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Giorgio Bertini

Giorgio Bertini's Public Library

Mar 09, 16

Researchers are increasingly recognizing the role of culture as a source of variation in many phenomena of central importance to consumer research. This review addresses a gap in cross-cultural consumer behavior literature by providing a review and conceptual analysis of the effects of culture on pre-behavioral processes (perception and cognition). The article highlights a series of important perceptual and cognitive differences across cultures and offers a new perspective of framing these differences among cultures—that of “culturally conditioned” perceptual and cognitive orientations. The article addresses several theoretical issues and suggests directions for future research as well as managerial implications.

Mar 09, 16

To understand culture and cultural evolution we must abandon the atomized and anonymous social environment of neoclassical economics. Culture is a product and a cause of the socialized nature of human action. Examination of the phylogenetic and ontogenetic neural mechanisms that make socialization and culture possible reveals: the ways that culture conserves cognitive resources and makes human interaction possible; and the reason that human culture—but not that of are closest relatives the chimpanzees—is capable of rapid evolution. Understanding the deep cognitive nature of culture explains the sometimes pathological outcomes of cultural evolution and how pathologies may be avoided. An understanding of three aspects of the nature of culture and cultural evolution was found necessary to get at these issues: (1) important components of culture are social constructs; (2) the contents of intentional mental states are insufficient by themselves to determine the meaning of those states—the brain provides the missing data necessary to determine meaning, and a significant portion of the data is a product of cultural evolution and learning. Following the lead of Searle, we called the mechanisms that provide the missing data Background; (3) the process by which culture is learned provides insight into its socially constructed nature, the missing data problem mentioned in (2), and intersubjective nature of human interaction.

Mar 09, 16

Michael Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol-based culture, and the kind of psychological development that takes place within it, are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities that emerge early in human ontogeny. These include capacities for sharing attention with other persons; for understanding that others have intentions of their own; and for imitating, not just what someone else does, but what someone else has intended to do. In his discussions of language, symbolic representation, and cognitive development, Tomasello describes with authority and ingenuity the “ratchet effect” of these capacities working over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops. He also proposes a novel hypothesis, based on processes of social cognition and cultural evolution, about what makes the cognitive representations of humans different from those of other primates. Ambitious and elegant, this book builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology. Michael Tomasello is one of the very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive capacities of both nonhuman primates and human children. “The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition” identifies what the differences are, and suggests where they might have come from. Lucid, erudite, and passionate, “The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition” will be essential reading for developmental psychology, animal behavior, and cultural psychology.

Feb 19, 16

Great leaders are often great communicators. However, little is known about the neural basis of leader–follower communication. Only recently have neuroscientists been able to examine interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) between leaders and followers during social interactions. Here, we show that INS is significantly higher between leaders and followers than between followers and followers, suggesting that leaders emerge by synchronizing their brain activity with that of the followers. Moreover, the quality rather than frequency of the leaders’ communications makes a significant contribution to the increase of INS. This result supports the “quality of communication” hypothesis in leader emergence. Finally, our results show that leadership can be predicted shortly after the onset of a task based on INS as well as communication behaviors.

In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.

Feb 19, 16

The neural mechanism of leader emergence is not well understood. This study investigated (i) whether interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) plays an important role in leader emergence, and (ii) whether INS and leader emergence are associated with the frequency or the quality of communications. Eleven three-member groups were asked to perform a leaderless group discussion (LGD) task, and their brain activities were recorded via functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Video recordings of the discussions were coded for leadership and communication. Results showed that the INS for the leader–follower (LF) pairs was higher than that for the follower–follower (FF) pairs in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), an area important for social mentalizing. Although communication frequency was higher for the LF pairs than for the FF pairs, the frequency of leader-initiated and follower-initiated communication did not differ significantly. Moreover, INS for the LF pairs was significantly higher during leader-initiated communication than during follower-initiated communications. In addition, INS for the LF pairs during leader-initiated communication was significantly correlated with the leaders’ communication skills and competence, but not their communication frequency. Finally, leadership could be successfully predicted based on INS as well as communication frequency early during the LGD (before half a minute into the task).

In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.

