Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Interesting Stuff on the Human Brain

This is a very interesting video on how the Brain perceives time. I like it very much. I had thought about these questions on-and-off for quite a while now, and from the perspective of a Computer Scientist working with supercomputers (where timing and causality between computation units are important.)

It is known that the brain organizes how we perceive reality under very heavy constraints, and have to constantly adapt. I have had to deal with my own (anecdotally observed) brain's problems: I'm almost certainly dyslexic, and probably getting worse; I very probably have ADD (in that I tend to focus on tasks in bursts when I do, especially complex ones); I may have some OCD tendencies; and for many years now I've been living with significant "visual snow" (you can google this term.) Optometrists tell me my eyes appear functionally fine, but my brain seems to constantly generate light "snow" or "stars" in my visual field. It is not certain if this is the result of the misfiring of a second layer of the neural structures past the photo receptors of the eye, or something my brain had started interpreting as "real" since I started "seeing" them.

Anyway, this video had inspired me to go recreate the timing perception experiment that David Eagleman had described in the video, where an introduced delay in a visual stimuli is suddenly removed to create a temporary mental perception of causality violation. It should be fun if this works, and I'll see if I can put up a webapp here later so people can play with it.

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