Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain sees some faces as male when they appear in one area of a person's field of view, but female when they appear in a different location, a finding which challenges the longstanding tenet of neuroscience that how the brain sees an object should not depend on where the object is located relative to the observer.
In the real world, the brain's inconsistency in assigning gender to faces isn't noticeable because there are so many other clues, like hair and clothing, but when people view computer-generated faces, stripped of all other gender-identifying features, a pattern of biases based on location of the face emerges.
The eye is not just a lens that takes pictures and converts them into electrical signals, it is the first part of an elaborate system that leads to "seeing". As with all vertebrates, nerve cells in the human eye separate an image into different image channels once it has been projected onto the retina and pre-sorted information is then transmitted to the brain as parallel image sequences.
A man with an inherited form of blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, has been able to identify a coffee mug and various shades of gray using a retina implant, according to work published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The Retina Implant AG is a sub-retinal chip placed in the central macular area behind the retina. Their chip works by converting light that enters the eye into electrical impulses which get fed into the optic nerve behind the eye. It requires an external battery which was connected to a cable that protruded from the skin behind the ear.
Boise State University's football team is smoking, and some have wondered whether their blue football field may help explain their success...so much so that, a couple months back, Oregon State painted their practice field blue to help them prepare for playing on it.
Could practicing and playing on blue really give the Broncos a leg up? It seems unlikely.
You’ve heard that space is curved – that’s gravity. You’ve also been told that you cannot really understand curved space. Sure, you can come to know curvy mathematics by studying general relativity or differential geometry, but you cannot grasp curved space in your bones…for the obvious reason that, in our everyday human-level world, space is flat, and so we have a brain for thinking flat.
Or, at least, that’s what they say.
But there is at least one variety of curvy mathematics that your brain comprehends so completely that you don’t even know you know it. It concerns your visual field, and your innate understanding of the directions from you to all the objects in your environment.
Here’s my vote for the best illusion ever. It was created by B. Pinna, G.J. Brelstaff / Vision Research 40 (2000) 2091–2096.
Loom your head toward, and away, from the center point. Print it out and bring to a bar, and it is even more impressive -- the paper appears to be twisting in your hands. Some other time I'll tell you my speculation for why it works. (It is a
Science can make you a better dancer - or at least improve your chances of not looking stupid to the opposite sex, say a group of evolutionary psychologists who used 3D motion-capture technology to create uniform avatar figures and identified the key movement areas of the male dancer’s body that influence female perceptions of whether their dance skills are “good” or “bad”.
Apparently it all comes down to neck, trunk, left shoulder and wrist, the variability of movement size of the neck, trunk and left wrist, and the speed of movement of the right knee.
Sounds simple, right? Read on.
Does a hill feel steeper when you are already exhausted? Does a hill appear steeper when you are afraid to roll down it? Is it true that baseballs appear larger to players when they are hitting well? You may have some suspicions that your perception is greatly affected by your context and may not always be correct.
If you're a print magazine, or in marketing consumer goods, you care about packaging.
The general science magazine "New Scientist" approached neuroscience marketing firm NeuroFocus to test three different cover designs for an August issue of the magazine.
Applying their EEG-based full brain measurements of test subjects' subconscious responses to the three covers, NeuroFocus identified one as clearly superior in terms of its overall neurological effectiveness, saying it scored exceptionally well in emotional engagement, one of their primary metrics, the others being attention and memory retention.
This neuromarketing research was the first time that the publishing industry used EEG technology to determine the appeal of cover designs.
There aren’t many cyclopses in nature, and those that exist don’t live up to expectation. They tend to be crustaceans like water fleas and another aptly named “cyclops” (see left photo below) or early invertebrate fish-like ancestors of ours like lancelets.
Getting these animals tipsy and stabbing them through the eye with a stake turns out to be much less impressive than when Odysseus did it.