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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.”

Poker Has a ‘Tell’ About Strategic Thinkers - Neuroscience News

The game offers many mechanisms by which players can strategically misinform each other about the value of their cards. Players with strong hands may signal weak hands with small bets to keep the pot growing, and players with weak hands may signal strong hands with large bets to intimidate their opponents into folding before “showdown,” when all players remaining in the game must reveal their hands. Often there is one player left who collects the pot of money. The online version of the game eliminates in-person knowledge of other players, including cues such as eye contact and body language, which could be a disadvantage. However, most online experts take advantage of software and other resources, making up for lack of in-person knowledge by building behavioral dossiers on their opponents and even collecting or buying records of other players’ “hand histories,” Frey said.

Wearable technology and AI to predict the onset of health problems -- ScienceDaily

The study monitored active, healthy men in their twenties who wore a shirt for four days that incorporated sensors for heart rate, breathing and acceleration. They then compared the readings with laboratory responses and found that it was possible to accurately predict health-related benchmarks during daily activities using only the smart shirt. "The research found a way to process biological signals and generate a meaningful single number to track fitness," said Richard Hughson, co-author and kinesiology professor at the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging.

Link between hallucinations and dopamine not such a mystery, finds study -- ScienceDaily

"Our brain uses prior experiences to generate sensory expectations that help fill in the gaps when sounds or images are distorted or unclear," said Guillermo Horga, MD, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at CUIMC and a research psychiatrist at NYSPI. "In individuals with schizophrenia, this process appears to be altered, leading to extreme perceptual distortions, such as hearing voices that are not there. Furthermore, while such hallucinations are often successfully treated by antipsychotic drugs that block the neurotransmitter dopamine in a brain structure known as the striatum, the reason for this has been a mystery since this neurotransmitter and brain region are not typically associated with sensory processing." The researchers designed an experiment that induces an auditory illusion in both healthy participants and participants with schizophrenia. They examined how building up or breaking down sensory expectations can modify the strength of this illusion. They also measured dopamine release before and after administering a drug that stimulates the release of dopamine. Patients with hallucinations tended to perceive sounds in a way that was more similar to what they had been cued to expect, even when sensory expectations were less reliable and illusions weakened in healthy participants. This tendency to inflexibly hear what was expected was worsened after giving a dopamine-releasing drug, and more pronounced in participants with elevated dopamine release, and more apparent in participants with a smaller dorsal anterior cingulate (a brain region previously shown to track reliability of environmental cues).

Wearable biosensors can flag illness, Lyme disease, risk for diabetes; low airplane oxygen -- ScienceDaily

Snyder's team took advantage of the portability and ease of using wearable devices to collect a myriad of measurements from participants for up to two years to detect deviations from their normal baseline for measurements such as heart rate and skin temperature. Because the devices continuously follow these measures, they potentially provide rapid means to detect the onset of diseases that change your physiology. Many of these deviations coincided with times when people became ill. Heart rate and skin temperature tends to rise when people become ill, said Snyder. His team wrote a software program for data from a smart watch called 'Change of Heart' to detect these deviations and sense when people are becoming sick. The devices were able to detect common colds and in one case helped detect Lyme disease -- in Snyder, who participated in the study.

I predict me

Instead of ‘I think therefore I am’ we can say: ‘I predict (myself) therefore I am.’ The specific experience of being you (or me) is nothing more than the brain’s best guess of the causes of self-related sensory signals.

The hard problem of consciousness is a distraction from the real one | Aeon Essays

Predictive processing can also help us understand unusual forms of visual experience, such as the hallucinations that can accompany psychosis or psychedelic trips. The basic idea is that hallucinations occur when the brain pays too little attention to incoming sensory signals, so that perception becomes unusually dominated by the brain’s prior expectations. Different sorts of hallucination – from simple geometric experiences of lines, patterns and textures to rich hallucinatory narratives full of objects and people – can be explained by the brain’s over-eagerness to confirm its predictions at different levels in the cortical hierarchy.

