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Thanking and apologizing: Talk that isn't cheap -- ScienceDaily

The researchers proposed that, for the communicator, all four types of communications involve a trade-off between projecting competence and projecting warmth. Thanking and apologizing make the speaker appear caring or generous, but usually at the cost of seeming incompetent or weak. The opposite is true of bragging and blaming, which can bolster the speaker's perceived competence and status, but at the cost of seeming selfish or inconsiderate. The recipient of the communication experiences a different impact on their image: Thanking and apologizing elevate both perceived competence and warmth for the recipient, while bragging and blaming decrease both.

First evidence for necessary role of human hippocampus in planning -- ScienceDaily

The work centers on the hippocampal "cognitive map," the brain's spatial localization system discovered by University College of London's John O'Keefe, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The hippocampal cognitive map has been long thought to allow us to "mentally simulate" the future outcomes of our actions as we plan into the future. However, there had previously been no direct evidence in humans that the hippocampus is actually necessary for planning. "Our results show that both goal-directed planning and remembering locations in space depend on the human hippocampus" says Oliver Vikbladh, a doctoral candidate at New York University's Center for Neural Science and the paper's lead author. "By clarifying the scope of hippocampal contributions to behavior, the study may have implications for diseases that affect the hippocampus, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease."

Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric Proto-Writing System

And when von Petzinger looked through archaeology papers for mentions or illustrations of symbols in cave art outside Europe, she found that many of her 32 signs were used around the world. There is even tantalising evidence that an earlier human, Homo erectus, deliberately etched a zigzag on a shell on Java some 500,000 years ago. “The ability of humans to produce a system of signs is clearly not something that starts 40,000 years ago. This capacity goes back at least 100,000 years,” says Francesco d’Errico from the University of Bordeaux, France.

Opinion: The Free Solo Documentary Addressed Some Uncomfortable Truths, But Ignored Others - Climbing Magazine

The filmmakers do a good job of questioning Honnold leading up to the ascent, which is why it's so jarring when they stop. After Honnold tops out, the ambiguity disappears and it becomes a wild celebration of an athletic achievement, complete with triumphant guitar riffs. It’s as though the filmmakers believe that since Honnold succeeded, it was a good idea all along, and we were wrong to ever doubt him; victory silences scrutiny.

This hyperlocal news site in San Francisco is reinventing itself with an automated local news wire » Nieman Journalism Lab

“There are so many stories news organizations could potentially do, that nobody can afford to, because it’s expensive and time-consuming to have that many people on the ground,” Eldon sad. “We’re starting with the simple stuff right now: New business openings, rental price trends — simple story types that we can produce using data sets that cover a lot of geographical places and then distribute to a lot of people. Over time, we’ll want to get more sophisticated with how we analyze the data we have.”

Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling - MIT Technology Review

The idea behind sentiment analysis is that words have a positive or negative emotional impact. So words can be a measure of the emotional valence of the text and how it changes from moment to moment. So measuring the shape of the story arc is simply a question of assessing the emotional polarity of a story at each instant and how it changes. Reagan and co do this by analyzing the emotional polarity of “word windows” and sliding these windows through the text to build up a picture of how the emotional valence changes. They performed this task on over 1,700 English works of fiction that had each been downloaded from the Project Gutenberg website more than 150 times.

Life's transitions easier with a sense of a well-rounded ending -- ScienceDaily

"Starting a new life phase in a positive and constructive way is often challenging, so we examined methods that could help people find a good start to a new job, a new relationship, or a new home," explains Gabriele Oettingen, a professor in New York University's Department of Psychology and the senior author of the study, which appears in the journal Motivation Science. "We observed that how people end their previous life periods makes a difference. In fact, the more people feel that they have done everything they could have done, that they have completed something to the fullest, and that all loose ends are tied up, the happier they are later on, the less they are plagued by regrets, and the more constructively they enter the next life phase."

The music of conversing

He knew an Irish composer who lived in Paris and who noticed a pattern at his local boulangerie. Customers who said “Bonjour!” in an ascending line, with two notes a sixth apart, got served first. English has similar patterns, studies have found. We use minor thirds when telling sad stories and major thirds when telling happy ones. We match pitches with those we admire and expect the same of those who admire us. We harmonize when we agree—starting our sentences a perfect fifth or an octave from where the last sentence left off—and grow dissonant when we disagree. Our arguments are full of tritones. Whether we know it or not, Wells said, we’re always singing.

