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These days, we seem to be living in a new golden age of choice. One moment we’re tweeting, the next we are changing our profile picture. We get a hankering for hummus and next thing we know, it’s off to Yelp the nearest falafel place. In every choice and action we make, online or off, we have the unique sense that we are in control. This is what it feels like to have free will. But many neuroscientists have maintained a long-standing opinion that what we experience as free will is no more than mechanistic patterns of neurons firing in the brain.
Not long ago, a young man drove onto Robert Trivers’ Jamaica property. Suspicious of the man’s sudden appearance, and convinced he was intent on either extorting money from him or robbing him, Trivers, a Rutgers professor, confronted him about his identity. His first name, the man said, was Steve. “What’s your last name?” Trivers asked.
We all have things that disgust us irrationally, whether it be cockroaches or chitterlings or cotton balls. For me, it’s fruit soda. It started when I was 3; my mom offered me a can of Sunkist after inner ear surgery. Still woozy from the anesthesia, I gulped it down, and by the time we made it to the cashier, all of it managed to come back up. Although it is nearly 30 years later, just the smell of this “fun, sun and the beach” drink is enough to turn my stomach.
How music changes our brains - Science is becoming increasingly interested in the relationship between sound and the brain. An expert explains.Music has never been more accessible. Just a decade ago, we were lugging around clunky portable CD players that weighed as much as a hardcover book and would skip whenever we made any sudden movement. Now our entire record collection (and thanks to new companies like Spotify, almost any other song on the planet) can fit into our phones. We can listen to music nonstop — on our commute, at work, at the gym and everywhere else we might want to.
It is a well-known fact that our society is structured like a pyramid. The very few people at the top create conditions for the majority below. Who are these people? Can we blame them for the problems our society faces today?
By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 14:45 GMT, 18 June 2012 | UPDATED: 14:45 GMT, 18 June 2012 I told you: The theory behind Sigmund Freud's Freudian slips has been proven, claims new research
By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 11:48 GMT, 21 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:48 GMT, 21 June 2012 People can be trained to forget bad memories, according to new research which could herald a breakthrough in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. A study published this month by psychologists at the University of St Andrews reveals that individuals can be taught to forget feelings associated with emotional memories. The important findings may offer new potential for the treatment of people suffering from emotional disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Miina Matsuoka lives by herself in New York City. She owns two cats and routinely screens her calls. But before you jump to conclusions, note that she is comfortable hobnobbing in any of five languages for her job as business manager at an international lighting-design firm. She just strongly prefers not to socialize , opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to "hide and recoup." In our society, where extroverts make up three-quarters of the population, loners (except Henry David Thoreau) are pegged as creepy or pathetic.
In 1996, Lyle Brenner, Derek Koehler and Amos Tversky conducted a study involving students from San Jose State University and Stanford University. The researchers were interested in how people jump to conclusions based on limited information. Previous work by Tversky, Daniel Kahneman and other psychologists found that people are “radically insensitive to both the quantity and quality of information that gives rise to impressions and intuitions,” so the researchers knew, of course, that we humans don’t do a particularly good job of weighing the pros and cons. But to what degree? Just how bad are we at assessing all the facts? To find out, Brenner and his team exposed the students to legal scenarios.
Mind & Brain :: News :: April 16, 2012 :: :: Email :: Print The time needed for us to reach consensus on a color name falls into a hierarchy that matches the human vision system's sensitivity to red over blue, and so on By Charles Q. Choi and LiveScience The order in which colors are named worldwide appears to be due to how eyes work, suggest computer simulations with virtual people. These findings suggest that wavelengths of color that are easier to see also get names earlier in the evolution of a culture.
Mind & Brain :: Features :: May 4, 2012 :: :: Email :: Print Switching grocery lines, carrying an umbrella, talking out loud about a possible no-hitter in baseball—a sense of jinxing things arises because when negative possibilities come to mind, they seem more likely By Matthew Hutson