Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

The music in you

What struck me as interesting in this article by Ms. Margulis is how the human mind learns using statistical probabilities.  That, and how we learn to appreciate different tonal systems based on what we hear when we are young.  Worth reading.

The music in you

You might not be a virtuoso, but you have remarkable music abilities. You just don’t know about them yet

by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis | aeon magazine | Jan 8, 2015

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January 11, 2015 Posted by | brain, learning | , , , | Leave a comment

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Our innate instincts to recognize the probabilities of dangers are not always accurate (or useful) in our modern world.  But if you understand this, you can use your rational mind to try to alter your behaviour accordingly.  From Discover magazine, July-August 2011 edition:

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Humans have a perplexing 
tendency to fear rare threats such as shark attacks while blithely 
ignoring far greater risks like 
unsafe sex and an unhealthy diet. Those illusions are not just 
silly—they make the world a more dangerous place.


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September 12, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, statistics | , , | 1 Comment

What should you really fear?

Our “anecdotal” brain sucks up all the sensational news the media (vying for higher ad revenues) can muster. This results in some skewed gut feelings of what we should be afraid of.

Wired’s book review of Dan Gardner’s The Science of Fear includes a quiz that is worth taking. For example,

What was the total death toll of the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

  1. 3,000
  2. 4,595
  3. 20,000

August 7, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, statistics | , , | Leave a comment