A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

People have long seen faces in the Moon, in oddly-shaped vegetables and even burnt toast, but a Berlin-based group is scouring the planet via satellite imagery for human-like features. What’s behind our desire to see faces in our surroundings, asks Lauren Everitt.

Most people have never heard of pareidolia. But nearly everyone has experienced it.

Anyone who has looked at the Moon and spotted two eyes, a nose and a mouth has felt the pull of pareidolia.

It’s “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist”, according to the World English Dictionary. It’s picking a face out of a knotted tree trunk or finding zoo animals in the clouds.

German design studio Onformative is undertaking perhaps the world’s largest and most systematic search for pareidolia. Their Google Faces programme will spend the next few months sniffing out face-like shapes in Google Maps. (via BBC News - Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties)

Fantasia: A Composer’s Experience of Synesthesia
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Composer and synesthete Harley Gittleman visited our institute today to discuss his perception. Synesthesia is when you experience more than one sensory perception in response to stimulation of a single sensory modality. Often, people see numbers as having colors (even when they are uncolored physically, they see specific replicable colors matched to numbers. Estimates are as much as 5% of the population have some degree of synesthesia.
Harley perceives specific colors and shapes when he hears certain tones. That’s especially interesting in his case because he is a professional composer and musician. Harley played some of his wonderful music for us = and pointed to colors as he experienced synesthesia in relationship to the tones, in real time. His daily life is awash in color, motion and shape. He listens only to talk shows when he drives and he’s been known to walk into a wall or two when he absent-mindedly attends to the floating colors and shapes in front of him instead of to the real world.
Current theories suggest that synesthesia is due to wiring between neighboring brain areas that usually are not connected together. This idea is bolstered by brain imaging studies showing increased connectivity and mutual functional activation between neighboring brain areas in synesthetes as compared to non-synesthetes.
Synesthesia might be due to mutations in genes controlling neural plasticity and pruning of neurons. In that case, it may have an adaptive value from an evolutionary standpoint, as it brings new insight and relationships between neural experiences in a way that is interesting and fairly harmless.
Do you experience synesthesia? If so, is it useful to your everyday life? (via Fantasia: A Composer’s Experience of Synesthesia | Sleights of Mind)

Fantasia: A Composer’s Experience of Synesthesia

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Composer and synesthete Harley Gittleman visited our institute today to discuss his perception. Synesthesia is when you experience more than one sensory perception in response to stimulation of a single sensory modality. Often, people see numbers as having colors (even when they are uncolored physically, they see specific replicable colors matched to numbers. Estimates are as much as 5% of the population have some degree of synesthesia.

Harley perceives specific colors and shapes when he hears certain tones. That’s especially interesting in his case because he is a professional composer and musician. Harley played some of his wonderful music for us = and pointed to colors as he experienced synesthesia in relationship to the tones, in real time. His daily life is awash in color, motion and shape. He listens only to talk shows when he drives and he’s been known to walk into a wall or two when he absent-mindedly attends to the floating colors and shapes in front of him instead of to the real world.

Current theories suggest that synesthesia is due to wiring between neighboring brain areas that usually are not connected together. This idea is bolstered by brain imaging studies showing increased connectivity and mutual functional activation between neighboring brain areas in synesthetes as compared to non-synesthetes.

Synesthesia might be due to mutations in genes controlling neural plasticity and pruning of neurons. In that case, it may have an adaptive value from an evolutionary standpoint, as it brings new insight and relationships between neural experiences in a way that is interesting and fairly harmless.

Do you experience synesthesia? If so, is it useful to your everyday life? (via Fantasia: A Composer’s Experience of Synesthesia | Sleights of Mind)

Evolution has tailored the human eye for detecting red, green, blue and yellow in a person’s skin, which reveals areas where that person’s blood is oxygenated, deoxygenated, pooled below the surface or drained. We subconsciously read these skin color cues to perceive each other’s emotions and states of health. Rosy cheeks can suggest good health, for example, while a yellowish hue hints at fear.
Now, researchers have created new glasses, called O2Amps, which they say amplify the wearer’s perception of blood physiology, augmenting millions of years of eye evolution.
(via How New ‘Mood Ring’ Glasses Let You See Emotions | Innovationnewsdaily.com)

Evolution has tailored the human eye for detecting red, green, blue and yellow in a person’s skin, which reveals areas where that person’s blood is oxygenated, deoxygenated, pooled below the surface or drained. We subconsciously read these skin color cues to perceive each other’s emotions and states of health. Rosy cheeks can suggest good health, for example, while a yellowish hue hints at fear.

Now, researchers have created new glasses, called O2Amps, which they say amplify the wearer’s perception of blood physiology, augmenting millions of years of eye evolution.

(via How New ‘Mood Ring’ Glasses Let You See Emotions | Innovationnewsdaily.com)

Today’s Must read..

Wish you were better/smarter/stronger/faster? Sure, hard work helps, but the truth is, your self perception may be getting in the way. We all form our own realities, and those realities aren’t perfect. Your self perception can be very limiting, and shaking up your notion of the world can do wonders for your productivity, creativity, and happiness. Here’s how to recalibrate your reality.

Recalibrate Your Reality

An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics. The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board: “Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist.” Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion. Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair. One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute. Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an A when he had barely written anything at all. His answer consisted of two words: “What chair?”

Interesting: Humour: philosophy exam