Thursday, July 1, 2010

60-Second Science 5/10/10 Wash Away Your Doubt

A recent study suggests that washing our hands after making a decision can keep us from second-guessing our choice. Karen Hopkin reports here.

So, is this an instance of EC?  On Clark's view, I think it may be hard to tell.  For Clark, an external resource has to be an informational resource to be part of extended cognition.  I've tried to make this point before by noting the different between using a recipe and using an oven to bake a cake.  The first is an instance of EC, for Clark, where the other is not.  (At least this is how I read Clark's conditions of "trust and glue" and which Andy confirmed in conversation.)

As with other studies, I guess the question to ask is how is it that washing our hands after making a decision keeps us from second guessing our choices.  That's where just claiming that these things are instances of extended cognition is of little use or point.  But, tell me where I'm wrong.  I just don't think I have the "EC intuition".

It is probably also worth noting that in evaluating these cases, it seems to me that we are not trying to impose a conclusion in the advance of science, but it seems that we are trying to interpret data as part of the ongoing scientific process.

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