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Posts Tagged "perception"

Beautiful Minds

Can You Smell Personality?

original

First impressions matter. This may not come as much of a surprise, but just how quickly we form impressions, and which cues we use to make such rapid judgements may very much surprise you. Take the face. Superstar social psychologist Nalini Ambady (**see below) and her colleagues found that judgements of traits relating to power (competence, dominance, [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in fiction: “Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs”, by Adam-Troy Castro

Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Eclipse#mediaviewer/File:Eclipse667.jpg

The people of Enysbourg lead merry, fulfilled, blissful lives – nine days out of every ten. On each Tenth Day, the country is ablaze with destruction. Cities are razed, children massacred, every single citizen and visitor to the country experiences unimaginable pain and suffering. But the Day After, peace is restored. All wounds, physical and psychological, are healed. Buildings and roads show no fractures. Families become whole again. Lovers reunite. Memories of the devastation remain, but they do not have the power to do harm.

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Illusion Chasers

Do Dogs Fall for Magic Tricks?

dog_magic

Animals can be deceived, but do animals feel wonderment, awe, or sense that they have experienced the impossible?

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Illusion Chasers

Parallels Between Mantis Shrimp and Human Color Vision

Mantis shrimp. Photo credit: Roy Caldwell

Despite tremendous differences in human versus shrimp eye structure and brain circuitry, the striking similarity between the color sensitivities of primate brain color-selective neurons and shrimp photoreceptors provides evidence of a common computational strategy across extremely divergent species.

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Illusion Chasers

CALL FOR ILLUSION SUBMISSIONS: THE WORLD’S 10TH ANNUAL BEST ILLUSION OF THE YEAR CONTEST

Mac King

We are happy to announce the 10th anniversary edition of world’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Submissions are now welcome!

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Illusion Chasers

Ask Me Anything: The Neuroscience of Magic at PeerJ

(c) 2013,  Courtesy of NOVA:scienceNow, WGBH

Tomorrow (Tue 16th Dec at 8 am PST) the journal PeerJ will host a live ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with us, and our collaborator Hector Rieiro (a PhD candidate in the Macknik Lab).

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Illusion Chasers

Illusion of the week: Honda’s Illusion Medley

Picture1

This recent Honda ad showcases some striking versions of classical visual illusions

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Illusion Chasers

Sight and Sound: An Evening with John Williams and Steven Spielberg

203x261 - Williams Spielberg

We’re sitting in the front row of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, listening to the musicians warm up for the dress rehearsal of tonight’s benefit concert starring John Williams, his movie music, and guest starring Steven Spielberg.

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Illusion Chasers

Remembering David Hubel (February 27, 1926 – September 22, 2013)

David Hubel

Hubel had an irreverent attitude towards science “with a capital S”.

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Illusion Chasers

Fantasia: A Composer’s Experience of Synesthesia

Synesthesia is when you experience more than one sensory perception in response to stimulation of a single sensory modality. Often, people see numbers as having colors (even when they are uncolored physically, they see specific replicable colors matched to numbers. Estimates are as much as 5% of the population have some degree of synesthesia.

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MIND Guest Blog

To Patch a Visual Gap, Turn That Text Around

Fixation maps

Reader, be proud. You’re a perceptual expert. As you read, your eyes alternately focus and move along each line of text in a seamless sequence honed over years of practice. Reading, recognizing faces and distinguishing colors or musical tones are all forms of perceptual expertise. To appreciate the visual skill involved in reading, turn a [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Can Synesthesia in Autism Lead to Savantism?

Daniel Tammet has memorized Pi to the 22,514th digit. He speaks ten different languages, including one of his own invention, and he can multiply enormous sums in his head within a matter of seconds. However, he is unable to hold down a standard 9-to-5 job, in part due to his obsessive adherence to ritual, down [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Looks Can Taste Deceiving: How Color Can Affect Taste

Is it possible that our vision can affect our taste perception? Let’s review some examples of studies that claim to have demonstrated that sometimes what we see can override what we think we taste. From wine to cheese to soft drinks and more it seems that by playing with the color palette of food one [...]

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Observations

Can You Trust Your Eyes? A Video of Illusions

If you’re a fan of optical illusions and perceptual tricks, check out this AsapSCIENCE video. As usual, producers Michael Moffitt and Gregory Brown do a great job distilling the essential ideas and presenting them in a fun, entertaining and informative way. Here, they show you how your brain judges brightness and color in context. Visit [...]

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Observations

How Neuroscientists and Magicians Are Conjuring Brain Insights

Mariette DiChristina and Apollo Robbins

“I see you have a watch with a buckle.” Standing at my side, Apollo Robbins held my wrist lightly as he turned my hand over and back. I knew exactly what was coming but I fell for it anyway. “Yes,” I said, trying to keep an eye on him, “that looks pretty easy for you [...]

