Monkeys don’t solve problems in quantum mechanics

Do we see reality as it is?
Donald Hoffman
TED. March 2015
http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is

The relationship between brain activity and conscious experiences is still a mistery.
Some experts think that we can’t solve this problem. Because we lack the necessary concepts and intelligence.
We don’t expect monkeys to solve problems in quantum mechanics.

from the playlist:
http://www.ted.com/playlists/384/how_your_brain_constructs_real

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Marketing modulates pleasantness (2008)

Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness
PNAS, January 22, 2008, 105(3): 1050-1054
Hilke Plassmann, et al.
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.full

Despite the importance and pervasiveness of marketing, almost nothing is known about the neural mechanisms through which it affects decisions made by individuals.
We propose that marketing actions, such as changes in the price of a product, can affect neural representations of experienced pleasantness.

We tested this hypothesis by scanning human subjects using functional MRI while they tasted wines that, contrary to reality, they believed to be different and sold at different prices.

Our results show that increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks.
The paper provides evidence for the ability of marketing actions to modulate neural correlates of experienced pleasantness and for the mechanisms through which the effect operates.

Keywords: orbitofrontal cortex, modulation by marketing actions, neuroeconomics, taste

cited by:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/10/23/358324106/don-t-mock-these-organic-food-experts-for-praising-mcdonald-s

related:
https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/perceptive-expectation

https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/facebook-emotional-contagion-without-awareness

https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/we-deny-being-affected-by-things-that-do-influence-us

How Do We Predict the Future …

How Do We Predict the Future: Brains Rewards and Addiction  
Terry Sejnowski
The Salk Institute
Series: “Grey Matters” [6/2005]
University of California Television (UCTV)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlPgPlcXPq8

how by its nature the human brain is susceptible to the effects of addictive substances.

cited by:
Learning How to Learn
by University of California, San Diego
on Coursera.

To sleep: perchance to learn

The dreaming brain can produce complex language output.

To sleep: perchance to learn
Robert Stickgold
Nature Neuroscience  (September 2012) 15, 1322–1323
http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v15/n10/full/nn.3223.html

Not only can the sleeping brain perceive sensory information, it can learn from this information, leading to changed behaviors the next day: it can come to associate a sound with a pleasant or unpleasant odor and react, both while still asleep and after waking, with a deeper or shallower breath. But classic ‘sleep learning’ remains just a dream.

related:
Sounds during sleep may help you remember
2009
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120573613

Expectations into perceptions

Expectations_into_perceptions“The brain interprets information by incorporating our expectations into our perceptions.”

1.1 Visual and Decision Illusions
A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior
Duke University
https://www.coursera.org/course/behavioralecon

related:

A Theory You’ve Never Heard Of
Michael Robinson
TEDxUniversityofHartford
November 9, 2015
The Hamitic Hypothesis was a 19th century anthropological theory that claimed that humans originated in Asia and then migrated to other regions of the world.

Pain In The Back? Learn Not To Feel It

Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It
January 13, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/13/255457090/pain-in-the-back-exercise-may-help-you-learn-not-to-feel-it

One reason invasive treatments for back pain have been rising in recent years, Deyo says, is the ready availability of MRI scans. These detailed, color-coded pictures that can show a cross-section of the spine are a technological tour de force. But they can be dangerously misleading.

“Seeing is believing,” Deyo says. “And gosh! We can actually see degenerated discs, we can see bulging discs. We can see all kinds of things that are alarming.”

That is, they look alarming. But they’re most likely not the cause of the pain.
Lots of people who are pain-free actually have terrible-looking MRIs.

Research is showing that the pain often has nothing to do with the mechanics of the spine, but with the way the nervous system is behaving, according to Dr. James Rainville of New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.

“It’s a change in the way the sensory system is processing information,” says Rainville, who is a physiatrist, or specialist in rehabilitation medicine. “Normal sensations of touch, sensations produced by movements, are translated by the nervous system into a pain message. That process is what drives people completely crazy who have back pain, because so many things produce discomfort.”

original articles:
Overtreating Chronic Back Pain: Time to Back Off?
J Am Board Fam Med January-February 2009, 22 (1): 62-68
Richard A. Deyo
http://www.jabfm.org/content/22/1/62.full.pdf+html

Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs

Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs
January 10, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/10/261397236/dying-stars-write-their-own-swan-songs

Alicia Soderberg (Harvard’s astronomy department) studies the death of stars. Often, these final moments come as violent explosions known as supernovae.

Soderberg’s autopsy involves collecting every signal her team can from the explosions: radio waves, light, X-rays.

A few years ago, Soderberg met a graduate student named Wanda Diaz-Merced. Diaz-Merced lost her eyesight years ago, so she studies astronomy not with sight, but with sound.

“I have been able to listen to meteors passing through the atmosphere, solar storms, that is just to give you a gist,” she says. The data from stars, comets and planets all sound different. “Every sound I listen from the skies, it has its own voice.”

Soderberg and her team worked with Diaz to turn the deaths of stars into songs. Each signal collected in the autopsy gets its own part in the orchestra:

“The Radio gets the drums, the X-ray gets the harpsichord, and everything in between gets a different instrument, like a violin or a flute,” Soderberg says. She presented the first of these songs this week at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting in National Harbor, Md.