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Posts Tagged "Consciousness"

Cross-Check

Scientific Seeker Stuart Kauffman on Free Will, God, ESP and Other Mysteries

Kauffman on Richard Dawkins and other "New Atheists": "It is wonderful for them to have expressed the truth that moral behavior requires no belief in God. Morality probably evolved in Paleolithic to some extent. But to dismiss those who do believe in God, in any sense, is arrogant and useless and divisive."

Few living scientists are as ambitious in their choice of problems as Stuart Kauffman. He is a polymath, with a degree in medicine and training in biochemistry, genetics, physics, philosophy and other fields. He roams across disciplinary boundaries seeking answers to the riddles that obsess him. Why is reality so beautifully structured rather than being [...]

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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

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

Art and Science Team Up To Steal Your Attention With Magic

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Artist Ellen Levy teamed up with neuroscientist Michael E. Goldberg, Director of the Mahoney Center for Brain and Behavior at Columbia University in New York, to apply the concept of change blindness to an interactive art installation. The resulting animation, “Stealing Attention”, was recently shown at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City, as part of the “Sleuthing the Mind” exhibit that Levy curated.

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Illusion Chasers

New Science Channel show HACK MY BRAIN—Featuring Scientific American MIND’s Illusion Chasers!

scichan

Todd Sampson is an advertising exec in Australia. An average Joe, who, like the rest of us, wants to be super human. So he’s enlisting scientists all over the world to hack his brain and make him, smarter, faster, and more creative. In our labs we show him a little bit of neuromagic. Come check it out this Friday!

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Illusion Chasers

The Winners of the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest

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Expanding and contracting circles, mutating colors, and false image matches dominated the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest, held on May 18th in the TradeWinds Island Grand in St. Petersburg, FL. One thousand perceptual scientists joined artists and the general public to determine the TOP THREE illusion masters from a pre-selected group of TOP TEN finalists, chosen by an international committee of judges. Each winner took home a trophy designed by the acclaimed Italian sculptor Guido Moretti: the trophies are visual illusions themselves.

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Illusion Chasers

Transcending Our Origins–Violence, Humanity, and the Future

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Attend the ASU Origins Project Great Debate event, Transcending Our Origins–Violence, Humanity, and the Future, either live or by webcast on April 5th.

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Illusion Chasers

Daniel Suarez’s Influx Is Super Fluxing Bitchin’!

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I loved the book, and couldn’t—wouldn’t—didn’t—set it down. With Influx, Daniel Suarez becomes the master, and Michael Crichton should be honored by the comparison.

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Illusion Chasers

Illusion of the Week: Legos and M&M’s Bulge Illusion.

Image credit: Mary Coffelt, Briena Heller, and Michael McCamy, Martinez-Conde and Macknik Laboratories, Barrow Neurological Institute

If you’ve ever played with Legos, you know that they’re all about straight lines and 90-degree corners. Not in this version of Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s “Bulge” illusion. The strategically placed purple and white M&Ms distort your perception of the Lego checkerboard, making it bulge out.

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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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Observations

Free Will: Is Your Brain the Boss of You? [Video]

Michael Gazzaniga

Philosophers have debated for years whether we deliberately make each of the many decisions we make every day, or if our brain does it for us, on autopilot. Neuroscientists have shown, for example, that neurons in the brain initiate our response to various stimuli milliseconds before we’re even aware that we’re taking such an action. [...]

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Observations

What Is Consciousness? Go to the Video!

Various scholars have tried to explain consciousness in long articles and books, but one neuroscience pioneer has just released an unusual video blog to get the point across. In the sharply filmed and edited production, Joseph LeDoux, a renowned expert on the emotional brain at New York University, interrogates his NYU colleague Ned Block on [...]

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Observations

Neuroscience and Magic: The Science of Stealing a Watch

Apollo Robbins, a.k.a the “Gentleman Thief,” explains his technique of managing attentional spotlight during the Neuromagic 2012conference on the Island of Thought, San Simón, near Vigo, Spain, while demonstrating on neuroscientist Flip Phillips of Skidmore College. Attentional spotlight is the focus of consciousness at any given moment, and it can be directed–or, as in magic, [...]

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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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Talking back

The Puzzle of Consciousness: Watch Full Video of World Science Festival Panel

Unraveling the mystery of consciousness remains perhaps the biggest challenge in all neuroscience, so big and amorphous that most brain scientists won’t go near the topic, leaving philosophers to speculate about the a prioris. Even defining what consciousness is quickly devolves into lengthy and often ponderous treatises. The World Science Festival assembled a panel of [...]

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