“This supports my hypothesis that creativity is something that happens naturally so long as your brain is not actively suppressing it for some sort of survival advantage. That makes sense because creative thinking usually isn’t helpful in immediately dangerous situations. If we were cave dwellers I would be the one that didn’t see the mastodon stampede heading my way because I was daydreaming and inventing new stone tools in my head. Sometimes you don’t need creative ideas so much as you just need to run.”—Scott Adams Blog: Creativity Hack 08/18/2014
“If punctuation obscures or distorts the meaning of a sentence in an unintended way, it is wrong, but apart from that, punctuation is about rhythm. An Oxford comma is not a flip switch in an author’s voice, it’s a decision made in the moment to maintain the flow of the idea. Momentum, syncopation, rhythm and pattern make a sentence flow, because writers are trying to transfer the voices in their heads into yours.”—Nobody. Understands. Punctuation.
“Being civil toward distant others or random strangers is typically believed to benefit others—society at large or those who are befriended.
The results of our experiments, however, join a growing body of research suggesting positive consequences of prosociality for oneself.
Whether it is spending money on others versus oneself, behaving equitably rather than selfishly, or expressing gratitude versus disdain, prosociality seems not only to benefit others but also to benefit oneself.
On an increasingly crowded planet, misunderstanding the benefits of social engagement could be increasingly problematic.
“Fear that happiness leads to bad outcomes is perhaps most strong in East Asian cultures influenced by Taoism, which posits that “things tend to revert to their opposite”. A 2001 study asked participants to choose from a range of life-course graphs and found that Chinese people were more likely than Americans to choose graphs that showed periods of sadness following periods of joy. Other cultures, such as Japan and Iran, believe that happiness can bring misfortune as it causes inattentiveness. Similar fears are sometimes found in the West as reflected in adages such as “what goes up must come down.””—BPS Research Digest: It’s time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness
“People often exert willpower to choose a more valuable delayed reward over a less valuable immediate reward, but using willpower is taxing and frequently fails. In this research, we demonstrate the ability to enhance self-control (i.e., forgoing smaller immediate rewards in favor of larger delayed rewards) without exerting additional willpower. Using behavioral and neuroimaging data, we show that a reframing of rewards (i) reduced the subjective value of smaller immediate rewards relative to larger delayed rewards, (ii) increased the likelihood of choosing the larger delayed rewards when choosing between two real monetary rewards, (iii) reduced the brain reward responses to immediate rewards in the dorsal and ventral striatum, and (iv) reduced brain activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (a correlate of willpower) when participants chose the same larger later rewards across the two choice frames. We conclude that reframing can promote self-control while avoiding the need for additional willpower expenditure.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Increased self control without increased willpower
“The Museum of Modern Art in New York added the first downloadable app to its collection this month: Björk’s Biophilia, which the singer released in 2011 along with an album of the same name.”—When is an app art? | Marketplace.org
“This is flexible, fluid thinking — children exploring an unlikely hypothesis. Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children, says Gopnik. Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working. That’s inflexible, narrow thinking. “We think the moral of the study is that maybe children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one,” says Gopnik.”—Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets : Shots - Health News : NPR
When he was around 32 years old, Leonardo da Vinci applied to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, for a job. The duke was in need of military expertise and Leonardo’s 10-point CV emphasized his military engineering skills:
3. Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by…
“People perceive religious and moral iconography in ambiguous objects, ranging from grilled cheese to bird feces. In the current research, we examined whether moral concerns can shape awareness of perceptually ambiguous stimuli. In three experiments, we presented masked moral and non-moral words around the threshold for conscious awareness as part of a lexical decision task. Participants correctly identified moral words more frequently than non-moral words—a phenomenon we term the moral pop-out effect. The moral pop-out effect was only evident when stimuli were presented at durations that made them perceptually ambiguous, but not when the stimuli were presented too quickly to perceive or slowly enough to easily perceive. The moral pop-out effect was not moderated by exposure to harm and cannot be explained by differences in arousal, valence, or extremity. Although most models of moral psychology assume the initial perception of moral stimuli, our research suggests that moral beliefs and values may shape perceptual awareness.”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: Morality and perception speed
“Olsson et al. demonstrate the existence of a olfactory signal of illness, a aversive body odor that can signal other humans to keep their distance from a diseased person, but they do not identify the volatile chemicals that must be involved.:”—Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: The smell of sickness.
“This is the first time that people have integrated a truly synthetic, manmade thing into the machinery — in this case the most fundamental aspect of the machinery, the DNA — and used it to do something that system does, in this case store information," says Romesberg. "And obviously we can now store more information than we could before.”—Chemists Expand Nature’s Genetic Alphabet : Shots - Health News : NPR
“Together, the evidence is now piling up and pointing in the direction of cortical oscillations as a general mechanism for mediating interactions among functionally specialized neurons in distributed brain circuits.”—Why Smells Evoke Memories So Vividly — PsyBlog