Archive for the ‘Mind’ Category

Chyrons and Attention

July 29th, 2017 Comments off

Why would any news channel run chyrons  during their broadcasts?

Chyrons are those annoying streaming banners at the bottom of your screen.  They seem to be feeding you the lastet headlines, mixed in with advertisements for the site’s reatured programs.

This is misguided.  It is well known that no one can pay attention to two things a once. (The best you can do is to switch attention from one thing to another and back, very fast.) So, the chyron simply distracts your attention from the actual news that is being presented, and you never get the message.

Categories: Economics, general rant, Mind, Uncategorized Tags:

Power vs Empathy

June 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.

— Atlantic, August 2017

Categories: general rant, Mind, politicas Tags:

Five Personality Traits

February 14th, 2017 Comments off

The five traits ( spell out OCEAN:


1) Care/harm:
2) Fairness/cheating:
3) Loyalty/betrayal:
4) Authority/subversion:
5) Sanctity/degradation:

We think there are several other very good candidates for “foundationhood,” especially:

6) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor. We report some preliminary work on this potential foundation in this paper, on the psychology of libertarianism and liberty.

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).


Categories: Mind Tags:

Mirror Neurons and Aphantasia — A Survey

December 24th, 2016 Comments off

I recently took a survey, part of my interest in mirror neurons.  The object was to see if there is a correlation between the experience of motor-perception of mirror neurons, and the experience of the “inner eye” or phantasia.  There are four questions:

Some people have what could be called an “inner eye.”  When they think of something, they have an image of it in their mind, almost as if in a movie.  Some other people do not experience this inner image when they think of a thing.  Please circle A or B:

A:  I do experience the mental image, or “inner eye.”

B: I do NOT experience an inner image.

Some people hear a high-pitched “ringing in the ears” when they listen intently while in a quiet room.  Some people do not hear a ringing   sound.  Some people hear it all the time, and are bothered by it.  Please circle A, B or C:

A.  I hear a ringing in my ears all the time, and I hate it.

 B. I hear a ringing if I listen intently, but I don’t hear it all the time.

 C. I never hear a ringing in my ears, no matter how intently I listen.

When watching a sports event or other performance involving broad action, some people feel an impetus to move their muscles, but without actually moving them.  For instance, watching a soccer match, when the striker kicks the ball, you may feel something like wanting to kick with your leg.  Or, seeing a pianist playing, you may feel an impetus to move your fingers.  Some people do not experience this “shadow effort.”  Please answer A or B:

A.  I do sometimes experience this impetus to move.

 B. I never experience that kind of feeling.

When sitting quietly in a darkened room, some people can see shapes of light, amorphous clouds, or shadowy figures.  Some people see nothing, only blackness.  Please answer A or B:

A.  I can see shapes and “lights” when my eyes are closed in a dark room.

B.  I see nothing when I close my eyes in a dark room.

The survey was given to a small group of college-educated people, some of whom hold advanced degrees.

Below are the results of the survey:



Surprisingly, the correlation between Inner Eye  and Lights is tremendous. Both involve visual awareness. The correlation between Inner Eye, Impetus and Lights is strong — 9/15 — just not the same individuals.  I suspect many of some of the differences are due to differences in consciousness of stimuli.


The sample is too small to draw any definite conclusions,  but it would be worthwhile to do this survey with a larger sample.

Categories: Mind, Uncategorized Tags: