The brain uses minimum effort to look for key information in text

By analysing brain activity, researchers found that the brain regulates its resource use and tries to identify the most essential information

University of Helsinki

IMAGE
Volunteers’ brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). In the EEG, a selective electric brain potential was observed in response to reading high- versus low-value words. view more  Credit: Cognitive computing research group / University of Helsinki

By analysing brain activity, researchers found that the brain regulates its resource use and tries to identify the most essential information.

A recently completed study indicates that the human brain avoids taking unnecessary effort. When a person is reading, she strives to gain as much information as possible by dedicating as little of her cognitive capacity as possible to the processing.

This is a finding presented in an article by specialists in computer science and psychology at the University of Helsinki, published in May in the Scientific Reports journal, a multidisciplinary open-access publication platform operated by the publishers of the Nature journal.

According to the study, the brain is processing information by taking into account the relative importance of the content that is being read. When the brain is interpreting the meaning of the words being read, it attempts to allocate resources to interpreting the words that provide as much information as possible on the content of the text.

Previous studies have shown that word length and frequency, as well as syntactic and semantic errors included in sentences in sentences affect brain activity to language.

In the recently published study, the perspective was expanded to the level above individual sentences, the discourse level. It was studied using six-sentence paragraphs. At this level, the relationship between words becomes increasingly complex, and the significance of context in interpreting individual words is increased. On the discourse level, very little about information processing by the brain has been known so far.

Difference between high and low value of information

The researchers developed a model based on information theory to determine the informativeness of words and associated these with brain activity. A study was conducted by having volunteers read sentences from Wikipedia entries while recording their brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). In the EEG, a selective electric brain potential was observed in response to reading high- versus low-value words.

“When someone reads the sentence ‘Cats are small, usually furry mammals’, words such as ‘mammal’ and ‘furry’ evoke a particular pattern of brain activity. This suggests that the brain is efficiently processing information: concentrating its efforts there where the most additional value in understanding the message is to be gained”, says Michiel Spapé, a senior researcher who contributed to the study.

A related finding revealed that, by using AI-based techniques, brain measurements pertaining to individual words can be used to predict whether the information gain for the words read is low or high.

“Consequently, we are able to predict the information gain of content processed by people without accessing the content itself. Instead, we only utilise brain measurements,” says Tuukka Ruotsalo, Academy research fellow in charge of the study at the University of Helsinki.

The results can be utilised in future brain-information interfaces, which observe brain function when people perceive and process various types of information.

“Such applications could be used, for example, in healthcare, or, in the future, even in modelling the tastes, values and opinions of ordinary consumers,” Ruotsalo says.

Ruotsalo points out that the research is only at its basic stage.

“Practical applications are associated with ethical and technical challenges that must be solved before anything concrete can be developed.”

###

Publication:

Kangassalo, L., Spapé, M., Ravaja, N. and Ruotsalo, T. Information gain modulates brain activity evoked by reading. Scientific Reports 10, 7671 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63828-5

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75 thoughts on “The brain uses minimum effort to look for key information in text

      • When a person is reading, she strives to gain as much information as possible by dedicating as little of her cognitive capacity as possible to the processing.

        At this point my brain was able to determine that this supposed scientist was more interested in communicating some WOKE political message than any real science.

        Having detected the most important information with a minimum of wasted energy I was able to stop reading the rest of the pseudo-science which presumably followed.

        Isn’t the human brain amazing !

        • When the article said they used Wikipedia entries I knew it was a junk study. There is no key information in Wikipedia.

        • Greg
          My BS alarm probably would not have been activated if the author(s) had used a gender-neutral pronoun such as “they.” However, using “she” conveyed the point that they/he/she/it were trying to be politically correct and contribute to the forced advancement of social sensitivity. I note in passing that judging from comments here on WUWT, the majority of the readers are male and it would not be out of place to use the masculine pronoun unless specifically referring to someone who was known to be female.

      • Yes Nick, me too ! I grazed very briefly though the article, reading only a few phrases, then on to the comments section, when the real meat and potatoes are to be found, often with linked references.

