#111 Nick Chater: The Mind Is Flat, and Our Illusions of Mental Depth
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Dr. Nick Chater is Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School. He works on rationality and language using a range of theoretical and experimental approaches. He has over 200 publications, has won four national awards for psychological research, and has served as Associate Editor for the journals Cognitive Science, Psychological Review, and Psychological Science. He was elected a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society in 2010 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012. Dr. Chater is co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology, and is on the advisory board of the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team (BIT). He’s also the author of “The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind”.
In this episode, the conversation revolves around the main topics of Dr. Chater’s book, The Mind is Flat. We talk about the many illusions that compose our minds, from the way we interpret other people’s behavior and our own, to the attribution of desires, motivations and goals to it. We also discuss how our cognition works, and how our perceptual systems process information. Other topics include the lack of correspondence between our representations and the things outside in the world; how we interpret emotions; the issue about preferences and personality; why we still need our mental illusions to function properly; and if AI systems can also acquire them, namely emotions and consciousness.
01:06 The basic premise of “The Mind is Flat”
05:33 We are like fictional characters
09:59 The problem with stories and narratives
13:58 The illusions our minds create (about motives, desires, goals, etc.)
17:44 The distinction between the conscious mind and brain activity
22:34 Does dualism make sense?
27:11 Is modularity of mind a useful approach?
31:21 How our perceptual systems work
41:49 How we represent things in our minds
44:57 The Kuleshov effect, and the interpretation of emotions
52:05 About preferences and personality
55:42 Why do we need our mental illusions?
59:10 The importance of our imagination
1:01:31 Can AI systems produce the same illusions (emotions, consciousness)?
1:04:53 Follow Dr. Chater’s work!
Follow Dr. Chater’s work:
Faculty page: https://tinyurl.com/y8qzc2pw
The Mind is Flat: https://tinyurl.com/ybmyxakr
Twitter handle: @NickJChater
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