26 August 2009

Which Reality Counts?

Dan Ariely explores very briefly the view that subjective reality is more important than objective reality:

Here's another video of him talking about morality and how the salience of moral thinking makes a difference in behavior:

TED Talk on Motivation by Dan Pink

He's saying basically what Kenneth W. Thomas said in his 2000 book Intrinsic Motivation at Work, but it's good stuff:

Here's the RSA Animate version of basically the same content in another fun visual style:

And here's the Monday Dots Summary.

14 August 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Know Everything

[O]ne of the nicest things a friend can do is let us misunderstand them just a little.

“If you don’t know everything about someone else, you still enjoy the time you spend with each other,” says Delia Baldassarri, a sociologist and assistant professor at Princeton who has studied people’s perceptions of their friends’ political attitudes. “In certain ways, you may even enjoy it more.”

Fascinating insights into the illusion of knowing your friends.

Thanks to Mind Hacks for pointing out this correction:
The article has a bit of a quirk, however, by supposedly explaining "Psychologists call this projection: in situations where there’s any ambiguity, people tend to simply project their feelings and thoughts onto others".

Except, they don't. The effect discussed by the article, where we over-estimate the extent to which people share our own mindset, is called the false consensus effect.

Projection is a unverified psychological defence mechanism where people supposedly misperceive psychological states in other people that, in reality, they have themselves but unconsciously want to hide from their conscious mind.

08 August 2009

Music on the Brain

I just happened upon these two fascinating resources on the connections between music and our brains:

Harper's Interview with Musicophilia author Oliver Sachs.

Five part video of Notes & Neurons from the World Science Festival featuring Bobby Mc Ferrin, 3 brain scientists, a science journalist, and a few other musicians.

Kicks off with a set from Bobby McFerrin then goes into a fascinating discussion of the brain science of music for a non-technical, non-musician audience including demonstrations of many of the concepts.