        Thanks Charles for another article that actually though is very successful in provoking a whole cornucopia of interesting ideas in the Comments Section. Often at WUWT, the comments section (barring obvious trolling) is much more interesting than merely the article itself !

        • That’s often the motivation for my choice of posts. People don’t often realize that.

    • I can assure you that I am not one of those that “knows instinctively the above article is correct.

      To wit:

      Excerpts from University of Helsinki study on analysing brain activity:

      excerpt #1 w/my modifications: “When a person is reading, she (her conscious mind) strives to gain as much information as possible by dedicating as little of her cognitive capacity (subconscious mind) as possible to the processing.

      excerpt #2 w/my modifications: “According to the study, the brain is processing information by taking into account the relative importance of the content that is being read. (true statement, the synaptic links between neurons determines “relative importance” of the uploaded data.)

      When the brain is interpreting the meaning of the words being read, it attempts to allocate resources to interpreting the words (wrong, the synaptic links between neurons auto interpret the meanings of the words being read, unless it is a new word) that provide as much information as possible on the content of the text.

      excerpt #3 w/my modifications: “Previous studies have shown that word length and frequency, as well as syntactic and semantic errors included in sentences in sentences affect brain activity to language.”(yup, shur does affect brain activity)

      Case in point, to wit:

      As you read each of the words in this sentence, as you are (hopefully) doing this very second, …… your subconscious mind is “telling you” everything you need to know about each word, selected from a “list” of everything that you previously learned about said word (its meaning, pronunciation, usage, etc,) and thus permitting you to easily Amazon read this paragraph.

      Did your conscious mind get an “interrupt” signal when reading the above?

  1. “Previous studies have shown that word length and frequency, as well as syntactic and semantic errors included in sentences in sentences affect brain activity to language.”

    …in sentences in sentences… I guess so.

    • Similar armed peacekeepers in other small cities as well. However, the Marxist thugs guarding the occupied section of Seattle are well armed as well.

      • the Marxist thugs guarding the occupied section of Seattle are well armed as well.

        Prevent all “barrier jumpers/crossings” and then cut off the electricity and food deliveries to said “occupied section of Seattle” to test the survival skills of those Marxist thugs.

        Within 48 hours max, they will surely be “singing” a different tune.

        Sitting around in the “DARK” for 2 or 3 nights with one’s stomach “growling” for something to eat should give one a different perspective on what he/she thinks is important in their life.

        • I like your idea, but AFAIC they can have Seattle. If its residents elect gutless fools to city council, well:

          https://ibb.co/WHB7mq0

          @ALLAN MACRAE – thanks a million for the link to the Couer d’Alene story. Really gave me a much-needed lift. Happy Friday to all.

    • Look like most of those guys have better weapons training that the cops who are marching around with weapons pointing all over the place.

      Good to see 2nd amendment being put to good use.

    • Allan, as interesting as this may be, it is off the topic.

      However, we can look at the headline The brain uses min­imum ef­fort to look for key in­for­ma­tion in text and ask the relevant question, “Why do so many people simply not use their brains when looking at the alarmism, protests and vandalism?”

      Why, when we know certain actions are not only going to hurt others but also our own families and selves, do we engage in destructive behavior? Perhaps it is when ideology and hatred so consume us that we override what out brains are telling us. It would have been interesting if this study had looked at this aspect.

      Your links illustrate one thing: Our response to this abhorrent behavior must be strict law and order. You cannot reason with an adult who is so dominated by ideology and feelings. A young child having a tantrum needs a sharp smack on his bottom with a bare hand – it actually works. Likewise these anarchists need a quick and appropriate punishment.

      If these people had to work eight to ten hours to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads, would they be protesting and looting after work? Likewise all those involved with the climate protests.

      • Hi Michael and regards to Dublin and the beautiful Southwest of Ireland.

        Some recent thoughts. Antifa and clones are programmed paid thugs.

