Mental Informatics and Agricultural Issues: Global Change vs. Sustainable Agriculture

Mental Informatics and Agricultural Issues: Global Change vs. Sustainable Agriculture

Attila Gere (Szent István University, Hungary), Dalma Radványi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary), Richard Sciacca (Vox Populi Golbal, USA) and Howard Moskowitz (Mind Genomics Advisors, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5978-8.ch001


This chapter presents an approach to understanding the importance of connected aspects of a topic, such as the relevance of issues for global change or for sustainable agriculture. The approach, Mind Genomics, identifies a specific topic, creates a battery of related questions which in concert “tell a story,” requires the researcher to provides several alternative answers to those questions, and then tests the answers as combinations, as vignettes. Respondents rate the vignettes on judgmental attributes, such as the degree to which the respondent “agrees” with the story being told by the vignette, or the emotion that the respondent feels when reading the vignette. The analysis of such data shows the impact of each of the answers, the “communication elements,” as a drive of “agreement with the values of the respondent,” and the linkage of each element to a set of emotions. Mind Genomics provides a new tool to understand responses to agricultural issues, creating in its wake the possibility of a new “mental informatics.”
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Just What Is Informatics, and How Does Knowing the Mind of the Person Fit With Today’s Informatics?

The rise of computing, and the study of information itself and its application, has led to this new field called ‘informatics,’ the field to which Mind Genomics wishes to contribute. The definition of Informatics below, from Indiana University (source: follows:

The Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing defines the field as “the study and application of information technology to the arts, science and professions, and to its use in organizations and society at large.” Informatics students build new computing tools and applications. They study how people interact with information technology. They study how information technology shapes our relationships, our organizations, and our world.

Informatics is a new and rapidly developing field. It uses computing to solve the big problems: privacy, security, healthcare, education, poverty, and challenges in our environment. All Informatics applications are computer-based. Those applications are enhanced with tools and techniques from fields such as communication, mathematics, multimedia, and human-computer interaction design. Informatics differs from computer science and computer engineering because of its strong focus on the human use of computing.

Students of Informatics learn skills that allow them to harness the power of computing to solve real problems that directly impact our lives and the lives of those around us. They use their technology and problem-solving skills to make a difference in the world. For students interested in a career with infinite potential, Informatics stands out as a strong, flexible and dynamic field of study.

The foregoing expansive definition of Informatics suggests that in the grand field of agriculture and environment, there is room for an informatics of the mind. It is to this opportunity that we now turn.

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