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Observations

Time on the Brain: How You Are Always Living In the Past, and Other Quirks of Perception

I always knew we humans have a rather tenuous grip on the concept of time, but I never realized quite how tenuous it was until a couple of weeks ago, when I attended a conference on the nature of time organized by the Foundational Questions Institute. This meeting, even more than FQXi’s previous efforts, was [...]

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Observations

Brain on Beauty Shows the Same Pattern for Art and Music

roses in a glass vase manet painting

The search for beauty has spurred great works of art and music, lengthy philosophical treatises and decades of dense cultural criticism. So, is beauty in the object? The eye of the beholder? Somewhere in between? The time has come "for neurobiology to tackle these fundamental questions," Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at University College London, said [...]

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Observations

Color-Changing Dots Earn Best Illusion of the Year Award

Go ahead, give the video below a spin—pun fully intended. Focus on the white dot in the middle. Did the dots appear to stop changing color when they began to rotate? If so, give the animation another look: the dots change color throughout, but their spinning motion somehow suppresses the viewer’s ability to detect those [...]

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Observations

Hard chairs drive hard bargains: Physical sensations translate to social perceptions

in negotiating touch sensations can determine how people perceive social interactions

Had a hard day? It might not be your abstract experiences that are causing you to think that way, but rather the physical surfaces you’re touching. A new study lends credence to many of the common physical metaphors we use to describe the subjectivity of our daily lives. In six experiments, researchers found that what [...]

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Observations

The brain thinks hands are wider and stubbier than they actually are

picture of hand is identifiable but volunteers thought thier own hands were wider and shorter

To function well in the world, people need a good sense of where their body is in space and how it’s postured. This "position sense" helps us coordinate high-fives, boot a soccer ball or pick up the remote. But that doesn’t seem to mean that our brains have an accurate sense of our body’s precise [...]

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Observations

Less than a pretty face: Brain scans show how a disorder leads individuals to perceive themselves as ugly

body dysmorphic disorder see face ugly

Despite living in a culture obsessed with physical flawlessness, most people in the U.S. have a relatively realistic perception of their own form and face—blemishes, bulges and all. About one to two percent of the population, however, suffers from a recognized psychological illness, known as body dysmorphic disorder (or BDD), which causes them to be [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Does That Crazy Camouflage Octopus Disappear? [Video]

camouflage disappearing octopus video

The vanishing octopus is back. This stunning cephalopod, caught on video by Roger Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, has been making the rounds online again. The spectacular camouflaging act, made popular by ocean explorer David Gallo’s 2007 TED Talk, captures some of the octopus’s most impressive transformations. In the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Do Octopuses Feel Pain?

octopus pain

The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli. (For the record, animals in the studies were anesthetized and euthanized, respectively.) Without getting too far into the woods (or reefs) of [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

What Is Vertigo? [Video]

vertigo_Lars_Plougmann

  // Learn what causes dizziness in this new video from Scientific American‘s Instant Egghead series. In this short movie, I explain how your inner ears work to help you balance, orient yourself and see what’s around you in a stable fashion. When your inner ears don’t function well, you may stumble, fall, vomit and [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Watch the Incredible Shrinking Woman [Video]

“Big” me. “Little” me. Watch these two versions of me–which are really the same size–explain why I appear petite in one place on screen and large in another. The reason, in short, is that I have been trapped in a clever visual illusion, one invented 78 years ago by American opthalmologist Adelbert Ames Jr. In [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Education of Character: Carefully Considering Craisins [Video]

Mindfulness, the practice of being present and in the moment, is easier for some people than for others. But it is a skill that many believe is worth cultivating—some say, starting with children. Preventing your mind from taking you into the past or future can, after all, be an antidote to depression (which can result [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Can Atheists Be Happy? And Other Answers from Scientific American MIND

Pretty young woman

The May/June issue of Scientific American Mind makes its online debut today. As usual, it contains an array of delicacies to sate your curiosity about people. Here are three mouth-watering morsels of brain food from its pages. Knowing Ourselves. How we see ourselves—physically, that is–can play a significant role in our lives. Our body image [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Want to Change Your Life? This Movie Might Inspire You

People V. The State of Illusion, a new docudrama from Samuel Goldwyn Films, is a mixture of fiction and brain science that, despite these awkward bedfellows, was compelling enough to keep me up late on a Friday night. Although most of the well-worn findings parroted by the movie’s parade of experts were not new to [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

An Artist Reveals How He Tricks the Eyes

deli in poughkeepsie

A few years ago, James Gurney, a celebrated artist and author, stood before his easel to paint a deli in Poughkeepsie. Surveying the scene before him, he was immediately overwhelmed with literally millions of details. People strolled by. Insects fluttered overhead. Signs poked out from the store and up from the street. Every tree had [...]

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Symbiartic

Need Proof That We’re Visual Beings?

In our introductory post, we wrote “let’s face it. We’re visual beings.” Here’s proof:

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