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Castelfranchi C.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Cognitive Processing | Year: 2012

In this paper, I explain how we just "ascribe" "attribute" to social actors - in a fast and automatic way and without complex reasoning - mental representations on the basis of "scripts," "roles," role-signs, tool use and functions, categories and prejudices, and several heuristics; or by default. How scripts and roles must be filled in with the actors' mental attitudes. How social interaction systematically requires assumptions about the other's mind. How sometimes in the subject those mental attitudes are not only unconscious but actually implicit; just potential or tacit (non-activated), or just the non-intended or nonunderstood function of his behavior/role. However, what really matters is that we assume that those beliefs and goals are there, and we act "as if" it were so. I finally claim that this mechanism of mind ascription while reading the behavior or the signs of the roles and scripts is the basis of a fundamental form of communication: Behavioral Implicit Communication. © Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2011.


Pezzulo G.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Behavioral and Brain Sciences | Year: 2014

I applaud Huang and Bargh's (H&B's) theory that places goals at the center of cognition, and I discuss two ingredients missing from that theory. First, I argue that the brains of organisms much simpler than those of humans are already configured for goal achievement in situated interactions. Second, I propose a mechanistic view of the reconfiguration principle that links the theory with current views in computational neuroscience. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.


Borgo S.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Computers in Industry | Year: 2014

Ontologies are structural components of modern information systems. The taxonomy, the core of an ontology, is a delicate balance between adequacy considerations, minimal commitments and implementation concerns. However, ontological taxonomies can be quite restrictive and entities that are commonly used in production and services might not find room in a official or de facto standard or ontological system. This mismatch between the company's view and the ontological constraints can limit or even jeoparize the adoption of modern formal ontologies in industry. We study the roots of this problem and individuate a general set of principles to relate the ontology and those non-ontological entities that are yet important for the core business of the company. We then introduce a theoretically sound and formally robust approach to expand a given ontology with new dependency relations, which make available information regarding the non-ontological entities without affecting the consistency of the overall information system. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Mirolli M.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Cognitive Science | Year: 2012

Understanding the role of ''representations'' in cognitive science is a fundamental problem facing the emerging framework of embodied, situated, dynamical cognition. To make progress, I follow the approach proposed by an influential representational skeptic, Randall Beer: building artificial agents capable of minimally cognitive behaviors and assessing whether their internal states can be considered to involve representations. Hence, I operationalize the concept of representing as ''standing in,'' and I look for representations in embodied agents involved in simple categorization tasks. In a first experiment, no representation can be found, but the relevance of the task is undermined by the fact that agents with no internal states can reach high performance. A simple modification makes the task more "representationally hungry," and in this case, agents' internal states are found to qualify as representations. I conclude by discussing the benefits of reconciling the embodied-dynamical approach with the notion of representation. © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.


Norscia I.,University of Pisa | Palagi E.,University of Pisa | Palagi E.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

The ability to share others' emotions, or empathy, is crucial for complex social interactions. Clinical, psychological, and neurobiological clues suggest a link between yawn contagion and empathy in humans (Homo sapiens). However, no behavioral evidence has been provided so far. We tested the effect of different variables (e.g., country of origin, sex, yawn characteristics) on yawn contagion by running mixed models applied to observational data collected over 1 year on adult (&16 years old) human subjects. Only social bonding predicted the occurrence, frequency, and latency of yawn contagion. As with other measures of empathy, the rate of contagion was greatest in response to kin, then friends, then acquaintances, and lastly strangers. Related individuals (r≥0.25) showed the greatest contagion, in terms of both occurrence of yawning and frequency of yawns. Strangers and acquaintances showed a longer delay in the yawn response (latency) compared to friends and kin. This outcome suggests that the neuronal activation magnitude related to yawn contagion can differ as a function of subject familiarity. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that yawn contagion is primarily driven by the emotional closeness between individuals and not by other variables, such as gender and nationality. © 2011 Norscia, Palagi.

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