Tag Archives | Perception

Philosophy Recap: Self-Knowledge

Tony Hall (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Tony Hall (CC BY-ND 2.0)

I love Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it’s a great resource. Here’s the introduction and table of contents to their entry on Self-Knowledge.

via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

In philosophy, “self-knowledge” standardly refers to knowledge of one’s own sensations, thoughts, beliefs, and other mental states. At least since Descartes, most philosophers have believed that our knowledge of our own mental states differs markedly from our knowledge of the external world (where this includes our knowledge of others’ thoughts). But there is little agreement about what precisely distinguishes self-knowledge from knowledge in other realms. Partially because of this disagreement, philosophers have endorsed competing accounts of how we acquire self-knowledge. These accounts have important consequences for a broad range of philosophical issues, especially issues in epistemology and the philosophy of mind.

This entry focuses on knowledge of one’s own particular mental states. A separate topic sometimes referred to as “self-knowledge”, knowledge about a persisting self, is addressed in a supplement:Knowledge of the Self.

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Swimming In The God Pool

Ottways National Park, photo credit: James W. Jesso

Look at the cosmos as a pool where the greatest depths are the most inclusive. Look at the cosmos as expanded dimensions of consciousness and existence. As we move closer to the surface, we pass through galactic and planetary consciousness, in and through genetic and molecular history, upwards to the collected human unconscious before touching our cultural shallow end where we splash with our thinking minds across the surface of this vast archaic profundity.

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Depression Distorts People’s Perception of Time, Study Finds

oatsy40 (CC BY 2.0)

oatsy40 (CC BY 2.0)

Depression can lead to time distortion.

via PsyBlog:

Most people experience differences in how time is perceived, with or without depression.

For example, 10 minutes in the dentist’s waiting-room can seem like an hour.

While an enjoyable conversation with a good friend can pass in the blink of an eye.

What a new study finds, though, is that depressed people have a general feeling that time is passing more slowly, or even that it has stopped.

Dr. Daniel Oberfeld-Twistel, one of the study’s authors, said:

“Psychiatrists and psychologists in hospitals and private practices repeatedly report that depressed patients feel that time only creeps forward slowly or is passing in slow motion.

The results of our analysis confirm that this is indeed the case.”

The strange part is what happens when people with depression are asked to judge intervals of time.

For example, they are asked to watch a movie and estimate its length.

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How Time Tricks Our Minds

(Photo: darrentunnicliff/Flickr)

(Photo: darrentunnicliff/Flickr)

Rick Paulas via Pacific Standard:

“Time passes slowly up here in the mountains / We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains / Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream / Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream”  —Bob Dylan, “Time Passes Slowly”

No, Bob. It doesn’t.

Time doesn’t pass slowly or quickly, unless you happen to be near a black hole. (Even then, it’s more time relative to other people’s experience of time, not time itself.) Time just passes, same as always, one second at a time. But there are certain instances when, despite this knowledge, it just doesn’t feel that way. Back in school, those last 20 minutes before the bell rung just seemed … to … take … forever. Or when you’re at an amazing party, and it’s over before you know it.

Last week, I experienced a subtle time shift of my own.

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Intel Panel ‘Very Close’ on Killing NSA Phone Programs

This reminds me of a Richard Pryor Joke. “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” They’re also allergic to sunlight, much like the NSA.

Crypt

Crypt (Photo credit: chb1848)

via Politico

The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders said Thursday they’re nearing agreement on legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ telephone data.

Negotiations on some key details remain fluid, but Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said in an interview that he’s “very close” to a deal with Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on a plan that would allow phone companies to hold telephone records now collected by the NSA and conduct individual searches needed to pinpoint suspicious activity.

“We’ve got to have legislation that will take away the concern and perception that people are being listened to,” Ruppersberger said. He added that he hoped to reach an agreement before the end of this month.

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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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An Experiment To Allow Us To See New Colors

colorsAre we missing out on most of reality? Via OMNI Reboot, Rich Lee on transhumanist experimenters hoping to expand the color spectrum (and render all past and current art, fashion, and design obsolete):

Of the vast wavelengths that span the electromagnetic spectrum, humans can see a mere 2.3%. Rainbows? They’re just a fraction of the real picture. We’ve crafted abstract theories to understand x-rays, radio, microwaves, and gamma rays. But how much more advanced would humanity be if we could perceive the other 97.7% of reality?

A team of “Grinders,” or self-experimenting biohackers, calling themselves Science for the Masses (SFM) has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $4,000 necessary to procure the equipment and chemicals for the execution of their plan.

If successful…Their work will enable humans to see the near-infrared spectrum with their naked eyes. As the project overview explains, SFM hope to augment sight through “human formation of porphyropsin, the protein complex which grants infrared vision to freshwater fish.”

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How To Trigger An Out-Of-Body Experience Using Video

out-of-body experienceOut-of-body experiences on demand? Gizmag reveals:

New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it’s easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person’s self-consciousness by externalizing the body’s internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia.

Most of us don’t experience OBE’s because our brains are constantly filtering information from all our senses to help us identify what we are and what we aren’t. For instance we know that our reflection isn’t actually part of us. However the processes that give us the feeling of being in our bodies can be disrupted either naturally (seizures) or artificially (feeding the brain conflicting sensory inputs).

Dr. Jane Aspell and Phd Student Lukas Heydrich attached 17 participants to electrocardiogram sensors and had them view videos of their bodies through virtual reality goggles so that their body appeared to be two meters in front of them.

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Your Consciousness is Editing Itself

Our brains have a lot of ways of tricking us. In many ways, they are worse enemies to our faculties of logic and critical thinking than even some exterior forces, for the ‘tricks of the mind’ often facilitate demogogues, cult leaders, and even magicians with their illusory machinations.

New research led by cognitive scientist Claire Sergent has found that conscious experience can be altered retrospectively. Specifically, the information of visual input can be ‘altered’ by the brain a split second later by distracting our attention elsewhere.

"Cueing Attention" circles used in the study

Via Mind Hacks:

The research involved asking people to stare at a centre point of a screen with two empty circles either side.

At some point, one of the two circles would fill with randomly oriented stripes for just 50ms (one twentieth of a second) and afterwards the participants were asked to say which direction the stripes were pointing in.

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The Aarhus Interpretation

Via Opinion & Kommentar:

The Aarhus Interpretation : A lecture given at The Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) on may 28TH 2010 by author and philosopher Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff:

It has been said that those who know least about the sea are the fish. The same may perhaps be said about scientists.

Working on the tenth floor of a building doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any idea what is going on in the basement or how or when it was constructed. Of course, when it’s burning, you may take a sudden interest in the location of the fire-escapes.

Also, if you’re a window-cleaner, you may be more aware of what floor you’re on. In science, the window-cleaners are those who work on the frontiers of science.

In a way, they’re always half in and half out of the building. They are also more likely to fall off or to discover a crack in the concrete.… Read the rest

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