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How Your Brain Decides Without You - Issue 19: Illusions

How Your Brain Decides Without You - Issue 19: Illusions
Princeton’s Palmer Field, 1951. An autumn classic matching the unbeaten Tigers, with star tailback Dick Kazmaier—a gifted passer, runner, and punter who would capture a record number of votes to win the Heisman Trophy—against rival Dartmouth. Princeton prevailed over Big Green in the penalty-plagued game, but not without cost: Nearly a dozen players were injured, and Kazmaier himself sustained a broken nose and a concussion (yet still played a “token part”). It was a “rough game,” The New York Times described, somewhat mildly, “that led to some recrimination from both camps.” Each said the other played dirty. The game not only made the sports pages, it made the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. In watching and interpreting the game footage, the students were behaving similarly to children shown the famous duck-rabbit illusion, pictured above. I ought not to have felt bad. Attention can “be thought of as what you allow your eyes to look at.” References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Related:  Cognitive BiasesNew Mind HealthThinking and Choosing

The Value of “Cognitive Humility” 108 8Share Synopsis Strategies for “debiasing” our judgments. Memories Transplanted With Organs I recently came across an interesting and novel phenomenon via a remarkable fact I read on It seems organ recipients sometimes have living memories or peculiar affinities which somehow carried over along from their donor. Can the ‘Ship of Theseus’ that arrives with new oars, planks, and sail be considered the same ship that left port? Ethically, very few religions around the world actually have a problem with organ harvesting and transplantation. With reference to harvesting from the brain-dead, Pius XII said that knowledge of when death occurs is the domain of medical science. However some Judaic authorities take issue with harvesting the organs of a brain-dead individual because anything that will stop the heart beating causes death.

Man Thinking About Just Packing Up And Making Exact Same Mistakes Someplace Far Away TEMPLE TERRACE, FL—Feeling the need to get out of his suburban hometown and make a fresh start for himself, local man Gregory Forlano told reporters Tuesday he is seriously considering throwing all his belongings in the back of his car and making the exact same mistakes someplace far away. The 36-year-old Florida native said that after years feeling dissatisfied with his stale social life, his tedious dead-end job, and the monotony of his daily routine, he is on the verge of severing all ties to his current life in the Tampa area and lapsing into an equally unfulfilling existence for himself in a brand-new city. “I don’t know where I’m going to fritter away the next stage of my life just like I’ve wasted the previous two decades, but I know it can’t be here,” he continued. “Honestly, at this point, I might just throw a dart at a map and go be a useless fuckup wherever it lands,” he added.

Does Culture Really Evolve Like Organisms Do? It’s become common to think about cultural change the same way we think about biological evolution—so common that it may obscure whether the comparison really works. Though there remain many questions yet to answer about biological evolution, it’s a process that’s well-understood. We know, in great detail, how variations emerge, how they’re passed on hereditarily, and how natural selection and other forces push organisms toward change. Evolution is integrated with almost everything else we know about biology. It’s been much harder to pin down the exact workings of how ideas change, which has led some scientists to wonder just how deep and literal is the connection between biological and cultural evolution.

Surprise journal: Notice the unexpected to fight confirmation bias for science and self-improvement. Photo by Ridofranz/Thinkstock If I could ensure that kids come away from science class with one thing only, it wouldn’t be a set of facts. It would be an attitude—something that the late physicist Richard Feynman called “scientific integrity,” the willingness to bend over backward to examine reasons your pet theories about the world might be wrong. “That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school,” Feynman said in a 1974 commencement speech. “We never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation.” Teaching that spirit is easier said than done.

Borderline (Emotionally Unstable) Personality Disorder Borderline personality disorder: Treatment and management - Summarized From NICE (UK) Guidelines (2009) The management of crises Principles and general management of crises When a person with borderline personality disorder presents during a crisis, consult the crisis plan and: maintain a calm and non-threatening attitude try to understand the crisis from the person's point of view explore the person's reasons for distress use empathic open questioning, including validating statements, to identify the onset and the course of the current problems seek to stimulate reflection about solutions avoid minimising the person's stated reasons for the crisis refrain from offering solutions before receiving full clarification of the problems explore other options before considering admission to a crisis unit or inpatient admission offer appropriate follow-up within a time frame agreed with the person.

