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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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Dog Spies

What You Don’t Know About Your Dog’s Nostrils

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Nostrils. Your dog has them. Two of them actually. And you don’t give them any attention, do you? Sure, you might take your dog to the vet when you see gunk coming out of them, but on any given ho-hum day, you’re not giving your dog’s nostrils a second thought. Of course, we all know [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Blind Justice: Biasing Moral Choices With Eye Tracking

From Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have set out to demonstrate a causal relationship–not merely a correlation–between gaze duration and moral decision making.

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Illusion Chasers

Brain Awareness Week in NYC

braiNY SFN

This week is Brain Awareness Week 2015! A number of great events are taking place around the world to promote public education of the brain and to support research in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here in New York City there are dozens of events.

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Illusion Chasers

The Unforeseen Joys of Encapsulating The Present

A treasure trove of the mundane  -- Image from Wikimedia Commons

A recent study shows that underestimating the value of current experiences leads people to make time-inconsistent choices. We fail to document the present, only to wish we had done it, in the future. At the core of this contradiction is the illusion of self-immutability. We are notoriously bad at predicting how we will feel in the future, and we make the mistake of using our current mental state as a heuristic to make projections about our future feelings. Fundamentally, we do not believe that our future selves will be any different from our current selves, despite our whole life histories screaming to the contrary.

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Illusion Chasers

Call for Illusion Submissions: The World’s 11th Annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest

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We are happy to announce the 11th edition of world’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest!! Submissions are now welcome!

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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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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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Not bad science

An Optical Illusion As Seen By a Fish

The Ebbinghaus Illusion

Visual illusions are fun: we know with our rational mind that, for example, these lines are parallel to each other, yet they don’t appear that way. Similarly, I could swear that squares A and B are different colours. But they are not. This becomes clearer when a connecting block is drawn between the two squares [...]

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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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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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