Essay A Study Of Cognitive Science

Essay A Study Of Cognitive Science

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In the study of cognitive science, there are numerous areas of study that are cumulatively relevant to understanding the both the ways in which humans think about daily issues, and the reasons behind the decisions they make when confronted with various dilemmas presented to them. One of the most benign methods of illuminating the details of these processes (and thus the underlying morality behind them) is the hypothetical thought experiment. One of these is the trolley problem. It contains two scenarios that state:

1) A runaway trolley is barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people totally unaware of the impending danger, as the trolley is on a collision course with them. You are in the train yard control room, next to a diversion lever, which if pulled, will switch the trolley to a side track. However, you notice that there is one person on that side track. You have two options: (a) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (b) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill the one person. Which is the correct choice?

2) As before, a runaway trolley is hurtling down a track towards five unaware people. You are standing on a bridge under which it will pass, and there is a very large man standing next to you. Realizing that if you push him over the bridge and onto the track below, his bulk will stop the train, but kill him. To save the five others, should you proceed?

Studies have demonstrated that there is a large amount of variability in the amount of time it takes for participants to respond to these kinds of scenarios, and quite evident that they feel large amounts of stress under these cognitive burdens (Haidt, 2008; Evans and Stanov...


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...ability to override the directives of the TASS system and Stanovich postulates that these rational directives can meld into our automatic cognitive responses to further personal desires/goals.
Stanovich’s ideas in his book are insightful and a revelation to many (myself included). His ideas are the gateway through which humans can “break the chains” of genetic forces that cause humans to automatically react to situations that are unfavourable to the individuals wants/desires. Application of his ideas on an individual, personal level will be the opening of a gateway to a world that is more accepting, supportive, tolerant, and self-satisfying for those living within it. I’ve already started to internalize his thoughts about TASS and hope that many others in the cognitive science field will spread the word, as others deserve to “see the light”of this theory, as it were

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