Pitch perfect: Strategic language use maximizes the chances of influencing an audience: Researcher determines pitching strategies used by influential entrepreneurs -- ScienceDaily

"In our paper we call it a logical time gap, which basically refers to the idea that if someone pitches an idea to you and you start thinking about how it plays out in the future, then these things don't match because you don't know what the future looks like," Dr van Werven said. "But if you talk about the future in terms of the present, both the evidence and the claim are in the same time and space.

Pitch perfect: Strategic language use maximizes the chances of influencing an audience: Researcher determines pitching strategies used by influential entrepreneurs -- ScienceDaily

The study found that entrepreneurs who successfully influenced their audience often implied a point without actually making it when talking about the future; they encouraged their audience to fill in the blanks. "The audience becomes engaged, they start becoming a part of the argument, they actually even complete it, so they're more likely to be convinced by it," Dr van Werven said.

How the Surprise Interactive 'Black Mirror' Came Together | WIRED

The magic of combinatorial math means that there are technically more than a trillion paths through the story, though in reality the number is much smaller. But "much smaller" is still pretty huge: There are five main endings, with multiple variants of each—though upon reaching an ending, Netflix will also helpfully bring you back to pivotal decision points so that you can ease your FOMO and try the path not traveled. In a visit to Netflix's headquarters in Los Gatos, California, I had about 75 minutes to make my way through it, and was only able to trigger three endings. Suffice it to say that the Branch Manager visualization of Bandersnatch looks a little bit like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean trying to eat an entire bowl of spaghetti at once. Todd Yellin thinks the end result will provide anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes of entertainment for most people. Sure, if you don't touch the remote—or tablet, or keyboard, or phone, or game controller—it'll choose for you, and curate your experience down to a 90-minute default. But that won't be the best one, not by a long shot

talking to your TV, Black Mirror backstory

"Kids in general don't hesitate to talk to the screen," Engelbrecht says. "But they immediately lit up. One of my absolutely favorite moments was with an 8- and 9-year-old brother and sister. They'd go back and forth: 'Shake hands!' 'Kiss!' They'd cheer and boo, and all all the while had these smiles on their faces—and their mom too."

Poker Skills Help Debut Author Scrutinize Relationships In 'The Adults' | Here & Now

"I think you can talk to several people about the same hand of poker, and they'll tell you what was going on, and they'll tell you a slightly different version of the story, and I think that's life. And I think we've all got our own versions of the stories, and I think depending on how well they stack up next to each other, that can make things easier or it can make things hard."

The Human Brain Is a Time Traveler - The New York Times

In 2001, Randy Buckner’s adviser at Washington University, Marcus Raichle, coined a new term for the phenomenon: the “default-mode network,” or just “the default network.” The phrase stuck. Today, Google Scholar lists thousands of academic studies that have investigated the default network. “It looks to me like this is the most important discovery of cognitive neuroscience,” says the University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman. The seemingly trivial activity of mind-wandering is now believed to play a central role in the brain’s “deep learning,” the mind’s sifting through past experiences, imagining future prospects and assessing them with emotional judgments: that flash of shame or pride or anxiety that each scenario elicits.

Scientists find evidence of mathematical structures in classic books | Books | The Guardian

The academics write in their paper that: “Studying characteristics of the sentence-length variability in a large corpus of world famous literary texts shows that an appealing and aesthetic optimum … involves self-similar, cascade-like alternations of various lengths of sentences.” “An overwhelming majority of the studied texts simply obey such fractal attributes but especially spectacular in this respect are hypertext-like, ‘stream-of-consciousness’ novels. In addition, they appear to develop structures characteristic of irreducibly interwoven sets of fractals called multifractals.”

What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? - The New York Times

The findings of the I.B.S. study were in keeping with a hypothesis Kaptchuk had formed over the years: that the placebo effect is a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and focused it is, the more healing it evokes. He elaborated on this idea in a comparative study of conventional medicine, acupuncture and Navajo “chantway rituals,” in which healers lead storytelling ceremonies for the sick. He argued that all three approaches unfold in a space set aside for the purpose and proceed as if according to a script, with prescribed roles for every participant. Each modality, in other words, is its own kind of ritual, and Kaptchuk suggested that the ritual itself is part of what makes the procedure effective, as if the combined experiences of the healer and the patient, reinforced by the special-but-familiar surroundings, evoke a healing response that operates independently of the treatment’s specifics. “Rituals trigger specific neurobiological pathways that specifically modulate bodily sensations, symptoms and emotions,” he wrote. “It seems that if the mind can be persuaded, the body can sometimes act accordingly.”