10 Most Brilliant Social Experiments Ten of the most influential social psychology experiments. “I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures.Why do good people sometimes act evil?Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?” –Philip Zimbardo Why It's So Hard to Figure Out What's Killing the Bees We first realized the bees were all disappearing back in 2006, yet despite years of government-funded research, they’re still dropping off in droves. Earlier this week the Department of Agriculture released its annual survey of managed bee colonies (those are bees that are kept by people for pollination or honey, as opposed to wild bees). According to the survey, 42.1 percent of managed colonies died between April 2014 and April 2015. In the same period the year before, 34.2 percent of colonies were lost. The bees are still disappearing, and the problem is getting worse. A big factor is the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a still largely-unexplained phenomenon where entire colonies of managed bees vanish from the hive without explanation, often leaving behind a live queen and fresh honey.

Need to Solve a Personal Problem? Try a Third-Person Perspective - Association for Psychological Science Why is it that when other people ask for advice about a problem, we always seem to have sage words at the ready, but when we ourselves face a similar situation, we feel stumped about what to do? In a 2014 Psychological Science article, researchers Igor Grossmann (University of Waterloo) and APS Fellow Ethan Kross (University of Michigan) suggested that people’s tendency to reason more wisely about others’ social problems than they do about their own is a common habit — one they referred to as Solomon’s Paradox. In a series of studies, the researchers not only found evidence of Solomon’s Paradox, but also identified a way that this reasoning bias can be eliminated.

Social and Mechanical Reasoning Inhibit Each Other I've got two questions for you. 1. Would water flow if there was a large hole in the tube? 2. Does he think that she is angry? TED Radio Hour: Barry Schwartz: Does Having Options Make Us Happier? Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode "The Pursuit of Happiness." Watch Barry Schwartz's full TEDTalk — "The Paradox of Choice" — on "The secret to happiness is realistic, modest expectations." — Barry Schwartz Robert Leslie/TED hide caption itoggle caption Robert Leslie/TED "The secret to happiness is realistic, modest expectations." — Barry Schwartz Robert Leslie/TED

How Our Delusions Keep Us Sane: The Psychology of Our Essential Self-Enhancement Bias by Maria Popova How evolution made the average person believe she is better in every imaginable way than the average person. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope,” Helen Keller wrote in her 1903 treatise on optimism. But a positive outlook, it turns out, isn’t merely an intellectual disposition we don — it’s a deep-seated component of our evolutionary wiring and the product of powerful, necessary delusions our mind is working around-the-clock to maintain. At the root of that mental machinery lies what psychologists have termed the self-enhancement bias — our systematic tendency to forgo rational evaluation of our own merits and abilities in favor of unrealistic attitudes that keep our ego properly inflated as to avoid sinking into the depths of despair. The mind’s delusory tendencies, McRaney explains, are just as vital as the automatic self-preservation processes of the body.

ADDITIONAL ADD/ADHD RESOURCES « Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health Comprehensive ADHD Resources These are the best comprehensive ADHD resources we’ve found online: ADDA : The website for the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, this is aimed at the adult ADHD audience ADD on : A regularly updated and comprehensive resource CHADD : The website for the non-profit organization Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) ADD on WebMD : Another comprehensive resource, updated regularly Less zen, but more efficient: How the digital age is really affecting our brains A comprehensive Microsoft study is offering insights into how living in the digital age is affecting our ability to sustain attention, and how our brains are adapting to the constant flow of new stimuli. Although the results confirmed the suspicions that the information overflow is affecting our ability to focus on one task for long periods of time, the news isn't all bad, as it seems we're also training our brains to multitask more effectively. From zen to multi-tabbing When the dinner guest of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offered to wash the dishes before enjoying some tea together, the master asked his guest if he truly knew how to wash the dishes.