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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

Why Julianne Moore and Taylor Swift See That Dress Differently

RBG Wired image

I don’t think that the reason people see the dress differently from each other is an interesting brain process. Rather, it is a mundane differences in how people have viewed the image on their electronic display screens (phones, tablets, laptops, etc). So now we know that Taylor Swift and Ellen Degeneres set their phone screens to different brightness levels than Justin Bieber and Julianne Moore. You’re welcome.

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Illusion Chasers

Why Romantic Illusions Are a Good Thing

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Scientists believe that idealizing one’s partner can work as a self-fulfilling prophecy, where illusion eventually becomes reality. That is to say, people can help to create the partners they wish they had, by exaggerating their virtues and minimizing their faults in their own minds. In such cases, love is not blind but prophetic.

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Illusion Chasers

The Neuroscience of Lucid Dreams

Dreaming of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. (Wikimedia Commons)

Lucid dreams are perhaps the most bizarre perceptual experience one can have. You are asleep and dreaming, but suddenly you realize that it’s all just a dream. At that point, you can choose to wake up or you can continue to dream on, with one important advantage. You’re now aware that the world around you is completely made up by your brain.

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Illusion Chasers

A New Reverspective

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One of the very strange effects of reverse perspective is that the images seem to follow you as you pass by them. As if, while you are observing them, the pictures are watching you back. John Kubie of SUNY Downstate Medical Center realized that, in the case of the Hollow Mask illusion, this must have to do with how viewers track the perspective of the nose of the nose with respect to the rest of the face.

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Illusion Chasers

Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Suppressed Unwanted Memories Are Harder to See

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I realized that I had somehow managed to forget a horrible account of my grandmother’s deathbed. And I immediately wished that I could forget it for a second time. But I knew that the memory was now there to stay. I was wrong.

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Illusion Chasers

A Coursera Course on Visual Perception—Starts January 7th.

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There’s a new 8-week course available on visual perception taught by Dale Purves of Duke University. It’s available for free and starts on January 7th, 2015. Purves’s approach to visual perception is exciting because it’s a bit different than the usual approach.

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Illusion Chasers

How To Change Your Past

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“Too late” might be the two most tragic words in English, but what if you could rewind the clock? What if the past was not immutable? Would we regret past bad decisions more or less? Would it affect the way that we feel then about our past choices, and the moral decisions that we may face in the future? New research has found out using virtual reality.

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Illusion Chasers

How Brains Know Where Things Are—Making Space by Jennifer Groh

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Groh launches her book with a BIG FAT LIE: she tells us that nine-tenths of our brain power is spent determining where things are. Then she immediately admits that she just made that up, but that she’d dedicate the rest of the book to explaining why she thinks its true. I was hooked! Brilliant, tantalizing, probably correct, but maybe not! I knew right then I would read this book cover-to-cover.

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Illusion Chasers

The Power of Cute

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Scientists conclude that cute things not only make us happier, but they also improve our performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness

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Illusion Chasers

Your Brain on Thanks

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It may not have the cache of winter holidays or the Cash! Yay! of a birthday, but it is the best feel-good holiday of the year. At least it feels that way to me. But why is that? Of all the wonderful annual holidays, why would I prefer a single meal, shared with family, loved ones, and friends? Many of these holidays include similar meals. What makes Thanksgiving different for my brain?

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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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Streams of Consciousness

What Is Vertigo? [Video]

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  // 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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