Date/Location: 11/24/2014, 3PM, KL232

Scott Jordan, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University

How we get ahead: The dynamic, prospective nature of action, perception, and cognition


The purpose of the present talk is to present an approach to psychological systems (i.e., Wild Systems Theory) that begins by conceptualizing organisms as far-from equilibrium, self-sustaining embodiments of context, as opposed to physical-mental systems. Within WST, action, perception, and cognition come to be conceptualized as nested scales of event control that (1) share a homological, prospective neuro-architecture, and (2) emerge ontogenetically via persistent social interactions. As a result of such on-going, prospective, social interaction, human culture becomes increasingly prospective. This has implications for issues such as conscious will, morality, the socially-dependent nature of the independent ‘self’, education, and metaphysics.


J. Scott Jordan’s research focuses on volition and its relationship to consciousness. In 1991, he received his PhD in cognitive psychology and the neurophysiological basis of perception at Northern Illinois University. In 1992, he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Post-doctoral Fellowship and spent a year at the University of Ulm in Germany studying the relationship between event-related brain potentials and memory and attention, and he went on to spend a year at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich, Germany studying action planning and spatial perception. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, where he is also Director of the Institute for Prospective Cognition. His empirical research continues to focus on the relationship between spatial perception and action planning, with an increasing emphasis on social influences. He also investigates social perception during interaction and how these social dynamics influence perceived similarity, use of stereotypes, and desire to reengage. His theoretical work (i.e., Wild Systems Theory) focuses on moving scientific psychology away from the current computational-ecological debate, toward an integrated framework that conceptualizes organisms as embodiments of the phylogenetic, cultural, social, and developmental contexts from they emerged and in which they sustain themselves.