Someone contacted me through Quora recently because they were having an existential crisis — it was stimulated by the ostensibly scientific notion that humans do not have free well.
Any theory that insists that we do not actually make choices is going to causes distress among many people who valorize academic thinking. Many hard-nosed metaphysicians simply don’t care about the mental well-being of the general public. I find this attitude simultaneously patronizing and irresponsible.
This post, which mostly provides useful citations, was originally written as an answer to the following Quora question:
Is ADHD one of the only psychiatric conditions that can be diagnosed objectively?
I really like the Yanny versus Laurel meme, which exploded yesterday. It helps illustrate some key points about human perception:
- In some situations people can differ wildly in their experience of low-level perception.
- Active top-down expectations (and other, weirder processes) have a strong effect on low-level perception.
So basically, it’s an auditory version of #ThatDress.
I was asked the following question on Quora.
“Are specific memories just arrangements of atoms in our brains? Could you put certain molecules in someones head and give them an exact memory that you had?“
Short answer: No.
Modern science has shown that every thing is an arrangement of atoms: neurons, apples, tables, rockets, asteroids, aardvarks… they are all made up of atoms.
The question now is this: is a memory a thing?
Just saw this on twitter:
Here’s the link to the (thus far unreviewed!) study:
How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis
“… we found consistent evidence for beneficial effects of education on cognitive abilities, of approximately 1 to 5 IQ points for an additional year of education. Moderator analyses indicated that the effects persisted across the lifespan, and were present on all broad categories of cognitive ability studied. Education appears to be the most consistent, robust, and durable method yet to be identified for raising intelligence.”
I came across a nice little presentation on certain problematic ways of thinking:
Let’s Wave Goodbye to the Unconscious Mind
Here’s are two excerpts: