How Brain Science Explains the Way We See #TheDress

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The human mind has a marvelous capacity for inventiveness. In our philosophy have been dreamt the plays of Shakespeare and the computations of Alan Turing, not to mention the staggering technology underlying the phone on which you are perhaps reading these words. And while we’ve taken great advantage of it, it turns out that this inventiveness is actually necessary for a more fundamental reason. Your brain is forced into being creative in order to perform the simple act of seeing the world around you.

Perception is a type of problem that mathematicians refer to as “ill-posed”. Because of nothing more than light and geometry, a given image can have an infinite number of possible causes in the real world. Nonetheless, perception is a problem our brains must solve, so that we can find food, shelter, and each other.

Faced with this dilemma, the brain must resort to inference. Essentially, it must make guesses, albeit educated ones. One consequence of this is that while we all live in the same world, we don’t always see it the same way.

Naturally, this leads to the beautiful diversity of human minds, for both good and ill. Recently, upon —> Read More Here

Lasting severe weather impact found in feathers of young birds

While studying a ground-nesting bird population near El Reno, Okla., a research team found that stress during a severe weather outbreak of May 31, 2013, had manifested itself into malformations in the growing feathers of the young birds. The team witnessed a phenomenon termed ‘pallid bands’ in a large proportion of fledgling Grasshopper Sparrows and found spikes in the chemical signatures of ‘pallid bands,’ which led to abnormalities in the new feathers. —> Read More Here

The More Friends At The Bar, The More You’ll Drink

If you’ve succumbed to sticking around at the bar for “just one more,” you’re not alone.

A new study published in the journal Addiction reveals that the number of drinks a person has increases along with the number of friends in their drinking group. In other words, the more people at your Happy Hour, the more booze you’re likely to consume.

The study collected data from internet-based questionnaires that participants responded to on their smartphones. Nearly 200 young adult drinks in Switzerland were prompted to respond every hour while they were out drinking. The participants were asked to report the number of drinks they had consumed as well as the number of friends present while they were out. Men were more influenced to imbibe as their friend count hiked, but women were affected, too.

Since most young people imbibe in a social context, the ways bars and parties affect drinking levels is of particular interest to researchers. And this survey study is one of the first to collect realtime observational data — data from real social gatherings as they are happening — rather than recreating a party atmosphere in a lab setting (difficult to pull off!) or —> Read More Here

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