Tag Archives | illusion

Vancouver, Montreal researchers use magic to explore consciousness

Pablo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Pablo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bethany Lindsay at the Vancouver Sun:

Can questions about something as fundamental as the existence of free will be answered with a simple magic trick?

It may sound strange, but a new study from researchers in Vancouver and Montreal uses magicians’ mind tricks as a gateway to exploring human consciousness and decision-making.

In a street magic experiment, lead author Jay Olson asked 118 strangers to pick a random card as he riffled through the pack, intentionally showing one card for longer than the rest.

The results were remarkable. Ninety-eight per cent of people picked the target card, and an impressive 91 per cent believed that they had made that choice freely, without any influence from the magician.

“It was pretty cool,” said co-author Ronald Rensink, a psychology and computer science professor at UBC. “This would seem to be supporting the view that your conscious mind doesn’t really decide.

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Time is Slowly Disappearing from Our Universe

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Daily Galaxy:

What if the time part of the the space-time continuum equation was literally running out? Perhaps evidence suggests that time is slowly disappearing from our universe, and will one day vanish completely –a radical theory may explain a cosmological mystery that has puzzled scientists for years.

Scientists previously have measured the light from distant exploding stars to show that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. They assumed that these supernovae are spreading apart faster as the universe ages. Physicists also assumed that a kind of anti-gravitational force must be driving the galaxies apart, and started to call this unidentified force “dark energy”.The idea that time itself could cease to be in billions of years – and everything will grind to a halt – was proposed in 2009 by Professor José Senovilla, Marc Mars and Raül Vera of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, and University of Salamanca, Spain.

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Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t

spoonVia ScienceDaily:

University of Arizona doctoral degree candidate Jay Sanguinetti has authored a new study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, that indicates that the brain processes and understands visual input that we may never consciously perceive.

The finding challenges currently accepted models about how the brain processes visual information.

A doctoral candidate in the UA’s Department of Psychology in the College of Science, Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides.

Saguinetti worked with his adviser Mary Peterson, a professor of psychology and director of the UA’s Cognitive Science Program, and with John Allen, a UA Distinguished Professor of psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience, to monitor subjects’ brainwaves with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, while they viewed the objects.

“We were asking the question of whether the brain was processing the meaning of the objects that are on the outside of these silhouettes,” Sanguinetti said.

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