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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: 54
Latest Activity: Jan 28

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

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 doone on January 28, 2014 at 8:16am

THE OLDER MIND MAY JUST BE A FULLER MIND

Benedict Carey in The New York Times:

MIND-articleInlinePeople of a certain age (and we know who we are) don’t spend much leisure time reviewing the research into cognitive performance and aging. The story is grim, for one thing: Memory’s speed and accuracy begin to slip around age 25 and keep on slipping. The story is familiar, too, for anyone who is over 50 and, having finally learned to live fully in the moment, discovers it’s a senior moment. The finding that the brain slows with age is one of the strongest in all of psychology.

Over the years, some scientists have questioned this dotage curve. But these challenges have had an ornery-old-person slant: that the tests were biased toward the young, for example. Or that older people have learned not to care about clearly trivial things, like memory tests. Or that an older mind must organize information differently from one attached to some 22-year-old who records his every Ultimate Frisbee move on Instagram. Now comes a new kind of challenge to the evidence of a cognitive decline, from a decidedly digital quarter: data mining, based on theories of information processing. In a paper published in Topics in Cognitive Science, a team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases. Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word. And when the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the aging “deficits” largely disappeared. “What shocked me, to be honest, is that for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults,” the lead author, Michael Ramscar, said by email. But the simulations, he added, “fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn’t need to invoke decline at all.”

More here.

- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/01/the-older-mind-may...

Comment by Neal on January 5, 2014 at 3:50pm

Damn. "You're only pretty as you feel inside." =)

Comment by doone on January 5, 2014 at 2:37pm

A Naked Female Sapiens

Nice Organs!

Favorite 
Nice Organs!
Comment by doone on December 31, 2013 at 9:11am

IN THE HUMAN BRAIN, SIZE REALLY ISN’T EVERYTHING

Carl Zimmer in The New York Times:

ZimmerThere are many things that make humans a unique species, but a couple stand out. One is our mind, the other our brain. The human mind can carry out cognitive tasks that other animals cannot, like using language, envisioning the distant future and inferring what other people are thinking. The human brain is exceptional, too. At three pounds, it is gigantic relative to our body size. Our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, have brains that are only a third as big.

Scientists have long suspected that our big brain and powerful mind are intimately connected. Starting about three million years ago, fossils of our ancient relatives record a huge increase in brain size. Once that cranial growth was underway, our forerunners started leaving behind signs of increasingly sophisticated minds, like stone tools and cave paintings. But scientists have long struggled to understand how a simple increase in size could lead to the evolution of those faculties. Now, two Harvard neuroscientists, Randy L. Buckner and Fenna M. Krienen, have offered a powerful yet simple explanation. In our smaller-brained ancestors, the researchers argue, neurons were tightly tethered in a relatively simple pattern of connections. When our ancestors’ brains expanded, those tethers ripped apart, enabling our neurons to form new circuits. Dr. Buckner and Dr. Krienen call their idea the tether hypothesis, and present it in a paper in the December issue of the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

More here.

- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/#sthash.FhrZeE2M.dpuf

Comment by doone on December 29, 2013 at 2:06pm

Why Awe Is Awesome

DEC 29 2013 @ 1:33PM

Cayte Bosler unpacks a study that “shows there are residual health benefits to having your mind blown”:

“People increasingly report feeling time-starved, which exacts a toll on health and well-being,” states the study. Using three experiments, researchers Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker of the Stanford University, and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota, examined whether awe can expand perceptions of time availability. They found that participants “who felt awe, relative to other emotions, felt they had more time available, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, and more strongly preferred experiences over material goods.”

It can be hard to generalize what people consider jaw-dropping, but Vohs says research demonstrates what consistently creates an awesome experience. Travel ranks high. So does gazing at the cosmos on a clear night or watching a sensational film, as well as anytime we encounter massive quantities: colorful tulips in bloom, a bustling market in India, or a stunning school of fish. Novelty and perceptual vastness forces us into the present moment. The study underscores the importance of cultivating small doses of awe in the everyday to boost life satisfaction.

More on how “awe” works:

“The experience of awe is one where you are temporarily off-kilter in terms of your understanding of the world,” explains Vohs. “People mostly walk around with a sense of knowing what is going on in the world. They have hypotheses about the way people behave and what might happen; those are pretty air-tight. It is hard to get people to shake from those because that’s just how the brain works. We are always walking around trying to confirm the things we already think. When you are in a state of awe, it puts you off balance and as a consequence, we think people might be ready to learn new things and have some of their assumptions questioned.”
Comment by doone on December 20, 2013 at 3:13am

See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Titan's Land of Lakes 
Image Credit: Cassini Radar MapperJPLUSGSESANASA

Explanation: Saturn's large moon Titan would be unique in our solar system, the only world with stable liquid lakes and seas on its surface ... except for planet Earth of course. Centered on the north pole, this colorized map shows Titan's bodies of methane and ethane in blue and black, still liquid at frigid surface temperatures of -180 degrees C (-292 degrees F). The map is based on data from the Cassini spacecraft's radar, taken during flybys between 2004 and 2013. Roughly heart-shaped, the lake above and right of the pole is Ligeia Mare, the second largest known body of liquid on Titan and larger than Lake Superior on Earth. Just below the north pole is Punga Mare. The sprawling sea below and right of Punga is the (hopefully sleeping) Kraken Mare, Titan's largest known sea. Above and left of the pole, the moon's surface is dotted with smaller lakes that range up to 50 kilometers across.