Monster tornado gives teens epic prom photo

Crappy equity predictions

“Equity research analysts are in that camp of guessing and sounding impressive, but also working with these models that are relatively shaky,” he says. “They work well when things are slow and steady but don’t work well when people are thrown a curveball.”

Thinking about bad things

A closely related phenomenon is called “probability neglect.”  When an outcome stirs strong emotions, people tend to neglect the likelihood that it will occur. If the prospect of a bad result gets the heart racing  -- a plane crash, a terrible disease, a loss of 30 percent of your portfolio -- most people will take strong steps to avoid it. They will pay too little attention to a comforting thought, which is that worst-case scenarios usually don’t come to fruition.

New Depression Model Outperforms Psychiatrists

Data mined from clinical trials may soon help doctors tailor antidepressant therapy to their patients, the authors say. Currently, only about 30% of patients get relief from the first drug they are prescribed, and it can often take a year or more before doctors find the right medication to alleviate symptoms of depression. The Yale team analyzed data from a large clinical trial on depression and pinpointed 25 questions that best predicted the patients’ response to a particular antidepressant. Using these questions, they developed a mathematical model to predict whether a patient will respond to Celexa after three months of treatment. “These are questions any patient can fill out in 5 or 10 minutes, on any laptop or smartphone, and get a prediction immediately,” explained Adam Chekroud, Ph.D. candidate in the Human Neuroscience Lab and lead author of the paper.

Animals plan for the future

Santino is a chimpanzee in Furuvik zoo in Sweden. In the 2000s zookeepers noticed that he was gathering little stockpiles of stones and hiding them around his cage, even constructing covers for them, so that at a later time he would have something to throw at zoo visitors who annoyed him. Mathias Osvath of Lund University argues that this behaviour showed various types of mental sophistication: Santino could remember a specific event in the past (being annoyed by visitors), prepare for an event in the future (throwing stones at them) and mentally construct a new situation (chasing the visitors away).

Automated analysis of free speech predicts psychosis

The semantic coherence feature that best contributed to classification of subsequent psychosis onset was the minimum coherence between two consecutive phrases (i.e., the maximum discontinuity) that occurred in the interview. The syntactic measure included in classification was the frequency of use of determiners (‘that’, ‘what’, ‘whatever’, ‘which’, and ‘whichever’), normalized by the phrase length. Because speech in emergent psychosis often shows marked reductions in verbosity (referred to clinically as poverty of speech), we also included the maximum number of words per phrase in the classification.

A few key signs betray betrayal

When they used a computer program to compare exchanges between players whose relationships ended in betrayal with those whose relationships lasted, the computer discerned subtle signals of impending betrayal. One harbinger was a shift in politeness. Players who were excessively polite in general were more likely to betray, and people who were suddenly more polite were more likely to become victims of betrayal, study coauthor and Cornell graduate student Vlad Niculae reportedJuly 29 at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Beijing.

A decade of media evolution in two paragraphs

Websites, Vox included, have been able to accumulate enormous audiences with incredible speed by harvesting referrals from social networks. These rapidly convened audiences felt contiguous because they ended up, eventually, on publishers’ websites; they felt […]real because advertising teams could sell web ads against them. Websites plausibly marketed these people as members of their audiences, rather than temporarily diverted members of a platform’s audience. […]The illusion of audience ownership is becoming harder to sustain, and the audiences are getting bigger and bigger. 2013 was the year every major site with a social strategy broke traffic records by a mile;[…]2015, when a single weird or clever native Facebook video can easily out-traffic a week of a site’s web content, is the year it’s becoming clear to everyone who these audiences really belong to, and what it means to borrow them. 2016 is the year we find out what the price of access will be.

The future of film is...

The more you dig into the technology and the more you learn it, you are going to get ideas you would never have thought of without knowing your technology. The kind of shots you can get from an iPhone that you cannot get with any other camera. Use it. GoPros: use it. Be inspired by it. Try things. It’s digital. Get another memory card, for God’s sake.

Nick Denton weighs the risks of the Hulk Hogan suit

I told the company all-hands last week, in an average year, the chance of disaster, some conjunction of events that would compromise the company’s independence and journalistic purpose, is about 1 in 50. I’m going to reuse a phrase from that meeting. We are currently at heightened risk levels. If you want a number: internally, we reckon about 1 in 10.