        Regards, Allan

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/22/trump-at-davos-on-the-environment-and-energy/#comment-2900424

        “To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the Apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers, and they want to see us do badly but we won’t let that happen. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”
        — US President Donald Trump, World Economic Forum, Davos, 21 January 2020

        I believe this quote will define the Trump Presidency, in much the same way that Franklin Roosevelt trumpeted “A day of infamy” and Winston Churchill extolled “Our finest hour”.
        Because we are at war, as surely as Britain was in 1939 and the USA was in 1941. And this war is for our democracies and our freedoms. It is abundantly clear that the global warming/climate change scam was never about the climate – it was always a smokescreen, a false front for a Marxist takeover of our democracies – the end of freedom.
        — Allan MacRae, 23 January 2020

        https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/25/george-soros-89-still-quest-destroy-america/

        I first published the note (“We are at war”) in January 2020, and it is even more clear now that the war has begun. Our world looks more and more like Germany in the 1930’s – the extreme left is emboldened and is plundering rule of law and human rights.

        These rioters have an agenda, they are organized and paid, and they don’t care at all about the environment or the death of George Floyd – that tragedy is just an excuse to launch their assault on democracy.

        Like Hitler’s Brownshirts, these Greenshirts are the shock troops of the Marxist Democrats, and this is their tactic to try to steal the election. If they win, it will be the end of America, the end of freedom.
        — Allan MacRae, 2 June 2020

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/15/extinction-rebellion-considering-public-suicide-events-to-raise-climate-change-awareness/#comment-2938898

        XR have studied 20th Century history – they are violent thugs who have modeled their conduct after Hitler’s Brownshirts – let’s call them Greenshirts.

        What is likely to happen as they get more desperate is more extreme acts of violence and sabotage – as they try to enhance their declining profile.

  2. This is triply hilarious.
    1. From where do I collect my prize for seeing the in joke of “… semantic errors included in sentences in sentences …. ” in the text above?
    2. In the example sentence “Cats are small, usually furry animals” my brain, being in sceptic mode, sarched for and found the omnipresent weasel word “usually”. No poor research these days is complete without a conditional, advance apology.
    3. My brain is tuned to English text. When it read the name of the author, Tuukka Ruotsalo, there would be high probability of extra brain wave activity to cope with these words not seen before. Seriously, is there a different pattern of signals in reading different languages and if so, does this help or hinder the research? Over and out, Foxtrot Uncle Charlie Kilo.

      • Missed the point, I think, Archer. My reading (as a proof-reader) is that there is a comma missing. “Cats are small, usually furry, animals”. To be technical, “usually furry,” qualifies “cats” but not “animals”. Without the comma it opens up the possibility of cats being “usually animals”!

        “ …. in sentences in sentences ….” was a nice try, but (as a proof-reader), “no cigar!”

    • I don’t understand what is ‘weasely’ about the word “usually” in that context, presumably the statement refers to domestic cats and for instance sphinx cats have no fur.
      In the same way ‘swans are usually white’ is a perfectly factual statement.

      • In Australia I think most swans are black. They tried to introduce white swans to Oz, but they didn’t take off….

          • Charles
            You asked, “How do they fly upside down?” More research is needed on the subject. However, it is generally conceded that as a result of the geographically-induced disorientation, the ducks quack up — just before their Swan Song.

        • or they did take off? and thats why we usually see black ones?
          ps river Torrens Adelaide swans were always white
          First saw black ones up in Strathalbyn.

      • CH,
        But if you seek to make a useful description of the animal named a cat, why pick furry? Logically you should write “usually furry, four legged, with tail similar to body length, claws, five on front legs, four on rear, eye colour variable, weight 6 to 10 kg, purrs, meows, ignores humans with disdain, litters one to six. …”. Really, what useful information content is there in “usually furry” if the reader is already expert in pussy? Geoff S

    • “Cats are small, usually furry animals” – Therefore the Tsavo Man-Eaters were not cats?
      It’s obvious that this article is trying to make its point by making fun of the reader.

      • ‘Usually furry mammals’. If I recall correctly, hair is a defining characteristic of mammals. Most Sphinx have at least vestigial vibrissae, and you have no idea how long I have waited for an opportunity to use that phrase.

      • Maybe the sentence is intended to stimulate brain activity, in certain areas or activity types, that are different between different levels of inherent brain function. It was east for WATTS readers to see the “in sentences”, “usually”, and missing comma perturbations, but I wonder how some more normal readers might react to those items? This is the kind of study that casinos love, they can design a slot machine with the right bells and whistles to stimulate certain brain activity, like “give me all of your money” without actually having to say it.