Comment by Chris on December 20, 2013 at 2:58am

Regarding doones reference:

HOW OUR UNCONSCIOUS RULES OUR LIVES

I think that subjugating to subliminal messages through propaganda and commercials on TV for example, or what kind of news and other mass media you are exposed to influences those decisions more than people want or are willing to admit to.

Of course mass media and the advertisers know this and exploit it.

Comment by doone on December 18, 2013 at 9:01pm

ENDLESS FUN

Playstation-Home-960-courtesy-IGN

Michael Graziano in Aeon:

Imagine a future in which your mind never dies. When your body begins to fail, a machine scans your brain in enough detail to capture its unique wiring. A computer system uses that data to simulate your brain. It won’t need to replicate every last detail. Like the phonograph, it will strip away the irrelevant physical structures, leaving only the essence of the patterns. And then there is a second you, with your memories, your emotions, your way of thinking and making decisions, translated onto computer hardware as easily as we copy a text file these days.

That second version of you could live in a simulated world and hardly know the difference. You could walk around a simulated city street, feel a cool breeze, eat at a café, talk to other simulated people, play games, watch movies, enjoy yourself. Pain and disease would be programmed out of existence. If you’re still interested in the world outside your simulated playground, you could Skype yourself into board meetings or family Christmas dinners.

This vision of a virtual-reality afterlife, sometimes called ‘uploading’, entered the popular imagination via the short story ‘The Tunnel Under the World’ (1955) by the American science-fiction writer Frederik Pohl, though it also got a big boost from the movie Tron (1982). ThenThe Matrix (1999) introduced the mainstream public to the idea of a simulated reality, albeit one into which real brains were jacked. More recently, these ideas have caught on outside fiction. The Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov made the news by proposing to transfer his mind into a robot, thereby achieving immortality. Only a few months ago, the British physicist Stephen Hawking speculated that a computer-simulated afterlife might become technologically feasible.

It is tempting to ignore these ideas as just another science-fiction trope, a nerd fantasy. But something about it won’t leave me alone. I am a neuroscientist. I study the brain. For nearly 30 years, I’ve studied how sensory information gets taken in and processed, how movements are controlled and, lately, how networks of neurons might compute the spooky property of awareness.

More here.

- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/#sthash.FXeITl96.dpuf

Comment by Davy on December 18, 2013 at 2:23pm

What they only starting to realise that you do a lot with your sub- conscious without realising it!

Got a problem think about all the known data you have on the problem  and possible ways for the outcome. Then forget about it and let your sub-conscious mind do the rest only trouble is sometimes it will give you an answer at the most inconvenient time! Sometimes you do have to stir the pot a bit and add any new data you have, more so when it is a fairly twisty and knotty a problem.

Comment by doone on December 18, 2013 at 10:29am

HOW OUR UNCONSCIOUS RULES OUR LIVES

Marietta DiChristina in Scientific American:

BrainDriving home after a visit with a relative, you suddenly realize you have no specific memory of how you got there. Well, you've taken that trip so many times, you tell yourself, that you could just about do in your sleep. Tying a shoe later, you reflect again on how often you accomplish things while your conscious mind is barely paying attention. Of course, you're not wrong. We all have those moments. At around three pounds, the gelatinlike tissue in your skull accounts for only a couple of percent of your total body mass, but it consumes a lot of energy—some 20 percent of the calories you eat every day. Conscious thought is “expensive” in energy terms. Is it any wonder the brain tends to shift its more costly processing tasks toward becoming more automated, “cheaper” routines?

That thought struck me during one of our weekly editorial meetings some months ago while we were discussing story ideas. How much of our lives is actually decided for us by our brain without our active awareness, I wondered? Naturally, when I asked that question out loud, longtime Scientific American senior editor Gary Stix was only too happy to explore the answer. The outcome is the cover story by Yale University psychologist John A. Bargh, “How Unconscious Thought and Perception Affect Our Every Waking Moment.” Bargh explains how decision making about such tasks as voting, making purchases or even planning vacations often occurs without our giving things much conscious thought. In matters small and large, we routinely arrive at automatic judgments, our behaviors shaped by embedded attitudes. Put another way, awareness about our relative lack of awareness gives us a new appreciation for how profoundly our unconscious mind steers our lives.

More here.

- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/#sthash.8cZSpkMK.dpuf

 
 
 

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