academic officer for cutting edge educational institutions such as Foundry College and Minerva Schools. He was previously the John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James and Dean of Social Science at Harvard University.


Like this episode? Here’s another one to check out:

Against Habit
#28: Steven Pinker on Career Uncertainty
Listen now (72 min) | This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts…
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