Feb 18, 16

We introduce fractal social organizations—a novel class of socio-technical complex systems characterized by a distributed, bio-inspired, hierarchical architecture. Based on a same building block that is recursively applied at different layers, said systems provide a homogeneous way to model collective behaviors of different complexity and scale. Key concepts and principles are enunciated by means of a case study and a simple formalism. As preliminary evidence of the adequacy of the assumptions underlying our systems here, we define and study an algebraic model for a simple class of social organizations. We show how despite its generic formulation, geometric representations of said model exhibit the spontaneous emergence of complex hierarchical and modular patterns characterized by structured addition of complexity and fractal nature — which closely correspond to the distinctive architectural traits of our fractal social organizations. Some reflections on the significance of these results and a view to the next steps of our research conclude this contribution.

Feb 18, 16

The objective of this work is to better analyse and understand social self-organization in the context of social media and political activism. More specifically, we centre our analysis in the presence of fractal scaling in the form of 1/f noise in different Twitter communication networks related to the Spanish 15M movement. We show how quantitative indexes of brown, white and pink noise correlate with qualitatively different forms of social coordination of protests: rigidly organized protests (brown noise), reactive-spontaneous protests (white noise) and complex genuinely self-organized protests (pink noise). In addition, pink noise processes present correlations that reach much further in time, maintaining a dynamical coherence that last several days, and also show a balance between mean distance and clustering coefficient within the interaction network.

Feb 18, 16

Human learning is a complex phenomenon requiring flexibility to adapt existing brain function and precision in selecting new neurophysiological activities to drive desired behavior. These two attributes — flexibility and selection — must operate over multiple temporal scales as performance of a skill changes from being slow and challenging to being fast and automatic. Such selective adaptability is naturally provided by modular structure, which plays a critical role in evolution, development, and optimal network function. Using functional connectivity measurements of brain activity acquired from initial training through mastery of a simple motor skill, we investigate the role of modularity in human learning by identifying dynamic changes of modular organization spanning multiple temporal scales. Our results indicate that flexibility, which we measure by the allegiance of nodes to modules, in one experimental session predicts the relative amount of learning in a future session. We also develop a general statistical framework for the identification of modular architectures in evolving systems, which is broadly applicable to disciplines where network adaptability is crucial to the understanding of system performance.

Feb 18, 16

Recent research has revealed general principles in the structural and functional organization of complex networks which are shared by various natural, social and technological systems. This review examines these principles as applied to the organization, development and function of complex brain networks. Specifically, we examine the structural properties of large-scale anatomical and functional brain networks and discuss how they might arise in the course of network growth and rewiring. Moreover, we examine the relationship between the structural substrate of neuroanatomy and more dynamic functional and effective connectivity patterns that underlie human cognition. We suggest that network analysis offers new fundamental insights into global and integrative aspects of brain function, including the origin of flexible and coherent cognitive states within the neural architecture.

Feb 18, 16

The social, political, economic and ecological environment in which the organizations are immerse, has forced them to look for mechanisms that allow them to give agile and economic answers, in addition to show and generate flexibility and adaptation, that is to say, homeostasis. In other words, if the environment shows complexity, then the organization will respond in the same way. The Organizational Development (O.D.) and the Dynamics of Systems are tools of great importance for organizations. They allow them to adapt to the environment, to survive and to develop in it. While in the O.D. an appropriate intervention plan is created (of learning) in function of the wanted objectives of operation for the organization, the Dynamics of Systems combines the analysis and the synthesis and provides a language that allows: to express the relationships that take place in a complex system and to explain their behavior through time.

Feb 18, 16

It is becoming increasingly important for organizations to gain competitive advantage by being able to manage and survive change. This paper presents two theoretical paradigms (systems and complexity theories) through which organizational change processes can be fruitfully examined. Systems and complexity theories are two valuable perspectives that can equip organizational leaders with the requisite knowledge and understanding of how to respond and adapt to the uncertainties and demands of global change. These two paradigms are particularly useful in the areas of organizational intelligence, organizational design, knowledge management, and corporate strategy, to mention but a few.