    • “Seriously, is there a different pattern of signals in reading different languages and if so, does this help or hinder the research?”

      That’s a good question for these mindreaders.

      • Mindreaders? When I saw the movie “Minority Report” I just about freaked out. My current strategy is to drink sufficient special fruit juice as to scramble the message sufficiently. Whew! Close call.

      • Tom Abbott – June 12, 2020 at 5:18 am

        “Seriously, is there a different pattern of signals in reading different languages and if so, does this help or hinder the research?”

        That’s a good question for these mindreaders.

        OF COURSE, ……. there are different pattern of signals when reading different languages.

        “DUH”, different words in different languages are spelled different …. and different languages use different vocabularies, graphics, etc..

        The optic nerves simply transmit the “pattern” of what is being viewed when reading. The subconscious mind simply interprets said “pattern” based on the “info” that is stored in the neuron that is associated with said “optical pattern” data. If it is “new and/or different” optical data it will be stored in a new neuron and synaptically linked accordingly. The human brain does not store redundant data.

        There are people who can read, write and/or speak from 1 to 10 different languages, and it is all controlled by the way their subconscious mind was nurtured.

        To learn more about the miraculous functioning of YOUR brain/mind, read the following:

        A View of How the Human Mind Works
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/04/14/moonbat-being-moonbat/#comment-2680500

        • Now Samuel that’s not fair, because even the “Moonbat” doesn’t know how his own mind works, because its being manipulated by his overlord masters, The Tickell family 😂

          I’d like to recommend the following reading, for a truly instructive course on how devious proselytisers really try to influence our thinking in a bad way, with tricks of false logic.

          This interesting book summarizes in the style (familar to WUWT readers) of C Monckton, the thoughts of Aristotle on the matter of “Straight and Crooked Thinking” by Robert H. Thouless (died 1984).

          First published in 1930, and though it may still be purchased in some revised editions from most any bookseller, the 1953 edition can be had as a PDF download for free. For those that find the translations of the original Aristotle at Various University websites a bit too arcane, this is a good read, and ready reference to have handy, lest we forget how devious and misleading “some scientists” can be with their “researches” !

          Purchase hard copy (example):
          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Straight-Crooked-Thinking-Robert-Thouless/dp/B000ZHENS8

          Download free PDF (example):
          https://neglectedbooks.com/Straight_and_Crooked_Thinking.pdf

          Original foundation (example): http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/sophist_refut.html

    • Alex,
      At first glance this appears funny but is it stupid or simply illustrating a language difficulty?
      We recognize language patterns – usually unconsciously – and connect these to meaning.
      Someone with language difficulties has to learn to do this consciously.
      We also have to memorize patterns and link to meaning by hearing and seeing them over and over.

      The words tough, though, thought are not easy.
      They may notice tough though thought
      But they do not remember that tough rhymes with rough and enough
      or remember that though rhymes with grow, below and foe
      or that thought rhymes with ought, fought and caught.
      This is where rhymes and poetry and songs that connect these words
      can help those struggling make the association and avoid these errors.

  3. Yep. I know that when I am trying to deal with the idiocratic pronouncements of some of the government agencies I have to contend with it certainly burns up a lot of brain food.
    Another culprit is smart phone spell checkers. Those have obviously been programmed to overload users synapses. Originally this was limited to errors like refusing to allow the word “Bunnings” (hardware store) so I had to write “Bummings”. Now they are getting more sophisticated. I typed “Ross River” and it changed to roos rivet. At least if you cuss enough at Cortana and his/her/its symbionts they shut up and go away.

  4. This is why I tend to skip through reading stuff (unless it’s a novel or such like) and pick out bits and bobs to decide if it’s worth reading the whole thing. Strange to say most stuff from the “warmistas” doesn’t pass and I just leave it with the thought “more of the same” and not worth the effort to see if they have anything new (very rare when you only have one thing to say)
    It was one of the things some of my teachers at school couldn’t get used to with me seeming to glance at something and pick out the relevant points without studying. One or two did understand and said that it was a great skill to have and would help when I started working which was true. Not much use to those that want mindless drones to come out of our education system.

    James Bull

  5. Long ago in grad school I was working on applying Shannon information theory to texts to quantify the
    entropy ..

    needless to say my fellow English majors did not understand how one could use math to measure the
    “surprise” in a text.

    maybe it was a few years too early

  6. The human brain gets a lot of processing for very little expenditure of power.
    It doesn’t work at all like your desktop computer.

    It’s more like a pattern recognizer. For instance, it seems to have a circuit dedicated to the detection of snakes. link

    The brain’s left hemisphere is where language and logic mainly reside.

    Somewhere in The Master and His Emissary is a description of an experiment where the subject makes a decision. Brain activity is monitored. The right hemisphere lights up first, then the left hemisphere. It’s like the right hemisphere makes the decision and the left hemisphere makes up the reason for the decision.

    In another experiment, people make decisions. Some time later, the researcher lies to the subjects about what decisions they actually made. The subjects will then vehemently defend the decision which they are told they made.

    If you think you’re a rational being, guided only by logic and facts, you’re probably wrong. If that were true, you’d probably have trouble getting out of bed in the morning due to information overload.

    • commieBob
      You said, “If you think you’re a rational being, guided only by logic and facts, you’re probably wrong.” How true!

    • If you think you’re a rational being, guided only by logic and facts, you’re probably wrong.

      But, but, but, …….. commieBob, ….. the entirety of your above post infers that you are …… “a rational being, guided only by logic and facts”, ….. thus I hafta assume you are “probably wrong”, ….. RIGHT? 😊 😊

      commieBob, the one (1) thing that you can be absolutely, positively sure of is “the belief” that ……. other than your biological inherited attributes, ….. “You are what your environment nurtured you to be”.

  7. “Don’t walk, drive to work to save the planet’ !
    A new study has revealed that walking to work is worse for the environment than car sharing. Scientists at the Otago University in New Zealand and Oxford University say walking to work could produce more greenhouse gas than driving. The carbon footprint of producing the extra food a walker needs as ‘fuel’ for the journey would be more than that of a car travelling the same distance. Researchers estimate that, in a country with high calorie diets such as the UK, walking for one kilometre would require food that would have generated around 0.26kg of carbon dioxide, compared with 0.21kg of CO2 for the petrol used by a car.

    • Also being two hours late for work does not look good 😉

      Maybe they need to take into account the amount of productive work you get done for the same physical displacement .

      It has been calculated that even a human on a pushbike produces more CO2 for the same result and that is far more efficient than walking.

    • “A new study has revealed that walking to work is worse for the environment than car sharing.”

      It’s always something. First it’s this, then it’s that.

      There are a lot of confused people in this world. That doesn’t necessarily reflect on their intellect since there are those in the world who are out to deliberately confuse people for political and other purposes, and they do a pretty good job of it.

      I wonder if these scientist have studied the effects of propaganda on the human mind. They don’t even have to set up the experiment as it is ongoing in society right now.

    • Perry, thanks for that Gobbledygook generator thingy, and l will add it to my list of daemons ! 🤔

      As has already been pointed out by our friend Scott P., who among us is brave enough to say out loud that Perry Debell excels in fickleness, inconstancy, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason? Why does Perry think that a richly evocative description of a problem automatically implies the correct solution to that problem? And does he contend that “the truth”, “the whole truth”, and “nothing but the truth” are three different things because it fits his political agenda or because he’s too ignorant of the facts to know that the practice of pitting the haves against the have-nots is beggarly and lousy? This letter is not the place to explore the answers to those questions. Its purpose is instead to carry the torch of justice. There are a number of reasons Perry isn’t telling us as to why he wants to distort and trivialize the debate surrounding moral relativism. In this complaint, I will expose those reasons one-by-one, on the principle that this isn’t some totalitarian regime where Our Glorious Leader can ostracise anybody that he feels is a threat or even a “problem”. So why do so most people sit around and do nothing while Perry is out implementing an adversarial parody of justice called “Perry-ism”?

