wickl116: October 2011 Archives

Flashbulb Memory

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Flashbulb memories are highly detailed, exceptionally vivid 'snapshots' of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and emotionally arousing news was heard. Flashbulb memory is an appropriate name for this phenomenon in that it indicates it's a surprise. This name is actually inappropriate, however, in that an actual photograph the flash is indiscriminate and preserves everything within the scope. Flashbulb memories, in actuality, are only somewhat indiscriminate and far from being complete. These memories are highly resistant to extinction due to their vivid nature. Even though evidence has proven that although individuals are highly confident in their memories, the details are often the victims of forgetting.
Flashbulb memories are one type of autobiographical memory (memory system consisting of episodes recollected form and individual's life). There have been a growing number of studies; they are discussing whether flashbulb memories are inherently more accurate than other types of autobiographical memories.
Some researchers have argued that there is reason to distinguish these memories from other types of autobiographical memory. That is as long as there are elements of personal importance, consequentiality, emotion, and surprise.
Others however believe ordinary memories can be as accurate. That's if they are highly distinctive, personally significant, or repeatedly rehearsed.

We can recognize a friend instantly, from any view. We can distinguish millions of shades of color, and over 10'000 smells. We can feel the cool breeze rush over our skin, or hear the leaves rustle in the distance. It seems so effortless; we just open our eyes and ears and let the world stream in.

Yet everything we sense requires billions of nerves cells to flash instant messages along cross-linked pathways in our brains. Performing intricate calculations that scientists have only begun to decipher.

Anthony Movshon, an investigator at New York University stated, "You can think of the sensory system as a bunch of little scientists. They make hypothesis about the world." The brain makes an educated guess about the information on hand and some simple assumptions.

The illusions in this video demonstrate how our brain is making these assumptions. Initially looking at most them one is asking how that is done.
Such as the Revolving Teeth, our brain perceives them to be different sizes. But as the guy in the video show upon rotating them in the same directions they will cover one another up. They are the same size but by setting them at a different depth our brain perceives one (the top) to be of a different size.
Another one that shows our brain making simple assumptions is the checkerboard wall. As it is move we assume that ever other row starts off small on one side and grows as it goes to the other. When in all actuality they are the same size.
In the end the brain is a magnificent vessel. It can do so many incredible and complex things, yet it can get fooled by the simplest of illusion.

We can recognize a friend instantly, from any view. We can distinguish millions of shades of color, and over 10'000 smells. We can feel the cool breeze rush over our skin, or hear the leaves rustle in the distance. It seems so effortless; we just open our eyes and ears and let the world stream in.

Yet everything we sense requires billions of nerves cells to flash instant messages along cross-linked pathways in our brains. Performing intricate calculations that scientists have only begun to decipher.

Anthony Movshon, an investigator at New York University stated, "You can think of the sensory system as a bunch of little scientists. They make hypothesis about the world." The brain makes an educated guess about the information on hand and some simple assumptions.

The illusions in this video demonstrate how our brain is making these assumptions. Initially looking at most them one is asking how that is done.
Such as the Revolving Teeth, our brain perceives them to be different sizes. But as the guy in the video show upon rotating them in the same directions they will cover one another up. They are the same size but by setting them at a different depth our brain perceives one (the top) to be of a different size.
Another one that shows our brain making simple assumptions is the checkerboard wall. As it is move we assume that ever other row starts off small on one side and grows as it goes to the other. When in all actuality they are the same size.
In the end the brain is a magnificent vessel. It can do so many incredible and complex things, yet it can get fooled by the simplest of illusion.

Can You Feel The Magic?

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I don't know about most of you but I have been a fan of magic shows my entire life. But reading into it I have always wondered if magic was truly real. Now that we have looked at the Scientific Principles it really has got me to start thinking. It's really easy to look at a few of these principles and just start looking back on everything you ever thought about magic.
Occam's Razor- Many people believe one explanation for the ability of one to perform magic is they posses some sort of supernatural abilities. This just seems a very common explanation for most things that we can't explain. Wouldn't it be simpler to think that these magicians are extraordinary showmen that practice their craft for hours and hours. They refine the skills the same a chef would to perfect a recipe, but in this case it's a trick.
Extraordinary Claims- Some of the tricks just seem way too incredible for any one person to be able to accomplish. Some of these would include making objects of extraordinary size just "disappear" into thin air or a puff of smoke. Also they claim to be able to take themselves and another individual and move them selves to distant lands.
Even after looking at some of these studies it has made me reevaluate everything I have thought about magic. I will still be a huge fan however because I still find some of these trick perfomed to be amazing. Real or not.

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