The Center for Neural Mind & Society
The Center for The Neural Mind & Society (CNMS)
At UCBerkeley George Lakoff, Director
Converging research from Neuroscience, Cognitive Linguistics, Neural Computation, and Experimental Embodied Cognition has revealed that the mind is a Neural Mind. Ideas and language are:
(1) Physical, constituted by neural circuitry; (2) Mostly (up to 98%) unconscious, effortless, and automatic; (3) Embodied, that is, carried out by brain mechanisms from motor control, vision, touch, emotions, etc.; and (4) Emergent from experience.
Ideas are structured by embodied primitives, conceptual frames, metaphorical mappings, and conceptual integration.
A new book, The Neural Mind is about to be completed by George Lakoff and Srini Narayanan. It surveys the converging research on the neural mind, including a detailed account of how ideas and language can arise from, and be constituted by, functional neural circuitry, what that circuitry might look like — and how ideas and language could be learned via total experience and normal mechanisms of synaptic change.
The Neural Mind and The Political Divide: Deep fixed ideas are learned in this way. Since you can only understand what your neural circuitry allows you to understand, deep ideological divisions can arise naturally and invisibly — and can be controlled via language. The US is politically torn, and Neural Mind research has revealed the largely unconscious mental nature of the division and the role played by language. In the 2016 election, the polls failed disastrously. The reason, we believe, is that they depended on demographic data, but not value-baed data. Moral Politics scales have been devised and tested successfully. They can be added to polls to include implicit moral and cultural values and hence understand well how a voter’s values determine how they will vote.
The CNMS MetaNet Project can model ideas computationally using Big Data techniques on huge corpora together with an advanced form of Natural Language Processing based on Neural Mind research. CNMS MetaNet Analysis is applicable to any area of inquiry.
The Center’s mission is to further extend this research and to bring it into both academic and general public discourse.
The Center has two parts: a Core Team of experts on the science of the Neural Mind; and a Network of Research Partners — Labs and other Centers run by distinguished Berkeley faculty in the following areas: Neuroscience, Data Science with Deep Semantics, Decision-making, Political Analysis, Human Rights, Systemic Causation in Global Warming, and New Conceptual Understandings of Quantum Mechanics.
CNRS depends on unrestricted gifts to support a small number of Core Team members, some graduate students and undergrads, but not our research partners, who have their own funding. Gifts are tax-deductible, with only 5% overhead.