      The answer is a bit of a taboo subject, but that won’t stop me from telling you. You see, I am not a robot. I am a thinking, feeling, human being. As such, I get teary-eyed whenever I see Perry instill resentment, divide society, and destroy self-reliance. It makes me want to report as best as possible the facts and circumstances surrounding his disgusting equivocations, which is why I’m so eager to tell you that Perry is known for walking into crowded rooms and telling everyone there that he’s too important to be expected to abide by the laws and regulations that apply to the rest of us. Try, if you can, to concoct a statement better calculated to show how vulgar Perry is. You can’t do it. Not only that, but there is one crucial fact that we must not overlook if we are to perceive our current situation as it is, rather than in the anamorphosis of some “ideology” such as totalism or hooliganism. Specifically, Perry markets his escapades as helpful and entertaining. In reality, they’re a a hellish nightmare from which we may never awaken.

      😱 😉 😂

    • Introducing the Chomskybot: “We will bring evidence in favor of the following thesis: this selectionally introduced contextual feature cannot be arbitrary in a general convention regarding the forms of the grammar. Thus the descriptive power of the base component is to be regarded as the strong generative capacity of the theory. It may be, then, that the systematic use of complex symbols is, apparently, determined by the extended c-command discussed in connection with (34). . . ”

      http://rubberducky.org/cgi-bin/chomsky.pl

  8. I have read 1,000 pages books diagonally, and most of the time found the paragraphs that mattered. Otherwise I wouldn’t have passed the exams. Even curious details of subjects I could reproduce. Being very visually set is what I use as explanation, but this article helps to explain it scientifically to me. I learned something new today!

  9. Antifa thugs, well, those that can read, use almost no mental energy. They just call you a racist and use violence. Their brains have no actual processing power to even pretend to process that which they have not been brainwashed with. If there are any words they might have to actually ponder (such as truth) they get all violent because it is all too difficult to come to grips with.
    Mind you, they certainly can digest the money that comes to them via George Soros.

  10. Wow, they just re-discovered selective perception, something that cognitive psychologists have known about for over 100 years, (per-dating the actual separation of cognition from psych). It’s the big bottleneck in machine learning since the notion of perception is biased by the selection of the nature and scope of the training data. If these people had just read the works of McGuire and then, separately, Newell, maybe they would have have been able to do their best Emily Latella … “never mind” … but then maybe their brains were just functioning in minimal effort mode

  11. Greta Thunberg, 17. Her reasoning brain has no idea what it is. Qualifies for global energy policy decision maker!

    Yep! I know a story in Africa about summat similar and most people died!

  12. “…The brain uses minimum effort to look for key information in text…”

    Any teacher of a class of bored 14-year-olds could have told you that without needing all that machinery.,…

  13. Well, OK, this has been done for many years by commercial EEG companies who get paid bucks to find out which story line or commercial phrase will work best. Mostly it’s wishful thinking emerging from noise.

    Trying to figure out the operation of the brain with EEG is exactly like putting a radio antenna over an iPhone and trying to figure out how it works by listening to the EMF noise coming from the circuits. All you get is a rough correlation with what is happening on the screen and no understanding of the underlying mechanisms of operation – hey, just like climate monitoring!

    Those who have spent a lifetime studying how humans use and value information understand that the mind is – wait for it – a coupled, non-linear, semi-chaotic system consisting of at least five independent but coupled information systems. From small molecule signaling, through DNA to hormones and finally neurons. Without understanding each of these and their interactions, no reliable predictions can be made.

    Which, by the way, is why the idea of “downloading” or simulating a human brain using AI is as naive as gluing feathers to your arms with wax and thinking you can fly to the sun.

    • markopanama – June 12, 2020 at 7:43 am

      Trying to figure out the operation of the brain with EEG is exactly like putting a radio antenna over an iPhone and trying to figure out how it works by listening to the EMF noise coming from the circuits.

      Right on, …… markopanama

      I’ve been saying the same things for years, about those researchers who clam they are finding out and/or figuring out great n’ wonderful things as to how the human brain/mind functions via use of fMRI.

      YEAH, …. right, …… me thinks they would have more luck trying to figure out what a Cell-phone processor was doing via use of fMRI than they would via fMRI and the human mind/brain.

