Human perception: Our brain sees not what we see, but what we expect

In recent research conducted at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, scientists have made a significant discovery about how our brains process social interactions, such as observing someone else’s actions. 

This study suggests that our perception is heavily influenced by our expectations, rather than solely by the visual information we receive.

Traditionally, it was believed that when we watch someone perform an action, our brain processes the information in a sequential manner.  However, the new study challenges this notion about human perception. 

The findings were groundbreaking. When actions were shown in a predictable sequence, the brain increasingly relied on its motor system to predict what would happen next. Essentially, what we expect to happen next shapes what our brain perceives. 

“What we would do next, becomes what our brain sees,” explained senior author Christian Keysers. This contrasts sharply with the classical model of information flow from visual to motor areas.

Seeing what we expect to see

This shift towards a predictive brain model indicates that our brains are not just passive receivers of sensory input. Instead, they actively generate predictions about what will happen next, and these expectations can suppress the actual sensory input. 

This phenomenon allows us to perceive the world as we expect it to be, unless our expectations are violated, prompting us to become aware of the actual sensory input.

Study implications 

The study’s findings contribute to a broader understanding within neuroscience about how our brains function. It suggests that we perceive and interact with the world based more on our internal expectations and predictions than on the external stimuli we encounter. 

This paradigm shift in understanding brain function and human perception opens up new avenues for exploring how we engage with the world around us.

The study is published in the journal Cell Reports.

Title image © Provided by Earth©

Things to NEVER Buy at a Thrift Store

Buying used is often an easy way to find inexpensive, high-quality, and one-of-a-kind pieces. But in some cases, preowned or old items can be unsanitary, more expensive, and—in worst-case scenarios—dangerous. So the next time you scour your favorite thrift shop (or an antique store or garage sale), think twice about these items.

Stuffed Animals

©Tomekbudujedomek – Getty Images

Yes, they’re adorable, but they’re probably dirty—or worse, infested with bed bugs or fleas.

Pet Furniture

©Getty Images

You’ll never know what previous pets were up to on secondhand pet beds, houses, crates, blankets, and toys. To prevent stinky smells from overtaking your space, and to ensure your furry friend has a clean place to sit or sleep, buy ’em something brand new.

Pillows

©Getty Images

Bringing home any sort of used textile or item covered with fabric puts you at risk for a bed bug infestation. In fact, bed bugs can survive up to one year in upholstered pieces. And with cute throw pillows available for just $10-$20, it’s both affordable and wise to go for something new.

Source: bestproducts.com

Michelangelo’s ‘Secret Room’ to Open for Visitors

Delicate charcoal drawings that some experts have attributed to Michelangelo are seen on the walls of a room used to store coal until 1955 inside Florence’s Medici Chapel, in central Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. (Francesco Fanfani via AP, HO)

Visitors will soon be able to see a long-hidden space inside the Medici Chapel in the Italian city of Florence. The walls of the small space contain drawings that some experts believe may have been created by the famous artist Michelangelo.

The secret room is small – 10 meters by 3 meters. Officials discovered the room in 1975 when searching for a way to make a new exit from Medici Chapel.

The museum’s then-director Paolo Dal Poggetto strongly believed that the drawings were by Michelangelo, said the current director, Paola D’Agostino. A debate over the issue began then and continues to this day.

D’Agostino suggested that experts of Michelangelo’s drawings did not believe he created the works at the time of their discovery 50 years ago. She added, “Others had a more moderate view, in the sense they thought that some could be by Michelangelo and others could be by followers. So the debate is ongoing.”

The room was used to store coal until 1955. Then it was closed and forgotten for years below a special kind of opening known as a trapdoor. The trapdoor was hidden beneath furniture. The drawings themselves were discovered under two layers of plaster – a substance used to make walls and ceilings smooth.

Dal Poggetto believed Michelangelo hid in the space to escape the anger of Pope Clement VII. The artist had supported a short-lived republic that overthrew the Medicis.

In the room, the artist drew for some of his projects. They include drawings believed to be the legs of Giuliano de’ Medici.

Starting on November 15, small groups of four people will be able to visit the room for about 15 minutes. Visitors will have to pay an additional $20 on top of the $10 charged for entry to the main museum.

The museum said it limits the number of visitors because of the need to reduce exposure of the artworks to light. At most, 100 visitors will be able to go to the room each week.