By using theories of organizational change, this paper attempts to describe the complex, dynamic, unpredictable and sometimes chaotic process of organizational transformation. Organizational change activities can be successfully examined from complexity and systems theories framework. The organizational change paradigms discussed in the paper suggest that changes are produced on the basis of a number of interconnected causes and effects whose relationships are complicated to conceive of from an analytical framework based on linearity. Systems and complexity models can offer more promising avenues from which organizational leaders can appreciate and address complex organizational dilemmas.

Feb 18, 16

Organizational theory has construed complexity as an objective characteristic of either the structure or the behavior of an organization. We argue that, in order to further our understanding, complexity should be understood in terms of the human cognition of a structure or behavior. This cognitive twist is illustrated by means of two theoretical approaches, whose relationship is discussed.

The aim of this paper is to argue that complexity should neither be defined nor measured in terms of its source, be it an objectively given feature of the structure or of the behavior of an organization, but instead in terms of its effects on human cognition. Organization theorists have been careful in pointing to the decision context within which the concept of complexity plays a role. Briefly, complexity as numerosity, diversity, and unpredictability matters because of the increasing demands it imposes on decision makers concerned with attaining overall organizational effectiveness. But such demands are cognitive in nature. It therefore only seems natural to take the analysis one step further by detaching the notion of complexity from its objective source and instead attaching it to its consequence on the cognitive effort exerted by the decision maker to come to grips with her decision problem. That is, an organization is complex to the extent that a human being – e.g., an organizational designer or an outside observer – has to exert a certain degree of cognitive effort in coming to grips with a decision problem.

Feb 17, 16

The construct of systems intelligence (SI) is a new concept to social and human sciences and to the study of man. This article aims firstly at providing a psychological articulation of SI by using different concepts of “intelligence” as offered in psychology. The second aim of this chapter is to demonstrate how properties of abilities, competences, styles, and traits can be used to propose different approaches to SI (e.g., Trait- SI, Ability-SI). A basis for a psychologically informed yet multi-disciplinary perspective on SI is set which aims at fostering future research.

The foremost goal of this article is to inspire researchers to attend to empirical studies on SI. Hence, several different (and maybe even competing) possible approaches to SI are articulated, in the hope that other researchers will find some of them interesting and conduct empirical studies exploring their usefulness for SI research as well as their applicability for practice.

Feb 17, 16

Systems Intelligence (SI) is fundamentally about communications. Learning to work more effectively at the human interface, meaning in relation with other people and oneself, leads to an increase in Systems Intelligence. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) offers valuable insight in a technical sense on the psychological skills for understanding and influencing people. Hence, as I argue in this article, NLP offers tools and practices for anyone to stimulate their SI.

In this article I have referred the basics of NLP and given a run-through on some applications, which I explored from the viewpoint of Systems Intelligence. I have taken these applications as hypotheses and ideas to explore in order to find tools to stimulate systems intelligence.

Feb 17, 16

This essay brings into dialogue the concept of systems intelligence and the scientific empirics of volunteering. The empirical section presents a phenomenological study that focused on individual-level volunteer motivation and the experience of volunteering. This study produced an octagon model of volunteer motivation − one that can be captured into the expression “individually together”. In the light of these findings the article proceeds to ponder the power and potential of the system called volunteer work from three perspectives: 1) what does the system generate, 2) how does the system a mould human beings, and 3) what kind of “in-between” does the system endors. It is further suggested that the social system of volunteer work produces novel systemic intelligence by both promoting social interaction of individuals and by widening the other-centred as well as positive horizons of individuals. Concluding discussion focuses on further applications of the approach.

Feb 17, 16

The article discuss dialogue as a way to enhance Systems Intelligence. A core idea of dialogue is to enhance human systems, be that, an organization, a team, or a family to recollect, create and strengthen its fundamental values. The article present dialogue not only as way for effective systemic intervention but as work philosophy to be internalized in organizational culture. The examples relates to work-life at all levels of organizations. Leaders, employees and teams can all benefit from a dialogical work philosophy.