    • “AI” is a misnomer and more properly should be “SI”–Simulated Intelligence.

      “In each of us there is an ʘther whom we do not know. He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves. . . ” – Carl Jung, Psychological Reflections

      The Unconscious is underappreciated. It is sentient, or partially so. Every memory that is consciously accessible includes metadata: a time stamp, a relevance datum, etc. Memories generated while asleep (dreams) or during response to an emergency may be handled differently, having no time stamp. When a memory of a violent confrontation is recalled, the conscious mind sometimes can’t distinguish it from what is happening at that moment.

      More on the conscious/Unconscious divide at ResearchGate:
      bit.ly/2tnFyhv

  14. This is brilliant, ground-breaking and above all essential research, right up there with The Left-Turning Tendency of the Dancing Ground Squirrel.

    • Dancing Squirrel Research is vital to the economic understanding of societal behavioural change, I’ll have you know.

      I’d like a Guvvermint Grant please of a Million Dollars, to instigate a research program into why Feral Rock Doves, appear to worship White Geese as Godly Overlords; with respect to Man Made Climate Change.

      Surely this has important connotations with regard to behaviour of “mindless” sycophantic adherence of unemployed wastrel student types, in obeying crazy directions of wealthy benefactors masquerading as socialist revolutionary leaders, on our streets today?



      😉

      • You really nailed it: just tag “with respect to man made climate change” at the end of any lame-ass paper, and you’re in Grant City.

        What’s really needed from the STEM community is more development of non-lethal crowd-disabling weapons systems for the police. Instead we’re getting virtue signalling about systemic racism. Maybe I’ll start a petition for a National STFU Month.

  15. From https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/reading-and-brain

    A number of brain regions are involved in reading and comprehension. Among them are the temporal lobe, which is responsible for phonological awareness and for decoding and discriminating sounds; Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which governs speech production and language comprehension; and the angular and supramarginal gyrus, which link different parts of the brain so that letter shapes can be put together to form words.

    Add to that array the short and long term memory.

    Most dyslexics have difficulty either in recognizing (or reproducing) the characters on the page, or (more often) translating the characters groups (that make-up words and sentences) on the page to internal sound of those characters, or they have a mixture, and sometimes this mixture is variable in nature depending on circumstance prevalent at the time of reading or writing. Effectively the internal character to sound translation is dysfunctional. Also scanning the lines of print causes problems with the eye jumping from the intended line to other lines on the page.

    So I, as a dyslexic of the variable type with variable scanning difficulty, find looking for key information in text is often very error prone if attempted. I usually resort to reading, rereading, and re-reread if the piece is very convoluted (as is one).
    “When someone reads the sentence ‘Cats are small, usually furry mammals’, words such as ‘mammal’ and ‘furry’ evoke a particular pattern of brain activity. This suggests that the brain is efficiently processing information: concentrating its efforts there where the most additional value in understanding the message is to be gained”

    I wonder how these brainy subjects would react to an old text (17th century by all accounts) that I had to read out loud? …

    I Saw a Peacock, with a fiery tail
    I Saw a Peacock, with a fiery tail,
    I saw a Blazing Comet, drop down hail,
    I saw a Cloud, with Ivy circled round,
    I saw a sturdy Oak, creep on the ground,
    I saw a Pismire, swallow up a Whale,
    I saw a raging Sea, brim full of Ale,
    I saw a Venice Glass, Sixteen foot deep,
    I saw a well, full of mens’ tears that weep,
    I saw their eyes, all in a flame of fire,
    I saw a House, as big as the Moon and higher,
    I saw the Sun, even in the midst of night,
    I saw the man, that saw this wondrous sight.

  16. There are two levels of ambiguity in the foregoing, since each line could be construed as containing a participial phrase modifying either the noun ahead of it or one of the nouns following it. Assuming it modifies the antecedent noun results in nonsense, and can be ruled out. The first line, for example may be parsed as: “I saw a peacock. With a fiery tail, I saw a blazing comet.” Convention demands that the participial phrase apply to the adjacent noun, “I,” in this case, so we can’t rule out the speaker being the one with the fiery tail. I’ll omit any theories as to in what sense his tail may be fiery.

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