Adapted from AP and Reuters reports.

Daylight Savings Time 2023 ends Sunday, November 5

It’s time to fall back one hour

Sunday, November 5, 2023, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned backward 1 hour to
1:00:00 am local standard time instead.

© Eric Audras/Getty Images/Onoky

The “fall back” from daylight saving is linked to an uptick in car accidents and poor mood, but doctors say careful attention to sleep hygiene and a gradual adjustment of your bedtime may help.

As clocks across America “fall back” an hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, internal clocks may lag behind. “Changes, even small ones, in your sleep can impact almost every area of your body from your skin to your cardiovascular system,” said Dr. Marri Horvat of the Cleveland Sleep Disorders Clinic.

What can you do to get better sleep?

Sleep specialists say it’s a good idea to establish a nighttime routine leading up to and following the switch. Horvat recommends “making the shift slowly over several days” by “going to bed and waking up 10 to 15 minutes later each day.” Ideally, this routine would include a “winding down” period of at least an hour before bedtime when you stop screen time, turn down the thermostat (between 60-75 degrees), and do a relaxing activity. The greatest relaxation technique before bedtime is listening to soothing music.

Another tip is to exercise outdoors. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise during the day, as long as it’s at least two to four hours before bedtime, increases sleep quality and duration. Also, exercising outdoors is recommended since natural sunlight during the day can help with the switch.

According to doctors, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings can also help and it’s best to avoid snacks close to bedtime.

Although napping can’t replace a good night’s sleep, it can help supplement it. Even a five-minute nap shows improved attention and short-term memory.

“Healthy sleep begins with attitude and awareness,” said Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Set aside 7.5 or 8 hours for sleep and enjoy it!”

Source: How to beat the negative health effects of daylight saving time (msn.com)

Why is Type ‘O’ Blood considered so Unique?

According to the American Red Cross, approximately 45 percent of people in the United States have type O blood. Of these, 38 percent are O positive and 7 percent are O negative. People with type O blood have some unique characteristics.

And this just in from Positive Med (www.positivemed.com):

People having type O blood naturally produce a greater amount of stomach acid. This factor features favorably for digesting proteins. The recommended diet for people in this blood type grouping entails consuming plenty of lean meats, fish and poultry along with fruits and vegetables. However, diets should include less dairy products, grains and legumes. Individuals should also avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as these substances lead to an increase in adrenaline, which is already produced in abundance in type O people.

Exercise Recommendations

A diet high in lean protein, fruits and vegetables provides plenty of fuel for brisk exercise. If not already physically active, strive to work up to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times each week. This type of activity offers full-body toning while enhancing cardiovascular and emotional health.

Active Sympathetic Nervous System

Japan and other Asian countries believe that there is a direct correlation between blood type and personality. The claim involves the presence and quantities of certain hormones that vary in blood types. Adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones signal the sympathetic system to go into a “fight or flight” mode.

With an abundance of these stimulating chemical compounds flowing through the blood of type O people, a variety of personality traits are possible. Individuals might be quick to anger, inappropriately overreact and have temper tantrums. Type O people might also display hyperactivity or exhibit manic tendencies. The hormonal issues and nervous energy may lead to demonstrations of destructive behavior when a type O person experiences fatigue, boredom or depression.

On the other hand, positive personality traits include loyalty, passion and self-confidence. Considered competent in their endeavors, type O people are also often successful leaders or innovators.

Is that unique or what?

An El Niño winter is coming. What will winter 2023 look like in the U.S.?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts an El Niño weather pattern for the winter 2023-2024 season, which will change things up from the past three years of La Niña.

© Ryan Sun, Deseret News

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a weather pattern that has to do with the westward-bound tradewinds in the Pacific Ocean weakening and pushing warm water against the western side of the Americas. When the opposite occurs, it’s called La Niña.

Depending on its strength, El Nino can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world,” said Michelle L’Heureux, who is a climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center.

El Niño’s original name was “El Niño de la Navidad,” or “the little boy of Christmas,” because of its affinity to hitting around the Christmas season when winter begins, according to NOAA.

Is 2023 La Niña or El Niño?

While the past three winters were La Niña, according to Severe Weather Europe, the winter of 2023 is forecasted by NOAA to be an El Niño year. The weather pattern is anticipated to last until early spring. An early September update from the Climate Prediction Center put the chance of the weather pattern continuing into March 2024 at 95%.