John Nash and Freeman Dyson predict the future of computing

Gerard, The space futurist, asked John and Freeman about what computers will mean to us in the next 50 years.  Freeman said "everyone would have one or more to do many tasks so that humans could spend time doing more important things".  That was quite revolutionary at the time. John paused for about a minute and said "Freeman that is ridiculous, computers will be used to calculate better chances to date the pretty girl next door that does not notice you".  John was so right.

Once in 3 billion years? Fix your model.

The Oct. 15 gyration, when Treasury yields fluctuated by almost 0.4 percentage point, was an “unprecedented move” that would have serious consequences in a stressed environment[…] Treasuries are supposed to be among the most stable securities. […]It’s just a matter of time until some political, economic or market event triggers another financial crisis, he said, without predicting one is imminent. The Treasuries move was “an event that is supposed to happen only once in every 3 billion years or so,” Dimon wrote. A future crisis could be worsened because there “is a greatly reduced supply of Treasuries to go around.”

Suicide by auto-pilot

Data gathered by tracking service Flightradar24 showed Flight 9525’s autopilot initially was programmed to 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) as the jet climbed, then reset to 32,000 feet and finally to its 38,000-foot cruising altitude, co-founder Mikael Robertsson said. Then the autopilot was manually reset to 96 feet, he said.

Charlie Munger: learn multiple models to avoid rigid analyses

Rule #1: Learn Multiple Models “The first rule is that you’ve got to have multiple models—because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models.” “It’s like the old saying, ‘To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.’ But that’s a perfectly disastrous way to think and a perfectly disastrous way to operate in the world.” Rule #2: Learn Multiple Models From Multiple Disciplines “And the models have to come from multiple disciplines—because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department.” Rule #3: Focus On Big Ideas From The Big Disciplines (20% Of Models Create 80% Of The Results) “You may say, ‘My God, this is already getting way too tough.’ But, fortunately, it isn’t that tough—because 80 or 90 important models will carry about 90% of the freight in making you a worldly-wise person. And, of those, only a mere handful really carry very heavy freight.” Rule #4: Use A Checklist To Ensure You’re Factoring in the Right Models “Use a checklist to be sure you get all of the main models.” “How can smart people be wrong? Well, the answer is that they don’t…take all the main models from psychology and use them as a checklist in reviewing outcomes in complex systems.” Rule #5: Create Multiple Checklists And Use The Right One For The Situation “You need a different checklist and different mental models for different companies. I can never make it easy by saying, ‘Here are three things.’ You have to drive it yourself to ingrain it in your head for the rest of your life.”

Check Out Google's Insane Plans for a New Headquarters

NowThis scraps its website, goes all-in on social

Senior V.P. of strategy and partnerships Athan Stephanopoulos said that the decision to essentially scrap the company's website was a reaction to consumer demand, and an acknowledgement of the way people use technology in 2015. Other media companies will follow suit, he said, "unless we live in a world where people are not awake.""We're not trying to lead the industry," he said. "We are leading the industry and kind of redefining what a media company today looks like."

Google Cabs And Uber Bots Will Challenge Jobs 'Below The API'

The website is dead, long live the platform

If in five years I’m just watching NFL-endorsed ESPN clips through a syndication deal with a messaging app, and Vice is just an age-skewed Viacom with better audience data, and I’m looking up the same trivia on Genius instead of Wikipedia, and “publications” are just content agencies that solve temporary optimization issues for much larger platforms, what will have been point of the last twenty years of creating things for the web?

The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

When it comes to energy, and especially shale, the conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. It isn’t just that experts didn’t see the shale boom coming. It’s that they underestimated its impact at virtually every turn. First, they didn’t think natural gas could be produced from shale (it could). Then they thought production would fall quickly if natural gas prices dropped (they did, and it didn’t). They thought the techniques that worked for gas couldn’t be applied to oil (they could). They thought shale couldn’t reverse the overall decline in U.S. oil production (it did). And they thought rising U.S. oil production wouldn’t be enough to affect global oil prices (it was).