Dopey for ideas

October 27, 2009

Dopaminergic Aesthetics, Jonah Lehrer

“The world is full of possibilities, and it is our dopaminergic feelings that help us choose between them…ne of the innovations of the human brain is that dopamine also evaluates abstract ideas…Evolution essentially bootstrapped our penchant for intellectual concepts to the same reward circuits that govern our animal appetites…The purpose of pleasure, then, is to make it easier for the pleasurable sensation – the delicious taste, the elegant idea, the desired object – to enter the crowded theater of consciousness, so that we’ll go out and get it…Aesthetics are really about attention…If attention is like a spotlight, then these drug makes the filament burn brighter. The end result is that we can’t look away.”

Mixing emotion and logic

August 30, 2009

“In his book How We Decide (Houghton Mifflin, 2009), Jonah Lehrer describes what research in the field of neuroscience is revealing about the peculiar blend of logic and emotion that leads to superior decisions and why human beings struggle with getting the mix right. “Ironically, it’s those moments when emotions seem most persuasive—when the brain is completely convinced that it’s time to go all in—that you should take a little extra time to reflect,” Lehrer writes. “Make yourself consider alternative possibilities and scenarios.””

Snippet from a snippet

Pricier Wine Tastes Better

January 28, 2008

A recent study shows that raising the price of wine makes it taste
better. When tasting wines they’d been told cost more,
testers’ brains showed more pleasure than when drinking cheaper
wines…even when the wines were exactly the same! The
study’s lead author is California Institute of Technology
economics professor Antonio Rangel.


Powered by ScribeFire.

God only in the brain

October 25, 2007

Searching for God in the Brain

Scientific American, Oct 07

“Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith.”

“Although atheists might argue that finding spirituality in the brain implies that religion is nothing more than divine delusion, the nuns were thrilled by their brain scans for precisely the opposite reason: they seemed to provide confirmation of God’s interactions with them. After all, finding a cerebral source for spiritual experiences could serve equally well to identify the medium through which God reaches out to humanity. Thus, the nuns’ forays into the tubular brain scanner did not undermine their faith. On the contrary, the science gave them an even greater reason to believe.”

Confirmation bias, anyone?

Left wing brain, right wing brain

September 10, 2007

Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

“Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that
liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives
because of how their brains work.”

Powered by ScribeFire.