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THE NAKED APE

THE NAKED APE: Exploring the science and cultural evolution of human psychology, behavior, cognition, language, memory, intelligence, emotion, and consciousness. (Uh, did I miss anything?)

Location: #science
Members: 56
Latest Activity: on Saturday

Welcome to THE NAKED APE

Those who’ve know me for some time know that I have a moderately strong interest in human consciousness and psychology. Although mind and body cannot exist without one another – and indeed they shape one another – it does seem that the very core of the human experience of ‘self’ exists in the brain alone.

We all know that much of the functioning and maintenance of our body is controlled covertly by the brain or by biological systems that work beneath our threshold of awareness. We do not consciously decide to sweat, or digest our food, or replace our cells.

And yet, in spite of the fact that we know this, we still cling to the illusion that the functioning of our thoughts, our decisions, our perceptions, our preferences, our memories, and our reasoning are under our direct, conscious control.

But neuroscience and psychology are now showing us that this simply is not the case—that the processes of mind and awareness function just as covertly as our biological systems.

That fascinates me!

How is it that the mind – that place of concealment – is also the one place in which awareness itself is known to exist?

The truth is that we don’t know ourselves as well as we’d like to believe. We don’t control our decisions, our perceptions, our motivations, or our memories as well as we think we do.

THE NAKED APE was created to explore these important topics. I welcome any post on human psychology, behavior, cognition, perception, language, memory, intelligence, emotion, and consciousness.

 

Discussion Forum

How Not to Think About Scrotum's

Started by Doone. Last reply by Don Jan 5, 2014. 1 Reply

Our Orgastic Future

Started by Doone. Last reply by Neal Jun 18, 2013. 3 Replies

E.O. Wilson: Tribalism, Groupism, Globalism

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member Jun 4, 2013. 7 Replies

Gestalt psychology

Started by A Former Member May 11, 2013. 0 Replies

On the usefulness of illusions

Started by Michel. Last reply by Chris May 6, 2013. 1 Reply

How Whites Think About Race

Started by Neal. Last reply by Adriana Mar 20, 2013. 13 Replies

How to scare someone who knows no fear

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana Feb 6, 2013. 6 Replies

10 Amazing Things People's Brains Have Done

Started by Michel. Last reply by Marianne Jan 19, 2013. 2 Replies

Paul Bloom: The Psychology of Everything

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Michel Jan 2, 2013. 6 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Michel on May 12, 2011 at 8:02pm

Eye Candy: A light micrograph reveals a weblike pattern of cells called astrocytes in the cerebrellum.

SciAm Mind. T. Deerinck Ntl center for Microscopy Imaging Research

Click to enlarge.

Comment by Michel on May 12, 2011 at 11:02am
@doone - I added this very cool interactive page to our LIBRARY 3 menu.
Comment by Doone on May 12, 2011 at 9:24am

It’s not that often you can search another person’s body in 3-D and it not be a private moment in the bedroom, but the first online 3-D interactive search tool of the human body was released this week.

The new tool is called BodyMaps, and online users have the option of exploring the anatomy of a male or female and can zoom into muscles and strip the body down all the way to the bones.

The map was developed by Healthline Networks, and took 10 years to complete. Words can only say so much. If you are curious, go here to play with the online tool to see the human body in 3-D for yourself. Check out the brain, eye, hand and knee - and more.

“This is not a science experiment,” West Shell, CEO of Healthline Networks, told Technology Review. “We have built this as a search product for consumer education,” he said.

Soon, the company will launch a mobile and tablet version of the 3-D human body tool.

According to Technology Review, the company will launch a service next month that lets people search 20 different scenarios centered around one of four things:

  • the progression of diseases
  • how drugs work in the body
  • what happens during a medical procedure
  • how an injury looks in the body

Google rolled out with a similar product, the Google Body Browser, which literally strips away every muscle, gland, nerve, tissue, bone and organ from the human body. But unlike BodyMaps, Google’s body project is limited to Chrome browser users.

From Smart Planet
Comment by Doone on May 11, 2011 at 10:34pm

May 11, 2011

DEPT OF RIDICULOUS STATUTORY INTERPRETATION: FLORIDA DID NOT BAN SEX

The Southern Fried Scientist says a new Florida statute aimed against bestiality actually bans sexual activity between humans. The statute bans certain unapproved sex acts involving "animals," and the scientist notes that humans are animals, ergo the statute bans unapproved sex acts involving humans. The assertion is getting some attention.

The problem with this interpretation is that the statute itself explicitly distinguishes between "persons" and "animals," prohibiting sex acts between the two groups. A court facing a question of interpreting the statute would almost certainly read the statute's use of the term "animals" as "non-human animals," both to avoid absurdity and to conform with (1) the intent of the drafters; (2) the purpose of the statute; and (3) a commonly used (if scientifically inaccurate) understanding of the term 'animal" to exclude humans.

The Florida legislature has done some stupid things recently, but this is not one of them.

