The headlines BBC: Truth or lie – trust your instinct, says research British Psychological Society: Our subconscious mind may detect liars Daily Mail: Why you SHOULD go with your gut: Instinct is better at detecting lies than our conscious mind The...
What is consciousness? A neuroscientist's new book argues that it arises when information is broadcast throughout the brain
Quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli expressed disdain for sloppy, nonsensical theories by denigrating them as “not even wrong,” meaning they were just empty conjectures that could be quickly dismissed. Unfortunately, many remarkably popular theories of consciousness are of this ilk—the idea, for instance, that our experiences can somehow be explained by the quantum theory that Pauli himself helped to formulate in the early 20th century. An even more far-fetched idea holds that consciousness emerged only a few thousand years ago, when humans realized that the voices in their head came not from the gods but from their own internal spoken narratives.
Not every theory of consciousness, however, can be dismissed as just so much intellectual flapdoodle. During the past several decades, two distinct frameworks for explaining what consciousness is and how the brain produces it have emerged, each compelling in its own way. Each framework seeks to explain a vast storehouse of observations from both neurological patients and sophisticated laboratory experiments.
No one knows how many kinds of nothings there are, also there are many kinds of knowing and also many kinds of one, yes, and many kinds of no, and many kinds of things, obviously there are many kinds of nothings, also many kinds of kinds.
Well, think of this. Have you ever played in a chess game where you made a move and only later realized what a smart move it was but not admit it? You were just lucky but you've got a great rationalization for it later. I think that phenomenon is actually ubiquitous. A great deal of the very well-designed behavior that we engage in, we only think we understand, we only think we have to understand. We, in fact, have only a very limited understanding of it and don't need to have the understanding that tradition would say we have.
Thinking, Fast and Slow was a global bestseller, and had a profound impact on psychology and economics, as these tributes from other leading figures show.
Steven Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard University. He is frequently named one of the world's top intellectuals and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer prize.
I've called Daniel Kahneman the world's most influential living psychologist and I believe that is true. He pretty much created the field of behavioural economics and has revolutionised large parts of cognitive psychology and social psychology. His central message could not be more important, namely, that human reason left to its own devices is apt to engage in a number of fallacies and systematic errors, so if we want to make better decisions in our personal lives and as a society, we ought to be aware of these biases and seek workarounds. That's a powerful and important discovery.
What is strange or impossible about this particular encyclopedia is not the propinquity of the things listed, but the site on which their propinquity would be possible; that system which organizes the elements yet which itself is not part of the grid. Where could animals that are “frenzied,” “innumerable,” and “drawn with a very fine camelhair brush” ever meet, except in “the immaterial sound of the voice pronouncing their enumeration, or on the page transcribing it? Where else could they by juxtaposed except in the non-place of language?”
Communing with a higher power increases self-control
Though we can all agree that to do so requires self-control, the authors propose that the source of such control might not be supernatural. Instead, it might come from something more earthly. Something accessible to even the most devoted atheist: social connection.
Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award winning editor Ann VanderMeer will be touring in support of her MASSIVE thousand-page time travel anthology, just featured on NPR with a review and interview on All Things Considered!
Christian Bök: Postmodern life has utterly recoded the avant-garde demand for radical newness. Innovation in art no longer differs from the kind of manufactured obsolescence that has come to justify advertisements for “improved” products; nevertheless, we have to find a new way to contribute by generating a “surprise” (a term that almost conforms to the [...]
We live in an era of accelerating change, when scientific and technological advancements are arriving rapidly. As a result, we are developing a new language to describe our civilization as it evolves. Here are 20 terms and concepts that you'll need to navigate our future.
Now, these are cute errors, and we can use them to do psychology studies on social exclusion, and we can learn quite a bit. In fact, it's kind of funny that you would kick a vending machine or that you would yell at your Windows machine when it gives you the blue screen of death, but they're increasingly failing to be that cute, because the more complex society gets, it turns out that these intuitions are some of the only intuitions we have to make sense of a social world that's quite different from the world in which we evolved. We've known this for quite some time.
hat experimental philosophers tend to do is to go after questions that are traditionally associated with philosophy but to go after them using the methods that have been traditionally associated with psychology
A fascinating paper in the neuroscience journal Brain looks at artistic depictions of phantom limbs – the feeling of the physical presence of a limb after it has been damaged or removed – and gives a wonderful insight how the brain perceives...
R. K. Troughton interviews Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin.
ASM: Science fiction started as a genre of hard science. You started publishing during a transitional phase for the industry, when many authors were exploring a broader spectrum of ideas. You focused more on sciences like anthropology, psychology, and sociology rather than chemistry, astronomy, and physics. While realism explores some of the subject matters you were writing about, you created fantastic elements to serve as your tapestry. What makes speculative fiction the perfect canvas for your imagination?
UKL: I didn’t just arrive during a transition—I was one of the writers who started it. We moved SF away from being fixated on the “hard” sciences, but that’s only part of it. SF was a white-male-dominated field of adventure stories of an intellectual or imaginative kind, sometimes brilliantly conceived, often badly written. We raised the standards and made it into the complex, inclusive, prejudice-challenging, ever-changing kind of literature it is at its best today.
I can’t tell you why most of my fiction is imaginative rather than realistic; it’s just the way my mind works. Physics tell us us how the universe works, and that’s grand, but also we’re human, and the the social sciences are a goldmine of ideas for any writer interested in how being human works.