Time-traveling illusion tricks the brain: How the brain retroactively makes sense of rapid auditory and visual sensory stimulation -- ScienceDaily

The first illusion is called the Illusory Rabbit. To produce the illusion, first a short beep and a quick flash are played nearly simultaneously on a computer, with the flash appearing at the left side of the screen. Next, 58 milliseconds after the first beep, a lone beep is played. Finally, 58 milliseconds after the second beep, a second nearly simultaneous beep-flash pair occurs, but with the flash appearing on the right side of the screen. The beep location is always central and does not move. Though only two flashes are played, most people viewing the illusion perceive three flashes, with an illusory flash coinciding with the second beep and appearing to be located in the center of the screen. The fact that the illusory flash is perceived in between the left and right flashes is the key evidence that the brain is using postdictive processing. "When the final beep-flash pair is later presented, the brain assumes that it must have missed the flash associated with the unpaired beep and quite literally makes up the fact that there must have been a second flash that it missed," explains Stiles. "This already implies a postdictive mechanism at work. But even more importantly, the only way that you could perceive the shifted illusory flash would be if the information that comes later in time -- the final beep-flash combination -- is being used to reconstruct the most likely location of the illusory flash as well."

Mental imagery manages pain independent of opioid system: Study supports clinical use of mental imagery techniques in conjunction with pain-relieving drugs -- ScienceDaily

Mentally reframing pain as a pleasant experience is an effective regulation strategy that acts independently of the opioid system, finds new human research published in JNeurosci. The study supports clinical use of mental imagery techniques, such as imagining a new context or consequence of a painful event, in conjunction with pain-relieving drugs. Chantal Berna, Siri Leknes and colleagues tested two approaches toward modulating pain perception. For a mental imagery task, healthy men and women were instructed to imagine individually calibrated heat pain applied to their forearm as a pleasant experience, for example by thinking about warming up by a fire after coming in from the cold. A relative relief task used visual cues to manipulate participants' expectations about the forthcoming heat pain. Although both tasks made the pain experience more pleasant, only the effects of the relative relief task were blocked by naloxone -- the life-saving drug used to treat opioid overdose. Mental imagery was unaffected by naloxone, indicating that this approach works through opioid-independent mechanisms.

Hot streak: Finding patterns in creative career breakthroughs: International research team discovers career hot streaks occur in science, art and film -- ScienceDaily

"Our findings provide a different point of view regarding individual careers," said Liu. "We found a period when an individual performs better than his normal career, and that the timing of a hot streak is random." She added, "Different from the perception [in innovation literature] that peak performance occurs in an individual's 30s or 40s, Our results suggest that individuals have equal chance to perform better even in their late careers." The researchers also wanted to learn if individuals were more productive during their hot streak periods, which last an average of four to five years. Unexpectedly, they were not. "Individuals show no detectable change in productivity during hot streaks, despite the fact that their outputs in this period are significantly better than the median, suggesting that there is an endogenous shift in individual creativity when the hot streak occurs," wrote the team in their paper.

Model can more naturally detect depression in conversations: Neural network learns speech patterns that predict depression in clinical interviews -- ScienceDaily

One key insight from the research, Alhanai notes, is that, during experiments, the model needed much more data to predict depression from audio than text. With text, the model can accurately detect depression using an average of seven question-answer sequences. With audio, the model needed around 30 sequences. "That implies that the patterns in words people use that are predictive of depression happen in shorter time span in text than in audio," Alhanai says. Such insights could help the MIT researchers, and others, further refine their models.

The god of small things -- ScienceDaily

Dr Ramsay said the results show that all people, but especially religious people, regularly assign significance to unremarkable events -- such as discussing hobbies with a work colleague, receiving a small but unexpected gift, or spending time with a family member. "We found the more people gave meaning, purpose, and significance to such events the more they experienced positive emotions such as gratitude and contentment," he said.

The importance of process knowledge (narratives?)

The process knowledge can also be referred to as technical and industrial expertise, which includes knowledge of how to store wafers, how to enter a clean room, how much electric current should be used at different stages of the fab process, and countless other things. This is the kind of knowledge that’s won by experience. Anyone with detailed instructions but no experience actually making chips is likely to make a mess.

