Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category

via Video – How you can change the past – New Scientist.

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Scientists found a region in the brain responsible for “eye contact”.

Making direct eye contact with someone gives you that feeling of a special connection because it excites newly discovered “eye cells” in the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotions and social interactions.

via Eye-contact detector found in the brain – life – 16 October 2012 – New Scientist.

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Perhaps our brains are not equipped to get the Big Picture. Maybe they evolved to deal with only a narrow spectrum of reality, focused on day to day reality just enough to keep us going. Maybe at this point our brains are not capable of comprehending the incomprehensible.

Perhaps the question of our origin and of ultimate reality doesn’t need to be answered to find wellbeing. What if freedom lies instead in the capacity to live with not knowing? What would it feel like to be utterly at home, in the midst of the mystery?


via Being Human A-Z | Being Human.

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When you think about it all, and then think some more, it becomes quite a curiosity that there are any “laws” governing our reality at all. I mean, why do things fall down rather than up or down, randomly? Yes, yes, it is because of gravity, but why does gravity cause things to fall down rather than up or down, randomly? Do you see what I am getting at? Because the presence of any “laws” or “rules” that are innate in the fabric of our reality carry with them specific implications. What implications do you draw?

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via Hubble captures deepest view of space – Telegraph.

This 4 minute video is the best video I’ve seen this year for making my mind, literally, hum. So many thought trails all running at the same time.

Time is immense. Space is immense. Earth is barely a pinhole of reflected light on the vast sheet of space. A teeny tiny dot, easily missed. And me? Me. I am a microscopic creature on that tiny pinhole that is planet Earth, and I have imbued my life with so much meaning and importance. lol. It really is a hoot to think about. If my life has any meaning at all, and I am not concluding it does but I do enjoy thinking it does, and I am so microscopic, what does that say about the immensity lying beyond me; beyond my planet, my solar system, my universe, my cosmos?

I am here and I am gone. Time is so immense I cannot comprehend it. I am here for such a short space of time there really isn’t an accurate measurement of blips so tiny, if viewed from the wholeness of Time. Here and gone. It causes “Horton Hears a Who” to make a lot more sense, in the whole cosmic layout, doesn’t it? It is no wonder humans have sought to quell their minds with thoughts of the cosmos being created solely for them; solely because humans are so important and special. It is not a cosmic joke or anything that we are what we are. We simply are what we are. And we ain’t what we ain’t. It is highly unlikely we are the reason for everything.


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How Nerve Cells Communicate: Scientific American.

Neuroscientists do not fully understand how the brain manages to extract meaningful information from all the signaling that goes on within it. The two of us and others, however, have recently made exciting progress by focusing new attention on how the brain can efficiently use the timing of spikes to encode information and rapidly solve difficult computational problems. This is because a group of spikes that fire almost at the same moment can carry much more information than can a comparably sized group that activates in an unsynchronized fashion.an.

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Studies of lucid dreamers visualize which centers of the brain become active when we become aware of ourselves.

via The seat of meta-consciousness in the brain.

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via Amazing Animated Optical Illusions! – YouTube.

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A writer by trade, Kayt Sukel volunteered to masturbate in an MRI scanner for science. The point of the study? Neuroscientist Barry Komisaruk and sex therapist Nan Wise wanted to know what exactly goes on in the brain when a woman orgasms. Could the sensory cortex be activated by thought alone, they wondered, opening doors for treatments for people unable to orgasm through genital stimulation? This guest post is an excerpt from Sukel’s just-released Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships.

via This Is Your Brain During Orgasm | Experts’ Corner | Big Think.

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Deep Brain stimulation will now be possible with magnets rather than direct current. This is, apparently, not only more effective, but also safer.

Magnetic fields generated by microscopic devices implanted into the brain may be able to modulate brain-cell activity and reduce symptoms of several neurological disorders.

via Tiny magnetic coils modulate neural activity, may be safer for deep-brain implants – Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

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In humans, the endowment effect causes people to consider an item they have just come to possess as higher in value than the maximum price they would have paid to acquire it just a moment before. Economists and lawyers typically assume this will not be the case. And some consider the endowment effect a human-centered fluke, subject to widespread and seemingly unpredictable variation. The origins of the quirk, and satisfying explanations for how it varies, have proved elusive.

via Endowment effect in chimpanzees can be turned on and off.

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This video has a nifty visualization aid for the basic idea behind string theory; for the mathematically inclined, each dimension is a derivative of the previous.

via how-to-imagine-the-tenth-dimension – YouTube.

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Two psychiatrists in the US have published some case studies that flesh out an idea that surfaced in 2008. In The Truman Show Delusion, brothers Joel and Ian Gold describe the stories of five psychiatric patients who recalled experiences similar to the 1998 film, in which Jim Carrey’s character Truman Burbank is the unwitting star of a carefully controlled reality show. Three of the patients referenced the film directly.

In 2005, Vaughan Bell, a clinical and research psychologist, wrote a paper about delusions involving the internet. Byrne remembers a patient who was convinced they had a microchip implanted in their head. “If you pick up a psychiatry textbook, they will say your patient thinks they’re Jesus, or the old ones would say Napoleon,” says Byrne. “They are just variations on a theme, and the themes are usually profound paranoid beliefs about being under surveillance, and at some level being special … a variation of a grandiose delusion. In the middle ages, someone might have thought they were a saint. It’s the same story, just a different setting.”

Is it reality? No, it’s Truman Show delusion | Science | The Guardian.


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In Conversation with Daniel Kahneman – YouTube.

This public conversation with Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman hosted by LSE and the Hay Festivals will focus on his best selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Professor Kahneman will be signing copies of his book after the event.

Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University and a Professor of Public Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, his ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many disciplines — including economics, business, law and philosophy. Until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book. His book Thinking, Fast and Slow was published late in 2011.�

Paul Dolan is Professor of Behavioural Science in the Department of Social Policy at the LSE. There are two main themes to his work. The first focuses on developing measures of wellbeing that can be used in policy, particularly in the valuation of non-market goods. Amongst other things, he is currently looking at the happiness hit of the 2012 Olympic Games. The second considers ways in which the lessons from the behavioural sciences can be used to understand and change individual behaviour. This work is focussing on the important role that situational factors play in influencing our behaviour, as summarised in the ‘mindspace’ report for the Cabinet Office.

Evan Davis joined the presenter team on Today in April 2008 following a six-and-a-half year stint as the BBC’s economics editor. He also presents The Bottom Line, Radio 4’s business discussion programme and Dragons’ Den, the BBC Two business reality show. Before his promotion to editor, Evan worked for BBC Two’s Newsnight from 1997 to 2001 and as a general economics correspondent from 1993.

via In Conversation with Daniel Kahneman – YouTube.

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If you teach a chimp to communicate with you, are you obligated to listen? For example, if a chimp is taught to sign, sent to a testing lab, and asks the tester to stop testing on him; should the tester stop?

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