In this article I present dialogue as way to enhance systems intelligence. I use the word dialogue as referring to a) a method to enrich and improve human encounters by increasing creativity, commitment, energy and motivation; b) a personal philosophy and attitude to engage with other human beings. The view presented combines different dialogue methods with a philosophy of dialogue. Most dialogue methods have been developed as tools for educators, consultants, practitioners and leaders to aid and manage human systems. Generally dialogue interventions are used as parts of change programs, training, and conflict resolution. Dialogue sessions are thus separated from daily work processes and routines. Such interventions aim to gather information on a specific topic, create shared vision, solve conflict and build trust. Also, these interventions are means to train dialogical skills, for example, skillful listening, inquiry, thinking together and consensus building that can be used in concrete working situations.

Feb 17, 16

This chapter anayses Systems Intelligence concept using systems theoretic tools constructed by combining the traditional input-output presentation of a dynamical system with a model for organizational knowledge creation. The analysis reveals that the concepts of internal models and perception filters describe aspects of Systems Intelligence. An introduction to evolutionary models of knowledge generation is presented and a link between Systems Intelligence and favourable conditions of knowledge generating evolution is established.

My aim is to dig deeper into some essentials of Systems Intelligence by using tools of System Analysis and applying an evolutionary model of knowledge generation. I hope to find explanations for some Systems Intelligence fundaments and answers to the question: Why is systems Intelligence a good idea?

Feb 17, 16

Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted self-interest or a desire to help close genealogical kin. In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis–pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior–show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers. The authors describe how, for thousands of generations, cooperation with fellow group members has been essential to survival. Groups that created institutions to protect the civic-minded from exploitation by the selfish flourished and prevailed in conflicts with less cooperative groups. Key to this process was the evolution of social emotions such as shame and guilt, and our capacity to internalize social norms so that acting ethically became a personal goal rather than simply a prudent way to avoid punishment. Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative.

Feb 17, 16

There you have it: the elemental fear that belief in evolution will cause morality to collapse. That fear is predicated on a powerful assumption: that morality comes to us from God via religion. This is false. It is demonstrably false. So where does morality come from? Evolution. This is as close to certain as science gets. Human universals are pretty good evidence for a start. It turns out that a prohibition on murder is found in every known culture. Most human universals are not moral matters. Jokes, tools, and aesthetics have no inherent moral valence. That we can pick out some behaviors as morally relevant is a clue. It points to the fact that we have evolved moral instincts. At root they are empathy, disgust, and fairness. How could such behaviors have evolved in a world of survival of the fittest? A major misconception is that evolution is strictly “nature red in tooth and claw.” Sure, competition pulses at the heart of evolution, but right alongside it beats cooperation. Cooperation is everywhere, especially in social species like ours. The evolutionary pathway to morality, then, runs through the mutual benefits that come about when members of a group cooperate not only to care for kin, secure food, and fight off rival groups, but to suppress bad actors within the group. Put those together, and you have the beginnings of morality; love, sympathy, kindness, fidelity, and generosity are its shoots and leaves. Add to it the power of human language, abstract thought, and social contracts, and you get the rise of a civilization capable of moral progress.

Feb 17, 16

The term “autopoiesis” was introduced by Maturana and Varela around 1972 by combining the Greek words auto (self-) and poiesis (creation, production) to refer to the mechanism by which living systems continually produce themselves as autonomous unities. “When we speak of living beings, we presuppose something in common between them… Our proposition is that living beings are characterised in that, literally, they are continually self-producing. We indicate this process when we call the organization that defines them an autopoietic system… The most striking feature of an autopoietic system is that it pulls itself up by its own bootstraps and becomes distinct from its environment through its own dynamics, in such a way that both things are inseparable.” Inseparability of living systems from their environment claimed by autopoietic theory expresses the unity of universe and this unity is at the core of any spiritual doctrine and experience. To see and grasp the unity of life is the ultimate drive of any spiritual endeavour. In the stream of spiritual writing the idea of inseparability is usually extended to encompass not only species in relation to their environment bit also species in relation to each other. For this reason, spirituality resists Darwinian biology where evolution is considered as a chronic, bloody competition (struggle for survival) among individuals and species. The new biology rooted in Complexity Science (and autopoiesis is in this biology) alters this view of evolution. Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking. Life forms multiplied and grew more complex by co-opting others, not just by killing them.

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