Why people talk with journalists

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how it’s a curious privilege being a journalist: part-investigator, part father-confessor, part channel to the wider world, never more than in a conflict or war zone, where everything is accelerated, more vivid, the colors painted bright by danger. Most people would not talk to a  random stranger asking all sorts of questions, sometimes quite personal, even intimate. Yet they talked to me because they wanted their stories to be told. And that is one of the oldest human instincts, something deep and primeval: that the world must know what is happening to us.

Unless We Spot Changes, Most Life Experiences are Fabricated From Memories - Neuroscience News

HomeFeatured Unless We Spot Changes, Most Life Experiences are Fabricated From Memories Neuroscience NewsJuly 25, 2018 FeaturedNeurosciencePsychology8 min read Summary: A new psychological model suggests change detection plays a key role in how we construct reality. Source: WUSTL. We may not be able to change recent events in our lives, but how well we remember them plays a key role in how our brains model what’s happening in the present and predict what is likely to occur in the future, finds new research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. “Memory isn’t for trying to remember,” said Jeff Zacks, professor of psychology and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and an author of the study. “It’s for doing better the next time.” The study, co-authored with Chris Wahlheim of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), brings together several emerging theories of brain function to suggest that the ability to detect changes plays a critical role in how we experience and learn from the world around us. Known as “Event Memory Retrieval and Comparison Theory” or EMRC, the model builds on previous research by Zacks and colleagues that suggests the brain continually compares sensory input from ongoing experiences against working models of similar past events that it builds from related memories. When real life does not match the “event model,” prediction errors spike and change detection sets off a cascade of cognitive processing that rewires the brain to strengthen memories for both the older model events and the new experience, the theory contends. “We provide evidence for a theoretical mechanism that explains how people update their memory representations to facilitate their processing of changes in everyday actions of others,” Wahlheim said. “These findings may eventually illuminate how the processing of everyday changes influences how people guide their own actions.” In their current study, Zacks and Wahlheim tested the change detection model with experiments that take advantage of the well-documented fact that older adults often have increased difficulty in recalling details of recent events. Groups of healthy older and younger adults were shown video clips of a woman acting out a series of routine, everyday activities, such as doing dishes or preparing to exercise. One week later, they were shown similar videos in which some event details had been changed. “When viewers tracked the changes in these variation-on-a-theme videos, they had excellent memory for what happened on each day, but when they failed to notice a change, memory was horrible,” Zacks said. “These effects may account for some of the problems older adults experience with memory — in these experiments, older adults were less able to track the changes, and this accounted for some of their lower memory performance.”

Ken Layne of Desert Oracle Podcast on The Desert, Living Legends, and Dressing Up As A Park Ranger

It was such a part of being out on the desert in the 1990’s, in particular, because often that was the only thing you could get on the radio. Long before MP3 players, iPhones, or satellite radios. Your options were cassettes or CDs on the seat next to you, and you reached for them in the dark hoping it’s the right one. And then there was what was on the radio, and what was on FM was few and far between in the desert. So you had to do AM, and on AM you had country stations, ideally like a truck driver’s country station with Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Patsy Cline. Or you had Art Bell, who was blasting out of Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Albuquerque. These things would kind of bounce off the atmosphere at night and the range would be extended terrifically. So it was very much a part of the atmosphere of exploring the desert. Whatever you were doing—driving to a national park, camping—you’d have this voice describing all this weird stuff while you’re out on a two lane looking out at the skies… And the show was live. And occasionally, like during the Phoenix Lights, that was all live on Art Bell. That whole event. Because he was on the air, up in Pahrump, Nevada, and calls started coming in from Henderson, Nevada. Just south of Las Vegas. Calls from all these people seeing these monstrous things in the sky over the highways. And then slowly, over the course of several hours, the sightings spread from southern Nevada to the Grand Canyon region. Then he started getting a ton of reports from Prescott and Glendale and Phoenix. The Phoenix Lights covered way more than Phoenix—the last sightings were in the far south of Sonora, Mexico. So this whole thing is playing out while people are out on the road, scanning the skies.

How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People

When the banker at City National asked to see the UBS statements, he received a list of figures from a man named Peter W. Hennecke. “Please use these for your projections for now,” Hennecke wrote in an email. “I’ll send the physical statements on Monday.” “Question: Are you from UBS?” the banker replied, puzzled by Hennecke’s AOL address. No, Anna explained. “Peter is head of my family office.”