Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

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

I predict (myself), therefore I am

A fascinating view of consciousness. Worth the effort to read all the way to the end.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be

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December 14, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, neuroscience, philosophy | | Leave a comment

What Neuroscience Says about Free Will


Not quite what I expected:

What Neuroscience Says about Free Will

We’re convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself

Adam Bear | April 28, 2016 | Scientific American Mind

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May 17, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, neuroscience | | Leave a comment

Why We Snap: From Road Rage to Barroom Brawls

“…Most violent behavior, Fields discovered, results from a clash between our evolutionary hardwiring and our modern world…”

Watch the video.

Why We Snap: From Road Rage to Barroom Brawls

By Carl Engelking | January 13, 2016 2:03 pm | Discover Blogs

January 21, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience | , , , | Leave a comment

How the Eyes Betray Your Thoughts

One more way we can be exploited to purchase stuff we don’t want.

How the Eyes Betray Your Thoughts

By Mo Costandi | 22 May 2015 | BBC Future

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May 24, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, neuromarketing, neuroscience | , , | Leave a comment

How Your Brain Decides Without You

” It must be true, I saw it with my own eyes! ” — well, maybe not. It may depend on what you perceive, which may depend on what you believe. Fascinating read; follow it up with  Fooled By Your Own Brain from the same issue.

How Your Brain Decides Without You

In a world full of ambiguity, we see what we want to see.

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May 17, 2015 Posted by | brain, decision making, neuroscience | , , , | Leave a comment

Near wins hook compulsive gamblers

Near wins spur compulsive gamblers on to keep gambling in hopes of winning, but not so much ordinary people.  This has been known for a while from behavioural studies.  Dr. Drymond et al has demonstrated that compulsive gamblers’ brains actually react differently to near wins.  From The Economist, March 15, 2014:

Gambling and the brain: Slotting in an explanation

A neural seat of compulsive gambling may have been found

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April 23, 2014 Posted by | behaviour, brain, neuroscience | , , | Leave a comment

How to perform better at sports

Simple trick worth trying.  From The Globe and Mail, September 21, 2012:

Don’t clutch … clench. You’ll per­form so much bet­ter

The Globe and Mail Metro (Ontario Edition)
September 21, 2012

The next time you’re about to shoot a penalty kick with only sec­onds left on the clock, or need to smash a cross-court win­ner to fi­nally beat the ten­nis part­ner who al­ways bests you, con­sider this: Re­searchers may have dis­cov­ered a sim­ple way to help you avoid chok­ing un­der pres­sure.

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April 3, 2013 Posted by | brain, neuroscience | , | Leave a comment

How to Avoid the Temptations of Immediate Gratification

Recent research linked  impulsivity with a lack of future thinking. Want to avoid a temptation? Focus on imagining a concrete, un-fuzzy future with positive attributes instead.  From Scientific American, January 15, 2013:

How to Avoid the Temptations of Immediate Gratification

Neuroscience hints at the power of imagining the future

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January 19, 2013 Posted by | behaviour, brain, neuroeconomics, neuroscience, psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Neuroscience of What Makes People Trigger-Happy

Not just violence on TV and in games, but just having a weapon will increase the chances of violence.  Scary.  From Time magazine:

Trayvon Martin: The Neuroscience of What Makes People Trigger-Happy

Our brains are wired to be unreasonable when it comes to perceived threats
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April 20, 2012 Posted by | neuroscience | , , | Leave a comment