What does El Niño weather mean?

In the past, previous El Niño patterns have caused more precipitation and colder temperatures than usual in California and along the southern part of the United States, while the north stays drier and warmer than usual, reported CNN.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac describes these colder temperatures for the south as “mild” and “wet.”

NOAA’s 2023 to 2024 seasonal outlook predicts that most of Idaho, Montana and Michigan will be drier than normal, while most of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia will be wetter.

Source: Deseret News

Lance Reddick, ‘The Wire’ and ‘John Wick’ star, dies at 60

Lance Reddick, a character actor who specialized in intense, icy and possibly sinister authority figures on TV and film, including “The Wire,” “Fringe” and the “John Wick” franchise, has died. He was 60.

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
© Provided by The Associated Press

Reddick died “suddenly” Friday morning, his publicist Mia Hansen said in a statement, attributing his death to natural causes.

Wendell Pierce, Reddick’s co-star on “The Wire” paid tribute on Twitter. “A man of great strength and grace,” he wrote. “As talented a musician as he was an actor. The epitome of class.” “John Wick — Chapter Four” director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves said they dedicating the upcoming film to Reddick and were “deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss.”

Story by Mark Kennedy for Associated Press News: Breaking News | Latest News Today (apnews.com)

RIP: Christine McVie wrote many of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest songs.

To casual Fleetwood Mac listeners, the band is Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and everybody else.

But the contributions of Christine McVie (not to mention co-founder Mick Fleetwood and mainstay John McVie) are so acutely integrated into the band’s sound that it’s impossible to envision a Christine-free Mac.

Christine McVie died Wednesday at age 79. 

Her silky vocals – so perfectly complemented by Nicks’ intense warble – and keyboards added a soft touch to a band initially submerged in blues rock and helped remodel Fleetwood Mac into a powerhouse pop-rock outfit in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

© Mark Allan, Invision/AP

When McVie, who often eschewed the spotlight, did step into it, she offered precise melodies and straightforward lyrics.

Here are five of her best contributions to the Fleetwood Mac canon.

‘Everywhere’ (1987)

‘Hold Me’ (1982)

‘You Make Loving Fun’ (1977)

‘Don’t Stop’ (1977)

‘Songbird’ (1977)

Considered McVie’s signature for good reason, the piano ballad is striking and sparse in its beauty. Her voice pure and faultless as she sings what is part heartbreaking farewell (“I wish you all the love in the world”) and romantic paean (“And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score”). Fleetwood Mac typically stationed McVie in the spotlight at the end of their concerts to leave the audience with this unpretentious creation of musical magic.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY©

Daylight Savings Time 2023 ends Sunday, November 5

It’s time to fall back one hour

Sunday, November 5, 2023, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned backward 1 hour to
1:00:00 am local standard time instead.

© Eric Audras/Getty Images/Onoky

The “fall back” from daylight saving is linked to an uptick in car accidents and poor mood, but doctors say careful attention to sleep hygiene and a gradual adjustment of your bedtime may help.

As clocks across America “fall back” an hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, internal clocks may lag behind. “Changes, even small ones, in your sleep can impact almost every area of your body from your skin to your cardiovascular system,” said Dr. Marri Horvat of the Cleveland Sleep Disorders Clinic.

What can you do to get better sleep?

Sleep specialists say it’s a good idea to establish a nighttime routine leading up to and following the switch. Horvat recommends “making the shift slowly over several days” by “going to bed and waking up 10 to 15 minutes later each day.” Ideally, this routine would include a “winding down” period of at least an hour before bedtime when you stop screen time, turn down the thermostat (between 60-75 degrees), and do a relaxing activity. The greatest relaxation technique before bedtime is listening to soothing music.

Another tip is to exercise outdoors. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise during the day, as long as it’s at least two to four hours before bedtime, increases sleep quality and duration. Also, exercising outdoors is recommended since natural sunlight during the day can help with the switch.

According to doctors, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings can also help and it’s best to avoid snacks close to bedtime.

Although napping can’t replace a good night’s sleep, it can help supplement it. Even a five-minute nap shows improved attention and short-term memory.

“Healthy sleep begins with attitude and awareness,” said Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Set aside 7.5 or 8 hours for sleep and enjoy it!”

Source: How to beat the negative health effects of daylight saving time (msn.com)

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