Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wisdom Of The Week

I want to show you something simple your mind can do, which illustrates a fascinating emerging theory about how the brain works. First, look at this logo of the World Cup this year.

The idea of the emblem is obvious: This is an illustration of a trophy with an abstract soccer ball on top. The colors—green, yellow, and blue—mirror the host country's flag.

Now consider this tweet from copywriter Holly Brockwell, which got 2,400 thousand retweets: "CANNOT UNSEE: the Brazil 2014 logo has been criticised for 'looking like a facepalm.'"

You know, a face palm:

People report this kind of thing all the time, and they use this same phrase: cannot unsee. Someone points out something and suddenly a secondary interpretation of an image appears. There's something a little scary about this process, even when the images are harmless. We have a flash of insight and a new pattern is revealed hiding within the world we thought we knew. It surprises us.

When neuroscientists look at the connections between the cells, they don't just see information passing up the complexity chain. There is information running down from the neocortex's higher levels to the lower ones.

"For every axon coming from the retina into our thalamus before entering our 'consciousness' in the primary visual cortex, the primary visual cortex sends at least twice as many axons back onto the thalamus to modulate the raw signal," explained UC San Diego neuroscientist Bradley Voytek.3

Why is that significant? "Our cortex is already changing the raw visual information before that information gets into our consciousness," Voytek concluded. 

You're not only seeing what is actually before you; you're seeing what your brain is telling you is there. 

Specifically, the cortex is sending a cascade of predictions about what should be seen at all the different layers of complexity. So what travels back up from the eyes is not raw visuals of the environment, but how the world deviates from what the brain is expecting.

- More Here

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