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07 Feb Your Place in the Noosphere

René Descartes suggested that if you think, you exist: cogito ergo sum. To think, to know, to intuit, to be or not to be… these are questions that lead us to consider the noosphere. Taxonomies attempt to categorize things in the universe by placing them in buckets in which all the things in the same […]

27 Dec Cytoskeleton Components in Cognition


A Neuron’s Skeleton Unlike the external structure of many spheroid and amorphous cells, the external structure of neurons is complex and rigidly determined. As you may remember from earlier posts, the many different types of neurons residing in particular cortical strata (in layers of the gray and white matter) each have distinctive characteristics that enable […]

22 Dec Modeling Neural Interconnections

Inside a Neuron

Neuron Branching The characteristic that distinguishes neurons from other types of cells is that they have things sticking out all over them. This phenomenon is called branching or arborization. While all cells are capable of sprouting appendages like cilia or dendrites, only some actually do. Cells that branch do so for specific reasons that are essential […]

12 Nov Context Powers Backward Chaining Logic

Forward Chaining Rules

A popular success strategies book suggests that if we “Begin with the End in Mind” we are likely to get where we’re going more consistently. We wander less if we think about what we want at the end from the very first steps of our journeys. Context helps us do that. Human behaviorists and philosophers have […]

31 Aug Building a Cathedral of Knowledge


Good fiction, especially good historical fiction, gets my brain spinning. Ken Follett‘s The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End describe the technology, born in the “Dark Ages” in which mortal men were able, with limited technologies, to build edifices that could stand throughout the ages. At the same time as Mr. Follett’s mythical cathedral […]

09 Aug Emotional Intelligence


What Does it Take to Think In describing the role of the hippocampus, we discussed the correlation of various sensory inputs to form a cohesive picture of our physical surroundings. The direct links between the amygdala and the central gray matter demonstrate the importance of emotional feedback or emotional intelligence in cognitive processes. Dr. Travis […]

01 Aug Section 6 Intro – Language and Dialog

Speak 2 U 3

Dialog: Is this something limited to humans – to sentient beings? Natural Language, its components, acquisition, and use are the subjects of this sixth section of the Understanding Context blog. Here, you will find theories about communication and cognition, along with descriptions of computational approaches to analyzing and automatically generating human language and dialog using computers. […]