M. Afzal Upal, Group Leader of Effects & Influence Research Group Socio-Cognitive Systems Section

 

M. Afzal Upal, Group Leader of Effects & Influence Research Group Socio-Cognitive Systems Section

Sage 4101

October 3, 2012 - January 3, 2012

Abstract:

  Over the last few years, liberal democratic governments across the Western World have allocated an increasing amount of resources to addressing challenges of national defense and homeland security. Solutions for these problems require addressing basic research questions in cognitive science such as how do people learn new concepts and how do shared cultural beliefs come to be so widely shared.  I will discuss some research work that we at Defense Research and Development Canada have done through the "Enhanced Canadian Forces Influence Operations" and "Human Terrain Visualization and Simulation" projects to study these two questions.  This includes (1) extending the work in cognitive science of religion to better understand why minimally counterintuitive concepts (such as a thinking green tree that bears fruit) are better remembered than intuitive concepts (such as a leafy green tree that grows) and maximally counterintuitive concepts (such as a talking invisible tree that is omniscient) and (2) designing a knowledge-rich agent-based social simulation system to better understand why people affiliate with insurgent groups such as the Taliban.

 

From individual to social counterintuitivesness: how layers of innovation weave together to form multilayered tapestries of human cultures

 

 

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