Hot Thought: Mechanisms and Applications of Emotional Cognition

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Overview

Contrary to standard assumptions, reasoning is often an emotional process. Emotions can have good effects, as when a scientist gets excited about a line of research and pursues it successfully despite criticism. But emotions can also distort reasoning, as when a juror ignores evidence of guilt just because the accused seems like a nice guy. In Hot Thought, Paul Thagard describes the mental mechanisms — cognitive, neural, molecular, and social — that interact to produce different kinds of human thinking, from everyday decision making to legal reasoning, scientific discovery, and religious belief, and he discusses when and how thinking and reasoning should be emotional.

Thagard argues that an understanding of emotional thinking needs to integrate the cognitive,neural, molecular, and social levels. Many of the chapters employ computational models of various levels of thinking, including HOTCO (hot cognition) models and the more neurologically realistic GAGE model. Thagard uses these models to illuminate thinking in the domains of law, science, and religion, discussing such topics as the role of doubt and reasonable doubt in legal and other contexts, valuable emotional habits for successful scientists, and the emotional content of religious beliefs.

Identifying and assessing the impact of emotion, Thagard argues, can suggest ways to improve the process of reasoning.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As Thagard illustrates in this wonderful book, hot cognition ("hot thought") is a hot topic in the burgeoning field of cognitive science.... The vision is broad and deep, and the theories and supporting models tackle the role of emotion in mental mechanisms at levels ranging from the neuromolecular to the unabashedly social." D.S. Dunn Choice
Choice

As Thagard illustrates in this wonderful book, hot cognition ('hot thought') is a hot topic in the burgeoning field of cognitive science.... The vision is broad and deep, and the theories and supporting models tackle the role of emotion in mental mechanisms at levels ranging from the neuromolecular to the unabashedly social.

Choice
As Thagard illustrates in this wonderful book, hot cognition ('hot thought') is a hot topic in the burgeoning field of cognitive science.... The vision is broad and deep, and the theories and supporting models tackle the role of emotion in mental mechanisms at levels ranging from the neuromolecular to the unabashedly social.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262701242
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of The Cognitive Science of Science (MIT Press,2012) and many other books.

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Table of Contents

1 Mental mechanisms 3
2 How to make decisions 11
3 Emotional analogies and analogical inference 27
4 Emotional gestalts : appraisal, change, and the dynamics of affect 51
5 Emotional consensus in group decision making 65
6 Spiking Phineas Gage : a neurocomputational theory of cognitive-affective integration in decision making 87
7 How molecules matter to mental computation 115
8 Why wasn't O.J. convicted? : emotional coherence in legal inference 135
9 What is doubt and when is it reasonable? 157
10 The passionate scientist : emotion in scientific cognition 171
11 Curing cancer? : Patrick Lee's path to the reovirus treatment 189
12 How to be a successful scientist 207
13 Self-deception and emotional coherence 219
14 The emotional coherence of religion 237
15 Critique of emotional reason 251
16 New directions 263
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