Posted by Rick Hasen at May 11, 2011 02:24 PM 
So, two types of animals - human and non human animals?
Comment by Doone on May 11, 2011 at 10:32pm

Did New Florida Law Ban Sex?

law designed to outlaw beastiality in Florida was so poorly worded that it may have banned sex. (h/tPolitical Wire)

An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date.

The chart here (which you can click to enlarge) was created by Southern Fried Scientist as a public service for the legislators in Florida who may not be familiar with the animal kingdom.

The law would take effect October 1 if it is signed by the governor.

However, Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog says the law does distinguish between “persons” and “animals.”

http://www.alan.com/2011/05/11/did-new-florida-law-ban-sex/
Comment by Doone on May 11, 2011 at 8:37am

Seeing Is Remembering

Greenman_graph

Alex Lundry homes in on the importance of data visualization:

Vision is our most dominant sense. It takes up 50% of our brain’s resources. And despite the visual nature of text, pictures are actually a superior and more efficient delivery mechanism for information. In neurology, this is called the ‘pictorial superiority effect’ [...] If I present information to you orally, you’ll probably only remember about 10% 72 hours after exposure, but if I add a picture, recall soars to 65%. So we are hard-wired to find visualization more compelling than a spreadsheet, a speech of a memo.

(Hat tip: Maria Popova; graph via Ben Greenman)

Comment by Doone on May 10, 2011 at 1:49pm

Humans are Lean, Mean, Seeing Machines

What’s the News: Humans are eerily good at sifting the visual wheat from the chaff—just think of our penchant for word searches, Easter egg hunts, and lushly animated first-person shooters.

But how good are we really? To test the limits of these abilities, in a recent study neuroscientists gave subjects Where’s Waldo-type search tasks so difficult that mistakes should have been inevitable. What they found was electrifying: The mistakes almost never came. Again and again, subjects nailed the tasks, leading the team to report that humans operate at a near-optimal level when it comes to visual searches—a skill that likely came in handy in our evolutionary history.

 How the Heck:

  • For a fraction of a second, a cluster of short lines randomly colored gray or black and set at various angles, called “distracters,” flashed before subjects’ eyes. Half of the time, a single line whose orientation didn’t change across images was hidden among them, and subjects indicated whether this target had appeared.
  • Even with the images whipping by at high speed and the complicating effect of color, humans still detected the target at a level that’s near the best possible success rate, a number that’s defined by probability and takes in account how much an observer should weigh each of the pieces of information provided to them. “An optimal observer weights more reliable pieces of sensory evidence more heavily when making a perceptual judgment,” the researchers write in the paper. “For example, when two noisy sensory cues about a single underlying stimulus have to be combined, an optimal observer assigns higher weight to the cue that, on that trial, is most reliable.” In this study, the angle of the lines was a reliable characteristic—noticing it helped subjects determine if the target line was there—while color was not.
  • “We found that even in this complex task, people came close to being optimal in detecting the target,” the lead researcher said in a press release. “That means that humans can in a split second integrate information across space while taking into account the reliability of that information. That is important in our daily lives.”
  • The team thinks people use groups of networked neurons to perform this breathtakingly quick analysis, and they built a model neural network to show how it could happen.

What’s the Context: The team is interested in whether humans, on the neural level, use a strategy called  Bayesian inference to figure out whether a target object is present. They incorporated information that wasn’t a reliable indicator of the target’s presence—color—into the tests to see how people dealt with it, a key factor in Bayesian inference.

The Future Holds: The next step is to up the difficulty of the test and see at what level this preternatural ability to see the target fails. This will give scientists more clues about how visual perception operates on the neural level.

Reference: Wei Ji Ma, Vidhya Navalpakkam, Jeffrey M Beck, Ronald van den Berg, Alexandre Pouget. Behavior and neural basis of near-optimal visual searchNature Neuroscience, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nn.2814 

Image credit: darkpatator/flickr

May 10th, 2011 8:58 AM Tags: ,

Comment by Adriana on May 10, 2011 at 10:09am
@Doone: I posted that and several links in the science! group yesterday
Comment by Doone on May 10, 2011 at 10:05am
Neandertals and modern humans may NOT have coexisted for 10,000 years.
Comment by Michel on May 8, 2011 at 9:24pm

The Psychology Of Terror

Kris Broughton reconsiders it using stats from Brian Michael Jenkins' book Unconquerable Nation:

Psychologists have learned that we rank fatal events by roughly squaring the death toll per event. An automobile accident with one fatality is seen as one fatality. One hundred accidents with one fatality apiece are still seen as 100 deaths. But a single event with ten fatalities has the same psychological impact as 100 individual fatalities, and an event with 100 deaths has the impact of 10,000 deaths.

This is why we pay more attention to increasingly rare airline crashes, which usually involve many fatalities, than we do to the much larger national death toll from automobile accidents. The terrorist attack on 9/11, with nearly 3,000 dead, had the psychological impact of millions dying.

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From The Dish

 
 
 

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