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Knowledge Needs and Information Extraction: Towards an Artificial Consciousness by Nicolas Turenne

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Chapter 5

Self Theories

As mentioned in Chapter 1, religion played a leading role in the way in which consciousness was analyzed from a psychosomatic point of view for many years. Descartes [DES 73], who contributed a great deal to the foundation of analytical rationality, even in his time distinguished mind and body as being two separate entities.

Freud’s [FRE 23] works in clinical psychology caused many ripples in terms of a consciousness dependent on the body and on its history. Yet Freudian studies still show a nearly non-existent relation with motivation. It was not until the post-war period that Hilgard [HIL 49], then President of the American Psychological Association, defended the idea that the self is a unifying concept in problems of motivation. Forty years later, and with the benefit of hindsight, this opinion has become unanimously recognized, and according to Graham and Weiner [GRA 96], it is clear that the self occupies center-stage in the field of motivation.

When an opportunity for decision-making arises, one of the primary activities is the collection of information on the subject and the possible alternative actions. The way in which the information is collected and the way in which it is processed are variables which have a significant bearing on the profitability of the decision. At this level, we find neither a single unique behavior nor an infinite range of behaviors. An individual’s cognitive style represents the characteristic modes of function of that individual ...

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