Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

“The of and to. A in is I. That it, for you, was with on. As have … but be they.”

If you have 20 minutes, this is worth watching.  It just keeps getting more and more fascinating.

June 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

First impressions count

Fascinating article on how humans judge competence based on facial features, and how that affects politics. For example, in one study judgments of who appeared more competent  predicted about 70% of elections.  The article is an excerpt from the author’s new book, Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions (2017).

First impressions count

Alexander Todorov  | 30 May, 2017 | Aeon

June 11, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

A must-read.  It will change how you look at poverty and meritocracy.

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Emerging science is putting the lie to American meritocracy

By Christian H. Cooper | April 20, 2017 | Nautilus

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, psychology, sociology | , , | Leave a comment

Is Consciousness Fractal?

What I found fascinating is how fractal nature is and how we perceive and react to it.

Is Consciousness Fractal?

Our subconscious love for fractals may tell an evolutionary story.

By Jordana Cepelewicz | May 4, 2017 | Nautilus

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

Did you ever wonder why people fall for ads? or conmen?  Read the article below.

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

Jules Montague | 17 April, 2017 | aeon

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, evolutionary psychology, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

How racism can hijack perception

If you just watched a really scary movie, a noise from another room (that you would normally ignore) could set your heart racing, as you perceive it as an intruder set to kill you rather than just the cat playing.  The same principle can apply to police shootings — did they perceive a phone as a gun just because they were primed for danger?  The article below describes how this is quite likely.  Gives a whole different perspective of the police racism problem.

The brain-heart dialogue shows how racism hijacks perception

Manos Tsakiris |14 April, 2017 | aeon

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April 16, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Your future self is a stranger

Ever wonder why so many people don’t save for their retirement?  It turns out humans treat their future selves as a stranger — and would you give money to a stranger?  The article below explains this further and suggest ways you can counteract it:

Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future

And that has consequences.

Jane McGonigal | Apri 13, 2017 | Slate

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April 15, 2017 Posted by | brain, psychology | , | Leave a comment

How Trump screws with your mind

Emily Dreyfuss, Wired magazine editor, has a couple of illuminating articles on how President Trump screws with your mind for his own benefit. He’s not the only one to do so, so it’s in your interest to find out how and what to do about it.

The Cognitive Bias President Trump Understands Better Than You

Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again

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February 18, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gut bacteria affect your brain

More and more evidence is showing up that your microbiota can affect your mental health.  In other words, eat you probiotic yogurt.

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed or Anxious?

Turns out “gut feeling” is more than just a fancy name for intuition. Our small and large intestine, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home, are more important than ever imagined for influencing our mood, our anxiety, our choices, and even our personalities. This week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen goes straight for the gut with three surprising mind-gut connections.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD | December 23, 2016 | Quickanddirtytips.com

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, diet, health, nutrition, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling down? Take a hike.

Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.
Rob Jordan | June 30, 2015 | Stanford News

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, emotions, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment