Chaos, Communication and Consciousness
Module PH19510
Lecturers:
Dr. Dave Langstaff
Department of Physics
room 202
email: dpl
Module structure:
Web Notes:
Dr. Tony Cook
Department of Physics
Room 316
email: atc
Lectures - 2 per week,
Monday
0900
Thursday 1210
Physics 320
Biology Main
http://users.aber.ac.uk/dpl
Aims of Module
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Understand how human communication has
evolved into today's global networks and the
information superhighway.
Follow the development of ideas attempting to
unravel the complexities of the natural world,
from the deterministic universe to chaotic
systems.
Relate the brain, the mind and consciousness to
complex artificial entities and networks.
Assessment
80% - Semester Exam -1.5 hours
 20% - Assignment – Poster
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Highly Recommended
Electric Universe
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David Bodanis
£7.99
ISBN
 0-349-11766-7
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Aventis prize for
popular science
How Electrons hold
the universe together
Human Communication
- from grunts, grins & gestures to the
information superhighway
A brief history of communication
 Key technologies, discoveries & people
 How communications technology has
affected society
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What is communication?
Transfer, processing and storage of
information
 Latin – communicare
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 to
impart, share or make common
 to bestow gifts (munificence)
 originally tangibles rather than abstract
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Entered English language in C14th
Earliest Communication
Expression of Emotion through facial
expression
 Universal throughout humanity for over
1,000,000 years
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Not just humans…
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Guess the emotion?
Charles Darwin, 1809-1882
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b. Shrewsbury, 1809
d. Downe, Kent, 1882
>24 books
>150 papers
Beagle 1831-1836
Origin of Species,
1859
Descent of Man, 1871
Charles Darwin & facial expression
The Expression Of The Emotions In Man
And Animals, 1872
 Cites facial expressions as evidence for
evolution
 Expression of emotion innate not learned
 Trace back to prehistoric ancestors
 Trace further back to other primates
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Facial Perception
New born babies look at faces
 Large proportion of brain
 Can recognise very subtle clues
 Evolutionary pressure
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Limits to facial expression
Limited range of expression
 Only in line of sight
 Only close up
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Gestures
Use hands, fingers & arms
 More visible
 Greater range of expression
 Mostly learned rather than innate
 Not universal – cultural differences
 Beware the international traveller !!
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Gestures
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OK – Most of world
Hitching a lift
Obscene in Greece,
Sardinia, Iran, middle
East
Gestures
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OK – U.K., U.S.A.etc
Are you OK? Underwater
Money in Japan
Zero in France
Obscene in Brazil &
Germany
Gestures
•Horned
Hand
•Hook ‘em
Satanic
Symbol ?
Texas Longhorns?
Body language & gestures
Desmond Morris 1928
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zoologist, ethologist
The Naked Ape:A
Zoologist's Study of the
Human Animal , 1967
Manwatching (1977)
reprinted as
Peoplewatching (2001)
First words –
Beginnings of spoken language
100,000 BC – Homo Sapiens develops
first oral language
 Arched bones at base of skull 
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 lower
larynx (voice box)
 ability to produce complex speech
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Likely that earlier hominds had mental
capacity for speech but not larynx
Language & birth of civilisation
Language allows communication of facts,
ideas & emotions between individuals.
 Possible to pass on wisdom about:
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 good
& bad foodstuffs
 hunting grounds
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Aboriginal Dreamtime stories
Common roots of language
6000 languages spoken on earth
 14 major groups
 Bancel & de l’Etang studied 1000 current
languages from all major groups
 ‘papa’ (or similar) present in 700
 similar results for ‘mama’
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First recording of information
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≈30,000 BC
Cave paintings
Chauvet, France
Preserve Information
Start to form historical
record
Jean-Marie Chauvet © DRAC
Review of Lecture #1
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First Communications from pre-history to
early man
 Expressions
(1,000,000 BC)
 Gestures & Body Language
 Early Spoken language (100,000 BC)
 First cave paintings (30,000 BC)
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Chaos, Communication & Consciousness